Securing national security

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Securing national security

Brajesh Mishra

As China and Pakistan have begun to coordinate their activities to keep India preoccupied in South Asia and deny it any worthwhile role in global strategic affairs it’s time we increase our defence capability so that we can defend ourselves against both the countries

For the first time after the Chinese aggression of 1962, India is confronted with a very critical national security situation. Since 1962, India has had to contend with hostile forces on two fronts, north and west. (East Pakistan and later Bangladesh posed problems, but they were manageable.) Fortunately for us, the northern and western fronts were not active simultaneously until today. But now China and Pakistan have begun to coordinate their activities to keep India preoccupied in South Asia and deny it any worthwhile role in global strategic affairs.

China’s aggressive posture on the Line of Actual Control and its vituperative pronouncements about a repeat of the 1962 aggression, threat to disintegrate India, scoffing at any suggestion that India could compete with China, the change in Beijing’s position on Jammu & Kashmir demonstrated by the issue of Chinese visas on separate sheets of paper and not on Indian passports, the recent declaration that China will continue to extend military support to Pakistan (while the US has also extended immense financial and military aid to Pakistan since October 2001) coupled with Pakistan’s violation of the 2003 cease-fire agreement along the Line of Control, increase of infiltration across the LoC, building of bunkers across the international border and, of course, the never-ending aiding and abetting of terrorism not only in Jammu & Kashmir but also in other parts of India, clearly indicate that the two fronts are active simultaneously. Unlike in 1971 when we were assured of support through the Indo-Soviet Friendship Treaty, today we have no one to help us even against Pakistan, much less China.

The second critical factor is that terrorism emanating from external sources is linked to terrorism which is termed as home-grown. This is not only on account of support and incitement from Pakistan. For years terrorists in our North-East have received material support and training from China as also rebel groups in Myanmar. Further, the recent charge-sheet filed against Kobad Ghandy alleges that Maoists in India have been running a campaign of terror in collusion with like-minded groups in a host of countries, including Nepal. Thus, it would be unwise to ignore the link between the external threat to India and the fast growing internal terrorism and, indeed, insurgencies.

The Union Government needs to devote itself with determination and urgency to three tasks. First, it has to substantially increase our defence capability so that we can defend ourselves against both China and Pakistan at the same time. For this purpose, there is an immediate need to acquire modern defence equipment for all the three services — Army, Air Force and Navy. The political leadership has to overcome the burden of the Bofors scandal in order to buy military equipment based on India’s strategic requirements and considerations, and not on the basis of our antiquated tendering process which is more of a barrier than a facilitator.

At the same time, the three services have to modernise their acquisition procedures. The current procedures not only lead to inordinate delays but also to corruption at each stage of the testing or trial of military equipment under consideration. Let me be brutally frank. Today, the police force has lost the respect of the people, leading to criminals having an upper hand over the law and order machinery. If our defence services do not immediately reform themselves, their personnel will suffer the same fate and rapidly lose respect among the people of India. How can any self-respecting service issue sub-standard clothing and footwear to our jawans guarding India’s frontier in Siachen?

The second task relates to the reorganisation of the intelligence system to conform to the needs of a country threatened not only by external forces but by determined and well-organised domestic terrorist and insurgent groups as well. This means very close coordination among the intelligence agencies as also with the Ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Home Affairs and Finance. Further, apart from acquisition of modern gadgetry including spy satellites, the gathering of human intelligence needs to be improved and intensified.

The third task is the reform of the police force in the States. To begin with, the recruitment, transfer and promotions in the police force must be completely free of political interference. The training of police officers and personnel has to be geared to contemporary needs. The most competent policemen should be posted at the street (mohalla) level. This is the most effective method of being aware of planning of crimes and hatching of terrorist conspiracies.

My final words relate to the conduct of our politicians. Our petty electoral politics is very often against India’s national interest. Political parties resort to campaigns and slogans and give tickets to criminals regardless of the adverse impact of such activities on the unity of India. There is no need for me to give instances of such pettiness practiced for the sole purpose of getting votes in local as well as State and national elections. There are examples galore. Ultimately, it will lead to the end of democracy and to the disintegration of India. But are our politicians bothered about the impending catastrophe? Not at all!
 

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India's Strategic Culture and Security Challenges

General V. P. Malik

Delivering the 30th Bhimsen Sachar Memorial Lecture for 2009 in New Delhi, the former Chief of
the Army Staff highlights the flaws in India's strategic thinking and stresses the need for a more
focused and clearly defined vision for the future
.

Introduction
Soon after the terrorists' attack on AkshardhamTemple, the editorial in India Today stated, “As a nation of forgetting and forgiving, ever ready to bleed and wail, India is unique.” This quote continues to haunt me because since then, we have had many terrorist attacks on our political, economic, educational and cultural establishments; more importantly, on our innocent citizens whose security is the primary responsibility of the state. Why are we such a unique nation, 'of forgetting and forgiving, ever ready to bleed and wail?' Why are we so passive and reactive in our security, foreign relations, and other related policies? What is our problem that so often leads us to strategic in-decisions, or inactions, and makes our future not more, but less insecure? Perhaps, it has something to do with our strategic culture. Strategic culture has been defined as the 'ability of the people and the society to generate power; and to have the social will and ability for a full and effective use of that power'. Let us look at India's strategic culture through our history. India was a powerful and rich
nation during the Maurya dynasty (305 BC) and Gupta dynasty (400-600 AD). Indian scholars and seers went to several countries in Asia--on land and by sea--for trade and spreading the message of spirituality. We were a strong nation, with strong economy and a glorious culture. Friendly Asian countries feted our people and honored them. When the King of Thailand inaugurated the new Bangkok Airport called 'Suvarnabhumi', I believe he told an Indian journalist, “That is the footprint of your ancestors, a legacy of your forefathers who spread out and impressed other people, with the power and the strength of knowledge and character.”
Next time, India became a powerful nation was when the Mughals from Central Asia conquered India (1526-1761 AD) and then got absorbed here. They spread their power and Indo-Mughal culture in the whole of India and in Afghanistan. The Mughals were followed by the British who ruled us for the next 200 years or so. They used our resources to become rich; and even to fight World Wars I and II. These outsiders were able to conquer and rule us because Indian society had lost the ability to generate power, and the will and the ability to make use of that power. We did not think strategically, or consider ourselves as a nation. We were a house divided, fighting among ourselves. Also, because we had acquired, and accepted, an image of being an accommodative and a forgiving society, full of piety and ahimsa: one, which believed more in God-given destiny than making our own destiny. Out of spirituality, pacifism and nonviolence, many of our 20th century political leaders conjured up the idea of a morally superior India,professing peace and harmony, in a world where nations indulge in cut-throat competition for their national interests. We talked of Vasudeva Kudumbakam, when India itself could not live like a family. In foreign relations, our leaders professed, and
practiced, morally superior value-based politics, but which does not reflect the international realism.One cannot blame those leaders altogether because during centuries of slavery and colonialism, the Indian
leadership had forgotten all about Chanakya's Arthshastra. The British never permitted Indian political leaders and civil servants to deal with strategic issues. Strategic thinking, planning and organizational affairs of the armed forces were kept away from public scrutiny. We gained Independence after a long struggle, but without fighting the British.We tackled the British non-violently, although the Hindus and Muslims of the subcontinent killed each other in lakhs.Many Indians blame Gandhiji's strategy of nonviolence for our 'passive' and 'inactive' strategic culture. That is not correct. Gandhiji functioned at
two levels. He was a hard realist. He adopted a proactive,non-violence strategy against the British because at that time we did not, and could not, possess the force of arms to fight them. In September 1947, he said, “If there was no other way of securing justice from Pakistan, if Pakistan persistently refused
to see its proven error and continued to minimize it,war would be the only alternative left to the Government.” He maintained that violence was better than
cowardice. He gave his blessings to Brigadier L. P. Sen and his troops when they were flown to Kashmir to fight Pakistani raiders and soldiers in October 1947.In matters of national security, Gandhiji was conscious of the compulsions and complexities of international power play. And for that reason, he was against India taking the issue of Kashmir, even as a complainant, to the UN: a strategic error for which we continue to repent till date. Despite Gandhiji's realism, strategic thinking was missing; with one exception of the integration of over 600 states within the Indian union which included the
use of military in Hyderabad, Junagadh. Tragically, several successive events approaching the UN Security Council on the J & K issue when we were winning that war, granting 'suzerainty' to China over Tibet in the 1950s without a quid pro quo (like the Indo-Pakistan dispute over J & K), provocative forward deployment policy on the Sino-Indian border without military preparedness in 1962, return of the strategically important Haji Pir Pass to Pakistan after
the 1965 war, return of over 90,000 prisoners after the 1971 war without making Pakistan agree to a permanent solution of J & K and dithering for 24 years between testing of a nuclear device in 1974 and of the nuclear weapons in 1998 reflect on our inexperience and neglect of a strategic mindset.
In 1999, we prepared a draft nuclear doctrine but introduced a clause of No First Use: We shall not use our weapons till the enemy bombs us! In 2002, we
kept the armed forces deployed on the border for 10 months. But we were not clear as to what we wished to achieve from that.Our political parties keep criticizing each other daily over important national security policies. But they will not sit together to work out a consensus on any long-term national security and national interest policies. Long term strategic thinking and the sociopolitical will and determination to set things right, I submit, continues to delude us.
Our weakness in strategic culture stems from our inability to learn from our history. There is too much of political infighting, too less of political consensus.
Age-old weaknesses in our attitude to national security and interests are finding their echo in the lack of decision-making or wrong decision-making. We
remain internalized, fixing each other rather than fixing the outsiders.Let me go on to some major security challenges that we face today..............

