1 December 2013

A RICH AND VARIED LEGACY - Satyajit Ray made the world alter its perception of Indian cinema

At the outset I would like to record my appreciation and congratulate KIFF for instituting the Satyajit Ray Memorial Lecture. I feel delighted that I have been chosen for the singular honour of delivering the inaugural address. I think Ray — Manikda to us — would have been both amused and happy about this. As is now well known, it was he who introduced me to cinema. It was Apur Sansar and Devi that opened the doors of Hindi cinema for me. Many producers-directors from Bombay had seen these films and liked me well enough to want me in their films. Today, I am better known for my films made in Bombay, but throughout my career, I continued working in Bengali cinema. If today I stand before you to reflect on the legacy of Satyajit Ray both within and outside the Bengal film industry, with any measure of confidence, it is because I have been both outsider and insider. Such a paradoxical location brings its own benefits, and it is from that vantage point that I speak today.

My association with Manikda began in 1958 and continues to this day even after his passing. And what a privilege and an education it has been both professionally and personally. Is it not incredible that well over 50 years after he made his first film and 20 years after his death, his films continue to be part of our discourse, our consciousness, seen and admired in so many countries and so many cultures? It is a tribute not only to the artistic merits of his films but what has been called ‘the essential humanism’ of Ray which lives on through time and space. It is only appropriate, therefore, that we remember Ray through the rich and varied legacy that he left us.

I am sure all of you are only too aware, the legacy of Ray far exceeds the films and documentaries he made. In fact, he arrived with a formidable inheritance. His grandfather, Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury, was a writer, a publisher who invented halftone printing in India. His father, Sukumar Ray, was a writer, illustrator and author of nonsense verse that almost all Bengali children know by heart (or should I say knew by heart). Ray inherited their talent and some more. He was a writer whose books sold in millions and continue to do so. He was an illustrator, designer, artist, music composer, and film-maker. He was a man who embodied the Bengal Renaissance as it were. Soumitra Chatterjee says in his book, Manikda and I, when asked specifically why, despite being exceptionally gifted in so many disciplines, he chose to be a filmmaker, Ray had answered: “It seemed to me that there was no opportunity any more to climb to the pinnacle of excellence in these fields. So I chose a medium where there is room for fresh work. We haven’t made much progress in cinema in our country. That is why I am a film-maker.” What others lost, cinema gained. And true to his words, he pioneered a whole new sensibility about films and filmmaking in India that compelled the world to reshape its perception of Indian cinema.

The most enduring and endearing legacy of Ray, I feel, are characters he created through his films. Unlike the popular cinema of his time, he did not paint his characters in extremes of black and white, good and bad; Ray’s characters lived in an instantly recognizable middle ground. They moved in a layered landscape of a variety of human emotions and motivations. It was the struggle of the ordinary person that interested him. There are no heroes in his films; instead, you have the brave heroism of the ordinary individual battling with the problems of their day-to-day lives. Thus, he created human archetypes that were easily identifiable but not easily forgotten. Consider the sweep his characters represent. Apu’s journey from adolescence to adulthood, his conflict with tradition and modernity, the young and vulnerable daughter-in-law in Devi. The upwardly mobile executive of Seemabaddha and his struggle with his ethics and ambition; the feudal landlord in Jalsaghar who would rather break than bend; the bored but intelligent housewife in Charulata; the troubled and alienated actor in Nayak. These characters will live with us forever because they define the complexity of the human condition. Their human predicament and dilemmas continue to resonate for us even today. As Pauline Kael says, “There is no one more than Ray who makes us re-evaluate the commonplace.” 

Ray will be particularly remembered for the array of complex women characters he created. This is immensely significant in a country where women characters in cinema have always had, and continue to have, a secondary role to play, primarily as the hero’s lover who exists only in relation to the hero. Ray’s women were primary protagonists in their own right. They exuded a restrained energy; perhaps best described by the expression that Ray used to describe the cinema of Kurosawa — “Fire Within, Calm Without”: a metaphor inspired by Mount Fujiyama. Ray’s women characters struggle with countless odds: for economic freedom as in Mahanagar, the freedom of choice in marriage (Kapurush, Samapti in Teen Kanya), transgressive erotic desires (in Charulata, Seemabaddha, Aranyer Din Ratri), retaining her dignity in an unequal and patriarchal world (Aranyer Din Ratri, Mahanagar, Nayak). These women are exceptional in the way they articulate their emotional, sexual and intellectual longings. In a gesture that pre-dates the women’s movement in India, the female protagonist in Mahanagar stands up to her husband and his family and refuses to give up working simply because her identity of being a working woman had hurt the husband’s ego. Similarly, when she resigns from her job, it is to protest against the wrongful dismissal of a woman colleague with whom she chooses to stand in solidarity. Many of his women characters, despite being understated, are extremely effective and firm in their rejection of the deadwood of tradition. This in itself was a dramatic departure from a majority of films that were being made at the time. 

Ray had a special relationship with his actors. He did not share the popular film industry’s preoccupation with stars and preferred to cast newcomers in his films. On the odd occasion when he did cast stars, he cast them against the grain like Amjad Khan in Shatranj Ke Khiladi and Waheeda Rehman in Abhijaan. Take, for instance, Uttam Kumar in Nayak. Since it was the story of a matinee idol, Ray felt that Uttam would trigger immediate identification. But the story dealt, not with his stardom, but with the conflicts of his inner self; his longing for something real and tangible on one hand and the consequences of his success on the other. Nayak showed the underside of ‘heroism’ — it explored the vulnerabilities and loneliness of stardom. 

If you ask me what aspect of his craft fascinated me the most I would say it was his ability to get the best out of his actors with the least obvious effort. He continually combined professionals with newcomers in a manner that one could not tell the difference. While directing actors he offered unlimited freedom to some while strictly controlling others. If anything, he tended to direct professionals more than newcomers and this included Chhabi Biswas in Devi, Uttam Kumar in Nayak and Sanjeev Kumar in Shatranj Ke Khiladi. Ray’s directing of Uttam Kumar in Nayak — especially with regard to speaking his lines and using his voice — left a lasting impression on me. I experienced this when I was an observer while he explained a scene to a drunk Uttam (in the film of course), standing next to the open door of the train. I think Uttam himself may have imbibed quite a lot from his association with Ray which subsequently made an impact on his post-Ray performances. Ray never over-instructed — and the way he read out the scene was enough for all of us actors to understand how to play the character. His praise was equally brief — usually a happy “Excellent — next shot” was all he said. But it energized and inspired all of us.

Although we were given these magnificent handwritten scripts well before the shooting started, we were discouraged to memorize our dialogues. There were no extensive workshops. Even on the set there were two or three rehearsals at the most — mainly for the camera crew and then usually one or two takes or very rarely, another one. Too many takes cost time and film stock — these were luxuries he couldn’t afford. He had the actors’ complete trust — as Soumitra says about him quoting Brando on Chaplin, “Even if he gave us a telephone directory as the script — we would agree to do it.” Sir Richard Attenborough said as much to him when he was offered the role in Shatranj Ke Khiladi. Allow me to digress and share a personal experience about acting. While performing in popular mainstream films, whenever I tended to pause or took a trifle longer to speak, I was teasingly told that I had to speed up because this was not a Ray film. In Bengal it was the opposite: I was reminded that this wasn’t Bombay cinema so I should pause and think before I act. 

