20 September 2013

Who Are We? Why National Identity Still Matters

September 19, 2013

When someone says he is an American, that means something very specific, right? It connotes a specific landscape, historical experience, set of cultural proclivities and value system, right? Indeed, it has been asserted frequently that all Americans -- Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Muslims -- are, nevertheless, voluntary Protestants, because it is the Protestant creed and work ethic to which they have all subconsciously subordinated themselves in the course of immigration and naturalization. This is all true, of course. However, it is also true that the American character is itself changing and becoming, perhaps, more subtle. This was exactly the theme of the late Harvard political scientist Samuel P. Huntington's last book before he died, Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity (2004). Huntington believed that the massive influx of Latinos over recent decades, coupled with an American elite that was becoming more international and less American, made it questionable whether the very word, American, meant the same thing that it used to.

It isn't only Americans who face these identity questions, but much of the rest of the world. Immigration, refugee migration, the emergence of a global elite as distinct from national elites, jet travel, the rise of expatriatism, and so forth are all, little by little, eroding the basis of nationality, and with it, of national characteristics. Nuance is required here, because nationalism may actually be on the rise in mono-ethnic Asian societies such as Japan, and homegrown populist movements in the United States -- themselves reactions in part to the internationalization of society as a whole -- may, too, be more feisty than ever. Then there is the ugly specter of anti-immigrant nationalism in Europe. Nevertheless, as technology shrinks geography and people move around the planet more and more, national characteristics are less and less clear-cut and cosmopolitanism is on the upsurge.

Liberal intellectuals would not be displeased. National characteristics -- while relatively benign to the American experience -- have proved disastrous to the European one. Here is the philosopher Hannah Arendt inThe Origins of Totalitarianism (1951):

"When Russians have become Slavs, when Frenchmen have assumed the role of commanders of a force noire, when Englishmen have turned into 'white men,' as already for a disastrous spell all Germans became Aryans," it will "signify the end of Western man. For no matter what learned scientists may say, race is, politically speaking, not the beginning of humanity but its end, not the origin of peoples but their decay, not the natural birth of man but his unnatural death."

And yet that simply cannot be the end of the argument. For it is a long, long way from outright racism to the reasonable assumption that, for instance, Americans are generally different from Frenchmen, Norwegians are generally different from Greeks, Germans are different from Chinese, and so forth. Though, in the world of humanist intellectuals the distance is less vast than one might think. And for good reason: the belief in national characteristics, taken to an extreme, was an element in Nazism and Japanese fascism. The Holocaust is one lifetime removed from our own, a nanosecond in human history. So it is right that intellectual life (as well as foreign policy) exist in the shadow of it. The upshot has been an intellectual assault on the very notion of national characteristics. This is something that people who study geopolitics need to be mindful of.

Europe: What to Expect After Germany's Elections

September 18, 2013

The Reichstag building in Berlin on Sept. 17. (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)


Much of Europe is eagerly anticipating the results of Germany's Sept. 22 parliamentary elections, but this anticipation may be somewhat misplaced. Of course, Germany's importance to Europe is well founded. It is Europe's largest economy and its main bailout creditor to struggling eurozone countries, so Germany's economic health is vital to the economic health of Europe as a whole. But the relationship goes both ways: Germany's economy relies on the free trade zone and on exports, which the rest of Europe can buy only if it can afford to do so. Thus any government in Berlin will continue to aid countries afflicted by the European crisis -- even at the risk of growing domestic opposition.


Germany's economic performance is tied strongly to external developments because of the country's reliance on exports. According to Eurostat, exports were equivalent to nearly 52 percent of Germany's gross domestic product in 2012. Europe is Germany's largest customer, so the German economy depends on the strength of the European consumer base. Germany's political and economic stability largely depends on its access to foreign markets, hence its unwavering support for the eurozone and the free trade agreement within Europe.

So far, German exports have mostly survived the tumult of the European crisis. This is partly because German businesses diversified their export markets relatively successfully. Since 2007, exports to the European Union and the eurozone have declined in favor of other countries, particularly Asian countries and the United States. In fact, the United States is the second-largest destination market for German exported goods. In 2012, nearly 30 percent of all the European Union's exported goods to the United States came from Germany. Roughly 16 percent of German goods exports went to Asia, with China being Germany's fourth-largest export market.

However, Germany's economy has not escaped the crisis unscathed. Over the past few years, German economic growth has slowed. According to the International Monetary Fund, Germany's GDP grew by only 0.9 percent in 2012, down from 4 percent in 2010. In 2013, the International Monetary Fund expects the GDP to grow by only 0.3 percent. Unemployment will likely follow these contractions, and German voters will pressure Berlin to increase government spending -- something German officials have urged other countries to avoid.

Germany's Dilemma

This goes to the heart of Germany's dilemma. Strengthening domestic demand -- by raising wages, for example -- would limit its exposure to external risks, but it would also make German exports less competitive. German demand is relatively strong despite the European crisis. Relatively cheap borrowing costs have facilitated domestic consumption, as has a low unemployment rate, which stood at 5.3 percent in July 2013, according to Eurostat. This is the lowest unemployment rate since the European Union's statistical office started recording data in 1991.

