Tuesday, 30 September 2014



In the past month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sketched out the broad contours of his foreign and security policy vision, culminating in his official visit to the United States. For most Americans, this would have been yet another visit by an important global leader. But for most Indians, both in the US and back home, there has been a palpable sense of excitement about it.
This is because of the understanding that Modi is the first prime minister since 1989 to have a majority of his own in the Lok Sabha.
Most of us have lived with the frustration of coalition governments which were not able to take the decisive decisions that this country needs to get its act together to act as the economic and regional power that it already is. In foreign policy, as in domestic, Modi has raised expectations sky-high. As of now, however, what we are seeing in both domestic and foreign policy are broad brush-strokes, not the finished picture.
In Modi’s case, this has worked at two levels. First is the inspirational and global, delivered through public speeches such as those at the UN or Madison Square Garden. The UN speech spelt out his world view: the importance of being a good neighbour, peace with Pakistan, the dangers of terrorism, the need for accommodative trading systems and a multipolar world order. The second level is the behind-the-scenes realism which has been manifested by the stance India has taken with its interlocutors, whether they be Pakistan, China, US or Japan on issues ranging from the peace talks, border, climate change, and nuclear agreements.
But what we are seeing are only the opening gambits of a longer game. Foreign policy is a bit different from domestic. Within a country, you can influence, dictate or direct an outcome with relative ease. But in foreign affairs, it is not easy to shape things in the way you want.
So far, Modi has been careful in articulating his foreign and security policy. His primary political aim is consolidation. As an outlier, he needs to ensure that he is now the BJP’s mainstream. He may be the “hriday samrat” (emperor of minds) of the public, but within the party he still faces opposition and resistance.
In these circumstances, he will move slowly and not undertake policy measures – foreign or domestic – which could give his enemies a handle. His initial strategy, much like that of Narasimha Rao, will be change through stealth. A lot of that is already visible in economic policy and administration. In foreign and security policy, from the outset he has hewn close to the Vapayee mould. He may have been tough with Pakistan, but he has ignored fire-eaters who want him to do more. He has refused calls to change the nuclear doctrine, invoking Vajpayee.
And, if Atalji termed the US as its “natural ally”, Modi modified it only slightly to term it as a “natural global partner.”
But at some point, he needs to prepare for the day when his interlocutors will ask: What do you bring to the table? In another context, in August, President Obama put it bluntly when he commented that China has been a free rider on the international system for the last thirty years or so. The question also needs to be posed to India, which often talks of “non-alignment” and “strategic autonomy.”
Is India also free-riding on the world system where the US provides security to or oil sea lanes, or takes on the Islamist challenge in the Middle-East?
While India was poor and weak, we could always look away at some of these issues, but if India’s economy grows in the next decade, we may have to provide some answers to the questions, in our own self interest. So, beyond the broad geopolitical formulations, what many of these countries and China, are wondering, is: What is the role India intends to play in the coming decade – which politically is likely to be the Modi decade? Actually they wonder what role is India capable of playing. Capability here, is a combination of capacity – military and economic – as well as intentions articulated through policy.
As of now, all that India brings to the table is its potential. In the present circumstances, this is a big plus. The global balance of power is inexorably shifting in favour of China.
Under pressure in the East and South China Sea, the US and its allies want India to rise so as to counter some of China’s pull.
Given the asymmetry between Indian and Chinese military and economic power, India cannot do this by itself, but in combination with others it can. So Modi needs to unpack India’s new foreign and security policies in a world where the US is becoming more selective about its global role, while China is feeling its way around to see how it can shape regional and global policy using its still growing economic and military clout.
Modi is right to emphasise the fact that our destiny will be our neighbourhood, but it also lies in the reshaping and reform of our economic and national security structures to keep pace with what we hope will be a burgeoning economy.
Given the ground realities – where China’s power exceeds ours by orders of magnitude – we need allies. That is where relationships with the US, Japan, ASEAN and Australia come in.
Beyond the hype, high table banquets, joint statements and the like, this is what the Modi vision that the global foreign policy community is searching for.
(The writer is a Distinguished Fellow, Observer Research Foundation and Contributing Editor, Mail Today)


