23 May 2013

Lengthening Malevolent Chinese Shadow

Issue Vol 25.4 Oct-Dec 2010 | Date : 22 May , 2013 

“It is astonishing that we have never till date asked China to vacate our territory occupied by it in Aksai Chin. We go out of our way, even today, to explain away every Chinese intrusion into our territory on perception difference of the Line of Actual Control.” 

History is repeating itself. The two Asian powers are poised to confront each other to find strategic space in Asia and subsequently the world, spurred by their economic growth. At the moment, China appears to have stolen the march over India. 

…Nehru flared up, thumped hard on the table and said: “It is not the business of C-in-C to tell the PM who is going to attack us where. In fact the Chinese will defend our NEFA Frontier. You mind only Kashmir and Pakistan”.

Contrary to popular belief, the two great civilizations in Asia – China and India had very little interaction historically. Barring an odd Huen Tsang visiting India or Dr Kotnis going to China much later, the two countries remained largely oblivious to each others existence, and Tibet and Himalayas ensured that. It is in the 19th Century when the British, while ruling India, were engaged in the Great Game against the Russians, Tibet engaged their attention. Far sighted that the British were, they ensured that Tibet remained a buffer zone between China and India. Closer to independence however, for whatever reasons, the British made little effort to demarcate the boundary between Tibet and India and formalize it which they could have easily done, being the supreme world power then. Therefore the boundary dispute between People’s Republic of China and India is a direct result of British unwillingness to resolve the issue to the satisfaction of both India and China. 

The Chinese, very early, after becoming a communist nation realized that the only nation in Asia which could challenge them was India and therefore from day one they evolved policies to strategically isolate India in South Asia and create a boundary dispute to keep India permanently anxious and unbalanced despite India’s best efforts to befriend the PRC even at the cost of its strategic interest in Tibet. India followed a policy of appeasement right through the fifties and it persists till today. This policy of appeasement did not prevent the Chinese to launch the ’62 war against us and later follow a concept of strategic encirclement on land and a string of pearls strategy in the Indian Ocean to isolate India and keep it confined to South Asia, unable to break out on the big stage. 

Our Policy of Appeasement and Consequences 

Pandit Nehru, who was both the Prime Minister and External Affairs Minister of independent India was completely dazzled by the Chinese success in its communist revolution and thought that by making much of China, India would strike friendship with it and everything would be hunky-dory. In the process he completely ignored the Chinese history. China has been imperialistic throughout its history and never forgot its humiliation by Western powers and Japan in late 19th and up to mid 20th century. The Middle Kingdom syndrome has always stayed with it. 

As per Prof CP Fitzerald of Royal Institute of International Affairs: “China was the civilized world; for centuries this was perfectly true as far as Chinese experience reached, and the idea remained firm in Chinese minds, long after it had ceased to be a fact, territory once won for civilization must not be given back to barbarism; therefore territory which was once Chinese must forever remain so and if lost, must be recovered at the first opportunity. Such loss cannot be legal or valid; it is at best a recognition of passing weakness. The whole growth of the Chinese empire, throughout more than 3000 years, had been built on this principle, the barbarians were conquered and then absorbed and turned into Chinese by slow assimilation and cultural influence. To deny this process, to claim that it had or should come to and end, was to Chinese thought a denial of the right, a recognition of failure”. 

The chronology of appeasement makes sad reading. 

Occupation of Tibet by China and India’s Meek Response 

…Nehru went out of his way to introduce Chow En Lai to Asian and African leaders. His patronizing attitude was even resented by Chow En Lai.

When Chinese forcibly occupied Tibet in 1950-51 and turned it into a Chinese colony India’s response was completely weak-kneed and we even did not support the Tibetan plea for a discussion in the UN. A prophetic latter written by late Sardar Patel to Nehru during Chinese occupation of Tibet did not even elicit a response from Nehru. Similarly an apprehension expressed by late Field Marshal Cariappa, who was C-in-C then was contemptuasly dismissed by Nehru. 

In his book “Cariappa – His Life and Times,” Brig CB Khanduri, writes: “In May 1951, Cariappa, accompanied by Maj Gen Daulat Singh, the officiating Chief of General Staff, outlined his plan for defence of NEFA. Having listened to him, Nehru asked for reasons. When Cariappa mentioned that the Chinese may have designs on the region, Nehru flared up, thumped hard on the table and said: “It is not the business of C-in-C to tell the PM who is going to attack us where. In fact the Chinese will defend our NEFA Frontier. You mind only Kashmir and Pakistan”. 

Powers that won’t let the police be

Published on The Asian Age (http://www.asianage.com
By editor 
Created 22 May 2013 - 00:00 

Institutions of governance like the judiciary, the bureaucracy, the police and the Army created during the British era stood by us through the very unsettled first decade and more after Independence. The fact that we had dedicated and incorruptible political leaders at the helm brought up on Gandhian values, ensured the success of governance in our country in those critical years. Today, with our political leadership displaying total lack of values, dedication and integrity, these instruments of governance are collapsing.

Our political leaders in the ’50s and ’60s scrupulously avoided interfering in the internal functioning of the police. Investigation of cases was left entirely to the police and promotions and transfers of police officers recommended by the police chief were hardly ever interfered with. In 1930, Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant was leading a non-violent procession in Lucknow which was lathicharged. A sub-inspector hit him on the neck. One of his nerves got permanently damaged as a result of which his head used to shake for the rest of his life. In 1946, the sub-inspector was up for promotion to the post of deputy superintendent of police (DSP). Pant was reminded that he had been hit by that officer in 1930. Pant replied that he was only doing his duty and approved his promotion.

Today, our political leaders not only want the police to do their dirty work but also get them to collect money for them. Three recent incidents indicate how our political masters function in relation to the police. In Jammu and Kashmir, when a traffic policeman gave a signal to the convoy of a minister to stop, his police escort in his presence mercilessly beat up the traffic policeman who had to be hospitalised. Recently, the chief minister of West Bengal rushed into a police station in Kolkata, admonished the police for arresting some of her party cadres and had them released immediately. The textile minister in Uttar Pradesh is on record saying, publicly, “No cop can do anything till I give orders. No cop can sit till I give orders. If cop does not listen to me, he has no right for even a minute to sit on the chair, he will be sacked within 24 hours.”

