23 January 2013

The Beheading Case. Service Chiefs Must Have Been Fully Consulted. Was a CDS Missed ?

January 12, 2013

IDU asks if Government felt need for a CDS in the recent case when One Rajputana Rifle soldier was beheaded along the LOC and another killed ? The answer is attempted. 

From early Jan this year the the Line of Control(LOC) between India and Pakistan seems to have been ‘tense’ as Army claims. Army states that Pakistan as in the past, planned to infiltrate terrorists in to India. It is also reported, that the fence India has set up at great expense along the LOC is some times some few meters inside India and Pakistanis cut and damage the fence. 

Around 6th Jan Pakistani troops first shelled an Indian post in Uri area and injured civilians of a village while trying to send in infiltrators and Indian Army to stop this, shelled Pakistani posts and one Pakistan soldier from Baluch regiment was killed. The Indian High Commissioner/ rep was called up in Islamabad and a demarche was given. IDU is sure all three service Chiefs and one of them as Chairman COS ACM NAK Browne was fully briefed on what exactly happened and their advice with Army Chief as fulcrum taken. Media reports can be misleading.


Thereafter on 8th Jan in the cold and in foggy conditions, in thickly forested hilly area some distance from a place called Mendhar ( Where a Senior Retired General who has knowledge says Pakistani post has advantage) an Army Domination Team of not more than 10-12 operating 500 -600 meters inside Indian side of LOC in the fog, got into a fire fight and in the firing from Baluch regiment it seems the two scouts ahead of the team were found mutilated and killed when the team assembled. One killed soldier’s head was missing, surely be-headed. This was serious. IDU is sure the political set up, NSA, PMO, NSC and Defence Secretary and the most important segment of India that is responsible for India’s Integrity, honour and borders on land sea and air the Armed Forces Service Chiefs must have been jointly briefed and asked for advice what India can and needs to do. Each chief must have offered advice for politicians and NSA to take decisions. 

Afghanistan's colossal intelligence failure

By Candace Rondeaux
January 22, 2013

Close observers of Afghanistan are not likely to be surprised by recent allegations contained in a United Nations report that the Afghan National Security Directorate, the CIA's leading counterterrorism partner in South Asia, used whips and electric shocks to squeeze confessions out of suspected insurgent detainees. There are many ways to describe the directorate, or NDS as it is locally known, but a model of modern intelligence gathering and investigative efficiency is not one of them. 

The report, which was quietly published on the website of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan on Sunday, details a grim pattern of abuse and mistreatment in NDS prisons, and has put yet another dent in NDS's reputation at a time when the Afghan intelligence agency has never been more vulnerable. A key partner in the ongoing U.S. quest to contain transnational terrorism in South and Central Asia, NDS seems to have fallen on very hard times of late. Yet, few in Washington appear ready to confront the implications of NDS's downward spiral, a trend that seems to be accelerating as NATO marches toward the exit. 

Last week, in an unprecedented show of force at least half a dozen Taliban fighters charged the gates of NDS headquarters in central Kabul, set off a suicide truck bomb and nearly blasted their way straight into the central nervous system of the Afghan intelligence agency. Some 32 civilians and security personnel were injured, and at least one NDS officer was killed on the spot. The attack might have been a little less demoralizing, however, had it not been for another purported Taliban assault in Kabul only a month earlier on an alleged NDS safe house in central Kabul that severely wounded the agency's well-known chief, Asadullah Khalid. 

Both incidents beg a couple of questions that US, NATO and Afghan officials must all be asking themselves these days. First, just how safe is an Afghan intelligence agency safe house if a suicide bomber can gain entry and blow up the director of said intelligence agency? And, what do the latest assaults mean for NATO's transition out of the country? Like many things in Afghanistan, the answer is both simple and complex. 

In the "simple" column: Asadullah Khalid, the newly ordained head of Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security, probably has about as many enemies-personal and political-as he does friends. The December 6 attack on Khalid was the fifth in as many years. A two-time governor who served in the volatile and politically pivotal provinces of Kandahar and Ghazni, Khalid is a high roller with deep ties to mujahideen elites. His close associates run the gamut from hardcore Islamist conservative Afghan elites such as Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, a cagey Pashtun commander who trained 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, to Ahmed Wali Karzai, the late and legendary glad-handing southern brother of President Hamid Karzai. 

The Roar of ‘MARITIMIZATION’ – A Backdrop for BRIC NSA’s meet in DELHI

January 10, 2013 
India will head for socio-economic breakdown if Energy Security is not attended to, to exploit India’s own resources. Already we import 70 % of our needs when better technology and contracts of sharing can produce more oil, gas and clean coal needs from within India. …..Vikram Mehta Ex Shell 9th Jan …SUBBU FORUM AT IHC 

O’Neill CEO of Goldman Sachs predicts continued interest in China and not so much in India for BRIC NSAs to ponder in their meet in Delhi on 11th and 12th Jan. 

IDU posts the back drop of MARTIMIZATION challenges that should find discussions unless because of the “Elephant (China’s claims in S China Sea)in the Room” Dai Binggou , Host NSA India plays safe and does not raise it. India did not officially make a statement to support the ASEAN ‘Code of Conduct’ at the INDIA-ASEAN summit or Vietnam’s Dy PM’s offer to make India say it will tell China settle with ASEAN. India only supports freedom of navigation officially. All NSAs know that. 

NSA MenonChina officially spent US $ 91.6 bn on defence in 2012-13 of which 35 % was to beef up its naval strength. India’s defence budget is one third at US $ 33.6 bn and only 19 % for India’s Navy and Coast Guard and India has become the world’s No 1 defence importer, as manufacturing and FDI has not been encouraged . The future looks worse. China’s plans its sea power for ‘sea control’ in the South China Sea and even IOR in decades ahead to protect the world’s second largest economy nearing $ 8 Trill compared to USA’s $ 13 Trill GDP. 

