30 January 2013

Journal of Defence Studies, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2013

30 Jan 2013

This issue includes a wide-ranging selection of articles on China's A2AD concept, naval aviation, operations analysis, quality assurance in procurements, nuclear terrorism, SIMI and challenges for the Indian Air Force in view of its approaching centenary. It also includes a perspective on instability in Pakistan.

-- Deepak Kapoor
-- Kamlesh K. Agnihotri

-- Rikeesh Sharma

-- Arnab Das

-- Vivek Kapur

-- Mayank S. Bubna

-- Mahendra Prasad

India's Role in Afghanistan

29 Jan 2013

After over a decade of conflict, the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is still engaged in a war on terror in Afghanistan. While the preparations for the final withdrawal by 2014 are proceeding apace, there are indications that the US would maintain some forces in Afghanistan even after the final withdrawal. Although no figure has yet been fixed, there is talk of three possible options – low, medium or high levels of troops (ranging from 3,000 to 15,000 including even a zero troop option as per one report) to be retained. However, there are no clear indications about the governmental set-up in Kabul post-2014.

Pakistan has always nurtured a pliant regime in Afghanistan so as to use it as ‘strategic depth’ against India. It has been consistently following its time-tested duality of policy of selectively supporting the US / NATO ‘War on Terror’ (to get massive financial and arms aid) while also supporting/ sheltering terrorist groups so as to be used for its own purpose whenever required. While the US is now cognizant of Pakistani duplicity, its dependence on Pakistan for logistic support to its conflict in Afghanistan will force it to play along with Pakistan. After unsuccessful attempts by the US to negotiate directly with Taliban, it appears, the US and UK have now encouraged a dialogue between Afghanistan, Taliban and Pakistan to negotiate a peaceful arrangement for Kabul post-2014. This means playing in to the hands of Pakistan with the eventual possibility of Pakistan installing the Taliban and/ or other terrorist groups in Kabul.

Likely Situation Post-2014

The entire Af-Pak region is presently in turmoil. If all goes well, some sort of a government (either Karzai-led as at present or a coalition with various Afghan groups) would be in power in Kabul. With the promised international financial, security and developmental assistance, Afghanistan could continue its rebuilding to occupy an honourable place in the comity of nations. But with Pakistan’s machinations, Afghanistan may well revert to the dark days of pre-2001 to be ruled by Taliban or a conglomeration of terrorist outfits. Pakistan has been using various terrorist groups for its own ends. Some of these groups like the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have been carrying out suicide attacks on Pakistani security posts and personnel. It is not going to be easy for Pakistan to control these terrorists. With the general election due in May 2013 and the recent rise of Canadian passport-holder religious leader Qadri, political atmosphere has already started heating up in Pakistan. India has to be prepared for the worst as Pakistan has a history of resorting to anti-India rhetoric as well as increase terrorist infiltration into India to divert attention from its internal turmoil.

Indo–Pakistani Tension: Pakistan Should Crack Down on Militant Infiltration

January 25, 2013 

India and Pakistan are heating up along the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Kashmir. A series of border incidents in early January left three Pakistani and two Indian soldiers dead. One of the Indian soldiers was beheaded and another severely mutilated, provoking Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to say that India’s ties with Pakistan would not be “business as usual” until those responsible for the mutilation of the bodies were punished. 
While the U.S. needs to urge restraint on both sides to prevent escalation between the nuclear-armed neighbors, the onus is on Pakistan to demonstrate that it is cracking down on militants on its side of the border. The U.S. should pay close attention to developments along the Indo–Pakistani border in order to help prevent a breakout of hostilities, but it should resist any temptation to try to directly mediate between the historical foes. 


Media reporting indicates that a Pakistani soldier was killed in a cross-border exchange between the Indian and Pakistani militaries on January 6. The Indian side claims that it was seeking to thwart an infiltration bid by Pakistan-based militants. On January 8, in another sector of the LoC, two Indian soldiers on routine patrol duty were killed and their bodies brutally mutilated. One week later, the Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of both countries held a brief phone discussion in which they agreed to strictly observe the cease-fire between the two countries that was established in 2003. 

The latest spark in tensions follows reporting from India that militant infiltration and cease-fire violations from Pakistan rose in 2012. The Pakistani army regularly provides covering fire for militants to help them cross the frontier into India. The details of this month’s border incidents are still murky, but India’s response shows that its patience with Islamabad is wearing thin. Indian army leaders are likely growing weary of the Indian government’s policy of forbearance toward Pakistan in the face of what they view as increasingly provocative actions by the Pakistani army. 

China Awards More Shale Gas Blocks although Much Remains to be Seen

By Jane Nakano, Ksenia Kushkina 
Jan 29, 2013 

China has been increasingly focused on the production and use of natural gas as a key way of diversifying its energy sources and addressing growing environmental concerns. While demand continues to outpace supply, China’s annual domestic natural gas production more than tripled to 3.34 trillion cubic feet (tcf) within the first decade of this century. Under the current Five-Year Plan for Natural Gas Development, China hopes to establish a natural gas supply capacity of 9.18 tcf and a consumption level of 8.12 tcf by 2015. As reflected in the Natural Gas Usage Policies, released in October 2012, the country also intends to promote natural gas use in the power and transport sectors, as well as including unconventional gas resources like shale gas and coal-bed methane in the scope of its natural gas strategy. 

