11 May 2013

Inter-Services Synergy: need of the hour

Issue Vol. 28.1 Jan-Mar 2013 | Date : 11 May , 2013

Sea Harrier taking off from the INS Viraat

The Indian Armed Forces have 13 geographically separated commands, five each for the Army and Air Force and three for the Navy and one joint command for the Andaman Nicobar Islands. The A&N, the IDS and the SFC are under the already burdened senior-most Service Chief who dons the rotating hat of the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COS) with a plateful of administrative and operational responsibility of his own expanding service. The Chief’s own turf per force gets priority at the cost of the other services, as per former COS Chairman Admiral Arun Prakash. Also, the short term for most Chairman COS, poses another impediment to planning.

India’s economy is poised to rise and rank third by 2025, after US and China as per predictions, including those of Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman – Planning Commission. To safeguard its security, India will have to shed the individual way in which the three premier defence forces and the Coast Guard function. The four Services plan, order, operate and function and prepare for war in compartments and this, despite a large Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) and a separate Strategic Forces Command (SFC), which oversees India’s nuclear assets and plans for India’s retaliatory second strike in India’s ‘No First Use’ policy.

Throughout history, sea power has been a determinant in the rise and fall of powers…

The Indian Armed Forces have 13 geographically separated commands, five each for the Army and Air Force and three for the Navy and one joint command for the Andaman Nicobar Islands. The A&N, the IDS and the SFC are under the already burdened senior-most Service Chief who dons the rotating hat of the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COS) with a plateful of administrative and operational responsibility of his own expanding service. The Chief’s own turf per force gets priority at the cost of the other services, as per former COS Chairman Admiral Arun Prakash. Also, the short term for most Chairman COS, poses another impediment to planning.

India’s directions for nuclear employment of its forces are written up in the classified ‘Red Book’ and the ‘War Book’ and are exercised under the political nuclear command structure with the National Security Adviser (NSA) as the fulcrum and a National Security Council set up thirteen years ago. The first step in the appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) for cohesion and single point of advice to the Government has not been acceptable to the political establishment despite recommendations. The strongest recommendations came in the report of the Arun Singh Committee in the 1990s, and were reinforced by the Kargil Committee Report in 2000 with the experience of the 1999 Kargil War. The report was steered by India’s doyen strategist, Late K Subrahmanyam. No action has been taken and recently in 2012, the matter re-surfaced in the Naresh Chandra Committee which recommended a watered-down post of a permanent Chairman COS at four-star level though the report has not been made public.

Admiral Arun Prakash, a member of the Chandra Committee explained it eloquently. The word ‘CDS’ is anathema to the bureaucratic, political and even the Indian Air Force brass and hence, the Naresh Chandra Committee had taken the half way first step to relieve the current Chairman COS of the many joint service functions. This new four-star incumbent would be provided some teeth to look to inter-service synergy. The next logical step will be to assign ‘roles and missions’ for the three Services and look at the region for ‘security through joint capability’ and synergize procurement with priority of needs. In this century of galloping technology with cyber and space raising challenges to cope with, it needs noting the rising cost of hardware. There is an immediate need to synergize the assets and operations of the three Services, especially the expensive aviation assets as the Navy and Air Force are all going to acquire considerable platforms worth billions of dollars, and some platforms such as MiG-29s, UAVs, LCAs, helicopters and AA systems have commonalities.

In the 21st century, India’s Navy will be very critical for India’s rise, foreign policy, security in war and peace, and her interests in the Indian Ocean…

The establishment owes it to the nation to be prudent and practical. The current aviation and nuclear doctrine of the three Armed Forces is discussed in this article with the rider that India will need an increased share of the defence budget from the current 2.7 per cent of GDP as India is entering the ‘Nuclear Triad Stage’ with ballistic SSBN submarines. India will also need increased sea power to safeguard its wealth and security in the strategic Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and Indo-Pacific where India has economic interests in trade and oil exploration.

America's Pundit-Powered Foreign Policy *

May 9, 2013


One feels sympathy for U.S. President Barack Obama. Whatever he does in Syria, he is doomed. Had he intervened a year ago, as many pundits demanded, he might presently be in the midst of a quagmire with even more pundits angry at him, and with his approval ratings far lower than they are. If he intervenes now, the results might be even worse. Journalists often demand action for action's sake, seemingly unaware that many international problems have no solution, given the limits of U.S. power. The United States can topple regimes; it cannot even modestly remake societies unless, perhaps, it commits itself to the level of time and expense it did in post-war Germany and Japan.

Indeed, Obama has onerous calculations: If I intervene, which group do I arm? Am I assured the weapons won't fall into the wrong hands? Am I assured the group or groups I choose to help really are acceptable to the West, and even if they are, will they matter in Damascus in the long run? And, by the way, what if toppling Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad through the establishment of a no-fly zone leads to even more chaos, and therefore results in an even worse human rights situation? Do I really want to own that mess? And even were I to come out of it successfully, do I want to devote my entire second term to Syria? Because that's what getting more deeply involved militarily there might entail.

In the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, intervention did not provoke other powers in the region such as Russia, because Russia in the first decade after the Cold War was a weak and chaotic state unable to project its usual historical influence in the Balkans. But intervention in Syria could get the United States into a proxy war with a strengthened Russia and with Iran.

In a media-driven world, holding power is truly thankless. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will have his term in office defined by three things: a withdrawal from Afghanistan, a serious reduction in the defense budget and responses to any overseas emergencies that crop up. There is no good way to accomplish the first two, and the third usually presents the same sort of awful choices the administration now faces in Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry energetically engages in negotiations with Iran and Afghanistan, and with Israel and the Palestinian territories, not because he necessarily wants to, but because he must. Anything less would indicate an abdication of America's responsibility as a great power. And yet the chances of good outcomes in all of those cases are slim.

The overarching theme here is that the media assumes American policymakers have significant control over events overseas, whereas in truth they often have very little. The complex, messy realities of ground-level war and politics in Syria, Iran and Afghanistan - short of aerial and naval bombardments or tens of thousands of boots on the ground - are probably not going to be pivotally shaped by American officials.

During the Cold War, when chaos was relatively limited and much of the globe was divided up into two ideological camps, it was at least possible to formulate creative diplomatic strategies through the mechanical manipulation of this or that country or group of countries against others. But in a world of weak and fragmented democracies, considerable anarchy and anemic alliance systems, it is much harder to manipulate reality. There is no night watchman. No one is in control, even as the media is more relentless than ever. (Indeed, could one imagine in today's media climate a Henry Kissinger or a James Baker constructively and sternly pressuring Israel as they once did?)

Political change, the stimulus that India needs

by V Anantha Nageswaran
May 10, 2013 

India’s growth pains are a symptom of the structural – economic, social and political – malaise that the country has sunk into, in the last decade.

Raghuram Rajan, the Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India, has written a piece recently on why growth in India slowed and how it could be revived. He blames the growth slowdown in India on the failure of India’s institutions to cope with the high growth rates experienced during 2002-2007 and on the global financial crisis. Further, he blames political opposition to investment projects that slowed capital formation.