Ray was extremely skilful when it came to directing children. I was no more than a child myself in Apur Sansar and I have seen him direct other children. He would sit on a stool, look them in the eye and narrate the scene. He didn’t over-explain, again never saying more than the essential — but they got it right every time, giving us a range of extraordinary child characters who are wise and full of wonder. The secret was — as Soumitra Chatterjee observes — “He never thought of children as children but gave them as much importance as adults, and mingling with them as though he was one of them. As a result they were quick to make friends with him. He himself never lost the curiosity and wonder of a child.”

Ray also had the cinematic ability to transform spaces into protagonists. He turned his sets, the physical spaces, the props, into characters that impact the narrative in significant ways. Therefore, the train in Nayak is a character as is the house in Jalsaghar. Let me recall here a personal experience. Thirty years after Apur Sansar was shot, I revisited that terrace tenement one more time. I was accompanied by Catherine Berge who made a documentary on Soumitra Chatterjee. The house had remained exactly the same and seemed untouched by the passage of time. That is when I got an insight into Apu the writer and what this terrace room must have meant to him. Apu’s house is located in a crowded area and is a beehive of people and activity. When he walks up the stairs, he is aware of inquisitive, prying eyes. Nowhere in the city can he afford any privacy. But once he enters through the door into the terrace he is alone under the open sky. When after so many years, I returned to the terrace with Catherine, I heard the cacophony of the city recede and the only sound that remained was that of the passing train. I began to understand what Apu must have felt each time he came in through the door and saw the open sky. I realized then — more than when I had shot for the film — how evocative this location had been to the delineation of Apu’s character. 

Like the spaces that he chose to locate his stories and characters in, sound too was used to give depth and texture to his films. The soundtrack in Ray’s films celebrates the ordinary by using familiar everyday sounds: radio music from an adjoining house, the delicate melody of bamboo pines rubbing against each other, the barking of dogs or the passing of trucks are all used to heighten the emotive register of his films. Very often music would be used as a sound-effect as in the famous scene in Pather Panchali when Harihar gets to know that his daughter has died. I am sure most of you know that he could read and write music but I wonder how many of you know that he could also whistle beautifully — Brahms, Beethoven and everything else. A discussion on the soundscape that Ray created would be incomplete if we did not talk about how economical he was with dialogues. In a film culture that is heavily reliant on words, Ray introduced restraint. Very few filmmakers can liberate themselves from words like Ray did and it was this very quality that he admired in Kurosawa. Sometimes he created the most eloquent scenes with just sound, music and images. Apu and Durga caught in a thunderstorm, Aparna’s death in Apur Sansar, the culminating scenes in Seemabaddha and Sadgati are all examples of pure cinema. But when he does use words it has a momentous cinematic impact.
Most importantly, Ray could reflect upon his own work with a certain detachment — at least during the making of it. Style was never allowed to override content. If he felt that a scene, even after shooting it, wasn’t wholly integrated in the narrative he had no hesitation in deleting it. His work was more important than his ego. He came to the studio totally prepared — whether outdoors or indoors he seemed in complete control of his surroundings.

As this audience knows only too well, the rich and varied repertoire of Satyajit Ray cannot be adequately represented by just the Apu Trilogy. He dealt with a wide range of subjects and genres informed by his vast and varied interests. This included highbrow satire (like Parash Pathar, Mahapurush), evocative period pieces (like Charulata, Shatranj Ke Khiladi, Ghare Baire), epic sagas (the Apu Trilogy), musical fantasies (Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne), political parables (Hirok Rajar Deshe) and detective films (Chiriakhana, Sonar Kella, Joy Baba Phelunath). Ray is most famously associated with Realism. This claim is not wrong because the Italian neo-realists made a deep impression on him. But he was also a man who was deeply imaginative and could enter the subjectivities of his characters with a great sense of insight and lyricism. Hirok Rajar Deshe aptly demonstrates this. 

What makes this range astounding is that they were created despite the many material constraints he had to face throughout his career — budget, technology, marketing and distribution. Right from his first film, Ray’s was a perennial struggle to procure funds to finance his art. The making of Pather Panchali is now part of film folklore. The conditions in which he made his films are unimaginable now. Studio floors were full of potholes which made a simple trolley shot a challenge. Those were the days of load shedding in Calcutta and the erratic power situation cost him dearly; he didn’t have the right pieces of equipment — and had to improvise continuously. And sometimes these improvisations brought out the best, like the invention of the bounce light, the back projection in Nayak (which was quite flawless). All this was achieved with a minimalist team — his cameraman, Subroto Mitra, and his art director, Bansi Chandragupta. The trio’s contribution to cinema has been phenomenal. Charulata epitomizes this excellence. With such poor working conditions, they managed nevertheless to compete with the best in the world and won international acclaim. But after Nayak, Ray went solo. He started doing everything himself. Screenplay, camera operation (the memory game in Aranyer Din Ratri is a testimony of his superb handling of the camera), set design, in Hirok Rajar Deshe, he even chose the fabric himself, his musicals needed such elaborate work. He also did the wardrobe, music, title credits, publicity posters, everything. But typically, he took money for just two things: screenplay and direction. I don’t think there has been another director quite so versatile and quite so hardworking. But I think this budgetary constraint added to the overall stress of film-making, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this (more than smoking) wasn’t the cause of his poor heart condition. I remember him sitting next to the camera, chewing his handkerchief. He ruined one handkerchief daily, much to his wife’s dismay. The commitment to his art despite the conditions in which he worked, the steadfastness, the refusal to compromise for any consideration whatsoever, are ultimately at the heart of his legacy.

Gen Sharif’s earned his stripes, spots yet to show

General Raheel Sharif, as a protégé of Gen Parvez Musharraf, has a military pedigree many soldiers would envy. As a fellow of the prestigious Royal College of Defence Studies, London, he is in the exalted company of his mentor.
The most important question is how new Pak army chief General Raheel Sharif will view the J&K dynamics. However, a reversal of policy is least likely, especially when there is a change of command.
Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain (retd)

Media reports ascribe to him the thinking behind Pakistan’s doctrinal aspects of countering India’s pro-active strategy. While being a great professional citation, this is hardly likely even if he is considered an expert at defensive, and not offensive, warfare because Pakistan’s reaction of moving some of its formations to strategically more viable locations was thought through well before General Sharif rose to the level of a Corps Commander (30 Corps, Gujranwala).

Hamid Hussain’s assessment that General Sharif “is probably not suited to lead an army engaged in a war” needs to be evaluated more comprehensively. Study of history belies the assumption that the body language of senior military leaders and their appearance can lead to definitive deductions about their military intellect, translation into ground execution and leadership skills under duress and stress.

Some see Sharif as a ‘defensive general’.
Of Pakistan’s senior leadership it can authoritatively be said that it is outstandingly wily and innovative at ‘conflict initiation’ but astonishingly unprofessional at taking the intent and aim to its military conclusion as part of ‘conflict termination’. This has been borne out in the 1965 Indo-Pak conflict, the actions in East Pakistan in 1971, in the operational content of Exercise Zarb-e-Momin in 1990, the Kargil misadventure in 1999 and in the recent exchanges on the LoC in Poonch, Mendhar and Keran.