By Sumit Ganguly
It was perhaps fitting that India’s newly elected prime minister would be asked to define his approach to global and strategic issues during his maiden appearance at the United Nations and, later, during his first meeting with US President Barack Obama. Following that meeting, the two men drafted a joint statement in the form of an op-ed. The agenda for cooperation that they have spelled out is hardly modest: It seeks to address issues ranging from countering climate change to terrorism. Until now, Modi’s focus has been on domestic issues and regional problems. India’s global role and strategic ambitions ultimately depend on his ability to deliver at home.
During his election campaign, he infrequently raised foreign policy issues. These were mostly confined to regional security and ongoing issues involving India’s neighbors, Bangladesh, the People’s Republic of China and Pakistan. On Bangladesh, he highlighted illegal immigration; on the PRC he decried the country’s “expansionist attitude”; and on Pakistan he raised the familiar matter of its support for terror. Beyond these concerns, he offered a speech extolling Japan’s economic success and the need to attract Japanese investment to India.
The bulk of his campaign rhetoric instead focused on placing India on a path to economic growth and prosperity. Fulfilling that promise requires a robust foreign policy.
Since assuming office in May, Modi has visited Japan, hosted China’s President Xi Jinping in New Delhi and just wrapped up a visit to the United States. The visit to Japan, though mostly successful and conducted with much fanfare, failed to yield a crucial nuclear agreement. Such talks began three years ago, but were suspended after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. India hopes to access Japanese technology for nuclear power, but reservations run deep in Japan over non-proliferation and nuclear safety.
Xi’s visit proved to be far more fraught. Even as his Chinese interlocutor was in the country, the People’s Liberation Army once again chose to make a series of incursions along a disputed section of the Sino-Indian border in Ladakh. PRC apologists were inclined to dismiss the incursions as the result of bureaucratic wrangling within China – a convenient but unrealistic argument. On its own, the PLA would not dare embarrass the leader of the Communist Party. Accordingly, it is reasonable to surmise that the PLA’s actions in Ladakh had enjoyed the president’s imprimatur.
The episode was hardly an isolated incident. For the past several years, the PLA had routinely conducted limited probes along the disputed border. The timing of this particular occurrence was simply more infelicitous. Indeed, despite Xi’s offer to invest upwards of $20 billion in India over the next several years, the relationship remains troubled. The border dispute, despite endless diplomatic palaver, is no closer to a resolution. Sino-Indian trade, though approaching $60 billion is imbalanced. Not only is it in the PRC’s favor, but India mostly exports raw materials to the country while importing a range of consumer and industrial goods.
Beyond these features of the bilateral relationship, the two sides are wary of each other’s presence in Southeast Asia, with differing positions on the maritime disputes in the South China Sea and carefully watching the other’s involvement in India’s immediate neighborhood. Furthermore, both sides view their ties to the United States as a critical issue in their own bilateral relations. India frets about a possible Sino-American condominium along the lines that Zbigniew Brzezinski had once suggested, which briefly enjoyed favor among some policymaking circles in the first Obama administration. The PRC, in turn, remains anxious of a more robust Indo-US strategic partnership that could redound to its disadvantage.
Whether or not India can forge such a relationship with the United States remains uncertain despite Modi’s enthusiastic reception in multiple US quarters. The US and India remain at odds on a host of global, regional and bilateral issues. At a global level, India’s stance on food subsidies, blocking the WTO’s last-ditch effort to revive the Doha round, has placed it at loggerheads with the United States. India seems unwilling to take on any substantial role in addressing questions of climate change and carbon emissions, and it has looked askance at the US willingness to rely on the principle of the “responsibility to protect” to intervene in various parts of the world, notably Libya.
Closer to home, New Delhi remains concerned about the impending US drawdown in Afghanistan and Washington’s unwillingness to confront Pakistan on its continuing dalliance with the purveyors of terror. And though US-Iranian relations have thawed ever so slightly, India was long unwilling to isolate Iran. In bilateral terms, a number of differences persist. US firms find it difficult to invest in India, the question of retroactive taxation continues to dog them and the draconian Indian nuclear liability bill has deterred American investors in the Indian civilian nuclear industry. In their joint editorial, Modi and Obama pledged “efforts to bring American-origin nuclear power technologies to India.”
India too has its own litany of complaints. Apart from the contretemps last year involving diplomat Devyani Khobragade, which helped stoke latent anti-American sentiments, India has long complained about its own lack of market access to the US. Specifically, New Delhi has sought greater numbers of H1-B visas for skilled Indian professionals to work in the United States; although Indian workers received about two thirds of the visas in 2012, an annual cap keeps their number small. In other areas, New Delhi remains uneasy with American stipulations about possible arms sales to India, which it deems to hamper its efforts to secure vital military acquisitions. Managing domestic aspirations and the country’s long-held attitude towards foreign engagement would have a decisive impact on US-India relations.
Modi has been warmly welcomed in the United States. However, it’s far from clear if he and his principal foreign and security policy advisers can jettison what might be referred to as the shadow of the past. His visit could contribute to a new chapter in Indo-US relations. During the Cold War, despite much talk about shared democratic values and institutions, India and the United States pursued divergent goals and were close to each other’s adversaries.
The two nations are now at a wholly different historical juncture. The Modi-Obama joint vision statement is a good start, but long after the ink has dried on their editorial Modi and his team must forge a viable policy agenda and follow through on a set of initiatives with domestic consensus on the content of Indo-US strategic partnership. Then, the two states may indeed enter a new era of cooperation. Such a partnership would involve an avoidance of mutual recriminations, close and routinized consultations, and a working policy agenda that addresses concerns of both sides. A focus on extant and unresolved bilateral issues, a discussion of shared regional security concerns and plans for tackling compelling global issues might constitute a useful start. Modi, after his triumphal visit to the United States and with a secure parliamentary majority at home, should be in a position to address these concerns.
Tackling them with his seemingly endless zeal might actually enable him to realize the two critical goals that he dwelled on during his electoral campaign: to bring shared economic prosperity and guarantee India’s national security.
Sumit Ganguly is a professor of political science, holds the Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations at Indiana University, Bloomington, and is a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.


