7 June 2013

Change the climate for India’s poor



By  Arun Mohan Sukumar 
June 7, 2013 

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&view=btop&ver=lsvjwajrtlp4#cmid%253D1

New Delhi should stop its flip-flops and adopt a coherent policy in its negotiations on greenhouse gas emissions 

If the great Scott Fitzgerald were to have walked into the grand plenary hall of the Durban climate conference in 2011 to announce once again, “show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy,” all fingers would have pointed to the tiny Indian contingent in the room. There, Fitzgerald would have caught a glimpse of the feisty Jayanthi Natarajan, Union Minister for Environment and Forests, holding the fort against attempts by developed countries to impose binding emission cuts on the global South. The “greatest tragedy of all time,” Ms Natarajan would herself acknowledge, would be for negotiators to abandon the principles of equity and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR). Two years later, this tragedy is imminent — only India’s heroism remains.

The first signs of this tragic denouement were visible a few minutes after the Durban plenary closed. Negotiators from the European Union, the United States and the BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) countries simply huddled together and struck a deal to negotiate an international agreement with legal force on, inter alia, emission cuts by 2015. In this arrangement, known now as the ‘Durban Platform,’ equity and CBDR principles struggled to find relevance. India somehow claimed victory in helping resuscitate the Kyoto Protocol — a treaty rendered worthless without its engagement with the world’s largest carbon emitters, China and the U.S. Throw in a vacuous institution like the Green Climate Fund to save face, and India’s message was clear: we will live to fight another day.

That day is nowhere near the horizon. What is, though, is a perfect storm of international and domestic politics that threatens not only to produce an agreement which fails the imperative to tackle climate change, but also derail India’s core concerns in the process.
‘U.S. intransigence'

The news from Bonn, where U.N. climate negotiators met last month to flesh out details of the 2015 agreement, is not reassuring. The U.S. has proposed a mechanism by which countries define their own “contribution” to emission cuts. Once such contributions have been agreed upon nationally, a peer review mechanism could be put in place for monitoring and compliance. The U.S. submission, which Washington claims is driven by ‘realistic’ expectations, is nothing new. In fact, the narrative of “contributions” takes two steps backward from the language of “commitments” that the Durban platform recognises. Even within this minimalist framework, the U.S. has audaciously called for an agreement that lends “flexibility” to countries to “update their contributions.”

What is worrisome, however, is the international community’s surprisingly warm reaction to the U.S. proposal this time round. To some extent, this was inevitable. Negotiators in Bonn were well aware that the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide had neared a staggering 400 parts per million (ppm); a week after their meeting, this threshold was crossed. If the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS), whose very existence hinges on the outcome of these negotiations, had already thrown in the towel for the sake of an(y) agreement, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) too have joined the chorus. As Sebastian Duyck, an analyst and blogger at the ‘Adopt a Negotiator Project’, observes: “negotiators of many countries have begun to consider how to accommodate U.S. intransigence.” The U.S.’s “bottom-up” proposal, which emphasises national autonomy over multilaterally negotiated commitments, comes too little and too late to achieve any measurable progress in setting the climate clock backwards.

India pays dearly for poorly negotiated arms deals

07 Jun , 2013 

Dasault Rafale 

It has recently been reported in the Israeli press that India paid more than double the amount for the purchase of three AWACS aircraft from Israel in March 2004. These aircraft were earlier being sold to China for US $358 million but the deal had to be aborted under US pressure. Subsequently, India agreed to buy them for US $1.1 billion–a whopping US $742 million more than the price agreed to by the Chinese. There are numerous such instances where India has paid exorbitant amounts for the defence equipment contracted. Coffin deal has already attracted considerable attention for the same reason. Inability to negotiate contracts astutely has been the biggest weakness of the entire defence procurement regime. 
In the case of Gorshkov aircraft carrier, Russia has sought massive upward price revision. Apparently, India had failed to negotiate fool-proof agreements with clearly defined provisions. 

Recently, Russia demanded enhanced inflation index for the Sukhoi deal. It also demanded that the rouble be compared with the euro and not with the dollar as agreed to in the original contract. In the case of Gorshkov aircraft carrier, Russia has sought massive upward price revision. Apparently, India had failed to negotiate fool-proof agreements with clearly defined provisions. How else can such lacunae be explained? In almost all contracts, imprecise and flawed provisions lead to multiple interpretations during the implementation stage. Invariably it is India that suffers as vendors exploit ambiguities in the contract language, especially with respect to delivery schedules, warranties, after sales support and penalties for default.Procurement of new equipment is carried out as per the defence procurement procedure. Once technical appraisal has identified successful vendors, the case enters commercial evaluation phase. A Commercial Negotiation Committee (CNC) is constituted under the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for the purpose. Its members are drawn from the Acquisition Wing, concerned Service headquarters, users, quality assurance directorate and R&D organisation (see box for standard composition of CNC).CNC performs the following functions:- 
  • Opens commercial quotes of technically successful vendors. 
  • Prepares a ‘Compliance Statement’ incorporating the commercial terms offered in the Request for Proposals and those sought by the vendor(s). It helps in analysing discordance, if any, and study the impact of the same. 
  • Prepares a statement with regard to deviations noticed in the delivery schedule, performance warranty, guarantee provisions, acceptance criteria, Engineering Support Package etc. 
  • Carries out a comprehensive analysis of the commercial offers and prepares a Comparative Statement of Tenders with a view to determine the lowest offer (L1). It is a highly intricate and protracted process as multi-faceted aspects having commercial overtones have to be factored in. Discounted Cash Flow (Net Present Value) method is used, where applicable. 
  • Carries out detailed discussions with L1 to ensure product support during the assured life cycle of the product. It entails assured supply of information on product improvements, modifications and upgrades, obsolescence management and life time purchases and fixation of base prices and pricing mechanism for long term. 
  • As regards price negotiations, CNC has to follow different procedures for multi-vendor and single-vendor cases. In multi-vendor cases, once L1 vendor is identified, the contract is concluded with him without any price parleys. However, price negotiations can be held in exceptional circumstances where valid logical reasons exist. To be in a position to determine whether price negotiations are warranted or not, CNC has to fix a benchmark price prior to opening the commercial bids. Such negotiations are held only with L1. 
  • In case of procurement on single vendor/resultant single vendor basis, CNC has to establish a fair and acceptable price bracket in an internal meeting before opening the commercial offer. In case the quoted price falls within the said bracket, no further price negotiations need be carried out. However, detailed discussions are required to be carried out in all cases with the selected vendor to hammer out other contractual issues in unequivocal terms.CNC thus performs two critical functions in both multi-vendor and single vendor cases. First, it fixes fair and reasonable price prior to initiating commercial process and, secondly, it negotiates judiciously to safeguard all national interests and obtain best contractual terms. Performance of both the functions is discussed below.

