2 August 2014

A new template for India-Nepal ties

Published: August 2, 2014
Jayant Prasad

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will likely indicate that India stands ready to substantially augment its development partnership with Nepal without dictating its destination or determining its degree. His visit will set the tone for a significantly upgraded relationship

The Nepalese leadership have begrudged the spurning of their repeated invitations to visit Kathmandu by India’s previous Prime Ministers for over a decade-and-a-half. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, and the Joint Commission meeting — held after almost a quarter century — signals to them the beginning of a two-way political re-engagement between the two countries.

Indians and Nepalese share a common culture and terrain south of the Himalaya. Bound by languages and religions, marriage and mythology, the links of their civilisational contacts run through Lumbini to Bodh Gaya, Pashupatinath to Kashi Vishwanath, and Muktinath to Tirupati. At the people-to-people level, relations between India and Nepal are closer and more multifaceted than between India and any other country. Many partisans of Nepalese democracy also fought for India’s freedom, for which they were jailed by the British, including Matrika Koirala, B.P. Koirala, and Man Mohan Adhikari, who became Prime Ministers of Nepal.

Political evolution

Many Indians believe independent India never had foreign combat troops deployed on its soil. Nepalese troops were the exception. Aside from those recruited to India’s Gurkha Regiment, an outsized Nepalese Army brigade drawn from all its 18 regiments was loaned to India in 1948-49, when Indian troops were deployed in Kashmir and for the integration of Indian States. The commanding officer of this force, General Sharda Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, was the son of the then Prime Minister of Nepal, Maharaja Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana. Yuvraj Karan Singh’s marriage to Yasho Rajya Lakshmi, Sharda Shamsher’s daughter, was arranged during the General’s stay in India.

The open border is a ‘safety-valve’ for Nepal. Without compromising India’s security, the challenge is to turn it into a bridge, not a barrier

Cultural affinities and familial ties provide the comfort of familiarity, perhaps also an instinct for fraternity. But closeness begets complexities too, and dependence — for essential supplies, trade, transit, investments, and employment — does not engender goodwill, especially when relations are not handled with sensitivity and care.

Is The PLA Xi’s Next Target?

August 01, 2014

The military is anticipating Xi’s next anti-corruption move with loyalty and nationalism. 
The announcement of a formal investigation into former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang represents a watershed moment for China, not only for President Xi Jinping but also for the Chinese Communist Party, which by enshrining the rule of law as the rationale for Zhou’s demise has made itself the final arbiter of that law. As my colleague Shannon pointed out earlier, Xi is now likely to look for another target within a different faction of Chinese leadership in order to further solidify his political gains, and perhaps keep his adversaries off balance.

The military for one appears to have gotten the message loud and clear, at least according to its statements in the official Chinese press. However, it is also leaking information and making statements in the wake of the news about Zhou that could be intended to stoke nationalist support for itself at the expense of traditional regional rivals, without directly challenging Xi’s authority or his anti-corruption campaign. Such a tactic would certainly be helpful if the military leadership felt threatened, and would also be relatively low risk.

In response to Zhou’s downfall the military voiced its full support for the investigation, according to its newspaper the PLA Daily. It is certainly hoping that General Xu Caihou, the vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission brought under investigation for graft in early July, will be the last high-profile military target of Xi’s anti-corruption campaign. The paper said “Officers across the army support the probe, as it shows the resolution of the CPC Central Committee to operate with strict discipline and on the principle that all people are equal under the law and regulations,” and that there will be “no exceptions,” no matter who is involved. 

Also, the Ministry of National Defense on Thursday for the first time allowed foreign journalists from the AP, Reuters, Asahi Shimbun, ITAR-TASS and the Press Trust of India to attend its monthly press conference in an attempt to be more transparent. Speaking to reporters, the Defense Ministry spokesperson Geng Yansheng said ”We hope that attending this regular press conference can help you in reporting military issues in China and that you can help the world view China and its military in a more objective and truthful way.” However, he also took time to point out that the PLA’s soldiers supported the CPC’s investigation into XuCaihou.

Alongside the military’s acquiescence to the CPC’s anti-corruption campaign, it has not lost the opportunity to highlight progress in programs that would be highly popular with the nationalist faction of China’s population. On Friday the military appears to have tacitly acknowledged the existence of its Dongfeng-41 (DF-41) intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). It is an improvement over the DF-5A, with a range of 12,000 km that is capable of delivering multiple nuclear warheads to the continental U.S.

The military also announced the establishment of a joint air and naval command center in order to monitor the Chinese air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea. According to the online media outlet Ta Kung Pao based in Hong Kong, the command center is intended to monitor Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces activity, and could have up to 300 fighter aircraft under its authority.

The Chinese military is justified in its fear of further being targeted by Xi’s campaign, especially as the campaign appears to be picking up steam. While visiting a military base in Fujian province on Friday, Xi said he would continue to strike against military graft, and for troops “to remember where their priorities lie.” The loyalty of the rank and file of the PLA’s soldiers appeared to be his main goal, as he admonished soldiers to avoid the “four customs” of formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance. He also told them that “the party’s absolute leadership over the army should be unswervingly adhered to.”