Defence Technology Indigenisation: Need to go beyond Lip Service

September 19, 2013


In recent months, the Defence Minister, A K Antony, has been repeatedly exhorting the armed forces to procure their weapons and equipment from indigenous sources. 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, the armed forces are not the stumbling block to indigenisation. Unless the government drastically reorients its defence procurement 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 India has been manufacturing Russian fighter aircraft and tanks under license for many years, the Russians never actually transferred weapons 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 for major defence acquisitions. 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 to three decades.

Defence Research and Development

Though it seeks to 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).

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 to raise India’s technological threshold over the next two decades by an order of magnitude.

Defence Procurement Procedure

The Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) manual was introduced in 2005. Since then it has been revised and modified several times based on the experience gained during its implementation. The Defence Production Policy was unveiled in 2011. Its objectives are to: achieve substantive self-reliance in design, development and production of equipment, weapon system and platforms required for defence in as early a time frame as possible; create conditions conducive for the private industry to play an active role in this endeavour; enhance the potential of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in indigenisation; and, broaden the defence research and development base of the country. However, the emphasis on self-reliance remains wishful thinking at present as most weapons and equipment continue to be imported.

India's Nuclear Weapons Folly

September 18, 2013

Several weeks ago, I penned an article for The National Interest arguing that, in hindsight, India’s decision to acquire nuclear weapons has proven to be a strategic blunder. I based this argument on the grounds that, while domestic and ideational factors are needed to explain the precise trajectory of India’s nuclear program, the original impetus for pursuing them was to address the threat that China posed to Delhi in the aftermath of the 1962 border war and Beijing’s nuclear test two years later.

I argued that this was a strategic miscalculation. While nuclear weapons are the strongest deterrent ever invented for strategic and existential threats, China only posed a limited threat to India, primarily along their shared border. Nuclear weapons are ill-suited to deterring low-level threats, and they have unsurprisingly not stopped China from continuing to challenge India in the border region.

On the other hand, India’s nuclear acquisition prompted Pakistan to pursue its own arsenal, negating Delhi’s massive conventional superiority over Islamabad. Consequently, India has found it difficult to respond to Pakistan’s support of proxy terrorist attacks against Delhi. In the final estimation then, India’s nuclear arsenal has done little to address the China threat, while it has weakened its position vis-à-vis Pakistan.

Earlier this month, Dhruva Jaishankar, an India and South Asia expert at the German Marshall Fund in Washington, DC, responded with his own piece for The National Interest ostensibly refuting my thesis. Jaishankar is a top-notch analyst (see his work in The Indian Express, India Ink, and The Diplomat). Surprisingly, Jaishankar’s piece mostly provided additional examples that reinforced my argument. To be sure, that wasn’t his intention. After summarizing my thesis, Jaishankar argues that “this assessment stems from a fundamental misreading of India’s threat environment and strategic intent, the absence of certain key facts, and the obscuring of context.”

However, to demonstrate this he begins by conceding my point that India’s nuclear weapons have failed to address Chinese threats along the border. Indeed, as he points out, China’s claims to the border region have if anything expanded at various times since India demonstrated a nascent nuclear capability in 1974. For instance, China became more forceful in asserting its interests in 1985 as its conflict with the Soviet Union began to thaw and, subsequently, Chinese border excursions have become both more frequent and more brazen, in the context of Beijing’s growing conventional superiority. In fact, Delhi’s arsenal has apparently failed to prevent China from seizing 640 kilometers of the border region from India.

Jaishankar next criticizes my failure to discuss China’s nuclear assistance to Pakistan in my piece, which he characterizes as a “glaring” omission. While this grossly overstates the magnitude of this error, there is no denying that including a discussion of China’s assistance to Pakistan would have enhanced the piece, given how well it illustrates India’s strategic blunder.

As declassified U.S. government documents show, Washington became concerned with Pakistan and China’s growing security ties in the mid-to-late 1960s, during the Johnson administration. Notably, during this period the U.S. government was only concerned about conventional military weaponry cooperation such as China selling Type 59 medium tanks and MIG-19 jets to Pakistan. It wasn’t until the middle to late 1970s, under the Carter administration, that U.S. officials first began expressing concern that the Chinese were assisting Pakistan’s nuclear program, which was confirmed in the 1980s under the Reagan administration. This timeline is consistent with independent analyses.

India Is Developing Its First “Real” ICBM

By Zachary Keck
September 19, 2013

India is beginning to develop a new, longer range nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) local media reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed sources.

A scientist with the Defense Research and Development Organization, India’s military technology agency, told The New Indian Express that DRDO is secretly developing a missile with an initial range of 6,000 km (3,728 miles). Currently, India’s longest range ballistic missile is the Agni-V, which has a range of about 5,000 km.

The same source said that the missile that is under development as the Agni-VI, but which will ultimately be called Surya, could eventually be extended to have a range of 10,000 km (6,213 miles).

Earlier this week DRDO chief Avinash Chander had said that India was capable of developing a missile with a range of 10,000 km within two and a half years if necessary. He also suggested that Delhi was not interested in utilizing this capability.