Defence Minister of France Jean –Yes Le Drian has stated, “I do not have to remind you how important the sea is to our country. The world has shrunk and that this both a good thing and a risk. We must take this matter into consideration …..Protecting the freedom of the seas must be one of the concrete pillars of our defense strategy ”. France has riparian assets in the Indian Ocean(IOR). Maritime nations can take a leaf from his words as the refrain is, that in the future, resources for growing wealthier populations like China India and Brazil will be harvested from the seas by vessels with tools to mine nodules from the deep. China has areas in the IOR allotted for under sea exploration.. 

China, India, Russia and Brazil have ambitions to build and operate nuclear submarines and have large naval expansion plans at a time when the larger western navies are contemplating cuts. President of the European Commission Josse Manuel Barroso has made a strong case for a new direction and a new thinking for Europe in his 2012 State of the Union Speech, “ The sea is an opportunity for Europe to strengthen its position in the world”. French CNS Admiral Bernard Rogel refers to this as ‘Maritimization’ in the 21st century. India has large submarine building defence Biz with France and a mouth watering 126 Rafale Fighter contract with 429 MBDA missiles worth $ 12 bill is under prolonged discussion. The 2012-13 Defence budget is under Finance Minister’s chopping block to reduce deficit, so the contract may take time unless more sweeteners are offered. . 

NSA Meet ND 2013

French CNS Admiral Bernard Rogel and Brazilian CNS Admiral Julio Soares de Moura Neto have views on Maritimization. Rogel is clear that the challenges at sea will have a decisive effect on all nations’ economy, and for France it will be no different. The French Marine Nationale is going through a pivotal period in its history with many upgrades for ‘Maritimization’ the twin sister of ‘Globalization’. IDU adds that there is also ‘Informalization’ in the world with swift transfer of intelligence and data which brings about the need for cyber security. Speed in decision making is crucial. 

The Challenge Posed by China’s Military Posture in Tibet

By Brig. Vijai K Nair (Retd) 

Brig. Vijai K Nair (Retd). Dr. Nair an M Sc. in Defence Studies and a Ph. D. in Political Science. He specializes in Nuclear Strategy formulation and nuclear arms control negotiations. He has considerable experience on issues related to NPT, CTBT and FMCT. Dr. Nair is currently revising the nuclear strategy for India [in keeping with nuclear transience] suggested in his book “Nuclear India.” Besides two tenures of combat duty, in service experience includes being a Member Army Experts Committee - 1989-90; Core staff officer to the Committee on Defence Expenditure 1990.

He is the Life Trustee of the Forum for Strategic & Security Studies; and, Managing Director, Magoo Strategic Infotech Pvt Ltd. An information service providing daily news updates and analyses on “Nuclear Agenda’s”. 

  •  Development of Surface Communications in Tibet 
  •  Chinese Nuclear Capabilities Deployed In Central China 
  •  Chinese Nuclear Weapons By Type & Location.
  •  Chinese Assistance To Pakistan: Nuclear Field
  •  Map of Area for Diverting Water from Tsangpo 
China is in forceful occupation of approximately 38,000 square Kms of Indian territory in Akshai Chin in the West and claims a further 90,000 square Kms of Indian territories in the East, a claim that was reiterated with vehemence by Beijing as recently as June 1998. This territorial dispute resulted in the deployment of military forces, by both India and China, in direct confrontation along 3488 km of what is called the Line of Actual Control [LAC][i] in place of a mutually recognised international border between them. To add fuel to fire the alignment of the LAC is also disputed thereby causing considerable tensions between the two countries.

Despite having signed an Agreement on Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control [LAC] in 1993 Chinese incursions across the LAC continue to be a regular feature and have continued to date.[ii] If anything the frequency of these intrusions registered an upswing after the demise of Deng Xiaoping in February 1997 with exponential increments thereafter when India conducted nuclear tests in May 1998. “Chinese troops have crossed over into Indian territory over 500 times since January, 2010. But much more than the sheer number of these "transgressions" - the government refuses to call them "intrusions" - it's the increasingly aggressive behaviour of the 2.5-million-strong People's Liberation Army [PLA] along the LAC that remains a major worry.”[iii] The propensity of the Indian Government to sweep this aberration under the carpet cannot reduce the threat manifest in the fact that the PLA has: 
  • Intruded across the Western and Eastern extremities of the LAC on more than five hundred occasions in the last two years. 
  • Continued creating new defence works in areas earmarked to be resolved through the mechanisms of the so-called Agreement of Peace and Tranquility.[i]
  • Proceeds with comprehensively upgrading strategic communications – road, rail and air – to facilitate the logistics required to deploy massive military forces along the Sino-Indian border and to support these in time of war.[ii]
  • Creating a forward network of roads and mule tracks to facilitate tactical operations in the forward areas, which according to the Treaty are to be vacated by troops to reduce tensions. These include the Pangong Tso lake [Srijap] in Ladakh, Dibang district, Tawang division, Taksing and Maja areas in Arunachal Pradesh

US Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa

14 June 2012
Flags of the US Army Africa partner nations

This White Paper outlines the United States‘ current strategy toward Sub-Saharan Africa. It confirms that Washington is committed to building ties "grounded in mutual responsibility and mutual respect" and promoting government accountability and development throughout the region. 

By Barack Obama for The White House 

Nearly 3 years ago, I remarked in front of the Ghanaian Parliament that Africa is a fundamental part of our interconnected world. Since that time, we have partnered with leaders, youth, and civil society in Africa to deepen the principles of democracy and human rights, to expand economic opportunity, and to support those who seek peace where war and deprivation have plagued communities. Africa and its people are partners with America in creating the future we want for all of our children—a future that is grounded in growth, mutual responsibility, and mutual respect. 