China’s military leadership knows that the chances of being targeted again by Xi’s “rule of law” campaign are high, and are likely to remain so. Once an incredibly powerful political force, the military’s authority has eroded somewhat over the last two decades. With the downfall of Xu and now Zhou, the PLA leadership finds itself in increasingly uncertain territory. One of its remaining levels of influence is the ability to stoke public support with policies aimed at nationalist rivals like Japan and the U.S. While this is admittedly an unwieldy tool at the best of times, the PLA may feel the need to use it if many more within its leadership feel they are Xi’s next target. Xi for his part has been very shrewd so far, not making his move until he is sure he has completely isolated his target and has the necessary political support. As this game of cat and mouse plays out, Xi will have to be increasingly careful with a portion of the government that has a natural ability to defend itself.

A Two-Two as Army Chief



By Claude Arpi
01 Aug , 2014

Source Link

General Dalbir Singh Suhag, has yesterday taken over as the 26th Indian Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), following the retirement of General Bikram Singh. General Dalbir Singh Suhag is from the Gorkha Rifles.

Earlier in his career, he served as a Commandant (Inspector General) of the Special Frontier Forces (SFF), the Tibetan Army based in Chakrata, Uttarakhand.
The SSF is not directly under the Army, but operates under the Cabinet Secretariat.
The SSF is also knowm as ‘Establishment 22′, or simply the ‘Two-twos’, because its first Inspector General Maj. Gen. Sujan Singh Uban earlier in his career had commanded the 22 Mountain Brigade.
On the occasion of a ‘Two-two’ assuming the highest post in the Indian Army, I repost an article published 2 years ago in The Pioneer.

10 Ukrainian Paratroopers Killed in Ambush in the Eastern Ukraine

Separatists Kill 10 Troops in Attack in East Ukraine

Reuters,
August 1, 2014

KIEV — Pro-Russian separatists killed at least 10 Ukrainian paratroopers in an overnight ambush in the region of east Ukraine where a Malaysian airliner was brought down, government forces said on Friday. The rebels said they had “captured good trophies” and pushed back government forces around the town of Shakhtarsk, where Kiev said a paratrooper unit moving from one base to another had come under mortar and tank fire.

Shakhtarsk is close to the rolling fields where Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 came down on July 17, killing 298 people, and fighting has raged around it for several days as the Ukrainian army tries to quell the separatist rebellion. "Our troops were ambushed," Kiev’s "anti-terrorist operation" said in a Facebook statement. "Ten Ukrainian servicemen were killed."

In other violence, city authorities said five civilians has been killed and nine injured in the past 24 hours in Luhansk, one of the two last big rebel strongholds. Government forces have intensified their military offensive in mainly Russian-speaking east Ukraine since the airliner came down, forcing the rebels out of several other towns and pegging them back in Luhansk and Donetsk.

Luhansk, the smaller of the two cities, is now almost completely surrounded by government troops. It has been cut of from food supplies and left with no electricity or running water, residents say. Rebel commander Igor Girkin declared a state of siege in the rebel-held territory in and around Donetsk, saying this allowed his fighters to confiscate cars, construction materials, food, medical equipment and phones.

The United Nations said in a report this week that more than 1,100 people had been killed and nearly 3,500 wounded between mid-April and July 26. Kiev said its latest combat report that Russian aircraft had flown over east Ukrainian territory, the latest of several such accusations in the last few weeks, but Moscow has denied such reports.

The United States says the separatists probably shot down the Malaysian plane by mistake with Russian-made missile, but the rebels and Moscow deny the accusation and blame the crash on Kiev’s military campaign to quell the uprisin

On the Chinese Military’s New Map, What Borders?


By EDWARD WONG

JULY 31, 2014
http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/31/on-the-chinese-militarys-new-map-what-borders/?ref=world

Indian soldiers visiting the Buddhist monastery in Tawang, in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which some official Chinese maps have shown as part of China.Credit Shiho Fukada for The New York Times

In recent weeks, there has been chatter online about a new map of China that the People’s Liberation Army is issuing to its troops. It is the Chinese military’s first major revision of a physical map in 30 years, the P.L.A. has said. Official word of the new map first emerged when the P.L.A. announced the publication on its microblog this month. An article in People’s Liberation Army Daily, the military newspaper, said this new map was “more accurate” than the current ones and would be handed out to major units.

Officials said that the Lanzhou Military Command, in northwestern China, had completed the distribution of more than 15 million maps by July 9 and that troops from other units would also have the new maps in hand soon. Revision of the P.L.A.’s decades-old map began in early 2013. Wang Mingxiao, director of the Lanzhou Military Command’s survey information center, said in an official news report that the new map identified locations based on a geocentric coordinate system and had more accurate geographic information, which would allow soldiers to spend less time planning operations and would in theory improve strike accuracy, among other benefits.
But the real question for China’s neighbors is: Which borderlands does the map include? Photographs online show soldiers in uniform handling wrapped bundles of the maps, but there are no images of the map itself.
Do the nine dashes delineating China’s expansive claims to the South China Sea show up on the new map? Those dashes are based on a map drawn up by the Chinese government before the Communists ousted the ruling Kuomintang party in 1949. The dashes sometimes number up to 11, with the northernmost dash off the coast of Taiwan, the self­-governing island that China claims as its territory.

And what about the pieces of rock in the East China Sea known as the Senkakus to Japan and the Diaoyu to China, the subject of much acrimony between the two countries, which in turn makes it of growing concern to the Obama administration?
One foreign news organization, the Press Trust of India, noted in a July 18 article published by The Times of India and other Indian newspapers that Chinese state media had yet to print the military map. Yet the Press Trust said the new map “reportedly incorporated China’s claims over the disputed borders with India as well as South and East China Seas, which were hotly contested by many of China’s neighbors.” The article published by The Times of India did not provide any visual evidence of the new map.