Contd 8 page pdf flie in link
 
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22 Feb 2010 - Keynote Address -Nirupama Rao, Foreign Secretary, India

Address by Foreign Secretary at the 3rd MEA-IISS Seminar
22 February 2010, London
“Perspectives on Foreign Policy for a 21st Century India”

Mr. Adam Ward, Director of Studies,
Distinguished Participants

I am delighted to be here today to open the MEA-IISS Seminar and to speak to such an august gathering of diplomats, scholars and experts. The MEA-IISS Foreign Policy Dialogue has, from modest beginnings, now become a dynamic platform, facilitating wide-ranging exchanges between scholars and experts from India and the UK.

Given the rather broad canvas of the topic that I have been asked to speak on, I have structured my presentation along the following lines. First, a delineation of our foreign policy priorities, and how our approach is shaped by a globalizing world. Thereafter, I shall focus on the three issues – climate change, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and terrorism - which form part of this seminar today. I will conclude with a few remarks on India’s neighbourhood.

Our Republic is sixty years young this year. And, our foreign policy also has a trajectory that covers almost the same period. As the country has grown, so also our foreign policy has evolved and adjusted to the growing demands and challenges posed by rapid economic growth, the situation in our neighbourhood, the realization of our interdependence and integration into global markets, and our consciousness of what India stands for in a changing and often turbulent world as a pluralistic democratic country that has created a successful standard for managing diversity. As far as the last aspect is concerned, some call it the power of the Indian example, of a big country that symbolizes the universal values of inclusiveness, tolerance, and peaceful coexistence. This self image is not new; in fact, from the very early years of the founding of our Republic, there has been awareness that our ability to manage diversity and respect pluralism would as some scholars have noted, be “a source of (India’s) legitimacy in the international system”.

It is a foreign policy truism that our aim is to secure an enabling environment to achieve the overriding domestic goal of all round, socially inclusive development. The corollary to this is that a free and democratic India is a source of stability and a force for moderation in the region. India accounts for more than 70% of the population and more than 80% of the GDP of South Asia. We want to widen our development choices. We have a keen sense of our potential to be a great power by virtue of our population, our resources and our strategic location. A fundamental goal of India’s foreign policy is to create an external environment that promotes the fulfillment of our economic growth targets and ambitions. And, these include three dimensions – capital inflows, access to technology and innovation, as well as the promotion of a free, fair and open world trading system that recognizes the development imperatives of a country like India. This requires a peaceful and stable neighbourhood and external environment, a balanced relationship with the major powers and a durable and equitable multilateral global order.

We close the first decade of this century with the realization that the intersection, and the overlap, between the national and the global is an undeniable reality. Consequently, the challenges before us – be it sustaining economic growth rates, putting in place poverty alleviation strategies, addressing the challenge of climate change, energy security or global security issues, in particular the threat posed by international terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, etc – all require collaborative approaches.

That we live in an increasingly inter-dependent world was clearly demonstrated as never before during the global economic and financial crisis of the last year and more. The global financial downturn has seen negative rates of growth, a rising tide of unemployment which is yet to be quelled, rising trends of protectionism in the developed world, particularly, and a welcome introspection about the need to reform global financial institutions and systems of financial regulation and governance. That we are in a period of transition where the rapidly resurgent economies outside the traditional circles of global economic dominance are setting a new pace and direction in regional and international growth and development is an absolute truth.

At the global level, India has worked with our international partners to address the complex challenges to revive the global economy. The 2008 global economic and financial crisis triggered the further evolution of the G20, of which India is a key constituent. At the Pittsburgh Summit, the G-20 was designated as the premier forum for international economic cooperation. We see the G-20 process as a move towards a more representative mechanism to manage global economic and financial issues. The Group has taken some positive steps in this direction, for instance by committing a shift in IMF quota share to dynamic emerging markets and developing countries. Simultaneously, the new global realities require that we revisit and reorganize existing governance models which were put in place over six decades ago. In this regard, a dynamic global political and security order requires the urgent reform of the UN Security Council as well. We see our case for permanent membership of the Security Council as valid and legitimate.

India’s growth in the four years preceding the onset of the global financial crisis was around 9%. In 2008, with the advent of the global financial crisis, India’s growth slowed down to 6.7%. Forecasts for the current year are for a growth rate of 7.75%. Today, India has emerged as the third largest economy in Asia. It is a trillion dollar economy and has joined the ranks of the top ten economies of the world. In a knowledge- and technology-driven world, India has demonstrated certain unique strengths – our IT exports for the current year are poised to touch the $50 billion figure; the December 2009 index of industrial production surged month-on-month by a record 16.8%. Cumulative industrial growth is pegged at around 9%. The most noticeable feature of India’s economic growth is that it is driven primarily by domestic demand.

Yet, we also need to acknowledge that while average growth of around 7% over the past few years has resulted in material difference for India this has not been enough. To abolish poverty in India and to meet our development needs, we need to keep our economy growing at 8-10% every year for the next 20 years. As the literacy levels of our largely young population go up, we will have to ensure that their employment needs are also met which means that we require a rapidly expanding economy and the infrastructural growth of our cities and manufacturing sectors, so that we can reap the advantage of this demographic dividend for our economic growth. This also means that nation building or socio-economic transformation in India would continue to be primary concern of our foreign policy and this is accordingly reflected in our positions on issues such as global trade and climate change.

I will now turn to the three specific issues that are a part of your deliberations. In doing so, I do not in any way wish to influence or set the tone for your discussions. Instead, I will merely share India’s perspective on these issues.

Climate change

Climate change is one of the most important global challenges facing us. For India, it is not merely an environmental issue, but is intrinsically linked with the growth prospects and developmental aspirations of our people. Its impact on the pace of our development is a very clear and continuing concern.

Our developmental imperatives project a general trend of growth in energy consumption in India. We expect that fossil fuels will remain an important element of our commercial energy mix. The emerging paradigm of global action on climate change must, therefore, acknowledge every human’s claim to global carbon space and take account of our differential capacities. Despite 17% of the global population, our own GHG emissions today are currently only 4% of the global total. Even with 8-9% growth per annum, our energy use has been growing at less than 4% per annum. We are concerned that the developed countries tend towards ignoring, implicitly, the huge adaptation challenge that we face with climate change. Today we spend 2% to 2.5% of our GDP on meeting adaptation needs. There is need for stable and predictable financing from the developed countries, and this we believe should not rely on market mechanisms but, rather, on assessed contributions. There is also need for a global mechanism whereby climate friendly technologies can be disseminated to the developing countries.