Defence deals: Indian pvt sector joins hands with foreign firms

Tata group, L&T and Bharat Forge ‘holding talks’ with foreign aerospace firms 

By Man Mohan
 6 June 2013


Top Indian private sector groups have begun pitching for defence deals by joining hands with major foreign firms.

One deal available for grabs is a just-announced Rs 12,000 crore order of the Indian Air Force to replace its 56 vintage Avro aircraft.

The groups going for this deal include the Tatas, Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Bharat Forge and Mukesh Ambani’s new aerospace firm.

Highly placed sources informed The Tribune that the Tata group, the L&T and Bharat Forge are reportedly holding talks with foreign aerospace firms — Alenia (Italy), Antonov (Ukraine) and Ilyushin (Russia).

Sources said that Ambani’s Reliance Aerospace Technologies (P) Limited is at an advanced stage of negotiations with the Madrid-based Airbus Military, which is owned by a European aerospace consortium — the EADS, for collaboration to jointly secure the Avro aircraft replacement order.

The EADS, Alenia, Antonov and Ilyushin manufacture aircraft with specifications similar to what the Air Force wants.

Long service

The late 1950s’ British-designed Hawker Siddeley 748 was licence-produced in India by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as the HAL-748 Avro. The HAL built 72 for the IAF and 17 for the Indian Airlines Corporation. At present, they are mainly used for communication and movement of troops.

The IAF has used the Avro planes for long, extending their life by substituting numerous indigenous systems. As spares are almost impossible to get, the IAF is unable to indigenise systems such as auto pilot, weather radar and electrical and electronic connectors. The IAF has been left with no choice but to phase out these rugged aircraft.

Aim to indigenise

India has floated a Request for Proposal (RFP) for 16 aircraft to be procured from a foreign manufacturer and the remaining 40 to be built by its Indian partnership firm. The aircraft to replace Avro is expected to be inducted into the IAF fleet in six years.

This is the first-of-its-kind RFP issued by the Defence Ministry to a number of private sector companies including Reliance, Tata, L&T and Bharat Forge for the manufacture of 56 aircraft in the six to eight tonne payload capacity.

Japanese Assistance Drives Indian Growth

By Rohit Sinha and Geethanjali Nataraj 
June 5, 2013 

http://thediplomat.com/the-pulse/2013/06/05/japanese-assistance-drives-indian-growth/

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recently concluded visit to Japan played a significant role in invigorating the Indian growth story as well as strengthening diplomatic relations in the Asia Pacific. With India investing heavily in infrastructure, Japanese assistance, both technical and financial, has been of great benefit. Indeed, Japan’s postwar experience, leading to its subsequent economic boom in the 1970s, is a success story that India should seek to emulate. 

Economic cooperation between the two countries, initiated in 1958, has held strong ever since. The cooperation began with an Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan, the first ODA Japan ever extended to any country. More recently, India has been one of the largest recipients, if not the largest, of Japanese ODA for the past several years, amounting to approximately 3,600 billion yen ($36 billion). This significant amount has helped India make strides in infrastructure development. 

The most popular infrastructure project to have been funded by the Japanese is undoubtedly the Delhi Metro. The project was initiated in March 1995 and had capital investment for Phases I and II of $2.7 billion, of which 60 percent was financed through a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). 

The success of the Delhi Metro project has prompted other cities to develop their own metro systems. At present, Japanese ODA is funding the Bangalore and Chennai metro rail projects, besides providing expansion funding for expressway development, city ring road projects, and urban development projects, among others. 

Other significant areas of Japanese assistance are the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) Project and the Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC). The DMIC is a Japanese-Indian collaborative project for comprehensive infrastructure development meant to create India’s largest industrial belt zone, linking the industrial parks and ports of six states between Delhi and Mumbai to promote exports and FDI. 

The Japanese ODA loan project will focus on constructing approximately 1500 km of track on the western corridor between the two cities, connecting major cities in the six states, as well as introducing electric locomotives capable of high-speed, high capacity transportation. The project is expected to make a far-reaching contribution to India’s economic development. 

The economic impact of these projects has been immense. The advantages of greater mobility of labor courtesy of Delhi’s metro are showing in the number of satellite office districts springing up around Delhi. For example, the metro is a more convenient choice than the drive from Delhi to Gurgaon and back. 

Assistance for infrastructure development has been to support projects that are expected to create significant economic impact, with Delhi’s metro being the perfect example. Interest rates lower than commercial rates and long repayment periods have helped India develop transport networks that are crucial to a growing economy. 

Bare truth, and not mushy statements

07 June 2013


India needs to recalibrate its policy towards Beijing. The timid approach which it has adopted and implemented until now, has clearly worked to its disadvantage, with China upping its aggression 

During the past month, China inflicted a national humiliation on India by intruding 19 kilometres across what has been the traditional border between Ladakh and Tibet since the 17th century, and forcing India to not only pull back from its own territory in the Daulat Beg Oldi sector but also to dismantle defence structures in the Chumar sector. China has consistently refused to define where the so-called Line of Actual Control lies and acted aggressively when it finds Indian defences neutralise its tactical and strategic advantages, by pushing its claims westwards, and well beyond what its own maps had earlier depicted. Moreover, apart from violating all past agreements on the Ladakh-Tibet border, China’s territorial claims also violate the provisions of the Wen Jiabao- Manmohan Singh Agreement of 2005 on the Guiding Principles for a border settlement, which state: “The (Sino-Indian) boundary should be along well defined and easily identifiable geographical features, to be mutually agreed upon”. India’s claims, based on historical data, also fulfill the provisions of the 2005 agreement, as they set the western borders up to the Indus River Watershed, with the Karakoram Mountains forming the natural boundary.

