23 February 2013

Counter-Terrorism: Nothing to Learn- Nothing to Forget

By B.Raman 

1.  It is less than 48 hours since the two blasts in the Dilsukhnagar area of Hyderabad on the evening of February 21,2013, resulted in the death of 16 innocent civilians. 

2. The police and the intelligence agencies are still in the preliminary stages of the investigation. They have not yet done a reconstruction of the act of terrorism. The collection and examination of the forensic evidence have not yet been completed .No arrests and interrogation have been made yet. 

3. Instead of waiting till the investigation makes substantial progress, the police and the agencies, with the help of sensation-hungry media, have already started pointing the finger at the Muslim community, the Indian Mujahideen and Pakistan. 

4. If there is terror, it has to be a Muslim. If he is a Muslim, he has to be from the IM. If it is the IM, it must have acted at the instance of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). That seems to be the thinking reflex of the police and the agencies. 

5. In October last, according to the Delhi Police, a Muslim suspect belonging to the IM told them during his interrogation that the IM had recced the Dilsukhnagar area as a possible target. From this, one could have reasonable suspicion that the IM might have carried out the attack. To strengthen the suspicion, one must have additional evidence which has not been forthcoming till now. Despite this, the police and the agencies in their mind have already turned the suspicion into certainty. Almost the entire investigation is now focused on the IM, overlooking other possibilities. 

6. One cannot think of a more unprofessional way of dealing with terrorism. Very often, our initial hasty conclusions remain unproved or uncorroborated. That is why the investigation of so many of our terrorism cases has reached a dead end. Many of the cases remain undetected or unprosecuted or unsuccessful even if prosecuted. 

7. After every few months, we are taken by surprise by a new act of terrorism because we didn’t investigate professionally the previous acts of terrorism. Our track record has been one of hurtling from one hasty conclusion to another. 

Brunei Takes on the Challenges of Chairing ASEAN in 2013

By Murray Hiebert, Jeremiah O. Magpile 
Feb 22, 2013 

Brunei Darussalam, the smallest country in Southeast Asia with a population of only 400,000, faces some daunting challenges this year as it chairs the 10-country ASEAN grouping. 

For starters, Brunei must help manage tensions regarding the strategic South China Sea following last year’s acrimony after then-chair Cambodia, a major recipient of assistance from Beijing, twice sought to limit discussion of China’s assertive actions in the disputed sea. This prompted protests from several Southeast Asian countries. 

Second, with the group’s goal of achieving an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by the end of 2015, Brunei will need to press its neighbors to get cracking on implementing the agreed-upon economic road map. 

A third task will involve keeping China and the United States engaged in the East Asia Summit (EAS). Many Southeast Asians wonder what impact the departure of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific Kurt Campbell will have on the U.S. rebalance to Asia and U.S. relations with ASEAN. 

Brunei has chosen as the theme for its chairmanship “Our people, our future together.” The sultanate will organize some 400 meetings throughout 2013. These will include two ASEAN leaders’ summits in April and October, the ASEAN Regional Forum attended by the foreign ministers of 27 Asia Pacific countries in June, and the 18-member East Asia Summit, which brings together ASEAN and its most important partners, including the United States, in October. 

Bruneian officials say one of their priorities for 2013 will be enhancing the role of ASEAN youths in order to promote a region-wide sense of belonging. Other themes will include discussing environmental issues like climate change and natural disasters, tackling food and energy security, and addressing poverty eradication, sustainable development, and closing the income gap within ASEAN. 

Obama 2.0 Confronts Asia

By Richard Weitz
February 21, 2013 

President Obama was broadly successful in the Asia-Pacific during his first term. He’ll have to work harder the second time around. 

President Barack Obama begins his second term with a new national security team in the making. Although at this time only John Kerry has been confirmed, its seem likely that most, if not all of his key nominees (former Senator Chuck Hagel, John Brennan and Jack Lew) will secure Senate confirmation in the coming weeks. 

Obama has clearly resolved to make Asia his priority region on the foreign-policy front. He has spent more time in East Asia than in any other foreign region. Most Asian leaders have welcomed Obama’s reelection, though the political transitions in China, Japan and South Korea increase uncertainties over how long such views will prevail. 

During its first term, the Obama administration managed to make progress in resolving some important issues and exploiting valuable opportunities regarding both traditional U.S. allies (such as Japan and South Korea) and emerging partners (ASEAN). In other cases, as with Russia and India, the results have been mixed. But during the next four years the administration faces major challenges in Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, and above all China—for which no easy solutions are available. 

The Pentagon has been able to expand defense cooperation with Southeast Asia, especially Singapore (preparations are currently underway for the basing of U.S. Navy Littoral Combat Ships at Changi Pier), Indonesia (new arms sales and joint training and education opportunities), and Vietnam (expanding engagement to encompass port visits, joint exercises, and defense dialogues). 

Deterrence After the Cold War

By Paul R. Pillar 
February 21, 2013 

Richard Betts offers a characteristically perspicuous essay in the newest Foreign Affairs about what has happened to the U.S. use—or nonuse, or misuse—of deterrence in the years since the Cold War. His overall observation is that the United States appears to have unlearned some of the lessons that it successfully applied during the Cold War. It has used the mechanisms of deterrence in situations where this use has needlessly worsened relations with the apparent target of the deterrence; confronting Russia with an expanded NATO is the leading example that Betts analyzes. Conversely, the United States has failed to use deterrence in situations where it should have done so. Here the glaring example is the George W. Bush administration's launching of a war against Iraq—rather than relying on deterrence to keep Saddam Hussein where Secretary of State Colin Powell said he was as of May 2001: “in a box.” 