WEST EYEING UKRAINE’S HUGE AGRIBUSINESS – ANALYSIS

http://www.eurasiareview.com/01082014-west-eyeing-ukraines-huge-agribusiness-analysis/


Ukraine countryside

AUGUST 1, 2014
By IDN

By J C Suresh

The way international financial institutions jumped in on the heels of the political turmoil in Ukraine and are rivalling to deregulate and throw open the country’s huge agricultural sector to foreign investors is described by a new report from the California-based Oakland Institute,Walking on the West Side: the World Bank and the IMF in the Ukraine Conflict.

The crisis in this Eastern European country, sprawling an area of 603,628 square kilometres (233,062 square miles), thus making it the largest country entirely within Europe, was precipitated by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s rejection of an Association agreement with the European Union in favour of a Russian deal. It was a major factor leading to his ouster in February 2014.

Soon after the change to a pro-EU government, the country’s swing to the West was buttressed with a USD 17 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and an additional USD 3.5 billion aid package from the World Bank, both of which require significant economic reforms and austerity measures that are expected to have disastrous impact on the country’s economy.
The report reveals how the aid packages, contingent on austerity reforms, will have a devastating impact on Ukrainians’ standard of living and increase poverty in the country. Reforms mandated by the EU-backed loan include agricultural deregulation that will benefit agribusiness corporations and natural resource and land policy shifts that facilitate foreign corporate takeover of enormous tracts of land. The EU Association Agreement also includes a clause requiring both parties to cooperate to extend the use of biotechnology.

“While the World Bank and IMF often disguise their activities in other countries under the objectives of development, the case of Ukraine makes it clear that this is just Orwellian double-speak. Their intent is blatant: to open up foreign markets to Western corporations. It’s telling that one of the key reforms enforced by the Bank is that the government must limit its own power by removing restrictions to competition as well as the role of state ‘control’ in economic activities,” said Frederic Mousseau, Policy Director of the Oakland Institute and co-author of the report.
“The high stakes around control of Ukraine’s vast agricultural sector, the world’s third largest exporter of corn and fifth largest exporter of wheat, constitute an oft-overlooked critical factor. In recent years, foreign corporations have acquired more than 1.6 million hectares of Ukrainian land,” according to Mousseau. An additional deal signed with China for 3 million hectares of farmland in September 2013 is in limbo, since it is unclear whether the freshly minted government and its new Western allies will allow it to go forward.

Walking on the West Side further exposes how the international financial institutions serve the interests of agribusiness corporations through deregulation of the food and agriculture sectors and policies favouring foreign land acquisitions. Ukraine is also one of the 10 pilot countries in the World Bank’s new Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture (BBA) project, a widely criticized ranking system that promotes agricultural policy reforms including the deregulation of seed and fertilizer markets.
“The Bank’s activities and its loan and reform programs in Ukraine seem to be working toward the expansion of large industrial holdings in Ukrainian agriculture owned by foreign entities,” said Mousseau.
Beyond agriculture, it is expected that reforms pitched as a means to improve the business climate and increase private investment in the country will have a devastating social impact, resulting in a collapse of the standard of living and dramatic increases in poverty.

The acceleration of structural adjustment led by the international institutions following the installation of a pro-West government is likely to further expand foreign acquisitions of agricultural land and extend the corporatization of agriculture in the country, says the report. It also expects the structural adjustment program to increase foreign control of the economy while increasing poverty and inequality in the country. The World Bank and the IMF, however, have failed to demonstrate how such programs will improve the lives of Ukrainian citizens and build a sustainable economic future.

An international campaign, Our Land Our Business, is working to end the World Bank’s Doing Business Rankings and BBA project, tools that are used widely today to pry open natural resources to further corporate interests.

CENTRAL ASIA CLASH MARS CHINA GAS PLAN – ANALYSIS

http://www.eurasiareview.com/01082014-central-asia-clash-mars-china-gas-plan-analysis/

AUGUST 1, 2014

By RFA

By Michael Lelyveld

A fresh outbreak of border violence in Central Asia has raised doubts about China’s plan to start building a gas pipeline through Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan this year. The deadly clash between border guards of the two countries on July 10 was a virtual replay of fighting in January, suggesting there has been little easing of tensions between the two neighbors in the past six months.

The latest incident in Kyrgyzstan’s Batken province erupted over attempts to connect a water pipeline to Tajikistan’s Vorukh enclave, an ethnic island to the south of the unsettled 970-kilometer (602-mile) bilateral border. Although accounts vary, Interfax reported that shooting broke out when Kyrgyz guards tried to stop some 30 Tajik workers from laying the line from the Karavshin River to the enclave village of Bedak across disputed territory.

The Kyrgyz State Border Service said that guards fired warning shots after the workers threw stones, but that nearby Tajik forces then also opened fire, leading to an exchange.
The fighting killed one Tajik civilian and wounded seven others, as well as a Tajik border guard, according to the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Kyrgyzstan charged that Tajik positions attacked twice, using mortars, grenade launchers, and artillery, but Tajikistan issued a denial. “It should be noted that the Tajik border guards did not fire a single shot,” a foreign ministry statement said.
Was conflict planned?

