24 April 2013

Why the Boston Bombers Succeeded*

April 23, 2013

Stratfor

By Scott Stewart

When seeking to place an attack like the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing into context, it is helpful to classify the actors responsible, if possible. Such a classification can help us understand how an attack fits into the analytical narrative of what is happening and what is likely to come. These classifications will consider factors such as ideology, state sponsorship and perhaps most important, the kind of operative involved.

In a case where we are dealing with an apparent jihadist operative, before we can classify him or her we must first have a clear taxonomy of the jihadist movement. At Stratfor, we generally consider the jihadist movement to be divided into three basic elements: the al Qaeda core organization, the regional jihadist franchises, such as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and grassroots operatives who are radicalized, inspired and perhaps equipped by the other two tiers but who are not members of either.

Within the three-tier jihadist movement there exist two distinct types of operatives. One of these is the professional terrorist operative, a person who is a member of the al Qaeda core or of one of the regional franchises. These individuals swear loyalty to the leader and then follow orders from the organization's hierarchy. Second, there are amateur operatives who never join a group and whose actions are not guided by the specific orders of a hierarchical group. They follow a bottom-up or grassroots organizational model rather than a hierarchical or top-down approach.

There is a great deal of variety among professional terrorists, especially if we break them down according to the functions they perform within an organization, roles including that of planners, finance and logistics specialists, couriers, surveillance operatives, bombmakers, et cetera. There is also a great deal of variety within the ranks of grassroots operatives, although it is broken down more by their interaction with formal groups rather than their function. At one end of the grassroots spectrum are the lone wolf operatives, or phantom cells. These are individuals or small groups that become radicalized by jihadist ideology but that do not have any contact with the organization. In theory, the lone wolf/phantom cell model is very secure from an operational security standpoint, but as we've discussed, it takes a very disciplined and driven individual to be a true lone wolf or phantom cell leader, and consequently, we see very few of them. 

At the other end of the grassroots spectrum are individuals who have had close interaction with a jihadist group but who never actually joined the organization. Many of them have even attended militant training camps, but they didn't become part of the hierarchical group to the point of swearing an oath of allegiance to the group's leaders and taking orders from the organization. They are not funded and directed by the group.

Indeed, al Qaeda trained tens of thousands of men in its training camps in Afghanistan, Sudan and Pakistan but very few of the men they trained actually ended up joining al Qaeda. Most of the men the group instructed received basic military training in things like using small arms, hand-to-hand combat and basic fire and maneuver. Only the very best from those basic combat training courses were selected to receive advanced training in terrorist tradecraft techniques, such as bombmaking, surveillance, clandestine communications and document forgery. But even of the students who received advanced training in terrorist tradecraft, only a few were ever invited to join the al Qaeda core, which remained a relatively small vanguard organization.

Many of the men who received basic training traveled to fight jihad in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya or returned home to join insurgent or militant groups. Others would eventually end up joining al Qaeda franchise groups in places like Yemen, Iraq, Libya and Algeria. Still others received some basic training but then returned home and never really put their new skills into practice. 

Most grassroots jihadists fall along a continuum that stretches between the lone wolf and someone who received advanced terrorist training but never joined al Qaeda or another formal militant group.

Whether the two men suspected of carrying out the April 15 Boston Marathon attack knowingly followed al Qaeda's blueprint for simple attacks by grassroots actors, their actions were fairly consistent with what we have come to expect from such operatives. Certainly based upon what we have seen of this case so far, the Tsarnaev brothers did not appear to possess sophisticated terrorist tradecraft.

Chinese Air Force way ahead of IAF

IssueVol. 26.4 Oct-Dec 2011| Date : 23 Apr , 2013

Mig-27

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 proved to be a boon to China and the PLAAF. Apart from a formidable enemy being neutralised, many displaced scientists, engineers and technicians from the erstwhile Soviet Union found employment in the Chinese military industrial complex. The Russian aircraft industry struggling to survive, was more than willing to sell modern aeroplanes and technology to China. And the booming Chinese economy could afford to import the best that was on offer.

PLAAF : An Emerging Aerospace Power

A visionary, long-term and time-bound approach to military modernisation, supported by a strong and innovative military-industrial capability has transformed the Peoples Liberation Army Air Force(PLAAF) of China, from an antiquated, derelict, poorly trained and over-sized force to a modern aerospace power with increasing proficiency to undertake its stated missions in the 21st Century. The Indian establishment, especially the Indian Air Force (IAF), needs to absorb this reality and restructure its modernisation plans. The Indian security environment is being continuously impacted by China’s rise, militarily and economically as a global power.

The foundations of China’s long term plan for its modernisation programme were laid in 2010 and aims at major progress by 2020. By 2050 China would accomplish its strategic goal of building an ‘informatized’ (net-centric warfare enabled) armed forces capable of winning wars. Perhaps the unstated objective of the plan is to expand China’s ‘comprehensive national power’ beyond the existing regional status. China’s plan to ‘lay a solid foundation by 2010’ appears to have been achieved as demonstrated by the large-scale exercise ‘Stride-2009’ held to coincide with 50 years celebration of communist rule in China. 50,000 troops were moved from regions in the West to the East. The objective of Stride-2009 was to test the ability to move forces on a large-scale from the areas they had trained in to areas they were unfamiliar with. Another aim was to subject the massive rail, road and air infrastructure created over the years to heavy military movement pressure and examine if such pressure adversely affected civilian population. The PLAAF played an important role in this exercise.

China is determined in developing modern military aerospace capabilities. Having generated a certain quantum of expertise in the field, including learning from the designers, technicians and scientists imported from CIS countries where they had been rendered unemployed…

In 1999, PLAAF operated over 3500 combat aircraft comprising mainly the J-6 (MiG-19 equivalent) and the J-7 (based on the MiG-21). A deal with Russia saw the induction of 100 Su-27 fighters. PLAAF also had in its inventory the H-6(Tu-16 based) bombers. China had no precision-guided munitions(PGMs) and only the Su-27 was BVR compatible.