After being militarily humiliated, India chose to subject itself to diplomatic ridicule in the Joint Statement issued after the visit of Premier Li Keqiang. While the Joint Statement paid lip service to the 2005 Guiding Principles, there was no mention of the need for defining the LAC in accordance with these guiding principles. Unless we do this and insist on Beijing furnishing its version of the LAC, the Chinese will continue to stall and obfuscate, while placing our forces in an untenable position along the borders; with India meekly agreeing to pull down any defences the Chinese demand. Worse still, India agreed to accept some ridiculous and one-sided provisions which are clearly detrimental to national interests. The most astonishing provision of the Joint Statement was this sentence: “The two sides are committed to taking a positive view and support each other’s friendship with other countries”. This, in effect, was an endorsement of the Chinese policies of ‘low cost containment’ of India.

Over the past three decades China has provided Pakistan designs for nuclear weapons, allowed the use of its territory in 1990 by Pakistan for testing the weapons, upgraded Pakistan’s enrichment centrifuges, provided un-safeguarded plutonium production and reprocessing facilities and violated its commitment to the Missile Technology Control Regime, by providing Pakistan the wherewithal for manufacturing medium and long-range ballistic and cruise missiles. China is also Pakistan’s largest arms supplier, providing equipment ranging from JF17 fighters and T90 tanks to modern frigates. General Pervez Musharraf had made it clear just after the visit of then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji that the Gwadar Port being built with Chinese assistance would be made available to China if there were tensions with India.

Moreover, does our ill-advised endorsement of the nature of Sino-Pakistani collusion not suggest an endorsement of Chinese growing presence in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the Northern Areas of Gilgit-Baltistan? As the Chinese Government mouthpiece, Global Times, mockingly observed: “India must accept and adapt to the enviable friendship between China and Pakistan. China cannot scale down this partnership merely because of India’s feelings”.

Latest Maoist attack: Wage war now or perish in Canarytrap

By R S N SINGH 
5/6/13


Wherever Maoists make inroads, they rob the soul of that area. India’s soul is being desiccated by the imported ideology and violence of the Maoists.

Once captured, Mahendra Karma was stabbed more than 70 times by Maoist women cadres. A boy wielding a wireless set during the ambush was no more than ten years in age. The leaders and planners were some diabolical Andhrites.

This level of brutality and dehumanization of tribal women and children is a result of sustained indoctrination and psychological campaign by the Maoists in their liberated zones. In these zones, not a soul owing allegiance to the Indian State is present. Mao’s photographs have replaced local deities and morning prayers in schools that remain functional have been supplanted by revolutionary songs, wherein children are exhorted to kill those Indian citizens who come in the way of establishment of a Maoist state.

Being Indian means death

Anyone suspected of being loyal to the Indian State is subject to most grisly murder in full public view. Following one such murder in Malkangiri district in Orissa, the local Maoist leader ate the flesh of the victim in front of the villagers to drive terror so that they did not even dream of being loyal to the Indian State.

This author was told by the Collector of the Gaya district in Bihar that on the eve of one Independence Day, the Maoists had issued a diktat that only black flags will be hoisted in the schools. In one particular school, a class seven girl student could not bear the anti-national sight, and in a fit of patriotic rage, she tore down the black flag and hoisted the national flag. She and her family have been missing since then.

Aiding in this savagery and criminalization of innocent people of India are characters such as ‘a drug addict fiction writer turned activist’, criminals in garb of saffron, professors drawing huge salaries from the State, students owning cars and enjoying educational and hostel facilities hugely subsidized by the State, and social workers with names to mislead their religious denomination. One such social worker has been carrying out vasectomy operations on young Maoist cadres in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra so that they can sleep with women cadres without consequences. The Maoist leaders adopted this course because a large number of their armed cadres were abandoning the terrorist path in favour of settled family life. The Maoist leaders have, over a period of time, created such terror that women have no option but to become tools of violence and sex in the service of male cadres. Villages are being terrorized to ‘donate’ at least one child from each family to the cause of Maoist terror.

Those who refused to compromise the modesty of their wives and daughters, the future of their sons, and the honour of their Gods, made escape from the ‘liberated zones’ and formed the ‘Salwa Judum’. The slain Mahendra Karma, who supported the ‘Salwa Judum’ was also a tribal, and chose to rescue the people from the Maoist terror, was a Congress leader. In his struggle, he received little or no support from his own party. The over-ground Maoists in Delhi, who economically thrive on extortion money of the Maoists and have been provided adivasi servants and maids went on an overdrive to discredit ‘Salwa Judum’, which means ‘peace march’. It did not occur to the right quarters that the members of Salwa Judum had left their homes, hearth and their lands to escape terror.

Revolutionaries or Dacoits?

In 1989, the former Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal Dennis La Fontaine, who had chosen to settle in rural Andhra Pradesh, was robbed of his pistol by the Maoists. In fact, he was tied up with the chair and he remarked whether they were revolutionaries or dacoits? Twelve years down the line, i.e. in November 2001, he was again robbed of another pistol. Comparing the two incidents La Fontaine said: “The confidence of the teenagers this time was much higher because they were better armed.” In 1989, he maintained: “That seemed a ragtag bunch while this one came in jungle fatigues, boots and caps.” The State, however, did not show any resolve to tackle the menace of Maoism in the intervening years.

Even more recently one Group Captain RK Prasad, had to cough up Rs.10 lakh for the release of his brother, kidnapped by the Maoists in Jharkhand. The Air Force Officer ran from pillar to post in desperation, met the Governor and the DGP of Jharkhand, but time was running out given the Maoists deadline on which his brother’s life precariously hung. He literally had to beg all quarters to arrange the demanded sum. Incidentally, the Group Captain was one of the officers coordinating the air effort at Air Headquarters during 26/11.

