19 March 2013

India's Network Centric Warfare Programme

19 Mar , 2013 

If a perusal is done of the military doctrines of the major advanced powers, one aspect that has a common theme across the board is information dominance. Network centricity is the backbone providing holistic battlefield transparency and decisive information advantage over the adversary. Future battles will take place in the three main domains of information, physical and cognitive. The next generation networks that are at the heart of a robust net centric system include telecommunication, bandwidth, spectrum and Service Level Agreements which are able to withstand the rugged requirements of the Armed Forces. The combination of hardware, software, human resource and doctrine would give the defence forces the much needed punch in the conflicts of the future. 

As future conflicts will be fought in a technology intensive environment, high training standards in equipment use would be essential. 

Indian Army efforts to develop indigenous basic net centric capability begins with the soldier on the ground and goes on to advanced terrestrial and space based net centric capability. A classic example of a completely indigenous simple hand held component is the “SATHI” (Situation Awareness and Tactical Handheld Information); project BETA (annual report 2004-05 Ministry of Defence). SATHI is a strong feature based portable combat information system providing a Common Operating Picture (COP) to the infantry soldier and his team on the ground. In addition, the equipment also has the ability to connect to an external long range radio to provide the battlefield picture to senior commanders. There is an integrated Geographical Positioning System (GPS) and radio, a customised Geographical Information System (GIS), dynamic wireless LAN and user friendly battlefield application. A very important component is the Software Defined Radio (SDR) which will form the core of a true ad hoc network, tactical in nature and robust on the front lines. The device communicates with hopping functionality to relay the information to HQs, which is a crucial operational requirement in a counter-insurgency or conventional environment where infrastructure is virtually non-existent. 

The GIS application can be used in friend-foe identification, target marking and coordination of team activities, particularly at company level and below. The SMS and texting feature is innovative and can help in team communication, taking orders and importantly calling for help as was evident from US troops’ reports from Iraq and Afghanistan where they had used off the shelf applications like Skype and Instant Messengers to call in aerial strikes. Another functionality of which limited information is available is the self destruct in enemy hand capability; the encrypted software has a mechanism to go blank, which would be useful to secure the equipment and the contained information. The touted weight of the equipment is nearly 875 grams which is acceptable but has scope for improvement and comes with a solar charger and batteries capable of sustaining 24 hour operations. The operating system is Linux, open source software, which not only brings the cost down substantially as compared to proprietary software, but is also more secure as access to source code is not an issue. The Army had conducted user trials in Jammu and Kashmir in 2005 initially deploying around 90 of them and then in 2007 after modifications. SATHI can be used in collaboration with hand held thermal imagers (HHTI), night vision devices (NVDs), unattended ground sensors (UGS) and radios, which could be very effective in counter insurgency and border management operations to provide real time common information and strengthen the surveillance grid. 

Maoists: Tactical Retreat

Fakir Mohan Pradhan 
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

The Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) shocked the country in the beginning of 2013, first, by surgically inserting Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) in the abdomens of troopers killed in the Latehar encounter on January 7, 2013, and again by shooting at an IAF chopper on a rescue mission, forcing it to crash land in the Sukma District on January 18, 2013.

Nevertheless, the intensity of Maoist violence declined sharply in 2012, consolidating the trend established in 2011. Data released by Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) as well as open source data compiled by South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) clearly confirm this trend. According to SATP, a total of 367 fatalities - 146 civilians, 104 Security Force personnel (SFs) and 117 Left Wing Extremists – were reported in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) related violence in 2012 as against 602 fatalities – 275 civilians, 128 SFs and 199 Left Wing Extremists – in 2011.

The number of major incidents [each involving three or more fatalities] fell to 22 in 2012, as against 47 in 2011.

The decline in fatalities and acts of violence has variously been explained in terms of either a ‘tactical retreat’ by Maoists, or as the result of the destruction of the Maoists’ power to perpetrate violence. The problem is that each of these the possibilities demands different policy and strategic responses from the state and its agencies.

Geographical Spread of LWE Activity (District-Wise) 2009-2012
Violence affected
Under influence
Total number of affected Districts

Source: Compiled from MHA data released on different occasions, NA: Not Available,
*Data till November 2012, ** Data till June 30, 2012

Interestingly, MHA data on the geographical spread of the Maoist violence gives a somewhat different picture. MHA clarifies that “the influence of Maoists in LWE affected areas is assessed on the basis of both overground activities by Front Organizations and violent activities by Underground Cadres. The profile of both these activities keeps changing in different Districts at different times.” MHA data (above) indicates that, while the total number of affected Districts gives the impression of a substantive decline, the decline in the number of violence affected Districts has not been comparable. Evidently, the core areas of Maoist activity remain intact. 

According to MHA estimates, moreover, the CPI-Maoist had 7,200 armed cadres in 2006. Fresh estimates of the current strength of CPI-Maoist by the MHA put the ‘hard core strength’ at 8,600. In addition, there are 38,000 ‘jan(people’s) militia’, armed with rudimentary weapons, who provide logistical support to the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA), and at least occasionally participate in swarming attacks.

Left Wing Extremists killed, arrested surrendered 2007 - 2012
Naxal Killed
Naxal arrested
Naxal surrendered

Source: MHA

It is significant that, despite the continuous and sustained depletion in ranks due to killing, arrest or surrender, the Maoists have not only been able to replenish losses, but appear to have increased their strength.