In addition to the issues of NATO and relations with Russia, Betts draws policy implications regarding the handling of Iran. He reviews the reasons—which ought to be easy to understand, but seemingly to many people aren't—why deterrence of even a nuclear-armed Iran is far preferable to launching a war against Iran. He also criticizes as sometimes muddled and inconsistent the way deterrence figures into the U.S. approach toward China and the Far East—scene of a Cold War failure to use deterrence properly, in Korea in 1950. Betts appears to prefer a clear either/or approach to deterrence, in which we make unmistakable the places where we are willing to respond forcefully while not leading others to believe that we are making deterrent threats in other places. 

This preference leads to one point on which Betts's analysis can be challenged, as it relates to Cold War deterrence of the USSR. Insofar as U.S. nuclear weapons figured into deterrence of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe, there necessarily was some ambiguity. The West never did come up with a good answer to the question of whether, and why, the United States would risk incineration of New York for the sake of saving Hamburg. But that involves an unresolvable point of historical debate. On matters of current policy relevance, Betts's observations are astute. 

Whither Jointmanship in India?

By Air Marshal Raghu Rajan
23 Feb , 2013 

The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the three Service Chiefs paying homage at the Amar Jawan Jyoti 

‘Jointmanship’ in the history of warfare reached its maturity in World War II, especially during Operation Overlord involving landing by the allied forces on the beaches of Normandy. The other example of effective ‘jointmanship’ was the landing at Inchon by UN forces during the Korean War. The lessons of the Vietnam War inspired a change in the functioning of the command and control structure of the US military and led to the new statute called “The Goldwater-Nichols Act” that fostered better ‘jointmanship’ among the different wings of the US armed forces. 

For decades military strategists the world over have emphasized the criticality of jointmanship in the prosecution of war. It is common knowledge that Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) as also other modern concepts such as Cyber Warfare, Information Warfare and Network-Centric Warfare constitute the key to battlefield dominance and military superiority. RMA pre-supposes total tri-service integration in thought, word and action. The character of future battle space environment, therefore, makes it imperative for the armed forces to fight an integrated battle. In the Indian context, the concept of ‘jointmanship’ envisages the conduct of air-land, air-maritime and tri-service campaigns with a common military strategy in pursuance of national security objectives. 

Despite claims, true integration has eluded the Indian military… 

However, despite claims, true integration has eluded the Indian military. Why is this so and what are the challenges that need to be managed or changes that need to be effected for the Indian military to function as homogenous entity? 

Four years and 11 terror attacks later, Natgrid, NCTC still in pipeline

Hindustan Times
February 23, 2013 

Four years and 11 terror attacks after the 26/11 nightmare, the country still hasn't woken up to the need to speed up the setting up of two big hi-tech projects that could help prevent terror strikes.

The National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid) - meant to set up a sophisticated network that could pull out data about any terrorist suspect within a matter of seconds - has slipped on deadlines since various departments were too busy trying to protect their fiefdoms.

It has only recently been provided approval to recruit the necessary experts from the private sector. 

But the bureaucracy isn't the only one protecting its turf. 

The National Counter Terrorism Centre - the one stop-shop for generating intelligence, analysing the inputs to connect the dots and carrying out counter-strikes - has been in the deep freezer since last year after states put their foot down. The states were worried it encroached their powers. 

Former intelligence bureau chief AK Doval said the two projects should be key priorities for the government.  

"Natgrid needs to be made operational immediately," said Doval, convinced that a strong and clear political message from the prime minister could work wonders to cut the red tape and turf wars. 

Instead of putting Natgrid on the fast track, there had been voices in the home ministry that the private sector expert driving the project Raghu Raman needed to acclimatise to "how the government functions". 

Doval suggested there was no reason why experts who have the confidence of the chief ministers and the Centre could not move forward on NCTC either. 


Between Gandhi and Ambedkar 

In 1930, Mahatma Gandhi launched the Salt March — his second major campaign against British colonial rule. Although it generated a wide swathe of support, his movement was vigorously opposed by two groups of Indians — those who thought Gandhi and his Congress party represented Hindus but not Muslims, and those who thought that in fact they represented only the upper-caste interest among Hindus. 

Gandhi was stung by these criticisms. He worked to build bridges with Muslim leaders, and intensified his struggle to abolish Untouchability. Castes whose traditional occupations were regarded as ‘unclean’ — such as leather-working and scavenging — had historically been denied access to temples, schools, hospitals and sources of clean water. In 1932 and 1933, Gandhi went on several fasts to compel Hindus to treat these oppressed castes as spiritual and social equals. He refused to use the term, “Untouchable”, replacing it with “Harijan” (or child of God). On a tour of southern and eastern India, he spoke of how “the shame of caste Hindus will continue so long as these disabilities are practiced in the name of religion, no matter to how little or great an extent. It is the clear duty of sanatanists so called to denounce the disabilities in the severest possible language and join hands with the reformers in protecting Harijans from humiliation heaped upon them under the sanction of religious custom”. 

Gandhi’s campaign created ripples in politics and society, and in literature too. I have recently been reading Mulk Raj Anand’s short, sharp novel, Untouchable. This was first published in 1935, and the impact of Gandhi and his ideas is marked. The Mahatma himself makes a cameo appearance in the novel, while some other characters work (and think) under a recognizably Gandhian influence. Like Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway before it and Saul Bellow’s Seize the Day after it, Untouchable concentrates its narrative in a single day, as experienced in the life (and labours) of its main character, a boy from a sweeper caste, named Bakha. 