Modernisation of the PLAAF has been propelled by China’s astounding economic growth. The 21st century has witnessed the acquisition of 105 Su-30MKK from 2000 to 2003 and 100 upgraded Su-30MKK2 in 2004. China produced more than 200 J-11s from 2002 onwards. The PLAAF also bought a total of 126 Su-27SK/UBK in three batches. The production of the J-10 combat aircraft began in 2002 and 1200 are on order. The H-6 bombers (Tu-16 Badger) were converted into flight refuelling aircraft. In 2005, the PLAAF unveiled plans to acquire 70 Il-76 transport aircraft and 30 Il-78 tankers to significantly upgrade strategic airlift capability and offer extended range to the fighter force. The US Department of Defense has reported that Su-27 SKs are being upgraded to the multi-role Su-27 SMK status.

The PLAAF is also organising a combat air wing for a future aircraft carrier group, possibly based on the Su-33, which is a carrier capable variant of the Su-27. Many existing fighters are being upgraded, some for night maritime strike role, permitting carriage of Russian weapons, including Kh-31A anti-radiation cruise missile and KAB-500 laser-guided munition. China is also developing special mission aircraft including the KJ-2000 AWACS based on the Il-76 platform. The Y-8 transport planes are being modified to undertake a variety of roles of Airborne Battlefield Command, AEW and intelligence gathering. PLAAF’s aim is to have a primarily fourth generation air force. JH-7/7A will be the backbone of the precision strike force with large numbers of J-10 and J-11 in the air superiority role. The interceptor role will be undertaken by the JF-17 which is under production now in China. The transport force will have Il-76, Il-78 and Y-9 aircraft. China has a variety of helicopters and other aircraft to undertake specialist missions and routine tasks. With a fast developing C4ISR and its shift to joint operations, the Chinese military will be a formidable force to reckon with even by a well prepared adversary. In this process of modernisation the PLAAF has improved exponentially, though it has yet to be tested in actual operations.

China has reneged on 2005 pact: India

Second flag meet inconclusive; Beijing says Indian troops doing aggressive patrolling along LAC 
Ajay Banerjee & Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 23

A second flag meeting between India and China to sort out the issue of intrusion by Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in northern Ladakh remained inconclusive even as the two countries traded charges against each other.

Delhi reminded Beijing that the act of its troops of not moving back was a violation of an ‘operational’ agreement signed between the two nations in April 2005. The flag meeting was held between Brigadier-level officers at Chushul in eastern Ladakh along the LAC.

BEIJING’S OLD WAYS

The current incursion, wherein a tent has been pitched in Indian territory, is the first such incident in Ladakh after 1962

In 1987, Chinese troops had resorted to a similar exercise at Sum Dorong Chu, north of Tawang in Arunachal. India had ramped up its forces and then withdrawn. China still holds that territory

The stand-off led to the first ever border peace agreement in 1993. Military experts are terming the latest incident along the LAC as serious

BORDER FACE-OFF

The Indian side proposed that troops on either side withdraw to the pre-incursion location at the second flag meet

This was not agreeable to China, who, in turn, accused India of getting aggressive in the Daulat Beg Oldie sector in northern Ladakh

Chinese troops had on April 15 pitched a tent around 8 km inside the LAC in the Raki Nallah area in northern Ladakh

They have not moved back despite Indian troops having asked them to do so. The Chinese have 37 personnel plus two sniffer dogs in their tent while the Indian Army tent some 500 metres away, has 60 men 

Sources said the Indian side proposed that troops of either sides withdraw to the pre-incursion location which was not agreed upon by the Chinese, who, in turn, accused India of getting aggressive in the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector in northern Ladakh. “Indian troops are doing aggressive patrolling along the LAC,” the Chinese reportedly said. However, it was agreed not to further escalate the situation. An intervention at a higher level was possible to resolve the stand-off.

Chinese troops had on April 15 pitched a tent around 8 km inside the LAC at Raki Nallah in northern Ladakh. They have not moved back despite Indian troops asking them to do so.

Reports said two Chinese copters intruded Indian air space in the Daulat Beg Oldi sector on the night of April 15 and 16 and supervised the intrusion by the People Liberation Army (PLA) troops.

The troop level on either side has been static since April 18. The Chinese have 37 personnel and two sniffer dogs in their tent while the Indian tent some 500 metres away has 60 men.

Miles away from the flag meeting, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in Beijing: “The two parties should work together to solve the issue through peaceful negotiations so as to create good relations.”

In Delhi, Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said: “We see this as a face-to-face situation between border personnel of the two sides due to differences on their alignment of LAC.” New Delhi told Beijing that PLA troops have reneged on a laid down and accepted agreement called the “protocol on modalities for implementation of CBMs in the military field along the LAC in the India-China border areas”. Sources said troops on the either side have cited this protocol in the past five days while facing each other. “As per the protocol, soldiers on either side have to show a banner to the other side asking to withdraw,” said sources.

Showing of a banner is a standard operating procedure and is called the ‘banner drill.’ It is done when troops of the two sides come face-to-face due to differences on the alignment of the LAC or any other reason. Whenever either side perceives that a transgression has been made across the LAC, soldiers show a banner with a slogan painted across. The banner primarily cites the 2005 agreement and says there is a need to back off from the present positions of patrolling.

Before this incident, the system was working well. The mandate of the 2005 agreement is: “Throughout the face-to-face situation, neither side shall use force or threaten to use force against the other”.