“Range is the least problematic area,” Chander said, according to The Times of India. “We have the full capability to go to any range…it's just a question of additional propellant and larger motors. But, as of now, we don't see the need for a higher range.”

The reports comes just days after DRDO successfully tested the Agni-V for the second time. The first test was back in April of last year. The Agni-V allows India to hold many of China’s largest cities under threat from its nuclear arsenal for the first time. As such, it is often called the "China killer" by India’s media. 

Although the Indian media often refers to the Agni-V as an ICBM, its range of 5,000 km is slightly less than the international standard for an ICBM, which is 5,500 km. Thus, Surya will technically be India’s first ICBM.

As previously reported, India has been working on equipping the Agni-V with multiple independent re-entry vehicles (MIRV) that would give it the ability to carry multiple nuclear warheads on a single missile. The scientist who spoke with The New Indian Express on Wednesday said that Surya would be made slightly heavier in order to carry even more nuclear warheads.

Acts and intentions

Fri Sep 20 2013

Improving agricultural productivity is the real challenge for food security.

Now that Parliament has done its bit by passing the Food Security Act, it's up to the other stakeholders to consolidate the measure. Rumours that the fiscal deficit will go up by Rs 1 lakh crore or more this fiscal are vastly exaggerated. In the past, I have questioned the efficacy of the Antyodaya scheme and have supported the food security legislation. It is widely believed that the Antyodaya scheme is implemented by all the states and therefore precludes the need for the right to food. In fact, the Antyodaya scheme reaches less than 40 per cent of the eligible population in most states. The only reason I support the enhanced coverage of the Food Security Act is because it removes this exclusion bias.

The MGNREGA experience demonstrates that a programme of this magnitude does not hit the ground running. While it is important to begin this process, the programme will take some time to establish firm roots, possibly even up to three years. The finance ministry estimate that the Food Security Act will cost less than Rs 15,000 crore this fiscal, in addition to the existent spending on the public distribution system, is correct. Unfortunately, this is not well known or publicised. If it were, perhaps the flight of $10 billion of investment in debt instruments from India could have been avoided. Since foreign equity investment did not leave India in nearly the same magnitude, to say that the outflow was speculative is correct. But, as the Koreans argued at the Seoul G-20 meetings, this is not helpful because shadow banking is not subject to central bank regulation. Rather than rubbishing domestic policies, we must recognise this as a weakness of the global financial system and address it.

As for the implementation of the Food Security Act, there are two main challenges that need to be addressed before the programme can fully come into effect: last mile delivery, and the production and procurement of adequate food. In a large, federal country like ours, the nitty gritty of distribution will vary with the local terrain, PDS traditions, schools, public health centres and the strength of people's institutions such as NGOs, the press and panchayati raj agencies. In the past, where PDS coverage was low, the most deserving recipients were left out of its net. The new piece of legislation takes care of this problem.

What about the supply of food? The act will have a direct impact on the demand for foodgrains. It is true that cereals do not provide adequate nutrition as they are not good sources of protein or minerals. But textbook economics tells us that if one spends less on foodgrains, it frees up income, which could then be spent on other food items. So the demand for sugar, edible oil, fruit, vegetables, milk, eggs and meat will go up. Poor people could consider buying these with the money they will save on foodgrains.

What about food supply? The agriculture ministry has already reminded us of the increased importance of technology, good quality inputs and a strong supply chain. Land and water are scarce resources, and the land acquisition legislation, a much delayed reform, will result in higher costs of land. Introducing new technology in farming and animal husbandry, in the form of high-yielding seeds, animal feed and scientific methods of breeding, is critically important. The arguments against high yield and Bt technologies are serious roadblocks. We have to be able to grow more grain utilising less land, so that some acreage can be freed up to cultivate other crops.

What Ashton Carter wants from India

September 19, 2013 

Carter is looking at the Indian defense ministry to make it easier for US companies to do business with it and wants resolution of issues related to offsets, limitation of liability and delays in decision-making.

Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh with US Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in New Delhi on Tuesday | Photo: US Department of Defense

The US Deputy Secretary for Defense Ashton Carter has come to New Delhi with a bag full of prospects for partnerships to entice India.

Carter has come with at least five proposals for co-development or co-production of US-origin military equipment in India, which, admittedly, have the potential to take Indo-US defense trade to a new level. These include development and production partnerships for:
  • Raytheon and Lockheed Martin-built Javelin Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM)
  • Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin-manufactured MH-60 Romeo helicopter
  • BAE Systems Mk 45 127 mm naval gun
But in return, the US is looking at the Indian defense ministry to make it easier for US companies to do business with it. One of the important items on the wishlist of US vendors is flexibility on offset structuring. India typically requires international defense companies to plow back at least 30 percent of the value of any orders they receive that are worth INR 300 crore (USD 50 million) or more into Indian industry.

Flexibility on offsets

So, for instance, for items of co-development and co-production such as those listed above, US companies would like such programs to be exempt from offset requirements, altogether, arguing that the nature of such programs is such that they directly service the purpose of offsets by boosting the manufacturing and technological base of Indian defense industry.