A cauldron of competing demands

By Nehginpao Kipgen 
February 23, 2013 

PTI In this 2010 file photo, Kuki National Front cadres arrive at Natheljang in Senapati district of Manipur to deposit weapons as part of a Suspension of Operation agreement with the Centre. 

With Manipur’s Kuki groups again in protest mode, it is time to ask why the Centre ignores their calls for a dialogue but talks to Nagas 

Manipur, with a population of over 2.7 million, is home to three major groups: Kuki, Naga, and Meitei. While Meiteis, — primarily settled in the four valley districts — want territorial integrity of the State to be maintained, Kukis and Nagas are calling for separate administrative arrangements in the hill areas — Kukis for a Kukiland and Nagas to join a greater Nagaland. 

Identity is a major point of conflict between Kukis and Nagas. In the process of identity formation, a number of tribes, including Anal, Maring, Monsang and Moyon, have been assimilated into the Naga fold either by coercion or by other forms of persuasion. Another major point of conflict is land. 

Ethnic violence from 1992 to 1997 between the two ethnic groups resulted in the death of over 1,000 people, destruction of thousands of homes, and the displacement of tens of thousands of people. While the physical violence has ceased, tensions still linger. The simmering tension has led to different forms of agitation, claims and counterclaims. 

The conflict started between Thadou and Maring tribes, both recognised as Kuki during the British colonial administration. While the casualty on the Naga side is unclear, the Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM), apex civil body of the Kuki people in Manipur, claims that over 961 Kukis were killed, 360 villages affected, and 100,000 people rendered homeless. 

The biggest bone of contention is land. The Kuki National Front (KNF), later joined by the Kuki National Organisation (KNO), is demanding that a Kukiland be carved out of the five hill districts of Manipur: Churachandpur, Chandel, Senapati, Tamenglong and Ukhrul. 

Where have all the subsidies gone?

By Surjit S Bhalla 
Feb 23 2013

If one has a good idea of where we went wrong in the last five years, one can begin to project the future and what the finance minister might or might not be able to do on February 28. No matter what the source, the discussion and complaint has centred on the fiscal deficit. And the fiscal situation is dire — an increase of nearly 2 percentage points in the consolidated fiscal deficit in the last five years. 

But the fiscal deficit is the net difference between revenues and expenditures. So, theoretically, the fiscal deficit can expand because of a shortage of revenues or an excess of expenditures or both. Consequently, depending on one's ideological preference, the emphasis is either on raising taxes or on cutting expenditure. And given a country like India, whose politicians and many of the glintelectuals (glitterati intellectuals) do not believe in any evidence based policy, the concentration is on raising taxes. The last two months have been dominated by discussions of how to raise tax revenue and, of course, "motherhood" dictates that one cannot go wrong by suggesting that the rich should pay more. If it is pointed out that the top 10 per cent of earners in the country pay for almost all of corporate and individual tax revenue, the refrain of the glintelectuals is: why can't they pay more? 

Back-of-the-envelope calculations for the Indian economy are now made easier with several important numbers approaching 100 or multiples of 100 levels. Nominal GDP in 2012-13 is estimated to have been Rs 94.6 lakh crore (lc); for 2013-14, with 12 per cent growth, nominal GDP is estimated at Rs 106 lc. For the same year, poverty is forecast to be 220 million or 18 per cent of the population. This based on a Tendulkar poverty line equal to Rs 1,000 per capita per month (pcpm) and the average consumption level of the poor equal to Rs 834 (Rs 12,000 and Rs 10,000 on an annual basis). 

These simple calculations, assuming conservative historical trends, imply that the government needs to annually spend, in 2013-14, Rs 0.44 lc(obtained as the multiple of 220 million poor with an average poverty deficit of Rs 2000 per person per year). This fraction is 0.40 per cent of the GDP and what is needed to be spent on the poor in order to claim that "India is a land with NO poverty according to the official poverty line". This claim assumes perfect targeting. Further, the amount needed to eliminate poverty declines with economic growth. In 1983, the perfect targeting outlay was equal to 7.8 per cent of the GDP and in 2004-05, 1.6 per cent of the GDP. 

Assume, for a moment, that the government was actually desirous of doubling the real incomes of every poor person in India. This will mean an outgo of nearly Rs 2,20,000 crore each year and will push every poor person in India to a consumption level above the poverty line. The table documents the actual expenditure on various inventive poverty reduction schemes that Indian politicians have offered and spent grandiosely on. 

The trend in the averages is striking. Under Atal Bihari Vajpayee's tenure, when incomes were low, the government spent close to 1.6 per cent of the GDP on poverty reduction programmes. India was a lot poorer 10 years ago and could not afford the average perfect targeting requirement of 2.2 per cent of GDP. During UPA 1, this deficit turned into a surplus (India became less poor) but the populist government spent twice the amount "needed" to remove poverty. The situation has worsened considerably in UPA 2, and in 2012-13, the government is spending more than six times than what is "needed". 

Gandhi and the guerilla

By  Manash Bhattacharjee 
February 23, 2013 

Special Arrangement Nehru smiles as Che Guevara gifts him a box of Cuban cigars. 

Special Arrangement Che Gueva is welcomed by residents of Pilana village near Delhi. 

Special Arrangement Che records an interview with AIR’s K.P. Bhanumathy. 

Military Deployment in Afghanistan is not in India’s National Interests

By  Amar Ramdasani
February 22, 2013 

With the US military involvement in Afghanistan nearing end by 2014, there are muted voices in India’s strategic community advocating deployment of the Indian military under a UN mandate in Afghanistan. Continuing for over more than a decade now, the Afghan war has perhaps been the longest war in US history. With over 2,500 coalition personnel killed and hundreds of billions spent and no long term solution yet in sight, it is worth asking whether a military involvement in Afghanistan would be in India’s interests. 