China, which already imports piped gas and liquefied natural gas, is in the midst of determining the economic potential of its vast shale gas resources, which the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has estimated to be 1,275 tcf. According to the Shale Gas Development Plan (2011-2015), released in March 2012, China targets shale gas production levels of 229.55 billion cubic feet (bcf) per year by 2015, and 2.12-3.53 tcf per year by 2020, which is equivalent to the entire volume of natural gas that the country produces today. 

Against this background, China offered 20 shale gas blocks spanning 7,811 square miles (20,239 square kilometers) across eight provinces last fall, mostly in central China, to companies with registered capital of at least $47 million, existing exploration and production licenses, as well as a good financial standing. The auction, which ran from September 10 to October 25, saw 16 of the 83 participating entities win acreage in 19 blocks (one block did not receive sufficient bids and was cancelled). While the auction is an important step forward, many questions remain about the future contributions of shale gas, including technology access, production characteristics, and pricing. 

Syria, Mali, Algerian gas-works and ‘Open Source Everything’

By Rob Dover 
29 January 2013

Read any government security document, any of the national security strategies produced by a now large number of states and you will get a feel for the proliferation in the number of threats they feel they face. The preamble will normally contain a paragraph explaining that after the Cold War or after 9/11 everything got a little more complex, a little less explicable. 

Heightened complexity in the international system appears to have coincided (and is only partially causally linked) to the increased levels of activity/ improvements in technology, social media etc. The rate at which information can be collected has increased, even if the sort of information being collected is broadly the same. 

The problem of accounting for events like the Algerian gas-plant siege a few weeks ago (or the development of the insurgency in Syria, or in the hijacking of the state in Mali) for state-based security organisations is that their resources allocated in such a way that it logical for them to be looking the wrong way when this happens. It would be unlikely – although we can’t be sure, obviously – that there’s a bod in every security community across Europe pondering the safety of gas-plants in the ME and Maghreb. So, when this happens the information required to rapidly come down the pipe needs to be hastily scoped and drawn in. And this got me thinking about Robert Steele’s ‘open source everything’ manifesto (I declare the interest that Robert has written a chapter for the Routledge Handbook on Intelligence that I, Mike Goodman and Claudia Hillebrand have compiled and which will be in a good bookshops from August, and that he and I have corresponded at length about these issues), and how it could be used or applied in these circumstances. I have my own take on this, and I’ve provided the link above to the source: Robert also has a good search on his name I think so I’d guess he’ll correct me in comments too! But my wonder is more in the aggregation of huge quantities of information. 

If we assumed that insurgents or terrorists leave an electronic detritus of chatter (be it closed loop phone or some other form), movement data, financial data, and the chatter of their associates, family etc and local media reports etc etc, then the actual ‘intelligence’ required to identify, contain and roll-back a threat or ‘black-swan’ event should be there, right? No-one – it seems – can totally avoid leaving the sort of trail that could be used in anticipating an event, so the issue is in collecting the data in a way that makes sense, and making predictions on it (lenses through which we understand the world). And that made me wonder about how one could translate this kind of regional or localised intelligence into a western European perspective: does it need expert ciphers to do so? Or can it be done with generalists? This fits into one of my side projects, which is thinking through how to make better use of scholarship in the ‘real world’. Would a more open source arrangement provide the sort of information to be better resilient to these black-swan events? This is not to say that the current arrangements are ‘bad’ or ‘failed’, but just like in defence it seems that there’s a constant circle to be squared of ‘more’, ‘more diverse’ and with relatively static methods or money. 

The Significance of 2020 in the Sino-Indian Context

By Mandip Singh
January 2013

Volume: 7
Issue: 1

The article looks at the implications of Hu Jintao’s speech at the 18th Party Congress regarding the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) military modernization programme and analyses the significance of 2020 as a key timeline in the speech. Drawing from the previous biennial National Defense papers and significant statements of the Chinese leadership, it assesses the modernization plan of the PLA’s four services in the Sino- Indian context and the probable capabilities that each service is likely will develop by 2020. The analysis covers the training, education, logistics and development of weapons and equipment by the PLA. This would enable Indian planners to assess the PLA capabilities and capacity as also temper own modernization plans to deter a possible China threat by 2020.

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Leveraging Technology Innovation to Solve Development Challenges: A Cast Study from HP

A Chevron Forum Case Study 

Jan 29, 2013 
Gains in science and technology have a tremendous impact on advancing living standards and are increasingly recognized as vital components of development efforts. Tapping into the transformative capabilities of new technologies and applying them to solve traditional challenges in health, education, and agriculture has the potential to unleash economic growth and trigger leaps in global development. The public and private sectors alike are increasing their efforts to promote and leverage science, technology, and innovation to create social and economic value.


Even After Lackland Scandal, Military Still Isn’t Fixing Its Sexual Abuse Epidemic

30 Jan 2013

Air Force trainees march to graduation at Lackland Air Force Base on April 24, 2009. Photo: Air Force

The Pentagon has talked a lot about putting a stop to sexual abuse and harassment in the military, including abuse carried out by general officers. Yet a new report from the investigative arm of Congress finds it’s mostly that — talk. It catalogs how the military still hasn’t fixed a host of systemic obstacles that contribute to sexual assault and make it less likely for survivors to get help. 

According to a report released Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), while the Pentagon has made some progress in recent years at trying to stop sexual abuse, treatment isn’t always available. Medical first-responders are undertrained and not always aware of services available for survivors. Perhaps worse, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs — which oversees the military’s health resources — hasn’t “established guidance,” required by the Pentagon, “for the treatment of injuries stemming from sexual assault.” 