The eagerly awaited Modi-Obama summit, scheduled for September 29-30, is expected to “set an ambitious new agenda to chart a new course in the relationship” between the two countries. Considering the six years long stalemate owing to India’s Civil Nuclear Damage Liability bill, the Indo-US nuclear deal will indeed be a key topic of discussion. The historic deal which was essentially the ice-breaker of India’s nuclear isolation of almost thirty years has been in many ways compensatory to its NPT non-signatory status. An agenda to move forward the long-stalled deal is bound to gain momentum presently as India endeavours for civil nuclear deals with Japan and Australia and its NSG membership.
India, with its ambitious nuclear energy plans, is definitely an attractive market for the suppliers around the globe. All the suppliers interested in the Indian market, namely the US, France and Russia, have however unequivocally objected to the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage bill of 2010, specifically clause 17(b) and section 46. These deal with the right of recourse for the operator against the supplier and right to file tort claims for the victims respectively. The US has been the most disconcerted with this because the suppliers and contractors of the US are privately owned unlike their European state-owned counter-parts. The US government, in the interests of its major private suppliers collective, had pressurised the Indian government to be party to the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damages (CSC), the most significant international instrument for model liability regime.
The concept of exclusive liability, or channelling of liability (to the operator), which is the corner stone of all the international instruments of nuclear liability, has been followed since the first convention on this issue — Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage of 1963. E Ameye, member of the European Commission Expert Group on Nuclear Liability, argues that the nuclear industry is no longer an infant industry and that the possible role of the players other than the operator such as the suppliers, designers, transporters etc should be taken into account, considering the highly complex and evolved reactor technologies of today. The Indian legislation’s additional right of recourse and the right to file tort claims hence can be seen as a firm footing for a necessary paradigm shift from the traditional liability models.
The CSC (1997) is the latest among the three international conventions instrumental for the liability regime. The acceding countries are obliged to model their domestic liability legislation on its draft law. The annexe draft law specifies the right of recourse for the operator only a) if this is expressly provided for by a contract in writing, or b) if the damage results from an act or omission of someone with intent to cause damage. The clause 17(b) of the Indian liability act gives an additional ground for right of recourse for the operator against the suppliers: ‘if the damage is caused by a wilful act or gross negligence on the part of the supplier of the material, equipment or services or of his employee.’ The section 46 of the Indian Act states that the liability bill will not affect the other laws in force, thus implying that in case of an accident, criminal liability as well as tort claims remain valid. The CSC cannot in any way interfere in the normal operation of the regular legal mechanisms of the country. Thus it can be argued that the two tweaks from the model draft law, technically do not violate the terms of CSC; only explicitly states its implications. The US had however contended that India’s liability law is not in conformity with the CSC. In response, rightly so, India had contended that the only requirement for signing the CSC was that the concerned “State declares that its national law complies with the provisions of the Annex to this Convention.” Although India has signed the CSC on 27th October 2010, the ratification is yet to happen.
The Liability Act faces equally strong critiques in the domestic front as well, mainly on account of the liability cap on the operator. The total liability amount would be capped at a maximum amount of 300 million SDR (Special Drawing Rights), regardless of the extent of the damages caused in case of an incident. This amount is also inadequate to draw funding from the international pool created as part of the CSC as it can be accessed only if the liability due to nuclear damage exceeds 300 million SDR. Moreover, most of the major nuclear power generating countries do not have a cap on the liability. On the flip side, the domestic suppliers too are unwilling to supply the components for nuclear power plants. This will definitely spark a crisis in the Indian nuclear industry, which has managed even without the foreign suppliers when under sanctions, with extensive reliance on its domestic companies.
While addressing the liability conundrum, it needs be acknowledged that an effective liability regime is an important agent for assuring safety and containing any neglect by the key players involved. In a sense, its role is more significant than that of independent regulation. The risks of a nuclear establishment by nature are dynamic and complicated. This demands more flexibility for the operators, rather than step-by-step regulations enforced by an independent authority. With an effective liability rule, the operators can improvise and modify according to the risk he generates.
Finally, the question remains as to how the new government will choose to address this issue, balancing both the supplier and the domestic concerns. Dilution of the Liability Act is not an option, which is an important lesson learnt globally, even as Japan, Asia’s richest democracy, is dragging its feet with the decontamination activities and compensation to the victims, three years and counting post-Fukushima.
It may be safely assumed that the nuclear suppliers will not keep away from the lucrative Indian market, considering the extensive nuclear plan it is determined to embark upon. It is probable that the suppliers may increase their prices to an unreasonable level in the name of high insurance premiums. However, this will eventually be a backlash for the suppliers because of the possible market crash due to high costs of nuclear energy compared to the alternatives. Given the situation, the most desirable solution would be for the suppliers to accept the Indian Liability Act as an incentive to ensure the maximum possible safety and security of the materials and services, instead of dealing with it as an impediment.
As a first step towards nuclear diplomacy, the Modi Government’s ratification of the IAEA Additional Protocol is indeed a wise one. Whether the “Modi lexicon” would charm the long-flustered US suppliers, is a pivotal question for the Indian nuclear programme.
(The writer is a Research Intern at Observer Research Foundation, Delhi)

Deforestation, Timber Mafia and Corruption in Diamer, by Liaqat Karim

Deforestation, Timber Mafia and Corruption in Diamer, by Liaqat Karim
Have you ever had a by-road trip to Gilgit-Baltistan (GB)? If yes, I am sure you have seen the several cubic feet timber, laid on the sides of KKH in Diamer district. Every day tons of wood is smuggled to various parts of Pakistan from GB and new trees are cut to replace the smuggled wood In July 2014, I visited GB and saw dozens of trucks laden with timber coming towards south on KKH. Nobody knows who permitted this havoc. After the lifting of ban on cutting of trees in GB by Raja Pervez Ashraf, on March 15, 2013, more than 500 old trees were cut and several thousand cubic meter of wood was sold. The lifting of ban was reversed later, however the damage had been done.
Poverty of natives and corruption in the relevant institution has exacerbated the issue. People who have the authority to issue the permits have become millionaires by signing permits and allowing the massacre of the local flora. The ruthless deforestation in the area has caused a lot of issues on local as well as national level.  The Flash floods have become more frequent causing loss of lives and property locally as well as nationally. GB government in collaboration with the natives shall take immediate steps to stop further deforestation. The culprits shall be held accountable who have misused their authorities either to decorate their lavish houses using this timber or to sign the permits for making money.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Pakistan lost33.2 percent of its forest cover between 1990 and 2010. Most of this deforestation was done in northern parts of Pakistan, including Diamer district of GB. Although, the issue was aggravated after the lifting of ban on transport of wood to other parts by Pakistan People Party (PPP) government in 2013, however, the corrupt leaders and government officials have been experts for finding loopholes to allow deforestation in the area. Instead of protecting these resources the government official in departments like department of forest, have been involved in promoting deforestation by issuing illicit permits for the transport of wood.