Decisive moment

If the Indian State fails to be impelled by the latest massacre in Dantewada, it may well be prepared to dissolve itself from being a liberal and a democratic state. The Dantewada massacre only signifies the extent of subversion of democracy by the Maoists. Can there be free and fair election in the fear ridden Dantewada region? The same question needs to be applied in all the 230 districts affected by the Maoist insurgency. These districts constitute one-third of India. Election time is the biggest extortion bonanza for the Maoists. The Maoists have been manipulating voting patterns by selective use of boycott call. One Chief Minister aspirant of a state allegedly paid 300 crores to the Maoists in the last elections. Another political party in Jharkhand owes half its 15 seats to the Maoists. An MP from Jharkhand was shown on television to be soliciting the favour of a Maoist leader during the elections. A speaker of a state legislative assembly is known to have truck with the Maoists.

Revolutionary objectives notwithstanding, the Dantewada massacre therefore was part of political manipulation and extortion of politicians before the impending Lok Sabha elections. The targeted killing clearly indicates an insider involvement of the Congress party. The Maoists otherwise are known to resort to indiscriminate firing whenever they spring an ambush. The politicians who became victim of the Maoists, by all reckoning, were seemingly lured into the trap by assurance during backdoor talks with the Maoist leaders.

In Jharkhand, Orissa and Maharashtra, a large number of Panchayats have been electorally captured by the Maoists by sheer intimidation. Indian money flowing through the Panchayats is being utilized by the Maoists to acquire weapons and bolstering their fighting capability.

The Maoists therefore have subverted all levels of democracy, i.e. panchayats, state legislatures and now the parliament.

Indians have to be rescued

It is again a criminal neglect of the Indian State that it has failed to rise up to the dying imperative to rescue people who are hostage to Maoist terror. They deserve the same freedom as rest of India including over-ground Maoists. Their children too deserve a secular, liberal education. They too deserve to be weaned on stable families and childhood innocence. Instead they are being forcibly recruited and trained for violence. Maoists have destroyed about 300 schools. Teachers have run away due to Maoist terror. Those who remain are forced to follow violence loaded ideological syllabus prescribed by the Maoists. They too deserve to enjoy the entertainment and information provided by the television. They too deserve to communicate with their near and dear ones. The Maoists have in all destroyed more than 200 communication towers. Only days before the Dantewada massacre they attacked the Doordarshan station in Jagdalpur.

The Collector of Dantewada told this author that his efforts to take electricity to the poor in the region under the Rajiv Gandhi Vidyutikaran Yojna has been frustrated by the Maoists, as they destroy the pylons because they feel that electricity would bring television, which in turn will bring awareness. They too deserve the schemes of the State to impact on their lives. The Maoists do not allow that for fear of losing their control and influence, and even if some of them are selectively allowed, it is much in diluted form after filtration. The Maoists are therefore thriving on tax-payers money.

Toward Convergence: An Agenda for U.S.-India Cooperation in Afghanistan

By C. Raja Mohan, Caroline Wadhams, Wilson John, Aryaman Bhatnagar, Daniel Rubin, and Peter Juul 
June 4, 2013

President Barack Obama is greeted by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the airport in New Delhi, India.
As the United States reduces its military presence in Afghanistan and transfers security control to the Afghan government in 2014, the governments in New Delhi and Washington should find ways to strengthen their partnership in Afghanistan. At the same time, they should embed it in a sustainable structure of regional cooperation in order to ensure the future stability of Afghanistan. The United States and India share a number of objectives in Afghanistan and the wider region, including:
  • A unified and territorially integrated Afghanistan
  • A sovereign, independent, and functional Afghan government based on the principles underlying the current constitution, including democracy, nonviolent political competition, and basic human rights for both women and men 
  • An Afghanistan that prevents terrorist groups from using its territory to train and mount attacks both in the region and around the world 
  • An Afghanistan that serves as a central trade and transit hub connecting South and Central Asia 
  • A stable and responsible Pakistan that prevents militant groups from operating within its territory and seeks economic and political cooperation with its neighbors 
Until recently the United States discouraged active Indian military involvement in Afghanistan due to sensitivities toward Pakistani fears of encirclement by India. New Delhi’s own instinct was to move cautiously in Afghanistan, focusing on economic development, building infrastructure, and social-sector projects despite its larger security interests. But as the relationship between India and the United States has deepened over the last decade—combined with plans for the transfer of security responsibility to the Afghan government in 2014—U.S. and Indian policymakers have an opportunity for an enhanced partnership in Afghanistan. As U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns stated during his visit to India in

October 2012, “there has never been a moment when India and America mattered more to one another. And there has never been a moment when partnership between us mattered more to the rest of the globe.”

While shared objectives provide a foundation for U.S.-India collaboration in Afghanistan, deeper cooperation is not inevitable. U.S. and Indian policies have often worked in parallel rather than in concert and have been further impeded by differing policy approaches in Afghanistan, as well as in the region. The United States has been directly involved in Afghanistan, deploying thousands of troops and billions of dollars of economic assistance, while India has sought to build up diplomatic and economic ties with the country.

Differences between the two countries remain. While the United States and India share many of the same concerns over negotiations with the Taliban, the reliability of Pakistan as a partner in supporting peace in Afghanistan, and the need for Afghan ownership of any political settlement, the Indian and U.S. assessments of the risks involved and the best path forward do not always coincide. Such differences are understandable given the two countries’ differing locations, rivalries, political pressures, foreign-policy priorities, and capacities for addressing challenges in Afghanistan and around the world.

Kissing the hand that chastises

Jun 07 2013

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/kissing-the-hand-that-chastises/1126068/0

Taliban's demands will stump the Nawaz Sharif government whenever it comes to the table 

After a drone killed one of the top leaders of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), it has called off talks with the new incumbents in parliament and sworn revenge against the US and Pakistan. The slain leader was Wali-ur-Rehman Mehsud, who was second in authority, if not a somewhat "tense" equal, to the TTP boss, Hakimullah Mehsud. 

Rehman's anger against Pakistan was flecked with a passion for revenge against its army, which had killed his brother during a skirmish in South Waziristan. Some measure of the typical Pakhtun "autonomy in hierarchy" can be had from the fact that he ran his Wali-ur-Rehman Group of killers in Karachi, parallel to the one named after Hakimullah. 