Among those guidelines: standardizing procedures for collecting evidence; providing specialized medical care; and, perhaps most alarming, keeping the identities of survivors private. Instead, sexual assault survivors within the military have to navigate a hodge-podge of different standards between branches — even at individual bases. “These inconsistencies,” the report states, can “erode servicemembers’ confidence. As a consequence, sexual assault victims who want to keep their case confidential may be reluctant to seek medical care.” 

Spec Ops Chief Says Elite Troops Will ‘Probably Not’ Skip a Generation of Tech


Adm. William McRaven, left, during the August 2011 ceremony for his assumption of command of the U.S. Special Operations Command. Photo: U.S. Army Special Operations Command
Next to their ability to kill people, advanced technology is one of the calling cards of special operations forces. But their top commander doubts their ability to skip an emerging generation of technology in favor of an even wilder future.

“In this budget right now, probably not,” Adm. William McRaven, the head of U.S. Special Operations Command, told a special operations confab in Washington on Tuesday morning, in response to a question from Danger Room. Keeping the technological edge that defines “SOF” may likely depend on the unexpected, unanticipated gear that defense tech companies present to McRaven’s forces. 

“I’d like to say everything is requirements-driven, that we determine a requirement and therefore we go, OK now we’ve got to build towards that and that’s what it should look like,” McRaven said. “A lot of times someone shows up with the iPhone and says, ‘How would you like one of these,’ and you go, ‘I never thought of that.’… If industry brings us an opportunity to leap over the next generation we will absolutely take advantage of it.” 

The mission that arguably defines McRaven’s career offered a rare peek into the advanced technologies that special operations forces employ. Raiding the Abbottabad compound that housed Osama bin Laden didn’t just depend on SEALs that trained for the raid through countless night raids in Afghanistan. It also depended on quiet, stealth helicopters to insert and remove them the compound without detection by Pakistani air defense — something very few outside the spec-ops community knew were even developed. Before the raid, a powerful and super-secret stealth drone, the RQ-170 Sentinel, repeatedly swooped in and hovered over the compound to gather intelligence on it. 

Women in Ground Combat

By  Bing West 
January 28, 2013

 How did it happen? And what will it do to the military? 

Two decades ago, the Commandant of the Marine Corps declared that women serving in the infantry “would destroy the Marine Corps.” General Robert Barrow explained that, “in three wars World War II, Korea and Vietnam I found no place for women to be down in the ground combat element.” He cited the 1950 fighting retreat from the Chosin Reservoir in temperatures of minus 20 degrees, with one Marine division pitted against eight Chinese divisions. Had women comprised 15 percent of his division, Barrow concluded, the Marines would have lost the battle. 

“The very nature of women disqualifies them from doing it (killing so brutally),” Barrow said. “Women give life sustain life, nurture life; they don’t take it.” 

To Barrow, a warrior admired by three generations of grunts, ground combat meant killing under the harshest of circumstances. Barrow opposed the incorporation of women into infantry units characterized by primal instincts: sleeping, defecating, eating and smelling like wolf packs while hunting down and slaughtering male soldiers. 

Now the military has decided to open up ground combat billets to females. “If they can meet the qualifications for the job,” Secretary of Defense Panetta said, “then they should have the right to serve.” 

The Marine Corps has proudly fought our country’s battles for 247 years. Yet in the course of a mere twenty years it has pivoted from General Barrow’s firm belief that women were disqualified by reason of gender to insisting that qualifications have nothing to do with gender. How could the Marine Corps—and the Army—pivot so fundamentally in so short a time? Why was this “the right thing to do”? When did the right of the individual take precedence over the duty to provide for the common defense? 

There are two alternative explanations: the “true believer” and the “politician.” Our generals may truly believe that women are genuinely qualified in substantial numbers—say, 5–15 percent of the combat arms billets. Although the Chiefs have said they will not relax standards, they have bound themselves to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Having declared that women are capable of serving in the infantry, they must now deliver on that promise. 

Locked in U.N. files, 15 years of bloodletting at LoC

By Praveen Swami

January 30, 2013

Complaints by Pakistan of executions, beheadings in secret cross-border raids by Indian forces 

In classified protests to a United Nations watchdog that have never been disclosed till now, Pakistan has accused Indian soldiers of involvement in the torture and decapitation of at least 12 Pakistani soldiers in cross-Line of Control raids since 1998, as well as the massacre of 29 civilians. 

The allegations, laid out in confidential Pakistani complaints to the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), suggest that Indian and Pakistani troops stationed on the Line of Control remain locked in a pattern of murderous violence, despite the ceasefire both armies entered into in November 2003. Earlier this month, bilateral relations were severely damaged after a series of LoC skirmishes, which culminated in the beheading and mutilation of two Indian soldiers Lance-Naik Hemraj Singh and Lance-Naik Sudhakar Singh. 

The Ministry of Defence did not respond to an e-mail from The Hindu, seeking comment on the alleged decapitation of Pakistani civilians and troops reported to UNMOGIP. However, a military spokesperson said the issue had “not been raised by Pakistan in communications between the two Directors-General of Military Operations.” 

The Ministry of External Affairs also said the UNMOGIP complaints had not been raised in diplomatic exchanges between the two countries. 

Rescue the farmer from agriculture

By Aruna Urs
January 25, 2013

The current model of agriculture is unsustainable and grievous for the Indian farmer. 