The impacts of denuding of these forests include soil erosion which is causing siltation in Tarbela dam, flash floods causing loss of lives and property, increase in flood water causing destruction in the Indus plain downstream and much more. Recent floods claimed more than 250 lives across Pakistan. These floods killed more than 8 people and damaged more than dozen houses in Diamer district, alone. Furthermore, the deforestation is casing loss of biodiversity in the area at an alarming rate. The endemic wild animals are either killed by the hunters or are forced to evacuate by destroying their natural habitat. Any increase in precipitation due to construction of dams in future may trigger serious landslides from the barren mountains of GB. Moreover, this deforestation may also alter the climate of the region causing extreme weather patterns in the area
Due to the good quality of wood, the demand of wood from this area always remains on the peak making it an easy way to make money. According to the people involved in this viscous business, the price of wood from the chopped trees is Rs200 per foot in GB, whereas it makes more than Rs4000 per foot in larger cities. It is obvious that, the natives are not getting enough, yet the native are the first victims of incidents like flash floods and environmental degradation. The locals should understand this issue and should play their role to stop this catastrophic activity in the region.
The limited resources of the natives, their dependency on the timber mafia and the corrupt system has played a malicious role in the massacre of these trees. Generally, government of Pakistan and specifically, government of GB should take serious steps to overcome these issues in the area.  Natives shall be provided with other means of earning to stop their involvement in such activities, rather they shall be used to conserve the forests by proving incentives. Moreover, the mafia and the corrupt officers involved in the smuggling of timber should be brought to justice. Especially, the government officers who misused their power shall be identified through a judicial crackdown and serious action shall be taken against them. Unlike the past, a debate in the national assembly shall be made mandatory to lift any ban or to change any policy regarding the transport of wood from this part of the country. A single guy, who most probably may be a corrupt individual, should not decide the fate of the fragile environment of this area. The money earned from the cut trees shall be strictly used for afforestation in the area.
It is in the best interest of the natives and the people living downstream of GB to stop deforestation and encourage afforestation in the area. In order to avoid frequent landslides, flash floods, extreme weather patterns, and loss of biodiversity, we should raise our voice against the timber mafia of GB. Let us speak against deforestation in Diamer at every available forum and force the authorities to take serious steps to ensure security of the remaining trees on the mountains of GB.

Statement by US President Barack Obama and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Statement by US President Barack Obama and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Released by White House
Chalein Saath Saath, forward together we go. As leaders of two great democratic nations with diverse traditions and faiths, we share a vision for a partnership in which the United States and India work together, not just for the benefit of both our nations, but for the benefit of the world.
We have vastly different histories, but both our founders sought to guarantee freedoms that allow our citizens to determine their own destiny and pursue their personal aspirations. Our strategic partnership rests on our shared mission to provide equal opportunity for our people through democracy and freedom.
The currents of kinship and commerce, scholarship and science tie our countries together. They allow us to rise above differences by maintaining the long-term perspective. Every day, in myriad ways, our cooperation fortifies a relationship that matches the innumerable ties between our peoples, who have produced works of art and music, invented cutting-edge technology, and responded to crises across the globe.
Our strategic partnership is a joint endeavor for prosperity and peace. Through intense consultations, joint exercises, and shared technology, our security cooperation will make the region and the world safe and secure. Together, we will combat terrorist threats and keep our homelands and citizens safe from attacks, while we respond expeditiously to humanitarian disasters and crises. We will prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and remain committed to reducing the salience of nuclear weapons, while promoting universal, verifiable, and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament.
We will support an open and inclusive rules-based global order, in which India assumes greater multilateral responsibility, including in a reformed United Nations Security Council. At the United Nations and beyond, our close coordination will lead to a more secure and just world.
Climate change threatens both our countries, and we will join together to mitigate its impact and adapt to our changing environment. We will address the consequences of unchecked pollution through cooperation by our governments, science and academic communities. We will partner to ensure that both countries have affordable, clean, reliable, and diverse sources of energy, including through our efforts to bring American-origin nuclear power technologies to India.
We will ensure that economic growth in both countries brings better livelihoods and welfare for all of our people. Our citizens value education as a means to a better life, and our exchange of skills and knowledge will propel our countries forward. Even the poorest will share in the opportunities in both our countries.
Joint research and collaboration in every aspect—ranging from particles of creation to outer space — will produce boundless innovation and high technology collaboration that changes our lives. Open markets, fair and transparent practices will allow trade in goods and services to flourish.
Our people will be healthier as we jointly counter infectious diseases, eliminate maternal and child deaths, and work to eradicate poverty for all. And they will be safer as we ensure the fullest empowerment of women in a secure environment.
The United States and India commit to expand and deepen our strategic partnership in order to harness the inherent potential of our two democracies and the burgeoning ties between our people, economies, and businesses. Together we seek a reliable and enduring friendship that bolsters security and stability, contributes to the global economy, and advances peace and prosperity for our citizens and throughout the world.
We have a vision that the United States and India will have a transformative relationship as trusted partners in the 21st century. Our partnership will be a model for the rest of the world.