As a country vulnerable to and already suffering from the impacts of climate change, India has an important stake in the success of the on-going multilateral negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. We are aware of our responsibilities as citizens of the globe and have participated in the negotiations in a constructive manner. It is in this spirit that we conveyed our voluntary mitigation obligations to the UNFCCC in January this year. We were of course disappointed that an agreed programme of action mandated by the Bali Roadmap could not be achieved at Copenhagen. The Copenhagen Accord was perhaps the best that could be managed under the circumstances. It is a political document that can serve the purpose of contributing to the negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol and on Long Term Cooperation. It can complement these core international agreements but cannot be a substitute for them. Our collective effort should now be to bring the significant points of convergence reflected in the Accord into the larger multilateral process under the UNFCCC in order to ensure a balanced, comprehensive and above all, an equitable outcome, at the Mexico Conference by end-2010.

Nationally, we have adopted an ambitious Action Plan on Climate Change, which is not merely mitigation oriented, but is located within a larger perspective of sustainable development. Prime Minister has set up a high level Council on Climate Change to coordinate national action for assessment, adaptation and mitigation of climate change. Our announcement of the voluntary domestic target of reducing the energy intensity of our GDP growth, excluding emissions from the Agricultural sector, by 20-25% by 2020 in comparison to the level achieved in 2005 reflects India’s seriousness in addressing the issue of climate change with commitment and focus, even as it seeks to meet the challenges of economic and social development and poverty eradication.

Till date, the global energy market has been susceptible to non-market considerations which give energy issues an unpredictable and strategic edge. We believe that these vulnerabilities are best addressed through a participatory global energy model and by pursuing a truly open, transparent, competitive and globally integrated energy market. The reality as we know is quite the reverse. Therefore, we visualise that, as a developing country, an emissions reduction strategy to be comprehensive has to embrace both conservation and efficiency. With a large and rising demand for energy, we assess nuclear technologies to be a viable long-term solution in helping us correct the skew in our energy mix. The underlying determinant in this calculus is the environmental dimension and the associated costs of large-scale deployment of traditional carbon fuels, particularly coal. In this regard, nuclear power generation, despite its high entry level costs, provides a way out, particularly in relation to the wider issues of global warming and climate change.

Nuclear disarmament & non-proliferation

I am aware that concerns are voiced over the possible proliferation dimension in the use of nuclear energy. This should, however, not deter us from pursuing the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. India is fully cognizant of the safety and security implications arising from the expansion of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. We must instead work together with our partners to help reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation.

The challenges of nuclear terrorism and nuclear security have to be addressed. We have been affected by clandestine nuclear proliferation in our neighbourhood. We are naturally concerned about the possibility of nuclear terrorism. We have, therefore, taken the lead at the UN General Assembly on an effective law-based international response including on WMD terrorism. India has joined the Russia-U.S. led Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. We believe that the Nuclear Security Summit in April 2010 hosted by President Obama will be an important milestone in our efforts to build international cooperation to prevent nuclear terrorism.

The constructive and forward-looking approach that was adopted towards India in September 2008 by the NSG has enabled full international civil nuclear cooperation with India as also our nuclear energy cooperation agreements with major partners including the United States, Russia, France and the UK. These constitute not only a long overdue recognition of India’s standing as a country with advanced nuclear technology and responsible behaviour but have also opened up significant opportunities for technical collaboration. I believe that this change would also serve as an important step towards strengthening international partnerships to ensure that advanced nuclear technologies are only utilized for peaceful purposes.

You are well aware of India’s long-standing commitment to global, non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament. As early as 1988, our then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi presented one of the most comprehensive proposals to achieve a nuclear weapon free world to the UN General Assembly. In 2006, India tabled a Working Paper on nuclear disarmament to the UNGA. We feel encouraged by some recent positive steps. President Obama’s administration has signaled US willingness to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in its nuclear strategy and to work towards a nuclear weapon free world. The renewed debate underway on this issue harmonizes with our long held positions.

We have identified some initiatives that I believe could be explored further as building blocks of a new global, verifiable nuclear disarmament framework. These include: a global agreement on ‘no-first-use’ of nuclear-weapons and non-use against non-nuclear weapon states; measures to reduce nuclear danger through de-alerting, reducing salience of nuclear weapons in security doctrines and preventing unintentional or accidental use; a Nuclear Weapons Convention prohibiting development, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons and on their destruction etc..

We hope that we can achieve progress in the Conference on Disarmament. We will support the emerging consensus in the CD to adopt a programme of work. Last year, we supported the work plan including commencement of negotiations on the multilateral FMCT. On this latter issue, which we see as an important non-proliferation measure, India has had a consistent position – we are willing to negotiate a multilateral, non-discriminatory, effectively and internationally verifiable FMCT.

Terrorism

Terrorism poses an existential threat to the civilized world. It is a pivotal security challenge for India and in our neighbourhood. Terrorists have sought to undermine our sovereignty, security and economic progress, aided and abetted by forces beyond our borders. Our embassy in Kabul has faced vicious suicide bomb attacks twice, in 2008 and 2009. The Mumbai attacks of November 2008 and the more recent outrage in Pune, have once again demonstrated the barbaric face of terrorism. Terror groups implacably opposed to India continue to recruit, train and plot attacks from safe havens across our borders.

Open democratic societies such as India face particular challenges in combating the threat of terrorism. The United Kingdom is also familiar with this debate. We are acting nationally to address this through legal, institutional and administrative measures. We have recently amended the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 to reinforce the legal and punitive provisions, including financing aspects of terrorism. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been established as a federal body for investigation and prosecution in respect of terrorist acts with all-India jurisdiction. Regional hubs have been created for the National Security Guards. The National Multi Agency Centre (MAC) has been strengthened and made functional round the clock.

At the same time, it is clear that the threat from terrorism cannot be dealt with through national efforts alone. Global outreach and linkages among terror networks are now quite evident and they are becoming more active. The global nature of the threat has been recognized widely. Global efforts to tackle the problem also need to be intensified. Terrorism needs to be countered collectively and expeditiously. It is time that the international community works towards early adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that was tabled at the UN over a decade ago in 1996. We must act jointly and with determination to meet the challenges posed by terrorism and to defend the values of pluralism, peaceful co-existence and the rule of law.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me turn to our neighbourhood. From India’s perspective, the goal of ushering in a peaceful, stable and prosperous neighbourhood is predicated on enabling each of our neighbors to pursue the shared objective of the development of our peoples. We do not see this as a zero sum game but as a cooperative endeavor, requiring collaboration rather than confrontation, so as to enable each of our neighbours to grow. We do not see this as a compulsion but as a natural choice voluntarily made; a corollary of the inter-dependent world we live in. We believe that our strengths place us in a unique position to actively support the socio- economic development in our region.

The greatest threat to peace and stability in our region emanates from the shelter terrorists find in the border of Afghanistan-Pakistan and in Pakistan itself. The recent international approaches to Afghanistan, in particular the London Conference last month, are focusing on security and reintegration, development, governance and regional and international cooperation. The issue of reintegration should be tackled with prudence, the benefit of hindsight, foresight and caution. We believe that any integration process in Afghanistan should be Afghan-led, and should include only those who abjure violence, give up armed struggle and terrorism and are willing to abide by the values of democracy, pluralism and human rights as enshrined in the Afghan Constitution.

For the Afghan Government to take greater ownership of security, it is imperative that Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are properly trained and equipped. Similarly, in order to stengthen governance and institution-building, priority should be accorded to building adequate capacity to deliver on developmental objectives. It is self-evident that for this process to be enduring, Afghan ownership should go hand in hand with Afghan leadership.

Afghanistan is centrally placed to emerge as a trade, transportation and energy hub connecting Central and South Asia. The international community must work together to realize this potential. Growing economic interdependence would complement efforts to promote peace and prosperity in the region.

India is an important neighbour of Afghanistan and we share undeniably close ties that have endured through the centuries into present times. Our focus there is on development activity with the aim to build indigenous Afghan capacities and institutions. This will enable an effective state system to improve the delivery of goods and services to Afghan people. Our assistance, now over US$ 1.3 billion, is spread over a large number of provinces in Afghanistan. In addition to several small and medium development projects, India has built the Zaranj-Delaram road and the power transmission line from Pul-e-Khumri to Kabul. We are also constructing Afghanistan's new Parliament building, a symbol of our common commitment to pluralism and democracy. At the recent London Conference, we have announced new initiatives in the agriculture sector and in institutional capacity building.