Hyderabad shows the way

Isher Judge Ahluwalia : Wed Apr 24 2013

The city's metro project demonstrates how private capital can be deployed in public projects in a transparent and efficient manner

Hyderabad, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, located on the banks of the Musi river in the northern part of the Deccan Plateau, has again shown the way. In an earlier column, we reported on the Outer Ring Road in Hyderabad as one of the few examples of transit-oriented urban development in India, which has also unlocked land value to partially finance the new infrastructure needs of a growing city. Hyderabad has now come up with a metro rail project with multi-modal connectivity under public-private partnership (PPP). The project is being implemented not as a simple mass transit system, but as an urban redesign concept with emphasis on last-mile connectivity, room for cycling and other non-motorised transport, pedestrian facilities, green areas and public spaces with an eye for aesthetics.

Spread over 650 square kilometres, Hyderabad is one of the largest metropolitan areas in India. With a city population of 6.8 million and a metropolitan population of 7.8 million as of 2011, it is the fourth most populous city and the sixth most populous urban agglomeration in India. The metro rail project that spans over 72 km is a significant response to the growing transport demand from this rapidly growing urban region. As investments in manufacturing, R&D, IT and biotech industries have flocked to the area, this has strained the existing infrastructure of the city. Given the long time it takes to put transport infrastructure in place, the metro rail project, which was launched in May 2012 and is scheduled to be completed in May 2017, is not a day too early.

The project uses state-of-the-art technology with stringent technical specifications, performance criteria and safety standards. For example, a communication-based train control (CBTC) system is being introduced as a signalling system, which can accommodate much greater frequency of train traffic than the distance-to-go system that is in use at the Delhi Metro. The metro stations are being built with single-pier (pillar) supported cantilever structures rather than the three-tier supported portal structures that completely cover the road and create a tunnel effect.

There has been some dissatisfaction from some quarters about not going underground at least in some places in order to preserve the beautiful view of the ancient monuments, which, in Hyderabad, are many. N.V.S. Reddy, managing director, Hyderabad Metro Rail project, maintains that the metro rail has kept a safe distance of at least 500 feet from monuments such as the Charminar, Salar Jung Museum and other structures of archaeological importance. He also points out that "an elevated metro system is much more energy efficient than an underground system. Also, since underground metro stations need to be built in 'cut and cover' method, it is not technically and financially advisable to opt for an underground system in Hyderabad in view of its tough, rocky terrain."

The case that saved Indian democracy

Arvind P. Datar

The Hindu A March 2013 picture of Kesavananda Bharati.

The Hindu CLEAR PATH: The hard work and scholarship that had gone into the preparation of this case was to answer just one main question – whether the power of Parliament to amend the Constitution was unlimited.

The Hindu CLEAR PATH: The hard work and scholarship that had gone into the preparation of this case was to answer just one main question – whether the power of Parliament to amend the Constitution was unlimited.

The judgment in Kesavananda Bharati v State of Kerala, whose 40th anniversary falls today, was crucial in upholding the supremacy of the Constitution and preventing authoritarian rule by a single party

Exactly forty years ago, on April 24, 1973, Chief Justice Sikri and 12 judges of the Supreme Court assembled to deliver the most important judgment in its history. The case of Kesavananda Bharati v State of Kerala had been heard for 68 days, the arguments commencing on October 31, 1972, and ending on March 23, 1973. The hard work and scholarship that had gone into the preparation of this case was breathtaking. Literally hundreds of cases had been cited and the then Attorney-General had made a comparative chart analysing the provisions of the Constitutions of 71 different countries!
Core question

All this effort was to answer just one main question: was the power of Parliament to amend the Constitution unlimited? In other words, could Parliament alter, amend, abrogate any part of the Constitution even to the extent of taking away all fundamental rights?

Article 368, on a plain reading, did not contain any limitation on the power of Parliament to amend any part of the Constitution. There was nothing that prevented Parliament from taking away a citizen’s right to freedom of speech or his religious freedom. But the repeated amendments made to the Constitution raised a doubt: was there any inherent or implied limitation on the amending power of Parliament?

The 703-page judgment revealed a sharply divided court and, by a wafer-thin majority of 7:6, it was held that Parliament could amend any part of the Constitution so long as it did not alter or amend “the basic structure or essential features of the Constitution.” This was the inherent and implied limitation on the amending power of Parliament. This basic structure doctrine, as future events showed, saved Indian democracy and Kesavananda Bharati will always occupy a hallowed place in our constitutional history.

Supreme Court v Indira Gandhi

It is supremely ironical that the basic structure theory was first introduced by Justice Mudholkar eight years earlier by referring to a 1963 decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Chief Justice Cornelius — yes, Pakistan had a Christian Chief Justice and, later, a Hindu justice as well — had held that the President of Pakistan could not alter the “fundamental features” of their Constitution.

A ghost from CBI’s past

Apr 24, 2013

The Central Bureau of Investigation has a commendable past, a reasonable present despite many unfortunate blemishes, and the possibility of a good future. Lately, it has often been in the news for the wrong reasons, eclipsing its other achievements. The newly appointed director, Ranjit Sinha, should be complimented for his initiative in inviting the President of India to deliver the D.P. Kohli Memorial lecture on its golden anniversary. This was the first time a President addressed CBI officers. Let us hope that his sage advice will inspire and guide our premier investigation agency. The families of now dead former chiefs of the CBI and Special Police Establishment (SPE) and living former chiefs were invited for the anniversary, including Khan Bahadur Qurban Ali Khan’s family from Pakistan. In view of allegations that Q.A. Khan organised the massacre of Sikh refugees at Sheikhpura in Pakistan and his association with the raising of the notorious Inter-Services Intelligence, which has been repeatedly organising terror attacks in India, it was not prudent to invite his family. The press picked up the story. The government turned down the visa request as it had been submitted too late and avoided a needless controversy.