The media, which often links the TTP with the US and India to explain the daily Taliban mayhem, enthusiastically carried statements of the newly elected leaders condemning the latest drone attack, accusing the then PM-elect Nawaz Sharif of not reacting to "American atrocity". One accuser, Jamaat-e-Islami leader Syed Munawar Hasan, conveniently forgot that his predecessor, Qazi Hussain Ahmad, had nearly been killed in a suicide bombing in the tribal areas earlier this year. (Even the late Qazi had implied in his post-attack statement that America had tried to kill him. The suicide-bomber was an Uzbek girl from North Waziristan.) 

Pakistan's best-known historian, Ayesha Jalal, comments: "Terrorist attacks in key cities, when claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, are ritually blamed on American security agencies as strategic revenge for Pakistan's refusal to break off ties with the Afghan Taliban. Besieged by enemies within and without, television's spin-doctors, impelled by the state's intelligence agencies, attribute Pakistan's multifaceted problems to the machinations of invisible external hands, as opposed to historically verifiable causes of internal decline and decay." 

Nawaz Sharif came out with condemnation of America soon enough, accusing it of having damaged the "peace process". Imran Khan, whose party now rules in the Taliban-haunted Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), upped the ante saying Pakistan should now shoot down the drones, adding that his government in KPK will examine all US-Nato supply trucks going to Afghanistan and will seize those carrying weapons. There was a hint in his statement about Pakistan once again shutting down the supply route that its army had first blocked and then reopened, fully supported by the PPP government and parliament, the latter habituated to issuing foreign policy directives that Pakistan simply doesn't have the capacity to implement. (These resolutions have morally strengthened the Taliban and indirectly increased their status as a party in the coming "peace talks".) 

No one is as terror-stricken in Pakistan as the journalist. The media helplessly contributes to the image building of the Taliban, not by praising them, but by not reporting their atrocities with attribution, and not cutting some slack for the political parties willing to confront them. Consequently, the people of KPK are today willing to elect anyone who would render their lives safe, not by getting rid of the Taliban, whom they now consider undefeatable, but through a compromise with them. Pakistan has not been able to protect the population of Swat after they decided openly to express hatred of the Taliban. Had Hakimullah stood for election against Imran Khan, the latter would have been hard put to beat him. The "change" in KPK is that kind of change; and it is spreading to the rest of Pakistan. A Hobbesian kissing of the hand that chastises. 

The politician has contested and won the 2013 election by accepting this change. The explicitly anti-Taliban defeated parties — the PPP and ANP — are glad they are out of the cross hairs. The PPP has lost the sons of a governor and a former prime minister to Taliban kidnapping-for-ransom; the ANP has lost one top leader and dozens of its mid-level cadre in KPK to Taliban killers. 

Can Pakistan Make Peace Next Door?

By AHMED RASHID
June 5, 2013

LAHORE, Pakistan — IN the spring of 1992, as the Communist government in Afghanistan started imploding after the collapse of the Soviet Union, seven Afghan mujahedeen leaders, pumped full of C.I.A. money, gathered in Peshawar, Pakistan, to discuss how to take over Afghanistan and share power peacefully. 

The man who brought them together and patiently sat with them wasNawaz Sharif, then only 43 and in his first term as Pakistan’s prime minister. A simple man, by no means an intellectual, but with enormous patience and a wily street-smart grasp of politics, Mr. Sharif wanted to be a peacemaker. He nearly succeeded. 

Now, 21 years later, he has returned to power at a time when a new round of negotiations on Afghanistan have fallen apart. A year before America’s much-anticipated withdrawal from Afghanistan, talks with the Taliban don’t seem to be going anywhere, which is bad news for those who hope for a political solution. Mr. Sharif’s return to the scene may be their best hope. 

Mr. Sharif’s carefully brokered 1992 power-sharing deal ultimately collapsed because of sabotage by Afghan warlords and Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence agents, who played a double game. 

While one section of the ISI helped Mr. Sharif broker his talks, another tried to stage a coup by smuggling hundreds of fighters loyal to the extremist warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar into Kabul. The plot failed, but it sparked the bloody Afghan civil war that would last a decade and lead to the emergence of the Taliban. 

Pakistan’s Army has managed the country’s policy on Afghanistan since 1978. It must now start sharing the burden with civilian leaders. The army should enlist Mr. Sharif to talk to the Afghan Taliban, whose leaders are mostly living in Pakistan. 

Until now, the only Pakistani officials with access to the Taliban have been ISI officers, whom the Taliban have come to intensely dislike because of perceived micromanagement of their affairs. 

Mr. Sharif, whose government was seated on Wednesday, could change the equation and help the Taliban climb down from their refusal to resume talks with the United States by marginalizing hard-liners and empowering those Taliban leaders seeking peace. He may also be able to strike a better relationship with the cantankerous president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, than Pakistan’s military leaders have achieved because of years of mistrust. 

Shed illusions on China

India’s appeasement policy won’t help

By G. Parthasarathy 

During the past month China inflicted a national humiliation on India by intruding 19 kilometres across what has been the traditional border between Ladakh and Tibet since the 17th century and forcing India to not only pull back from its own territory in the Daulat Beg Oldi sector, but also to dismantle defence structures in the Chumar sector. China has consistently refused to define where the so-called “Line of Actual Control” lies and acted aggressively when it finds Indian defences neutralise its tactical and strategic advantages by pushing its claims westwards and well beyond what its own maps had earlier depicted.

It is high time the PMO and the MEA gathered courage to speak on the South China Sea and issues having a bearing on national security, particularly in forums like the East Asia Summit, with the same clarity as the Defence Minister did. 

Moreover, apart from violating all past agreements on the Ladakh-Tibet border, China's territorial claims also violate the provisions of the Wen Jiabao — Manmohan Singh Agreement of 2005 on the guiding principles for a border settlement which state: “The (Sino-Indian) boundary should be along well defined and easily identifiable geographical features, to be mutually agreed upon”. India’s claims, based on historical data, also fulfil the provisions of the 2005 agreement as they set the western borders up to the Indus river watershed, with the Karakoram mountains forming the natural boundary.

