Saturday, January 31, 2009



In a desperate attempt to secure a pause in the fighting in the Vanni area of Northern Sri Lanka in order to be able to regroup, the LiberationTigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been emulating the tactics of human shields or human buffers used by the Hizbollah in the Lebanon in2006 and by the Hamas in Gaza recently to slow down the Israeli military strikes.

2. While refusing to let the civilians in the areas still controlled by it to move to the safe zones proclaimed by the Sri Lankan Governmentunder the pretext that the civilians cannot be forced to move against their will unless there is an internationally-guaranteed ceasefire, it hasactivated the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in the West and Australia to demonstrate in large numbers in the streets to highlight the plight ofthe civilians. It has mobilised the support of foreign human rights organisations on this issue. Impressive demonstrations were held by largenumbers of Sri Lankan Tamils in different Western cities on January 31,2009.

3. At the same time, pro-LTTE web sites have been highlighting the protests launched by some political parties and by some sections ofstudents and lawyers in Tamil Nadu against the alleged violations of the human rights of the Sri Lankan Tamils and their calls for Indianintervention in support of the Sri Lankan Tamils. They have been trying to project as if the protest campaign in Tamil Nadu has beengathering momentum.

4. Some of the pro-LTTE web sites in the Tamil language have been carrying inflammatory articles projecting India as the villain forallegedly providing military assistance to Sri Lanka in its counter-terrorism campaign against the LTTE. They indirectly admit that duringthe last two years the LTTE has suffered a series of set-backs and attribute these set-backs to the assistance allegedly given by India tothe Sri Lankan Army.

5. One such article calls upon the members of the Sri Lankan diaspora abroad to hold continuous demonstrations outside Indian diplomaticmissions in protest against India's role in Sri Lanka. The pro-LTTE web sites have been directing their criticism against the Government ofIndia as well as the Congress (I), which is projected as the "Sonia Congress". Some of the criticism is personally directed at Mrs.SoniaGandhi.

6. They have been accusing the Congress (I) of taking vengeance on the Sri Lankan Tamil community for the assassination of Rajiv Gandhiin 1991. (1-2-2009)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For TopicalStudies, Chennai. E-mail: )



These are comments sent by me on a draft paper prepared by a US think-tank----B.Raman

a). India has terrorism of various hues----separatist, ethnic, ideological (Maoist), and jihadi (indigenous as well as originating from Pakistan and Bangladesh). Till 2007, only the jihadi terrorists originating from the Pakistan-Afghanistan region had shown a worrisome interest in using the Internet for operational purposes---- such as propaganda, communications,motivation, training, data-mining and disruption. The interest of other terrorist groups in the Internet remained confined to propaganda and psy-war and communications. They did not show any interest in the use of the Internet for disruptionn purposes..

(b). Jihadi terrorists operating in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region, including Al Qaeda, have been exhibiting an increasing mastery of the use of the Internet for propaganda, communications, motivation, recruitment and training, but one has not seen any confirmed instance of their using or attempting to use the Internet for disruption purposes.

(c).Neither Pakistan nor Afghanistan has a large reservoir of IT-savvy anti-Western Muslims. India has a reservoir, but it cannot as yet be described as large. So too, the Pakistani and Indian Muslim diaspora in the West. Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda organisations are focussing on them for the recruitment of their future IT warriors. The Indian Mujahideen has come to notice for recruiting at least three , but they were used for primitive purposes such as sending claims of responsibility without being traced back.

(d). Indian Muslims are technically less qualified than the rest of the population, but better educated and qualified than the Muslims in most of the Islamic world. They have the same access to IT education as a person of any other religion and the same job opportunity. As Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda organisations start looking for recruits with a capability for disruption, they are likely to depend increasingly on the IT-savvy Muslims of India and the Indian and Pakistani Muslim diaspopra in the West.

(e). How to disrupt their efforts at such recruitment? That is a question, which would the need the attention of the intelligence agencies of India and the West.