And even for other orders through, both, Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and Direct Commercial Sales (DCS), US vendors are hoping for Carter to urge the defense ministry to be more flexible in the implementation of offset contracts.

These companies would like some leeway in being able to add, remove, change or replace Indian offset partners or restructure the values of offset contracts depending on changes in contracts, as and when, new, better candidate companies for offset partnerships emerge in India, or if existing partners no longer offer the value envisaged earlier. This, they claim, would allow them to deliver on their offset obligations more efficiently and tailor them to the best and dynamic interests of Indian defense industry.

As things stand, no deviation is allowed from offset proposals and contracts once they are concluded.

India's approach to Asia Pacific

September 19, 2013

Several political, security, economic and socio-cultural factors are at play making Asia Pacific a highly dynamic region. India needs to have a long term strategy to make use of the opportunities arising in the Asia-Pacific while keeping in view the security challenges. The Asia-Pacific is marked by the following key trends: rise of China; the rebalancing strategy of the US; a regional architecture underpinned by centrality of ASEAN; the growing importance of the Indian Ocean region and maritime issues; the growing salience of non-traditional security threats.

This policy brief discusses some of the key trends in the Asia Pacific and sets out a long-term approach for India so as to maximise its security and developmental opportunities. The focus is on Indo-ASEAN relations while other countries are discussed in brief.

Rise of China

China's rise has created a flux. An economic giant, with a GDP of USD 7.3 trillion (2011-World Bank) & an annual military expenditure of Yuan 650 billion (approx USD 103 billion) in 2012, China has overtaken Japan in economic and military terms and may overtake the US’ economy in the next 10-20 years depending upon the growth rate differential between the two countries.

China’s rise is altering the balance of power globally & regionally. The confidence in China's peaceful rise and peaceful development has been seriously dented due to rising tensions in South China Sea and in East China Sea. The new leadership is nationalistic & sharply focused on China’s ‘core’ interests.

China's rapid military modernisation and projection of its power beyond immediate neighbourhood and in the West Pacific, has raised apprehensions among its neighbours. It has developed a powerful navy – with aircraft carriers, submarines, anti-ship missiles – which is rivalling that of Japan and the US. China is following Anti Access Anti-Denial (A2D) strategy to deter the US from entering the island chain in the area of Chinese influence.

The rising tide of nationalism in China has caused anxieties among neighbours. China’s formulations on ‘core’ interests with attendant focus on sovereignty, has created doubts in the minds of the neighbouring countries about China’s intentions. China regards the South China Sea as its internal waters. This will have major impact not only in the neighbourhood but also for international shipping.

On the flip side, it must also be recognized that China’s rise has also benefited the neighbours, particularly in the economic field. For most countries, China is number one trading partner. China-ASEAN trade is $ 380 billion. The ASEAN economies have got integrated with that of China. People-to-people contacts between China and its neighbours have also deepened with greater connectivity, openness and transparency.

China is getting integrated with the regional architectures. This has increased China’s role in regional stability. For instance, China has an FTA with ASEAN. The ASEAN countries are part of a global supply chain which passes through China to global markets. Thus the economic and social interdependence has increased. China is participating in RCEP negotiations. RECP will bring about a higher level of economic integration between the ASEAN, China, Japan, Australia and India.

The future is uncertain. China’s economic performance is suspect and riddled with many problems. How long will China maintain its growth and what will be the impact of the slow-down of Chinese economy in the region will be worth studying? China presents a complex picture. The talk of containment of China is problematic given the growing interdependence between China and most major economies of the region.

US rebalancing strategy

The US has been a key player in the security and economic architecture of the region. The biggest challenge before the US is to adjust to the rise of China. Having got entrapped in the highly expensive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and having been affected by the economic slowdown, the US is in a perilous condition. The US has been compelled to reduce its defence budget due to lack of resources.

Many analysts believe that the US is declining vis-à-vis China although it will remain a military and economic power in the foreseeable future. The US also has the ability to bounce back due to its vast capabilities in innovation. Yet, according to some conjectures China will overtake the US as number one economy in the next two decades. That will be an important psychological moment for the world.

Its time for India to be Pro-active

Date : 19 Sep , 2013

Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Li Keqiang and the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s expected visit to Beijing for summit level talks with Chinese President Xi jinping on October 28, despite tension over frequent incursions by the Chinese troops into Indian territory is aimed amongst other things at allying Chinese apprehensions on account of India upgrading its infrastructure along the LAC. Over a period, the gap between the two sides had widened disproportionally forcing India to strengthen its defences. The PLA has been rather uneasy about these measures, particularly in regard to ( 35 ) new posts being planned by the ITBP. It has responded by violating the LAC frequently at strategic points. Surprisingly, the Chinese media and the think tanks have also played it up

Indian history is replete with examples of strategic failures at the highest level, with disastrous consequences at the national level. Even in today’s environment of strategic culture, Indian leadership has not acquitted itself any better.