In late 1946, Parliament passed the Special Police Establishment Act for SPE to be under an inspector-general officer with a much-expanded role of dealing with corruption and serious criminal cases, including those with inter-state dimensions and reporting to the home ministry. I met Q.A. Khan just after he moved from Lahore to Delhi in early 1947 with a newly raised skeleton SPE staff. He was an elderly officer promoted from deputy SP who had served under Sir Norman Smith, then director of Intelligence Bureau (DIB), when the latter was IG police, Punjab. The process of Indianisation began in South Block with the interim government coming to power in September 1946. I was posted as a captain in Military Operations, Army Headquarters.

A couple of months later my father was posted as the first Indian officer to IB, as number two to Sir Norman. Military Operations and IB were located adjacent to each other, on the first floor in South Block. There were then very few Indian officers in the Army or civil services serving in South Block.

A great majority were British officers. I had occasionally carried top secret files from Lt. Gen. Sir Arthur Smith, the Chief of General Staff, and handed them over to his younger brother who was the DIB. On my father’s coming to the IB, I used to go to his office for lunch and would often meet his colleagues. I had occasion to meet Q.A. Khan in the IB.

After Japan occupied Burma in 1941, India could not import rice from Burma, its rice bowl. The Bengal famine of 1943 made matters worse. Punjab became the main source for food and supplies to the now two-million strong war-time Army. There were reports of large-scale corruption in procurement of food and supplies. A war supply department was set up in Lahore to monitor procurement. A small police cell was set up in this department to investigate corruption cases. Q.A. Khan was posted to this cell. In 1943, this cell was expanded and made independent of the war supply department under Q.A. Khan, now SP. He was serving directly under IG police, Punjab.

India, Pakistan and the Nuclear Race: The Elephant and the Dilemma of Nuclear Force Planning

Vijay Shankar
Former Commander-in-Chief, Strategic Forces Command of India

One of the open secrets of the Indian security establishment is the evolution of its nuclear weapons capability. The process did not follow any established norms that guide the discernment of theory into a security strategy or the rendition of technology into a nuclear stockpile. Rather, its development was driven by a single-point politico-scientific coterie stirred by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) combine. The leadership neither saw strategic significance in a more eclectic approach nor clarity that a theory did not endanger political ideology or scientific savvy, but was an instrument to fertilise both.

From Indian folklore, a story is told of six blind men and an elephant. The allegory underscores the limits of individual perceptions when left in stove pipes without an integrating hypothesis. Viewed in perspective of the enormous destructive power of the nuclear weapon, now in the hands of the new “destroyer of worlds”, it presented a terrifying and unspeakable nature of the truth, much as the elephant to the blind. To marry political issues and technological capabilities with military operational practices was the unheeded scream of the previous quarter of a century.

It was only after Pokhran II in 1998 and the Kargil episode that the real nature of nuclear weapons was emphasized and the imperative of military involvement dawned on the establishment. This realisation took the form of a declared nuclear doctrine with a classified section that drew a roadmap for enabling and operationalizing a ‘No First Use’ doctrine. Born of the desire not to repeat the Cold War experience, and a belief in Brodie’s maxim that nuclear weapons had changed the nature of warfare; nuclear war avoidance became primary to the political objective. While this critical discernment was slow in the offing and the product of a tangled approach, there can be no denying its rational strength and its progression.

A deterrent relationship is a balance founded on rationality. On the part of the ‘deterree’, there is rationality in the conviction of disproportionate risks of hostile action; and on the part of the ‘deterrer’, there is rationality of purpose and transparency in confirming the reality of the risks involved in a manner that strategic miscalculations are avoided. The exceptional feature of this transaction is that the roles are reversible, provided it is in the common interest to maintain stability, and this is where the sub-continental rub lies when the search for equilibrium is one-sided.

Pakistan’s quest for nuclear weapons is visceral in urge, India-specific in intent and ‘at-any-cost’ in motivation. It serves to explicate (and vindicate) the bizarre extent of the AQ Khan network’s exertions, and its clandestine nuclear links with China and North Korea. Therefore, unique and intriguing to the nuclear cauldron is the tri-polar nature of the playing field, with China and Pakistan in a collusive arrangement. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program was conceived, designed, and tested by Beijing from the mid-1970s onwards. In conjunction with all this is the rapid pace at which the Khushab reactors (II and III in particular) have come on-line and weapon grade plutonium is being extracted with active and persistent Chinese aid. Collaboration, technological updates, the breakneck build-up of fissile material and production and extraction facilities may even suggest a doctrinal co-relation, which any deterrent relationship overlooks at the peril of its constancy.

No meaningful scrutiny of the sub-continental nuclear situation can avoid looking at the internal workings of Pakistan. What has caused this situation is the fixation with achieving military parity with India, and the precarious cocktail that the establishment has brewed in nurturing fundamentalist and terrorist organisations as instruments of their policies in Afghanistan and Kashmir. This policy has blown back to the extent that it is more than plausible that elements of the nuclear arsenal could well fall into extremist hands, aided by sympathetic rogue elements in the military. The recent happenings at Abbottabad, the Plutonium rush, the assault on PNS Mehran, the conventionalising of the Hatf-9 missile, the descent to tactical nuclear weapons, and the continued opacity of strategic underpinnings of their nuclear programme defies rationality and does not in any way engender confidence in the prospects for stability. Added to all this is US Secretary of State Kerry’s recent insinuation in Beijing of Pakistan’s nuclear links with North Korea (while oddly down playing China’s role) that attached nuclear perfidy to an already vexed situation. Such ‘hare’ like nimbleness in nuclear matters, as Michael Krepon has termed it, could also suggest an incredulous belief on the part of Pakistani leadership in being able to control the escalatory nuclear ladder. This they must know is a fallacy, given the yawning power asymmetry that exists.