As we look toward the future, it is clear that Africa is more important than ever to the security and prosperity of the international community, and to the United States in particular. Africa’s economies are among the fastest growing in the world, with technological change sweeping across the continent and offering tremendous opportunities in banking, medicine, politics, and business. At the same time, the burgeoning youth population in Africa is changing economies and political systems in profound ways. 

Addressing the opportunities and challenges in Africa requires a comprehensive U.S. policy that is proactive, forward-looking, and that balances our long-term interests with near-term imperatives. This U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa solidifies and advances many of the initiatives that we have launched since I took office in order to help achieve that balance, and elevates two efforts that will be critical to the future of Africa: strengthening democratic institutions and boosting broad-based economic growth, including through trade and investment. Strong, accountable, and democratic institutions, sustained by a deep commitment to the rule of law, generate greater prosperity and stability, and meet with greater success in mitigating conflict and ensuring security. Sustainable, inclusive economic growth is a key ingredient to security, political stability, and development, and it underpins efforts to alleviate poverty, creating the resources that will bolster opportunity and allow individuals to reach their full potential. 

Flyover Country

JANUARY 22, 2013

Why the United States can't just drone Algeria. 

During the four-day siege of the In Amenas gas field, which culminated in an opaque takeover by the Algerian military that reportedly killed dozens, several pundits and journalists asked why the U.S. military did not send drones or special operations forces to free the hostages or kill the Islamist militants holding them. One CNN anchor asked Mike Rogers, who chairs the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, "I'm curious as to your perceptions whether the U.S. is taking too much of a back seat." The following day, another CNN anchor seemed puzzled as to why Algeria would only permit the United States to fly unarmed drones over its territory, to which Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr noted: "The U.S. view is that the Algerians would have to grant permission for U.S. troops, U.S. military force, to go in there." 

CNN should not have been surprised. Neither the Bush nor Obama administrations received blanket permission to transit Algerian airspace with surveillance planes or drones; instead, they received authorization only on a case-by-case basis and with advance notice. According to journalist Craig Whitlock, the U.S. military relies on a fleet of civilian-looking unarmed aircraft to spy on suspected Islamist groups in North Africa, because they are less conspicuous -- and therefore less politically sensitive for host nations -- than drones. Moreover, even if the United States received flyover rights for armed drones, it has been unable to secure a base in southern Europe or northern Africa from which it would be permitted to conduct drone strikes; and presently, U.S. armed drones cannot be launched and recovered from naval platforms. 

According to Hollywood movies or television dramas, with its immense intelligence collection and military strike capabilities, the United States can locate, track, and kill anyone in the world. This misperception is continually reinvigorated by the White House's, the CIA's, and the Pentagon's close cooperation with movie and television studios. For example, several years before the CIA even started conducting non-battlefield drone strikes, it was recommending the tactic as a plotline in the short-lived (2001-2003) drama "The Agency." As the show's writer and producer later revealed: "The Hellfire missile thing, they suggested that. I didn't come up with this stuff. I think they were doing a public opinion poll by virtue of giving me some good ideas." Similarly, as of November there were at least ten movies about the Navy SEALs in production or in theaters, which included so much support from the Pentagon that one film even starred active-duty SEALs. 

With Eyes Wide Shut: The Continuing and Inexplicable Pursuit of Regime Change

January 23, 2013 

Just before he was overthrown, former Libyan ruler Gaddafi warned the West that his ouster would result in chaos and holy war overtakeing North Africa. His forebodings, now so accurate, were at that point in time dismissed by western governments as the ranting of a megalomaniac. It is now admitted that ‘Gaddafi’s overthrow broke all kinds of local ethnic, tribal and commercial bargains and power broking arrangements that we never understood.’1

Similar had been the warnings before President George W. Bush decided to intervene in Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein in 2003. Brent Scowcroft, National Security Advisor to the first President Bush, had warned in an article widely perceived to be written with the blessings of the elder Bush and published in the Wall Street Journal on 16 August 2002, that ‘an attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counter-terrorist campaign we have undertaken.’ George W. Bush did not pay heed to such sage advice, with horrendous consequences that all are too familiar now. The people of Iraq, in particular, are still paying a heavy price for that folly. 

What followed in Libya on the ouster and killing of Gaddafi was the inevitable outcome of lessons still unlearned. The fury of clan, ethnic and jihadi violence has been unleashed. The murder of US Ambassador Stevens has still not been solved nor have the perpetrators of that ghastly crime been apprehended. But what has happened is that the lid that Gaddafi kept on Libya’s various ethnic and tribal factions has been removed without a corresponding firm alternative. The borders of most North African states, once controlled by forceful authority, are now open and porous to assorted jihadis of different denominations, including al Qa’ida elements, which, together with criminal gangs, now terrorise the North African countryside. The cause was the spread of the madrasah, ‘built, staffed and indoctrinated by Saudi money and theology.’2 Added to this toxic mixture are the lethal weapons stolen by the jihadis from Gaddafi’s armouries which they are now using to threaten local communities. Meanwhile, the ineffective government put in place by the western powers looks on with utter helplessness. There is no administration, no army and no police force worth the name that the helpless government in Libya can seriously task for maintaining law and order. 

15 economies that will rule the world by 2050

January 23, 2013

Many of the world's top economic powers are now in a state of permanent decline, due to rising amounts of retirees, declining amounts of workers, and population disadvantages, according to Business Insider. 

And by 2050, they'll be replaced by fast rising emerging markets primed for growth due to high working age populations, it says. But which countries will be the major players? 