All explanations have an element of truth in them. The above is no exception. But they minimise the importance of dysfunctional and cynical governance that has brought about India’s current economic mess: high inflation, high fiscal deficit, low growth and high current account deficit. What India is experiencing is not a ‘garden variety’ cyclical slowdown caused by inventory accumulation or a mild pick-up in inflation; India’s growth slowdown is structural. Yes, the proximate cause is a rapid decline in capital formation. However, faith in the government and the Rule of Law has receded to such an extent that risk-taking in the real economy has all but vanished. Trust between counterparties is essential for commerce to flourish. Contracts help but without trust that they would be honoured, they are largely worthless. If all contracts are settled in courts, the judicial system would be overwhelmed. Trust has been the single-most important factor underpinning economic activity in all economic systems, whether capitalist or socialist.

The trust that the Government of India is an honest interlocutor, a ‘disinterested’ party, that it would create and maintain a level playing field for all participants has taken such a big knock that nothing short of political change can begin to restore that trust. Only then can animal spirits revive. The scandals that this government has created and the sums involved have been unprecedented in the history of independent India. We briefly examine those and assess the mood of the country.

We also draw up on research from Forensic Asia (an independent bottom-up research company that analyses corporate balance-sheets) to argue that a more immediate obstacle to revival of investment spending is that the corporate sector is maxed out. The long and painful process of de-leveraging has just begun as the corporate sector accumulated too much debt in the boom years and now is payback time.

Unless India’s intellectuals and elites can agree that this government has caused tremendous harm to the idea of India and that, at the minimum, political change is required to reverse India’s fortunes, India’s recovery will remain elusive.

A partial list of corruption and other scandals since 2004

Coalgate –This refers to the disputed allocation of coal mines (a public asset) that cost billions to the exchequer and to bidders with no experience in coal mining. Their intent was to trade the license for a profit! This ‘Coalgate’ has spawned many sub-gates. The Prime Minister was personally in charge of the Coal Ministry from 2006 until 2008 because the UPA had a fugitive from law as its cabinet minister in charge of the Coal Ministry. The PM had to take over the Ministry when he ‘disappeared’. The investigative agency, charged by the Supreme Court to report to it directly, has submitted its report to the Law Ministry for ‘approval’ ahead of placing it before the Court.

Spectrum Gate – This refers to the allocation of spectrum (airwaves) to bidders in the telecommunications industry, again in a controversial manner that cost the exchequer billions in licensing fees. In order to deflect attention, the government appointed a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC). The word, ‘Joint’ suggests a committee comprising of Members of Parliament from the ruling and opposition parties. The government nominee who headed the JPC never invited the Opposition members for a meeting. He refused to allow the former Minister for Telecommunications to testify since the former Minister had said that the Prime Minister was fully in the know of all the decisions he took.

CWG Gate – This refers to the corruption scandals around the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010.

Environment Gate – This refers to the withholding of environmental clearances for many projects.

BETWEEN TWO GIANTS

- Tibet could become an area of cooperation for India and China
Sunanda k. Datta-Ray

The now happily ended “localised problem” (Manmohan Singh’s words) in Ladakh confirmed that two perceptions — mirror images of each other — are at war between India and China. Each sees the other as a hegemon, potential if not actual, bent on encircling it. Geography makes Tibet their battlefield. For the Chinese, Tibet is the soft underbelly that provides a vital link with restive Xinjiang. For Indians, it’s less a reservoir of Buddhist thought and culture than a ‘card’ New Delhi hasn’t played with sufficient finesse.

P.V. Narasimha Rao was outraged by my suggestion that we were not doing enough for Tibet. “What do you mean?” he snapped. “No other country would have given the Dalai Lama and 100,000 Tibetans asylum!” He went on to describe what was already known — that Western governments profess sympathy for Tibet only when it suits them to rile the Chinese. Now India has an opportunity of turning the hospitality in which Narasimha Rao took just pride into realpolitik to compensate for past vacillation. Salman Kurshid’s two days in Beijing, the expected visit this month of China’s premier, Li Keqiang, and Manmohan Singh’s plans to go to China in the next few months provide a setting for vigorous new initiatives that continue the boldness India reportedly demonstrated during the recent border flag meetings, but to serve a wider, longer-term objective.

The Dalai Lama’s measured utterances never go beyond the options for China and Tibet; he is careful not to suggest any course of action for India. But one of his senior officials made some interesting points at a conference on Tibet that the Foundation for Non-Violent Alternatives recently hosted in Gangtok in collaboration with Sikkim University. Four of the five points highlighted by Thubten Samphel, director of the Tibet Policy Institute in Dharamsala who has visited Tibet as part of a fact-finding mission from the Central Tibetan Administration, could help to convert Tibet from a bone of contention into an area of constructive cooperation between the two Asian giants. Directly addressing the FNVA’s mandate “to promot(e) better understanding of regional dynamics … with emphasis on the rising power of India and China” and to promot(e) “dialogue between the peoples of India, Tibet and China”, Thubten indicated how India could improve its leverage with China without stooping to the provocative banality of what is called ‘playing the Tibet card’.

I said four of Thubten’s five points because the first — that three separate United Nations resolutions in 1959, 1961 and 1965 make Tibet an international issue — can evoke uncomfortable comparison with Jammu and Kashmir. Nevertheless, it’s in China’s interest to resume the negotiations with the Dalai Lama that were suspended in January 2010. If the pontiff is unacceptable as a “splittist”, talks can be with the Dharamsala administration, though Thubten didn’t say so. Instead, he cited the attendance of more than a thousand mainland Chinese at the Dalai Lama’s teachings at Bodh Gaya to argue that public opinion in China is changing, even if authority remains rigid. The respect shown to even ordinary monks in public places like restaurants in Beijing and Shanghai certainly doesn’t indicate anti-religious feeling. Thubten might also have mentioned the many other mainland Chinese who visit the young Karmapa Lama, head of Buddhism’s Karma Kagyu sect which is the world’s oldest unbroken line of succession through reincarnation. They accounted for some of the perfectly normal cash donations that caused such uproar not long ago.

Thubten’s second point follows from this religious link. “Buddhism is India’s greatest soft power and (India) should not allow others to hijack this for their political objectives.” Theiji Sampho, who led the Tibetan delegation to the 1947 Asian Relations Conference, similarly called India “the motherland of Buddhism”. So, ironically, did a Chinese diplomat whom I asked why Beijing wanted Arunachal Pradesh. “It’s very important to us,” he exclaimed, astonished I should even ask. “The sixth Dalai Lama was born there!” Presumably, Thubten wasn’t only indulging in wishful thinking in asserting that conversations with the Chinese about Buddhism and about Tibet’s “middle way approach” guarantee that Beijing will be more positive in future if the Chinese public is allowed “a say in shaping policy”.

The Ballistic Missile intercept problem

by Sunil S 
May 10, 2013 

India must seek to constantly expand its envelope of missile intercept options and technologies. 

Recent disclosures in the Japan Times about the Nodong/Ghauri missile’s INS being not up to the mark may alter the threat perception from Pakistan’s missile program. While the Pakistani missile program has contributions from sources other than North Korea, the Ghauri missile is the longest-range delivery option in Pakistan’s arsenal. The Ghauri missile lends unique capability to Pakistan’s strategic weapons forces.