Narendra Modi and Barack Obama September 30, 2014

Narendra Modi and Barack Obama September 30 at 8:00 AM
Narendra Modi is prime minister of India. Barack Obama is president of the United States.

As nations committed to democracy, liberty, diversity and enterprise, India and the United States are bound by common values and mutual interests. We have each shaped the positive trajectory of human history, and through our joint efforts, our natural and unique partnership can help shape international security and peace for years to come.

Ties between the United States and India are rooted in the shared desire of our citizens for justice and equality. When Swami Vivekananda presented Hinduism as a world religion, he did so at the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago. When Martin Luther King Jr. sought to end discrimination and prejudice against African Americans, he was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent teachings. Gandhiji himself drew upon the writings of Henry David Thoreau.

As nations, we’ve partnered over the decades to deliver progress to our people. The people of India remember the strong foundations of our cooperation. The food production increases of the Green Revolution and the Indian Institutes of Technology are among the many products of our collaboration.

Today our partnership is robust, reliable and enduring, and it is expanding. Our relationship involves more bilateral collaboration than ever before — not just at the federal level but also at the state and local levels, between our two militaries, private sectors and civil society. Indeed, so much has happened that, in 2000, then-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee could declare that we are natural allies.

After many years of growing cooperation since, on any given day, our students work together on research projects, our scientists develop cutting-edge technology and senior officials consult closely on global issues. Our militaries conduct joint exercises in air, on land and at sea, and our space programs engage in unprecedented areas of cooperation, leading us from Earth to Mars. And in this partnership, the Indian American community has been a vibrant, living bridge between us. Its success has been the truest reflection of the vitality of our people, the value of America’s open society and the strength of what we can do when we join together.

Still, the true potential of our relationship has yet to be fully realized. The advent of a new government in India is a natural opportunity to broaden and deepen our relationship. With a reinvigorated level of ambition and greater confidence, we can go beyond modest and conventional goals. It is time to set a new agenda, one that realizes concrete benefits for our citizens.

This will be an agenda that enables us to find mutually rewarding ways to expand our collaboration in trade, investment and technology that harmonize with India’s ambitious development agenda, while sustaining the United States as the global engine of growth. When we meet today in Washington, we will discuss ways in which we can boost manufacturing and expand affordable renewable energy, while sustainably securing the future of our common environment.

We will discuss ways in which our businesses, scientists and governments can partner as India works to improve the quality, reliability and availability of basic services, especially for the poorest of citizens. In this, the United States stands ready to assist. An immediate area of concrete support is the “Clean India” campaign, where we will leverage private and civil society innovation, expertise and technology to improve sanitation and hygiene throughout India.

While our shared efforts will benefit our own people, our partnership aspires to be larger than merely the sum of its parts. As nations, as people, we aspire to a better future for all; one in which our strategic partnership also produces benefits for the world at large. While India benefits from the growth generated by U.S. investment and technical partnerships, the United States benefits from a stronger, more prosperous India. In turn, the region and the world benefit from the greater stability and security that our friendship creates. We remain committed to the larger effort to integrate South Asia and connect it with markets and people in Central and Southeast Asia.

As global partners, we are committed to enhancing our homeland security by sharing intelligence, through counterterrorism and law-enforcement cooperation, while we jointly work to maintain freedom of navigation and lawful commerce across the seas. Our health collaboration will help us tackle the toughest of challenges, whether combating the spread of Ebola, researching cancer cures or conquering diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and dengue. And we intend to expand our recent tradition of working together to empower women, build capacity and improve food security in Afghanistan and Africa.

The exploration of space will continue to fire our imaginations and challenge us to raise our ambitions. That we both have satellites orbiting Mars tells its own story. The promise of a better tomorrow is not solely for Indians and Americans: It also beckons us to move forward together for a better world. This is the central premise of our defining partnership for the 21st century. Forward together we go — chalein saath saath.

A renewed U.S.-India partnership for the 21st century - The Washington Post


India -21 Century Sea power

India: 21st-century sea power
India -21 Century Sea power

MARK COLVIN: China is not the only rising superpower in Australia's region, though it is the one that gets the most attention. But India is coming up fast on the rails, not just as an economic power but a military one too.

The arms watchdog SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) this year named India as the world's biggest weapons importer. Another report forecasts that India will spend about $80 billion on military modernisation programs by 2015.

And the country has plans to spend $45 billion over 20 years on sea power, 103 new warships, including destroyers and nuclear submarines.

David Brewster, of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the ANU (Australian National University), has written a new book called 'India as an Asia Pacific Power'. I asked him why India needed this expanded navy.

DAVID BREWSTER: The reality is that they're not under any specific threat of attack along their coastline. But they do see the need to be able to project power through their navy in an area right from Somalia to Singapore and beyond. And they've actually defined that as their area of strategic interest - from Somalia to Singapore and beyond.

MARK COLVIN: So when they have a navy of several hundred ships, what are they going to do with it?

DAVID BREWSTER: Well it's the ability to act as the regional constable or policemen. So if there is a problem in some small island state or some smaller country in the region, instability, they can go in and sort it out and keep the peace. Just like the Americans do all over the world. And just like the Australians do on a much smaller scale in our own area in the South Pacific.

MARK COLVIN: In a sense that makes them an imperial power eventually. What do the smaller nations in the area think of them - of that?