The eurasianet.org website noted that the violence took place three days after the breakdown of talks to settle the earlier conflict in January over construction of a road to bypass Vorukh. That project led to gun and mortar fire that wounded five border guards and a policeman on the Kyrgyz side and two border guards from Tajikistan. In the latest encounter, Kyrgyz officials cited alleged signs that the conflict was planned.

“They include the lightning-fast reaction of the Tajik government bodies to the incident, recurrent artillery attacks … and the attempt to persuade Kyrgyzstan that [it] is impossible to control civilians,” an unnamed high-ranking Kyrgyz security official told Interfax. “All this will inevitably lead to the protraction of the process of the national border delimitation and demarcation,” the official said.

On July 15, Tajik residents of the enclave attacked the car of a Kyrgyz military prosecutor sent to gather evidence for a case of attempted murder, according to Kyrgyzstan. On Monday, the two countries agreed to joint patrols in the conflict area, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported, citing the Kyrgyz border guard service. The two sides also agreed to avoid future outbreaks and investigate the recent incident jointly, according to the Kyrgyz service.
Pipeline at risk

The frictions are likely to raise risks for China’s plan to start work this year on a project to build a major gas pipeline through the two impoverished countries.
The “Line D” project would form the fourth strand of the Central Asian Gas Pipeline (CAGP) system, which China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) opened in 2009 to tap resources in Turkmenistan with a route through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.Uncertainty has surrounded Line D since reports of the plan for the alternate route emerged early last year.

China’s Ivy League Love Affair

By Thorsten Pattberg

Without investing in its own higher education, China will fail to slow its“brain drain” to Western universities. 
It is no secret that the Chinese are attracted to the crimson red of Harvard. Intelligence is drawn to elite universities like physical strength is to top sports teams. With substantial evidence from the social sciences that East Asians, on average, enjoy proportionately higher aptitude scores, elite universities have now come to entice outstanding Chinese applicants on an unprecedented scale.

Harvard is not alone. Whether it is the University of California at Berkeley, Yale University, or Cambridge University in the U.K.: those top schools brim with Chinese prodigies, relatives, princelings, or else engage in China-related research and cultural diplomacy. This is good for China’s elites, but there is a dark side too –brain drain.

The latest evidence comes from a $15 million donation to Harvard by a billionaire couple, Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, in order to establish a “SOHO China Scholarship.” This wasn’t entirely newsworthy because Chinese donations like this to Harvard are somewhat common. However this particular story sparked outrage (or perhaps a well-orchestrated publicity campaign) on Chinese social media.

As business people, Mr. Pan and Ms. Zhang probably expect some form of return on their “investment,” apart from the SOHO namesake and patronage; that could include getting one of their own into Harvard -a family member, a relative, a friend or even many friends. Most Chinese commentators would have little problem with that, as caring for one’s family and friends is an inherent component of the Chinese/Confucian tradition (even Xi Jinping, the country’s president, sent his daughter to Harvard). In fact, most critics would do the same if only they had the financial means. However, their main concern is this: Why are they not investing in China’s education?

Chinese students (together with other East-Asians such as Singaporeans, Japanese, and South Koreans) have (on average) superior mathematics, reading, and science skills. These are readily available facts. Even the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD)“Pisa Study,” confirms that much: Shanghai-China, Macao-China, Hong Kong-China, and Chinese Taipei ranked the best in the world in these subjects. Why not their universities?

Beijing, meanwhile, is pushing hard to reverse the brain drain and, by extension, the flow of yuan. Tsinghua University for example, has attracted a $300 million donation from the Schwarzman Group as part of an initiative to train “future world leaders.” Peking University in 2010 hired former Harvard Professor and Director of Harvard Yenching Institute, Tu Weiming, who was notorious for having “assisted” hundreds of Chinese scholars into Harvard, cultivating a vast, almost cult-like network of adulation, loyalty, and “guanxi”(connections). Not wanting to fall behind Tsinghua, Peking University has announced the establishment of its own “future world leaders” program -the Yenching Academy.

China needs and deserves its own Harvard (and Yale, Princeton, etc). It is entirely conceivable precisely because Chinese students have momentum and a competitive advantage (which currently spurs them into succeeding elsewhere in the world). But as long as the elites in China don’t believe in their civilization, and would rather invest their wealth in education elsewhere, nothing short of a miracle is needed to wake China from its deep, historical slumber.

Thorsten Pattberg, PhD (Peking University) is a German philosopher and cultural critic. He is the author of “The East-West Dichotomy,”“Shengren,”“Inside Peking University,” and numerous articles on Chinese-Western relations. He can be reached at: pattberg ‘at’ pku.edu.cn.

AFGHANISTAN, SIGAR, AND STATE-BUILDING: JUST SAY NO


Lauren Katzenberg
July 31, 2014
http://warontherocks.com/2014/07/afghanistan-sigar-and-state-building-just-say-no/


Anyone who has ever taken the time to read through one of Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction’s quarterly reports to Congress will certainly tell you that the experience is harrowing. The audits reveal wasted taxpayer dollars, acts of fraud and corruption by U.S. contracting companies and government employees, as well as massive, unfixable development failures. As someone who spent two years working in the development sector in Kabul, I feel compelled to read these reports. But when I do, I need a bottle of whisky on hand and a warm blanket for comfort.