Let's take a look at some of the economic powerhouses by 2050. 

Source: Business Insider 


Size of Economy (Year 2000 dollars): $24.62 trillion 

Income per capita (Year 2000 dollars): $17.372 

Global rank: 1 

NOTE: The estimate of the size of the economy and per capita income here and subsequently is based on the dollar's exchange rate in year 2000 

U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition: Sanctions, Energy, Arms Control, and Regime Change

By Anthony H. Cordesman, Bryan Gold, Bradley Bosserman, and Sam Khazai 
Jan 22, 2013

As the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program continues without resolution, the US and EU have implemented new rounds of increasingly expansive and rigorous sanctions. Iran’s economy is reportedly suffering from high inflation, a devalued currency, unemployment, and high food costs. Sanctions have also begun to whittle away at Iran’s ability to sell its oil and repatriate earnings from the sales it has been able to complete. 

The Burke Chair in Strategy at CSIS has issued an updated report that puts this competition over sanctions in the broader perspective of its potential impact on global energy exports, arms control, and regional security concerns. This report is entitled, “US and Iranian Strategic Competition: Sanctions, Energy, Arms Control, and Regime Change.” It is available on the CSIS website at: 

The report provides an in-depth analysis of US and Iranian competition focusing on four interrelated areas - sanctions, energy, arms control, and regime change. It shows this competition has been steadily building since the fall of 2011, when the IAEA issued a new report on the possible military applications of Iran’s nuclear program. Iran has continued to issue threats to “close the Gulf,” and has stalled negotiations, spurring a renewed round of sanctions that have had an increasingly significant impact on Iran’s economy throughout 2012 and continuing into 2013. 

The report also shows this competition takes place at levels ranging from the bilateral to the multilateral, and encompasses the UN, EU, US, and IAEA. The patterns in this competition have become extremely complex; in practice the patterns of interaction between each form of competition have acquired a cyclical consistency that seems likely to go on indefinitely into the future. 

The US has applied a wide range of sanctions on Iranian banks; targeting Iranian companies involved in the nuclear, petrochemical, and oil industries, as well as non-Iranian companies that have invested or have been involved with Iran’s petrochemical industries, arms industries, transport, and precious metal trafficking. To further apply pressure on Iran, the US has led efforts to strengthen Southern Gulf military forces and deterrent capabilities. The EU has joined the US by sharply increasing its role in sanctioning Iran by imposing an embargo on Iranian petrochemical imports and banning European investment in Iran’s petrochemical industry, cutting Iran out of the international banking system, and banning insurance agreements and loans. 

Decoding Manmohan Singh’s red lines

Sanjaya Baru 

Despite political constraints, the Prime Minister has jealously guarded his turf on foreign policy and national security 

Many eyebrows were raised in Delhi and around the world when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asserted that “it cannot be business as usual” with Pakistan after the recent incident on the Line of Control (LoC). Merely because these remarks came after the National Security Adviser briefed Opposition leaders about the government’s approach to the issue, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha took credit for the Prime Minister’s tough stance, while welcoming it. That Dr. Singh adopted a more nuanced approach and not the sledge-hammer response that the Bharatiya Janata Party and hotheads in the media had sought has since become clear. 

‘Uncharacteristic’ toughness 

The many expressions of surprise, accompanied by gratuitous remarks about Dr. Singh’s ‘uncharacteristic’ toughness, ignore the fact that on vital national security and foreign policy issues, the Prime Minister has always drawn red lines and stuck to them. These red lines have been drawn both with respect to political parties and ministerial colleagues at home and foreign governments. When it comes to foreign policy, Dr. Singh has jealously guarded Prime Ministerial turf and defended the national interest. 

In India’s federal, parliamentary, cabinet form and now coalitional government system, foreign policy remains, as it always has been, the prerogative of the Prime Minister alone. Fully appreciative of the limits within which a Prime Minister could function in the kind of set-up that he had inherited, Dr. Singh was quick to draw red lines at home, as his first Foreign Minister, Natwar Singh, discovered early during his term in office. 

On occasions when Dr. Singh has had to yield space to his critics, both within and outside the government, he has either stooped to conquer or stepped back to once again sally forth. And, when he has been unable to achieve his objective with either strategy, Dr. Singh has imposed a cost on his critics and adversaries. He has, however, rarely given up pursuing a stated objective. One can give several examples in support of this assertion. 


India at the UN security council: a retrospect 
By Krishnan Srinivasan
22 Jan 2013

After a gap of two decades, India gained temporary membership of the United Nations security council for a two calendar-year term of 2011/12 in an election that was almost a grand slam triumph, joining at the famous horseshoe table other UN security council aspirants like Germany, Brazil, Nigeria and South Africa. But the Indian spokesman was the only one who exulted, saying that having stepped through the door, India would never leave again. This was obviously hyperbolic; having left the council at the end of 2012, an examination of the Indian profit and loss account is merited. 

The government’s view is that India’s membership bolstered its standing as a major global player and received all-round recognition. It took balanced positions on issues of international peace and security, and furthered progress towards security council reform. As chair of the counter-terrorism committee, India ensured that the link between the Taliban and al Qaida was maintained and raised benchmarks to counter terror and address concerns on maritime piracy. A council statement last November recognized for the first time the problem as a global one rather than region-specific and urged all states to cooperate to suppress piracy and release hostages, and constantly to review the piracy high risk area. India stressed the perspective of troop-contributing countries on peacekeeping mandates and the importance of consultations with those countries, rather than passing decisions based merely on discussions among the permanent five members. 

This view is to be given full weight, because our ambassador acts as an instrument of New Delhi’s directives, and if the government feels that India has concluded its term with its reputation enhanced, that is cause for satisfaction. However, the view from outside cannot be so sanguine. 