None of these events led to any positive gains for Pakistan. In fact, the only decision which led to a possibly positive outcome was President Musharraf’s mutual initiative with the India to bring about ceasefire on the LoC on November 26, 2003, a decision which had far-reaching implications for both armies. Will General Sharif show similar cerebral capability and ‘soft’ approach towards the LoC to enable the task at hand on the more difficult western and internal security fronts, which are wrenching Pakistan apart? In fact, the most important question is how General Sharif will view the Jammu & Kashmir dynamics.

New Pakistan army chief's brother died in 1971 Battle of Majors in Fazilka

Manu Pubby : New Delhi, Sun Dec 01 2013,
In Pakistani war folklore, it is one of the most talked about battles of the 1971 war, one of the few operations glorified in an otherwise despondent time for the nation. It was the battle of the Majors — one from each side, both hot-blooded and fierce — who wrestled for the control of a key bridge which finally ended in hand-to-hand combat while soldiers looked on, instructed not to intervene in the duel.

Pakistan Army's Major Shabbir Sharif died in the battle for Beriwala bridge in Punjab's Fazilka sector. His heroics won him the Nishan-e-Haider, the nation's highest gallantry award. Major Narain Singh, who led the Indian counter-attack on the bridge which had been captured by Sharif and his men, too died in the battle. He was awarded the Vir Chakra.

So this week, when Pakistan named Raheel Sharif as its new Army chief, bells rang on either side of the border. Because Raheel is the younger brother of Major Shabbir Sharif.

From Jammu, Major Narain Singh's wife Urmila, who was a 22-year-old during the war, recalled not just "painful memories" but also the "love and respect" her family has got from Fazilka ever since the battle.

The attack on Beriwala bridge was a crucial Pakistani move on the western front in early December to divert Indian resources from the east where General Niazi's men were facing a rout.

Major Shabbir, a company commander of the 6 Frontier Force who had already been decorated in the 1965 war, was tasked to capture a bridge on the ditch-cum-bund (DCB) near the Indian town of Fazilka which he managed to do on December 3-4 by overrunning BSF positions on the border.

Major Singh, a company commander of 4 Jat, was chosen to launch a counter-attack a day later and recapture the bridge — the bridge was key since it could have been used by the Pakistanis for a strong armour attack.

These facts are well established but there are two versions of what actually happened in the battle.

The Pakistani version spread by word of mouth and was mentioned in a book Pakistan's Crisis in Leadership by Maj Gen Fazal Muqueen Khan: "In the ensuing hand-to-hand fight, this brave Indian Major was killed by another extremely brave Company Commander Major Shabbir Sharif."

According to another Pakistani version, Singh charged on their positions with his company and lobbed a grenade at Sharif, injuring him slightly. When Indian soldiers prepared to fire at Sharif, Singh stopped them and opted for a 'man-to-man' combat. He was killed by Sharif who died a day later at the same bridge after he was shot at by an Indian T-54 tank.

But the Indian version, as recounted by officers of the 4 Jat who were present at the battle as well as the official citation of the Vir Chakra, is different.

There are no records or eyewitness accounts to confirm the 'man-to-man' combat but the charge of 4 Jat's Bravo Company led by Singh is well known for its bravery and the losses the battalion suffered — over 60 soldiers were killed and several more injured.

While a hand-to-hand fight did occur when Singh's soldiers attacked the Pakistani positions under Sharif, Singh did not die on the battlefield in direct combat with his Pakistani counterpart, his fellow soldiers recall.

"It was a very brave and courageous battle between the two but he did not die on the spot. He died while being taken by the Pakistani side to their medical room. Major Singh managed to reach the Pakistani positions after going through a hail of fire but was badly injured by the time they invaded the stronghold," Col (retd) Vijay Singh, who was then adjutant of 4 Jat, told The Sunday Express from Dehradun.

He said the Pakistani side treated Singh with respect. They picked up the unconscious Major and were taking him for treatment when he died.

Singh's official citation for the Vir Chakra also reflects this: "Major Narain Singh led his men and charged the objective. In the process, he was hit by a burst from a machine gun but he continued to direct the operation during which he was mortally wounded."

The versions differ, but both sides agree that the battle of Beriwala was one of exceptional bravery during the 1971 war. Though attacks and counter-attacks continued in the sector, it could never be used by Pakistan for a full armour attack.

When news of the appointment of Gen Sharif as the Pakistan Army chief reached Singh's wife Urmila, it brought back memories of the December day in 1971 when she was first informed that her husband was missing in action.

"I was so devastated then that no one even came to me with tales of his bravery. It was only later that we got to know what he had done for the nation. Earlier this year, my son showed me what the Pakistani side had described about the battle," she said over phone from Jammu. After the war, she went to Fazilka. "The residents have given us so much love. They wanted me to come and settle there with my young son. They called him the saviour of Fazilka. Even now when we go there, everyone remembers the battle and his sacrifice," she said.

Cricket and jihad

The Taliban against Tendulkar 
Nov 28th 2013,

IT HAS been a bad month for the Pakistani Taliban. On November 1st the group’s charismatic leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed by an American missile strike. This week the Pakistani army launched an air assault on its main redoubt, the tribal area of North Waziristan, close to the border with Afghanistan. Yet these were at least familiar setbacks. More surprising to the jihadist group, it seems, was the outpouring of love and grief Pakistanis have showed for Sachin Tendulkar (pictured), the great Indian cricketer who retired on November 16th.

To show the militants’ dismay, their spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid, has released a video condemning all praise for Mr Tendulkar as unpatriotic. Flanked by two gun-toting jihadists, he declares to the camera: “There is an Indian player called Tendulkar. He is being showered with praises by Pakistani media and people... Somebody should tell the media that Tendulkar may be a good cricketer but his qualities should not be highlighted because it is against the Pakistani nation and our motherland.”

Fat chance. When it comes to India’s leading Bollywood and cricket stars, Pakistanis have always found it easy to put political differences aside. And none has been more popular than Mr Tendulkar. That India’s greatest cricketer of modern times played his first international game—way back in November 1989—in Karachi is a source of considerable pride to many Pakistanis.

When he returned to the city to play a one-day international in 2004—on the first tour of Pakistan by India’s national side for nearly 15 years—the Karachi crowd chanted his name. Some Pakistani boys were wearing Indian team shirts written with his name. No wonder Dawn, a Karachi-based daily, has felt able to declare Tendulkar “the greatest postwar batsman to have played the game”.

Mr Shahid, displaying a less certain sporting judgement, instead urged Pakistanis to rally around their country’s widely-derided cricket captain, Misbah ul-Haq. His performances, the bearded militant conceded, were not all that might be wished for; an inelegant batsman, Mr ul-Haq is known as “Tuk-tuk” for his plodding rate of progress. And yet, Mr Shahid intoned: “No matter how bad a player Misbah-ul-Haq is, he must be praised”.

Members of the Pakistani army, which has lost thousands of men to Taliban suicide-bomb attacks and beheadings over the past decade, might question Mr Shahid’s patriotic credentials. Many other Pakistanis might think it more significant that inhabitants of the remote tribal areas, where the Taliban rule, have traditionally played football, not cricket.

Mr Tendulkar has had run-ins with jihadists before. In 2002 three Kashmiri militants, who were allegedly backed by Pakistani agents, confessed to Indian police that they had been plotting to kidnap India’s revered little master. Had that plot come to fruition it is easy to imagine the threat of war that had arisen the previous year—after the two countries rushed a million troops to their border—would have resumed.