Our relationship with Pakistan is complex. Out of our desire for peaceful and good-neighbourly relations with Pakistan, we have repeatedly taken initiatives in the past to improve the relationship. You are aware that the dark forces of terrorism sought to erase the good that stemmed from such well-intentioned initiatives. We are now making another attempt of dialogue with Pakistan. However, calls of jihad, hostility and aggression continue to be made openly against India. This reflects the real and tangible difficulties that we face in dealing with Pakistan. If the process of normalization that we desire with Pakistan, is to be sustained and taken forward, effective action against such groups by the Government of Pakistan is an absolute must.

Under pressure and faced with the threat of terrorism in its own country, Pakistan has initiated some steps to fight this scourge. But these steps are selective. Distinctions between Taliban, Al Qaeda and terrorist outfits such as LeT are now meaningless, since they are now in effect fused both operationally and ideologically. We have consistently maintained that Pakistan should bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai terrorist attack to justice expeditiously and in a transparent manner. It should act decisively to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism on its territory.

As I said previously, India is making another sincere attempt to initiate dialogue with Pakistan. I have invited my counterpart, the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan to Delhi for discussions later this week. We hope we can build, in a graduated manner, better communication and a serious and responsive dialogue to address issues of concern between our two countries.

With Sri Lanka our political relations are close, trade and investment have increased exponentially, and there is broad-based engagement across all sectors of bilateral cooperation. We view the conclusion of the military operations against the LTTE as providing an opportunity to finally achieve a lasting political settlement acceptable to all communities, including the Tamils, within a united Sri Lanka.

Our relations with Bangladesh have acquired further substance and scope in recent months, particularly after the very successful visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in January this year. Our security related cooperation has developed positively as also our cooperation in infrastructural development in Bangladesh, for which we have announced a US $ 1 billion concessional Line of Credit.

It is a universally held truth that India’s economic growth has a positive impact on our region. Today, with sustained high economic growth rates over the past decade, India is in a better position to offer a significant stake to our neighbours in our own prosperity and growth. We have made unilateral gestures and extended economic concessions such as the facility of duty free access to Indian market for imports from Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. We have put forward proposals multilaterally within the framework of the SAARC or the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation where we have assumed asymmetric responsibilities.

Turning to our extended neighbourhood, it is evident that with the rapid rise of China and India, the global and regional situation is being re-defined. There is much that is said about China’s rise and its implications for India. There is both competition and collaboration in the dynamic equilibrium of our relationship with China. Both our countries have always thought in civilizational time-frames. Even as we are discussing the unresolved boundary question, we have ensured that there is peace and tranquility in our border areas. China has emerged as India’s largest trading partner. We are consulting each other on global issues such as multilateral trade negotiations, climate change, and in the G-20, etc.

In the decade ahead, India will have to, as one writer noted recently, provide itself with “the widest possible field of vision” when it comes to China. This will entail not only a multi-dimensional approach to developing relations with China but also creating our menu of strategic options to ensure that we are able to protect and promote our interests effectively in our region.

Key elements in the India-China relationship like imbalances in bilateral trade, the unresolved boundary question, our dialogue on water resources with regard to the trans-border rivers like the Brahmaputra and the Sutlej point to the complex and evolving nature of our dialogue. The rapid growth of our economies has engendered a search for resources by both countries in third countries and regions across the globe. In some cases we have developed patterns of collaboration with the Chinese, in others, we have been in competition. This is the reality of the relationship. In our own region, which remains geo-politically unstable, China has an enduring strategic relationship with Pakistan, and a growing presence in other neighbouring countries. We are conscious of these leverages that China has developed in our region and realize fully that our relations with China cannot be uni-dimensional, or seen through a narrow prism. Our own relations with our South Asian neighbours acquire crucial importance in this scenario. Our economic strength and increased commitment to the economic development of our neighbourhood in South Asia, sustained dialogue at the leadership level, security-related dialogue especially as it relates to better border management, cooperation in health, education and environment-related sectors, and creating the infrastructure for better intra-regional connectivity and transportation, together with the attraction of India’s soft power are all factors that can be, and are being, mobilized in this context.

With Japan, we are developing the foundations of “strategic global partnership” with a strong economic and strategic content. Recent years have seen a qualitative shift in relations with defence dialogue and security cooperation emerging as important aspects of our relations. Our relations with the United States are in a new and transformative phase, with convergences in foreign policy priorities, and shared approaches to some of the most complex regional and global challenges of our times – from countering terrorism to working together for energy security, mitigating the impact of climate change to maritime security, nuclear security and safeguarding the global commons to name a few areas. With Russia, our strategic partnership has been continuously strengthened, and our multi-faceted relations span a number of sectors including defence, nuclear energy, space research, science and technology and hydrocarbons. Our ties with France have been further enhanced through regular summit-level meetings and the triad of cooperation in the civil nuclear, defence and space sectors. The India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) and the Russia-India-China (RIC) cooperation forums have also helped us engage more closely with these countries in forging ties of dialogue and cooperation on economic and development-related issues.

India’s engagement with the ASEAN has grown manifold over the past decade and half and is set to get a fillip with the conclusion of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement.

Myanmar is an ASEAN member country with which we share a border of more than 1640 kms. We have advocated engagement with Myanmar since it is a close neighbour of ours. It is important for India to ensure a peaceful periphery with Myanmar. We strongly believe that any political reform process in Myanmar should be peaceful and not cause instability within that country or on our borders with it. We have urged the Government of Myanmar to take forward the process of national reconciliation and political reform and broad-base it to include all sections of society, including the more than 18 ethnic groups in the country.

On the security architecture for the region, there is a need to evolve a balanced, open and inclusive framework for Asian countries and major non-Asian players to interact and cooperate to address traditional and non-traditional security challenges. The ASEAN Regional Forum has provided a useful model for such cooperation based on dialogue and consensus in diverse areas such as counter terrorism, trans-national crimes, maritime security, disaster relief, pandemics and nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. India is also a member of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA). We have also partnered with the international community in deploying an Indian naval presence for anti-piracy escort operations to ensure maritime security in the Gulf of Aden.

Before I finish, let me say a few words about our relations with the UK. The UK is an important interlocutor for us in the bilateral, EU, G8 and global contexts and our multi-faceted bilateral relationship has intensified specially since its upgradation to strategic partnership in 2004. Our engagement is most wide-ranging including high-level visits, parliamentary and official-level exchanges, business interaction and cultural interchanges. President Pratibha Patil was on a State visit to the UK from 27-29 October 2009. There have been regular exchanges of visits at the Prime Minister-level. Institutional linkages have continued through regular FOCs, JWG and India-UK Round Table. Our trade and investment partnerships are both-ways and expanding rapidly. India is the second largest source of students to UK with about 31,000 students. Science & technology is a focus area for our two countries. On 11 February 2010, we signed a Joint Declaration on civil nuclear cooperation which will give a new dimension to our already multi-dimensional and vibrant ties.

Once again I want to say how delighted I am to be with you this morning and to be given the privilege to be a part of your deliberations. I have no doubt that the MEA-IISS relationship will scale greater heights in times to come which is a tribute to your vision and long-term perspective about the need for the world to engage India more closely, to forge understandings, and to promote more inclusive dialogue with key stakeholders on both sides. I wish the deliberations of the seminar success.
 

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Shifting Geopolitics Realigns Indian Relations

NEW DELHI - India has shifted back into a closer relationship with Russia as New Delhi perceives a growing threat from China while the U.S. Obama administration has focused on engaging traditional foe Pakistan to aid its Afghanistan campaign, defense analysts said.

While New Delhi signed a $2.1 billion contract with the United States to purchase six P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft in January 2009, India and Russia closed the year by signing an agreement on nuclear cooperation and resolving the long-standing Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier dispute. India agreed to pay $1.2 billion above 2004's contracted price of $800 million for the ship.

The countries also finalized the joint production of a fifth-generation combat jet for $10 billion, and the Indian Navy has decided to buy additional MiG-29K aircraft from Russia worth about $1.2 billion.

India and Russia signed a nuclear cooperation agreement in December 2009 that offers India better terms than the Indo-U.S. nuclear cooperation agreement, which has yet to become operational, Indian officials said.