For the purpose of this discussion, it is preferable to frame the ballistic missile issue in a way that focuses on the warhead trajectory and the launcher survivability. If one has a longer-range missile, one gets two things, the ability to position the launcher further away from the target and a higher warhead velocity. The higher velocity can be crucial in the terminal phase of the missile’s trajectory.

Placing the launcher farther away from the target allows for better survivability. The most effective place to terminate an enemy missile launch is at the launch point itself, either by a direct assault on the launcher or via interference in the post launch navigational correction period. During the first Gulf War, a number of Special Forces teams from the US, UK, and Israel wandered around Iraq seeking out Scud missile launchers. When they could not disrupt the launch, they provided launch warning to Patriot missile batteries in Israel and Saudi Arabia. These forward observer teams were the key to the success of the Patriot missile system and their timely actions saved thousands of lives.

According to reports in the media, India allegedly does not possess the ability to deploy long-range reconnaissance patrols deep within the Pakistani territory. If we assume that somehow this peculiar disability can be overcome in times of crisis, by placing the missiles in heavily guarded Pakistani bases deep in Baluchistan, Pakistan could significantly limit India’s observation capabilities. In a more general sense, a longer-range missile platform can be placed farther away from regions where interference can be easily carried out.

Once the missile is launched, the enemy stands to gain a lot if a depressed trajectory or ‘lofted’ shot is used. Such a shot would dramatically affect the time allowed for the target country to react to the launch. Even if a Special Forces observer team is able to provide intimation of the launch, the exact computation of an intercept trajectory relies on getting accurate information from surveillance radar. The accuracy of trajectory calculations for a depressed trajectory or ‘lofted’ shot is poor.

At present the exact trajectories attempted by Pakistani missile tests is not in the public realm. In news reports of the tests, the Pakistanis maintain a deliberate ambiguity about the exact location of the launch. For example, the Ghauri missile launch complex is commonly referred to as “Tilla Jogian”, “Tilla Satellite Launch Complex” or the “Mashood Test Firing Range”. It is said that missiles launched from this complex, land in “Jiwani, Balochistan” – but the exact location has never been disclosed to the public. It is also unknown if any Indian radar system can track Pakistani missile trajectories during such tests. Clearly Pakistan is adept at using deception at the strategic level and keeping its enemies in the dark about its true capabilities.

Pakistan may also increase its chances of success by employing deception during the actual attack. By deploying decoy launchers and multiple launches, Pakistan can distract the defencive forces of India. These decoy launchers would confuse ground observer teams and lead to false alarms. The multiple launches could easily overload the computational resources of the target country. A simple sequential launch scheme would cause India to devote computational resources to the first set of launches and then lose the ability to track subsequent launches. At present Pakistan has given no indication of what sort of exact missile warfare plans it is contemplating.

It is not over yet

by Bibhu Prasad Routray
 May 3, 2013 

Insurgencies in India’s Northeast are demonstrating signs and intent of staging a comeback. 

The premature claims by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in its Annual Report for the year 2006-07 that the overall violence in the northeast “has been contained” notwithstanding, the region’s rendezvous with insurgency and instability continued much longer. Till the newly installed Awami League (AL) Government in Dhaka decided in 2009 to put a halt to the country’s tolerance of the activities of Indian insurgents on its soil, insurgency continued full steam, thwarting New Delhi’s twin efforts of pushing foreign governments in Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar to cooperate with its own counter-insurgency operations at home. However, three years since this momentous and landmark cooperation from Bangladesh that should have reduced the insurgents to tatters, insurgency movements in the northeast live on, albeit weak and a poor caricature of their former selves, yet demonstrating signs and intent of making a comeback. Ineffectual policies that make central forces the backbone of counter-insurgency operations are at the core of such failures.

The MHA, in its year-end report for the year 2011, asserted, “There has been significant decline in the incidents of violent killings of the civilians and the security forces in the North Eastern States due to the consistent efforts by Ministry of Home Affairs.” While the MHA’s actual contribution to the decline in violence levels can be a contentious issue, insurgency-induced violence has indeed hit the bottom. Compared to 2007, the year which witnessed killing of 498 civilians and 79 security force personnel in the northeast, security situation in the region has improved significantly to record 97 civilian and 14 security force fatalities in 2012.

Lest this be construed as a tactical retreat by the insurgent outfits, almost all the major outfits in the region had been reduced to a state of weakness. The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA)’s anti-talk faction, reduced to cadre strength of less than 150, had to find sanctuary in Myanmar. From being one of the most potent outfits in Manipur, much of United National Liberation Front (UNLF)’s action plan, following its chairman R K Meghen’s arrest in Bangladesh, veered around preserving its cadres.

By the end of 2011, the Northeast appeared on a road to complete recovery and the days of insurgency, once seen as everlasting, appeared numbered. The then Home Minister P Chidambaram predicted a “final settlement of the issues” in December 2010 and a more circumspect “ebbing of insurgency” a year later. Insurgencies, by no means, were dead in this frontier, but certainly were on deathbeds, creating thereby significant opportunities for the police forces in the region to consolidate their hold over the hitherto no-go areas.

On the contrary what continued were the old tactics — combination of alarmist assessments of the state of insurgencies by the governments of the day and a lackadaisical approach at enabling the police to take charge of the overall situation. For the region’s political class, to give up on the central forces, notwithstanding the latter’s negligible contribution to the transformed state of affairs, remained an impossible dream. The prospect of the return of peace appeared to be bad news for the political class, for it could bring in new responsibilities. Carrying on with the narrative of instability, on the other hand, has been far more convenient.

The Indo-Pacific pivot

Fri May 10 2013

Rory Medcalf

The test will be whether Australia and India can turn their converging interests into naval exercises, technology partnerships and shared maritime surveillance.

A new plan for Australian defence policy has big implications for India. For New Delhi, the good news is that Canberra's 2013 Defence White Paper (WP), launched by Prime Minister Julia Gillard last week, sharply redefines Australia's region of strategic interest as being broadly the same as India's: the Indo-Pacific.

The downside is that the Australian policy statement also seems to take a soft line on China at a time when some of Beijing's actions — not least the latest challenge on the disputed border with India — continue to unnerve the region. Both these apparent changes in Australia's defence outlook are worth clarifying, and the Australian government should move quickly to do so.

India should take comfort from the first shift. As the WP says, a new "Indo-Pacific strategic arc" is connecting the Indian and Pacific Oceans through Southeast Asia. This new framework is forged by several factors: notably the massive growth in trade, energy and investment flows between East Asia and the Indian Ocean rim, and the rise of India as an important strategic, economic and diplomatic power beyond South Asia.

This declaration makes Australia the first country in the world officially to recognise its region as the Indo-Pacific rather than the Asia-Pacific. It will almost certainly not be the last. Indo-Pacific thinking is also gaining traction in Delhi, Washington, Tokyo and parts of Southeast Asia. The term has been used by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, notably, last December, when he moved to enhance India's relations with ASEAN. And it makes objective sense as a description of the commercial and security linkages that will determine whether the Asian century is marked by prosperity or conflict.