When the Chinese were developing the infrastructure earlier along the entire 3,488 km of LAC, India just watched them mutely. Unmindful of India, China went ahead with comprehensive build up including a number of new posts in the last few decades. It is now in a position to deploy and re-inforce forces at short notice. Now that India is undertaking similar measures on its side, China has the temerity to express resentment. It has resorted to intimidating India by adopting aggressive posture and incursions deep across the LAC. The PLA may be wanting to assess the Indian response which has unfortunately been placatory at best. Conscious of its inability to take on the well prepared and well entrenched Chinese at this late juncture, India frets escalation and downplays the incursions invariably. Depsang valley incident in Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector of April/May 2013 is reminiscent of this situation.

Indian history is replete with examples of strategic failures at the highest level, with disastrous consequences at the national level. Even in today’s environment of strategic culture, Indian leadership has not acquitted itself any better. It has shown little grasp or insight as regards the geo-strategic or geo-political affairs. It has been woefully slow in protecting country’s core interest when it comes to such complexities. China’s machinations, Pakistan’s compulsive intransigence and their mutually collusive approach towards India keep it under constant strategic pressure.

UK think-tank advocates a central hub for police social media intelligence

04 April 2013

Policing is intelligence led. Social media is a prime source of intelligence (SOCMINT – social media intelligence). To maximize the potential in SOCMINT it is suggested that the police should develop a central hub of social media expertise.

“The Police need to evolve and strengthen SOCMINT capabilities. A single, networked hub of excellence and a managed network of experts should coordinate SOCMINT development across different branches of the police,” recommends the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM), which is a collaboration between the Demos think tank and the Text Analytics Group at the University of Sussex.

The report published by Demos, unrelated to the US think tank of the same name, separates SOCMINT into four categories: open; directed covert surveillance; covert human intelligence; and intercept or intrusive covert surveillance.

Open SOCMINT involves the analysis of social media data where the user has no expectation of privacy and thus surveillance requires no superior authorization to remain within data protection laws. Analysis of tweets is open SOCMINT; surveillance of Twitter’s direct messages (DMs) is not. Open SOCMINT could be improved by big data analytics. “‘Listening’ to social media using powerful ‘big data’ acquisition and analytics tools can help the police spot emerging events, piece together networks and groups, discern public attitudes and improve situational awareness,” suggests the report.

It notes, however, that large-scale automated open SOCMINT analysis “might not command public confidence”, and should therefore be conducted “according to good ethical and professional research standards.”

The remaining three categories all need to be sanctioned within the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), and need not be made public. Directed covert surveillance is covert but not intrusive, “ie, not taking place in a private residence, but is likely to result in the obtaining of private information.” An example could be the analysis of content that is technically open, but where the user might reasonably consider it private – such as a chat forum.

The third category, covert human intelligence sources known as CHIS, do not involve the use of intrusive surveillance but involve operatives disguising their true identity in order to gather intelligence. It is “the covert manipulation of a relationship to gain any information,” and requires authorization under RIPA.

The fourth category is intercept or intrusive covert surveillance. This is the interception of communication content while it is being transmitted. “Intrusive covert surveillance,” notes the report, “requires authorization from the Chief Constable with the approval of a Surveillance Commissioner, unless the case is urgent.”

Of course the report isn’t entirely about social media intelligence gathering. “Social media allows the police to engage and include the public in law enforcement in new, potentially transformative ways,” it says, frequently referring to the #shopalooter Twitter campaign following last year’s London riots. The problem, it adds, is that “it also makes these engagements more difficult to control, and open to misuse and reputational damage.”

It is for the combined purpose of engaging with law-abiding sections of the public while simultaneously gathering covert intelligence on lawless sections of the public that Demos/CASM recommends a central police hub for SOCMINT. “Establishing one central command for monitoring social media intelligence and encouraging local constabularies to use social media to work with law-abiding members of the community would go a long way to ensure officers are better equipped,” Jamie Bartless, director of CASM, told the Police Oracle publication.

Pakistan Must Beware Taliban Bearing Gifts

September 19, 2013

Islamabad must avoid tactical peace deals that simply defer tough decisions.

In late August, a senior Pakistani militant commander, Asmatullah Muawiya, welcomed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s call for talks with anti-state insurgents. Days later, the spokesman of the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) — the main insurgent group waging war against the Pakistani state — condemned Muawiya’s statement and claimed that it had expelled him. Muawiya scoffed at the TTP’s move, stating that he was never under the group’s command.

Ostensibly, this is welcome news for Pakistan. A Taliban commander active in Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province, appears to be keen on talks with the central government. Additionally, there seem to be fissures within the country’s most deadly terrorist network. But Islamabad should beware Taliban bearing gifts. Muawiya is no peacemaker. In fact, his outreach to the government is likely an attempt to catapult himself above other jihadist commanders in Pakistan — not just those affiliated with the TTP, but also those affiliated with groups linked to Pakistan’s intelligence services. Muawiya’s outreach is just the latest in a series of maneuvers by a broad assortment of Pakistani jihadists as they prepare for the end of U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan late next year.