In spite of our membership pro tem of the UN security council and our claim to be there permanently, discussions still continue in many UN overlapping forums on the expansion of permanent and non-permanent members — the intergovernmental negotiations, the G-4 (Brazil, India, Germany, Japan) the L-69 (the ‘South’) and the African C-10. But the obstacles remain the same; each contender is strenuously opposed by other countries in its own region, the United States of America is indifferent, and China enjoys being the only Asian permanent member. No formula is available that can command consensus or even secure the required two-thirds majority at the UN general assembly and the support of all the five permanent members. Meanwhile, non-permanent candidates have been nominated from the regional groups till 2034, hardly a measure of confidence in any early outcome. 

When a flood of mass hysteria drowns sense

Author: Ashok K Mehta 
23 Jan 2013

Whatever may have been the motivation for the Pakistani Army's heinous act, it is the first time that a local incident has got blown out of proportion due to the beheading of an Indian jawan along the LoC 

An anonymous tweet from the Mendhar sector on the beheading of Lance Naik Hemraj Singh has resulted in unintended consequences with several firsts: A ceasefire violation of the Line of Control has joined the threshold-breaking red line of cross-border terrorism incidents like the attack on Parliament and the Mumbai assault; Chief of Army Staff Gen Bikram Singh was forced to visit the families of the two killed soldiers in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and acquiesce to the demands of one — return of Hemraj’s severed head and revenge in the same vein as Sushma Swaraj’s ‘ten heads for one’; a tactical error on the part of the ill-fated patrol might lead to the recognition of the martyred soldiers on Republic Day. 

Whatever may have been the motivation for the Pakistani Army’s heinous act, it is the first time that a local incident has got blown out of proportion due to the bestial act of beheading, disclosed by the tweet and its high octane reaction by the electronic media. Ambushed by the event, the Government’s response was shaped by the media-driven public opinion: Relocating the visiting Pakistan’s women’s cricket team; sending back their hockey players; cancelling of a show to stage Manto’s plays; and freezing the liberal visa regime. On its part, Pakistan pressed the pause button on the Rawlakot-Poonch trade exchange and called off the visit of Commerce Minister Amin Fahim, while offering ministerial level talks. 

A local incident spurred infinite righteous indignation and exchange of recrimination including Indian sermons on Geneva Convention, Torture statutes, civilised soldiering and human rights. It is public knowledge now that severing body parts as proof of revenge, manhood and war trophies has been practised by both sides since 1949 when the ceasefire line was established. It was left to a Pakistani commentator to point out last week during a television debate that an Indian writer had cited in Pakistan’s English daily Dawn that Indian soldiers had also indulged in decapitation. So taut was the network of nationalism that no Indian defence expert had the courage to admit the habit of tit- for-tat. At least in one incident in 2011, our media was persuaded to keep our losses under wraps, which prevented public outrage and heads from rolling. 

The power of the media in shaping public mood, the image of the establishment and its responses was best illustrated through the 1999 Kandahar hijack and the recent rape case. The Mendhar incident, now blown away, will become part of the 65th volume of violations of the notional lines of truce in Jammu & Kashmir. To avoid such incidents on November 26, 2003, as part of the Confidence Building Measures, former Pakistani President Gen Pervez Musharraf offered an olive branch in the run up to the historic agreement between him and then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in January 2004. 

Significance of military advice

Political leadership must give serious thought to it
By Gen V P Malik (retd) 
23 Jan 2013

The government’s reaction after the recent violation of a ceasefire agreement and barbaric behaviour of Pakistan Army personnel in the Mendhar sector has highlighted two inter-related issues: lack of security inputs in India’s Pakistan policy and the delayed reaction in handling sensitive incidents on the Line of Control or borders. 

India and Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire agreement along the Line of Control on November 26, 2003. A month and a half later, on January 6, 2004, Pakistan pledged that it will not allow its territory, including Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, to be used by terrorists to carry out activities against India. The ceasefire held without major incidents and there were not many violations till 2010. However, ceasefire violations since then have increased substantially. As compared to 57 in 2010, there were 117 violations in 2012.

Till date, Pakistan has taken no action to remove Kashmiri militants’ training camps and launch pads that exist across the Line of Control, alongside its regular army deployment. Generally, these violations are initiated by the Pakistani forces to facilitate terrorists’ infiltration across the Line of Control or the International Border. While Indian troops do retaliate in such situations to stop and deter intrusions, the rules of engagement do not allow them to cross the Line of Control. Despite a multi-pronged approach to contain infiltration, which included strengthening of border management and multi-tiered and multi-modal deployment along the Line of Control/International Border and infiltration routes, construction of border fencing, improved surveillance technology and weapons and equipment for deployed troops, over 235 Pakistan-based terrorists attempted to infiltrate in 2011. According to intelligence reports, 121 terrorists managed to infiltrate in 2012 as compared to 52 in 2011. This should also be linked to the recent increase in the terrorists’ activities and assassination of panches and sarpanches in J&K.

It is also well known that Pakistan has resiled from taking action against 26/11 perpetrators. The mastermind, Hafiz Sayeed, and his organisation, though banned by the UN and the US, continue to spew anti-India venom. 

Seizing the Moment


The world’s leading nations are convening a meeting on the fight against corruption. Here’s what they ought to be discussing. 

In 2010, the world's twenty most powerful nations formed an action plan to fight corruption. That was a welcome step, but it should be fairly obvious that just under three years later, the phenomenon of corruption remains alive and well. In mid-February the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group (WG) will meet again under the co-chairmanship of Russia and Canada in Moscow. But can it make any significant progress? 