In turning decisively Indo-Pacific in its rhetoric, Australia has identified India's rise and growing eastward orientation as a major and positive development in the changing Asian strategic order. The policy paper states: "The Indo-Pacific... adjusts Australia's priority strategic focus to the arc extending from India through Southeast Asia to Northeast Asia, including the sea lines of communication on which the region depends." Crucially, Australia is neither worried nor even ambivalent about India's growing naval weight. The paper emphasises that Canberra wants to work more closely with Delhi and the Indian navy to keep that order stable and peaceful.

Of course, grand statements like this are often criticised for being more about ideas than action, and the test will be whether Australia and India can turn their converging interests into practical arrangements like naval exercises, technology partnerships and shared maritime surveillance. The onus here will be as much on India as on Australia, and ideas like three-way cooperation and dialogue with Indonesia deserve fresh consideration.

Meanwhile, on the question of a supposed Australian tilt to China, there is less to the new Australian defence document than meets the eye. To be sure, it takes a less confrontational approach towards Beijing than former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's 2009 defence policy, which spoke of the need for Australia to be able to fight a major power in a contested Asia (and we all know he didn't mean America, India or Japan). The new Australian paper baldly states that Australia "does not approach China as an adversary" and is meeker than it could have been when comes to pointing the finger at China for assertive actions at sea or a lack of transparency in its military spending.

INDIA, CHINA AND THE BRAHMAPUTRA: UNDERSTANDING THE HYDRO-POLITICS

Roomana Hukil
Research Officer, IRES, IPCS 
May 09, 2013 

The 'essentially run-of-the-river' assurances made by China to India over Asia's greatest transnational water resource - the Brahmaputra River; has created more hue than cry. China's geopolitical assertions leave India with limited options to deploy strategic interventions in resolving the geological discourse between both countries. The mega dam projects on the Tibetan Plateau cannot be, merely, regarded as China's internal matter alone, given the trans-boundary effects, the threat to the soundness of the river course, and the environmental degradation followed. The engineered construction activities, as projected, will reduce, if not cease entirely, with the altered cross-border flows deemed to affect the livelihood and ecosystem of the lower riparian states in ways more significant than imagined.

What factors are whetting China to increasingly tap the resources of the Brahmaputra? What are the subsequent undertones of such diversionary hydro-projects on India?

The Tragedy of the Commons

There are major stakes in China that make the Brahmaputra, by far, the most important river flowing through Chinese occupied territory to the other lower riparian countries. China's water woes are familiar to the international community. The domestic turmoil that ensued from industrial upsurge, led to China exploiting the trans-border Rivers as a new strategic mesh. China's $60-billion South-North Water Transfer Project (SNWTP) aims at transmitting 40 Billion Cubic Metres (BCM) of water annually to the northern state. With the first phase of the SNWTP over, the middle route is expected to transfer water to the North by 2014. The final stage involves the Brahmaputra's diversion. Ergo, the stakes are significant for China. It is expected to convert millions of hectares of arid land into arable by the year 2020.

China is not known for consulting any of its neighbours before initiating new geopolitical progressions. More so, it fails to acknowledge the nuances of the downstream affects over the river bends on the lower riparian countries by maintaining its hydrological research and development (R&D) as 'adequate' to address the issue off hand. The buzz word here is "adequate". How can any country, who has no water sharing treaty between its co-riparian neighbours decide on what is adequate and what is not? This is bound to lead to ambiguity over the bases on which water should be shared - on the basis of consecutive dam proposal declarations, and/or political assertions of maintaining a 'run-of-the-river' getaway. China's denial to adopt any bilateral mechanism that permits the involvement of international diplomacy marks China's self-interests in the water course, disregarding the predicament of the lower riparian plight.

The tragedy of the commons only subsists when the depletion of the shared resource by trans-boundary states accentuates the understanding of utilising the resource in the community's long term interests. China is entitled to take up resource-filled projects, as long it does not impede on the existing flow of 79 BCM water into India. Presently, Arunachal Pradesh receives an average runoff of over 600 BCM from the Brahmaputra catchment area. Since the volume becomes 10 times higher during the monsoon, China's diversionary plans at a constant volume of water during that period could help mitigate floods in India and Bangladesh. However, the Chinese intervention to construct over 40,000 MW dams at the Great Bend could amplify the tragedy of the commons.

Capitalising on Lower Riparian Advantages

The implications of China's upstream diversionary projects and barrages on international rivers - sans information sharing coupled with heightened secrecy - evidently concurred in Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh during 2000-05 in the form of flash floods. Being a middle riparian state amid China and Bangladesh, India remains affix as a paragon of virtue, to stand out befitting the role of a model towards emphasising hydro-sensitivity among its riparian neighbours - Pakistan and Bangladesh. Failing to do so, exacerbating water-demands, the depletion and degradation of water resources, and the management of resources will consistently alter the balance of power between the two rising powers by increasing their dependency on the river basin.

Read between the LAC

Minxin Pei : Sat May 11 2013, 0 
China's strategy of offensive deterrence may have been behind the Ladakh stand-off

To everyone's relief, China and India have ended their three-week stand-off in Ladakh. Troops on both sides agreed to pull back to their positions before April 15, avoiding a potentially dangerous confrontation. The peaceful resolution of the latest unhappy incident in troubled Sino-Indian relations raises many questions.

The most obvious one is the timing of the incident. The incursion of Chinese troops occurred roughly a month before a scheduled trip to India by China's new premier, Li Keqiang, and less than a month before the visit to Beijing by India's External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid. For the two countries, whose ties have recently frayed over unresolved territorial disputes, these visits were supposed to help improve the overall atmosphere of bilateral relations. Common sense dictates that China should do everything possible to earn the goodwill of the Indian government and public alike.

Yet, apparently, the Chinese military commanders were oblivious to this diplomatic imperative. Their actions cast doubts on China's chain of command. One innocent, but not really credible, explanation is that it was a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing. Chinese generals perhaps ordered their troops to cross the unmarked Line of Actual Control (LAC) in ignorance of the planned diplomatic exchanges. Although we should never rule out mistakes caused by poor communication in a stove-piped decision-making system, such an explanation strains credulity because an act of such consequence and with such potential risks must be approved by the highest level of the Chinese military command — the Central Military Affairs Commission (CMAC). Contrary to popular perception that the People's Liberation Army generals have grown excessively powerful, the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) actually exercises tight control over the military. It is thus highly unlikely that China's civilian leadership was not informed of or consulted on the decision. As the new chairman of the CMAC, Xi Jinping, has repeatedly emphasised the military's loyalty to the party since his appointment as CPC chief, it is hard to imagine that Chinese generals would risk his wrath — and their careers — by either failing to inform him or pressuring him to agree to their plans.

If the highest civilian decision-makers in China were indeed consulted and had given the operations their approval, the question to ask is what they were trying to accomplish with such a risky move.