Sinking State

Ajit Kumar Singh 
Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management

In a development heavy with irony, on March 7, 2013, Pakistan’s Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani – who effectively oversees all internal and external security dispensations in the country, notwithstanding the visible pretence of a ‘civilian’ and ‘democratically elected’ Government – conveyed the Army’s ‘concerns’ to the President, Asif Ali Zardari, about ‘rapidly deteriorating law and order’ and about ‘improper and inefficient utilisation of civilian law-enforcement agencies by the federal and provincial governments in dealing with terrorism’. While Kayani sought to distance himself from years of military misrule and manipulation, his ‘briefing’ to the President does confirm the rising tide of terrorism and disorders in the country, and growing loss of control that is now being experienced in every sphere of governance.

Through 2012, Pakistan continued to face the brunt of the Islamist extremism and terrorism that it has long produced and exported. According to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), the country recorded a total of at least 6,211 terrorism-related fatalities, including 3,007 civilians, 2,472 militants and 732 Security Forces (SF) personnel in 2012 as against 6,303 fatalities, including 2,738 civilians, 2,800 militants and 765 SF personnel in 2011. [Since media access is heavily restricted in the most disturbed areas of Pakistan, and there is only fitful release of information by Government agencies and media reportage, the actual figures could be much higher]. The first 69 days of 2013, have already witnessed 1,537 fatalities, including 882 civilians, 116 SF personnel and 539 militants.

The marginal decline of 1.45 percent in total fatalities in 2012 over the preceding year is principally the result of Islamabad’s continued approach of going soft on terror. Significantly, while militant and SF fatalities decreased by 11.78 and 4.31 percents, respectively, civilian fatalities witnessed an increase of 9.82 percent over 2011. 2011 had registered the highest civilian fatalities (2,738) since 2003. Indeed, the number of civilian deaths in Pakistan exceeded neighboring and war ravaged Afghanistan (2,754), which many consider is the most volatile and unstable country in South Asia.

Pakistan has already recorded 882 civilian fatalities in 2013, significantly higher than the combined fatalities (655) of SF personnel and terrorists.

October 2012 was also witness to the one attack targeting a civilian victim, which shook the nation and shocked the rest of the world, when fourteen year old children’s rights activist and Pakistan’s first National Peace Prize winner Malala Yusufzai, was attacked while returning from school in Mingora, the headquarters of Swat District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Yusufzai was critically shot in the head, but survived and recovered after intensive treatment in UK.

2012 also saw heightened sectarian violence with at least 507 recorded fatalities in 173 incidents, as against 203 killings in 30 such incidents in 2011. 2012 saw the worst-ever carnage against Shias across Pakistan. SATP data registered at least 396 Shias killed in 113 targeted attacks through the year, as against 136 Shias in 24 incidents in 2011. Regrettably, the Pakistani state is widely believed to be collusive with the perpetrators of these attacks. Ali Dayan Hasan, the head of Human Rights Watch (HRW) in Pakistan, on January 11, 2013, observed,

As Shia community members continue to be slaughtered in cold blood, the callousness and indifference of authorities offers a damning indictment of the state, its military and security agencies. Pakistan’s tolerance for religious extremists is not just destroying lives and alienating entire communities, it is destroying Pakistani society across the board.

Yesterday: Iraq. Tomorrow: Iran?

March 18, 2013
Joe Raedle / Getty Images

U.S. troops in the Kuwait desert hours before the 2003 invasion of Iraq begins.

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It was 10 years ago this week that George Bush launched his ill-fated war of choice in Iraq. The anniversary comes as politicians in Washington and Israel continue to discuss the option of military action against Iran.

The parallels with a decade ago are striking.

Once again, we hear claims of a grave threat from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and the possibility of military action. Vice President Joe Biden recently told the convention of the American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) that “all options, including military force, are on the table.”

Then as now we are warned of the need to take action before it’s too late. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu sent a video message to the AIPAC convention claiming that Iran will soon cross a nuclear “red line.”

We’ve heard this story before.

Who can forget Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s infamous line “we can’t wait for the smoking gun to be a nuclear mushroom cloud”? Or Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s ludicrous attempt to explain the whereabouts of Iraq’s WMD: “They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”

Some of us reported at the time that no evidence existed of Iraqi WMD, and that UN inspections during the 1990s haddismantled Saddam Hussein’s nuclear, ballistic missile and chemical weapons threat, but our voices were ignored in the march to war. Official investigations during the occupation confirmed the complete absence of any WMD threat.

Some politicians apparently never learn.

Today, prominent Democratic and Republican senators are lining up behind Senate Resolution 65, which declares that “if the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in self-defense, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide diplomatic, military, and economic support.” The resolution is in effect a backdoor authorization for war. It sets the stage for the United States being dragged into a future Israeli attack on Iran.

One of the authors of the resolution is Democratic New York Senator Charles Schumer. The senator was sharply critical of George Bush’s handling of the Iraq war, but now he is resorting to Bush-style misrepresentation to justify a potential attack on Iran. According to Jamal Abdi of the National Iranian American Council, Schumer is telling constituents that Iran “continues to enrich uranium into weapons-grade nuclear materials” and that the resulting fuel is “sufficient to arm a nuclear warhead.”

Not true.

The International Atomic Energy Agency reports regularly on Iran and has no evidence of uranium enrichment to weapons-grade level. This past week the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was on Capitol Hill to repeat what U.S. intelligence agencies have reported consistently for years: Iran is not enriching uranium to weapons grade and has not made a decision to build a bomb. Of course, real concerns exist about Tehran’s nuclear program, but there is no imminent nuclear threat from Iran or justification for threatening military attack.