Or, then again, perhaps millions of cricket-loving Pakistanis would have denounced jihadism in disgust.

India Should Rebalance Regional Focus

November 30, 2013 by Team SAISA

P. Stobdan

While India’s economic and security interests in Asia-Pacific region intensifies, a rebalancing is now required in its outreach in the nearby Eurasian continent. Historically, India had the deepest political, cultural and commercial contacts with the Eurasia and they were not without advantage to each other. India is already late in making a meaningful presence. Of course, lack of easy connectivity impeded India’s efforts in the region. But, India’s image and its political contacts with countries in Eurasia are still stand on sound footing.

Broadly, India’s endeavour in Eurasia has been to prevent any hostile power from dominating the region. The “Connect Central Asia” launched in 2012 constitutes a few smart strategies designed to enhance India’s visibility and to seek economic and energy interests with the view to allow the region to re-emerge itself as a commercial and cultural crossroads with greater links to India. The policy is a key component to Afghanistan’s stability as well, as to India’s own security. However, the entire region is now rapidly changing in the face of increased capital flows, expansion of regional trade and massive Chinese investments. For India, obviously, Russia’s benign presence in the region would have been an ideal choice. But in the face of Russia’s relatively low interest for holding on to the region and India’s own limitation to reach out in Central Asia in a major way, the choice therefore was either let the extremists fill the vacuum or allow the Chinese to consolidate their control over Eurasia. Obviously, the choice for India is getting starker; China appears a lesser evil here. However, similar to the ASEAN states, the countries of Eurasia too view India as a future powerhouse of global growth and wish it play a balancer role vis-à-vis China. In the absence of it some of them would, if already not, meekly yield to China’s rise.

Interestingly, like the Chinese businessmen, who had cast their gaze towards Eurasia a decade ago, the Indian entrepreneurs too are finding business opportunities they seek in looking towards the Caspian and Central Asia. Many young Indians engineers and technicians have found jobs, business and markets including in some of the high profile energy projects in Kazakhstan’s oil fields. The energy management sector is likely to attract many more Indian professionals to the region. Some have already invested to get share of the natural resources in those regions. India particularly enjoys a niche market reputation, for example in IT industry, health and education sectors; even these remain unexplored. The problem so far has been that the government policy has not followed suit. And that needs to be changed in a major way.

India's China Syndrome

30 November, 2013

By Air Marshal RK Nehra

The first major test of the Indian armed forces came in 1962 when India was involved in a border conflict with China. In 1914, an Englishman, Sir Arthur Haney McMahon tried to define the border between India and Tibet (China) on the highest watershed principle. The effort was only partially successful, as the central Chinese government of that time did not ratify the agreement. In the late 1950s, the border dispute between India and China (who had incorporated Tibet) started simmering. Some border posts were set up by the Chinese; India considered it as incursions in Indian territory.

Around October 1962, Jawaharlal Nehru gave a public statement that he had asked the armed forces to get the offensive posts vacated. In the event, it appears that China took the initiative. Before the Indians could act, the Chinese attacked over the Eastern border. Skirmishes also occurred in the Western (Ladakh) region, where the Indian troops gave an extremely good account of themselves.

The actual reasons for the 1962 debacle were: Failure of higher direction and control at Army HQs and Ministry of Defense, almost total failure of generalship at the field level, and failure of the troops to do what they are trained and expected to do, i.e. stand up and fight.

But in the East, the Indian army, for some inexplicable reason, failed to offer any credible resistance. There were unconfirmed reports of battalions and even perhaps a brigade, giving up their positions (hard facts are difficult to come by). The Chinese forces advanced with extra-ordinary ease. It was not the defeat, but the manner of defeat which was most humiliating. Matters were made worst by the Chinese declaring a unilateral ceasefire on 21 November 1962; the Chinese withdrew to their original positions.

The Indian nation was staggered beyond belief; no one had imagined that such a situation could develop. The great visionary Nehru himself was forced to declare that they had been living in a dream world of their own making. Nehru could not survive the shock, suffered a stroke and died in 1964.

Stay Cool About Afghan President Hamid Karzai

November 29, 2013

By: John R. Allen and Michael E. O'Hanlon

What is going on with President Hamid Karzai? The world’s only superpower, leading a coalition of some 50 nations, is willing to stay on in his country after a war that has already lasted a dozen years and cost the United States more than $600 billion and more than 2,000 fatalities — and yet the Afghan president keeps throwing up roadblocks.

The latest insult is his decision to hold off on signing a bilateral security agreement, the legal basis for American forces to remain in his country past 2014, on the grounds that his successor should have that prerogative next year. Mr. Karzai has also thrown in new demands — just when we thought the security agreement was a done deal. For one, he now seems to believe he can compel the United States to release all Afghan detainees in the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay.

Certainly, part of Mr. Karzai’s attitude comes from the umbrage he has taken at various Americans, especially in recent years. Some United States officials did make mistakes in their handling of the complex Afghan leader, lecturing him in public too stridently about matters such as Afghan government corruption. There can be little doubt, though, that Mr. Karzai’s own peevishness and ingratitude have played a large role.

In addition, Mr. Karzai believes, accurately perhaps, that the talks over the bilateral security agreement provide him with his last remaining leverage with Washington. He is wrong in thinking that Afghanistan remains a center of geopolitics, the location of a modern-day “great game” like the 19th-century competition between Britain and Russia, or the 1980s Cold War struggle pitting the Soviet Union against the United States and others. But Mr. Karzai is right that we are concerned enough about Afghanistan’s future to wish to maintain a presence even after NATO’s combat mission expires in just 13 months. He also rightly perceives that the United States wants to keep a vigilant eye on extremist groups in tribal regions of northwest Pakistan.

Against this backdrop, American officials should stay calm. It would be a mistake to let one man — increasingly detached from Afghan public and political opinion — determine the fate of the American role in South Asia. Even with Osama bin Laden dead, the stakes remain high: Extremist groups from Al Qaeda to Lashkar-e-Taiba (the Pakistani group responsible for the 2008 Mumbai terror attack) could easily put down roots again in Afghanistan if the country were to fall to the Taliban after NATO’s departure.

The recent assembly of Afghan tribal elders, a loya jirga, again demonstrated what we already knew — that the Afghan people want us to stay. After the defeat of the Soviets in 1989, civil war, state collapse and Taliban victory followed. The Afghan people have seen this movie already; they do not want the sequel. The loya jirga urged Mr. Karzai to sign the agreement; he demurred.

The main candidates in Afghanistan’s 2014 presidential election also want us to stay. A poll by the Moby Group in Kabul, Afghanistan’s largest private media organization, suggests that the two leading contenders are former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani. Both are pro-Western; both are smart and competent. The same is true of Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassoul, said by some to be President Karzai’s choice to succeed him after elections in April. Other candidates also support a continuing American and international presence.

So the United States should stay patient. It can say to Mr. Karzai, If you want to reinforce Afghan democracy by letting your successor sign this security deal, we can live with that; in the meantime, working with your ministers and other leaders, we will plan on staying — precisely as if the accord were already in place.

Desperation in Tibet

Published: November 29, 2013

On Nov. 11, Tsering Gyal, a 20-year-old Tibetan Buddhist monk, set himself on fire in China’s Qinghai Province. Mr. Gyal’s death brings the number of Tibetans who have self-immolated since 2009 to 123. Letters some have left and eyewitness accounts of dying words leave no doubt about the cause of these horrible deaths: anguish over Chinese repression.