The international community has already established some important measures against corruption, above all the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Anti-Bribery Convention and the United Nations Anti-Corruption Convention. Yet both have their limits. The former is too narrow (since it focuses only on the select club of the world's richest countries), while the latter is too broad (since it tries to include everyone, whether large or small). 

The WG, by contrast, offers a potential Goldilocks configuration. By combining the established industrial powers of the OECD with the rising new economies of the BRICs, the G20 brings together an auspicious combination of states. But there's a problem here, too: A number of the key member countries of the WG are deeply implicated in the "secrecy jurisdictions" where a large part of the proceeds of corruption are held. 

The United Kingdom is profoundly ambivalent about its dependencies in the Channel Islands and the Caribbean; Washington shows great indulgence toward the many U.S. corporations that park their funds offshore ( 19,000in the Cayman Islands alone); Russia's elites like to hold their funds in Cyprus; and China's newly-rich love to park their cash in the United States. 

Deconstructing Afghanistan

JANUARY 22, 2013

What would Jacques do? 

After more than a decade of nation-building in Afghanistan, with at best mixed results, perhaps it is time to take an opposite tack: "deconstructing" that sad land. This would entail some very bold policy shifts, beginning with a willingness to see our very "structures of thought come undone," as Jacques Derrida, the great philosopher of deconstruction, once described the first step in the process. In practical terms, this would mean challenging the guiding notion of democratization that has, thus far, cost us and our allies several thousand casualties and about a trillion dollars -- to little effect. 

The key to deconstruction is to search out the inherent contradiction that lies at the heart of virtually every strong belief. As another leading theorist of deconstruction, Paul de Man, once put the matter, the central task is to "undo assertions...by means of their very own elements." For example, Derrida thought deeply about Ernest Hemingway's conclusion, in his Death in the Afternoon, that bullfighting is the ultimate sport. Derrida then formulated a key question, "How often does the bull win?" He concluded that any sport in which one side lost almost every time -- for centuries -- was no sport at all. 

It doesn't take too much reflection to see that beliefs about Afghanistan fit the deconstructionist pattern of being "undone by their very own elements." Starting from the beginning, there is the belief that Afghanistan is an isolated land filled with xenophobic people. Yet from ancient times, this "land of the high flags," as Zoroaster labeled it, was a crossroads of rich commerce, its peoples drawn from an admixture of Aryans, Chinese, Indians, and Mongols -- among others. 

Another long-held belief, that Afghanistan is the "graveyard of empires," has been misleading from the beginning. Alexander the Great conquered Afghanistan with a relative handful of troops, and the Greeks stayed for a few centuries. Indeed, "Kandahar" is but a variant of "Alexander." And for many centuries after the adventurous Greeks, outsiders often ruled for long periods. The remarkable work of Boston University anthropologist Thomas Barfield makes quite clear that difficulty in exerting external control over Afghanistan is, in historical terms, a quite recent phenomenon. 

Razakars must now pay for their sins

By Mayuri Mukherjee
23 Jan 2013 

The International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh has sentenced to death one person for his role in the genocide of Bengalis preceding the 1971 war 

More than 41 years after he and his team of razakars went on the rampage — looting, abducting, torturing, raping and killing members largely of the Hindu minority community of what was then East Pakistan, Abdul Kalam Azad's murderous past has finally caught up with him. This past Monday the 66-year-old former leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami was sentenced to death by the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh, which convicted him of committing crimes against humanity. 

Set up almost three years ago, the Tribunal has been trying those responsible for the genocide of Bengalis that preceded the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, and the verdict against Abdul Kalam Azad is the first that it has delivered, marking a defining moment in the history of Bangladesh. The verdict is a huge victory for the Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League Government which initiated the legal proceedings. Even though critics of the Tribunal say that it does not meet all the international standards of jurisprudence, the panel still has tremendous popular support in Bangladesh. Also, the verdict against Azad puts the Bangladesh National Party-led Opposition in a spot, given its long time alliance with the Jamaatis. 

Azad, better known as Bacchu Razakar, was a junior leader of the student wing of the Jamaat in 1971 and a member of the Razakar Bahini — the auxiliary para-militia that was raised by the Pakistani Army and its Islamist allies to eliminate the Bengali nationalist resistance movement. For the past four decades, the people of Bangladesh have sought justice for the unspeakable atrocities perpetrated by the razakars and their Pakistani patrons in uniforms in the nine long months between March and December of 1971 when they killed more than three million Bengalis even as millions more fled to their homes to seek refuge primarily in the Indian State of West Bengal. In some ways then, this landmark verdict against Bacchu Razakar helps an entire nation take a step towards closure. 

It might still be a while, though, before this razakar is actually, if ever, hanged by the neck, as ordered by the Tribunal, for the former Jamaati-turned-television evangelist is absconding. He went underground hours before the Tribunal issued an arrest warrant against him in April 2012, and it is widely believed that he is hiding in the port city of Karachi in Pakistan. Nonetheless, there is ample reason to hope that this first verdict will lay the ground for more such landmark judgements as several others continue to stand trial for the heinous crimes they committed in 1971. 


JANUARY 22, 2013

Our international relations experts are divided on how to deal with Pakistan, with a section always advocating moderation in reaction to Pakistani provocations and others favouring more robust responses to Pakistani belligerence. This lack of consensus makes our Pakistan policy look vacillating and irresolute.

It is easy to wear the mantle of moderation as the accompanying vocabulary of peace, engagement, dialogue and restraint sounds mature and wise. Those wanting firmer treatment of Pakistan slip into talk of retaliation, force, reprisal, imposing costs, which sounds aggressive and war-like. Public opinion on the whole is more indulgent towards "doves" even when their judgments are skewed than towards "hawks" even when their views are sounder. Dovish views are less unsettling than hawkish ones in a country that still lacks self-confidence and is more comfortable with caution than with risk-taking even when provoked.