Sanctions-based diplomacy offers a formula for resolving the nuclear stand-off with Iran, just as sanctions and UN inspections were a viable alternative to war 10 years ago. Back then my colleague George Lopez and I reported that targeted sanctions and renewed inspections were working effectively to prevent Iraq from acquiring nuclear materials and rebuilding its war machine. Today U.S. and European sanctions are squeezing Iran’s economy and reducing its oil exports, providing significant leverage that could be used to negotiate a diplomatic settlement.

The 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq is a good occasion for trying to learn from the mistakes of the past…and to make sure we are not misled into war again.

David Cortright is the Director of Policy Studies at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. He blogs at www.davidcortright.net

Tibetan Independence (Rangzen) Movement Spreads

By B. Raman 

1. The Tibetan independence (Rangzen) movement, started on November 23, 2001, by Thubten Jigme Norbu, former Abbot of the Kumbum monastery and Professor Emeritus at the Indiana University in the US, has been slowly spreading. 

2. The movement, which was launched by a group of Tibetans who constituted themselves into what was called the Rangzen Alliance, describes its objectives as follows: “The Rangzen Alliance is a movement of committed Tibetans and friends, world-over, who have joined together to provide a common platform of action for the realization of three goals: 

a. The restoration of Tibetan independence. 

b. The return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet as the sovereign head-of-state of an independent nation. 

c. The establishment of a fully democratic system of government in exile Tibetan society and in free Tibet – based on the rule of law and the primacy of individual freedom.” 

3. The Rangzen movement enjoys the support of the Tibetan Youth League (TYC) and many members of the Tibetan diaspora spread across the world. While the movement has reservations about the middle road policy advocated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama envisaging autonomy for all the Tibetan areas of China in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan, it has been strongly backing the leadership of His Holiness. 

4. The movement, which had lost some momentum after the brutal suppression of the Tibetans by the People’s Liberation Army after the anti-Chinese riots of March 2008, is again showing signs of gathering strength as resentment builds up among the Tibetans of China and the diaspora over the Chinese indifference to the continuing self-immolation of Tibetan monks and others in the Tibetan areas since March 2009. 108 Tibetans have so far committed self-immolation, the majority of them in the Sichuan province. 

5. The total Chinese indifference to the self-immolations and their attempts to arrest and persecute relatives and friends of those committing self-immolation on charges of complicity have added to the resentment and injected fresh oxygen into the Rangzen movement. On February 13, 2013, the TYC organised a two-day Rangzen Conference, which was attended by around 35 independence activists. 

How Washington Encourages Nuclear Proliferation

March 18, 2013

The current top priority for U.S. foreign policy is to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons—or even acquiring the capability to build such weapons. That goal reflects the general U.S. policy, in place for more than six decades, of combating nuclear proliferation. U.S. leaders achieved a major diplomatic triumph with the signing of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in the late 1960s, and subsequent administrations have fought hard to prevent signatories from violating its provisions and to lobby other states to join the nonproliferation regime.

But U.S. actions frequently undermine Washington’s own nonproliferation goals. U.S. policy makers are adamant that such countries as Iran and North Korea have no legitimate reasons to want their own nuclear arsenals. That argument is either naive or disingenuous. Leaders in Pyongyang and Tehran have undoubtedly watched how Washington treats non-nuclear adversaries, and surveying the global scene has not offered any comfort.

Following the Persian Gulf War in 1991, a high-level Indian military official was asked what lessons could be drawn from that conflict. His response reportedly was: “Don’t fight the United States unless you have nuclear weapons.” That lesson was strengthened later in the decade when U.S.-led NATO forces bombed Serbia into relinquishing control of its restive Kosovo province.

Two more recent incidents made it clear that non-nuclear adversaries of the United States risk being targets of forcible regime change. In 2003, Washington invaded Iraq and ousted Saddam Hussein. This happened right on Iran’s doorstep, and outspoken American hawks even asserted that a broader purpose of the Iraq mission was to intimidate Tehran—or, hopefully, even spark an uprising against the clerical regime.

An even more damaging precedent was set in Libya. Longtime Libyan strongman Muammar el-Qaddafi had pursued a nuclear program for years—albeit with only minimal progress. But he finally abandoned that effort and sought to normalize relations with the United States and its Western allies. For a short time, it appeared that his course change would pay dividends, as the Western powers greatly eased their economic sanctions, and even such a strident hawk like Senator John McCain praised Qaddafi during a visit to Libya.

The honeymoon did not last long, though. When insurgent forces began an uprising against Qaddafi’s rule, the U.S. and its NATO allies assisted the rebellion, even launching air strikes on government targets. Qaddafi’s ouster and execution conveyed the message that a ruler who gave up his nuclear ambitions could not expect any lasting benefits from the West. Indeed, remaining non-nuclear merely made a regime-change agenda easier and more certain.

Given such a track record, it is a bit much for U.S. officials to demand that North Korea and Iran walk into the same trap. And both governments show no intention of doing so.

It’s possible that Pyongyang and especially Tehran might have pursued their nuclear quests even if the United States had not treated non-nuclear adversaries the way that it did. Regional considerations also play important roles. India and Pakistan eventually barged into the global nuclear-weapons club primarily because of their bilateral rivalry, and in India’s case, worries about China. Concerns about U.S. intentions played only a secondary role. Given the bitter Sunni-Shiite rivalry throughout the Middle East and its own ambitions as a regional power, Tehran has relevant incentives to become a nuclear-weapons state irrespective of U.S. policy.