SIGAR’s 24th quarterly report to Congress, released Wednesday, is no different than its predecessors. Some ‘highlights’ include $18.2 billion of examined projects and programs that demonstrate “poor planning, shoddy construction, mechanical failures, and inadequate oversight;” the Afghan National Army’s inability to account for some 465,000 U.S.-provided small arms; and a $661.3 million Afghan Mobile Strike Force Vehicles programthat may be in question due to a lack of spare parts and maintenance training.

Beyond concerns of an insurgency returning in full force, a drug trade too legit to quit, and the stability of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) is the question of self-sufficiency. Can the Afghan government sustain the reconstruction and development gains bought and paid for by the international aid community over the last decade?

Historically, few countries have received as much aid per capita as Afghanistan. International donors fund more than 60% of Afghanistan’s national budget, as well as reconstruction and development projects on top of that. This is a result of the U.S.-led decision to implement a policy of state-building following the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Assessments of the state of Afghanistan in 2001 portrayed the country as one of the poorest in the world, with the state apparatus in ruins. There were fears that Afghanistan would turn into a narco-mafia state due to the ever-growing illegal drug economy. And others felt guilty, perhaps, for abandoning Afghanistan after the defeat of the Soviets. Consequently, Afghanistan has experienced a gross influx of money and has become what Astri Suhrke refers to as a “rentier state … characterized by heavy reliance on income from foreign aid…rather than revenue from domestic production, trade, and services.” In the process of creating the modern trappings of a state, Western aid agencies established a central government, paid the salaries of the employees who worked in the ministries, and also picked up the bill for the training they received, the projects they implemented, and the foreign consultants they hired to provide advisory services. The same was done with the ANSF. The problem with this type of structure is that it creates an accountability scheme more accommodating to external donors than to domestic institutions. This was evident as far back as 2006, when

Did China Steal Iron Dome From Israel? Chinese hackers allegedly grabbed missile defense plans

https://medium.com/war-is-boring/did-china-steal-iron-dome-from-israel-a7e036aafb53

A cybersecurity firm reports that Chinese hackers have stolen technical data for the Iron Dome rocket-defense system from Israeli computers.

Maryland-based Cyber Engineering Services detected the cyber burglary, according to cybersecurity writer Brian Krebs.

“Between Oct. 10, 2011 and Aug. 13, 2012, attackers thought to be operating out of China hacked into the corporate networks of three top Israeli defense technology companies, including Elisra Group, Israel Aerospace Industries, and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems,” Krebs writes.

“By tapping into the secret communications infrastructure set up by the hackers, CyberESI determined that the attackers exfiltrated large amounts of data from the three companies,” he continues. “Most of the information was intellectual property pertaining to Arrow III missiles, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, ballistic rockets and other technical documents in the same fields of study.”

CyberESI believes the culprits were the “Comment Crew,” a hacking group sponsored by the Chinese military. Mandiant, a Virgina-based cybersecurity firm, has further identified this group as “the 2nd Bureau of the People’s Liberation Army General Staff Department’s 3rd Department, which is most commonly known by its Military Unit Cover Designator as Unit 61398.”

Unit 61398 has been so aggressive in stealing American secrets that the U.S. Justice Department indicted four alleged members last May. The FBI wanted poster shows two of the men wearing what appear to be Chinese military uniforms. In fact, the most recent thefts have victimized America as much as Israel. The Arrow is a joint Israeli-American missile defense system. U.S. defense contractors wrote many of the stolen documents.

Tiny Israel has an enormous cybersecurity industry and a deep pool of hackers and anti-hackers who learned their trade in the Israeli military. So if China can break into top-secret Israeli computers, they can break into America’s—and everybody else’s, too.

But what Beijing will do with the Iron Dome information is an open question. Iron Dome is narrowly optimized for intercepting Katyusha rockets before they land on cities. Shooting down U.S. stealth bombers or cruise missiles would seem to be a higher priority for China.


The Haqqani Threat to the US-Pakistan Détente

July 31, 2014

America and Pakistan have seen relations improve in recent months. Unfortunately, the Haqqani network could derail this. 

The Haqqani network — a family-run syndicate that happens to be one of South Asia’s most fearsome militant groups — has long been a source of tension for the volatile U.S.-Pakistan relationship. And it’s easy to understand why.
U.S. military officials often describe the Haqqani network as one of its biggest threats in Afghanistan. John Allen, who commanded U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan from July 2011 to February 2013, says the group wounded or killed more than 500 of his troops. It’s been blamed for an attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul. It held Bowe Bergdahl, the only U.S. POW in Afghanistan, in captivity. It has close associations with Al-Qaeda, and the State Department has formally designated it as a terrorist organization (this status does not apply to the Afghan Taliban, with which the Haqqani network is affiliated).

The Haqqani network also has links to Pakistan’s security establishment, which views the group as a strategic asset that limits the influence of archrival India in Afghanistan (it frequently assaults Indian targets in Afghanistan). In 2011, Mike Mullen, then the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, infamously described it as a“veritable arm” of Pakistan’s main intelligence agency. An angry Pakistan rejected the accusation and threatened to cut off ties with Washington.

Last year, unknown gunmen assassinated Nasiruddin Haqqani, one of the group’s top leaders. Tellingly, he was not gunned down in an isolated, mountainous, tribal-area redoubt — but rather as he strolled into a bakery in the suburbs of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital (Rawalpindi, the city that houses military headquarters, is nearby).

For years, Haqqani fighters enjoyed a sanctuary in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal agency. Washington (to the irritation of Islamabad) pressured Pakistan relentlessly to target this safe haven, but to no avail.