Tibet has suffered spasms of violence at different points in its history since China took over in 1950 and the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, fled the region in 1959. But the current wave of self-immolations is a new and tragic trend. Many Tibetans feel forcibly estranged from their language, culture and religion by repressive Chinese policies that have intensified since a wave of protests engulfed the region in 2008.

These policies include replacing the Tibetan language with Chinese as the language of instruction in schools; sending some 21,000 Chinese party officials into Tibetan monasteries to keep an eye on monks; forcing monks to denounce the Dalai Lama; banning the display of the Dalai Lama’s photograph; having a heavy armed police presence in Tibetan towns, villages and around monasteries; closing monasteries; and clamping down on demonstrators with arrests and shootings by police officers.

China blames the Dalai Lama for the self-immolations. But the Dalai Lama has condemned them. In fact, many fear that unless preparations begin to ease Tibetans’ feelings of estrangement while the 78-year-old Dalai Lama is still alive, Tibetans may resort to more violent forms of protest when his tempering presence is gone.

After President Xi Jinping assumed power last year, there was hope that China might retreat from its hardened stance toward Tibet. The sweeping reforms pledged recently during the Communist Party’s plenum meeting show his willingness to tackle domestic challenges. He should move now to ease some of the most damaging policies on Tibet.

China also should resume negotiations with the Dalai Lama, which broke off in 2010. Without these steps, the Tibet Autonomous Region and the neighboring provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu, where many Tibetans live, will remain troubled territory, unable to participate fully in China’s economic development.

Scientists: The Saigon River Is Dying

Scientists: The Saigon River Is Dying
Image Credit: Saigon River via Shutterstock

Current wastewater management infrastructure can’t even begin to treat staggering levels of pollution.

By Luke Hunt
November 30, 2013

In the battle of perceptions the Mekong River has always held sway as the greatest waterway in Southeast Asia. Novelists have romanticized it, scientists have fawned over it and travelers have made it one of the great tourism destinations in the world.

More importantly it is the bread basket for about 70 million people who depend upon it. Hence when unthinking governments conspire with business to dam, build and dredge the Mekong in the name of profit, the reaction deserves to be as great as the river itself.

This has been the case for the Xayaburi and Don Sahong dams.

Sadly the attention-grabbing Mekong tends to overwhelm the importance of other rivers and the issues they face. The Saigon River will never match the Mekong in the majestic stakes but its place in history, its wildlife, rugged backdrop and strategic importance for Ho Chi Minh City make this an extremely important waterway.

Vietnamese scientists now say the river is dying, declaring in state-sanctioned media, “the pride and sustenance of Ho Chi Minh City is severely contaminated with wastewater and urgent steps have to be taken to save it.”

Tests were conducted between the rainy season of 2011 and the dry season the following year and Nguyen Van Phuoc, director of the Institute of Environment and Natural Resources at the Vietnam National University, said the river had failed to meet national standards.

The Diplomat's East China Sea ADIZ Analysis Round-Up

The Diplomat's East China Sea ADIZ Analysis Round-Up
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Also, a few defense and security links ahead of the weekend.

By Ankit Panda
November 30, 2013

The biggest security news out of the Asia-Pacific this week is China’s decision to unilaterally impose an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over a large swathe of the East China Sea, prodding Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea, and shooting the East China Sea to the top of the list of the Asia-Pacific’s hottest flashpoints. We’ve had plenty of coverage on the issue this week at The Diplomat, and here’s a round-up of that analysis (followed by a few defense and security links ahead of the weekend).

My colleague Zachary Keck took a look into the reasons why China decided to implement the ADIZ when it did and in the manner it did; he argues the ADIZ is consistent with China’s “lawfare” strategy towards maritime disputes (Zach also had some of the earliest coverage of the ADIZ and the U.S. B-52 flyby). Flashpoints author Harry Kazianis argued for Washington to step in and reassure allies against the backdrop of the ADIZ, not succumbing to Beijing’s “game of chicken.”

Second, a couple pieces covering the Taiwan angle: my colleague Shannon Tiezzi and Flashpoints contributor J. Michael Cole each offer their takes on the ADIZ’s implications for cross-strait relations.

I wrote a piece exploring China’s somewhat odd decision to prod South Korea over the ADIZ, given its unwillingness to raise the ire of South Korea over territorial issues in recent years. China and South Korea held a long-scheduled high-level defense meeting. The ADIZ issue between the two countries was added to the agenda at the last minute over South Korean concerns that China had drawn the ADIZ’s frontiers a little too close to Jeju-do for comfort. Yonhap reports that China rejected South Korean demands to redraw the ADIZ — a bold move that is certain to thrust East China Sea territorial issues to the top of the bilateral agenda between those two countries. J. Berkshire Miller takes a look at the broader diplomatic picture between China and South Korea in a feature piece this week as well.

The Diplomat’s Justin McDonnell spoke to David M. Finkelstein of the Center for Naval Analyses about the ADIZ earlier this week. Read that interview here.

Since these pieces were written, China has scrambled jets after more U.S. and Japanese flyovers in its new ADIZ. Keep your eyes peeled for more on the ADIZ next week from The Diplomat.

Obama to issue a new statement of U.S. national security strategy

By Scott Wilson, Saturday, November 30,

President Obama will formally present a new national security strategy early next year, identifying his foreign policy priorities for the remainder of his time in office, the White House said Friday.

The new policy document will be the second of Obama's administration and will likely update the previous one, released in May 2010, in several important areas. Those include policies for fighting the next phase of the war against al-Qaeda, the shift of national security resources to Asia and a plan to manage declining defense budgets amid fiscal strain. 

The administration will present another strategy paper on how it intends to achieve the policy ambitions to be outlined in the new national security doctrine sometime in the spring, Obama told Congress in a letter made public Friday.

The new strategy is being drafted at a time when Obama continues to face questions over his counterterrorism policy, particularly the use of drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan as the U.S. military withdraws from that region.

Disclosures over the scope of the National Security Agency’s eavesdropping practices have also placed Obama at odds with some foreign leaders, including U.S. allies, and prompted him to pledge reforms in the way intelligence gathering is conducted.

The new security strategy will likely reflect some of those proposals and expand on administration plans in the Asia-Pacific region as the country shifts from a war footing in the decade since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to new diplomatic and economic initiatives.

The National Security Strategy document falls under a 1986 law requiring the president to present Congress with an annual strategic statement. Most administrations have been inconsistent in meeting that obligation. George W. Bush, for example, issued only two during his eight years in office.

The policy statement sets administration priorities inside the government and communicates them to Congress, the American public and the world. It also is intended as a framework for strategy documents produced by other parts of the government, including the Pentagon’s national defense strategy.

Obama’s first National Security Strategy ran 52 pages and set out a course for ending the U.S. military involvement in Iraq.

Although the strategy asserted America’s central role in the world, it also warned that “when we overuse our military might, or fail to invest in or deploy complementary tools, or act without partners, then our military is overstretched.”

“Americans bear a greater burden, and our leadership around the world is too narrowly identified with military forces,” the document reads. It lists as the country's “enduring national interests” security, prosperity, values and international order.