The National Police Commission made many important recommendations, like setting up a Security Commission for transparency in appointment of police chiefs in states, security of tenure for police officers and so on. All this was anathema to all political parties, without exception. These important recommendations have been put in cold storage despite the directions of the Supreme Court. Chief ministers treat directors-general of police and other police officers in their states like monarchs in feudal days, decreeing, “Off with his head”. At the Centre, the Intelligence Bureau furthers the interests of the ruling party and the Central Bureau of Investigation has been reduced to being a “caged parrot.”

Lord Cornwallis enacted the 1861 Police Act, organising the police in India and giving it a civilian face. The district magistrate was made responsible for law and order of a district and the thanedars reported directly to him. Later, the post of superintendent of police (SP) was introduced, initially held by captains on deputation from the Army. Towards the end of the 19th century, the Indian (Imperial) Police cadre was formed with direct recruits and Army officers on permanent deputation. Till 1920, the police chiefs of provinces were ICS officers. Afterwards, police officers started being appointed inspector general (IG) police of a province. There were about 15 armed police battalions, including Central paramilitary battalions, in 1947. With this predominantly civilian force, the British maintained law and order effectively in the country.

I recall that as a young Army officer posted in New Delhi in 1946, we could sleep peacefully at night on the lawns in our bungalows. Delhi then had less than 1,000 policemen under a senior superintendent of police (SSP). Today we have a force of 90,000 policemen (of which one-third is deployed on VIP security) under a three-star rank commissioner of police, the largest metropolitan police force in the world. Yet, life has become so unsafe.

Strategic pincer & Trojan horses

Published on The Asian Age (http://www.asianage.com
By editor 
Created 23 May 2013 - 00:00 

India should emulate the hard-driving, multi-layered diplomacy China conducts so effortlessly, which New Delhi can only goggle at

Consider the simplified timeline: on May 4, when the armed intrusion by Chinese People’s Liberation Army in the Depsang Bulge was on-going, the Indian government in an inspired fit announced the extension of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s scheduled visit to Japan by a day (May 27-29). 

Literally a day later, Beijing, after treating India’s military capability with near contempt — otherwise it wouldn’t have dared risk the intrusion in the first place — agreed to a pullback. It was China’s calculations of a prospective Indo-Japanese strategic pincer, not India’s “nuanced diplomacy”, that persuaded Beijing to retract its claws.

China, always fearful of a remilitarised Japan, is unsettled by what it means to have its nemesis take a nationalistic turn and for India to make common cause with it. Potentially, that can distend the Chinese security system at the two ends of its imperium — bounded in the west by Tibet and Xinjiang — and verily be a nightmare for the PLA which still feels queasy about the last time it ventured into an adjoining country — not India, silly! — Vietnam, in 1979. The PLA invasion force (of some 28 infantry divisions) escaped with huge casualties and its dignity in shreds. The Indian minister for external affairs Salman Khurshid perversely blamed the delay in the Chinese vacating their aggression on the Indian media getting wind of the intrusion!

And a week after benefiting from the merest hint of India and Japan (and the US) engaging in a military exercise, the pusillanimous gang in charge of our China policy orders the Indian Navy out of a full-fledged joint war game with the US and Japanese navies off Okinawa that was in the works for seven-eight months, lest it upset Beijing. No country is more solicitous of its natural adversary than India.

Instead of enhancing Chinese apprehensions, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s regime has foresworn playing the many strategic cards India has been dealt over the years. In return for Chinese assistance to India’s rebel movements in the Northeast, India should have played the Tibet card; as payback for Beijing arming Pakistan with nuclear missiles, India could have armed Vietnam with strategic missiles; and India should have shoved China on the defensive by putting security cooperation with Japan and America into over-drive.

While Dr Singh, mercifully, predicated good relations with China on peace on the border and did not gratuitously reaffirm that old saw about “One China” — a formulation encompassing countries and territories whose status as part of China is questionable — New Delhi’s traditional feeble-mindedness led to Premier Li Keqiang placing more Trojan horses at the Indian Gate: larger contracts for the Chinese telecommunications and power production and transmission companies at a time when the PLA-owned Huwaei Company, for instance, has been barred for security reasons from most Western markets. India apparently has no fear of remote-controlled disruptions of high-speed communications networks or insertion of logic bombs into Indian information systems.

Even as New Delhi was accommodating Beijing — the armed intrusion in Ladakh was accepted as only an “incident” — Japan under the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) dispensation of Shinzo Abe warned China to keep its submarines from the exclusive zone around the disputed Senkaku Islands and issued notice of its intent to amend the country’s “Peace Constitution”, enabling Tokyo to arm itself to the extent necessary and to sell arms and military technologies to friendly states. It is an opportunity the Indian Navy should capitalise on, exploring with the Kawasaki shipyard the transfer of the Soryu-class diesel submarine technologies for its Project 75i and firm up the deal with the Shin-Meiwa corporation for the private sector manufacture here of its PS-1 flying boat for maritime operations. It is precisely the cross-stakes in each other’s security that Prime Minister Abe has been pleading for.

India’s Pakistan Policy Post-Nawaz Sharif Win

Paper no. 5497 Dated 22-May-2013 

By Dr Subhash Kapila 

On May 12, 2013 as Pakistan General Election results were pin-pointing twice Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s historic win, in a TV appearance on TIMESNOW I was asked what points I had to offer for India’s Pakistan policy Post-Nawaz Sharif win. 