Then, in recent weeks, Pakistan changed course and launched a military offensive in North Waziristan. Islamabad insists that its offensive is targeting all militant groups, including the Haqqani network. Pakistani officials report that the offensive has driven the group into Afghanistan, and they are asking U.S. forces to go after it there. In effect, Pakistan wants the United States, and its Afghan allies, to serve as the anvil to Pakistan’s hammer.

This should all be music to Washington’s ears. Unfortunately, it is not. That’s because the offensive is happening several years too late, and because there’s little reason to believe Pakistan’s claims about targeting the Haqqani network are actually true. As a result, U.S.-Pakistan relations face a new crisis rooted in an old problem.

Had Pakistan’s North Waziristan operation been launched several years earlier, at the height of the U.S. military surge in Afghanistan, then U.S. forces would have been in a strong position to handle an influx of fighters from Pakistan. Yet today, U.S. forces are headed for the exits.

Afghan troops aren’t in much of a position to help either. They have their hands full with a resurgent Taliban, which is staging stepped-up assaults. These have produced offensives in Helmand and Kandahar provinces andactual takeovers of territory in areas outside the cities of Kabul and Jalalabad. Some might argue that Pakistan’s North Waziristan offensive, by unloading Haqqani network fighters into Afghanistan, is contributing to this increased unrest in Afghanistan. The Afghan government, for its part, has blamed the Haqqani network for two recent major attacks — a mass-casualty market bombing and an assault on Kabul’s airport.

In effect, at the very moment U.S. forces are seeking some semblance of a smooth withdrawal from Afghanistan, a Pakistani military offensive is flushing some of the most ruthless anti-Afghan militants into that nation amid an intensified insurgency.

And it could get even worse.

Many Pakistani Taliban (TTP) fighters are based in eastern Afghanistan. The TTP (which mainly attacks the Pakistani state) and Haqqani network may focus on different targets, but they each share the same hardline ideology and loyalty to Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar. This all suggests that Haqqani fighters could conceivably cooperate operationally with TTP (and Afghan Taliban) forces in Afghanistan. Incidentally, one of the TTP’s founding leaders, the late Baitullah Mehsud, was once a Haqqani network commander.

At the same time, there’s little reason to believe Pakistan’s security establishment truly wants to take on its long-time trusted asset. Why would it want to sever ties now, given the uncertainties of Afghanistan’s future amid the U.S. withdrawal, and given that reconciliation with India remains a distant dream?

There’s also little reason to believe Pakistan wants the Haqqani network to stay out of Pakistan. The latter derives leverage over the Haqqani network by hosting it on its soil. By denying it a sanctuary, Pakistan would lose this leverage — and risk having the organization turn on the Pakistani state. Consider that some Afghan Taliban members have expressed deep unhappiness about Pakistan, and that when Baitullah Mehsud was a Haqqani commander, the group launched several attacks on the Pakistani military.

Little wonder, then, that a range of sources — from U.S. officials to North Waziristan locals — believe the Haqqani network was tipped off about the offensive by the Pakistani military and fled in advance. Pakistan’s own ambassador to Washington admits that many Haqqani fighters left North Waziristan before the offensive (in his view, this is simply because the operation was pre-announced).

So, despite all the spin about taking definitive action against militants of all stripes, Pakistan may have more nefarious objectives in North Waziristan: Smash the sanctuaries of anti-state militants such as the TTP, but shield the Haqqani network by sending it to Afghanistan (and to other Pakistan tribal areas), where the group can exploit rising political instability (stemming from an ongoing election crisis) and aid an increasingly emboldened Afghan Taliban. Then, when the offensive in North Waziristan has ceased, the organization can return to its Pakistani sanctuary and resume its cross-border strikes on Afghanistan.

This all has troubling implications for U.S.-Pakistan relations. Washington can’t be happy that Pakistan is merely displacing, rather than destroying, the Haqqani network — and especially into Afghanistan at such a delicate time. If the Haqqani network returns to its North Waziristan sanctuary and resumes attacks on Afghanistan, threats will likely intensify on Capitol Hill to reduce military aid to Pakistan. After all, a recent U.S. defense spending bill calls for $300 million in military aid to be withheld from Pakistan if the country has not “significantly disrupted” the Haqqani network’s “safe haven and freedom of movement.”

Such warnings won’t be received well in Islamabad, where officials often (and justifiably) note that Pakistan’s military has lost scores of soldiers fighting militant groups in the tribal belt, and complain that U.S. forces have failed to disrupt Pakistani Taliban safe havens in Afghanistan, which are used to mount attacks on Pakistan. Indeed, some of the TTP’s most vicious and hardline leaders — including supreme leader Mullah Fazlullah, who orchestrated the brief takeover of the Swat region in 2009, and TTP Mohmand tribal agency chief Omar Khalid Khorasani, who earlier this year ordered the execution of 23 Pakistani soldiers held in captivity — are reportedlybased in Afghanistan.

The upshot? The current period of preternaturally placid U.S.-Pakistan relations could soon be shattered, thanks to the militant organization that so often bedevils them.

Michael Kugelman is the senior program associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. He can be reached at michael.kugelman@wilsoncenter.org or on Twitter @michaelkugelman.