Given China's ongoing territorial disputes with Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam, it seems that it would be prudent for China not to drag India into the fray and needlessly antagonise another important neighbour. In light of the planned high-level diplomatic exchanges, the timing of the incursion appears particularly ill-advised. However, as Henry Kissinger insightfully observed in his book, On China, ostensibly counter-productive measures taken by Beijing actually embody sophisticated strategic thinking and serve key objectives desired by Chinese leaders. Since 1949, China has taken on fights with external rivals or adversaries when it was much weaker or the timing was inauspicious. Kissinger interpreted such seemingly irrational behaviour as "a strategy of offensive deterrence". China's calculation was that it would be better off demonstrating its resolve to fight for its vital interests even if it might lose. In the short run, China could suffer military or diplomatic setbacks. But in the long run, China's deterrence would gain more credibility, thus serving the country well.

In deciphering the specific case of the Ladakh stand-off, Kissinger's observation may be applicable. By showing a willingness to escalate in the face of India's increased military deployment in the contested areas, Beijing hoped to send a message to New Delhi that it was prepared to risk a great deal and respond forcefully to defend its claims.

Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed in this face-off. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government, in particular, deserves enormous credit for showing restraint during this unfortunate episode. Now that both sides have temporarily defused a dangerous situation, it is time to repair the damage.

Salman Khurshid's ongoing visit to Beijing and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to India, which starts on May 20, constitute a perfect opportunity to restart the long-stalled negotiations on disputed territories. Of course, it may be unrealistic to expect a quick breakthrough because the issues involved are devilishly complex. But getting the negotiations going again will create at least a more conducive atmosphere for resolving these disputes.

Perhaps the most immediate and effective step to take is the implementation of confidence-building measures that will avert similar confrontations in future. Before a final resolution of the territorial disputes can be reached, the Indian and Chinese militaries should agree not to station troops within a certain distance of the unmarked LAC. Movements of any military unit over a certain size must be communicated to the other side a week in advance. Military aircraft should stay clear of the LAC. Local commanders of the Chinese and Indian army units must have direct communication links with each other.

Frankly, these measures will not help resolve Indian-Chinese territorial disputes, but they should greatly reduce the risks of future confrontations similar to the Ladakh stand-off.

The writer is a professor of government and non-resident senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the US 

WIDER ASPECTS OF INDIA-CHINA BORDER STAND-OFF

Bhaskar Roy, C3S 
Paper No:1149 dated May 10, 2013

The recent India-China face-off in the biting cold of the 16,000 feet above sea level Depsung Bulge appears to be fitting in with the pattern of growing China’s aggressive and assertive policy witnessed since 2008.

It is well known that there are two perceived Lines of Actual Control (LAC) on the two sides along the unresolved India-China border. Several agreements between the two countries starting 1993 kept the borders generally stable and without serious incidents. When a platoon of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) pitched tents in Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) at a point, considered 19 kms. Inside Indian territory by India, the balance was disturbed. The Indian forces also reciprocated leading to an eye-ball to eye-ball situation, though there was no show of arms by either side.

Just in case the PLA was still under the 1962 illusion when the it gave a rubbing to a rag-tag Indian army who did not even have winter boots, the Indian army chief Gen. Bikram Singh decided India was determined and capable of defending its territory. Gen. Singh briefed the Indian cabinet on different options his army had to eject the PLA.

The matter was resolved by the two sides diplomatically through established channels. On May 05, the Chinese army moved back as did their Indian counterparts from their new forward positionsot a shot was fired. What else happened between the diplomats from the two sides is not known, but status quo ante was restored.

Instead of reducing trust the deficit between the two sides, the incident exacerbated it. The Indians learnt once again reading Chinese lips can be deceptive. Their mind has to be read, and that can be done to an extent if Chinese actions not only towards India but towards other Asian nations and the world at large can be plotted on a graph starting 1949.

The Indian foreign policy establishment was quite upbeat with their perceived India policy of the new Chinese leadership. Ignoring Chinese President Xi Jinping’s March 19 observation that resolving the India-China border issue “won’t be easy”, the Indian side weighed on Xi’s subsequent discussion with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Durban, and his statement to the official Chinese news agency Xinhua (March 27), urging the two sides to quickly work out parameters to resolve out the boundary issue. The Indians were further encouraged when the Chinese decided that the new Premier Li Keqiang’s first overseas visit would include India.

Li Keqiang’s India visit appears to be back on track. It, however, stood to be derailed if the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) incident had not been resolved. In that case India-China relations would have suffered a huge set back.

The Indian government under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had from the time of the first UPA government in 2004, put improvement of relations with China on high priority, second only to improvement of relations with Pakistan. Dr. Singh also declared there was enough space in Asia for India and China to work and develop together. It was a clear message to Beijing that an India-China partnership could be the engine of peace, stability and development for Asia at large, not the general concept of Asia focussed on the Asia-Pacific region only.

Dr. Singh, however, has been dismayed more than once by Chinese action. Finally, when China attacked his visit to Arunachal Pradesh in October 2009, he was forced to take a strong stand. Then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao went forward to retrieve the situation. There is no Wen Jiabao now, who also tried to promote democratic values and freedom of speech in China.

It must be put on record that the international community was closely watching how the DBO interface between India and China would end. It was a test case for China’s aggressive behaviour beyond Japan and the South China Sea. The India-China border negotiations, not having completed the second stage in a three-stage process, were dormant. Why did the Chinese decide to disturb the equilibrium when on the one had there were new signs that under the Xi-Li leadership, Beijing was trying to recalibrate a foreign policy in a more inclusive direction?

In this stand-off, signals from China were totally opaque. After the March 27 Xinhua report of Xi Jinping’s positive stand when reference to historical problems on the border issue was dropped, the Chinese media went silent on the subject. There were no negatives and no positives. Finally, the Chinese foreign ministry took a vague stand on the issue and the proposed visit of Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid to Beijing on May 09, as a preparatory consultation for Li Keqiang’s visit was left unclarified.

Riedel’s fantastical fantasies

by Aruna Urs — May 10, 2013 

Avoiding Armageddon adequately covers the history of the US and the Indian subcontinent but is marred by naïve proposals to solve Kashmir.

Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it: and risk an Armageddon. That Santayana quote (without the Armageddon bit) is the premise on which Bruce Riedel bases his latest book, Avoiding Armageddon: America, India, and Pakistan to the Brink and Back. After a 30 year career at the CIA, Riedel has served at various senior positions in the US administration under the last four presidents, the most recent as the chair of the review of American policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan for the newly elected President Obama in January 2009. Riedel contends that Americans are notoriously averse to studying their history while Indians and Pakistanis wallow in theirs. In 200 pages, he covers a wide span of history of the US and the Indian subcontinent – starting from Columbus and Vasco da Gama, and ending in the present.

The problem in the book is not the quick flythrough over the history of America and the Indian subcontinent. It is with his prescription for what he thinks ails this region, and the medicine that the US can administer to India and Pakistan. He paints a doomsday scenario where a nuclear war between India and Pakistan is possible any time. That may win his book attention among the discredited nuclear ayatollahs on the Hill but his contentions are not grounded in reality. As Shyam Saran, the Chairman of National Security Advisory Board warned recently, it is not sufficient to analyse the India-Pakistan nuclear equation only in the bilateral context. Indian nuclear arsenal – as much as Pakistan would like to portray otherwise – was developed to primarily counter a nuclear Communist China. Having just vanquished Pakistan in a war in 1971, India had no need to conduct a nuclear test three years later to target Pakistan. The China factor was also explained by Jaswant Singh to the Americans after the 1998 nuclear tests. That Riedel completely ignores China or India’s No First Use policy in the argument doesn’t come as a surprise when he is cherry-picking facts to suit his narrative.