Putting it briefly, and removed from the media euphoria, the following points were made by me during the TV discussion: 
  • Nawaz Sharif’s win was a historic win both for Pakistan’s democracy and it augured well for India reputed as he was for building good relations with India. However, I cautioned that there should not be an over-hype both within policy circles and on TV channels. India must keep its expectations level low. 
  • Indian media normally gives political leaders a hundred day honeymoon on assumption of power, In case of Nawaz Sharif we need to give at least one hundred and fifty days so that his third term policy priorities and constraints can unfold and pan out to enable correct Indian policy perspective assessments to be made. 
  • Three other major developments await Nawaz Sharif’s within months of his emerging as Prime Minister of Pakistan, namely the end of President Zardari’s tenure as President of Pakistan (9 September 2013), the end of extended three year tenure of Pakistan Army Chief, General Kayani (27 November 2013) and the retirement of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry (11 December 2013) may limit PM Nawaz Sharif’s political manoeuvre space till new successors are installed. That will be Nawaz Sharif’s biggest challenge in his first seven months in office besides the law and order and economic decline. 
  • India should not expect any game-changers from Nawaz Sharif till early next year. 
Pakistan’s India policy under Nawaz Sharif would also be heavily dependent on China’s and United States attitudinal inclinations towards Nawaz Sharif. It would also be dependent on current priorities of United States and China determining relations with India.. 

Pakistan stands at historic cross-roads in terms of its political dynamics of having been able to ensure a back-to back return of civilian governments through fairly fair and free elections. People of Pakistan need to be complimented for their courage to withstand violent threats by extremists and come out to vote in historically large numbers. Pakistanis have been struggling for democracy since 2007 when lawyers, students, civil rights groups and women groups turned out in large numbers on Pakistani streets against its military ruler General Musharraf. The million-man march spearheaded by Nawaz Sharif for restoration to office of Chief Justice Chaudhary was a game changer in terms of unquestioned military hold over Pakistan’s governance. 

In the past I have written about “Pakistan Democracy: India’s Strategic Imperative” and that India needs to do more than it was doing at all levels. India’s Pakistan policy now more than ever before needs to be geared towards this end when policy formulations are re-casted. The helpless shrug that India has to do business with whosoever is in power is no longer valid. India must be assertive in shaping its security environment. 

India’s expectation levels need to be kept low. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif does not have a magic wand to create a new Pakistan and new India-friendly Pakistan Army, one suiting India’s expectations. Even though he will be an unprecedented third-term Prime Minister with a massive political majority at his command, he to begin with will still have to operate within the constraints of the existing hold of the Pakistan Army on Pakistan’s external affairs and internal dynamics. 

Even before Nawaz Sharif has assumed office, the Pakistan Army Chief General Kayani called on the Prime Minister-designate in Lahore and advised him to go slow on changes in Pakistan policies towards India and Afghanistan. In other words, telling the PM-designate that he should not trample on Pakistan Army’s “Core Interest” in foreign policy formulation as regards India. 

So Indian expectations aired on Indian TV as to whether Nawaz Sharif would bring Pakistanis accused in Mumbai 26/11 to justice, or extradite the rabid anti-India baiter Hafiz Seed to India of being the master-mind to India, are premature and ill-timed. The same would apply to expecting Pakistan to curtail ISI terrorism and disruptive activities in India. Why are we forgetting that the Pakistan Army controls, strategizes and directs all ISI terrorism operations against India, Maintaining adversarial and confrontational postures towards India is a “Core Interest of the Pakistan Army” and it brooks no interference in this field by the civilian government. “Terrorism is a policy instrument of the Pakistan Army”. 

Ignore biodiversity management at your own peril

Prakash Nelliyat 

The United Nations designated May 22 as the “International Day for Biological Diversity,” to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. “Water and Biodiversity” is this year’s theme. We cannot imagine one without the other. Water and biodiversity are sources of life and livelihood or options for reducing poverty and enhancing human welfare. Basic human needs such as air, water, food, clothing and medicines are the products of water/biodiversity. Seventy per cent of the world’s poor lives in rural areas and depends directly on biodiversity for its survival and well-being.
Stress factors

However, when the population and its requirements start to increase, there is proportionate stress borne by water and biodiversity. This contributes to global challenges such as climate change, rising food and energy costs and global economic crises, along with exacerbating poverty, inequality and underdevelopment. 

Lack of access to safe drinking water is an important issue, especially in developing countries. About 2.8 billion people (40 per cent of the world’s population), experience some form of water scarcity. Lack of basic services (water supply and sanitation) leads to insecurity, political instability and even armed conflict in developing countries.

There has been considerable structural transformation in developing countries during the post-globalisation era. A substantial reduction in agriculture along with a rapid increase in industrialisation and urbanisation has led to severe land use changes. Forests and wetlands (hot spots for water and biodiversity) have been reduced and degraded. In addition, the indiscriminate discharge of wastes into water bodies has damaged the environment, with enormous and sometimes irreversible impact. However, managing these resources is essential if the world is to achieve sustainable development. 
Water science

Understanding the role of biodiversity in the hydrological cycle enables better policymaking. The term “biodiversity” refers to the variety of plants, animals, microorganisms, and the ecosystems in which they occur. Water and biodiversity are interdependent. In reality, the hydrological cycle decides how biodiversity functions. In turn, vegetation and soil drive the movement of water.

Every glass of water we drink has, at least in part, passed through fish, trees, bacteria, soil and other organisms. Passing through these ecosystems, it is cleansed and made fit for consumption. The supply of water is a critical “service” (of benefit to humans) that the environment provides. Biodiversity is what underpins the ability of nature to recycle water throughout. 

Forests, for example, influence the hydrological cycle by directly affecting the rates of transpiration and evaporation, and how water is routed and stored in a watershed. Forest soils readily absorb, capture and sustain certain quantities of water. Deforestation increases soil erosion which reduces land productivity and causes water scarcity in downstream areas. One-third of the world’s largest cities get a significant portion of their drinking water supply from forest areas. Forests are a part of biodiversity and cities depend on biodiversity for their water.
Challenges and concerns

Plants, soils and animals not only sustain the hydrological cycle, but also play a significant role in purifying water. Wetland plants remove high levels of nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, thus preventing them from reaching drinking water. Toxic substances such as heavy metals from water are also removed. Normally, when water flows downstream, its quality may improve drastically, as the biodiversity (mainly bacteria, animals and plants), breaks down impurities and makes it fit for drinking.