But Washington certainly has not helped its nonproliferation agenda toward Iran, North Korea, or other countries that are on unfriendly terms with the United States. Instead, U.S. actions have made the case that those governments would be wise to acquire a nuclear deterrent if they want to avoid being the next case of forcible regime change. That was assuredly not Washington’s intention, but it is the inevitable result.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor to The National Interest, is the author of nine books and more than 500 articles and policy studies on international affairs.

The Secret of the Wonder Weapon That Israel Will Show Off To Obama

By Karl VickMarch 19, 2013
Uriel Sinai

An Israeli missile from the Iron Dome defence missile system is launched to intercept and destroy incoming rocket fire from Gaza on Nov. 17, 2012 in Tel Aviv, Israel.

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No tour of Middle East conflict zones could be complete without a stop at Sderot, an Israeli town of 24,000 that stands uncomfortably close to the Gaza Strip. The rain of rockets out of the Palestinian enclave has made Sderot famous for two things: the thickness of its roofs (even bus stops have reinforced concrete tops); and the collection of crumpled missiles arrayed in racks behind the police station. As a visiting VIP in 2008, U.S. Senator Barack Obama dutifully inspect what the machine shops of Islamic Jihad and Hamas fashion from lengths of pipe and scrap metal. Low-tech doesn’t begin to cover it.

It’s a long way up the Mediterranean coast from Sderot to Haifa, and even farther to the showroom of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., the weapons development branch of Israel’s military-industrial complex. Hi-tech doesn’t begin to cover it. Rafael developed the first precision-guided munitions — the precursor to the American-made JDAMs that replaced “dumb bombs” – and scores of other battlefield innovations, from IED detectors to floating drones. But the company’s most acclaimed invention is the one now-President Obama will inspect moments after arriving in Israel next week: Iron Dome. It is a missile interception system that has performed what Israelis regard as a miracle, draining a good bit of the fear out of the wail of an air raid siren. During the last Gaza conflict, which lasted a week in November, Iron Dome knocked out of the sky a reported 84% of the missiles it aimed at – that is, the ones headed toward population centers. The rockets headed for open space its computers simply let fall. Rafael executives are understandably proud of Iron Dome, which after a few months on the job is performing at the level of a system that’s had seven years to work out the kinks. But they appear even prouder of the unlikely philosophy behind it. To make the most-tested, if not the most effective anti-missile system in military history, Israeli engineers took a page from the Gaza militants they aimed to frustrate. The secret to Iron Dome is that it’s cheap.

Consider the problem of volume. Since 2005, Gaza militants have fired more than 4,000 of their homemade rockets into Israel. Most cost a few hundred dollars each. Interceptors typically cost a few hundred thousand. “The main question that everyone asks is, ‘You’re firing a very costly missile against something very cheap,’’’ says Joseph (Yossi) Horowitz, a retired air force colonel who markets air and missile defense systems at Rafael. “So our main mission was to reduce the cost.”

The economizing would be across the board, but the biggest savings were realized by reducing the size of the missile’s eyes — by far the most expensive component. An interceptor missile locks onto its target by following directions from the radar in its nose cone, typically packed with radio frequency sensors of extravagant unit cost. An interceptor carried by a fighter-jet has to be very smart, because it’s expected to find a missile being fired before it’s even in sight. The nose cone radar of an AIM/AMRAAM has so many RFs, or radio frequency nodes, that it runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But a homemade missile coming out of Gaza is simply ballistic: it goes up, and comes down. Rafael realized its launch and trajectory can be detected by by ground radar, which would then transmit that information to the Iron Dome interceptor launched into the area of the sky where it’s headed. Only when the two missiles come near one another does the interceptor’s own radar come alive, guiding it to the incoming Qassam or GRAD and colliding with its own nose – where the warhead is positioned – in midair. It’s a delicate business, what with each missile traveling at 700 meters per second.

“I can bring the interceptor in an accurate way, near the target, which means I can use the radar, the ‘seeker’ for a very short time,” says Horowitz. The shorter the time, the fewer the RF sensors required. “Saves money,” he says. How much? “Two digits: From hundreds of thousands of dollars to several thousand dollars.”

The savings mount up. Most guided missiles are made of so-called “exotic” materials, complex polymers designed to prevent the rocket from expanding or contracting as it travels through different altitudes. Again, not necessary for Iron Dome,which ascends only a few thousand feet. “Here we did it with aluminum,” Horowitz says. “Went across the street. Got some pipe.”

The result is visible in this extraordinary YouTube posting from a wedding in Be’er Sheva, an Israeli city of 200,000. The incoming missiles are not visible in the night sky until the ascending Iron Dome interceptors find and destroy them – again and again and again. “We can do more, but in this video we do 12,” says Horowitz, a reserve colonel in the Israeli military’s air defense section. “You are no looking for the best of the best. You are looking for some optimization.”

At about $50 million per battery – the launchers with 20 missiles each, ground radar and command and control center, led by an officer equipped with an abort button — Iron Dome still costs plenty, especially since Israel estimates it would need at least 13 of them to protect the entire country. It currently has five. But the U.S. Congress voted about $300 million to help close the gap, which is why the Israel Defense Force will truck a battery to Ben Gurion International on Wednesday to be photographed behind the American president.