The security situation in Afghanistan remains fragile and the spread and intensity of attacks by the Taliban and their supporters follow a cyclical pattern. It is now known that even the combined strategic, technological and economic strengths of some of the world’s advanced countries including this century’s lone superpower have not been able to totally neutralise armed irregulars in Afghanistan. A Carnegie report assesses that the Afghan political system’s centre of gravity—the east and the Kabul region—is gravely threatened by a Taliban advance that will take place in the spring of 2013 following the winter lull in fighting, and that 17 out of 34 provinces are likely to be under the control of the Taliban within months of the withdrawal of ISAF from Afghanistan. The situation in Afghanistan is thus essentially that of a strategic stalemate. Given this prevailing murky ground situation, should India risk an extended military deployment in Afghanistan? The simple answer is No. 

The issue that needs to be considered while taking a call on an Indian military deployment in Afghanistan is that of Pakistan’s known complicity in the Afghan problem. It is well known that the documents made available by WikiLeaks in 2010 suggest that Pakistan allows representatives of its spy service to meet directly with the Taliban in secret strategy sessions to organize networks of militant groups that fight against American soldiers in Afghanistan, and even hatch plots to assassinate Afghan leaders. The killing of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad in a secret raid by US Special Forces has further exposed the duplicity and complicity of the Pakistani establishment. 

Therefore, the burning issue is can Pakistan be relied to abandon this duplicity should a UN mandated peace keeping force be deployed in AfPak? It would be naïve to be led into this kind of belief. On the contrary, given Pakistan’s known antipathy towards India’s growing clout in Afghanistan, Pakistan may just up the ante in Jammu & Kashmir, where the grit, toil and perseverance demonstrated over the past three decades by the Indian Armed Forces in containing terrorism has now begun to show results. It is time for India to consolidate the gains made in Jammu & Kashmir, instead of allowing itself to be dragged into a proxy war in a foreign land under the facade of a Rising Regional Power. 

Countering Urban Terrorism in India

By N. Manoharan
February 22, 2013 

Yesterday’s twin bomb blasts in Hyderabad has reiterated that the phenomenon of urban terrorism has taken firm root in India. In less than a decade, there have been about 20 major attacks in urban areas, averaging two a year. The targeted cities include Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Jaipur, Varanasi, Pune, Kanpur, Coimbatore, Srinagar, Jammu and Ahmedabad. All of these attacks have led to large-scale casualties, material damage and disruption of life and economic activity. 

While urban terrorism is relatively new to India, it has a long history in the international arena. The Irish Republican Army had fought British forces in Northern Ireland for several decades before a political settlement was finally negotiated. The Baader-Meinhof gang, a communist urban guerrilla group, was responsible for several acts of terrorism in Germany in the 1960s and 1970s. Most of the terror groups in Latin America are urban-based. Palestinian militants have managed to launch numerous urban terror attacks on Israeli civilians despite Israel’s vigorous pre-emptive measures and a pro-active response strategy. Members of Aum Shinrikyo, a cult group, carried out five co-ordinated sarin gas attacks on several lines of the Tokyo Metro in March 1995. Chechen rebels have been fighting Russia since the 1990s mostly in urban areas. 

As terrorists are rational in their choice of terrain and targets, evaluating strengths and weaknesses as well as costs and benefits, the urban terrain holds significant advantages. As is the characteristic of urban areas, the population is not only high, but also dense. Unlike in rural areas, inhabitants in cities and towns are more heterogeneous, which provides more scope for anonymity. It is anonymity that enables the terrorist fish to swim in urban waters easily; an excellent place for camouflage. For terrorists, logistical support like arms, medicines, food, and lodging are readily available in an average urban area. Manoeuvrability of terrorists is guaranteed by the presence of public and private transportation facilities that are both dependable and unobtrusive. In urban areas, a terrorist group may find it easier to recruit prospective terrorists in a predictable manner, for it is the city that nurtures dissidence in general. 

It's Not About Us

FEBRUARY 20, 2013 

Forget about the “war on terror.” The next few decades will be dominated by the bitter divide within Islam itself. 

Most Westerners have heard that there's a difference between Sunnis and Shiites, but there are very few of us who can say what it is. I hate to be the one to bring this up, but it's probably time to start getting educated. Like it or not, the 21st century will be dominated by the political reverberations of the rivalry within Islam. The so-called "war on terror" pales in comparison. 

If anyone had any doubt about this, just take a look at the recent headlines. Earlier this week, 89 Shiite Hazaras were killed in a bombing in the city of Quetta in Pakistan. Pakistani's 30 million Shiites (the second-largest population in the world, right after Iran) are increasing targets of persecution by the country's Sunni majority. Another attack five weeks earlier killed 100 other Shiites in the same city. 

The very same day as the Quetta bombing, six car bombs and three roadside explosions killed 21 people in Baghdad. All of the attacks targeted Shiite neighborhoods. Some 60 percent of Iraqis are Shiites, but that only seems to fuel the sectarian violence there, which has been going on now for almost seven years. Most of the attacks have been staged by terrorist groups like al Qaeda, who regard Shiites as heretics and claim to speak for the Sunni minority that has dominated the political system for much of the country's modern history. Many Sunni Iraqis still haven't reconciled themselves to being ruled by Shiites, people they often don't consider to be "real" Muslims. Sunnis are now vowing to organize politically to defend their claims. 