How important is Agriculture to the Indian economy? Not much if one measures by the contribution of the to gross domestic product, which has steadily been decreasing. After two decades of pursuing new economic policies, the contribution from agriculture and its allied sectors has fallen from one-third in 1990 to less than 15 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011-12. The downward momentum is set to continue, the farm sector is in near stagnation while the other sectors of the economy are set to grow larger. 

The worrying fact, however, is that the agricultural sector continues to employ more than half of the working population. The 66th National Sample Survey reveals that agriculture still employs about 52 percent of our total workforce. Therein lies the rub. About 52 percent of the working population is employed in a sector that represents just one-seventh of our economy and it is struggling to break the three percent growth ceiling. Any meaningful effort to put India’s growth rate into a higher trajectory should look at ways to increase the growth rate of the farm sector. The way for India to become a middle-income country runs through its farms. 

According to the State of Indian Agriculture 2011-12 report, the average size of farm holdings was 1.23 hectares in 2005-06. It has diminished progressively from 2.28 hectares in 1970-71 to 1.55 hectares in 1990-91. About 83 percent of farm holdings were with the small and marginal farmers (area less than 2 hectares), with marginal farmers (area less than 1 hectare) making the bulk of it – 64.8 percent. 

Living together, separately

January 30, 2013
Ramachandra Guha

Advocates of smaller states have a robust case. India should look for further reorganisation as it no longer needs to fear about the country’s unity 

I recently came across some fascinating news reports, dating from the year 1914, on the then growing demand for a separate state for Telugu speakers. In towns such as Guntur, Nellore and Vijayawada (known at the time as Bezwada), many meetings were held, asking for a separation of Telugu-speaking districts from Madras Presidency, with areas from the Nizam’s Dominions being added on later when conditions permitted. 

Tamils on Telugus 

The Tamil intelligentsia did not take kindly to this movement for an ‘Andhra desa’. Thus, in its issue of 6th June 1914, Swadesamitran, a widely circulated newspaper published out of Madras, wrote disparagingly of a conference in Guntur which claimed that Tamil domination blocked the progress of the Andhras. The Andhras, it was argued here, needed to break free of the Tamils to realise their hopes and ambitions. 

Swadesamitran said it could not “understand the rationale of this argument. If Tamilians are forward in education, etc., their company can only infuse a spirit of emulation in the minds of the Andhras. How can it impede the progress of the latter? The Andhras are not a set of uncivilised barbarians. They are an intelligent community with an ancient civilisation and the example of the Tamilians is bound to create in them new desires and aspirations. This is exactly what is happening. The present feeling among the Andhras that they have not been progressing much, and their demand for a separate province and equal privileges with the Tamilians indicate only this new desire and aspiration. We are at a loss to understand the meaning of their demand that they should be separated from the Tamilians. Is it that they do not want the Tamilians to step into their portion of the country? The patriotic leaders of the country are striving their best to do away with the distinction of caste and creed in India, which prevents the union of the people and impedes the progress. It is therefore regrettable that the Andhras should try to separate from others and form an independent community.” 

Arms and the woman

Jan 30 2013

The Pentagon ended its ban on women in combat last week. Indian women in the armed forces must first fight other battles 

Two decades ago, when I arrived at my first posting station to begin work, I asked the orderly for my allotted room. He asked, "but where is sahib?" Which sahib, I asked? "Pilot Officer Joshi", he said. I cannot forget the look on his face when I said that I was Pilot Officer Joshi. The armed forces have come a long way since then, and it has been a rollercoaster ride for both men and women. 

It took the armed forces nearly 20 years to acknowledge the presence of women as a regular, and somewhat permanent, fixture in the military. It took seven years of battling it out in court and innumerable internal battles for women to acquire some parity with their male colleagues, though playing field between the sexes is still far from level. Women were barred from taking professional courses, though they are mandatory for promotions. There were positions a female officer would not be considered for; she was not eligible for guard duty, could not hold security-related positions or carry out Base Operations duties. For this force to see a woman in same bunker, let alone trench, was unthinkable. Many of these bars were, however, lifted after continuous representation from women. 

I remember constantly fighting an internal battle, always having to go the extra mile. If you made a mistake, it was because you were a woman and if you performed well, it was because you were hardworking. To be fair, the military had to break away from years of tradition. The officer and the gentleman would always stand up for a woman and pull out a chair, and to instead see a woman as a comrade-in-arms created some cognitive dissonance. I remember one senior officer would get up whenever I entered his office and address me as madam. It took years of constant reminders that I was a junior officer to get him to call me by my name. 

Internally, all women are referred to as "lady officers". But why can't everyone just be an officer? Peer group officers over the years started to resent the soft treatment given to women in hard postings and duties. It is a fair enough complaint, but who made the rules and policies? It was the men. So you had a set who resented "lady officers", and then there were the young officers who resented superiors for favours done for "lady officers", resulting in an unhappy force. Some of these issues have been addressed, and the services have arrived at an uneasy compromise. 

Writing on water

Jan 30 2013

The new national water policy must be treated as a work in progress 

We now have a new National Water Policy (NWP) 2012, in place of the NWP 2002. The policy was officially adopted at a meeting of the National Water Resources Council (NWRC), although the consensus on it appears to have been imperfect. 

The new policy has several good features. For instance, water in general is recognised as a community resource, the public trust doctrine is mentioned, and the importance of community participation in water management is recognised. The new policy also stresses on "demand management", to a certain extent. As for the question of water pricing, the idea of "differential pricing", that is, the need to distinguish lifeline and high-priority water from water for other uses, is accepted. The conservation of river corridors, water bodies and infrastructure is emphasised, and where encroachments or diversions of water bodies have taken place, restoration to the extent feasible is recommended. In project planning, the Integrated Water Resources Management approach is recommended. 