We stand today on the cusp of a ‘Strangelovesque’ situation caused in part by the reluctance to control the manner in which technology and political events are driving the direction in which arsenals are headed, and in part due to lack of transparency. This is the predicament that is faced by nuclear force planners. There does not appear to be any other answer than to readjust nuclear postures, turn back the clock on tactical nuclear weapons, and retune doctrines with the aim of bringing about balance in posture. Policy must accommodate the reality of the tri-polar situation and the need for ‘convincing reassurances’ on the matter of rogue players. 

INDIA-CHINA BORDER DISPUTE


Chinese Intrusions
The continuing Chinese troop intrusion in the western sector of the Sino-Indian border should be a matter for careful analysis and concern, but not alarm


To be read in continuation of my article of November 6, 2012, Chinese Checkers

The continuing (since April 15,2013) Chinese troop intrusion ( about 20 troops) 10 kms into Indian territory near Burthe in the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) area of Eastern Ladakh in the western sector of the Sino-Indian border should be a matter for careful analysis and concern, but not alarm.

A spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Office has denied any Chinese intrusion into Indian territory in this area. The government of India, for the present, has been treating it as one of those intrusions which take place sometimes due to differing perceptions of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in this area and trying to deal with it through the normal mechanism for handling such issues without disturbing peace and tranquillity across the border.

There is no evidence to show that this could be a prelude to a major Chinese assertion of territorial sovereignty in this area. The Chinese aim seems to be to re-assert their claim of sovereignty over this area without disturbing peace and tranquillity. The Chinese troops are presently camping in the area in a tent. We will have reasons to be more than concerned only if they stay put there and construct permanent defences as they often do in the uninhabited islands of the South China Sea.

Since last year, the Chinese have been a little more assertive of their sovereignty claims over the islands of the South and East China Seas. They have reportedly constructed permanent defensive and administrative structures on some of the islands over which they have disputes with Vietnam and the Philippines.

In the East China Sea, where they have sovereignty disputes with Japan, they have avoided any such construction, but stepped up seemingly aggressive air and naval patrols of the areas in the vicinity of these islands. The Chinese Navy has also stepped up its visits to the islands in the South China Sea claimed by Beijing.

Till now we have seen greater Chinese activism in the enforcement of their sovereignty claims only in the South and East China seas, but not across the Sino-Indian border. If the Chinese troops stay put in the Burthe area and construct defensive structures in the area, that will be an indicator of their deciding to follow a similar policy of activism across the Sino-Indian border too. That should add to our border concerns. We may have to revisit our peace and tranquillity strategy and think of a more activist policy to face the Chinese activism.

In the Western sector of the border, which is largely unpopulated, the status quo favours the Chinese. Since 1962, they are already in occupation of whatever territory they have claimed. We have very few options to re-assert our sovereignty in any area of this sector which is under Chinese control.

In the Eastern sector ( Arunachal Pradesh, which the Chinese call Southern Tibet), the area is populated and the status quo favours India. Even though our defensive and administrative infrastructure in the Arunachal Pradesh area is not comparable with the Chinese infrastructure in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), we are in a much stronger position in the Eastern sector than in the Western.

While the Chinese continue to repeat from time to time their claims to the Arunachal Pradesh area, they have avoided in the Eastern sector the kind of ground activism that one comes across in the Western sector. There is a noticeable keenness on the part of both China and India to avoid any provocative incident either in the Eastern or Western sector.

The Chinese are unlikely to relent in their claims to Indian territory in the Eastern sector till after they have succeeded in imposing on the Tibetans a Dalai Lama chosen by the Communist Party of China (CPC) with the help of the Panchen Lama chosen by the CPC.

The wave of self-immolations (115 incidents so far) in the Tibetan areas of China since March 2009 has created concerns in Chinese mind of possible political instability in the Tibetan areas after His Holiness the Dalai Lama when the CPC imposes its nominee on the Tibetans.

The older generation of Tibetans continues to abide by His Holiness’ exhortations for peaceful means of protest. The Chinese are worried that the GenNext of Tibetans represented by organisations such as the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) may take to violent means to resist the imposition of a Dalai Lama chosen by the CPC.

In their calculation, this may necessitate action by the PLA in the populated areas of Arunachal Pradesh. Till Tibet is pacified without fears of any further trouble and the Chinese have forced the Tibetans to accept their nominee as the Dalai Lama, Beijing would like to maintain its claim to Arunachal Pradesh to justify action by the PLA in that area to contain trouble, if need be.

If they now make a deal with India recognising Arunachal Pradesh as an integral part of India, they will not be able to act in that area. By recognising Tibet as an integral part of China we have given up our options for action in Tibet. The Chinese would not want to commit the same mistake by recognising Arunachal Pradesh as an integral part of India.

They will, therefore, keep the Arunachal Pradesh issue alive till they have forced the Tibetans to accept their decision regarding succession of His Holiness. We should factor this into our border strategies relating to China.

From Boston To Bangalore

The real lesson of the Boston and Bangalore attacks is manifest in the contrasting patterns of responses in the two locations

Two dramatic terrorist attacks, one in Boston— during the iconic annual Boston marathon— in the US, and the other in Bangalore in India, have once again provoked frantic assessments of a 'resurgence' of terrorism and hand-wringing regarding the 'failure' of states to contain or neutralize this threat. Such assessments are misconceived for more than one reason. First, it must be clear that the expectation that any kind of security blanket can be a 100 per cent guarantee against any possibility of terrorism is utterly wrong. Indeed, the idea that the US has been 'free of terrorism' since 9/11 as a result of dramatic institutional transformations and initiatives by the government, is factually utterly incorrect. The Boston incident is not the first major terrorist incident in the US since the catastrophic 2001 attacks— though it has been by far the most dramatic. Unfortunately, in India, this misconception has been embedded in the discourse at the highest level, with top government officials and their cheerleaders in the media and 'expert' community, particularly those arguing for the creation of the National Counter-terrorism Centre (NCTC) in India, reinforcing the erroneous perception that, once the NCTC was established at Washington, the US 'homeland' has been secure. 