The complexity of our problems with Pakistan would justify a degree of prudence in our reactions. What is less justified is our posture of helplessness. We say meekly that we have no choice but to have a dialogue with Pakistan. Some on our side actually advocate "an uninterrupted and uninterruptible" dialogue. Such thinking is pernicious for our interests but serves those of Pakistan, which is why its foreign minister has made this catchy phraseology her own. She has thrown it in our face while berating us for creating tensions over the recent beheading incident. She is hoisting us with our own petard!

We were against negotiations with Pakistan with the gun of terrorism pointed at our head. We therefore linked resumption of dialogue with Pakistan’s commitment to end terrorism. Politically cornered when Pakistan failed to honour its commitment, instead of interrupting the dialogue we gave ourselves a way out by agreeing that both countries were victims of terrorism, which implied that terrorist incidents in India were the handiwork of non-state actors with no official connivance. Later, we formally delinked dialogue and terrorism and continued our parleys with Pakistan despite a spate of terrorist attacks, until the enormity of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks made such a position politically untenable. After a short interregnum we again resumed the dialogue because our decision-makers have convinced themselves that a "no-dialogue option" is not available to us.

Pakistan’s doublespeak

By B G Verghese
Jan 23, 2013

Setback to relations: The current impasse in Pakistan has witnessed the judiciary or its loose-cannon chief justice, taking on the government. 

The hubbub over the recent cross-LoC firings appears to be subsiding following some deft handling by the Government of India in the face of an ill-considered clamour for immediate retaliation. There are two national versions of what triggered the action.

There is substance in Delhi’s view that Pakistan once again resorted to covering fire to aid cross-border jihadi infiltration into J&K. 

Be that as it may, the fact is that two patrolling jawans were killed on the Indian side of the LoC by Pakistan fire and left mutilated, with one corpse beheaded. This is utterly barbaric conduct and violative of the rules of war and the Geneva Convention. It is the bland refusal by Pakistan to acknowledge and investigate this outrage that inflamed Indian opinion, with strong demands for a retaliatory strike.

Strong Indian army evidence failed to evoke a credible response, with Islamabad offering a UN Military Observer Group investigation before being compelled to conduct bilateral Brigadier-level and then DGMO-leveltalks. The UN Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan was rendered effete by the Simla Agreement in 1972. 

Thereby Pakistan agreed to deal with all future J&K matters on a bilateral basis and to convert the ceasefire line into a Line of Control (LoC), thus moving from a military to a political line in a progression leading to its future acceptance as a settled boundary within J&K. This was not a unilateral imposition by a victorious Indian army, following the liberation of Bangladesh and cessation of hostilities, but a treaty signed by the two prime ministers, Indira Gandhi and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

Pakistan’s trump card has been to ask how its troops or jihadis could cut through India’s electrified barbed wire fence along the LoC and then penetrate further into Indian territory to ambush Indian patrols and plant the Pak ordnance factory mines found buried there. The answer is that both sides are mutually bound by CFL-LoC protocols to refrain from constructing any structures or defences within 500 m of the LoC. Why this simple explanation was not made widely known once again betrays a continuing communications failure on India’s part. 

The latest LoC spat also saw Pakistan bluster as usual when caught with its hand in the till and, when cornered, cynically plead that it would be best to forget the past and move on. The ISI’s sponsorship of separatist militancy and cross-border jihadi terrorism in J&K is no secret. That this trend saw a rise in 2012 betrays the growing dichotomy between those in Pakistan who feel that the only way to prevent the country from self-destruction is to come to terms with India, hitherto seen as a permanent enemy, and others who think that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 could see a turnaround in favour of jihadi warriors out to punish India. The Pakistan establishment seems split on this issue and hence the many contrary voices and doublespeak emanating from Islamabad. 

Sectarian violence

The current impasse in Pakistan has witnessed the judiciary, or a loose-cannon chief justice, taking on the government with the backing of the mullahs, including a new cleric, Qadri, and the army. This speaks of a nation at war with itself, with sectarian violence reaching new heights of bigotry as shias are routinely slaughtered.

Pakistan-Afghanistan-Turkey Trilateral Summit: Modest Outcome

By Monish Gulati 
22 Jan 2013 

Abdullah Gül, President of Turkey, Hamid Karzai the President of Afghanistan, and Asif Ali Zardari, the President of Pakistan, held their seventh Trilateral Summit Meeting in Ankara on 11 and 12 December 2012. The meeting took this high level dialogue, security cooperation and economic development partnership between the three countries, under the ‘Trilateral Ankara Summit Process’, into its seventh year. The trilateral process was launched in April 2007 and subsequent trilateral summits have been hosted by Turkey in December 2008, April 2009, January 2010, December 2010 and November 2011. 

Turkey, besides having close cultural relations with the two countries is also a part of the US-led NATO force in Afghanistan and has sought to raise its international standing in recent years by playing host to a series of high-level diplomatic events in the region. The country was even considered as a possible location for the Taliban political office but the Taliban preferred Qatar instead. President Abdullah Gul in a speech at the inauguration of the 63rd U.N. General Assembly had sought support for Turkey's candidature for a non-permanent seat at the U.N. Security Council saying "Turkey has not been represented at the Council for nearly half a century”. 

The Joint Statement adopted at the conclusion of the seventh trilateral summit recognized the importance of the efforts of the High Peace Council of Afghanistan and its chairman Mr. Salahuddin Rabbani in bringing peace to Afghanistan, appreciated the progress achieved in the Istanbul Process for a secure and stable Afghanistan and reaffirmed their commitment to the decisions of the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA-V) held in Dushanbe on 27 March 2012, the Regional Conference on Countering Narcotics held in Islamabad on 12 November 2012 and the Economic Cooperation Organization held on 16 October 2012 in Baku.