After being militarily humiliated, India chose to subject itself to diplomatic ridicule in the joint statement issued after the visit of Premier Li Keqiang. While the joint statement paid lip service to the 2005 guiding principles, there was no mention of the need for defining the LAC in accordance with these guiding principles. Unless we do this and insist on China furnishing its version of the LAC, the Chinese will continue to stall and obfuscate while placing our forces in an untenable position along the borders, with India meekly agreeing to pull down any defences the Chinese demand. Worse still, India agreed to accept some ridiculous and one-sided provisions which are clearly detrimental to its national interests. The most astonishing provision of the joint statement was the sentence: “The two sides are committed to taking a positive view and support each other's friendship with other countries”. This, in effect, was an endorsement of Chinese policies of “low cost containment” of India. 

Over the past three decades China has provided Pakistan designs for its nuclear weapon, allowed the use of its territory in 1990 by Pakistan for testing nuclear weapons, upgraded Pakistan's enrichment centrifuges, provided unsafeguarded plutonium production and reprocessing facilities and violated its commitment to the MTCR, by providing Pakistan wherewithal for manufacturing medium and long-range ballistic and cruise missiles. China is also Pakistan's largest arms supplier, providing equipment ranging from JF 17 fighters and T 90 tanks to modern frigates. General Musharraf had made it clear just after the visit of then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji that the Gwadar port being built with Chinese assistance would be made available to China if there were tensions with India. Moreover, does our ill-advised endorsement of the nature of Sino-Pakistani collusion not suggest an endorsement of Chinese growing presence in POK and the Northern Areas of Gilgit-Baltistan? As the Chinese government mouthpiece, The Global Times, mockingly observed: “India must accept and adapt to the enviable friendship between China and Pakistan. China cannot scale down this partnership merely because of India’s feelings!”

Bare truth, and not mushy statements

Friday, 07 June 2013 


India needs to recalibrate its policy towards Beijing. The timid approach which it has adopted and implemented until now, has clearly worked to its disadvantage, with China upping its aggression 

During the past month, China inflicted a national humiliation on India by intruding 19 kilometres across what has been the traditional border between Ladakh and Tibet since the 17th century, and forcing India to not only pull back from its own territory in the Daulat Beg Oldi sector but also to dismantle defence structures in the Chumar sector. China has consistently refused to define where the so-called Line of Actual Control lies and acted aggressively when it finds Indian defences neutralise its tactical and strategic advantages, by pushing its claims westwards, and well beyond what its own maps had earlier depicted. Moreover, apart from violating all past agreements on the Ladakh-Tibet border, China’s territorial claims also violate the provisions of the Wen Jiabao- Manmohan Singh Agreement of 2005 on the Guiding Principles for a border settlement, which state: “The (Sino-Indian) boundary should be along well defined and easily identifiable geographical features, to be mutually agreed upon”. India’s claims, based on historical data, also fulfill the provisions of the 2005 agreement, as they set the western borders up to the Indus River Watershed, with the Karakoram Mountains forming the natural boundary.

After being militarily humiliated, India chose to subject itself to diplomatic ridicule in the Joint Statement issued after the visit of Premier Li Keqiang. While the Joint Statement paid lip service to the 2005 Guiding Principles, there was no mention of the need for defining the LAC in accordance with these guiding principles. Unless we do this and insist on Beijing furnishing its version of the LAC, the Chinese will continue to stall and obfuscate, while placing our forces in an untenable position along the borders; with India meekly agreeing to pull down any defences the Chinese demand. Worse still, India agreed to accept some ridiculous and one-sided provisions which are clearly detrimental to national interests. The most astonishing provision of the Joint Statement was this sentence: “The two sides are committed to taking a positive view and support each other’s friendship with other countries”. This, in effect, was an endorsement of the Chinese policies of ‘low cost containment’ of India.

Over the past three decades China has provided Pakistan designs for nuclear weapons, allowed the use of its territory in 1990 by Pakistan for testing the weapons, upgraded Pakistan’s enrichment centrifuges, provided un-safeguarded plutonium production and reprocessing facilities and violated its commitment to the Missile Technology Control Regime, by providing Pakistan the wherewithal for manufacturing medium and long-range ballistic and cruise missiles. China is also Pakistan’s largest arms supplier, providing equipment ranging from JF17 fighters and T90 tanks to modern frigates. General Pervez Musharraf had made it clear just after the visit of then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji that the Gwadar Port being built with Chinese assistance would be made available to China if there were tensions with India.

Moreover, does our ill-advised endorsement of the nature of Sino-Pakistani collusion not suggest an endorsement of Chinese growing presence in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the Northern Areas of Gilgit-Baltistan? As the Chinese Government mouthpiece, Global Times, mockingly observed: “India must accept and adapt to the enviable friendship between China and Pakistan. China cannot scale down this partnership merely because of India’s feelings”.

On May 28, Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse signed a ‘strategic cooperation partnership’ agreement with President Xi Jinping in Beijing, in which the two sides agreed to strengthen defence cooperation, while jointly cracking down on the “three challenges of terrorism, separatism and extremism”, and expanding cooperation on “international and regional affairs”. Virtually every South Asian leader choosing to challenge India, ranging from President Mohammed Waheed in the Maldives to Begum Khaleda Zia in Bangladesh and Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ in Nepal, has received a warm welcome at the highest levels in Beijing. Moreover, China is bent on blocking India’s entry to forums like the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

China unveils South Asia trade push with backing from India’s neighbours

By  Ananth Krishnan 

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/china-unveils-south-asia-trade-push-with-backing-from-indias-neighbours/article4788587.ece

The expo was billed as an attempt to deepen China’s economic ties in the region

As Communist Party of China (CPC) Politburo member Ma Kai on Thursday announced the start of a new chapter in China’s economic engagement with South Asia, he held aloft the arm of Sri Lankan Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, flanked by leaders from Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Maldives.

Conspicuous by their absence was any representative from India, which has looked on with some ambivalence as its neighbours have appeared to eagerly lend their support to an expanded Chinese economic presence in the region.