Lack of recognition: There has been a widespread failure to recognise water and biodiversity’s vital role in providing food, energy, disaster relief and environmental sustainability. The main reason is that there are no proper markets or values for the goods and services (which lift millions of peoples suffering from poverty and diseases) derived from ecosystems.

Bhutan: Schedule for Second Parliamentary Elections Announced

Note No. 683 Dated 22-May-2013 

By Dr. S.Chandrasekharan. 

The Election Commission of Bhutan officially announced the schedule of National Assembly Elections. 

As laid down in the Constitution the election will be in two stages. In the first stage, two of the four parties who poll the maximum in the election to be held on 31 May will be chosen for the second stage to be held on July 13. 

Besides the ruling party DPT and the opposition PDP, two other parties are also in the fray. They are the DCT ( Druk Chiwang Tshogpa) and the DNT ( Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa). One other party BKP ( Bhutan Kuen-Nigam Party), though accepted as a political party failed in the preliminary stage of scrutiny as it could not put up representatives for all the 47 constituencies. 

Strangely but perhaps rightly for a small country like Bhutan, the constitution and the electoral laws of Bhutan do not encourage political parties in forming a coalition government. In the absence of a coalition government, Bhutan could have the luxury of a small cabinet with the Prime minister fully in charge of governance in all its aspects. 

It is to the credit of Jigme Thinley with his ministers that the government had performed well in the last five years.. He had said and it is worth quoting-“the ultimate test of democracy and elected government is how it makes itself accountable to the people for the promises it has made, for those it has kept and for those it has broken.” 

If one were to make a report card, he would get an A+. 

Democracy has taken deep roots now and the credit should primarily go to former King Gyalpo IV and the present one Gyalpo V. Having followed the events in the last five years, I have seen very few instances where the King had stepped in though both ( Gyalpo IV and V) may be giving guidance to the government from behind. 

Some analysts have tried to compare the top down democratic experiment in Bhutan to that of Myanmar. In Myanmar the jury is still out while in Bhutan democracy has taken very strong roots and could sustain itself. 

I would rather compare the democratic experiment in Bhutan to that of Maldives where both started the “top down” experiment at the same time. While Bhutan flourished, in Maldives a lawfully elected government was toppled, due to machinations of a few recalcitrant security officials and some of those who had enjoyed power earlier and were left out in the democratic experiment. 

One cannot but recall the first democratic experiment in Nepal in the sixties when the lawfully elected democratic government of Koirala was dismissed and the whole cabinet jailed! 

As a prelude to the elections, an interim government headed by the Chief Justice has been put in place. It was a delight to hear the Chief Justice saying that he and his council would continue with the policies laid down by the previous government without making any major change. Witness what is happening in Nepal where the beleaguered Chief Justice heading the interim government is prevented from taking independent decisions with the four major political parties breathing down his neck! 

Before laying down office, Prime Minister Jigmi Y. Thinley made a report of his achievement success and failures to the outgoing parliament. It was a candid report. 

He talked of the special bond between Indian and Bhutan that is critical for the well being of Bhutan. I would add that it has been mutually beneficial to both the countries. From the Indian point of view, Bhutan is the least of the worrisome among the neighbouring countries. 

Thinley talked about the progress made in poverty reduction and how with the hydro electric projects going on stream, by 2020 the per capita income in Bhutan would be between 5700 and 700 US dollars. All indicators on the social and economic side have been on the upward move. 

The J&K problem

on 22 May 2013

Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India. The only problem that can be called the J&K Problem is the non-comprehension by India of this truth of its being the integral part of India and not distinct or separate from the other states. The problem that remains to be settled then is to free the areas of J&K illegally occupied by Pakistan and China. Once this is understood, all else falls in place. 

Strategic Importance of J&K 

J&K has been the traditional trade route of Central and South Asia to the East and Tibet, generally called the ‘Silk Route’. It is bounded by more countries than any other state of India; in the north east with Tibet, and further north with Xinjiang province of China, in the north west with the Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan, in the west with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and further south with Punjab of Pakistan. 

This geographic layout is strategically so important that no power of the world wants to remain away from the area, as it gives access to the sensitive areas of the neighbouring countries. The high mountains provide strategic depth and domination over the surrounding area. For hundreds of years, Russian, Persian, Chinese, Tibetan and British Indian empires have sought the mountain passes to dominate each other. The region rests along “the ancient axis of Asia” where South, Central and East Asia converge and, since time immemorial, has been the gateway for both India and China to Central Asia. 

The state of Jammu and Kashmir is divided in two parts, one with India and the other under occupation of Pakistan and China. The part with India comprises Jammu, Kashmir valley and Ladakh. While Kashmir valley is famous for its beautiful mountainous landscape, Jammu's numerous shrines attract tens of thousands of Hindu pilgrims every year. Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and Buddhist culture. The illegally occupied part of J&K comprises Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (so called Azad Kashmir) and Gilgit- Baltistan (earlier called the Northern Areas); China possesses Aksai Chin and Shaksgam valley illegally ceded by Pakistan in 1963. 

The “high roof of the world”, the Gilgit-Baltistan and Ladakh region of the former kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir is geo-strategically very important. It lays between the high Hindu Kush and Karakoram mountain ranges to its north and the Western Himalayas to its immediate south, with the Kashmir Vale and Jammu region further south. The strategic importance of J&K can be understood from the fact that China is spending huge sums to build infrastructure through highways connecting Tibet to Xinjiang through the Chinese occupied Aksai Chin plateau, and Xinjiang to Pakistan via the Karakorum highway through the Kunzreb pass. This highway then connects Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea, giving warm water port and access to the Indian Ocean to China. 