In recent months, Obama has outlined some of his foreign policy priorities for the rest of his second term, telling the U.N. General Assembly in September that in the Middle East he would focus on securing a nuclear agreement with Iran and peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

That emphasis will likely be reflected in the updated strategy document, which will also likely look beyond the official conclusion of U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan at the end of 2014.

Can the Republican Party Return to Its Realist Roots?

November 28, 2013

By Robert Kaplan

When it comes to an approach to the outside world, the Republican Party would seem to be tearing itself apart. There are not one or two factions but several, all vying for a mandate from the party faithful. This is all happening while the Democrats appear more or less to be united -- if not always enthusiastic -- behind President Barack Obama's foreign policy, especially after the triumph of his interim deal with Iran.

In recent decades, the Republicans have usually been the more nationalist of the two major parties. Whereas Democratic foreign policy experts have been more at home among global elites, and more enthusiastic about pursuing altruistic humanitarian goals, Republican experts have been less comfortable at conferences abroad, and more concerned about the safety of the American homeland and its traditional allies than about trying to improve the lot of the rest of the world. As one might expect, defense budgets have usually fared better under Republican than Democratic presidents.

The problem for Republicans is that there are various kinds of nationalism. There is, for instance, the aggressive Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld brand of nationalism, in which you proactively seek out enemies and destroy them, with relatively little concern for what the outside world thinks. Especially in a post-9/11 world, you can't take chances! This is a nationalism in which high defense budgets are encouraged, even as humanitarianism is de-emphasized. It is not that such nationalists are necessarily hardhearted. Rather, it is that they genuinely feel the world overall will be a more humane place with preponderant American power.

To one side of these Republican nationalists are Republican isolationists. Now isolationists are nationalists, too. They also believe that the most important thing in the world is a safe and secure American homeland. It is just that they feel this can be better achieved by staying out of foreign wars and other such entanglements, particularly in the Eastern Hemisphere. In their minds, American human and material treasure is simply too precious to be wasted abroad. Tried-and-true isolationists are actually rare in the Republican Party: just because you are against this or that military intervention certainly does not make you an isolationist. Rather, there are isolationist-trending Republicans of varying degrees who seek to do the minimum abroad, while concentrating on protecting and improving the homeland. They seek a perfectionism within the American continent only, with some concern for contiguous parts of the Western Hemisphere as well. The world overseas will just have to fend for itself.

Rod Liddle: The truths you can't tell in today's Britain

Politicians used to have to apologise when they lied. Now it's the opposite
  Rod Liddle 
30 November 2013

My memory gets addled sometimes, so maybe I’m wrong about this. But didn’t it used to be the case that when politicians were caught out lying, they made some sort of shame-faced apology to the nation and begged for our forgiveness? I’m sure that was it, you know. So if I’m right, to judge by the case of our Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, things have turned precisely 180 degrees. Mr Grieve has just offered a full and unqualified apology for having told the truth. I thought that politicians were meant to do that — tell the truth?

And what an apology. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Mr Grieve said the following: ‘We have minority communities in this country which come from backgrounds where corruption is endemic. It is something as politicians we have to wake up to.’ Asked by the interviewer if he meant the Pakistani community in particular, Mr Grieve said that he did. Although he added that the whole blame should not be laid at the door of any single community. Cue, then, a fugue of idiocy which eventually led to the absurd apology.

First, Grieve’s party colleague, the MEP Sajjad H. Karim, said that the comments were ‘deeply offensive’ and — remarkably — ‘not based on fact’, then the rest weighed in. Mr Karim is either an idiot or deluded, as we shall see. And so, after only a few hours, Mr Grieve said a really big ‘sorry’. Here is his apology — you can cut it out and keep it if you wish, as it’s full of asinine genuflections to the hysteria of the mob and therefore a model of its kind: ‘Mr Grieve said he was wrong to give the impression that there was a problem in the Pakistani community. In a statement, he said: “It is not my view. I believe the Pakistani community has enriched this country a great deal as I know full well from my extensive contact with the community over a number of years. I’m sorry if I have caused any offence.”’

Lordy. Let’s deal with the facts first. Do Pakistanis come from backgrounds where corruption is endemic? Yes, they do. Pakistan is one of the most corrupt nations on earth, coming 139th on Transparency International’s list of the world’s most corrupt countries (the higher the number, the more corrupt, by the way). An Al Jazeera report into Pakistan this year began with the words: ‘Paying bribes is part of everyday life for many Pakistanis, with even passport applications affected.’

As for the Pakistani community over here, a report in May this year by the Electoral Commission on voter fraud (to which Grieve was specifically referring) said the following: ‘There are strongly held views, based in particular on reported first-hand experience by some campaigners and elected representatives in particular, that electoral fraud is more likely to be committed by or in support of candidates standing for election in areas which are largely or predominately populated by some South Asian communities, specifically those with roots in parts of Pakistan or Bangladesh.’

The Electoral Commission went on to say that not all corruption could be laid at the door of British people of Pakistani descent. But still, there have been criminal convictions of British Pakistanis recently in both Slough and Derby for voter fraud; I am not aware of any convictions against white British people for voter fraud. Clearly, incontestably, there is a problem within the Pakistani (and Bangladeshi) communities. This does not mean that all Pakistanis are corrupt, or that they are evil people; it means simply, as Dominic Grieve originally put it, that there is a problem within the community. You know this, the Attorney General knows this and Mr Karim should know this too.

So, why the apology? An apology for telling the truth — a truth which, incidentally, had already been stated by his own colleague, Baroness Warsi, a couple of years ago: she made the point that there was a problem within British Asian communities of voter fraud. Even this, mind, is a slight evasion, of course: there is no problem of voter fraud within the British Japanese, or British Chinese or British Indian communities. Just the Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, really.

The Sublime: The Paradox of the 7th Warfighting Function

by Grant M. Martin

Journal Article | November 25, 2013

The Sublime: The Paradox of the 7th Warfighting Function

(Or why SOF cannot eat our function and have it too)

Grant M. Martin

Special Operations Forces (SOF) have a problem: in order to be more effective in the “human domain” we have to paradoxically dump the concept. The human domain, a conceptualization of the influence that populations have on military operations, is one way of viewing reality. Human populations, however, are characterized by different viewpoints and limiting oneself to only one view of the world can be disastrous if trying to make sense of things and initiate a desired effect. The trends within SOF, however, seem to be a growing reliance on process, bureaucracy, and metrics, all obstacles to breaking away from any institutionally-approved ways of thinking. In order for SOF to best contribute to operations within the human domain I assert that we have to do two things: 1) ensure our doctrine and concepts support a more nuanced and dynamic approach to operations at the conceptual level and, 2) mimic at the operational and strategic levels the same kinds of things that make us “special” at the tactical level. Actually making these things happen in the face of the current drawdown, our relatively recent infatuation with technology and the inexplicable application of physical domain concepts to the human domain, however, will be a herculean task.

The human domain implies the “social” realm: a dominion of non-visible abstractions that, although mostly falling outside of “the scientific” are nonetheless real, if real means to have an effect on others. Yet SOF, following the Army’s lead, is attempting to apply the physical domains’ constructs to this social domain. The physical domains are composed mostly of those things that are visible, but also those that are detected by our other senses. Although this is a simplification and perhaps disingenuous, one way of thinking about the two types of domains is to imagine an armored division battle as being one largely within the “land domain”. Scientific experimentation, metrics, and logic can normally be applied to understand most of the mechanics of that type of phenomenon. What the population of a nearby town thinks about the battle, however, and, more importantly, what they will do that could affect one’s objectives, fall more into the social realm. This is a realm consisting more of “social” facts (as opposed to “physical” facts such as artillery trajectories and tank speed), influenced more by language and culture, and largely constructed by the inhabitants as to meaning. Approaching the physical domain in more of an objective and logical manner may work, but approaching the social realm without relying more on multiple viewpoints and critical and creative thinking is a recipe for disaster.