The Russians have offered a lifetime supply of fuel for reactors it would build in India and to transfer nuclear energy technology. India and the United States still have not concluded a crucial pact on reprocessing spent fuel, the primary hindrance to implementing a civilian nuclear cooperation deal signed in 2008, the officials said.

With India viewing the possibility of a war with China as ever more plausible, the govern-ment needs to buy weapons and equipment from various sources, including Western sources, said Zach Mathews, retired Indian Navy commodore and defense analyst. But the country also relies on easily acquiring advanced weaponry from Russia, where there are few political hurdles, he said.

Indian defense planners, meanwhile, are preparing a military doctrine that envisions fighting China and Pakistan at the same time.

China is already making its presence felt in the Indian Ocean region, where it could come into conflict with Indian maritime interests, an Indian Navy official said. China has established a military base in the Coco islands, leased from neighboring Myanmar; is helping build the Gwadar Pasni port in Pakistan; has established good relations with several African states and has some leverage with Iran, the official added.

China's feverish military modernization is the most destabilizing factor for Indian national security, the official said.

The annual Indian Defence Ministry report of 2009-10 describes what it views as China's growing threat to the region: "China's stated objectives, in their White Paper of National Defence in 2008, of developing strategic missile and space-based assets and of rapidly enhancing its blue-water navy to conduct operations in distant waters, as well as the systematic upgrading of infrastructure, reconnaissance and surveillance, quick response and operational capabilities in the border areas, will have an effect on the overall military environment in the neighborhood of India."

PREPARING FOR CHINA
India has begun improving its infrastructure and road system along its border with China, a senior Indian Army official said. Special troops are being trained to deploy along the Chinese border, and tenders have been floated to buy ultralight 155mm guns along with a variety of helicopters and light combat tanks.

The Air Force has procured C-130J aircraft from the United States to speed deployment of troops, and efforts are being made to improve surveillance and search assets, including through UAVs.

India and China fought a brief battle in 1962 over a border territory issue. The border between India and China is currently defined by a 4,056-kilometer Line of Actual Control (LAC), which is neither marked on the ground nor on mutually acceptable maps. Efforts since the mid-1980s to have a recognized LAC have made little headway.

The dispute involves the longest contested boundary in the world; both nations claim the same 92,000 square kilometers of territory.

India and Japan have also upgraded their defense relations and in December 2009 established a long-term framework to review defense ties on a regular basis. Maritime security dialogue between the two nations has been taking place for some time.

Indo-Japanese strategic ties are part of an effort to counter China's growing influence in the area, said Mahindra Singh, retired Indian Army major general and defense analyst. The dependence of Japan and India on oil imports from the Arabian Gulf is another major driver behind their growing relationship, Singh said.

India and Bangladesh also signed three security-related deals during the Jan. 11-14 visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to New Delhi. The pacts relate to treaties on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, mutual transfer of convicted prisoners, and cooperation in the fight against international terrorism, organized crime and illegal drug trafficking.

India is concerned that Bangladesh may drift toward China. There have been reports that China has access to Bangladesh ports and may try to locate a military base there, Singh added.

PROCUREMENT DELAYS
The United Progressive Alliance government, which came to power for the second term in May 2009, hiked the defense budget by 34 percent to $28.9 billion for the current financial year, which ends March 31, but a cumbersome Defence Ministry bureaucracy still slows procurement. The result is that not a single 155mm artillery gun has been procured since 1986 because of a cautious political process that has led to several foreign bidders being blacklisted on corruption charges.

The Indian Army desperately needs 155mm/52-caliber guns, a senior Army official said.

India is preparing for possible conflict with China and Pakistan, but New Delhi cannot afford to overreact on a border issue with China, Singh said.

"Both China and India cannot afford to have a war in the near future, as their economic growth path would be severely derailed," Mathews said. ■

E-mail: [email protected].
 

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TIME TO WALK THE TALK

Pakistan continues to deceive India’s foreign and security establishments
Brijesh D. Jayal

Follow the script
There was never any doubt that sooner rather than later, terrorists would strike again. It is also known that there are terrorist organizations allergic to any improvement in Indo-Pak relations. These would have been factored into the government’s decision to reverse its earlier stand and invite Pakistan for secretary- level talks. Yet, when the inevitable terror strike does take place, the government finds itself in a classical dilemma: damned if you talk to Pakistan and damned if you don’t.

To a nation that does not think and plan strategically, the latest dilemma is an inevitable consequence and certainly not the last. In the 1990s, George K. Tanham of Rand Corporation, in a published study called Indian Strategic Thought: An Interpretive Essay, had concluded that Indian elites “show little evidence of having thought coherently and systematically about national strategy”.

Historically, on issues relating to foreign policy and national security, statecraft has been missing in our governance. During the first war in Kashmir, our forces saved the Kashmir Valley from the invaders, but were ordered to halt their advance when the invaders were on the run. We ignored the larger security implications when the Chinese annexed Tibet. We termed our commanders alarmist when they raised warnings about the Chinese threat prior to China’s aggression in 1962. We chose to repatriate 93,000 Pakistani prisoners of war without having Pakistan sign a clause — that was drafted — to convert the Line of Control into the international border. We have closed our eyes to massive infiltration from Bangladesh. We patronized the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which then turned on our soldiers, killing over 1,200 of them. Even our response to the audacious Kargil misadventure was cautious and apologetic.

In more recent times, the January 2004 joint statement by A.B. Vajpayee and Pervez Musharraf was carefully negotiated in spite of Pakistan’s reservations, and Pakistan committed itself to stop cross-border violence and to ensure that no part of the territory under its control, including Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, shall be used for terrorism. This was in return for a sustained dialogue between the two countries. Inexplicably, in 2005, the joint statement by Manmohan Singh and Musharraf accepted that terrorism will not be allowed to thwart the ‘peace process’, thus giving Pakistan the licence to continue with its policy of terror even while supporting dialogue. In Havana, we even co-opted Pakistan as a fellow- sufferer from terrorism and in Sharm el-Sheikh, we accepted the inclusion of Baluchistan as a joint issue. If all this is part of a strategic plan, the people of India deserve to be told so: otherwise, to them, these are flip-flops.

Not surprisingly, India was duly rewarded for its supine policy with a military-style commando attack on Mumbai, an attack that could only have been planned and executed with the Pakistan army’s backing. We paid with over 170 lives, including many foreign ones, and with egg on our Gandhian face. The best that a miffed India, with the fourth largest military in the world, could do was to stop any further dialogue with Pakistan until the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack were brought to book.

Unlike India, Pakistan plays to a script and it has used the past 15 months to let India drift back to its soft ways. Under pressure from the United States of America to play a more active role in the AfPak region, it has pleaded its inability because of threats on the Indian border. It knows only too well that the US and its allies in Afghanistan need its support, and it is extracting every ounce from them at India’s cost.

When India suddenly has a change of heart and invites Pakistan for talks, not only are the people of India taken by surprise, but there are whispers that India is acting under pressure from the US. Faced with a proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir and repeated terrorist attacks across India, the people are being led to believe that appeasement and dialogue are the only options left with us. ‘War is not an option’ has become the soft mantra.

Certainly our use of soft power to help development in Afghanistan is a wise move that will pay dividends in the long term. But India’s reluctance to contribute to elements of hard power to prevent the Talibanization of Afghanistan has resulted in India being completely sidelined in the evolving international dialogue on Afghanistan. For the present Pakistan is laughing, although it remains to be seen for how long.

None of this casts a particularly bright light on the abilities of India’s national security and foreign policy institutions to further our own national security and strategic interests. Pakistan, on the other hand, persists with its policy of ‘bleeding India through a thousand cuts’ while being in denial. Its international friends and allies have accepted this duplicity, partly because of their own interests and partly because it did not directly hurt them. Until 9/11 happened.

Today, engaged as they are militarily in Afghanistan, the US and its allies are facing the same duplicity that India has for decades. The US continues to pump aid into Pakistan, knowing full well that Pakistan is going soft on the Taliban. Pakistan continues to be selective in engaging terrorist organizations and persists in its use of terror as an instrument of State policy towards India. Both sides know the duplicitous game being played on the AfPak and regional geo-political chessboard, and both are planning future moves. India remains a hapless bystander, uninvited to the chess table and merely bearing the consequences.