The Shiite-Sunni split is also a major factor in Syria's continuing civil war. President Bashar al-Assad belongs to the Alawite sect, which practices a distinct version of Islam that is close to Shiism. Even though the Alawites amount to a mere 15 percent of the population, they have long been a pillar of Assad family rule. This sectarian factor has reinforced the Assad regime's close alliance with the Shiite regime in Tehran -- and also fuels the hatred felt by members of the conservative Sunni majority towards the regime in Damascus. 

Blood in the streets: Quetta's Hazara massacres

By Niamatullah Ibrahimi 
February 22, 2013 

At about 5:30 PM local time on February 16, a massive bomb ripped through a bustling street lined with grocery stores, schools, and tuition centers in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta. A water tanker packed with an estimated 2,200 pounds of improvised explosives had been detonated in the middle of busy crowds of children leaving their classrooms, and men and women buying groceries for their evening meals. 

According to initial media reports, the blast killed at least 79 people and wounded 180 others, mostly women and children. A Hazara activist I spoke with two days after the attack claimed that the death toll had reached 110, as some of the wounded succumbed to their injuries and more bodies were recovered from the rubble of the shops brought down by the blast. The victims were members of the Hazara community, an ethno-religious minority that is becoming the symbol of Pakistan's drift into horrors of sectarian conflict and extremist violence. 

Like much of the past attacks against Hazaras, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), an extremist Sunni militant group ostensibly banned in Pakistan since 2001, claimed responsibility for the attack on Saturday. Abu Bakar Siddiq, its spokesman, called local media outlets to claim the attack and reiterate LeJ's stated mission of "making Balochistan a graveyard for the Shias." He blatantly declared "either we or the Shias will live in Quetta." 

Sectarian violence is neither new nor rare in Pakistan. Beginning in the 1980s, the country has witnessed an escalation of violence between militant groups of its Sunni majority and Shiite minority population. The growth of these jihadist outfits cannot be disentangled from strategic rivalries between Iran and Saudi Arabia over the leadership of the Islamic world. Saudi Arabia's decades-old policy of promoting puritanical Wahabi Islam, along with the Islamic Republic of Iran's efforts to promote its own version of revolutionary Shiite Islam, was central to the mushrooming of fanatical groups such as the LeJ. 

To Fight India, We Fought Ourselves

February 21, 2013 

LAHORE, Pakistan

ON Monday, my mother’s and sister’s eye doctor was assassinated. He was a Shiite. He was shot six times while driving to drop his son off at school. His son, age 12, was executed with a single shot to the head. 

Tuesday, I attended a protest in front of the Governor’s House in Lahore demanding that more be done to protect Pakistan’s Shiites from sectarian extremists. These extremists are responsible for increasingly frequent attacks, including bombings this year that killed more than 200 people, most of them Hazara Shiites, in the city of Quetta. 

As I stood in the anguished crowd in Lahore, similar protests were being held throughout Pakistan. Roads were shut. Demonstrators blocked access to airports. My father was trapped in one for the evening, yet he said most of his fellow travelers bore the delay without anger. They sympathized with the protesters’ objectives. 

Minority persecution is a common notion around the world, bringing to mind the treatment of African-Americans in the United States, for example, or Arab immigrants in Europe. In Pakistan, though, the situation is more unusual: those persecuted as minorities collectively constitute a vast majority. 

A filmmaker I know who has relatives in the Ahmadi sect told me that her family’s graves in Lahore had been defaced, because Ahmadis are regarded as apostates. A Baluch friend said it was difficult to take Punjabi visitors with him to Baluchistan, because there is so much local anger there at violence toward the Baluch. An acquaintance of mine, a Pakistani Hindu, once got angry when I answered the question “how are things?” with the word “fine” — because things so obviously aren’t. And Pakistani Christians have borne the brunt of arrests under the country’s blasphemy law; a governor of my province was assassinated for trying to repeal it. 

What then is the status of the country’s majority? In Pakistan, there is no such thing. Punjab is the most populous province, but its roughly 100 million people are divided by language, religious sect, outlook and gender. Sunni Muslims represent Pakistan’s most populous faith, but it’s dangerous to be the wrong kind of Sunni. Sunnis are regularly killed for being open to the new ways of the West, or for adhering to the old traditions of the Indian subcontinent, for being liberal, for being mystical, for being in politics, the army or the police, or for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Sino-Pakistan friendship a ‘model’ for bilateral ties: Chinese think-tank

By  Ananth Krishnan 

A new report by an official Chinese think-tank has hailed the relations with Pakistan as a “model of state-to-state relations” and strongly rejected suggestions that the ‘all-weather’ relationship was growing cold amid concerns about terrorism and a lack of aid. 

New factors 

The report, titled ‘A Model of State-to-State Relations’, was authored by Du Youkang, head of the Centre for Pakistan Studies at Shanghai’s Fudan University and a scholar who advises the government on its Pakistan policy. 

Published last month, the report highlights new factors — from China’s growing ties with India to Pakistan’s economic and security troubles — as increasingly shaping the relationship, but comes to the conclusion that the “China-Pakistan relationship will remain a model for countries with different social systems to communicate and interact with each other in the future”, according to a summary published by the Communist Party-run The Global Times. 

Increasing doubts 

The newspaper said the publication looked to address the “increasing doubts” about the traditionally close relationship. As an example, the relatively small amounts of aid to Pakistan — dwarfed by aid from Washington — has been cited as contradicting the rhetoric about ‘all-weather’ ties. . 

Terrorism in China’s far-western Xinjiang region, with Chinese officials blaming Pakistan-based groups, has also been seen by some analysts as an irritant. 

However, describing Pakistan as “China’s closest friend in South Asia”, the report said bilateral ties were “established on the foundation of deep-rooted public opinion” and would not be significantly altered. 