There are some fairly good provisions relating to floods. The unqualified reference to private sector participation in the earlier draft has been toned down to a milder recommendation of public-private partnership "wherever the state governments or local governing bodies so decide".There is a statement that hydrological data should be in the public domain (but this is qualified by a reference to national security considerations). The reference to a National Water Framework Law, an idea that I have been urging for some years now, is welcome, but it remains to be seen whether the draft law prepared by the committee set up by the ministry of water resources will truly be a framework law, avoid the danger of centralisation, and be acceptable to state governments. 

Turning to one's dissatisfactions with the NWP 2012, the first is that it is not strong on a fundamental right to basic or lifeline water, and the need to declare it explicitly as such, instead of depending on the judicial interpretation of the right to life. Second, there is no clarity on the question of whether water is state property or private property or a common pool resource. There are indeed statements about water being a community resource, and the public trust doctrine is mentioned, but there are also references to water as an economic good, to pricing on economic principles, to public-private partnership, etc. The idea of "tradable entitlements", promoted by the World Bank and certain Indian economists, lies behind the recommendation of a Water Resources Regulatory Authority (WRRA). There may not be contradictions here but these diverse statements have to be reconciled. 

India must prove Galbraith wrong

Jan 30, 2013 

Dynasticism promotes slave mentality reminiscent of the Darshania Brahmins during the Mughal period — they would not have their meal till they had a glimpse of Emperor Akbar

India is the world’s largest democracy and the US the most powerful. One is a parliamentary democracy and the other presidential. We have a Westminster democracy with a first-past-the-post electoral system. Unlike the British, our democracy is a Union of states, like the US. 

There are both similarities and differences in the organisation and functioning of the Indian and US democracies. The French Revolution’s slogan, “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity”, became the foundational base of democracy. Abraham Lincoln aptly described democracy as the rule of the people, by the people and for the people. Democracy in the West was born through violence — revolution in France, civil war in Britain and the War of Independence followed by a civil war in the US. India’s democracy was established on the basis of non-violence and peace.
There is a view that for a country of continental or sub-continental size, presidential democracy is better. There is greater stability and the government can last its full term, unless it is terminated by impeachment, health, death or resignation. A governments falls in a parliamentary democracy when it loses its majority in the Lower House. This can happen frequently, as we saw our coalition governments fall in quick succession in the 1990s. Our elections are prone to influence by the unhealthy vote-bank considerations of caste, creed and region. Direct elections for the head of government will be less prone to such influence in a nationwide or statewide electoral constituency.

Parliamentary constituencies in the UK are very small. A candidate can campaign from door to door incurring minimum expenditure. India and the US, have jumbo-size constituencies. Our parliamentary constituencies have more than a million voters. The number of voters in state Assembly constituencies runs into lakhs. A candidate for Parliament or a state Assembly cannot cover his/her entire constituency door to door. During the early years of Independence, elections were won in the name of Mahatma Gandhi and the freedom struggle. There was no viable opposition. Electoral expenses were minimal. This has now radically changed. Nowadays electoral expense runs into hundreds of crores. How does a candidate or a party raise such huge funds without resorting to corruption?

India has a huge potential for innovation: Vinton G Cerf

By N Madhavan, Hindustan Times
January 29, 2013

Vinton G. Cerf, with his snow-white beard and an amiable smile, has a gentle elderly grace that hides a gloriously hyperactive career. Widely known as one of the founding fathers of the Internet, 69-year-old Cerf, currently chief Internet Evangelist at search giant Google, is a co-designer of the TCP-IP (transmission control protocol-Internet protocol), that forms the basic design glue that sticks computers worldwide in an open environment together to form the Internet. 

The former Stanford University faculty member who was the founding president of the Internet Society is now busy guessing the future of the Internet while spreading Google's gospel of an open culture of sharing information. 

On a visit to India to meet policy-makers, he spoke to Hindustan Times in a wide-ranging interview. Excerpts: 

When you started with TCP (transmission control protocol), did you imagine this would be this big?

When electronic mail was invented in 1971, we even saw what is the social networking element. There was Yum Yum with restaurant reviews. At Xerox's Palo Alto centre they had personal computers that cost $50,000. They were living in a world that was 20 years into the future. 

And I saw that We understood that with transmission and switching technologies coming along, we had to make it future-proof. In some sense we had a very clear understanding how powerful this can be. We did not know about mobiles coming on such a large scale, although we were doing mobile technology. 

The open standards was very important. We were academics. This openness was driven by the academic desire to share information. 

Where knowledge is free?

By Anit Mukherjee
January 11, 2013

Declassification and the controversy over the use of Airpower in the 1962 India-China war.

The fiftieth anniversary of the 1962 India-China war has been marked by a number of commentaries, personal recollections and analyses in the Indian media. The one that attracted most attention was Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne’s counterfactual argument that the outcome of the war might have been different if airpower was used in an offensive role. This remark set off a media storm and reopened an important though inconclusive debate—why was the Indian Air Force not used for close air support? The controversy over the Air Chief’s comments, fed by selected leaks about the 1962 war, reveal insights about the Indian military and its polity. Among the takeaway is the fact that a vibrant, supposedly open democracy like India still does not have the ability to honestly face up to its past. Instead it relies on a selective telling of history through media scoops and self-convenient narratives. 