It will enable China trade to avoid the bottleneck of the Malacca Straits and cut down distance to the interior provinces of China. Gilgit Baltistan is now under de facto Chinese control, and over 10,000 PLA troops are believed to have been deployed to develop infrastructure in the area. It is also believed that Pakistan will lease the GB area to China for 50 years under the pretext of developing the area. 

J&K’s strategic importance becomes clear when we face two enemies on our borders at a point where we are weakest and have maximum to lose, having already lost nearly 50% of the erstwhile princely state through aggression by Pakistan in 1947 and China in the 1950s and 1962. There are also valuable mineral deposits in the area, particularly in GB and Ladakh area. It is surmised that GB area is rich in uranium deposits, besides great potential of hydro-electric works. 

It is unfortunate that the Government of India took the attitude of “where not a blade of grass grows”, undermining its strategic importance and link to national security. We have thus been manoeuvred to face two enemies in our most vulnerable area with poorest infrastructure and extremely poor logistical backing. That is why we had a situation in Daulat Beg Oldie where Chinese entered 19 kms into our territory and claimed it as theirs. 

We are facing disaster as the only logistical support is an airstrip at DBO with no worthwhile land route from Leh onwards. And even upto Leh we are dependent on the fair weather route via Zojila pass. The alternate route from Manali to Upsi in Ladakh is still waiting the Rohtang pass tunnel to be built. 

Historic mishandling 

The UN resolution of 1948, cited by most adversaries of India, deals only with Pakistani aggression and not the accession to India. Accession is legal in every way and cannot be disputed. Similarly the so called “Two Nation Theory”, under whose umbrella Pakistan was formed, applied only to British ruled India and not the princely states, and hence a state being Muslim-majority did not disqualify it from joining Indian Union. In this context, referendum in J&K is illegal as it was not agreed by Muslim League which wanted princes to accede to India or Pakistan on the basis of contiguity. Thus the only dispute that remains is vacation of Pakistani aggression and the areas illegally ceded to China by Pakistan. The Government of India has to base its relations with Pakistan and China on that theme. 

Why does India shy away from Indian Ocean leadership?

Posted:May 22, 2013 
By Vivek Mishra

Equivocality has become the dominant chorus of international politics in the present era of ‘complex interdependence’, when countries around the globe are tied in an inseparable mutuality of strategy and economy, with the latter eclipsing the former since the turn of the century.

Foreign policies, especially in the 21st century, have been characterised with this equivocalness. Veering, volte-face, ambiguity and fickleness have unobtrusively found a place in the way foreign policies are conducted. States have become swinging states. This is more visible in Asia than in the West where countries are known for their “you are with us or against us” rhetoric. Japan, while it engaged itself in a fierce Mexican standoff with China over the Senkaku and Diaoyu islets recently, is ready to cooperate with China (and South Korea) to build an astronomical laboratory in the Aksai Chin region. India on the other hand, while it is getting unprecedentedly close to the US, does not shy away from playing its ‘strategic autonomy’ card whenever required. The politics of extremes and compartmentalisations has paved the way for unobtrusiveness in diplomacy. States have become more mobile and unpredictable in conducting diplomacy. Whether this change is the causal effect of emergent populist multilateral regimes all over the world or a distinct ‘new-normal’ for international relations remains to be seen.

The ushering of this via-media diplomacy has a lot to do with the fact that economy has ceased to be a mere adjunct to polity. In fact, economic interdependence has out placed political and strategic reasons for alliance between countries. The situation emerging out of this economically realigned world order is a bigger challenge to developing countries than to the developed.

India faces a similar challenge in the Indian Ocean -- on whether it should form a trilateral relationship with Japan and the US and more importantly, what should be the nature of such an alliance? Talks about trilateral relationship between India, Japan and the US started unofficially in 2006. Japan and the US are at 11th and 3rd positions respectively in terms of overall trade with India. Both Japan and the US have amply apprised India of their intentions for forming partnerships and this is corroborated by three trilateral summits between India, Japan and the US.

These countries have also tacitly agreed that the platform for the enunciation of their partnership will be the Indian Ocean. In this respect, the Malabar series of exercises have created quite a flutter with China. Beginning 2007, when countries like Japan, Singapore and Australia joined the Malabar naval exercise between India and the US, an apprehension grew within Beijing. This forced China to issue demarches to all five countries which participated in the exercise. Quite interestingly, India and the US refrained from inviting a third country to the exercise for the subsequent two years before it invited Japan again in 2010.

India is still to come to terms with the fact that Indian Ocean is its own backyard in the same way as the South China Sea is seen to be China’s. There are two significant reasons which explain this non-assimilation by India. First, that the Indian Ocean has seen an overbearing Chinese presence over the years, and second that India has inadvertently refused to don the role of a leader in the region. There is a lack of clarity on India’s position in the Indian Ocean - enmeshed between a heuristic desire to champion its presence in the Ocean, and a squeamish, almost unctuous behavioural compulsion to not offend another plenipotentiary power like China or the US. What else explains India’s toning down of the Malabar exercises in 2007 at China’s behest when it meant no harm to the latter?.

The desire for dominating the waters of Indian Ocean is a palpable one within Indian policy formulators, even at the cost of such a strategy appearing to be a retaliatory move to China’s maritime encirclement of India. The cost that India will have to pay as a rising regional power in the Indian Ocean is that there will always be miffed powers. The way forward lies in taking the role of the leader in the formation of a trilateral partnership between India, Japan and the US.

India’s interests in Iran: Significance of Chahbahar project

Posted 21 May 2013
Harsh V Pant

The visit of the External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid, to Iran recently once again brought into focus India's changing role in West Asia where it has significant stakes which are rising by the day. India made known its desire to enhance its energy engagement with Iran as it sought joint exploration and joint investment in infrastructure. Tehran has reportedly made offers with regard to joint exploration and a production sharing agreement in an oil block which New Delhi has indicated will be of interest. There are also plans to bring together some countries like Iran, Indonesia and India under the rubric of the Non-Aligned Movement to manage the deteriorating situation in Syria. But the biggest splash was created by India's decision to participate in the upgradation of the strategically crucial Chahbahar port and invest around $100 million in the project at the initial stage.