The Pakistan army has held sway over the country for six decades or more. Every important functionary of the US, from the secretary of state down, while making pro forma calls on the president and prime minister, ultimately knocks on General Kayani’s door. Today, the army is deeply involved in both politics and commerce in that country. Its intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, is a State within a State, and the various terrorist groups and the Taliban are all its creations and are dubbed as strategic assets. The stakes for it as an institution are too great to let go of its unfettered power and pelf. It is in the Pakistan army’s interests, therefore, to keep the bogey of threat from India alive. India should be in no doubt that if Kashmir and other issues were to be settled, new ones will erupt.

Under General Zia’s patronage, elements of religion and hate were introduced in the Pakistan army and the government school curriculum. Today, there is a whole generation of children from government schools in Pakistan that has been brought up on a diet of ‘Hindu India’ planning for the downfall of Islam and the destruction of Pakistan. Add to these, products of the madrasas who are bred on even deeper fundamentalist and hate ideologies. The army itself is far more radicalized. So don’t be surprised to see crowds of thousands cheering speeches of venom against India, delivered from a stage adorned by terrorist leaders. These are by no means the innocuous rent-a-crowd types that our political parties are used to; they are genuinely baying for Indian blood.

From the Lahore peace process to Kargil, and from Havana to Mumbai, Pakistan continues to deceive the mighty Indian foreign and security establishments — not to mention its allies in the war on terror. Rather than work to a strategic plan, we are back to knee-jerk reactions shunning institution-driven foreign and security policies. A non- institutionalized approach is more in keeping with dictatorships and not befitting the largest democracy in the world. Worse, it is a recipe for disaster in a highly unstable region where major international interests are directly in contact with regional ones. This leaves the hapless people of India confused. Terrorists strike at will, the government continues with its flip-flops without taking them into confidence, the Parliament is disinterested and political parties use any opportunity to score brownie points.

This writer is by no means a hawk. Yet, for a nation with the fourth largest military in the world to be bullied by a failing state like Pakistan makes one wonder what has happened to the Chanakyas of today. It is time for India to get real and face the incontrovertible fact that unless the Pakistan army changes its anti-India mindset, things will only get worse for Pakistan and India. This is the bottom line. Talk we must. But there must be a strategy and script. Since the US and Pakistan both profess to be engaged in the war on terror, and India is a victim, let there be tripartite talks between the US, India and Pakistan. The sole agenda will be the elimination of terror from the region and internationally, and let each put their money where their mouth is. For once, we will be walking the talk rather than endlessly talking about talks.
 

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Key elements in the India-China relationship like imbalances in bilateral trade, the unresolved boundary question, our dialogue on water resources with regard to the trans-border rivers like the Brahmaputra and the Sutlej point to the complex and evolving nature of our dialogue. The rapid growth of our economies has engendered a search for resources by both countries in third countries and regions across the globe. In some cases we have developed patterns of collaboration with the Chinese, in others, we have been in competition. This is the reality of the relationship. In our own region, which remains geo-politically unstable, China has an enduring strategic relationship with Pakistan, and a growing presence in other neighbouring countries. We are conscious of these leverages that China has developed in our region and realize fully that our relations with China cannot be uni-dimensional, or seen through a narrow prism.
It seems those at the helm of Indian gvnt are far more sober than...
 

ajtr

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seems so.something like where there is Indian interest converges with Chinese they cooperate for example climate change summit at Copenhagen and trade. where ever interest diverges GOI do take tough stand like on arunachal pradesh and HH Dalai Lama's visit to tawang.
 
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ajtr

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8 degrees of separation

A terrorist attack in Pune greeted India’s announcement of resumption of talks with Pakistan. And no sooner had the foreign secretary-level talks in New Delhi concluded than a bomb attack killed a number of Indians, including three army majors, in Afghanistan, the new front in the Pakistan-orchestrated jihad against India. These strikes have ended the 14-month lull in terror attacks against Indian targets, underscoring the wages of talking to an implacable adversary.

There are at least eight reasons to be concerned by the renewed talks. The first is the abrupt U-turn in Indian policy, which Pakistan correctly has viewed as a major diplomatic climb down by India, emboldening its military and intelligence. A second reason is that the shift in the Indian position occurred without the government so much as offering a reasoned explanation to the public for the switch. Indeed, the shift occurred at a time when, as the PM has admitted, the level of cross-border infiltration by terrorists is increasing.

A third reason is that Indian overtures beget only more terrorism. Without undermining India’s presence in Afghanistan, Pakistan cannot regain its political and military influence there once US president Barack Obama’s “surge, bribe and run” strategy reaches its logical end. India’s role to strengthen the secular and democratic sectors of Afghan society, backed by $1.4-billion investment, threatens Pakistan’s use of extremist forces to achieve political ends in Afghanistan. The Pune and Kabul attacks prove that the terrorist elements, far from being autonomous, are very much under the control of the Pakistani military establishment, which is able to use them at will.

The fourth reason is that the Indian decision to resume talks
seemed designed to aid America’s Af-Pak strategy. The publicly acknowledged US strategy to reconcile with the Pakistan-backed Afghan Taliban has only increased US reliance on the Pakistani military and intelligence. After persuading India to agree to resume talks with Islamabad, the US launched the Marjah offensive as a show of force and got Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to assist in the “capture” of several Afghan Taliban leaders. These stage-managed arrests were part of the plans to squeeze the Afghan Taliban first so as to negotiate from a position of strength.

A fifth reason is that instead of applying direct leverage against Pakistan, India is depending on the US to lean on Islamabad. India has been loath to use economic and security levers against Pakistan. Its decision to resume talks with Islamabad shows that it also is reluctant to employ the diplomatic card. Yet Indian reliance on the US carries high risk. After all, American policy in southern Asia is being driven by narrow, politically expedient considerations, as illustrated by the manner in which the Obama administration is propping up Pakistan through generous aid and lethal-arms transfers. As US ex-senator Larry Pressler has warned, “When the US leaves Afghanistan, India will have a Pakistan ‘on steroids’ next door and a Taliban state to deal with in Afghanistan.”

The sixth reason is that the Indian government has sought to pull the wool over the eyes of the Indian public by claiming that the resumed dialogue process is centred on terrorism when in reality it is about the usual issues, including Kashmir. Nothing better illustrates this than the fact that New Delhi bent backwards to arrange a meeting between the visiting Pakistani foreign secretary and Hurriyat leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani. In fact, the Pakistani foreign secretary came to NewDelhi for two sets of dialogue: One with the Indian government, and the other with Geelani and his fellow Hurriyat leaders.

The seventh reason is that New Delhi is engaging not the actors that wield real power in Pakistan — the military establishment — but a civilian government that is neither responsible for the terror attacks against India nor is in a position to stop them. Yet, New Delhi has begun a “graduated” process of talks with the Pakistani government, effectively giving the Pakistani military a carte blanche to continue to wage its war by terror. With external affairs Minister SM Krishna telling Parliament that the foreign secretary-level talks were an “encouraging step” towards restoring full discourse, New Delhi is headed toward resuming the composite-dialogue process before long, to Washington’s delight.

The eighth and final reason is that such talks only reinforce the India-Pakistan pairing when the need is for India to de-hyphenate itself from the quasi-failed, terror-exporting Pakistan, which is a global crucible of extremism and fundamentalism. More than Washington it is NewDelhi’s unimaginative diplomacy that is responsible for the continued India-Pakistan hyphenation internationally.
 