The decision not to use the Indian Air Force for offensive operations has been debated by historians for some time. Many, especially within the military community, have argued that this was a political decision made by Prime Minister Nehru and Defense Minister Krishna Menon and hence indicated flawed strategy. This fed well into the dominant narrative that emerged from this debacle—the defeat was primarily due to political interference and operational meddling. Former Indian Air Chief Marshal Tipnis subsequent remarks on Nehru’s responsibility for the 1962 defeat are typical of this school of thought. While Nehru and especially Krishna Menon bear considerable responsibility, however this narrative overlooks the significant failures of certain military commanders. 

China gives go-ahead for three new Brahmaputra dams

January 30, 2013
By Ananth Krishnan 

The Hindu A view of the river Brahmaputra. File photo 

12th Plan stresses hydropower from Yarlung Zangbo 

China has given the go-ahead for the construction of three new hydropower dams on the middle reaches of the Brahmaputra river, ending a two-year halt in approving new projects on the river amid concerns from India and environmental groups. 

The three new dams have been approved by the State Council, or Cabinet, under a new energy development plan for 2015 that was released on January 23, according to a copy of the plan available with The Hindu. 

China has, so far, only begun construction on one major hydropower dam on the main stream of the middle reaches of the Brahmaputra or Yarlung Zangbo as it is known in China – a 510 MW project in Zangmu in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), which began to be built in 2010. 

One of the three approved new dams is bigger than the Zangmu project. 

A 640 MW dam will be built in Dagu, which lies 18 km upstream of Zangmu. Another 320 MW dam will be built at Jiacha, also on the middle reaches of the Brahmaputura downstream of Zangmu. A third dam will be built at Jiexu, 11 km upstream of Zangmu. The capacity of the Jiexu dam is, as yet, unconfirmed. 

The three projects were listed in the State Council’s energy plan for the Twelfth Five Year Plan period (2011-15), which was released on January 23. 

Bhutan Rebalance

Jan 30 2013

The week-long visit to India by the king of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Wangchuck, has been marked by a reaffirmation of mutual goodwill and a shared commitment to tighten the bonds of friendship. Behind closed doors though, the future of Bhutan's relationship with China must have figured right on top of the bilateral agenda. Right now, Bhutan is the only country in the subcontinent that does not have diplomatic ties with China. 

In recent years, Thimphu has been signalling its desire to end this political anomaly. In an important advance last summer, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met his Bhutanese counterpart, Jigme Yoser Thinley, on the margins of an international conference in Brazil. The two leaders reportedly agreed to establish diplomatic relations in the near future. But there is a widespread perception that Delhi is wary of normal neighbourly ties between Thimphu and Beijing. It is in India's interest to dispel this impression at the earliest. 

Changes in Bhutan's internal and external orientation have long suggested that India can no longer treat the Himalayan kingdom as a protectorate. Delhi understood this when it renegotiated the 1949 treaty of friendship with Thimphu. The new treaty, signed in 2007, put the relationship on a footing of mutual respect and equality. The democratic transition at home, Thimphu's search for a larger international profile and the intensifying overtures from Beijing make the warming of Sino-Bhutanese ties inevitable. 

Delhi must gracefully come to terms with this reality. Supporting the normalisation of relations between Bhutan and China might be a good gesture on Delhi's part as Thimphu tries to win a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council. A lot trickier, of course, is the prospect of an early boundary settlement between Bhutan and China. Beijing is reportedly offering an attractive deal to Thimphu. The problem for India is that such a settlement will move the Sino-Bhutanese border southwards, closer to India, in the strategically sensitive Chumbi valley. 

The diplomatic challenge for Delhi lies in finding a way to let Thimphu move forward in its boundary negotiations with Beijing while securing India's defences at the trijunction in the Chumbi valley. 

Can China keep growing?

By Peter Drysdale
January 28th, 2013 

There was much breathless speculation towards the end of last year about whether China’s growth was running out of puff. 

The cooler heads warned that there was still a lot of momentum left and that, independently of government reluctance to provide additional boost, the Chinese economy was entering an upturn of cyclical recovery at the same time as it was adjusting to a somewhat lower long-term growth trajectory.

As growth in 2012 dipped below 8 per cent, the government has remained relatively calm, taking only modest steps to stabilise growth. So-called ‘policy paralysis’, some market participants suggested, saw policy makers left ‘way behind the curve’ because of the once-a-decade leadership transition. Others reckoned that that explanation lay in the underlying view among officials that the growth downturn was as much structural in nature as cyclical. Huang noted that the economy’s potential growth rate had already moderated, from 10 per cent in 2000–10 to an estimated 8 per cent over 2010–20, and would slow further to 6 per cent over 2020–30. If these figures were roughly correct, then the 7–8 per cent range may have become the ‘new normal’ of Chinese growth. The government revised its GDP growth target downwards to 7.5 per cent in 2012, from 8 per cent in previous years — the outcome was a smidgin higher growth at 7.8 per cent — and looked set to take it down further, to 7 per cent in 2013.

Policy makers had learned a lesson with the stimulus package in 2008 and were reluctant to adopt aggressive expansionary policies as the economy picked itself up last year. The government’s massive investment programs in the past had been criticised for increasing financial and fiscal risks so government officials accepted the need to tolerate slower growth in order to underpin its sustainability. The policy objective of stabilising, rather than boosting, growth in the face of increasing downside risks to the economy came to dominate policy thinking.