It is another matter as to why New Delhi could not have taken this decision earlier, especially as it helped in the initial setting up of this port almost a decade back. Whether China's proactive role in Gwadar now is one of the reasons why India is taking this decision is a moot point. But Chahbahar was important for India's Afghanistan and larger Central Asian policy in 2002 and it is even more important now as regional realities unfold at a rapid pace.

India's relationship with West Asia as a region is dramatically different than a generation ago, when from 1947-1990 India was too ideological toward the region, as was reflected in its subdued ties with Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Today, however, it is these three states around which India is developing its new West Asian strategy, with New Delhi recently taking special care to nurture all these relationships and pursue its substantial regional interests. And now with a democratic Egypt emerging as a new player in the region, India is re-negotiating the terms of its engagement with the region.

India's policy toward West Asia has often been viewed through the prism of Indo-Iranian relations. The international community, the West in particular, has been obsessed with New Delhi's ties to Tehran, which are actually largely underdeveloped, while missing India's much substantive simultaneous engagement with Arab Gulf states and Israel.

A close examination of the Indo-Iranian relationship, however, reveals an underdeveloped relationship despite all the spin attached to it. India would like to increase its presence in the Iranian energy sector because of its rapidly rising energy needs, and is rightfully feeling restless about its own marginalisation in Iran. Not only has Pakistan moved ahead with the pipeline deal with Tehran, but China also is starting to make its presence felt. China is now Iran's largest trading partner and is undertaking massive investments in the country, rapidly occupying the space vacated by Western firms. Whereas Beijing's economic engagement with Iran is growing, India's presence is shrinking, as firms such as Reliance Industries have, partially under Western pressure, withdrawn from Iran and others have shelved their plans to make investments.

Moreover, there is little evidence so far that Iran would be a reliable partner in India's search for energy security. A number of important projects with Indian businesses and the Indian government have either been rejected by Iran or have yet to be finalised due to last minute changes in the terms and conditions by Tehran. To date, Iran accounts for only about 8 per cent Indian oil imports and that too is declining under pressure from western sanctions. Moreover, both of the major energy deals recently signed with great fanfare, and raising concerns in the West, are now in limbo.

India's position on the Iranian nuclear question is relatively straightforward. Although India believes that Iran has the right to pursue civilian nuclear energy, it has insisted that Iran should clarify the doubts raised by the IAEA regarding Iran's compliance with the NPT. India has long maintained that it does not see further nuclear proliferation as being in its interests. This position has as much to do with India's desire to project itself as a responsible nuclear state as with the very real danger that further proliferation in its extended neighbourhood could endanger its security. India has continued to affirm its commitment to enforce all sanctions against Iran as mandated since 2006 by the UN Security Council, when the first set of sanctions was imposed. However, much like Beijing and Moscow, New Delhi has argued that such sanctions should not hurt the Iranian populace and has expressed its disapproval of sanctions by individual countries that restrict investments by third countries in Iran's energy sector.

India's bleeding insurgencies: Lessons from Latin America

Posted 20 May 13 
By Deepak Bhojwani

The tiny northeast Indian state of Tripura has turned into the second largest producer of natural rubber in the country largely because several hundred former militants of the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) were rehabilitated a decade ago and allotted land.

On the other side of the world, Latin America has been no stranger to violent insurrections over the past decades, most inspired by left-wing ideologues. They mobilised large numbers of rural and urban workers disenchanted with inegalitarian, exploitative regimes seen as beholden to the United States and crony capitalists.

Colombia, around a third of the territory of India, continues to confront the 50-year-old Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People´s Army (FARC-EP). Large areas of the country have been off limits to business and travel for decades. FARC was even granted a safe haven of 42,000 sq km in the late 1990s by a gullible Colombian government. According to reliable reports, the guerrillas have colluded with the colossal and insidious narcotics industry which provided them funds in exchange for protection.

Alvaro Uribe - whose father had been assassinated by the FARC - was sworn in president in 2002 and swore to eliminate this menace. The United States (ostensibly acting against the drug trade) provided material and training worth an estimated $500-600 million annually. By early 2012 FARC had lost its major leaders, considered leftist icons in the region. Their current strength is estimated at less than 9,000, operating in small groups. A smaller guerilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), accounts for around 2,500 militants, who have also offered to talk. Both are resilient enough to continue with hit and run bombings, kidnappings and assassination attempts.

The conflict changed the complexion of the Colombian establishment. With US backing, it built one of the most formidable militaries in the region, pumping $86 billion into its security apparatus during 2000-2010, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Neighbouring countries, particularly Venezuela, Cuba and Ecuador, earlier accused of harbouring and even abetting these groups, today collaborate and ensure the guerrillas do not use their territory against Colombia.

Success came at political cost, with allegations of brutality and widespread displacement of innocent civilians. In 2011, the government finally passed a law to oversee rehabilitation and compensation settlement.

Uribe's successor (and former defence minister) Juan Manuel Santos reached out to the FARC through the Cuban establishment. In August 2012, FARC opened talks with representatives of the Colombian government in Havana. Norway and Chile offered assistance, as did Venezuela. Preliminary talks on the agenda and other issues were held in Oslo in October 2012. Substantive discussions resumed in Havana in November 2012 and are ongoing.

There are differences and similarities with the insurgent scenario in India. In Kashmir, beset with religious fundamentalism and separatist demands, as in the northeast, the armed forces have been used extensively, some say indiscriminately. The Indian establishment has nevertheless been seeking political solutions to these and other insurgencies. Naxalite/Maoist violence in 182 of 602 districts in seven Indian States has been confronted by the police forces. In West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, success has come through police action combined with a willingness to negotiate. Rehabilitation and resettlement schemes, such as those in Tripura, have contributed to pacifying some areas of belligerency.