Why Wasn’t There a Chinese Spring?

By Steve Hess 
February 22, 2013 

Although sharing many of the same problems as Arab societies, the Arab Spring never arrived in Beijing. Why? 

It has now been two years since the self-immolation of the Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, provided the spark that set the Arab world aflame. A wave of protests spread throughout the region in quick succession and led to the overthrow of long ruling autocrats in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya, and possibly Syria. 

The collapse of regimes like Hosni Mubarak’s in Egypt, which many considered “an exemplar of…durable authoritarianism” was a salient reminder to many that such revolutions are “inherently unpredictable.” Before long some began to speculate that the protest movements might spread to authoritarian states outside the Arab world, including China. Indeed, the Chinese government was among those that feared the unrest would spread to China because, as one observer noted, China faced the same kind of “social and political tensions caused by rising inequality, injustice, and corruption” that plagued much of the Arab world on the eve of the uprisings. 

Alas it was not to be as the Chinese government has proven far more durable than many of its counterparts in the Arab world. This inevitably raises the question of what factors differentiated the Chinese government from its Arab counterparts in places like Egypt? 

Fortunately,in the more than two years since Mubarak fell, a number of theories have been advanced to explain the Arab Spring. 

One set of explanations has centered on social and economic drivers. According to this reasoning, unrest in the region was driven by a highly discontented and mobilized society. Youth unemployment and official corruption enraged citizens throughout much of the Arab world and the diffusion of new communications technologies, particularly social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, enabled these individuals to channel these grievances into effective anti-regime collective action. 

Impressions on China’s Second Missile Interceptor Test

By A. Vinod Kumar
February 22, 2013 

China is reported to have conducted the second test of its missile interceptor system on January 27, 2013 in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.1 Quite symbolic of China’s postural patterns, the reported test comes exactly three years (and 16 days) after the first test of its ballistic missile defence (BMD) system on January 11, 2010. Like in 2010, China has divulged little details on the system or technology used in the latest test, except for terming it as ‘defensive in nature’.2 In all probability, this seems to be another development test of the same system, which, I assume, is a reconfigured version of either the DF-21C or DF-25, referred to in some circles as the KS/SC-19.3 Both these medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBM) are two-stage systems with around 1500-1700 km range and capable of carrying a 600 kg payload (in this case, an exo-atmospheric kill vehicle). China was presumed to have used a reconfigured variant of the same system for its ASAT test of January 2007, when it hit a weather satellite in low-earth orbit. Another variant – the Kaituozhe 1 (KT-1) – was also known to be the vehicle for its commercial space launches.4 Reconfiguring these missiles to hit a satellite-size target would not be a tough task, though hitting another missile moving at a higher velocity is a challenging endeavour, which China seems to have mastered with its demonstration of an outer-space interception in 2010, confirmed then by the Pentagon.5

However, the element of doubt that is left behind by the latest test is the absence of any reference to exo-atmospheric interception. Though China has an inventory of advanced air defence systems of the Hongqi series (including HQ-9 & -12), it is unlikely that an interception exercise with any of these systems will be projected as a missile defence effort. Nonetheless, there are few indicators to discount the development of another missile interceptor with operational roles for the lower or theatre level.6 Assuming that the Chinese effort is to counter US BMD systems, besides responding to the inroads India has made in interception technologies, its pursuit of a multi-layered architecture cannot be ruled out. By divulging very few details, China has again left the world guessing on the contours of what could be an advanced BMD programme with regional and global implications, like its ASAT incarnation. 
Challenging the US BMD footprint 

With the US theatre (PAC-3) and boost-phase (Aegis SM-3) interception platforms showing up in East Asia, Beijing was invariably expected to respond with a similar capability. Though countering a BMD with another need not be the ideal strategic move, China’s missile defence efforts are seemingly geared towards negating the asymmetry caused by the presence of US BMD systems in its neighbourhood.7 Beijing can consider such deployments as impinging on its deterrence and retaliatory capabilities just as Russia saw a similar challenge from the earlier US plans to deploy the Ground-based Mid-Course Defence (GMD) system in Eastern Europe. It is hence no surprise that both Russia and China are developing exo-atmospheric interceptors that will negate any advantage that the US will seek to gain by the addition of defensive systems to its net offensive capability. 

Special Commentary: Gwadar and China’s Search for a Maritime Lebensraum

By Vijay Shankar
Former Commander-in-Chief, Strategic Forces Command of India 
19 February 2013

The end of the Cold War brought in its wake prognostication of the emergence of one world in which harmony, democracy, an end to conflict and of man’s ideological evolution with the grand formulation that western liberal democracy had prevailed (Fukuyama, 1989: 4, 18). Some saw a multi polar order and the arrival of China; others forecast a clash of civilisations (Huntington, 1997: 30-39). However, these conjectures found little use in understanding the realities of the post Cold War world, as each represented a candour of its own. The paradigm of the day is ‘uncertainty’ as marked by the tensions of multi polarity; tyranny of economics; anarchy of expectations; and a polarisation along religio-cultural lines, all compacted in the cauldron of globalisation.

The West saw in globalisation, a process which transformed the world in their mould through the adoption of western values, free markets, rule of law, flow of western capital and embracing of democratic norms. While globalisation with Chinese characteristics is about state capitalism, supremacy of central authority, controlled markets and currency and influence through power. It factored endemic instability, underscoring the premium on military power and the fundamental contradictions that existed, perceiving them as threatening the Chinese State and its dispensation, and as an impediment to growth and development. Against this backdrop, is the politics of competitive resource access which rationalised the use of military power. It is in this perspective that Chinese maritime strategy must be gauged.