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Indian Threat Assessment

K.Subrahmanyam
There are clear indications of Pakistan projecting a radical change in respect of its policies towards the five Jehadi entities listed in President Obama’s Pak-Af strategy, in his West Point speech on 1st December, 2009. Al Qaeda, Afghan Taliban, Pakistani
Taliban, Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and the Haqqani network had all been cited as the extremist enemies, which are to be disrupted, dismantled and defeated. Pakistan had earlier initiated military action against the Pakistani Taliban which had challenged the
Pakistani state.Commenting on this operation and about the perceived difference in Pakistan’s attitude towards other Jehadis, Admiral Dennis Blair, the US Director of National Intelligence in his Annual Threat Assessment statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee on 2nd February, 2010 said “Islamabad's conviction that militant groups are an important part of its strategic arsenal to counter India's military and economic advantages will continue to limit Pakistan's incentive to pursue an across-the-board effort against extremism…….… Islamabad has maintained relationships with other Taliban-associated groups that support and conduct operations against US and ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) forces in Afghanistan,….It has continued to provide support to its militant proxies, such as Haqqani Taliban, Gul Bahadur group, and Commander Nazir group…..The Al Qaeda, Afghan Taliban, and Pakistani militant safe haven in Quetta, will continue to enable the Afghan insurgents and Al Qaeda to plan operations, direct propaganda, recruiting and training activities, and fundraising activities with relative impunity."
On 8/9 February, Pakistani authorities arrested five members of the Quetta Shura including Mullah Barader, Commander of the Afghan Taliban and Deputy to Mullah Omar, the Taliban Chief and more than a hundred militants, including two Al Qaeda
people. Since then, the Pakistani media - both electronic and print - have launched a virulent campaign against the Taliban and its threat to Pakistan. Foreign Minister Quereshi has asserted that these actions had been taken in Pakistan national interest.
Senior US leaders, such as the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, Senator John Kerry and Ambassador Holbrook have praised the changed Pakistan policy of cooperation with US intelligence and strategy.
The White House Press Secretary has also warmly endorsed the change. The Pune Bakery explosion and attack on the Indian residents’ hostel in Kabul, both believed to have been carried out by LET, happened only after this supposed shift in policy. It is
therefore an issue calling for very careful assessment by our security establishment: what is the nature, scope and significance of this policy change and what are likely to be its implications for the Indian security.
The change of policy may be looked at, in terms of four possible alternative scenarios. The first, and least likely one, is that the move is a sincere one and the Pakistani Army,which is the real ruler of Pakistan, has decided to fall in line with the US strategy of
fighting all the five jehadi groups described by President Obama as cancers eating into the vitals of Pakistan and posing an existential threat to that country. Such a change in policy would however, not resonate with the extremely harsh stand taken by the Pakistani Foreign Secretary in the Indo-Pak Talks on 25th February, the two explosions in Pune and Kabul and encouragement of Hafiz Saeed (the real leader of LeT) to call for war against India.The second alternative is that Pakistan is convinced that the US will withdraw from Afghanistan by mid 2011 and it is trying to pretend to go along with US – so as to take over Afghanistan after US departure. The Taliban will be asked to hibernate till the US departure.The third possible scenario is that Pakistan hopes to deceive US as it successfully did in 2001. It is pretending to take action against the Jehadi groups but will protect them from American action so that they can play their role after the expected US departure. The last and most complicated and realistic scenario is that the Americans are fully aware of the possibility of Pakistanis attempting to cheat them and notwithstanding this - they are going along with the Pak establishment to get the Taliban resistance reduced in the initial stages of the surge.The US hopes to intensify its drone attacks. Already they are becoming increasingly effective against the jehadi leaders. If the Americans find that Pakistanis are doublecrossing them as they did in 2001, there may be a confrontation between the two.Washington is keeping the Pakistanis on a tight leash by regulating release of coalition support funds, at a time when the Pakistani financial situation is extremely difficult. The US forces have stepped up their capability to monitor the communications and movements of Jehadi groups. They have the option of extending the drone strikes further interior into Pakistan to target the jehadi leaders. As such attacks increase, there is the possibility of Jehadis turning against Pakistani Army and cities as happened in the case of Pakistani Taliban. If that were to come about, Pakistan will be left with no alternative but to join the US in real war against the jehadis. The terrorist threat to India will vary according to the scenario most likely to materialize.If Pakistanis are sincere on their change of policy, the threat to India will be minimal. For reasons explained earlier, this is the least likely scenario. In the case of scenarios two and three, which involve the Jehadis being kept in hibernation within Pakistan, the probability of terrorist attacks are relatively higher because of the compulsions to keep up their morale. In the case of the last scenario, the threat is perhaps the highest, till such time Pakistanis are compelled to fight their existential war. In such an eventuality, while the Pakistani state-sponsored terrorism may go down, the sleeper cells that have been already positioned may become active. Since any deception strategy by Pakistan is likely to get exposed in the next three or four months, that period will pose much higher risks of terrorist attacks on India.If the US has a strategy to counter Pakistan’s deception, it will be in India’s interest to correlate its own counter-terrorism strategy with a broader American one. But given the nature of the counter-terrorism war against Pakistan, the US may not share its strategy with India in advance. This places India in a dilemma in assessing whether America is being taken for a ride (as it was during the Bush period) or is it biding its time to initiate a counter-terrorism attack to full effectiveness.The first assessment will call for counter-measures by India in case of a terrorist attack while the second assessment may call for very restrained response. This judgment calls for very close interaction and coordination between the security establishments of India and US. While it is unrealistic to expect the US to reveal its counter-terrorism action plans in the Pak-Af area to the Indian authorities, it is in US interest to let India know their assessment of the Pakistani change in policy. Otherwise there is a risk of Delhi and Washington working at cross-purposes. That should be avoided at all cost.
 

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Didn't know where to post this, so:

Anti-hijacking law gets tougher, death sentence included as punishment



NEW DELHI: The UPA government on Friday made the anti-hijacking law much tougher by including death sentence as a punishment.

The Cabinet was expected to consider the proposal moved by civil aviation ministry to amend Anti-Hijacking Act of 1982 to make it more stringent to deter hijackers from using an aircraft as a missile.

With enhanced terror threats, a group of ministers headed by home minister P Chidambaram had cleared the "tougher" proposals paving the way for civil aviation ministry to move the amendments for Cabinet approval.

The Cabinet’s approval paves the way for amending section 4 of the 1982 Act, which provides for life imprisonment and a fine for hijacking, to include death penalty also.

The government is likely to place the proposed amendments before Parliament in the budget session itself once the House meets again after the recess.

The GoM had also decided to incorporate a new clause to cover the aspect of conspiracy to hijack an aircraft which does not exist in the 1982 Act.

The fresh move to ensure legal sanction to anti-hijacking policy comes almost five year after the Cabinet Committee on Security had cleared it in August, 2005. The policy allows shooting down of a "hostile plane if there is conclusive evidence that it is likely to be used as a missile to blow up strategic establishments".

The policy recognises that hijacked aircraft can be transformed into a "hostile" entity. It also prescribes surrounding of hijacked planes by fighter aircrafts in Indian airspace.

The law will authorise Indian Air Force to take quick steps for scrambling fighters to guard and guide hijacked aircraft and force land it in an Indian airport.

To avoid Kandahar-like situations, the policy also provides that no negotiations whatsoever would be held with hijackers. The policy talks about immobilisation of an aircraft and not allowing it to take off if the hijacking takes place on Indian soil, besides scrambling of IAF fighters if the hijacked plane remains in Indian airspace.
 

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India can't sit out the great issues of our time

India [ Images ] has to leverage its "swing" status, engage with all and align with none, observes Shyam Saran

In the first half of the first decade of the new millennium, India's emergence as a major political and economic power became an acknowledged reality worldwide. It was able to shed its nuclear "outlier" status to be accepted as a de facto nuclear weapon state with full access to international nuclear energy commerce. Indo-US relations achieved an unprecedented density across the board. Even China, usually seen as an adversary, sought a strategic and cooperative partnership with India. A permanent seat in the UN Security Council seemed within reach.

There were positive trends in our own troubled neighbourhood. Relations with Pakistan achieved remarkable improvement with long outstanding issues being addressed in a new spirit of realism. In Nepal, there was promise of a democratic transition with India, for once, on the right side of history.

While Bangladesh continued to cause concern, relations with Bhutan, engaged in its own democratic transition, reached unprecedented levels of mutual trust and extended cooperation. The growing integration of Indian and Sri Lankan economies, under the historic Free Trade Agreement, helped keep political relations in balance despite the tensions generated by ethnic turmoil in the island country. By 2006, India enjoyed a regional and global environment supportive of its developmental objectives. Its strategic autonomy had unmistakably expanded.

However, since then, India's external environment began to change in a clearly adverse direction. Domestic turmoil in Pakistan and resurgence of cross-border terrorism brought the bilateral peace process to an uncertain pause. In Nepal, the Maoists and political parties failed to consolidate multi-party democracy.

The Indo-US nuclear agreement ran into political opposition at home and relations with China appeared to shift to a more adversarial pitch. While the nuclear agreement eventually did go through by the end of 2008, it was a lonely positive. The current picture remains grim but there may be some opportunities appearing on the horizon as we enter the decade 2010-2020.