Imam of China's largest mosque killed in Xinjiang

Mr Tahir's death in front of the Id Kah mosque came after clashes in Yarkant county, which is in the same prefecture
The imam of China's largest mosque - in the city of Kashgar in Xinjiang - has been killed in what appears to be a targeted assassination.
Jume Tahir, 74, was reportedly stabbed after he led early morning prayers at the Id Kah mosque on Wednesday.
His killing came two days after dozens of people were reportedly killed or injured in clashes with police in Yarkant county, in the same prefecture.

The reasons for his death remain unclear.

But the BBC's Damian Grammaticas in Beijing says Mr Tahir, who was from Xinjiang's mainly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority, was a vocal and public supporter of Chinese policies in the region.

Radio Free Asia quoted an unnamed shopowner near Id Kah as saying he saw a body lying in a pool of blood front of the mosque in the morning and police clearing a huge crowd that had gathered. He was told the body was that of Mr Tahir.
A hasty burial was conducted by the late afternoon and the funeral procession was heavily guarded by military and police, according to The Los Angeles Times .

Shortly after his death, police sealed off roads in and out of Kashgar and cut internet and text messaging links to other parts of China. Those restrictions have since been lifted.

Mr Tahir was appointed imam of the 600-year-old mosque by China's ruling Communist Party.
Some say he was deeply unpopular among many Uighurs who disliked the fact that he praised Communist Party policies while preaching in his mosque.
He had also echoed the official government line that blamed the rising level of violence in Xinjiang on Uighur separatists and extremists, says our correspondent.

The 600-year-old mosque is one of the most prominent landmarks in Kashgar city


Groups of soldiers have also been patrolling the streets of Kashgar
On Monday, a knife-wielding gang attacked a police station and government offices triggering clashes that killed "dozens" of Uighur and Han Chinese civilians, according to state media outlet Xinhua.

Nuclear Waste Management: Exploring Future Areas of India-Pakistan Cooperation

Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS)

July 30th, 2014

Emerging out of a recent workshop on Deterrence Stability in South Asia organised by the Stimson Center and Carnegie, I set about identifying some prospective confidence building measures in the field of nuclear cooperation between New Delhi and Islamabad. Owing to secrecy of their nuclear programmes and understandably so, there are extremely limited nuclear-related areas where India and Pakistan would be willing to cooperate. It is challenging, yet important to identify some areas where both India and Pakistan could collaborate to establish durable peace in the subcontinent and reduce the trust deficit in this sensitive field.

One possible area for cooperation that crossed my mind is nuclear waste management. Nuclear waste is produced by a number of pursuits in the different stages of nuclear fuel cycle (uranium mining, fuel fabrication, etc). The management of nuclear waste, which is highly radioactive, is challenging mainly because of its harmful effects on human beings and the environment. Nuclear operations generate radioactive waste which is classified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) into various categories, such as: (i) Exempt waste, (ii) Very short lived waste, (iii) Very low level waste, (iv) Low level waste, (v) Intermediate level waste, and (vi) High level waste.

The classifications are based on the levels of radioactivity and the nature of the material. These parameters also dictate the various methods through which the waste can be effectively managed or disposed of. While most countries have more or less successfully handled the low and intermediate level waste, the prime challenge lies in managing high-level radioactive waste (HLW). Among countries using nuclear power programmes, production of HLW can largely be attributed to nuclear reactors. There is a general consensus that HLW can be safely managed by ‘deep disposal in geological formations’, below 300 metres in suitable facilities. These facilities are termed, ‘geological repositories’. Grappling with the global challenge of HLW management, no country has to-date managed to set up a repository for high-level waste and spent fuel.

This challenge is currently being dealt by nations individually except in the case of the European Union, where there is greater regional collaboration. Though it would be impractical to emulate such collaboration in South Asia owing to the complicated regional dynamics, it is proposed to work towards some degree of collaboration among Indian and Pakistani scientific communities, even if minimal. This remains important especially because the safety of nuclear waste tends to have cross-border implications. Before dwelling further on the subject, it is worthwhile to have a look at current Indian and Pakistani nuclear waste management practices.

Given the secrecy surrounding India and Pakistan’s nuclear programmes, no official details are available on the amount of nuclear waste produced each year. There are only rough estimates from various sources, which are based on speculations and individual calculations. Despite the differences in their nuclear fuel cycle and perhaps even waste quantities, radioactive waste management is a common problem where Indian and Pakistani scientists can learn from each other and even collaborate to look at innovative ways of managing HLW.

Commentary: Pakistan’s Nasr/Hatf-IX Missile: Challenges for Indo-Pak Deterrence

by ISSSP

Strategic Analysis, Vol. 38, No. 4, July 2014
Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies

On November 5, 2013 Pakistan conducted its fourth test of the Hatf-IX (Nasr) short range battlefield ‘nuclear’ missile. To date there have been four flight tests of the missile system. After the first three tests (April 19, 2011, May 29, 2012 and February 11, 2013) Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) had put out identical press releases. These statements claimed that the missile had a range of 60km and carried ‘nuclear warheads (sic) of appropriate yield’. The ISPR statement following the fourth flight test of Nasr, a salvo firing of four missiles, was worded differently and did not repeat the claim that Nasr carried a nuclear warhead. Curiously, it referred to the missile’s nuclear capability in a roundabout sort of way. The statement claimed that the missile ‘contributes to the full spectrum deterrence against threats in view of evolving scenarios’.

This then begets three questions. Firstly, what is Pakistan trying to signal by way of the Nasr and what is the significance of the change in wording of the ISPR statement following the fourth Nasr test flight? Secondly, can Pakistan actually fit a nuclear warhead into the Nasr? Thirdly, how credible would Nasr be in Indian eyes and how will it impact the Indo-Pak deterrence relationship.