That no previous anti-missile system has performed so impressively might raise awkward questions about the norms of defense procurement in other nations. (For David’s Sling, the Israeli version of the Patriot 3, the U.S. intermediate-range interceptor that costs about $5 million per interceptor, Rafael is partnering with Raytheon, an American firm, and still aims do the job for one quarter the cost.) But for Israelis, the more pressing question is how to define success.

Defence Budget far from Threat Perception

Issue Net Edition | Date : 18 Mar , 2013 

There is an overall decrease in the defence outlay of almost all countries in the world including India except China and Pakistan. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, China’s annual defence spending rose from over $30 billion in 2000 to almost $120 billion in 2010. The total military spending in 2012, based on the latest announcement from Beijing, is around $160 billion. Reduction in defence spending will be the main target for US’s deficit reduction programme for the next ten years — yet, US spends more than four times of that of China. 

…it is wise to remember that the plan to modernise the Indian military was put on hold during the 1990s, which proved disastrous subsequently during Kargil operations. 

India, vilified as the largest importer of weapons, is nowhere near China or the US — not only in spending but also in keeping up with the pace of technological developments. Its efforts at achieving taint-free acquisition, what with blacklisting of leading arms manufacturers and cancellation of contracts, have stalled the process of defence modernisation. Defence deals are mired in scams like the present deal with Augusta Westland, which is more about VVIP movement. 

To some extent, the Finance Minister in his Budget allayed apprehensions by not ‘slashing’, but by allowing a modest increase of 14 per cent over revised estimates of Rs.178,503 crore, or 4.5 per cent over Budget estimates – the lowest increase in the last three years, at Rs 2,03,672 crore with Rs 86,741 crore for capital acquisition. Unfortunately, the allocation is not based on the threat perception of two-pronged offensive from China and Pakistan. 

Mr Antony said that the government is drastically cutting down on expenditure across the board however, there will be no cuts in “priority areas” and the “operational preparedness” of the military will not be affected. 

More importantly, revenue expenditure (day-to-day costs and salaries) stands at Rs 116,931 crore, surpassing by far the capital needed for new weapons, sensors and platforms at Rs 86,741 crore. It reflects a poor “teeth-to-tail” ratio. Also, a major chunk of capital outlay will go for “committed liabilities”, not leaving much for new projects. The finance ministry will once again step in towards end-December to slash the allocated Budget. In the going fiscal, the capital outlay was cut by Rs 10,000 crore, and revenue by Rs 4,904 crore. 

Being forewarned is forearmed

Rohit Choudhary

It is time the police forces in all Indian cities followed the lead of neighbourhood watch implemented in other countries and developed the community as an asset for gathering and sharing intelligence to prevent terror strikes

Bodies of CRPF jawans killed in a suicide attack in Srinagar last week being sent home after a wreath-laying ceremony. PTI

THE recent terrorist attack in Srinagar that killed five CRPF jawans and the twin blasts in Hyderabad — another shocking addition to a long tally of serial blasts in the last decade in major cities of India — have severely dented the credibility of the security forces in preventing such incidents. The huge city population and large number of crowded areas have put tremendous strain on the security apparatus, rendering preventive measures ineffective and making our cities vulnerable, enabling terrorists to strike at regular intervals, choosing the place and time to inflict maximum loss of life and psychological scars. 

In the current scenario, the internal security in India needs reinforcement from all quarters and community can play a vital role in defeating the designs of subversive forces in India. While the debate rages on to find ways and means to secure our cities, several forces across the world have adopted community participation measures wherein residents share the responsibility with the police and help in implementing crime prevention strategies. A terrorist strike broadly has three distinct stages — pre- strike preparatory stage, execution stage and post-strike response. Community participation measures of China, Holland and Singapore are of considerable relevance for prevention and response at these three stages, respectively. 

Neighbourhood watch scheme of China 

During the time span of nearly 30 years, before the implementation of the policy of economic modernisation, the Chinese police had developed extremely effective policing strategies. The main components of Chinese policing were a closely monitored household registration system and an extensive surveillance system of mass-line organisations. Under the household registration system, everyone must register his or her residence in a locality with the police. To ensure the enforcement of the household registration law, a tightly knit police and mass-line supervisory system was set up. Neighborhood committees were established in all neighborhoods. Corresponding to the mass-line organisation network, a police substation was set up in each larger community. The larger community was divided into subsections, with each subsection containing several neighborhood committees. A police officer, known as the household registration officer, was assigned to each subsection. The officer visited the neighborhoods within his jurisdiction on a daily basis and was informed by the neighborhood committees about all happenings in the community. In addition to making sure that all residents were properly registered, the household registration officer also maintained the security and order in the neighborhoods and investigated minor offences. Since an officer usually worked in a community for a long time, he soon became extremely familiar with the residents, as well as the conditions of life in the community. The advantage of the system was that it enabled the police to keep close contacts with community residents and to keep a tight surveillance on everything and everyone in a neighborhood. No strangers could come to a neighborhood without being noticed immediately and reported promptly to the police. 

Fear terror, not NCTC

Published on The Asian Age (http://www.asianage.com)
By editor
Created 19 Mar 2013

An NCTC which coordinates the inputs from all agencies responsible for various segments of intelligence collection is an absolute imperative

Amer-ica’s Natio-nal Counterterrorism Centre (NCTC), under the directorate of National Intelligence and department of homeland security, was created by a presidential decree in August 2004, in pursuance of the recommendations of a Senate Committee set up to inquire into the destruction of the World Trade Centre by Islamic kamikaze pilots on September 11, 2001 (9/11).