  • The truth is, the US homeland has not been entirely free of terrorist successes since 2001. 
  • On July 28, 2006, for instance, Naveed Afzal Haq opened indiscriminate fire at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, killing one and wounding five. 
  • On February 12, 2007, Sulejman Talovic killed five and wounded another five, at the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah. 
  • And on November 5, 2009, Nidal Malik Hasan, a US Army major serving as a psychiatrist, killed 14 and injured 29, at the military establishment at Fort Hood, Texas. 

  • Significantly, moreover, in at least three cases, disaster has been averted, not by any preventive initiatives on the part of US intelligence and enforcement agencies, but by the sheer and spectacular incompetence of terrorists: 
  • the December 2001 case of the "shoe bomber", Richard Reid; 
  • the December 2009 "underwear bomber", Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab; and 
  • the May 2010 "Times Square bombing", by Faisal Shahzad. 

The counter-terrorism discourse in India, at the highest levels of strategy and policy, has largely chosen to ignore, or has been ignorant of, these basic realities and has, in imagining a 'perfect' American success after 9/11, invented a variety of arguments that have, at least on occasion, bordered on the idiotic, to justify a range of 'magical' solutions which would help India make the problem of terrorism vanish at a stroke. The Boston incident will, of course, irrevocably puncture this make-believe.

Similarly, raising an alarm about the 'rising threat of terrorism' in India in the wake of the latest attack in Bangalore is contra-factual. Unfortunately, this outcry is typical in the wake of each major incident of terrorism in the country, though both the media and the 'experts' are quickly drawn back into habitual somnolence. The real threat of terrorism can only be assessed in terms of trends, not of random incidents, and the trends, across India, have been broadly and dramatically positive. It is not necessary to cover the details again, but it is useful to note that according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, terrorism and insurgency related fatalities in India have fallen from a peak of 5,839 in 2001, to 803 in 2012. Within this broad trend, the category that provokes the greatest hysteria, attacks by Pakistan-backed Islamist terrorists across India, has recorded a remarkable decline, with just one incident in 2012 outside Jammu & Kashmir (J&K)— a low intensity blast in Pune, with no fatalities. 2011 had registered three such attacks outside J&K, with at least 41 killed. 2008, of course, saw such incidents peaking, with seven attacks, and 364 fatalities, of which 195 (166 civilians, 20 SF personnel and nine terrorists) were accounted for by the 26/11 Mumbai attacks alone. Before the Bangalore blast, 2013 had already recorded twin blasts in Dilsukhnagar, Hyderabad, on February 21, with 17 fatalities. 

China’s New War Front

Brahma Chellaney

The Times of India, April 23, 2013

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during his recent meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, asked for more openness on Chinese dam building. Singh said Xi assured him that he would have his proposal for a joint monitoring mechanism “looked into”. Beijing has now conveyed its response rebuffing the transparency idea.

This snub is no surprise: China, the world’s most dammed nation, does not have a single river-collaborative or transparency mechanism with any of its 12 riparian neighbours. Unlike India — which has water-sharing treaties with both its downstream neighbours, Pakistan and Bangladesh, with each pact establishing a distinctively unique principle in international water law — China rejects the very concept of water sharing and is assertively seeking to make water a political weapon. Indeed, as if to proclaim itself as the world’s unrivalled hydro-hegemon, China recently unveiled 11 additional dam projects on the Salween, the Mekong, and the Brahmaputra.

As with territorial and maritime disputes, China is seeking to disrupt the status quo on international-river flows. Just as it has quietly encroached on disputed territory in the past to present a fait accompli — for example, Aksai Chin (1950s), Paracel Islands (1974), Johnson Reef (1988), Mischief Reef (1995), and Scarborough Shoal (2012) — China is seeking to manipulate cross-border river flows by pursuing dam projects furtively until they can no longer be kept hidden.

Although China is the source of transboundary river flows to countries ranging from Russia to Vietnam, no nation is more vulnerable to China’s reengineering of transboundary flows than India. The reason? India alone receives nearly half of all river waters that leave China. According to UN figures, a total of 718 billion cubic meters of surface water flows out of Chinese territory yearly, of which 48.33% runs directly into India.

For Chinese dam builders, the major Tibetan rivers flowing to India directly or via Nepal are a magnet for another striking reason: Their runoff volume totals 21.5% of the aggregate river flows within China, yet these rivers support just 1.6% of China’s population and sustain only 1.8% of its arable land, according to official Chinese statistics. The main beneficiary of their flows is rival India. When Beijing has shown little regard for the interests of China-friendly downriver states like Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Kazakhstan, why would it be considerate toward India?

India should be under no illusion that diplomacy alone can deter China from significantly altering cross-border flows. In fact, at a time when China’s cartographic aggression and its efforts to nibble at Indian land through stealthy incursions persist, it seems intent on opening a major new front through hydrological aggression. There are warning signs of this.

China is damming not just the Brahmaputra, on which it has already completed several dams, but it has also built a dam each on the Indus and the Sutlej and unveiled plans to erect a cascade of large dams on the Arun (Kosi) river, which helps augment downstream Ganges flows and is thus critical to India’s ability to meet its treaty obligations vis-à-vis Bangladesh. The flashfloods that ravaged Himachal and Arunachal states between 2000 and 2005 were linked to the unannounced releases from rain-swollen Chinese dams and barrages.

An alternative route for China's ascent

By Francesco Sisci 


For more than 30 years, Western scenarios about China have all started and finished with the hypothesis of the collapse of the Beijing government. 

However, 35 years after Deng Xiaoping introduced his reforms, the government has not collapsed, China has become the second-largest economy in the world, and it appears on track to become the number-one economic and political power in the next decade. 