To further bolster his narrative, Riedel digs out the old hackneyed line that India and Pakistan (mischievously clubbing both countries together) “spend an enormous amount of their wealth on their military … (despite) facing huge challenges of poverty and unemployment.” While China is completely ignored again, he also forgets that India spends barely 1.7 percent of its GDP on defence. This is less than the spending in many European countries today, and down from almost 3 percent in India in the late 1990s. And while China’s defence budget this year is more than three times larger than India’s defence budget, its actual spending will be even higher.

The arguments get further muddled up. If the 2000 attack on Indian parliament gave “a vivid warning that there are those in Pakistan who seek a nuclear confrontation to realise their twisted dream of destroying the Indian union”, then there is nothing India can do to satisfy them. Similarly, there is little that India can to prevent the jehadi groups in Pakistan from getting their hands on a nuclear warhead. The only answer, however radical it may sound, is to take away the nuclear weapons from Pakistan’s military-jehadi complex. Else the military-jehadi complex will continue to blackmail the world behind its nuclear arsenal and Riedels of the world will keep putting the onus on India to stop them.

Riedel’s litany of bad ideas runs long. Most of them flow from his tunneled approach, where the only neighbour he assumes India has is Pakistan. He wants a South Asia Bureau to be created in the US National Security Council, and in the rest of the US executive branch, followed by an Indian Ocean Military Command looking after India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. That India comes under Pacific Military Command is because the top US leadership, unlike Riedel, sees India as an important player in relation with a rapidly growing China. And India’s role there is going to gain even greater importance in the future.

The art of a bloodless war

Kanwal Sibal
FORMER FOREIGN SECRETARY

This is the lesson from Ladakh — when cracks are papered over, they reappear some Indian concession. To force India to cease its defensive activity in other parts of Ladakh, China ignored the exist- ing border mechanisms to resolve differ- ences and relied on an act of force in the Depsang Valley. We have been cautioned about what to expect if we persist in ob- jectionable activities in areas where ac- tual control is disputed in their reckoning. Our failure to respond mili- tarily will cost us in the future. It would be naive to believe that Khurshid’s toughened tone in describing the Chi- nese response to our demarches as “un- satisfactory” and pm manmohan Singh’s decision to extend his stay in Japan by a day persuaded the Chinese to end the stand-off. They might have decided that their limited objective had been served.

Four, the incursion clearly caught us unawares as we had begun to believe that China, pre-occupied with tensions with its eastern neighbours, was gen- uinely reaching out to us, and that by imaginatively using this opportunity we could lay the foundation of a new bilat- eral relationship. While it is true that a stable relationship with China serves our foreign policy interests well, it can- not be a one-sided affair. Underneath the rhetoric of wanting improved ties with India, China is steadily undermin- ing our interests in our neighbourhood by wanting equal treatment with India in Nepal, courting the Sri Lankan gov- ernment with economic and military aid, wooing the maldives government, strengthening ties with Bangladesh and continuing to strategically instrumen- talise pakistan with nuclear cooperation and the takeover of Gwadar port.

Our unduly positive projections at the official level of our developing ties with China are in conflict with reality. When cracks are papered over, they reappear — that is the lesson to be drawn from the recent drama in Ladakh.

Minorities in a Naya Pakistan

Ayesha Siddiqa 

Irrespective of who wins today’s election, nothing except more insecurity awaits non-Muslim communities, Ahmedis and Shias in an increasingly intolerant country

Naya Pakistan is the new buzzword in the country. It is the campaign slogan of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, and it speaks to those who are seeking not only a new leadership but also new Pakistan. There is an expectation that with this election must come a Pakistani renewal that would be more in keeping with the original promise of Partition, instead of the present corruption, poor governance and the absence of any sense of security. Many see the country suffering from the burden of an inept leadership and an expensive partnership with the United States in its war on terror, and believe Pakistan has paid too high a price for this. In the past few years, the media seems to have put the burden of both internal mismanagement and skewed external relations on the ruling Pakistan People’s Party. With new leaders like Imran Khan on the horizon, it is believed that a positive change is in the offing. Although it is not clear that Mr. Khan will be the ultimate winner in the elections, it is taken for granted that the new 40 million votes added to the voters’ list, including those of the youth, will favour the cricketer-turned-politician.

Turnout uncertain

However, there is a lot of uncertainty underlying the change mantra. Given the fact that the voter turnout in past elections was low, it is still not certain how many will show up for the election today. In provinces like Balochistan, the voter turnout in the 2008 election was as low as 20 per cent. Countrywide voter demotivation could get compounded by the threats being issued by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has warned people, especially in the tribal areas and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, against going anywhere near a voting booth. Thus far, there have been numerous murderous attacks by the TTP against the previous ruling combine of the Pakistan People’s Party, the Awami National Party, and the Muttahida Quami Movement, targeting its leaders, candidates and campaign rallies. The TTP has declared these parties liberal-secular and thus deserving of its ire. The irony of course is that none of the three parties challenged terrorism and radicalism in the country despite being in power for five years.

Even if voters overcome these challenges to come out and vote, there is no evidence yet that a Pakistan under a different leadership can bring about the sort of renewal that is required for the task of nation-building. Nowhere is this more evident than in the attitude of political parties to the religious minorities. There are 2.9 million non-Muslims in the country formally registered with the National Database and Registration Authority. Of this, the biggest number is of Hindus (approx 1.4 million), followed by Christians (1.2 million), and then others which include Ahmedis, Zorastrian, Bahai, Sikh, Buddhist and even a handful of Jews.

Pakistan, which opted for separate electorates for its minority communities at the time of Partition, took the decision to integrate these communities in the political mainstream by abolishing that system in 2002. But in other ways, the process of integration of the minorities has been non-existent and, thanks to the overall ideological-political climate in the country, the attitude towards them is one of violent intolerance.

After many such incidents of violence targeting them and their mosques, the Ahmedis, for instance, are feeling more ostracised and threatened than before by the growing latent-radicalism in the country. The community was declared non-Muslim by the Bhutto government in 1974. Mainly concentrated in Central Punjab, the Ahmedis have opted to boycott these elections as none of the political parties seems to heed their concerns.

Earlier in the campaign, Imran Khan, who spoke about changing Pakistan from his hospital bed after his fall this week, issued a formal press statement contradicting the video footage about the party’s plan to revisit the law declaring Ahmedis non-Muslims. The video clip had gone viral on social media and the ensuing controversy forced Imran Khan to make the statement that he believed in the finality of Prophet Muhammad. But shockingly, he went on to add that no one from his party had sought Ahmedi votes. More than anything else, that declaration raises worrying questions about a national party’s agenda. Notwithstanding differences on interpretation of faith, the right of Ahmedis to life and inclusion in politics has to be ensured. It is also interesting that Imran Khan used the term ‘Qadiyani,’ which the Ahmedis in Pakistan consider derogatory.