The NCTC was chartered to coordinate all available national intelligence and resources in the fight against terror worldwide and keep the American homeland safe. As far as is known, there was no opposition to the proposal in the American legislature.

A similar proposal originated in India in the aftermath of the traumatic Mumbai terror attacks of November 26, 2008 (26/11) caused by a jihadi group of the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, which caught a dozing and criminally unprepared nation completely by surprise. But nothing much seems to have come of it, as the traditionally pathetic and lackadaisical reactions to the multiple bomb blasts in Hyderabad on February 22 demonstrate. But the Hyderabad blasts did serve the purpose, however limited, of reviving attention on the waning NCTC debate. It’s been a jerky and prolonged stop-start process which has ground on almost interminably with much clashing of gears as political leaders and other aspirants for public office have made the NCTC a political volleyball rather than what it should be — a prime issue of national security.

In the interests of the country, all distracting side issues raised by petty regional politicians without the least comprehension of national security, must be disregarded and consigned to the dustbin.

The latest manifestation of this apathy has been the chain of bomb blasts in Hyderabad. The public in India is deeply concerned about terrorism and generally associates terrorist incidents in India with the active quasi-official as well as popular support of Pakistan.

The emerging links between the Hyderabad bombers and Dawood Ibrahim, Riaz Bhatkal are disquieting reminders of a gathering tide of externally sponsored fundamentalist violence, which cannot be simply wished away.

But the greater danger is from the repercussions inside India by the accumulated psychological impact of these incidents if they are not effectively countered — a rising tide which may finally wash away the admirable restraint displayed to date by the people of India. Such a catastrophe must be prevented at all costs, because this precisely is what the terrorists want.

India blots out Israeli issues

By S Samuel C Rajiv 

India and Israel established formal diplomatic ties in January 1992. In the more than two decades since, the relationship has seen enormous growth. Broadly, these have encompassed three pegs - defense, trade and people-to-people contacts. Despite opposition from some quarters, the positive growth in the trajectory of the relationship has not suffered. This is both due to India's foreign policy "balance" as well as Israel's active public diplomacy and outreach activities. 

Three pegs

The defense aspect has been the most prominent peg so far. Israel's assistance to the Indian armed forces during critical times like the Kargil War (when it supplied much needed ammunition for its howitzers among others) was well received. India is estimated to have obtained over US$9 billion worth of equipment from Israel, ranging from multi-billion dollar Phalcon AWACS to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's). Joint cooperation in the production of long-range surface-to-air missiles (SAM) for the Navy and medium range SAM's for the Air Force are currently being executed, apart from other cooperation. 

Bilateral trade which was less than $200 million in 1992 has jumped to $6.6 billion during 2011-12, with over $4 billion of it being exports from India. In 2011, the diamond trade constituted over 50% of trade volumes between the two countries. Other sectors of active trade include chemicals, pharmaceuticals, information technology, apart from agriculture cooperation. 

The third peg of the relationship is the positive people-to-people contacts. Nearly 50,000 Israelis visited India during 2011, making up over 17% of foreign tourist arrivals (FTA) from West Asia. Israeli tourists in 2009 made up nearly 20% of all FTA's from the region. The number of Indians visiting Israel was over 50,000 in 2012. The figure stood at 40,000 during the previous year, which was more than double than during 2009. India became the number one source country of tourists from Asia to Israel during 2012. 

Consequently, there has been a strong push to further strengthen this segment of the relationship. Both countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to boost tourism ties during the visit of the then Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay to Israel in June 2012. Israel is set to open a new tourist office in Mumbai as part of the MOU (set to open in May 2013) and has also agreed to increase the frequency of the flights of the national carrier El Al to Mumbai to seven times a week instead of the earlier three times. At the time of this writing however, there has been no change in the frequency. The possibility of direct flights from New Delhi and Kolkata to Tel Aviv is also being pursued. 

Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline: Implications for India

Updated:Mar 18, 2013 
By Monish Gulati

The Pakistani President and his Iranian counterpart Dr Ahmadinejad on 11 March performed the groundbreaking of the long-awaited $7.5 billion Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project at Gabd on the Pakistan-Iran border and in the process laid the foundation of bilateral energy cooperation opposed by the US. They also unveiled a plaque of the project and saw welding together of two pieces of pipeline painted with flags of the two countries. Earlier the Pakistani delegation had flown in three planes to Chabahar about 200km from Gabd. “The Iran-Pakistan ‘gaslifeline’ will help eradicate terrorism, bring prosperity to the region and overcome poverty,” President Zardari said after the ceremony.

The IP pipeline will deliver 750 million cubic feet of gas per day (mmcfd) to Pakistan by January 2015. Agreements for opening two more border crossings (Gabd and Pasni) and setting up a $4 billion oil refinery with a capacity of 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) at Gwadar were also said to be signed after the ceremony. It is estimated that the pipeline project on completion will contribute about five per cent to Pakistan’s GDP and create 10,000 jobs during construction and about 3,000 after completion.

Pakistan currently has an electricity shortfall of approximately 5,000 megawatts (MW) per day despite the fact that nearly a third of the population does not have access to grid electricity. At present almost 48 percent of the country’s energy needs are met from indigenous natural gas resources. Pakistan’s current natural gas demand is about 7.27 bcfd, while the supply is only 4.45 bcfd, thus leaving a huge gap of around 2.8 bcfd. This demand and supply gap is expected to further increase to around 8 bcfd by 2022. Pakistan has an acute need for energy and plans to produce 20 percent of its electricity (4000MW) from Iranian gas.