On Thursday, China launched its first-ever South Asia Exposition, an event described by Mr. Ma, who is also a Vice-Premier, as an attempt to deepen China’s economic ties in the region. The expo is an upgraded version of a commodities fair that Kunming hosts every year, signalling the Central government’s backing to an event it had earlier largely ignored.

Officials in the provincial government of Yunnan — a green, mountainous border province southeast of Tibet and bounded by Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam — say that China’s attempts to engage with South Asia economically have trailed behind other border-driven efforts. For instance, Xinjiang has received significant Central assistance to boost links with Central Asia, while Guangxi had led plans to push ties with Southeast Asia.

While Yunnan officials say they believed Beijing had earlier moved slowly due to Indian sensitivities, this no longer appears to be the case.

Larger “blueprint”

Mr. Ma on Thursday said the launch of the expo was tied to a larger “blueprint” unveiled by the new leadership to boost development in border regions. China, he said, would follow up the event by taking forward plans to increase regional connectivity. 

He said Premier Li Keqiang’s proposals, made during his recent visits to India and Pakistan, to accelerate long-discussed plans to build a Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor and a Xinjiang-Pakistan corridor underscored this intent.

Yunnan government officials told The Hindu that they saw the reference to the BCIM corridor in the joint statement issued after Mr. Li’s visit as a reflection of signs of a new willingness from India to look past security and strategic considerations. 

“We’ve backed this plan for a decade, but until last year, India would not send a government-level representative to BCIM meetings,” the official said.

Asia's New Triangle



With China's aggressive assertion of its territorial claims causing general concern, it has taken to wooing one of its major rivals - India. While not spurning China's move, India is striving to broaden its diplomatic and military support. 

After ignoring India and its security concerns, Beijing's new political leaders decided to make India a foreign-policy priority with the Chinese premier selecting India for his first foreign visit. Days after the Chinese incursion into Indian territory, the Indian prime minister, though, traveled to another rival of China's - Japan - and even extended his planned visit by a day. And as the Indian prime minister landed in Tokyo, the Chinese media attacked Japan for vitiating Indian minds against China. All this, in a matter of weeks! 

The 20-day standoff between Chinese and Indian soldiers in the western sector of their disputed boundary in Ladakh has exacerbated distrust between the two nations. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to India in May was supposed to assuage Indian anxieties. But Beijing has failed to explain why the Chinese soldiers took the provocative action. During Li's visit, India did not receive a satisfactory explanation, only a reassurance that the two sides should continue to talk about the border problem. 

The Chinese premier did offer India a "handshake across the Himalayas," underlining the need for the world's two most populous nations to become a new engine for the global economy. But there was no breakthrough on key issues bedeviling Sino-Indian ties. Given the serious nature of bilateral problems, the three pacts signed during Li's visit were rather lame, aimed at boosting the export of buffalo meat and fishery products from India, and other trade in health products. Border disputes threaten the Sino-Indian bilateral relationship. But the Indian prime minister and Chinese premier could only ask their special representatives to examine the existing mechanisms and devise more measures to maintain peace along the border - hoping to reinvigorate boundary negotiations that are at a virtual standstill despite 15 rounds of talks. 

Bilateral trade is touching $70 billion mark with the two states aiming for $100 billion by 2015. But Indian companies want better access to the Chinese market, and New Delhi remains concerned about the ballooning trade deficit in China's favor. India also has concerns about the effects on lower riparian states of activities in the upper reaches of shared rivers and wants greater Chinese transparency on Beijing's plans to develop water resources of the Brahmaputra River. Li's visit did not result in a full river treaty, as many in India had hoped, but Beijing agreed to share data on river flows. China remains noncommittal on providing advance information on the construction of dams on rivers leading to India. 

Longer-term implications of the border crisis remain unclear, but new robustness in India's dealings with China was evident during Li's visit. India was vocal in demanding reciprocity and made it clear that peace on the border remains the foundation of the relationship - and that other aspects of relations will suffer if incidents like the Chinese incursion into Despang Valley continue. 

China is not the world’s other superpower


In February 1972, Richard Nixon went to China and restored Sino-U.S. relations that had been broken for 23 years. During that visit, Nixon held a series of critical meetings with China’s premier, Zhou Enlai, and they discussed the broad strategic framework that would guide bilateral relations. President Obama’s meetings with President Xi Jinping this weekend have the potential to be a similarly historic summit — but with an important caveat. 

China has always played a weak hand brilliantly. When Mao Zedong and Zhou met with Nixon and Henry Kissinger, China was in the midst of economic, political and cultural chaos. Its per capita gross domestic product had fallen below that of Uganda and Sierra Leone. Yet Beijing negotiated as if from commanding heights. Today, it has tremendous assets — but it is not the world’s other superpower, and we should not treat it as such. 

The United States has been accused of having a confused, contradictory foreign policy, as each administration reverses its predecessor. This is often a mischaracterization, never more so than with China policy. Since Nixon and Kissinger opened the door, U.S. foreign policy toward China has been remarkably consistent over 40 years and eight presidents. Washington has sought to integrate China into the world, economically and politically. This policy has been good for the United States, good for the world and extremely good for China. 

But many of the forces that pushed the two countries together are waning. For the first two decades of relations, Washington had strategic reasons to align with Beijing and shift the balance of power against the Soviet Union. While China was in its early years of development, it desperately needed access to U.S. capital, technology and political assistance to expand its economy. Today, China is much stronger and is acting in ways — from cyberattacks to its policies in Africa — that are counter to U.S. interests and values. For its part, Washington must respond to the realities of Asia, where its historic allies are nervous about China’s rise. 

That’s why the meetings between Obama and Xi are important. Both countries need to take a clear-eyed look at the relationship and find a new path that could define a cooperative framework for the future, as Nixon and Zhou did in 1972. Both sides should seek to create a broad atmosphere of trust rather than to work through a “to-do” list.

Some Americans want to see these meetings as a “G-2” alliance of sorts between the world’s largest economies. That would not serve U.S. interests nor those of broader global stability and integration. 