DAVID BREWSTER: Yeah well you could certainly express it in those terms. Luckily for India that they've been quite cautious and benign through much of their history and really haven't exerted much military power beyond South Asia.

So, beyond South Asia most countries are relatively comfortable with seeing an Indian warship coming into harbour. Whereas countries would be less comfortable in seeing a Chinese warship floating around, for example.

MARK COLVIN: So India and China are the two big rising powers, there's clearly a lot of potential for friction there.

DAVID BREWSTER: Yeah, and it is a complicated relationship because they are also - have a hugely expanding trading relationship and economic relationship. So there's a lot of cooperation going on one hand, but there's also a lot of friction on the other hand.

MARK COLVIN: And they have been to war with each other at least once before, in 1962.

DAVID BREWSTER: That's' right. And that's when the Indian army was absolutely humiliated and defeated by the Chinese. And that humiliation still rankles in New Delhi and there are many in New Delhi who want to see that righted, that wrong righted.

But more immediately is the Chinese support for Pakistan and the fact that the Chinese proliferated nuclear weapons to Pakistan some 10, or more like 20 year ago and effectively armed their longstanding enemy.

MARK COLVIN: It sounds like a fairly lethal cocktail, possibly, further down the track?

DAVID BREWSTER: It is, although I think most in New Delhi and Beijing are very careful to keep the competition and rivalry within certain bounds. So they will make shows of things, but don't - they're careful not to overstep the mark.

MARK COLVIN: But further down the track, as I say, when each country will have several hundred ships afloat, it could get pretty dangerous?

DAVID BREWSTER: Certainly, and also very complicated. Because it's not India versus China it's really a three or four way match, because there's the United States there. And certainly over the coming years the biggest area of competition will be between China and the United States. India is much smaller but obviously growing very, very fast.

MARK COLVIN: Is it in that light that we should see President Obama's recent announcement, when he was here, of the troop rotations through northern Australia?

DAVID BREWSTER: It's certainly part of it. The United States is making great efforts to bring all of its Asia-Pacific allies much closer. Not just Australia but all of its allies. And it's also trying to gradually bring India into that sphere, at the same time as encouraging closer relationships between India and Australia, and Japan and India.

MARK COLVIN: But is Kevin Rudd sensible to do what he's doing, to argue for a closer triangular India-Australia-US relationship? Is it worth the danger of annoying Beijing?

DAVID BREWSTER: Well I think that decision's already been taken when the Government allowed the US troops into Darwin. Certainly in 2007 Australia backed away from a relationship between the United States, India, Japan and Australia. We backed away then. And that was probably a mistake, and that…

MARK COLVIN: That was because there was a danger that that four-party arrangement would have made China feel completely encircled in this region?

DAVID BREWSTER: That's what the claim was, but in fact all of those involved, including the United States, Japan and India and Australia got cold feet about it. But now the positions have hardened because China has been showing quite assertive behaviour towards all of its neighbours. So now I think there's a much greater consensus that there should be multilateral cooperation among the democracies around China.

MARK COLVIN: Some strategic thinkers are making comparisons with the early 20th century in Europe with the rise of Germany. When big power relationships shift to this degree, there's always dangers aren't there?

DAVID BREWSTER: Absolutely. And that's - there's very clear analogies there. In Europe there was the rising power of Germany that was butting up against the great world power of Britain. And there were, you know, a lot of other things happening.

So that's certainly a very easy analogy to make, but the hope is that we learnt our lesson from what happened there and we can create structures that bring China gradually into the international community in a measured way.

MARK COLVIN: David Brewster of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the ANU. His new book is 'India as an Asia Pacific Power'.

PM - India: 21st-century sea power 02/12/2011

Source: http://defence.pk/threads/india-21st-century-sea-power.144393/#ixzz3EocmCGfA

Is India prepared for war in the 21st century?

Is India prepared for war in the 21st century?
India desperately needs to upgrade the armed forcess war-fighting capabilities and tackle the problem of ammunition deficiency if it is to fight and win on the battlefields of the 21st century, says Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (retd).

Army chief General V K Singhs leaked letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the CAGs recent report have revealed that the nations defence preparedness is cause for serious concern.

The chiefs letter has brought into the publicdomain a fact that has been known for long to army officers in service, and those who have retired from service.

The leakage of an ultra-sensitive Top Secret letter will certainly have an adverse impact on national security, as it has given undue advantage to India's military adversaries by publicly disclosing sensitive information about the deficiencies in the weapon systems, ammunition and equipment in service in the army.

However, now that these facts are in the public domain, they will help to focus the nation's attention on the need to speedily make up the shortages and give the army the wherewithal that it needs to fight and win future wars.

General V K Singh is not the first Chief Of the Army Staff to have apprised the prime minister about the poor state of preparedness; his predecessors have done soas well.
General K M Cariappa had gone to Pandit Nehru to ask for additional funds for militarymodernisation and was reported to have been told, 

India does not need an army, it needs a police force.

The ignominy of 1962 followed.
Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (retd) is former director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi.