That notwithstanding, as David Goldman underscored in a conversation, Western scenarios have not changed: all take for granted that sooner or later the government will fall apart or that something will force a dramatic change in China. 

But 35 years of experience should perhaps lead us to consider the possibility of a different outcome: What if, in 10 or 20 years, the Beijing regime has not collapsed? What if China carries on as it is now? 

Just for the sake of hypothesis, in contemplating all possible scenarios, one should take into consideration the possibility that in 10 or 20 years, the Chinese government could be roughly similar to what is now, and yet might avoid the clash against America and the rest of the world that is predicted by many Western pundits. 

In fact, China is now developing something of new worldview. In recent weeks, President Xi Jinping has presented a new concept for his 10-year tenure: the "Chinese dream" ("Zhongguo meng"). 

Both Chinese and Westerners have spent a lot of time and spilled much ink trying to explain the significance of the Chinese dream, yet Xi Jinping presented also another concept that is possibly even more important. He said the earth needs a "world dream" ("shijie meng"). 

Despite the fact that the content of the Chinese dream is still vague and hazy, it is clear that the Chinese dream and the world dream must be consistent with one another. 

China should not clash with the rest of the world or with the incumbent powers, but should lead alongside them. China speaks of a dream of living a good life, free of need and hunger. Yet, it is far from enough to define a dream based on the characteristics of the America dream, which currently dominates the global ideology. China's world view needs in fact to be consistent with the broad world view that has shaped and dominated the world for the past 500 years. 

The world became "unified" in the early 16th century, after Spanish and Portuguese ships discovered America and reached the four corners of the globe in the late 15th century. 

The Spanish did it for the gold and silver of America as well as for power - but they also had the sense of greater mission: spreading Christianity, the salvation of the human race through saving the heathens in African and America. 

We know the salvation of souls was also a cruel business that led to slavery and exploitation, but it was also motivated by a true sense of needing to help others and save people. In fact, we know the stories of slavery because some priests and devout Christians denounced the cruel methods used in the Americas and other places. 

The British Empire, which superseded the Spanish in control of the planet, also had very base motivations while simultaneously holding very high ideals. They wanted to bring civilization to the whole world. They did not try to convert Indians to Christianity, but they did convert them to the British legal system and the ideal of justice. 

Report: Chinese Testing Infrastructure with Cyber Intrusions


WASHINGTON —Cyber espionage is on the rise, and increasingly Chinese attackers are targeting critical infrastructure, probing networks to see what they can get away with, a new report from Verizon released Tuesday found.

The report, an annual document from Verizon known as the Data Breach Investigations Report, combed through more than 47,000 security incidents and found that while 2011 was the year of the hacktivist, 2012 was the year of espionage.

“Last year the big change in the landscape was hacktivism, which suddenly accounted for more stolen records than any other category,” said Bryan Sartin, director of investigative response at Verizon. “That came out of nowhere, because hacktivism was such a statistical speed bump. Now this year, that espionage category, not only do we see it, but it’s almost 20, 21 percent or so of all the breaches contributed internationally here across all the participants.”

Espionage, particularly industrial espionage from China, isn’t new. Gen. Keith Alexander, chief of U.S. Cyber Command, has previously described the theft of data by state actors as leading to the greatest unintentional transfer of wealth in human history. And the threat has largely been viewed in monetary terms, with Chinese actors stealing plans and intellectual property for financial gain. But what makes the threats found in the Verizon report noteworthy is that many of the attacks are targeting systems where there is no clear financial motive for intrusion.

For instance, Verizon found a series of attacks against the Federal Aviation Administration’s traffic control system.

“There’s that line that’s being crossed here between information technology and operational technology,” Sartin said. “They might not be stealing data but they’ve got the capacity to deny disrupt and destroy at that point.”

Sartin said that they’ve found a number of instances where attackers, almost entirely out of China, are sitting inside critical infrastructure systems, gathering data for prolonged periods. They aren’t destroying the systems, but are probing and testing their limits.

About a third of the attacks to which Verizon was able to attribute a country of origin came from China overall. Attackers from other countries are largely focused on financial crime, with China making up the vast majority of espionage breaches.

“They’re testing the system,” said Jeff Moulton, director of information operations at the Georgia Tech Research Institute. “They’re figuring out what they can do, and what we’ll detect, and what they can get away with.”

The bigger question, Moulton said, is what state actors might do with what they’re learning.

“Maybe it looks pretty benign,” he said. “So it looks like they can just get in, but it’s obviously just a piece of a bigger puzzle. There’s a bigger picture.”

And while overall attacks still include a large number of financial crimes and some hacktivist type attacks, intrusion into critical infrastructure systems is dominating the incidents that Verizon is seeing.

Beijing at sea

Wed Apr 24 2013

Why Delhi cannot ignore the implications of China's maritime rise

As China's lone aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, gets ready to sail in blue waters this year, Asia and the world must come to terms with Beijing's emerging capabilities to project military power far beyond its shores.

Delhi is having enough trouble dealing with the impact of China's rapid military modernisation on its Himalayan borders, as seen in the reported incident in which a unit of the People's Liberation Army set up a post 10 kilometres inside territory claimed by India. But Delhi can't afford to ignore the longer term implications of China's maritime rise.

The Liaoning's first blue-water voyage, after many sea trials in the near seas, was announced in Beijing last week to coincide with the 64th anniversary of the Chinese navy's founding, which was on Tuesday. The Liaoning marks the transformation of the navy from an inconsequential force six decades ago to one that promises to decisively alter the balance of power in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

The Chinese navy is leading the dramatic shift in the political goals of China's armed forces. Until now, the PLA has focused on internal security and territorial defence. Now, the Chinese armed forces also aim to protect Beijing's expanding interests beyond borders, influence regional security politics and contribute to international peace.