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dedicating the formidable Indian warship

By Radhakrishna Rao 
July 30, 2014 

Turning India into an Arms Exporter

While dedicating the formidable Indian warship INS Virkamaditya, the retrofitted Russian aircraft carrier to the nation at an impressive ceremony held in June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong pitch for an all round self-reliance in the defence production sector with a view to meet the growing and diverse needs of the Indian defence forces. Rightly and appropriately, Modi wondered why should India, which has many impressive technological strides to its credit, import defence equipment at first place. Elaborating on the need for self-sufficiency in defence production, Modi drove home the point:”We need to give immense importance to latest technology. We must be self sufficient. Why can’t we send our defence equipment to other countries?” The logic of Modi was that India which has already sent probes to Moon and Mars cannot forever depend on imported defence hardware. Moreover, the need for self reliance in defence production projected in the election manifesto of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the largest and dominant partner of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, can by no means be taken lightly by Modi. There is no denying the fact that Modi is all for giving a big push to the creation of a vibrant Indian military industrial complex that would not only meet the needs of Indian defence forces but also turn India into a major exporter of arms and ammunition.

Taking a cue from the spirited advocacy by Modi of the need to position India as a leading arms exporter - from being a major importer now - Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) has made it clear that there is a huge potential for the export of missiles, fighter aircraft and related defence hardware from India. However, DRDO chief Avinash Chander said that the country would need to adopt a new “policy mechanism” to facilitate the large scale exports of defence equipment. ”We have a list of equipment that includes the Light Combat Aircraft(LCA) Tejas, Akash air defence system, Prahar class of missiles and Indo Russian supersonic cruise missile BrahMos along with a number of systems that can be exported” stated Chander. According to Chander, the biggest advantage that India could derive in the defence export market is the “competitive and affordable price tag” of Indian defence and aerospace products.

All said and done, attaining the goal of indigenous defence production on a large enough scale to meet the demands of Indian defence forces would be a complex and time consuming process. For India would need to overcome the sixty years legacy of “lost opportunities and shocking neglect’ to build a self reliant defence production base. What’s more, most of the Indian origin defence equipment continues to feature a large number of imported components and sub-systems. And for long, defence production in India has been synonymous with the units of state owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) numbering forty one and nine defence public sector undertakings with private sector playing a very marginal role in the entire exercise. Not surprisingly then, two third of India’s defence hardware requirement is met through imports and India had also notched up the not so pleasant distinction of being the largest arms importer.

The on-going consultation to hike the level of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in India’s defence sector happens to be a major initiative of Modi government to expand the scope and sweep of defence production in India. In this context, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is batting for 100% FDI in case of the investing foreign partner willing to make available state of the art technology and 74% in case of the transfer of technology that is not cutting edge. But then a section of the Indian industry advocates the need for capping the FDI in defence sector at 49%. But there is also a view that 49% FDI may not be alluring for global companies to invest in India. It would only sustain the continuation of the status quo situation.

formidable Indian warship


While dedicating the formidable Indian warship INS Virkamaditya, the retrofitted Russian aircraft carrier to the nation at an impressive ceremony held in June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong pitch for an all round self-reliance in the defence production sector with a view to meet the growing and diverse needs of the Indian defence forces. Rightly and appropriately, Modi wondered why should India, which has many impressive technological strides to its credit, import defence equipment at first place. Elaborating on the need for self-sufficiency in defence production, Modi drove home the point:”We need to give immense importance to latest technology. We must be self sufficient. Why can’t we send our defence equipment to other countries?” The logic of Modi was that India which has already sent probes to Moon and Mars cannot forever depend on imported defence hardware. Moreover, the need for self reliance in defence production projected in the election manifesto of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the largest and dominant partner of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, can by no means be taken lightly by Modi. There is no denying the fact that Modi is all for giving a big push to the creation of a vibrant Indian military industrial complex that would not only meet the needs of Indian defence forces but also turn India into a major exporter of arms and ammunition.

Taking a cue from the spirited advocacy by Modi of the need to position India as a leading arms exporter - from being a major importer now - Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) has made it clear that there is a huge potential for the export of missiles, fighter aircraft and related defence hardware from India. However, DRDO chief Avinash Chander said that the country would need to adopt a new “policy mechanism” to facilitate the large scale exports of defence equipment. ”We have a list of equipment that includes the Light Combat Aircraft(LCA) Tejas, Akash air defence system, Prahar class of missiles and Indo Russian supersonic cruise missile BrahMos along with a number of systems that can be exported” stated Chander. According to Chander, the biggest advantage that India could derive in the defence export market is the “competitive and affordable price tag” of Indian defence and aerospace products.

All said and done, attaining the goal of indigenous defence production on a large enough scale to meet the demands of Indian defence forces would be a complex and time consuming process. For India would need to overcome the sixty years legacy of “lost opportunities and shocking neglect’ to build a self reliant defence production base. What’s more, most of the Indian origin defence equipment continues to feature a large number of imported components and sub-systems. And for long, defence production in India has been synonymous with the units of state owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) numbering forty one and nine defence public sector undertakings with private sector playing a very marginal role in the entire exercise. Not surprisingly then, two third of India’s defence hardware requirement is met through imports and India had also notched up the not so pleasant distinction of being the largest arms importer.