Economic Power and China's Case for Lebensraum

China’s quest to secure rights of passage to the sea is to insure against the uncertainties of access to resources. It has led the country to the ‘Northern Passage’ (Shankar, 2012); significantly, the route avoids two sensitive ‘choke points’, the Malacca Strait and the Suez Canal. China also theorises that the road to securing lines of communication is through a strategy of ‘Access Denial.’ The strategy was founded on China's security concern with Taiwan where its logic is obvious. But, enabling such a strategy on a global scale invites confrontation.

The United States Heads to the South China Sea

By Michael T. Klare
February 21, 2013 

Why American Involvement Will Mean More Friction -- Not Less 

Until recently, Asian countries' competing claims in the seas around China did not cause outright conflict. But now that drilling technology can tap gas and oil beds there, Asia capitals are stepping up their games. 

With little fanfare, Beijing has recently taken an unusually moderate approach in the seas surrounding its territory. With the friendlier policy, the country hopes to restore its tarnished image in East Asia and reduce the temptation for Washington to take a more active role there. 

A Norweigian- and Chinese-owned offshore oil rig in the South China Sea, May 2006. (Bobby Yip / Courtesy Reuters) 

When U.S. officials are asked to comment on disputes over contested islands in the western Pacific, they invariably affirm that the Obama administration has no position on issues of sovereignty but opposes any use of force to resolve the matter. "Whether with regard to disputes in the South China Sea or in the East China Sea," Deputy Secretary of State William Burns declared last October in Tokyo, the United States "does not take a position on the question of ultimate sovereignty." True to form, he continued, "What we do take a position on is the importance of dealing with those questions through dialogue and diplomacy and avoiding intimidation and coercion." In this and other such statements, the United States projects an aura of neutrality -- even suggesting, on occasion, that the country could serve as a good-faith mediator between disputants. But Washington's stance is less neutral than it appears and more geared toward violent conflict than talking it out. 

In the East China Sea, China and Japan are squabbling over a cluster of small, uninhabited islands called the Diaoyu by the Chinese and the Senkaku by the Japanese. Japan has administered the islands since the end of World War II, but China, Taiwan, and Japan all lay claim to them. In the South China Sea, meanwhile, tensions have flared over several island groups, most notably the Spratly and Paracel islands (called, respectively, the Nansha and Xisha by China). China, Taiwan, and Vietnam claim all of these islands, and Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines claim some of them. 

The China-North Korea Relationship

By Jayshree Bajoria, and Beina Xu, Online Writer/Editor
 February 21, 2013 


China is North Korea's most important ally, biggest trading partner, and main source of food, arms, and fuel. China has helped sustain what is now Kim Jong-un's regime, and has historically opposed harsh international economic sanctions in the hope of avoiding regime collapse and an uncontrolled influx of refugees across its eight hundred-mile border with North Korea. But after Pyongyang's third nuclear test in February 2013, experts say that China's patience with its ally may be wearing thin. This latest nuclear test, following one in 2006 and another in May 2009, has complicated North Korea's relationship with Beijing, which has played a central role in the Six Party Talks, the multilateral framework aimed at denuclearizing North Korea.

These newly surfaced tensions have complicated foreign policy decisions within the ranks of Beijing's new leadership, ushered in at the beginning of 2013, as high-level discussions between China and North Korea have stalled since December 2012. CFR's Scott Snyder and See-won Byun of the Asia Foundation say that the incident has "dampened China's hopes for regional engagement that were raised by a series of bilateral consultations in Beijing among U.S., PRC, and DPRK special envoys in February." While Beijing continues to have more leverage over Pyongyang than any other nation, experts say the tests could worsen relations and many have urged China's new leadership to consider taking a tougher stance with its neighbor. 

Strong Allies 

China has supported North Korea ever since Chinese fighters flooded onto the Korean peninsula to fight for their comrades in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 1950. Since the Korean War divided the peninsula between the North and South, China has lent political and economic backing to North Korea's leaders: Kim Il-Sung (1912-1994), Kim Jong-Il (1941-2011), and his son and successor Kim Jong-un (1983-). 

In recent years, China has been one of the authoritarian regime's few allies. But this long-standing relationship became strained when Pyongyang tested a nuclear weapon in October 2006 and China agreed to UN Security Council Resolution 1718, which imposed sanctions on Pyongyang. By signing off on this resolution--as well as earlier UN sanctions that followed the DPRK's July 2006 missile tests--Beijing signaled a shift in tone from diplomacy to punishment. China also agreed to stricter sanctions after Pyongyang's second nuclear test in May 2009. In February 2013, Beijing summoned the North Korean ambassador to its foreign ministry to protest Pyongyang's third nuclear test, and issued a call for a calm reaction to the denuclearization talks. However, it stopped short of the harsh criticism it unleashed in 2006, when it described the North's first nuclear test as "brazen." 

Despite their long alliance, experts say Beijing does not control Pyongyang. "In general, Americans tend to overestimate the influence China has over North Korea," says Daniel Pinkston, a Northeast Asia expert at the International Crisis Group. In March 2010, China refused to take a stance against North Korea, despite conclusive evidence that showed Pyongyang sank a South Korean naval vessel. But in meetings with then leader Kim Jong-Il following the incident, then Chinese President Hu Jintao asked the North Korean leader to refrain from future provocations, says John S. Park, director of the Korea Working Group at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Hu also reportedly insisted on long overdue market reforms, notes Aidan Foster-Carter, a Korea expert at Leeds University. 

The Little Search Engine That Couldn’t

FEBRUARY 22, 2013 

How China’s Communist Party tried to compete with Google, and failed miserably. 