China is the world’s second-largest economy and, because of its size, will one day become the largest. (On a per-capita basis, it is a middle-income country, and it might never surpass the United States in that regard.) But power is defined along many dimensions, and by most political, military, strategic and cultural measures, China is a great but not global power. For now, it lacks the intellectual ambition to set the global agenda.

The scholar David Shambaugh, who has always been well-disposed toward China, put it this way in a recent book: “China is, in essence, a very narrow-minded, self-interested, realist state, seeking only to maximize its own national interests and power. It cares little for global governance and enforcing global standards of behavior (except its much-vaunted doctrine of noninterference in the internal affairs of countries). Its economic policies are mercantilist and its diplomacy is passive. China is also a lonely strategic power, with no allies and experiencing distrust and strained relationships with much of the world.” 

Paranoid Republic

No summit can bridge the political gap between Washington and Beijing. 

BY MINXIN PEI 
JUNE 6, 2013 


China and the United States simply don't trust one another. And nothing seems to change that, no matter how many high-level exchanges, strategic dialogues, informal consultations, and summits the two countries hold. 

Frequent meetings between senior U.S. and Chinese officials indicate the importance of the bilateral relations, but little else, and in fact, the imbalance between high-level engagement and actual output has grown worse in recent years. Meeting after meeting has yielded almost no progress on the most critical issues that undermine mutual trust and cooperation, such as cybersecurity, Chinese military modernization, Asian regional security, and China's domestic economic policy. 

So is there any way this weekend's informal summit between U.S. President Barack Obama and new Chinese leader Xi Jinping in California will be productive? The media will understandably focus on whether progress is made on specific issues, such as the much-publicized cyberattacks on U.S. companies and government entities, allegedly perpetrated by the Chinese military, and North Korea, which has engaged in a series of provocations against South Korea and the United States in recent months. But as for the broader relationship, it will be hard for either country to accept the other country's professed strategic objectives. Chinese political elites simply do not believe repeated declarations by U.S. presidents in that the United States does not seek to contain China, while Washington receives China's pledge of "peaceful development" with incredulity. 

The vast gap between the two countries' political systems makes trust impossible. The Chinese Communist Party does not hide its hostility to and fear of the political values -- freedom, human rights, political competition, and constitutional rule -- that underpin American democracy. In the eyes of the Chinese ruling elites, the United States presents a political threat, even though they understand that a full-fledged military conflict between two nuclear-armed great powers is extremely unlikely. Chinese leaders feel so endangered by U.S. soft power that they are now even orchestrating a propaganda campaign against constitutionalism. 

This threat perception has created its own reality. China's ruling elites know very well that China's economic rise would not have happened as fast or as successfully without U.S. help, which included bestowing Most-Favored Nation trading status on China, supporting its 2001 entry into the World Trade Organization, and awarding scholarships for hundreds and thousands of Chinese students, among other factors. Still, such awareness does not prevent them from insisting, almost daily, that "hostile Western forces" seek China's destruction. 

For the U.S. political establishment, a repressive one-party state is simply illegitimate. Its opacity, lack of constraints on its power, and capriciousness make it difficult to understand and even more difficult to trust. 

China's New Backyard

Does Washington realize how deeply Beijing has planted a flag in Latin America? 

BY R. EVAN ELLIS 
JUNE 6, 2013 

For the past decade, Washington has looked with discomfort at China's growing interest in Latin America. But while Beijing's diplomats bulked up on their Spanish and Portuguese, most U.S. policymakers slept soundly, confident that the United States still held a dominant position in the minds of its southern neighbors. In April 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere held a hearing on China's influence in the hemisphere and concluded that the U.S. position in the Western Hemisphere was much stronger than China's and, moreover, that Beijing's economic engagement in the region did not present a security threat. But that was 2005. 

In late May of this year, when U.S. Vice President Joe Biden went to Latin America for a three-day, three-country tour, Beijing was hot on his heels. Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Trinidad and Tobago just days after Biden left: Whereas Trinidad and Tobago's prime minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, characterized her discussions with Biden as "at times brutal," Xi's stop in Trinidad and Tobago included the unveiling of a children's hospital funded with $150 million from the Chinese government, discussion of energy projects, and meetings with seven Caribbean heads of state. Xi's itinerary took him to Costa Rica and Mexico on June 4 to 6, but his shadow followed Biden all the way to Brazil. In Rio de Janeiro, Biden referred to a new "strategic partnership" between the United States and Brazil, yet his words' impact was undercut by the strategic partnership that Brazil has had with China since 1993 and the much-publicized fact that China overtook the United States as Brazil's largest trading partner in 2009 (trade between China and Brazil exceeded $75 billion in 2012). It's not an accident that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff made a state visit to China in April 2011, prior to paying one to the United States. 

Make no mistake: China is now a presence in the region. Xi's trip to Trinidad and Tobago is only the second visit by a Chinese president to the Caribbean -- his predecessor, Hu Jintao, visited communist Cuba in November 2008 -- but China and the Caribbean's economic and political ties have been growing rapidly. On this trip, Xi promised more than $3 billion in loans to 10 Caribbean countries and Costa Rica. Xi's choice of three destinations near the United States, followed by a "shirt-sleeves" summit with U.S. President Barack Obama on June 7 and 8 at the Sunnylands resort in California, sends a subtle message that the new Chinese leadership seeks to engage the United States globally as an equal -- without the deference shown in the past to the United States in countries close to its borders. 

Ironically, it's the Latin American country closest to the United States where Xi might be able to make up the most ground. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's engagement with the Chinese president, both at the April summit in Boao, China, and this week in Mexico City, allow him to differentiate himself from his pro-U.S. predecessor, Felipe Calderón. Similarly, Mexico's role in forming the Pacific Alliance, a new subregional organization built around a group of four pro-market, pro-trade countries (Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru) allows Mexico to reassert a leadership role in the Americas, relatively independent of the United States. 

The challenges arising from China's global engagement should not, however, be confused with the struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union that characterized the Cold War, in which each side actively promoted different, competing concepts for a global order. China does not seek to impose a new ideology on the world, yet the mercantilist way in which it promotes its economic development, combined with its lack of commitment to international norms that it didn't create, makes it more difficult for the United States to conduct business and pursue policy goals in Latin America and other parts of the world.