The TTP Factor in Pakistani Elections


May 10, 2013

Elections and their rigging are nothing new in third-world democratic practices. Purchasing voters and their votes, luring them with interesting promises, playing up the caste and biradari sentiments, booth capturing and stuffing the ballot boxes with illegally cast ballot papers and even polling day violence are all part of the game in third world elections and take place in varying degrees at most places. However, what is happening in Pakistan is an entirely different ball game in which the entire election process has apparently been subverted by the radical Islamists of Deobandi/Wahabi /Salafi hue, owing allegiance to Tehriq-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to ensure that ‘non-secular’ parties having a declared commitment to ushering in an Islamic order in the country gain a clear upper hand. What we are seeing in Pakistan is the ushering in of an anti-democratic Islamic order through the ballot box. What is more, the Pakistan Army, the only Pakistani institution which is still standing largely intact and was expected to be an honest broker in the electoral exercise, has clearly decided to also indirectly ensure that Islam is never “taken out of Pakistan”.

Three crucial recent statements portend this scenario. The first one is a statement released by TTP Spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan on April 28, 2013 from an undisclosed location that The Taliban Shura has decided to “selectively target” political parties and candidates and Pakistan Tehriq-e-Insaaf (PTI), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Jamiat ul-Ulema-e-Islam –Fazal-ur Rahman Group (JUI-F), and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) would not be targeted. His complete statement read: Taliban Shura had decided to target those secular parties, which were part of the previous coalition involved in the operation in Swat, FATA and other areas of Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa… The Taliban shura (would) decide which political parties to be targeted where and when…. We are neither in favour of the PTI, JI, JUI-F and PML-N nor against them.. We are against the secular and democratic system, which is against the ideology of Islam, but we are not expecting any good from the other parties either, who are the supporters of the same system, but why they are not targeted is our own prerogative to decide.

Earlier, on April 20, addressing a passing out parade at Kakul, General Kayani had said: The Pakistani Army is fully committed to the cause (of protecting the nation) and as always standing with the nation. I assure you that if we remain committed to the basis for creation of Pakistan and remain steadfast as nation. Let me remind you that Pakistan was created in the name of Islam and Islam can never be taken out of Pakistan. Islam should always remain a unifying force…Pakistan Army will keep on doing its best towards common dream for a truly Islamic Republic of Pakistan…

The third crucial statement having a bearing on current Pakistani electoral exercise is also by General Kayani. Speaking at the Yom-e-Shuhada (Martyrs Day) parade at Pakistani GHQ on April 30th, 2013 Kayani declared: The armed forces would utilize all resources to ensure that the polls are held in a fair and transparent manner… Like every Pakistani the Army is also doing its bit to strengthen democracy…There is no place for looting and personal gains in a democracy and only honest (people) can end the game between democracy and dictatorship…

So what we have, notwithstanding the laboured calculations of electoral trends and prospects of various political parties by various psephologists and political pundits, is an election in Pakistan in which the TTP is going to ensure that only pro-Islamisation candidates and political parties are able to successfully contest and their so called ‘secularist’ rivals are neither allowed to conduct their election campaigns, nor their voters and supporters allowed to come out and cast their votes. The Army is not averse to such a possibility and is only interested in keeping the poll process ‘violence free’, it does not matter that this freedom from violence would be ensured by not resisting Taliban goons from pursuing their terror agenda and keeping ‘secularists’ tied down to their home and sanctuaries for their dear lives. The attack and the kidnapping of former Prime Minster Gilani’s son is the latest and most eloquent reminder of this phenomenon. Similarly, the large body of young first time voters in these elections comprises overwhelmingly of madrassa students and pass-outs, who are most likely to go along with the TTP’s Islamic agenda.

How to Avert a Sea Catastrophe with China

By David GompertMay 8, 2013 

David C. Gompert is an adjunct senior fellow at the non-profit, non-partisan RAND Corporation and the author of the new study Sea Power and American Interests in the Western Pacific.

Beneath the tensions over conflicting territorial claims in the East China and South China Seas, a potentially dangerous sea-power rivalry is brewing between the United States and China. Because China views U.S. naval forces in East Asian waters as menacing and a potential barrier to its access to the world's oceans, resources and markets, it is deploying anti-ship missiles, submarines, space-based sensors and cyberwar capabilities to hold those forces at bay.

China is also expanding its own naval forces to enforce its claims and extend its influence. Because this vital region could become unstable or fall under China's sway if U.S. sea power recedes or is allowed to become vulnerable, the United States will have to meet this challenge, one way or another.

Sea-power rivalries have a way of ending badly. In the late 1800s, Germany challenged British sea supremacy, which was seen as a threat to its overseas access and goal of becoming a world power. Despite close economic ties and mutual interest in maritime security, Britain regarded Germany's naval build-up as a strategic threat and so further expanded the Royal Navy. The ensuing "dreadnought arms race" contributed to Anglo-German antagonism that ended in World War I. For China and the United States today, the Anglo-German case is a cautionary tale.

While the Chinese have not yet decided to become a global sea power, they are moving from coastal defense to extending their naval reach into disputed seas. Some Chinese favor a cooperative instead of confrontational approach to maritime security – after all, 95 percent of Chinese trade goes by sea.

But increasingly influential Chinese admirals view the U.S. Navy essentially as German admirals viewed the Royal Navy: as a challenge. Because of the strike power of U.S. aircraft carriers, they are China's highest priority targets – and are increasingly hard to defend. Carriers will remain invaluable for the United States elsewhere, but their vulnerability is becoming a liability in the Western Pacific.

DOUSING THE FLAMES WISELY

The Chinese incursion into Ladakh should make India re-examine critical assumptions concerning its ties with China, writes V.R. Raghavan The author is a former director general of military operations and was a commanding general in Ladakh

The intrusion into Ladakh by Chinese soldiers, the tough language employed during negotiations with Indian army officers, and their precipitate withdrawal raise questions on the purpose and implications of the episode. That the Chinese intrusion was in violation of the India-China agreement on maintaining ‘peace and tranquility’ on the borders is not in doubt. Chinese claims about Indian provocations on the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh offer a specious explanation, since Beijing would have been within its rights to raise the issue at the regular meetings of border commanders. It could have raised the level and lodged a protest with New Delhi. Its choice of entering the Indian side of the LAC can, therefore, be interpreted as a carefully orchestrated initiative. What was Beijing or the People’s Liberation Army trying to gain through this action?

It maybe useful to go over the sequence of events to gain an insight into the objectives Beijing may have attempted to realize through its actions near Daulat Beg Oldi. The place itself is redolent with memories of events leading to the war of 1962. Chinese action at the time was similar, wherein the PLA inched towards the Indian posts and ordered them to pull back from Chinese territory. The series of actions and reactions it let loose eventually led to the war of 1962. Decades of painstaking measures undertaken by both sides have brought into effect a consensual process to avoid conflict and maintain stability on the borders. Serious negotiations have gone on for years to determine the border, during which China has refused to exchange maps. China and India have cooperated on international fora to safeguard the interests of developing countries. Mutual trade has expanded substantially. It has, however, not prevented Beijing from continuing to keep lighting small fires under Indian feet through irritants like stapled visas, protesting the prime minister’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh and embarrassing senior Indian officers visiting China as part of official delegations. The Five Tents action in Ladakh certainly stoked fears and speculation. The Indian visual media fanned these fears further. Earlier, Beijing had used the Indian media to its advantage. This time it proved not only counter productive, but also led to the creation of the image of a belligerent China.