We will fight with what we have

The lt General Bipin C Joshi had written to then prime minister P V Narasimha Rao, urging him to help the army make up the long-standing large-scale shortage of ammunition.
While the shortage was worth over Rs 10,000 crore (Rs 1 billion), army headquarters had reportedly identified a -bottom line- figure without which the COAS said the army would remain unprepared for war.
Perhaps the countrys precarious financial condition in the mid-1990s did not allow Raoto provide the necessary funds to immediately make up the shortage.
A few years later, the Kargil conflict took place and the whole nation heard the then COAS, General V P Malik, make the chilling statement on national television

We will fight with what we have.
It is well known that India had to scramble to import 50,000 rounds of 155 mm ammunition for its Bofors guns, besides other weapons and equipment.
Stocks of tank ammunition and ammunition for other artillery and air defence guns were also low. It was just as well that the fightingremained limited to the Kargil sector and didnot spill over to the rest of the Line of Control or the plains.
Approximately 250,000 rounds of artillery ammunition were fired in that 50-day war.

India has just 10 days of critical ammunition
The defence ministry has sanctioned the stocking of sufficient ammunition to fight a large-scale war for 60 days. This is known as the -war reserve-.

As the army chiefs letter and the CAG report bring out, apparently not enough new stocks were procured to make up even the ammunition expended during the Kargil conflict.
Stocks of several critical varieties of ammunition for tanks and artillery guns have fallen to as low as less than 10 days war reserves.

Also, ammunition has a shelf life of about 12 to 15 years, at the end of which it is no longer usable for combat, but can still be used for training. Hence, the shortages continue to increase every year if action is not taken to constantly make up the deficiency.
The other major issue highlighted in the letter written by the COAS pertains to the continuation in service of obsolescent weapons and equipment and the stagnationin the process of military modernisation aimed at upgrading the armys war-fighting capabilities to prepare it to fight and win on the battlefields of the 21st century.

There is no long-term defence planning in India

While the COAS has pointed out several operational deficiencies, the most critical ones include the complete lack of artillery modernisation since the Bofors 155 mm Howitzer was purchased in the mid-1980s, -night blindness- of the armys infantry battalions and mechanised forces, the fact that the air defence guns and missile systems are 97 per cent obsolescent and the inadequacy of the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems, which has an adverse impact on command and control during war.

This sorry state of affairs has come about because of the flawed defence planning and defence acquisition processes, a grossly inadequate defence budget and the inability to fully spend even the meagre funds that are allotted.
Funds are surrendered quite often due to bureaucratic red tape, scams and the frequent blacklisting of defence firms accused of adopting unfair means to win contracts.

Long-term defence planning is the charter ofthe apex body of the National Security Council which meets very rarely due to the preoccupation of the prime minister and other members of the Cabinet Committee on Security with day-to-day crisis management.
As such, the 15-years Long-term Integrated Perspective Plans and five-year Defence Plans do not receive the attention they merit.

Can India face emerging defence threats?

The 11th Defence Plan, which terminated on March 31, 2012, was not formally approved by the government and, hence, didnot receive the committed budgetary support that would have enabled the three Services to plan their acquisitions of weapons and equipment systematically, rather than being left to the vagaries of annual defence budgets.
Consequent to the leakage of General V K Singhs letter and the major uproar in Parliament that resulted, the defence minister is reported to have approved the 12th Defence Plan 2012-17 and the LTIPP 2012-27 in early-April 2012.

While this is undoubtedly commendable, it remains to be seen whether the finance ministry and, subsequently, the Cabinet Committee on Security will show the same alacrity in according the approvals necessary to give a practical effect to these plans.

The defence budget has dipped below 2 per cent of the country's GDP despite the fact that the Services have repeatedly recommended that it should be raised to at least 3 per cent of the GDP if India is to build the defence capabilities that it will need to face the emerging threats and challenges and discharge its growing responsibilities asa regional power in Southern Asia.

The government will do well to appoint a National Security Commission to take stock of the lack of preparedness of the countrys armed forces and to make pragmatic recommendations to redress the visible inadequacies that might lead to yet another military debacle.

Source: http://defence.pk/threads/is-india-prepared-for-war-in-the-21st-century.178220/#ixzz3EoYhhBzv

TTP network in Karachi 'destroyed beyond repair': Rangers

In a report submitted to Standing Committee on Interior Affairs, Rangers official Colonel Tahir Mehmood said security forces have destroyed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s network in Karachi beyond repair.  
Rangers submitted a one-year review report to the committee and briefed the members about the operation in which they arrested hundreds of alleged criminals since it started on September 7 last year.
Giving numbers, Col Mehmood said more than 3,000 targeted operations were carried out in the crime-infested port city and and around 5,500 suspects were rounded up. He said around 2,300 were handed over to the police while more than 4,000 weapons were seized during the raids.
Col Mehmood informed the committee that land grabbing and street crime do not fall under the jurisdiction of Rangers, however, they have submitted a summary to the premier on how these crimes can be controlled.
Speaking about targets achieved in Lyari, the Rangers official said incidents of kidnapping and extortion have reduced by 55% since the beginning of the operation. Col Mehmood said the law and order situation improved in the neighbourhood as Rangers have set up pickets in the area.
Briefing the committee about what transpired on the night of September 24 when Rangers personnel arrested MQM members, Col Mehmood said the security officials went inside party office after their patrol was fired at in Gulshan-e-Maymar. He said Rangers arrested three target killers during the raid and that many of the arrested MQM workers were released soon after.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Kashmir keeps turning up Editorial: The Hindu