The IP pipeline project, conceived in the early 1990s, envisages delivery of gas from Iran’s South Pars field through an 1150-km pipeline. A 900-km pipeline from South Pars to Sheher in Iran has already been laid while the construction of a 200-km pipeline up to Gabd is in the final stages of design. The 781-km Pakistani section of the pipeline is to be laid close to Makran coastal highway from Gabd to Nawabshah, in Sindh.

Construction work of the Pakistani section will be undertaken by Tadbir Energy of Iran at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion. Iran will provide $500 million — half through a government loan and half through an Iranian bank. The remaining $1 billion will be provided by Pakistan including through the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC). Tadbir Energy has also agreed to provide and assist in arranging $250 million as supplier credit and any additional financing for the second phase. The firm will act as the lead contractor along with the nominated local subcontractor(s). Under an accord signed in June 2010, Iran will provide about 21.5 mmscmd to Pakistan for 25 years. The deal can be extended by five years and volumes may rise to 30 mmscmd.

Return of the mansabdar


The Hindu Photo ArchivesChoosing sawars: The initial effort towards the homogenisation of India does not seem to have stood the test of time.

The tensions between an economically powerful Centre and politically strong regions have led to conflict between nation and country

As an avid watcher of Hindi films and Hindi serials, I have been struck by how rapidly both have begun using some highly localised patois, most strikingly inOmkara and Gangs of Wasseypur. In the soaps, this is pretty ubiquitous now. I daresay the same thing is happening in non-Hindi films as well.

As one looks around at the rapid advance of this new dimension of regionalism, one cannot help wondering about the direction in which we are headed. As I have pointed out fairly often elsewhere, India has been gradually sliding back into the normal state of the State — of an economically powerful (if not rich) Centre and a politically and culturally strong periphery.

All the angst expressed by political scientists about the State not doing its bit is about this problem:mansabdari has crept back in since 1996 and is now fully reinstalled. To see how, all you have to do is to replace sawars (horsemen) of the mansabdari system with MPs in our version of the Westminster model.

For a mansab in the old days strength depended on how many sawars he could provide to the central power; today it depends on the number of MPs he can provide. Not just that. The old mansabdarscomprised strong dynastic family rule whose later inheritors went on to defy the central government. That too is happening now, at least where family successors are available. The old wine has oozed back into the new bottle.

In the 1950s and 1960s, when I was growing up, the political leadership was still very worried by what it called India’s “fissiparous tendencies.” So the Congress made a huge effort towards the homogenisation of India. This took different forms but, overall, the purpose was to create a composite Indian identity to replace the old regional and communal ones.

Special retreat

Pratap Bhanu Mehta : Tue Mar 19 2013

What Bihar needs is a targeted attack on specific bottlenecks, not another legal status 

Nitish Kumar's show of strength demanding special status for Bihar is a politically over-determined gesture. But it also signals a deeper political economy challenge in Bihar. The political story is, in many ways, easily told. The demand for special status is a clever game to send multiple signals. It sends a strong signal that the alliance game for 2014 is very much an open contest, and each party will bargain to the fullest extent compatible with its core interests. Second, within the rank and file of the JD(U), there is considerable pressure to jettison the alliance with the BJP; the shadow of Narendra Modi is, at the moment, still considered a liability. Nitish Kumar is at least prepared to signal the possibility. The third is that Nitish positions himself as a possible leader for a loose non-Congress, non-BJP grouping. This grouping is still something of a pipe dream. But playing on a loose alliance of chief ministers of backward states might create the possibility of some bargaining power. Fourth, Nitish Kumar is still immensely popular in Bihar, but his position is not entirely unassailable. The demand for special status is a way of using a national presence to consolidate his position in Bihar. It is a way of saying that I am in the best position to leverage power for bringing special benefits to Bihar. And finally, there is the more diabolical possibility. Nitish Kumar might have realised that he could be put in a position where he will need to justify his choice of alliances at the national level, possibly even with the BJP. He will need a narrative peg to justify that choice, and the demand for special status gives him that option. 

There is a larger politics of the presentation of state identities that should not be ignored. There is now a healthy competition between states. But, often in that competition, some states claim more legitimacy than others. In a way, the focus on the Gujarat model has unwittingly done just that. By the reverse token, it is easy to present Bihar as a liability. Despite the governance record of Nitish Kumar, the cultural representation of Bihar as a state whose burden others have to bear is still strong. Whether the Centre or Bihar is to blame for the state's economic condition is a longer debate. Spectacularly misguided policies like freight equalisation contributed to the decimation of states like Bihar. Self-inflicted goals, in turn, compounded an adverse economic climate. But in a way, the demand for special status, couched in the language of a right, is meant to underscore the point that the rest of the country bears some responsibility for Bihar. Nitish Kumar is projecting a narrative of double disadvantage: first, keep Bihar poor, and then blame the poor Biharis for showing up in your cities. The undertow of this cultural politics should not be underestimated. 

Many observers have noted the possible tension that a dual messaging of demand for special status generates. On one hand, here is a chief minister underscoring his state's failures, and in a paradoxical way wanting to increase its dependence on the Centre. On the other hand, his authority depends on projecting a model of success: a form of inclusive growth that has the potential to fundamentally transform Bihar. The politics of backwardness casts a shadow on the politics of aspiration. But in political terms, this dilemma is more imagined than real. Nitish Kumar's potential power will come from only one source: his ability to consolidate his position in Bihar. His Bihar strategy is his national strategy. 