Nothing represents the political will in Beijing to pursue these new objectives better than the Liaoning. China's first aircraft carrier is also the pride of the Chinese people. It has become a powerful rallying point for Chinese patriotism and a catalyst for self-awareness of the nation's importance on the global stage. While Western analysts have scoffed at the Liaoning as a showpiece that is a long way from becoming a combat platform, every advance made on it has been lustily cheered by the Chinese people.

Chinese naval officials, in turn, have acted with considerable deliberation and self-assurance in building the first aircraft carrier. The Liaoning's first officer, Liu Zhigang, told the Chinese media last week that the carrier will be combat-ready much quicker than the current international assessments.

Besides the Liaoning, the Chinese navy is said to be building two carriers based on indigenous designs. China also has plans to build a fourth, nuclear-powered carrier. China might be late in acquiring carriers, but will have them in impressive numbers fairly soon.

For the Chinese leadership, the Liaoning, formally commissioned into service last year after many sea trials, is not about prestige. It is meant to fulfil "the historic missions" for the Chinese armed forces in the modern era, which were identified by the communist leadership nearly a decade ago.

The 18th congress of the Communist Party of China last year declared that the defence of the nation's "maritime rights and interests" was one of China's highest strategic priorities. The new political directive is, in part, about defending China's expansive territorial claims in the East and South China seas. It also underlines the centrality of maritime security for China's economic progress and national well being.

China's latest white paper on defence, issued last week, explained Beijing's new focus on maritime issues. The navy, the white paper said, naturally has the lead role in the "strategy to exploit, utilise and protect the seas and oceans, and build China into a maritime power". Linked to this is a section in the white paper, appearing for the first time, on the role of the Chinese military in "protecting overseas interests". "With the gradual integration of China's economy into the world economic system, overseas interests have become an integral component of China's national interests. Security issues are increasingly prominent, involving overseas energy and resources, strategic sea lines of communication (SLOCs), and Chinese nationals overseas, and emergency rescue have become important ways and means for the PLA to safeguard national interests and fulfil international obligations."

China puts pre-conditions to pull back, wants India to give up its posts in eastern Ladakh

VijaitaSingh : New Delhi, 
Wed Apr 24 2013

China has asked the Indian Army to destroy certain fortified positions in the so-called disputed territory in eastern Ladakh in return for the PLA removing its temporary camp in Depsang valley, now at the centre of a military face-off.

Sources said a flag meeting on Tuesday — the second since the Chinese incursion on April 15 — failed after the Chinese side made its demand. The Indian side was not willing to make a commitment, and that led to an impasse, the sources said.

The sources said that Indian fortifications that have come up recently in eastern Ladakh are in an area different from the one where the current faceoff is taking place. No official word was forthcoming on the flag meeting.

Emerging new details of the situation in the Depsang valley show that the standoff was triggered by a series of five transgressions by troops of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) on April 15, including a border crossing by a Chinese military helicopter. India on Tuesday described the situation as being "face to face", but expressed hope of a peaceful resolution.

Sources said that hours before Chinese troops pitched three tents in the valley on April 15, a chopper was seen overhead, possibly flying in support of the soldiers. Officials said Tuesday that Chinese troops were at Raki Nala, 10 km inside India's perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The sources said that on the night of April 15, a group of Chinese soldiers engaged Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel for a few hours before retreating. Another group of soldiers, however, used the distraction to put up three tents on disputed territory about three kilometres away.

The ITBP discovered these tents only the next morning. Around 30 Chinese soldiers armed with light machine guns are said to be present in the tents. The nearest ITBP camp is at Burste, 20 km away.

An alternative route for China's ascent

By Francesco Sisci 


For more than 30 years, Western scenarios about China have all started and finished with the hypothesis of the collapse of the Beijing government. 

However, 35 years after Deng Xiaoping introduced his reforms, the government has not collapsed, China has become the second-largest economy in the world, and it appears on track to become the number-one economic and political power in the next decade. 

That notwithstanding, as David Goldman underscored in a conversation, Western scenarios have not changed: all take for granted that sooner or later the government will fall apart or that something will force a dramatic change in China. 

But 35 years of experience should perhaps lead us to consider the possibility of a different outcome: What if, in 10 or 20 years, the Beijing regime has not collapsed? What if China carries on as it is now? 

Just for the sake of hypothesis, in contemplating all possible scenarios, one should take into consideration the possibility that in 10 or 20 years, the Chinese government could be roughly similar to what is now, and yet might avoid the clash against America and the rest of the world that is predicted by many Western pundits. 

In fact, China is now developing something of new worldview. In recent weeks, President Xi Jinping has presented a new concept for his 10-year tenure: the "Chinese dream" ("Zhongguo meng"). 

Both Chinese and Westerners have spent a lot of time and spilled much ink trying to explain the significance of the Chinese dream, yet Xi Jinping presented also another concept that is possibly even more important. He said the earth needs a "world dream" ("shijie meng"). 

Despite the fact that the content of the Chinese dream is still vague and hazy, it is clear that the Chinese dream and the world dream must be consistent with one another. 

China should not clash with the rest of the world or with the incumbent powers, but should lead alongside them. China speaks of a dream of living a good life, free of need and hunger. Yet, it is far from enough to define a dream based on the characteristics of the America dream, which currently dominates the global ideology. China's world view needs in fact to be consistent with the broad world view that has shaped and dominated the world for the past 500 years. 

The world became "unified" in the early 16th century, after Spanish and Portuguese ships discovered America and reached the four corners of the globe in the late 15th century. 

The Spanish did it for the gold and silver of America as well as for power - but they also had the sense of greater mission: spreading Christianity, the salvation of the human race through saving the heathens in African and America. 

We know the salvation of souls was also a cruel business that led to slavery and exploitation, but it was also motivated by a true sense of needing to help others and save people. In fact, we know the stories of slavery because some priests and devout Christians denounced the cruel methods used in the Americas and other places.