The Indian response — initially it was caught off guard by the unexpectedness of the intrusion — quickly gathered pace. The army had more than one option to deal with the situation. All of them needed political clearance, as is necessary in a democracy. When it comes to China, the Indian political leadership has in the past been nervous about proactive action. This time, the political establishment in New Delhi, in spite of the huge pressures it faced on account of the charges of corruption and mismanagement, rose to the occasion. Key national security structures comprising the ministry of external affairs, the ministry of defence and the national security agency combined effectively to put in place a multi-pronged action plan. The army was permitted to work on a contingency plan that had the potential to upset the Chinese strategy with aplomb. A small, carefully-weighed military initiative in Ladakh immediately produced a result. The Chinese realized that India, too, can play the same game. Additionally, pressure had begun to mount on account of the adverse international view regarding China. The MEA and the Indian embassy in Beijing, while coordinating with the NSA, acted skilfully and conveyed the message that an even greater embarrassment can occur in the form of the cancellation of the Chinese prime minister’s trip to Delhi. The cumulative impact was felt on the negotiating table in Ladakh. Chinese commanders shed their arrogant tone and agreed to pull back the forces mutually. A combination of military and diplomatic moves had forced an outcome. It was also a major image booster for the political leadership in Delhi because it showed that national security had been accorded a high priority by the government.

Chinese PLA Submarine Database

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Chinese PLA Submarine Database

created by Sid Trevethan
Class NameTypeTotal in Service for Spring of YearFleet Assignment
  2004200520062007200820092010NorthEastSouth
Type 094SSBN0001112000
Type 093SSGN1122334100
Xia 092SSBN1111111100
Han 091SSN5555555500
Kilo III (AIP)SS0000036000
Kilo II (636)SS22610101010020
Kilo I (877)SS2222222020
Song II (039G)SSG677991111042
Song I (039)SSG1111111010
Ming III (035AIP)SS6666666006
Ming II (035E)SS121212121212121200
Ming I (035)SS[2]000000000
Romeo II (033G)SSG[1]000000000
Romeo I (033)SS2118126666777
Reserve RomeoSS151515151296555
Moth. RomeoSS[12][12][12][12][12][12][12]00[12]
Gulf (Auxiliary)SSBA[1][1][1][1][1][1]0[1]00
Sang-O (Xpt)SSM1111111001
SSN TotalSSN7789101012700
SS TotalSS66646262595855242121
Sub TotalSubs73717071696867312121


Class NameTypeSubmergeSurfaceSonar CMSonarNoiseBatteryWeap.TorpedoTorpedo
  SpeedSpeedLevelLevel PointsRoundsTubes 1Rating
Type 094SSBN271846Very Quiet12206     020
Type 093SSGN301846Very Quiet12206     020
Xia 092SSBN221235Average9206     020
Han 091SSN261225Average9206     020
Kilo III (AIP)SS171246Very Quiet120186     020
Kilo II (636)SS171246Very Quiet24186     020
Kilo I (877)SS171235Quiet24186     020
Song II (039G)SSG221546Very Quiet180126     020
Song I (039)SSG221545Quiet36126     020
Ming III (035AIP)SS181546Very Quiet120186     220
Ming II (035E)SS181535Quiet24166     211
Ming I (035)SS181524Quiet24126     211
Romeo II (033G)SSG121524Quiet39146     211
Romeo I (033)SS121535Quiet39146     211
Reserve RomeoSS121524Quiet39146     211
Moth. RomeoSS121523Quiet39146     211
Gulf (Auxiliary)SSBA151523Average142656     411
Sang-O (Xpt)SSM8824Very Quiet4000


Class NameTypeLAB/CMLAB/CMLACM NameLAB/CMASCMASCMASCMWeaponsMines7
  RatingRangeLABM NameRoundsNameRatingRangeNotes 
Type 094SSBN1888,000JL-216HN-372,500236
Type 093SSGNnananaTTLHN-372,500236
Xia 092SSBN1253,600JL-1A12nanana336
Han 091SSNnananaTTLYJ-8542236
Kilo III (AIP)SSnanananananana36
Kilo II (636)SSnanananananana24
Kilo I (877)SSnanananananana24
Song II (039G)SSGnananaTTLYJ-8542224
Song I (039)SSGnananaTTLYJ-8542224
Ming III (035AIP)SSnanananananana326
Ming II (035E)SSnanananananana326
Ming I (035)SSnanananananana24
Romeo II (033G)SSGnanana6YJ-1542428
Romeo I (033)SSnanananananana28
Reserve RomeoSSnanananananana28
Moth. RomeoSSnanananananana28
Gulf (Auxiliary)SSBAnanananananana44
Sang-O (Xpt)SSMnanananananana8


Class Name9TypeHull NumbersSOFPower8
   Teams
Type 094SSBN409, 4122NS
Type 093SSGN407, 408, 410, 411, 413, 4142NS
Xia 092SSBN4062NS
Han 091SSN401, 402, 403, 404, 4052NS
Kilo III (AIP)SS381, 382, 383, 384, 385, 3861DES
Kilo II (636)SS366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 3751DES
Kilo I (877)SS364, 3651DES
Song II (039G)SSG321, 322, 323, 324, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 3251DES
Song I (039)SSG3201DES
Ming III (035AIP)SS361, 305, 306, 307, 308, 3091DES
Ming II (035E)SS342, 352, 353, 354, 355, 356, 357, 358, 359, 360, 362, 3631DES
Ming I (035)SS, 2331DES
Romeo II (033G)SSG3511DES
Romeo I (033)SS293, 294, 295, 296, 297, 298, 299, 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 343 to 349, 3551DES
Reserve RomeoSS268, 269, 270, 271, 272, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 286, 287, 291, 2921DES
Moth. RomeoSS249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 257, 258, 259, 2601DES
Gulf (Auxiliary)SSBA2001DES
Sang-O (Xpt)SSM351 Hull number duplicates Romeo II.1DES
Notes
Note 1: Forward tubes listed to left, aft tubes listed to right.
Note 2: TTL= Torpedo Tube Launch = missile shots replace mine shots.
Note 3: Not operational with nuclear warheads.
Note 4: May only launch when surfaced.
Note 5: Gulf normally only loads 12 torpedoes.
Note 6: Ming normally only loads 28 mines.
Note 7: Subs carry mines/cruise missiles or torpedos. Reduce torpedo shots by 1 for every two mines carried, disregard at zero torpedo shots. Exception 1: Sang-o only carries mines.
Note 8: NS = Nuclear Submarine; DES = Diesel Electric Submarine
Note 9: Designation in parentheses following Yu number is Russian model ID.

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