In this paper I make the case that the concept of the human domain is a good one if it gets us to go much deeper than our doctrinal and institutional methodologies normally take us. Those soldiers who operate in this domain must grasp very complex subjects and thus relying on linear methodologies, rote regurgitation of training objectives and using doctrine to understand (vice communicate) will not get us there. We must introduce at least our SOF soldiers to the concepts of the critical realist[i] philosophy and to the practice of forming multi-paradigmatic views. We must also firmly ground and continuously educate them in critical and creative thinking. These aren’t mechanized divisions we are attempting to outflank or terrorists we are killing in the human domain, these are very contextual-dependent groups of people whose values we are attempting to appreciate and either influence or employ to some effect. [ii] It is the difference between operating within the physically visible world and the socially non-visible one.[iii] To best enable the forces that are engaged in this socially non-visible world, or the missions SOF call Special Warfare,[iv] it is my contention that we must discard the philosophy the military normally uses and turn towards something Curtis White calls “the sublime” in his book The Middle Mind: less of a faith that science and data can unlock the puzzles of humanity and more of a reliance on art. [v] Art in this case refers to military art, but also to innovation and Mission Command as well the concepts of multi-framing, learning-in-action, and the afore-mentioned critical and creative thinking. The alternative, and the military’s current preferred philosophy, is the technically rational approach. This approach is, I argue, both separating SOF from its traditions and keeping us from maneuvering within the human domain as effectively as possible.

The Problem: Assuming a Technically Rational Approach within the Human Domain

Newsletter Dec 2013


Air Space Power Journal, November-December 2013, v. 27, no. 6 http://www.au.af.mil/au/audocs/ASPJ-Nov-Dec-2013.pdf

Combating Terrorism Exchange (CTX), November 2013, v. 3, no. 4 https://globalecco.org/documents/10180/507287/CTXVol3No4.pdf

The State of India's Cities and Towns
Jochen Mistelbacher & Prashant Kumar
10 December 2013


State of India’s Cities and Towns—A Book of Charts on the NCT Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Mizoram http://orfonline.org/cms/export/orfonline/modules/issuebrief/attachments/previewstate_1385811104715.pdf

Construction Finishing of Likely New Indian Centrifuge Facility at Rare Materials Plant http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/RMP_4_Dec_2013.pdf

India Should Rebalance Regional Focus http://idsa.in/system/files/PB_stobdanIndiareg.pdf.pdf

India and China—Exploring Partnership in Afghanistan http://idsa.in/system/files/PB_indiaafghanistan.pdf

India and Africa: Enhancing Mutual Engagement
2013Publisher: Pantagon Press
ISBN 978-81-8274-751-7
Price: Rs.795/- [Download Now]

Fourth YB Chavan Memorial Lecture
Maritime Security of India - Future Challenges delivered by Admiral (Retd.) Arun Prakash Click here for complete text [+]

Stability and Growth in South Asia

This book examines the forces and processes which have led to relative political stability or unleashed trends in that direction in some countries of South Asia. It also delves into the factors that have stimulated economic growth in some countries, and impeded economic growth in others. Eminent authors from the region examine how far the positive political and economic trends in the region are irreversible or lend themselves to internal convulsions or external influences. E-Book Available More [+]

November 30, 2013

In this third part of the Policy Paper series, P Stobdan argues that India should continue to remain engaged in Asia-Pacific for reasons not only confined to mercantile interest but also because it is an arena shaping the major powers behaviour. At the same, a regional rebalancing and attention to equally critical Central and West Asia will broaden India’s prospects for shaping the global order.

November 28, 2013

In this second-part of the Policy Paper series, P Stobdan suggests that in the recent Indian strategic discourse, commentators have been exulting the US ‘Asia Pivot’ and seriously hoped that the idea will offset China’s regional outreach, for it also appeared similar to India’s own ‘Look East’ policy, which to an extent enabled New Delhi to ruffle a few feathers in the East Asian region.

November 26, 2013

In a 4-part series of Policy Papers, P Stobdan analyses India's response to the global shifts and how India’s strategic perception seems to have altered dramatically in the recent years. What it essentially means is that embracing the cold-war perception or adopting any containment strategy is unlikely to be enduring in the longer run.

November 29, 2013

The Emperor of Japan and his wife are visiting India. 60-years ago they had laid the foundation stone of India International Centre. The visit will further strengthen India-Japan strategic partnership in the backdrop of major global and regional geopolitical shifts, particularly the rise of China; the US policy of ‘rebalancing’ and “pivot to Asia;” and maritime security challenges in the Indian and Pacific Oceans

The Role of Myanmar’s Military in Democratic Transition and Implications for India

Myanmar military’s ethos can be traced back to the country’s national struggle for freedom with its founding fathers being of socialist persuasion rather than professional soldiers (Burma Independence Army; founded by a group of nationalists known as Thirty Comrades).


Sources of Tension in Afghanistan & Pakistan: Perspectives from the Region in 2013: 3. India http://www.cidob.org/en/content/download/37219/583908/file/NOVEMBER_PERSPECTIVES+FROM+THE+REGION_INDIA.pdf

Islam, Jamhooriyat and Pakistan (Islam, Democracy and Pakistan) [in Urdu] http://san-pips.com/download.php?f=228.pdf

China’s Reactor Sale to Pakistan: The Known Unknowns http://www.idsa.in/issuebrief/ChinasReactorSaletoPakistan_gbalachandran_151113

Pakistan's Security Today and Tomorrow: Highlights from the Conference 22-23 January 2009, Ottawa https://www.csis.gc.ca/pblctns/cdmctrch/PAKISTAN_ENGLISH_REPORT_2013.pdf

Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS)

Conflict  Peace Studies, Spring 2013, v. 5, no. 1 http://san-pips.com/download.php?f=250.pdf

Pakistan's Illegal Nuclear Procurement Exposed in 1987 http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nukevault/ebb446/

Charting the Data for US Airstrikes in Pakistan, 2004 - 2013

Pakistan's New Generation of Terrorists 

November 15, 2013

The reported offer of China to sell 1000 MWe reactors to Pakistan has raised a number of issues. China applied for NSG membership in 2004 only after being satisfied that it can safeguard its nuclear commerce with Pakistan even after joining NSG. It must be clearly understood that China’s application for joining NSG was at the repeated appeals of NSG and not the other way around.