The Sino–Japanese Standoff

January 28, 2013

It’s been easy of late to get hyperbolic about the chance of conflict in East Asia. China appears to be the first serious military challenger America has had since the Soviet Union, and it is clearly beginning to throw its weight around in the waters of Asia. Especially raising tensions in the region is a passel of territorial disputes over islets that has pitted China against countries in southeast and northeast Asia and put Japan at odds with all its major neighbors. But the one key disagreement is between Japan and China in the East China Sea. There, an archipelago called the Senkaku Islands is claimed by Japan, Taiwan, and China. The islands sit near rich undersea oil and gas deposits, but, being situated just northeast of Taiwan, they also are in a crucial strategic location. They form the southernmost link in a chain of islands (including Okinawa and others) held by Japan that separate the East China Sea from the Pacific. The chain that ends with the Senkakus thus acts as a defensive barrier that conceivably could be used to prevent Chinese naval vessels from entering the wider Pacific. 

Thus, Japan’s control of the islands presents a problem for Beijing. The history is murky, but Japanese control really didn’t start until the late 19th century. In 1945, the U.S. took over the Senkakus, and it returned them (along with Okinawa) to Tokyo’s administrative control in 1972. In recent years, however, basically since oil and gas were discovered nearby, China has reasserted a historical claim to the islands. Since the possibility of extractable energy reserves was discovered a decade ago, both Japan and China have tussled over whose islands (and resources) they really are. Half-hearted attempts at joint explorations for oil and gas have foundered due to mistrust and nationalistic intransigence. 

It's Time To End Japan's Defense Dependence On The United States

Doug Bandow, Contributor 
I write about domestic and international policy. 

US guided missile cruiser (R) leads Japanese destroyers during, a US-Japan military exercise at the Pacific Ocean. (Image credit: AFP/Getty Images via @daylife) 

America’s war in Afghanistan is winding down, but the U.S. must worry about conflict elsewhere. Once viewed as inconceivable, war between China and Japan now looks possible, though thankfully still unlikely. Tokyo should get serious about its own defense. 

The U.S. used its power as occupier after World War II to impose a constitution on Japan which forbade possession of a military. But America lost its enthusiasm for that arrangement early during the Cold War. When Washington subsequently pushed Tokyo to rearm, the latter hid behind its constitution. 

Japan’s neighbors also opposed a Japanese military revival, preferring to rely on America for defense. Moreover, there were political points to be scored from attacking Tokyo. And Japan made itself an easy target when officials refused to apologize for their nation’s previous misbehavior. 

But the world is changing. World War II is long past. Most Japanese citizens seem prepared for their nation to become like other ones. So does their new prime minister, Shinzo Abe. And that means defending themselves in a more dangerous world. 

Some inconvenient truths

January 28, 2013

Here's a little fantasy for you to ponder: what if one of our senior foreign policy officials accidentally swallowed some sodium pentothal (aka "truth serum") before some public hearing or press conference, and started speaking the truth about one of those issues where prevarication, political correctness, and obfuscation normally prevail? You know: what if they started saying in public all those things that they probably believe in private? What sorts of "inconvenient truths" might suddenly get revealed? 

In that spirit, here's my Top Five Truths You Won't Hear Any U.S. Official Admit. 

#1: "We're never gonna get rid of our nuclear weapons." U.S. presidents have talked about disarmament since the beginning of the nuclear age. According to the 1967 Non-Proliferation Treaty, we're formally committed to "to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control." It has even become fashionable for retired foreign policy experts like George Shultz, William Perry, Sam Nunn, and Henry Kissinger to call for eliminating nuclear weapons too (even though they would have strenuously opposed such actions while in office) and of course Barack Obama made some speeches about it early in his presidency. And now some folks are trying to make a big deal about Chuck Hagel's involvement with Global Zero, a respectable international campaign to get rid of nuclear weapons. 

Investigate This

JANUARY 29, 2013 

The U.N. will pry America's drones out of our cold, dead hands. 

Last week's headlines alerted readers to the supposed revelation of the United Nations inquiry into U.S. drone strikes policies and practices: "UN to Investigate Drone Attacks;" "UN Expert Launches Investigation of Drones, Targeted Killings;" and "United Nations: That's It, We're Investigating Drone Killings." The stories covered an announcement by British human rights lawyer Ben Emmerson, who serves as the "U.N. special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism" (say that three times fast). 

To put this inquiry into context, most international institutions are mandated to investigate accusations of their member states' human rights abuses, most prominently the Organization of American States, European Union, and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The United Nations goes a step further -- as it includes nearly all states in the world -- with ten separate entities that monitor compliance with international human rights treaties. Emmerson is part of the U.N. Human Rights Council's special procedures that "examine, monitor, advise and publicly report on human rights situations," either thematically or in specific countries. There are 36 thematic and 12 country mandates covering everything from transnational corporations and freedom of religion to Belarus and Iran. 

Emmerson will "look at the evidence that drone strikes and other forms of remote targeted killing have caused disproportionate civilian casualties in some instances, and to make recommendations concerning the duty of States to conduct thorough independent and impartial investigations into such allegations." Emmerson and an impressive "inquiry team" will examine 25 drone strikes in "Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Palestine," where attacks were carried out predominantly by the United States, but also by the United Kingdom (in Afghanistan) and Israel (in Palestine). The findings and recommendations of the investigation are scheduled to be presented at the U.N. General Assembly in October. 