Defence indigenisation

May 22, 2013 
Government should stop paying lip service
by Gurmeet Kanwal 

The Defence Minister, Mr A K Antony, has repeatedly exhorted the armed forces to procure their weapons and equipment from indigenous sources in recent months. It is a well-established fact that no nation aspiring to great power status can expect to achieve it without being substantively self-reliant in defence production. However, it is not the armed forces that are the stumbling block. Unless the government drastically reorients its policies, the import content of defence acquisitions will continue to remain over 80 per cent. 

India’s procurement of weapons platforms and other equipment as part of its plans for defence modernisation must simultaneously lead to a transformative change in the country’s defence technology base and manufacturing prowess. Or else, defence procurement will remain mired in disadvantageous buyer-seller, patron-client relationships like that with the erstwhile Soviet Union and now Russia. While we manufactured Russian fighter aircraft and tanks under licence, the Russians never actually transferred technology to India. 

Although the country has now diversified its acquisition sources beyond Russia to the West and Israel, recent deals have failed to include transfer-of-technology (ToT) clauses. The much-delayed MMRCA deal with Rafale also appears to have run into rough weather on this account. If this trend continues, India’s defence technology base will continue to remain low and the country will remain dependent almost solely on imports. Whatever India procures now must be procured with a ToT clause being built into the contract even if it means having to pay a higher price. The aim should be to make India a design, development, manufacturing and export hub for defence equipment in two decades. 

Though it seeks to publicly encourage public-private partnerships, privately the government continues to retain its monopoly on research and development and defence production through the DRDO, the ordnance factories and the defence PSUs (DPSUs). The latest Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) was amended in April 2013 to reflect the current thinking on ‘buying Indian’. However, in effect it still favours the defence PSUs over the private sector. MNCs are allowed to bring in only up to 26 per cent FDI as against 74 per cent for non-defence sector joint ventures. Though the procurement of weapons and equipment worth more than Rs 300 crore from MNCs has been linked with 30-50 per cent offsets, it is doubtful whether the economy is ready to absorb such high levels of offsets. 

Since its inception in 1958, the DRDO has achieved some spectacular successes like the missile development programme, but also has many failures to its name. Programmes like the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and the Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun have suffered inordinate delays and time and cost overruns. However, to its credit, the DRDO worked under extremely restrictive technology denial regimes and with a rather low indigenous technology base. The DRDO is now in the process of implementing the report of the P Rama Rao committee that had asked it to identify eight to 10 critical areas that best fit its existing human resource pool, technological threshold and established capacity to take up new projects. And it must scrupulously stay out of production. The private sector has shown its readiness and technological proficiency to take up the production of weapons and equipment designed and developed by the DRDO and must be trusted to deliver. 

The DRDO must now concentrate its efforts on developing critical cutting edge technologies that no strategic partner is likely to be willing to share; for example, ballistic missile defence (BMD) technology. Other future weapons platforms should be jointly developed, produced and marketed with India’s strategic partners in conjunction with the private sector. The development of technologies that are not critical should be outsourced completely to the private sector. Also, the armed forces should be given funding support to undertake research geared towards the improvement of in-service equipment with a view to enhancing operational performance and increasing service life. Gradually, the universities and the IITs should be involved in undertaking defence R&D. This five-pronged approach will help raise India’s technological threshold over the next two decades by an order of magnitude. 

The defence production process must provide a level playing field between defence PSUs and private Indian companies forming joint ventures with MNCs where necessary. The amount of FDI that MNCs can bring in must be raised to 49 per cent immediately and to 74 per cent in due course to make it attractive for MNCs. However, no MNC that is unable to provide transfer of technology - either due to the home country’s restrictive laws or due to proprietary considerations - should be considered for future defence acquisitions. 

India cannot leap-frog to a higher defence technology trajectory virtually overnight. Transforming a low technology base to a higher plane will need time, patience and large-scale capital investment. It will also need strong support across the political spectrum. In the interim period, inevitably, there will be a further dip in defence preparedness. This short-term weakness in capacity building will need to be carefully weighed against long-term gains that will be strategic in nature. The risk involved will require fine political judgement backed by sound military advice. 

Time for hard questions on Sino-Indian relationship's future

Samir Saran and Abhijit Iyer-Mitra
21 May 2013

In a significant act of political signaling and foresight, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang chose India as his first ever overseas destination after taking charge of the premiership. 

He arrived in New Delhi on Sunday evening and held meetings with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh first. He also met Singh's cabinet colleagues and flew to Mumbai and met with Indian industrial leaders. 

This visit is important in more ways than one. At the purely bilateral level, an excruciating border episode was just recently brought to a close. 

On a global level, the two countries are dealing with a once-in-a-century churning in the architecture of global governance, while at the same time trying to shake of the lethargy that both economies have fallen prey to. 

For the first time in many centuries, this continent has the wherewithal to define itself on its own terms. Capitals in Asia will lead the process of shaping the Asian project. 

China and India must be partners in this effort, and to get there they need to deal with the hard questions, as the time for sweet talk is now over. 

We need to start having brutally frank conversations on our legacy problems and on the more recent challenges. 

The parroting of old staid positions and whispering of diplomatic sweet nothings will yield little and allow others to intervene and impose. 

It is time for the two countries to grow up and resolve the disputed border. And even as this resolution is discovered, progress on the bilateral relationship must be insulated from this process. 

For this to happen, political leadership in both countries will have to demonstrate courage to make their respective security establishments toe the line. 

Economic integration is not and will never be the answer to this political poser alone. It can provide the motivation for seeking a resolution, but it is not the answer by itself. 

In fact, it can now be argued that the political discord and public perception in both countries are limiting greater economic integration. 

Trade shows signs of plateauing, with Chinese firms struggling for access to all projects in India, be they shipyards, roads or telecommunications, despite some early and spectacular inroads. 

The two countries now need to realize that they are confronted with the political moment that has been deferred and delayed but cannot be denied. Strong and purposeful measures must be crafted. 

There must be a bold statement on the border issue that no matter what the differences, incidents like that in Ladakh recently will not happen again. 