India's vulnerabilities in the next decade will be centred mainly in its neighbourhood. While the Indian subcontinent is a single geopolitical unit, it is fractured into several states, each with its own dynamics. As the largest country in the region, India's security concerns have always encompassed and will continue to encompass the entire subcontinent. This dictates a strategy that neutralises vulnerabilities inherent in these political divisions, specifically ensuring that India's neighbours do not become platforms for hostile activities against it by current or potential adversaries. Otherwise, India's ability to overcome an adverse, or leverage a potentially favourable, global environment will confront severe constraints.

The management of our neighbourhood should enjoy the highest priority in the next decade. Episodic engagement and crisis-management must yield place to a long-term focus on the following elements:

The economic integration of South Asia, with a willingness to implement significant and, if necessary, unilateral trade and economic liberalisation measures favouring our neighbours. This will give them a stake in India's growth and propriety.
Improving and upgrading connectivity among all countries of the region, through roads, rail, air and electronic links. Without this infrastructure in place, regional economic integration will remain a chimera; and,
Significantly expanded cultural diplomacy to leverage the strong and enduring cultural and linguistic affinities we share with our neighbours.
Our engagement with our extended neighbourhood in the Gulf, Central Asia and South-East Asia must be built on the solid foundation of our subcontinental policy. With Russia [ Images ], emerging convergences on the geopolitical front should take us beyond the largely military hardware relationship we currently have.

What is the outlook for the global environment in the next decade? What are our strengths and likely vulnerabilities?

India's rising profile as a major emerging economy with significant strategic capabilities makes it an increasingly indispensable partner in the construction of emerging security and economic architectures both in Asia and the world, and in dealing with cross-cutting issues such as terrorism, climate change, global trade and finance.

The resilience its economy has shown in the wake of the continuing global economic and financial crisis positions India somewhat better than China, since India's growth is mostly domestic demand-driven and not linked to an artificially-maintained low exchange rate. In a landscape of several rising powers, India's rise is likely to be more sustainable than other largely export-driven economies.

Nevertheless, our task is complicated by the fact that the geopolitical environment continues to be in a state of flux. Its eventual denouement remains unpredictable. During 2009, there were worries in this country over a possible Sino-US or a G-2 condominium. The anxiety today is about the impact of rising tensions between them. A polarised international landscape will constrain India as much as would a collusive arrangement between major powers. India will need to manage its relations with major powers in a subtle and sophisticated manner, leveraging its "swing" status wherever possible, engaging with all, but aligning with none.

But this contemporary non-alignment does not allow India to sit out the great issues of our time and seek comfort in a policy of interminable fence-sitting. This is like being dealt a hand in the geopolitical card game but refusing to play.

This tendency is partly the result of becoming a premature power. India's relative power globally has outstripped the indices of personal and social well-being, unlike in the established industrialised powers, where they have historically moved in sync. We will need to overcome the ambivalence this creates and embrace a more proactive regional and global role in line with our national power. A seat at the high table should be sought not as an end in itself but as an opportunity to negotiate arrangements conducive to our economic and social development, and the overall welfare of our people. That should be for our agenda for the next decade.

The author was India's Foreign Secretary and until recently the Prime Minister's Special Envoy

Shyam Saran
 

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The burnt-out case of David Headley

The Headley case highlights that the Indian government proved incapable of assessing the geopolitical dimensions of the US-led war in Afghanistan, while Pakistan has shrewdly exploited the fallacies in India's [ Images ] foreign policy orientation to navigate itself to an unprecedented geopolitical positioning, writes M K Bhadrakumar.

It must be the mother of all political ironies that the week that the government almost tabled in the parliament an extraordinary legislation safeguarding the business interests of American nuclear industry, should end with the burnt-out case of David Headley.

A whole lot of themes of faith and unbelief on the political-diplomatic front sail into view -- what can only be called the spiritual aridity of India's foreign policy. The time has come to examine the possibility of redemption.

Cooperation in the fight against terrorism lies within the first circle of US-India strategic cooperation. The Mumbai [ Images ] attacks led to unprecedented counter-terrorism cooperation between India and the US -- "breaking down walls and bureaucratic obstacles between the two countries' intelligence and investigating agencies", as the prominent American security expert Lisa Curtis underscored in a plain-speaking US congressional testimony at Washington on March 11.

here is no doubt that David Headley's arrest last October has been a breakthrough in throwing light on the operations and activities of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba [ Images ] in India. To quote Curtis, "Most troubling about the Headley case is what it has revealed about the proximity of the Pakistani military to the LeT." Trouble began brewing from this point.

The stark reality is that the US government viewed LeT largely through the prism of India-Pakistan adversarial ties. This is despite all evidence of the LeT's significant role since 2006 as a facilitator of the Taliban's [ Images ] operations in Afghanistan by providing a constant stream of fighters -- recruiting, training and infiltrating insurgents across the border from the Pakistani tribal areas.

The US's policy prioritised the securing of Islamabad's [ Images ] cooperation on what directly affected American interests and it made distinction between the 'good' Taliban and the 'bad' Taliban. This political chicanery lies at the epicentre of the unfolding drama over Headley.

Without doubt, Headley has been a double agent of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Inter Services Intelligence and it is a moot point whether the US knew this or at what point the US officials began suspecting it. The crux of the matter today is that Headley may spill the beans if Indian interrogators get hold of him and the trail can lead in no time to LeT. Where will that leave the US?

Obviously, Washington is in no position to 'pressure' the Pakistani military. Its obsession is to end the fighting in Afghanistan, which would enable President Barack Obama [ Images ] to drawdown the combat troops and declare victory in the war in the nick of time before the US presidential election campaign in 2012 unfolded.

The extent to which the US is beholden to the Pakistani military today is apparent from the illogical statements being made lately by even self-styled agnostics like the AfPak special representative Richard Holbrooke [ Images ] about Rawalpindi's so-called change of heart regarding use of terrorism as an instrument of geopolitics. Holbrooke applauds even while ISI is reads the riot act to him that any of his secretive reconciliation talks with the Taliban will need to be conducted with its full participation.

No matter what the American lobby in our midst might say, the Indian foreign policy and security establishment should have no illusions that the Obama administration is stringing Delhi [ Images ] along on the Headley case. The US cannot afford to acknowledge the reality that the LeT enjoys the support of the Pakistani military. For, that would complicate its strategic cooperation with the Pakistani military and in turn call into question its reconciliation policy toward Taliban.

Therefore, the US will do its utmost to ensure India is not handed down a shred of hard evidence by Headley linking LeT with the Pakistani military. Where does that leave our government?

Clearly, the assumptions underlying India's foreign policy ever since the UPA government came to power in 2004 are unravelling. These included first-rate bloomers like the idea of a US-led quadripartite alliance against China, India being an Asian balancer against China, the Tibet [ Images ] card, etc. They included naive estimations that a strategic partnership with the US could substitute for an independent foreign policy, that the contacts with Pakistan were best conducted under US watch, that Delhi must synchronise its policies with the US's global strategies.

The plain truth is that India today is saddled with a nuclear deal that is becoming difficult to operationalise except on American terms; India's ties with Iran are in tatters; the high level of understanding forged with both Iran and China by the previous NDA government in 2003 stands dissipated.

Worst of all, Headley's case highlights that the government proved incapable of assessing the geopolitical dimensions of the US-led war in Afghanistan. The government failed to comprehend that the ground realities of the war were pushing geopolitical alignments inexorably toward the formation of a US-Pakistan strategic axis. Pakistan has shrewdly exploited the fallacies in India's foreign policy orientation to navigate itself to an unprecedented geopolitical positioning.

This isn't paranoia or pessimism. On Wednesday, the US-Pakistan strategic dialogue is scheduled to be held in Washington with the Pakistani military leadership making an undisguised pitch for a pivotal partnership between the two countries commensurate with what it regards as Pakistan's legitimate claim to be a regional power.

India, on the other hand, looks around confusedly, unsure of its ability to connect Headley's clemency plea with the big picture, and like the burnt-out case in the Graham Greene classic, badly in need of a self-cure.

M K Bhadrakumar is a former diplomat.
 

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