Muawiya is among the ranks of disgruntled jihadists who defected from militant groups supported by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency in the post-9/11 period. A former commander of the anti-IndiaJaish-e Muhammad (JeM) in Pakistan’s Azad Kashmir, Muawiya split from the organization after the 2007 military operations against the Lal Masjid, an Islamabad mosque run by radicals who had begun a vigilant campaign within the nation’s capital under the motto, “Shariat ya shahadat” (Islamic law or martyrdom). The operations on the mosque, which killed its chief cleric, Abdur Rashid Ghazi, along with dozens of other students and militants, helped spark the massive post-2007 terrorist campaign in Pakistan that has killed tens of thousands of Pakistanis. Much like Pakistan’s decision to support U.S.-operations against al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban post-9/11, this operation catalyzed the shift of large numbers of jihadists against the Pakistani state and into the hands of al-Qaeda-style militant groups.

Muawiya claims that the Lal Masjid operation opened his eyes to the “hypocrisy” of the ISI-backed Kashmiri militant groups. He says prior to the operation, he had believed that while the ISI was working for its own strategic purposes vis-a-vis India, the Kashmiri militant groups it supported — including JeM, Lashkar-e Taiba (LeT), and Hizbul Mujahideen (HuM) — were sincerely engaged in jihad. But, Muawiya alleges, rather than supporting his call to hold the Pakistani government accountable for the Lal Masjid operation, the JeM’s chief, Masood Azhar, ordered his killing and murdered eighteen of his comrades.

Fleeing to Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Muawiya established ties with both al-Qaeda and the TTP, aiding in the insurgency there and also building a kidnapping network inside Punjab.

Need to effectively manage the India-Nepal Border

September 19, 2013

The recent arrests of two high profile terrorists, Adul Karim Tunda and Mohammed Ahmed Sidibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal have brought the India-Nepal border into sharp focus. Differences of opinion, however, exist as to the exact location from where these two terrorists were arrested. While India maintains that Tunda was arrested at the Banbasa-Mahendernagar border point and Bhatkal in Raxual, some media reports indicate that Tunda was arrested from Kathmandu Airport and Bhatkal was picked up from a hideout in Pokhara during a joint operation with Nepalese law enforcement authorities. Whatever maybe the case, these arrests highlight the fact that terrorist and criminal groups are increasingly using Nepal as a base because the open border with India allows them to enter and exit India with ease.

The seeds for an ‘open’ border between India and Nepal can be found in the Treaty of Peace and Friendship which the two countries signed in 1950. Articles VI and VII of the treaty specify that citizens of both countries have equal rights in matters of residence, acquisition of property, employment and movement in each other’s territory, thus providing for an open border between the two countries. These provisions allowed the citizens of India and Nepal to cross their shared borders without passport and visa restrictions. In fact, the practice of keeping the borders with Nepal open was a British legacy. During the colonial times, the British required Gorkhas for the Indian army and the Nepalese market for their finished goods. These requirements necessitated unrestricted cross-border movement of both goods and people. After independence, India continued with the practice of an open border with Nepal. In addition, the rise of an assertive China and the absence of any physical barrier between India and Nepal compelled India to define the Himalayas lying north of Nepal as its northern barrier with China.

The open border between India and Nepal not only addressed mutual security considerations but also fostered close socio-economic relations between the two countries. The unrestricted flow of people over the years has resulted in the dissemination of ideas, culture, and settlements of people in each other’s territory thereby strengthening the bilateral social and cultural relations. The open border also has a favourable impact on two economies. Nepal is a landlocked country and its closest access to the sea is through India. As a result most of its imports pass through India. Keeping this in consideration, India has granted Nepal 15 transit and 22 trading points along the border. As for India, it is the biggest trading partner of Nepal. An open border has also allowed many Nepalese citizens to find employment in India and Indians to open business ventures in Nepal.

At the same, the open border has been misused by terrorists and criminals. During the eighties and nineties, the Sikh and Kashmiri militants used to infiltrate into India through Nepal as fences were erected along the India-Pakistan border to prevent infiltration. More recently, India has allowed former Kashmiri militants to return to Jammu and Kashmir via Nepal under the surrender and rehabilitation policy because of the difficulties involved in accessing the designated routes along the India-Pakistan border. However, apprehensions have been raised that trained militants might also slip through the border in the guise of surrendered militants. Further, suspected perpetrators of serial bomb blasts in India sneak out of the country through the open border and hide themselves in Nepal. In addition, many hard-core criminals pursued by Indian law enforcement agencies escape into Nepal through the open border, where they set up smuggling gangs and criminal syndicates to smuggle gold, drugs, fake Indian currency notes (FICN), women and children, arms, and explosives. For instance, the Indo-Nepal border has become a major conduit for smuggling FICN. In the last four years, FICN amounting to more than Rs. 8 lakhs was seized along the border. Likewise, human trafficking and smuggling of Ganja from Nepal and pharmaceutical preparations from India is also quite rampant. More recently, the Indo-Nepal border has also become a route for smuggling of gold from Tibet into India.