2013 Annual Report to Congress
November 20, 2013

Report PDFs: 

China and the Arctic: China's Interests and Participation in the Region http://www.cigionline.org/publications/2013/11/china-and-arctic-chinas-interests-and-participation-region


Stability and Growth in South Asia

Publisher: Pantagon Press
ISBN 978-81-8274-748-7
Price: Rs.995/- [Download Now]

Preventing Nuclear War in South Asia: Unprecedented Challenges, Unprecedented Solutions http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/pre

Iran, Afghanistan, and South Asia—Resolving Regional Sources of Instability http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/images/publications/IAS_Resolving_Regional_Sources_of_Instability_web.pdf

The Russian Pivot to Asia Pacific
Source Link
Baladas Ghoshal



France and India: Decoding the Strategic Partnership

Yves-Marie Rault

Peace Audit Nepal

The Failed States Index (FSI) Report: A Critique


Iran and The Gulf Military Balance II: The Nuclear and Missile Dimensions http://csis.org/files/publication/131207_gulf_military_balance.pdf

Sunni-Shia Relations After the Iraq War http://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/PB160.pdf
How to Think About the Middle East Before the “Arab Spring” – and After http://www.fpri.org/docs/Garfinkle_-_HI_-_ME_Before_and_After_Arab_Spring.pdf

Engaging the Muslim World: Public Diplomacy after 9/11 in the Arab Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan http://csis.org/files/publication/131011_Douglas_EngagingMuslimWorld_Web.pdf

The Other “Pivot to Asia” - The Shifting Strategic Importance of Gulf Petroleum http://csis.org/files/publication/131118_Other_Pivot_Asia.pdf

Inflection Point—Requirements for an Enduring Diplomatic Solution to the Iranian Nuclear Challenge http://www.cnas.org/sites/default/files/publications-pdf/CNAS_InflectionPoint_Kahl_0.pdf


Africa’s Information Revolution : Implications for Crime, Policing, and Citizen Security http://africacenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/ARP5-Africas-Information-Revolution1.pdf

What Is Next for Mali? The Roots of Conflict and Challenges to Stability http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?pubID=1185


Central Asia After 2014

Reforming the Police in Post-Soviet States: Georgia and Kyrgyzstan http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?pubID=1184

China vs. Central Asia. The achievements of the past two decades http://www.osw.waw.pl/sites/default/files/prace_45_cina_vs_asia_ang-net.pdf

The Radical Islamic Militants of Central Asia 


A Strong and Focused National Security Strategy 

Rebalancing the US Army Towards Asia 

The Future of America’s Strategic Nuclear Deterrent 

 Arctic Strategy 


The Cyberspace Operations Planner: Challenges to Education and Understanding of Offensive Cyberspace Operations

White paper: The Intelligence Community’s Role Within U.S. Cyber R&D

U.S. Governmental Information Operations and Strategic Communications: A Discredited Tool or User Failure? Implications for Future Conflict 

Future Technology Landscapes: Insights, Analysis and Implications for Defence: Case Study Documentation http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR478z1.html

Policy Forum on the Use of Big Data in Homeland Security

UAVs and Force: Current Debates and Future Trends in Technology, Policy and the Law 

Matters Mil

Military Review: November-December 2013 Issue Now Online
SWJ Blog Post | November 20, 

The complete edition as well as all articles are in pdf format. Complete issues may have large file sizes that may take some time to download. Individual articles can be accessed by clicking on the article title below.

Mission Command in the Regionally Aligned Division Headquarters by Brig. Gen. Wayne W. Grigsby Jr., U.S. Army; Col. Patrick Matlock, U.S. Army; Lt. Col. Christopher R. Norrie, U.S. Army; and Maj. Karen Radka, U.S. Army

1st Armored Division provides a force generation model for a regionally aligned headquarters based on a mission command philosophy and forward-focused mindset.

The Strategic Planning “Problem” by Maj. Gen. Gordon B. "Skip" Davis Jr., U.S. Army; Brig. Gen. Thomas C. Graves, U.S. Army; and Col. Christopher N. Prigge, U.S. Army

A group of senior officers call for further education of our officer corps to develop better collaboration, communication, and influence skills at the strategic level and critical and creative thinking skills in general.

Delivering the Command and General Staff Officer Course at the Operational Edge by Lt. Col. John A. Schatzel, U.S. Army, Retired, and Lt. Col. Wendell Stevens, U.S. Army, Retired

Professional military education is critical to developing leaders who run the Army and lead our soldiers in unified land operations. The Command and General Staff College educates officers serving throughout the world with its resident and nonresident courses.

Taking Ownership of Mission Command by Maj. Demetrios A. Ghikas, U.S. Army

An award winning author posits that mission command is the Army’s answer to the uncertainty, ambiguity, and fog of war and conflict. Leaders in every situation and every setting must practice mission command.

If we are to have leaders who truly practice mission command and can win the peace, our Army requires a fundamental reorientation, one that supports deep changes to Army culture, doctrine, training, personnel management, and education.

Leader Preparation to Support Rebuilding by Lt. Gen. Frederic J. (Rick) Brown, Ph.D., U.S. Army, Retired

To improve the effectiveness and efficiency of operating and generating forces, one accomplished author suggests teams of leaders using high performing leader team building and intensive collaboration across borders.

Fighting and Winning Like Women by Dr. Robert M. Hill

Success in the Army, or any military service, should not be determined by race, gender, sexual orientation, or even sexual identity but by one’s competence.

Commanders Intent and Concept of Operations by Maj. Richard Dempsey, U.S. Army, and Maj. Jonathan M. Chavous, U.S. Army

The author argues that the “expert” multi-paged concept of operations in electronic media used now could lead to a disjointed understanding of the concept of operations. He calls for a return to doctrinally complete mission orders.

Fighting sexual assault in the Army is in some ways like fighting an insurgency. Using the principles of COIN to identify possible predators, their territory, and their weapons will help stop sexual assaults.

The Electron Theory of Leadership: Enabling Senior Leaders to Really See Their Organizations by Maj. Gen. Richard Longo, U.S. Army, and Lt. Col. Joe Doty, Ph.D., U.S. Army, Retired

The authors offer five methods commanders can use to help assess their subordinate units without having to wonder if they are seeing the real deal or a “dog and pony show.”

A Role for Land Warfare Forces in Overcoming A2/AD by Col. Vincent Alcazar, U.S. Air Force, and Col. Thomas M. Lafleur, U.S. Army

Preparing for land warfare in the future begins today with an emphasis on future tactics, techniques, and procedures and associated concept of operations to maximize U.S. technologies in innovate ways.

REVIEW ESSAY - Captain Witold Pilecki by Daniel Paliwoda, Ph.D.

Witold Pilecki just about signs his own death warrant by allowing himself to be sent to Auschwitz; for that reason, one realizes immediately that Pilecki was a special man whose moral code is rare.

MANPADS Threat and International Efforts to Address It 

Joint Pub 2-0, Joint Intelligence, 22 October 2013 http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/new_pubs/jp2_0.pdf

Joint Pub 1-05, Religious Affairs in Joint Operations, 20 November 2013

Joint Pub 3-06, Joint Urban Operations, 20 November 2013

Educating the Force for Strategic Land Power

State Collapse, Insurgency, and Counterinsurgency: Lessons from Somalia 

From ‘Three Blocks’ to ‘Three Islands’: The Thin Line Between Police and Military Operations in Contested Maritime Spaces

The Network vs the BCT: Organizational Overmatch in Hybrid Strategies 

Russia & Iran: Strategic Alliance or Marriage of Convenience 

Security Of Cities—Ecology And Conflict On An Urbanizing Planet


The Politics of Plenty: Balancing Climate and Energy Security 

Beyond Crisis Management: A Practical Lifeline for Decision-makers in the Dark 

Poverty, Peace, and China: PKSOI and World Bank Perspectives 

The Shale Gas Revolution and its Impact on the GCC Economy