Kashmir keeps turning up

Editorial: The Hindu (India)
THERE has seldom been a time when the domestic politics of India and Pakistan have not intruded into efforts to normalise bilateral relations. When Nawaz Sharif spoke at the United Nations about a plebiscite in Kashmir, the Pakistan prime minister was not so much addressing India as he was audiences back home. Mr. Sharif has not yet emerged fully from his battle for survival against Imran Khan. The cricketer-turned-politician is now planning to widen his protests for Mr. Sharif's resignation. The doggedness with which Mr. Khan is seeking to topple Mr. Sharif, and the parallel demands for regime change by Tahir ul-Qadri, a maverick cleric with a large following, have further weakened Pakistan's democratic moorings. The pakistan prime minister's tense relations with the army for a host of reasons -- his determination to punish former army chief Pervez Musharraf for the 1999 coup, and his avowed desire for friendly ties with India, to cite just two -- have compounded his insecurity. There is no doubt that the New York speech was a move by Mr. Sharif to blunt criticism by his opponents and detractors that he has been soft on India, and an effort by him to buy some peace with the army. Also, the Modi government's abrupt cancellation of the foreign secretary-level talks last month in retaliation for the Pakistan envoy's discussions with Hurriyat leaders in Delhi, did not help Mr. Sharif's domestic situation. The demands on Kashmir that he pressed at the General Assembly were those he had not raised for years, at least not since the historic 1999 Lahore Declaration, to which he and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee were signatories.
The two sides seem dangerously close to turning the clock back on Kashmir, wiping out the progress made on the issue in the intervening years, when -- if the principal actors of the period are to be believed -- it was “a semicolon away” from resolution. The challenge now before India and Pakistan is to pull back before rhetoric hijacks the debate. That can be done only by restoring the dialogue, not by keeping a finger on the pause button, as India has done. It is encouraging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his speech at the General Assembly, avoided a slanging match with Mr. Sharif, and instead reiterated India's desire for “serious dialogue” with Pakistan in an “atmosphere free of violence.” That Pakistan remains eager to grasp the offer was evident in the conciliatory remarks made to The Hindu by Sartaj Aziz, adviser on foreign affairs to Mr. Sharif, after Mr. Modi's speech. Enough opportunities for dialogue have been lost already. India and Pakistan cannot risk the dangers created by a vacuum in diplomacy.

Fundamental Rights and the Kashmiri Refugee Vote, by Mazhar Iqbal

Fundamental Rights and the Kashmiri Refugee Vote
by Mazhar Iqbal   |  September 29, 2014
The current situation of fundamental rights of people in Pakistan Administered Kashmir and Kashmiri refugees in Pakistan poses news challenges. The Supreme Court of the region has initiated a scrutiny of legal and constitutional implications of the proposed abolition of 12 refugee seats in the house of 49 members.
In last June, a petition was filed for the cancellation of the refugees’ seats in the Legislative Assembly of Pakistan Administered Kashmir. The petitioners claimed that the symbolic representation of people from Indian Jammu and Kashmir through those who migrated from there to Pakistan was in utter disregard of the fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan Administered Kashmir.
The part of Jammu and Kashmir that is under Pakistan’s control has a parliamentary democratic system.  Prime Minister of Pakistan Administered Kashmir (commonly known as Azad Kashmir) is the executive head and President is constitutional head. The parliamentary democratic setup in this part of the disputed region was introduced in 1970 on the basis of adult franchise.
The Pakistan Administered Kashmir Legislative Assembly comprises of 41 directly elected and 8 indirectly elected members, bringing the total number to 49. Of the 41 directly elected members, 6 are elected by people who had migrated from Jammu region, 6 by the refugees of Kashmir region and 21 by the people of Pakistan Administered Kashmir.
In electoral process, refugee seats play a pivotal role as they are easier to win. In order to secure a government in Pakistan Administered Kashmir, the contesting parties consider it vital to get a sweeping victory on those seats.
However, every election highlights the anomalies and violations of civil liberties in electoral system of the region. There has been a growing concern in various segments of society that allocation of seats in Pakistan Administered Kashmir Legislative Assembly is highly disproportional.  For example, it is believed by some of the key political players that Jammu is under represented while Kashmiri refugees are over represented.
A US researcher Cabeiri deBergh Robinson suggests that refugee seats in Pakistan Administered Kashmir Legislative Assembly represent an important symbolic claim, which gives legitimacy of on-going political system over all the people of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir as a whole.
Her research also highlights that the legal provisions that created the presumption of return arose out of a specific historical context. There is nothing inherently unalterable about them. Such representation is more like a gesture of goodwill aimed at showing solidarity with Kashmiris in Indian Jammu and Kashmir than actually addressing their social and political issues.
Initially, the Kashmiri refugees were kept in temporary settlements in various cities of Pakistan pending the final decision of the Kashmir dispute. However, later, they got permanent settlement in different cities and towns in almost all over Pakistan.  There were further phases of refugee movement in 1965 and 1971 wars between India and Pakistan. Another significant arrival of Kashmiri refugees was witnessed after the insurgency movement in late 80s.
Those settled in interior Pakistan have got dual voting rights. They can vote in Pakistan’s national and provincial assembly elections and also in Pakistan Administered Kashmir Legislative Assembly elections. However, the representation of people of Pakistan Administered Kashmir and refugees, who are housed in camps in Pakistan Administered Kashmir, is believed to be inconsistent with the size of the population.
Mobilizing social and economic resources in the aftermath of a conflict is a key factor in re-establishing sustainable communities. Despite of issues of governance, malpractices of local politicians in allocation of resources and controversies about Pakistan’s role in Kashmir affairs, people of this region are strong believers in democratic values. Equally, the Kashmiri refugee participation in local political system symbolically and materially demonstrates and reinforces the continuity of political role of various segments of Kashmiri society.
Division after division and decades of forced migration have created a plethora of complex manifestations all around the world. Kashmir is not aloof from such tyranny of history.