While the border management pact recently offered by China may not be the answer, an equitable arrangement that prevents any troop movements remotely close to each other's claimed territory must be worked upon. 

This conversation cannot be delayed. And the process of arriving at this accord needs to be a lot more transparent. Opaque political discussions lead nowhere, and public opinion must be built and sought. 

China's engagement with India must transform from one that is largely seen as transactional, such as the selling and buying of goods and commodities, and more recently functioning as a lender, to one of being a long-term investor and stakeholder in the Indian economy. 

Chinese money, businesses and investments must bet on India and be located in this country. 

This cannot happen however until businesses and people in China begin to perceive India as a friendly destination, an outcome equally determined by Indian attitudes to China. 

India for its part must seriously consider identifying special industrial zones that Chinese firms can develop as centers of large manufacturing and R&D. 

Operational Lessons of the Wars of 21st Century

IDSA Monograph Series No. 12 

Choice to wage war is a political matter. This choice translates into the prosecution of war which is an operational matter. Use of force will continue to be a driver of state power. There is a need for an ongoing and sustained professional study of inter-state wars from the operational and military dimension. From a study of the operational dimensions of war, relevant lessons and insights can be discerned. The study of lessons also depends on how a country and its society see war and its future. In a welcome trend of reduction of wars, it is incumbent to record and analyse in order to observe the change in the character of war. 

Military capabilities matter. Countries and regions where wars have taken place have one important attribute- battle and operational experience. The monograph examines 21st century wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Georgia and Libya. New trend of cyber war is also included. Key highlights have been extracted and distilled into lessons to be learnt. 







About the Author 

Joined IDSA as Research Fellow in 2005. Over 29 years of military service and veteran of 1971 war in Bangladesh and Operation Meghdoot (Siachen). Some publications on military topics include Operation Bangladesh (New Delhi, Manas Publishers, 2007), Composition and Regimental System of the Indian Army: Continuity and Change (Delhi, IDSA/ Shipra Publications, 2008), “Changing Geographic Factors in Planning and Conduct of Indian Military Operations”, Strategic Analysis, Vol.32, No.2, March 2008, “Trends in Thinking about Warfare” , Strategic Analysis, Vol.33, No.6, November 2009, “Ways of Warfare and Strategic Culture”, Defense & Security Analysis, Vol.25, No.4, December 2009, “Issues and Steps in Force Modernisation”, Centre for Land Warfare Studies Journal, Winter 2010, Renaissance of Military History and Modern War Studies in India, IDSA Occasional Paper Number 21, November 2011, “Back to the Basics: Foot and Hoof Mobility in the Mountains”, IDSA Policy Brief, 2011 ( co-authored with Virander Kumar ), “Learning Lessons and Revisiting Myths from Kameng”, Journal of Defence Studies, Vol.6, No.3, October 2012, and “Relevance of Kautilya's Arthasastra”, Strategic Analysis, Vol.37, No.1, January- February 2013. A Monograph “One Hundred Years of Kautilya's Arthasastra” is forthcoming.

Currently researching on indigenous historical knowledge with focus on “Strategic Vocabulary on the Art of War: An Interpretation of Kautilya's Arthasastra” 


The PM’s visits to Japan and Thailand spell hope for the Northeast 
Diplomacy K.P. Nayar 

New direction 

For Delhi’s chatterati, the ultimate status symbol is getting the prime minister to attend the weddings of their sons or daughters. Luckily for Manmohan Singh, the Special Protection Group, which guards him round the clock, has been a handy excuse whenever he truly believes that his time is better spent on something else than being at a wedding reception. 

The SPG takes a look at the venue and certifies that it is not safe enough for the presence of one of the most intensely guarded leaders in the world since the assassinations of Indira Gandhi and her son, Rajiv. Quite often, Gursharan Kaur, the prime minister’s wife, then puts in an appearance in place of her husband. 

I have wondered on more than one such occasion how it is safe in the SPG’s assessment to let Gursharan Kaur be at a venue which the prime minister’s protectors have deemed unsafe for Manmohan Singh. Until the SPG pointed out to me that Gursharan Kaur often moves around the capital without police escort, in unmarked cars that do not even sport a red beacon on top. 

She goes to wedding receptions and other functions almost unnoticed. Sometimes no one other than the hosts and a few people standing around them are even aware of her presence, a rare example of common sense getting the better of increasingly intrusive security that inconveniences both hosts and guests, not to mention the general public. 

Come next week, one Indian couple will have the rare privilege in this scenario of hosting the prime minister and Gursharan Kaur not once but twice within a span of four days. The occasion will not be a wedding or anything remotely similar, but a working visit by the prime minister that will have long-term implications for India’s eastern states, especially the often neglected Northeast, unlike any effort undertaken by any of Singh’s predecessors with the notable exception of Jawaharlal Nehru. 

The couple, who will host the prime minister and his wife in quick succession from May 27 to 31, are Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa, India’s ambassador in Tokyo, and Anil Wadhwa, the ambassador in Bangkok. Normally, the Wadhwas would have taken Singh and Gursharan Kaur to their homes in these capitals for receptions to meet the Indian community like previous ambassadors in their situations have done. 

But Singh is popular and well respected in both Japan and Thailand. So the Wadhwas gracefully yielded to competition from others for the time and presence socially of both the prime minister and his wife. In Tokyo, Deepa Wadhwa gave up the reception she could have hosted so that the Japan-India Association, which is celebrating the 110th anniversary of its existence this year, could welcome Singh and Gursharan Kaur to its function instead. 

In the end, it may be more rewarding in diplomatic terms to have done so because the chairman of JIA is the former prime minister, Yoshiro Mori, who re-launched Japan’s relations with India two years after the 1998 nuclear tests by visiting the then prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in a historic turnaround. That visit by Mori was a landmark because until then Indo-Japanese relations were centred on development assistance to India. Mori and Vajpayee together established a “Global Partnership in the 21st century”, which eventually reshaped bilateral ties into what they are today.