Welcome to the Era of the Light Footprint Obama finally finds his doctrine

The "light footprint" that is Barack Obama's doctrine in foreign policy originated as Donald Rumsfeld's doctrine in military policy. Rumsfeld was undone by the contradiction between his ends and his means: in Iraq, he sought to attain big ends with small means, disastrously insisting that after "shock and awe" a light, nimble American force advantaged by technology would suffice for assisting the Iraqis in the political transformation of their country. This was Rumsfeld's "revolution in military affairs." Obama has accepted Rumsfeld's ideal of the American military: the "strategic guidance document" issued by the Pentagon a year ago declares, in italics, that "whenever possible, we will develop innovative, low-cost, and small-footprint approaches to achieve our security objectives." But Obama modified Rumsfeld's vision in two ways. The first was that he eliminated the contradiction between the means and the ends by shrinking the ends to fit the means. The second was that he extended the principle of shrinkage from military policy to foreign policy. This is Obama's revolution in international affairs.

When that document was released, its revisions in the scale and the mission of the American military were interpreted as the inexorable effect of the fiscal crisis, but that is not the whole story. Obama is acting also in the name of a strategic concept. It is an old, cold concept. Obama's loftiness has provided cover for the ascendancy of "realism"—which is not always the same as realism, as the consequences of our abdication in Syria will eventually demonstrate. The Obama-Rumsfeld lineage is only one of the ironies of the new foreign policy consensus. There is also the bizarre enthusiasm of progressives for the amoral likes of Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski. And richest of all is their sudden reverence for Chuck Hagel, whom none of them admired, and rightly not, when he was in the Senate. (No, he is not an anti-Semite. Congratulations.)

The most egregious aspect of the celebration of Hagel is the belief that his Purple Hearts validate his withdrawalist inclinations. Since he experienced war, he hates war. "I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can," Eisenhower once remarked. Why, then, does John McCain's bravery in Vietnam not validate his interventionist inclinations? The truth is that nobody loves war, and that you do not have to have witnessed war to hate war, and that war (or the use of force) is sometimes just and necessary. The merit of a view owes nothing to the biography of the individual who holds it, even if it confers a certain pathos. A chest full of medals hardly denotes a brain full of truths. Hagel's optimism about diplomacy with Iran and Hamas, his opposition to sanctions, his recoil from humanitarian interventions—we will soon see if these opinions are correct, when Eisenhower, I mean Hagel, is confirmed, and executes (as the business people say) on Obama's diminishment of America's ambition in and for the world. Our detached president is detaching us.

Think Again: Immigration

JANUARY 29, 2013

After Republicans' election-year drubbing, the United States has an historic opportunity to fix its broken immigration system. And the arguments against reform simply don't hold up anymore. 

"Mexicans Will Keep Flooding the United States If Allowed." 

Not likely. Starting in 2005, the number of migrants coming from Mexico -- who comprise one-third of the U.S. foreign born population -- began declining. The deceleration then picked up pace with the 2008 world financial crisis, so much so that a 2012 Pew Hispanic report noted that for the first time in decades, the number of Mexicans entering the country was the same as those leaving -- leading to a "net zero" in terms of flows. 

Though the U.S. recession played a role, perhaps the most important -- and permanent -- factor behind this shift is demographic. In the 1970s, even as mortality rates declined, Mexican women on average had seven children. Today, that number is much closer to two -- much like the United States. This means that the "extra" Mexican youth who came of age in the 1990s and early 2000s have dissipated, and are unlikely to return again. These fewer siblings are staying in school longer -- most now through high school and many into college -- further reducing the pool of young men and women searching for opportunities to the north. 

Economic prospects at home have also improved. The booms and busts of the 1980s and 1990s, which pushed so many Mexicans across the border, seem to have ended. Instead, Mexico's new economic story is one of a growing middle class -- now some 60 million strong -- made up of lawyers, accountants, small and medium size business owners, higher-skilled factory workers, and taxi drivers, among many other professions. These economic shifts also have encouraged Mexicans to stay home. 

Hands Across the Atlantic

JANUARY 29, 2013 

It's high time for a free trade agreement between the United States and Europe. In fact, it's exactly what our economies need. 

Like Don Quixote's pining for his princess Dulcinea, the generation-long quest for a U.S.-EU free trade agreement has been mostly an affair of fit and fantasy -- that is, until now. In the last year, leaders across Europe have increasingly pushed for a new trade pact with the United States, their top trading partner, and a diverse constellation of special interests -- from the business-minded U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the AFL-CIO, America's biggest labor organization -- have shown support. Earlier this month, a high-level working group, established in 2011 by EU and U.S. officials to study the feasibility of a trade agreement, signaled its intention to launch formal trade negotiations. And early next week, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will travel to Washington to complete a long anticipated joint EU-U.S. report outlining likely objectives for such an accord. 

The economic argument in favor of a free trade agreement is compelling. According to recent estimates by the International Monetary Fund, the United States will grow at less than 3 percent next year and the European Union will grow at less than 0.3 percent (assuming Greece and the other periphery countries remain part of the union). A free trade agreement would immediately improve growth prospects for both. Most large European companies operate in the United States, and collectively they employ more Americans than any other country -- just as U.S. multinationals employ more Europeans than even important upstarts like Brazil and China. But plenty of impediments complicate transatlantic trade -- from tariffs to conflicting governmental regulations -- even when a company deals with its own affiliates. Removing these impediments, some economists predict, could add as much as 3 percent to both EU and U.S. gross domestic product.