Numerous madrasas which have proliferated in the Terai region on both sides of the Indo-Nepal border during the past two decades has also become a source of major concern for the Indian security establishment as it is suspected that some of them might be providing shelter to fugitives and becoming a platform for recruiting cadres for terrorist organisations. The problem is further aggravated by intelligence inputs that Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) has been using Nepalese territory to carry out anti-India activities since the 1990s. Wikileaks documents have revealed that the ISI has created a number of terrorist fronts in Nepal and has also pushed in men and explosives through the border to carry out terror attacks in India. While the entire border is open for crossing into India, the busy border crossings at Raxual and Sunauli are the preferred routes for smuggling as these places are well connected with good roads. Encroachments in the no-man’s land by removing or damaging border pillars have added another dimension to the problem. Security agencies believe that the buildings which have come up in the no man’s land could be used as a hideout as well as for storing arms and explosives.

Why Does China Still Play Second Fiddle?

By Zhiqun Zhu
September 19, 2013

China’s low profile in the current Syria crisis has earned it criticism, with some observers blaming Beijing for not playing a more positive role as a responsible global power. The oft-cited explanations are that China has a “non-intervention” policy or that it is following Russia’s lead in obstructing America’s possible use of force.

Both interpretations are wrong.

Yes, “non-intervention” is one of the “Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence” that have guided China’s foreign policy since the early 1950s. China does not interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, nor will it tolerate interference in its own affairs by other states. But as China’s power grows and its interests extend to every corner of the globe, Chinese foreign policy is gradually departing from this once sacred principle. In fact, China has been practicing what I call “selective intervention” in international affairs.

Chinese leaders are preoccupied with domestic affairs. Tremendous challenges at home – a widening income gap, a deteriorating environment, an aging population and an increasingly volatile society, among other issues – will keep the Beijing leadership busy and sleepless for the foreseeable future. China is not a global military power as it lacks power projection capability. More importantly, China is unwilling to get heavily involved in international affairs lest it will be distracted from economic development.

However, with trade and investment everywhere, China now has global interests. It has begun to demonstrate its growing power in selective regions of critical importance to its national interests such as the Gulf of Aden, East China Sea and South China Sea, and it has gotten involved in the internal affairs of some countries. For example, China has reportedly interfered in Zambia’s presidential elections in recent years to ensure that pro-China candidates win. China allegedly tried to influence voting in Zambia’s 2006 and 2008 elections, preventing Michael Sata’s from winning. During the campaigns, Sata was highly critical of Chinese activities in Zambia and threatened to establish formal ties with Taiwan. Much to Beijing’s relief, Sata, who was finally elected Zambia’s president in 2011, has since become very friendly toward China. In April 2013, on a visit to China, President Sata praised China and its people for always standing with Zambia and helping in its development process even as Western countries withheld aid because of its ability to pay back its debt.

Most notably, the now-defunct Six-Party Talks aimed at curbing North Korea’s nuclear programs were initiated and hosted by China. Beijing has also pressured North Korea to open up and become a normal member of the international community. Who can deny that China has interfered in North Korea’s internal affairs?

China has even worked to lower tensions in Syria in its own way. The Chinese government has been in touch will various forces in the Syrian civil war. For example, a delegation of six people sent by an opposition organization called the Syrian National Dialogue Forum visited Beijing in September 2013, meeting with Chinese Foreign Ministry officials to discuss the situation in Syria.

Beijing has been working with all relevant parties in Syria in a balanced way to achieve a political resolution of the Syrian issue. To host the visit by the Syrian national dialogue forum is part of China's efforts. Another opposition group visited Beijing in February 2012. When China’s Middle East envoy Wu Sike visited Syria in October 2011, he also met with opposition leaders as well as Syrian government officials.

China’s ‘Carrier-Killer’ Was Born in the Balkans

The DF-21D is China’s answer to America’s carriers, with an unusual origin in the Kosovo War

In 1999, the U.S. was engaged in an air and missile war with Serbia. As NATO bombs exploded around Belgrade — part of a campaign to force an end to the ethnic cleansing of Kosovar Albanians by Serb forces — several U.S. missiles slammed into the Chinese embassy. It was the most controversial U.S. action of the war.

China’s leaders were outraged, but could do little in response. The result? The bombing became a pivotal moment in the decision to pursue a sophisticated weapons project: a ballistic missile that can knock out American aircraft carriers from 1,500+ kilometers away.

That’s the history according to a new book from Andrew Erickson, a specialist on the Chinese military at the U.S. Naval War College. The book has wonky title: Chinese Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) Development: Drivers, Trajectories and Strategic Implications. But it’s the most comprehensive overview of a weapon — the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile — that poses perhaps the greatest threat to American aircraft carriers that’s not a nuclear bomb.

“The bottom line is that the era of ‘ASBM denial’ is over,” Erickson writes. “China’s ASBM is not science fiction. It is not a ‘smoke and mirrors’ bluff. The DF-21D is not an aspirational capability that the United States can afford to ignore until some point in the future.”

Usually, carriers are incredibly tough to kill, sitting far off a coastline and outside the range of whatever most countries can throw at it. Escort ships are prowling for submarine threats, and air-defense missiles and carrier-borne fighter jets scan for enemy bombers that can launch sea-skimming cruise missiles. But a ballistic missile that can target ships can bypass all these defenses while being launched from land at the same time.

There’s still a lot of questions over how effective the DF-21D would be in an actual war — it takes more than just a missile to hit a target with a missile. The missile has been deployed with China’s Second Artillery, which oversees Beijing’s strategic missile arsenal. But Erickson details how China also need satellites, targeting sensors and the ability to defeat whatever electronic countermeasures the U.S. can throw in the missile’s path.