The three leaders also expressed their support for the Istanbul Forum mechanism, which comprises of the apex organizations of the private sectors of the three countries, and is a part of the trilateral summit process. The trilateral summit identified the need to improve cooperation in border management in order to address all cross-border challenges, including terrorism, narcotics and human trafficking, Malala Yusufzai, too found a mention and was wished a speedy recovery. Incidentally, President Zardari arrived at Ankara for the trilateral summit from Paris where he pledged $10m (£8m) for girls' education at a "Stand Up For Malala" advocacy event at the Paris headquarters of UNESCO in the name of Malala . 

A hotline, operational since 09 Dec 2012, has also been established to facilitate communication among the presidents of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey "in times of crisis". 

Top Afghanistan General Cleared in Email Ethics Probe

22 Jan 2013

Gen. John Allen, left, commander of the U.S.-NATO war in Afghanistan, during a March visit to Helmand Province. Photo: Flickr/ISAF

The commander of the Afghanistan war didn’t have sex with or engage in any otherwise inappropriate behavior with a Tampa socialite, according to the Pentagon’s inspector general. This is how the bizarre downfall of ex-CIA Director David Petraeus winds to a conclusion. 

Marine Gen. John Allen’s career has been upended for the past two months after the FBI gave the Pentagon a large volume of email between Allen and Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, the initial recipient of harassing, anonymous emails from Petraeus’ mistress, Paula Broadwell. Pentagon officials initially characterized those emails as “flirtatious,” rather than evidence of an affair. Yet the Pentagon inspector general began combing through them to make sure the married general didn’t engage in an affair that would have violated military law. 

Spoiler: He didn’t, as first reported by Rajiv Chandrasekaran of the Washington Post. “The Secretary was pleased to learn that allegations of professional misconduct were not substantiated by the investigation,” George Little, top spokesman for Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, stated late Tuesday afternoon. “The Secretary has complete confidence in the continued leadership of General Allen, who is serving with distinction in Afghanistan.” 

But Allen might not be out of the woods yet. President Obama nominated Allen to become the next NATO commander in October, and the Pentagon review of his emails prompted Panetta to ask the Senate to put that nomination on hold. Little’s statement didn’t mention if the NATO job is still in the cards for Allen, and Pentagon officials didn’t respond to requests for clarification. The New York Times quoted an anonymous official saying “The final decision has not yet been made on General Allen’s nomination.” 

Firing Generals

To paraphrase Shakespeare: “The first thing we do, let’s fire all the generals.” 

This is the basic prescription of military journalist and writer Tom Ricks, who, in his new book, The Generals, blames our lack of success in Iraq and Afghanistan on the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s and our political leaders’ having lost the ability or willingness to fire failing generals. Unfortunately, many commentators are accepting this formula as true without asking some hard questions, such as: When and for what reasons should a general be fired? Should the Continental Congress, for instance, have sent George Washington into an early retirement after his dismal performance defending New York City? Should Lincoln have cashiered Grant after his less-than-stellar performance at Shiloh, or possibly a bit later, when he wasted six months flailing about in failed attempts to approach Vicksburg? Was General Lee ready for the scrap heap after his early failures in what is now West Virginia? 

What about in the 20th century? Should President Wilson have called Pershing home, after he sat idle for over a year before getting into the fight and then, at the start of the great Meuse-Argonne offensive, saw his army mauled and stopped in its tracks? Should Roosevelt or the Joint Chiefs have fired Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher after he delivered so-so results at the Battle of the Coral Sea, and in the process lost one of our three precious carriers and had a second crippled? Of course, if Fletcher had been fired, he would not have been present at Midway, where he smashed the Japanese fleet and changed the course of the war. 

And just how should the president, the secretary of defense, or the Joint Chiefs de exactly whom to fire? After the World War II debacle at the Kasserine Pass, a corps commander, General Lloyd Fredenall, was fired. But the Army chief of staff, General George Marshall, could just as easily have found cause to fire Fredenall’s boss — General Eisenhower. I will spare you the list of superiors who could just as easily have been held responsible for setbacks as their fired subordinates. Suffice it to say, it is a long one, and populated with the names of some of our most famous commanders. 

Anyone reading Ricks’s previous bestselling book, Fiasco, would surely have walked away believing General Raymond Odierno was a failure. That was certainly Ricks’s assessment then. But two years later, when he published The Gamble, Odierno was apparently transformed and even Ricks was forced to admit that he is one of the heroes in the book. In truth, I believe whatever success we had in Iraq is directly attributable to Odierno’s leadership, and he continues to serve today as the Army chief of staff. We can, therefore, count ourselves lucky that, during our hardest moments in Iraq, Ricks was not responsible for picking which generals should be cashiered. 

So what explains the large number of reliefs in earlier wars and their paucity in the past decade of conflict? Mainly, it is a matter of the huge mobilizations required for those earlier wars. During America’s great wars in the 19th and 20th centuries, we created huge armies out of almost nothing. To lead these massed armies, thousands of officers who had never commanded more than a small rifle company were suddenly propelled to the pinnacles of power. Some succeeded brilliantly, typically only after they had endured initial failures. Others were relieved at the first sign of failing. In all likelihood, many of those reliefs were fully deserved. In other cases, one wonders if the nation lost the services of some great commanders because we were too quick to pull the trigger and send some fine officers packing. General William T. Sherman, for instance, was relieved from command early in the Civil War. Only Grant’s intervention pulled him out of obscurity and set him back on the path to proving his worth and his genius for war. Regardless, when you suddenly promote hundreds or thousands of officers far ahead of their current positions, large numbers of them will fail.