The government cannot recognize the growth it sees

A little bit better off

The prime minister is not a man of few words. He routinely utters a thousand words or so whenever scientists invite him. He addresses them a few dozen times a year, mostly in winter when they get together for conferences. Admittedly, those speeches are not demanding. He never demands anything of government scientists, whose productivity is close to zero; he tells them, instead, that they are great guys doing a great job, and asks them to carry on pointlessly as they have for more than 50 years. As for others, captive schoolchildren get a 15-minute speech from the ramparts of Red Fort on Independence Day. That apart, the prime minister is not a very communicative man, despite his enormous verbal output. 

But he was sufficiently provoked by the attacks of the Opposition in Parliament to speak twice in a month. His reply in the Upper House was brief and not very serious; the only interesting bits in it were quotations from Tacitus, the Roman historian of the 6th century, that he traded with Arun Jaitley. He laboriously read out the annual growth rates of gross domestic product from 1998-99 to 2012-13 to demonstrate that growth had been higher under his government than that of the Bharatiya Janata Party. This is the kind of uneducated point-scoring school kids indulge in. Growth is not an instantaneous function of who is in government. It is a process with leads and lags. The low growth rates under the BJP rule were partly due to a slowdown, which could be attributed to industrial overcapacity resulting from high rates of investment under previous Congress rule and Bimal Jalan’s mishandling of the East Asian crisis as governor of the Reserve Bank of India. Conversely, the high growth under the Congress had much to do with the fact that the BJP refused to protect industry; as a result, industry became internationally competitive, and experienced a spectacular boom in the initial years of Congress rule. 

Speaking in the Lower House, the prime minister echoed the budget message of his finance minister: do not worry, the fall in growth, the yawning payments deficit, the rise in fiscal deficit, persistent inflation — they are all transient problems; we will wave a wand, and they will vanish into thin air. This mindless optimism, which he has learnt from his finance minister, beats all rational argument. It will convince those religious Congressmen who think that the world obeys their leaders without question. But the prime minister was not persuasive; he was just being a cheerleader. 

He asserted that he and his colleagues were fully capable of raising the growth rate to 7 or 8 per cent. How will they do it? He said they would try to raise savings, stimulate private investment and reduce the growth of subsidies — not the subsidies themselves, but their rate of growth. He has not been reading the reports of his economic advisory council. They give a blow-by-blow account of how growth slowed down. As I said before, the boom began when the reduction of protection under BJP rule made industry internationally competitive. This happened just as the Congress took over; its first few years witnessed a spectacular industrial boom. It ended because the high investment rate led capacity to outgrow demand. There was excess supply, especially in the capital goods industry. That brought the boom to an end. 

If this is how growth slowed down, his recipe of raising savings, stimulating private investment and slowing subsidy growth makes no sense. Even doing nothing would be better; eventually, the surplus capacity would be exhausted in some years, and investment would revive. If one wants growth to revive faster than it would do underlaissez faire, one has to inject demand into the economy. The simplest way is for the government to run bigger deficits. But it ran up such huge deficits in the boom period that P. Chidambaram is feeling a bit shy about running even bigger deficits. That is why he made a show of bringing down the deficit. 

Afghan women as a measure of progress

By M. Ashraf Haidari 
March 18, 2013

The long agony for Afghanistan's women ended with the fall of the Taliban in 2001. This past January, Ms. Saira Shikeb Sadat, whose husband disappeared under the Taliban rule, assumed office as Afghanistan's first female district administrator in Jawzjan province. She recently told media that one of her top priorities was to empower women and girls. She said this can be achieved through the development of her district, Khawaja Do Koh, which is home to a population of 5,000 whose access to education, healthcare, and employment assistance, such as income-generation schemes, has been very limited. But she is determined to address these problems during her tenure in office, and the Afghan government supports her in these efforts.

Like Ms. Sadat, thousands of women are politically and socially active in Afghanistan in various capacities. The first female provincial governor and district mayor in Afghan history are currently in office. The key ministries of public health: women's affairs, and labor, social affairs, martyrs and disabled are led by women, as is Afghanistan's Independent Commission on Human Rights. At the same time, the Afghan Parliament continues to convene with a higher percentage of female representatives, 27.3 percent, than the legislative bodies of many of the most established democracies, including the U.S. Congress (15.2 percent) and British Parliament (19.7 percent).

Yet despite these important advances, the condition of women in Afghanistan is in need of urgent attention. One woman dies every 29 minutes in childbirth, the second-highest maternal mortality rate in the world (1,600 deaths per 100,000 live births). Mountainous terrain and weather conditions prevent timely medical attention to patients and pregnant women. Severe food shortages have resulted in chronic malnourishment among children, and 48 percent of Afghan women are iron-deficient.

Millions of girls cannot attend school because of security concerns or restrictive social norms. Just 12 percent of women 15 years and older can read and write, compared to 39 percent of men. The overall literacy rate for women between the ages of 15 and 24 stands at 24 percent, compared to 53 percent for men in Afghanistan.

This troubling situation is a legacy of decades of war and state collapse in the country. During the past 30 years of conflict, the needs of women stood neglected because Afghanistan did not have effective state institutions that could provide services to the people. Under the Taliban, women were relegated to the confines of their homes and deprived of education and basic human rights.