It probably seemed like a good idea at the time. In January 2010, Google announced that it was the target of cyberattacks originating in China; just a few months later it shuttered its headquarters in Beijing. By that point, privately owned Chinese Internet giant Baidu controlled a 73 percent stake in China's $1.7 billion online search market, with Google's share shrinking and smaller, entrepreneurial firms making up the rest. The Internet, then a Wild West where acerbic bloggers debated armies of government-sponsored flacks (known as the Fifty-Cent Party, for what they're allegedly paid for promoting the party line) and homegrown movies and TV shows competed for eyeballs with bootleg Hollywood films and grainy Japanese porn, was probably the only sector in China's state-dominated business landscape where the Communist Party feared to tread. 

Enter the People's Daily, the party's official mouthpiece, and the website it manages, People.com.cn, which had been trying to update its offerings for a generation that has better things to do than read the paper's stilted official pronouncements. A newspaper it supervises, Global Times, was becoming a successful broadsheet both in paper and online, and People's Daily wanted to expand its reach further still. 

On June 20, 2010, People's Daily announced the launch of a search engine, now titled Jike, a Chinese word for "immediately." Deng Yaping, a low-ranking party official who happened to be a four-time Olympic gold medalist in ping-pong and a Cambridge University Ph.D., was appointed the site's general manager; she said it would provide "a fresh news experience." In what was good for government relations but perhaps an inauspicious sign of what was to come, the announcement received a congratulatory message from then Propaganda Minister Liu Yunshan. "Now, the position of online news propaganda is growing more and more important, but the position of guiding online behavior has grown more and more strenuous" he wrote, adding that he hoped the website and its search engine could play a "pacesetter" role in guiding online opinion. 

Cyber Wars: Rogue Groups More Dangerous than China

By DAVID FRANCIS, The Fiscal Times 
February 22, 2013 

Cyber warfare has dominated the national security dialogue this week after reports that China has been systematically attacking U.S. computer networks--from the Defense Department to The New York Times to JP Morgan Chase. But the greatest threat does not come from a state-sponsored army of hackers; it comes from rogue groups that have no agenda other than to wreak havoc, disrupt lives, or worse.

Think of the virtual conflict currently taking place say, between the U.S and China as a cyber Cold War. China is going to spy on the U.S. in an attempt to gain information. But it’s highly unlikely that their leaders would mount a cyber attack that would provoke a traditional military response. The Chinese are looking to take information, not lives. 

The real threats, according to experts, come from cyber terrorists not connected with national militaries. These hackers aren’t concerned with the long-term consequences of their actions. They just want to cause chaos.

“There are probably 100 independent hacker groups out there that are really, really good,” said Kevin Coleman, a cyber terrorism expert at the Technolytics Institute, a firm that teaches cyber defense. “There is little chance they’ll be caught and they have the capability to take sites down.”

Why We're Not In A Cyberwar With China

By Antone Gonsalves 

Recent reports of Chinese cyberspying have revealed hacking operations with a shocking scale and level of sophistication. China's hackers appear to be stealing massive amounts of intellectual property and proprietary information from U.S. companies, including those connected to the nation's critical infrastructure, such as waterworks, the electrical power grid and oil and gas pipelines. A recent study by security company Mandiant has shown that, in all probability, some of the snooping has been done by an arm of the Chinese military. 

The revelations of China's misbehavior have led some writers to rashly declare that the U.S. is at war with our Asian rival, at least in cyberspace. This could not be further from the truth, and here's why. 

There's No War 

First, something obviously needs to be done to punish China for its thievery. But to describe the current state as war or cyberwar draws emotions at the expense of rational thinking. We are not at war with China, either in or out of cyberspace. 

Real cyberwar would start with an attack that destroys something valuable or vital, kills people, or both. If the recipient labels the strike an act of war then time for negotiations is over. "Reacting diplomatically and legally to an act of cyberwar is inadequate," says Stewart Baker, a partner at Steptoe & Johnson and a former assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security. "It's an act of war, we need to treat it as such and respond with our own acts of war." 

An example of a true cyberattack was the Stuxnet malware that destroyed centrifuges in Iran's nuclear facilities. Discovered in 2010, Stuxnet was designed by the U.S. and Israel, according to media reports.

America Can't Win The Cyberwar By Hacking

By Michael Kelley
Feb. 21, 2013

REPORT: Anonymous Hacks Top Nuclear Watchdog Again To Force Investigation Of Israel Yesterday we detailed how the U.S. doesn't have any good options in the face of persistent economic espionage by Chinese military hackers, and several readers asked: Why not just hack them back?

We asked several cyber security experts and received two questions back: Why would we want to? and Who says we aren't? 

"The U.S. isn't interested in China's intellectual property," Skylar Rampersaud, a cyber expert at Immunity, told BI. "So us going into Chinese companies and stealing their data does not give us a big boost like it does for them to come to our companies and steal data." 

Furthermore, there's a big difference between military espionage (which all major players engage in) and economic espionage, which is frowned upon in the financially-intertwined international community. 

"[China is] trying to confuse economic espionage with normal espionage, and the U.S. is drawing a clear red line there," Immunity CEO Dave Aitel told BI. "Not only do we not do economic espionage, but even if we did, it wouldn't help us." 

It would actually be counterproductive since the strength of America's primary recourse — diplomacy — depends on it. 

"We have the moral position that [economic espionage] is something that shouldn't happen," Rampersaud, who worked for the National Security Agency, said. "It's a lot easier to have our diplomats say 'This should never happen' if we're not doing it." 

But that doesn't mean the U.S. isn't hacking China — it's just that it isn't known.