Continental China

C. Raja Mohan
19 September 2013

The rapid modernisation of the Chinese navy and the American plans to rebalance its military forces to the Pacific have drawn the world's attention to Asia's maritime affairs in recent years. Even as China becomes a maritime power to reckon with, Beijing has no desire to give up on its continental aspirations. Chinese President Xi Jinping's continuing tour of Central Asia this past week showcased the nation's rise at the heart of the Eurasian landmass. 

Most great powers of the past had either a continental or maritime orientation. Great Britain and America have been mainly maritime powers. Russia and Germany, on the other hand, were essentially continental powers. Could China be the first to break this classic divide? The logic of geography, massive accumulation of financial resources, an advanced industrial base and an extraordinary will to power may have created the conditions for China to be a great power, at once maritime and continental. 

Historically, Chinese empires were focused on defeating overland invaders. Over the last two centuries, the external threats to Chinese security came by sea. While Beijing wants to secure the Pacific littoral to the east, China's rise has run into resistance from Asia's maritime powers like Japan and the US. On its Western periphery in inner Asia, though, China now has a near free hand. 

Russia, the traditionally dominant power in Central Asia, is reluctant to contest China's rise. The American interest in the region has been episodic and could diminish further after the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. India, a potential power in inner Asia, is burdened by a perennial conflict with Pakistan that blocks its access to the region. Favourable regional circumstances, coupled with Beijing's purposeful policies, have dramatically raised China's weight in Central Asia within a generation. China is well on its way to becoming the most important external power on the subcontinent's northwestern marches. 

Marching West 

At the heart of Beijing's march to the west has been an expansive logic that seeks to integrate China's western provinces like Xinjiang and Tibet with Central Asia, southwest Asia and the subcontinent. That Central Asia is rich in hydrocarbon resources, which Beijing so badly needs, has lent urgency to a programme focused on transborder connectivity and evacuating oil and gas from inner Asia to China's industrial heartland in the east. Beijing's economic theorem on the benefits of regional integration had two political corollaries: stabilising China's sensitive, far-flung frontiers through rapid development, and gaining strategic influence across borders. 

China to Invest $28 Billion in Venezuelan Oil

By Zachary Keck
September 19, 2013 

China and Venezuela concluded two large oil investment deals ahead of the Venezuelan President’s visit to China this weekend.

Venezuela's Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez announced on his Twitter account earlier this week that China has agreed to invest US$14 billion in an oilfield in Venezuela’s Orinoco Belt.

“In a meeting with Sinopec, we agreed to develop the Junin 1 field in the Orinoco Oil Belt,” Ramirez said, referring to China’s state-owned oil company.

“Development of the Junin 1 field requires an investment outlay of $14 billion for production of 200,000 barrels per day of oil,” he added.

On Wednesday, Ramirez used his Twitter account to announce another US$28 billion oil development deal.

“We agreed with CNPC to develop a new project in the Junin 10 block … to produce 220,000 barrels per day with investment of $14 billion,” Ramirez said, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal reported.

The second announcement was later confirmed by a spokesperson at Venezula’s state-owned energy company Petróleos de Venezuela (PdVSA), according to the Wall Street Journal. Reuters noted that CNPC already holds stakes in two other oil development projects in the Orinoco belt region. The same report said that PdVSA had begun developing Junin 10 by itself after deals with France's Total and Norway's Statoil fell through.

Ramirez was in China this week as part of a larger delegation ahead of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s state visit to China this Saturday. It will be Maduro’s first state visit since assuming the presidency following the death of his predecessor and mentor Hugo Chávez in March of this year.

Some initially believed Maduro would seek to improve Venezuela’s ties with the U.S., which had been badly strained during Chávez’s tenure as president. These expectations appear to have been misplaced as the two countries have maintained frosty relations under Maduro’s presidency.

The US$28 billion in oil deals seems to cement Maduro’s intent to continue Chávez’s legacy of courting China as a way to counterbalance U.S. influence in the Latin American country. Under Chávez Sino-Venezuelan ties blossomed.

According to the Wall Street Journal, China has loaned some US$40 billion in Venezuela in recent years. These loans are often repaid in oil and natural resources. Already, China receives 600,000 barrels of Venezuelan oil every day. Venezuela recently surpassed Iran to become China’s third largest oil supplier.

Maduro played an integral role in facilitating the expansion of ties with China, serving as Venezuela’s Foreign Minister from 2006 until the beginning of this year. During that time he developed close relations with many Chinese officials through visits such as a three-day trip to Beijing in November 2007. Although this will be Maduro’s first journey to China as president, his Vice President, Jorge Arreaza, met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in July. As Vice President, Xi traveled to Caracas in 2009 as part of a broader tour of Latin America.

Besides the oil deals concluded this week, China Development Bank finalized a deal to loan Venezuela US$5 billion for development, and the Export-Import Bank of China agreed to loan a state-owned Venezuelan company US$390 million for a new port.

Zachary Keck is Associate Editor of The Diplomat