(f). All Islamic fundamentalist organisations----including the Taliban---- have realised the importance of IT.The curricula of most madrasas exclude physical sciences, western philosophy, logic, etc, but include training in the use of computers, which are seen as an asset for waging a jihad. In the 1990s, I had contributed to the quarterly journal of the United Service Institution of India, based in New Delhi,two articles on likely future threats from "microchip moles" and the computer as a "weapon of mass disruption." These threats have not yet materialised, but it is only a question of time before they do. A weapon of mass destruction requires qualified manpower, financial resources and a place to test away from the attention of the intelligence agencies. A weapon of mass disruption requires only qualified manpower and limited financial resources. This is a weapon which can be launched from anywhere. In most cases, the intelligence agencies will become aware of one's capability in the field only after one has used it and not before.

(g). State-spnsored cyber war, that is, the use of lone wolf cyber warriors by States for achieving their intelligence-collection and disruption objectives, is a threat, which is already staring us in the face. Deniability is strong in the case of state-sponsored cyber warriors. Protective technology has to keep ahead of technology, which lends itself to disruptive uses. Is it doing so? (1-2-09)

Friday, January 30, 2009



In the wake of the visit of our Foreign Minister, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, to Colombo for talks with the Sri Lankan President, Mr.Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Tamilnet, the web site in the English language associated with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), has disseminated on January 30,2009, an article attributed to "a political analyst in Vanni", which has accused "the present Indian Establishment run by Sonia Congress of waging its own proxy war in the island of Sri Lanka, concurrent to Colombo's war against Tamil Nationalism."

2. The article, which evidently represents the views of the LTTE leadership, warns the "Indian Establishment" as follows: "In its frustration arising from its incapability of achieving anything positive, India is not only heading for maintaining perpetual trouble in Sri Lanka, but also is inviting turmoil to a part of its own country." It also says: "The net result of the Indian game, without enjoying any popular support from any quarter concerned, can only be autocratic and will prove to be devastating to the entire island. Repercussions arising from resentment, coupled with re-emergence of a dormant LTTE, will only see a raging political inferno and bloodbath. This time the war is not going to be confined to the island of Sri Lanka, but will be fought involving Tamil Nadu too."

3. It further says: "It ( the Indian Establishment) also doesn’t want to see Tamil nationalism or an independent Tamil nation state in the island, but it is accountable to the people of Tamil Nadu. Public opinion is important to continue the ‘dynasty’ in the throne of Delhi. Above all it has to maintain ‘checks and balances’ with Colombo. What it is desperately attempting now is re-organization of its own quislings among Eezham Tamils with promises of arranging political solution, aiming to replace LTTE leadership. But the important qualification to become a quisling, as specified by the Indian recruiting agents, is to drop the Tamil national aspiration. Soon one may find a set of propped up leaders, camouflaged initiatives in the diaspora and international conferences in New Delhi. But, for everything, the war has to be over soon at least with the semblance of conclusiveness. If it doesn’t end soon, indications are there that the Indian establishment may even physically try a hand at it, as time is running out for it with elections around the corner in April.Already there are reports of the physical presence of Indian soldiers in the war front and recent Indian supplies of tanks and aircraft to Colombo’s arsenal. Whatever India may do to Sri Lanka to win the war against Tamils, it is never going to get the reward of popular support to any of its aims from the Sinhala masses. The popularity of the ruling Indian Establishment is at its lowest ebb in Tamil Nadu. Its name has become repulsive to Eezham Tamils. Having all these discredits on its side, what really India can achieve in bringing out an acceptable political solution is anybody’s guess. The present Indian Establishment is simply incapable of doing anything constructively new, other than destroying Tamil safeguards."

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )

Thursday, January 29, 2009



"An organisation headed by a leader, who understands only terrorism, is unlikely to rehabilitate itself in the eyes of the internationalcommunity. Prabakaran is a liability for the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Tamils in the post-9/11 world. The time has come for the LTTE leadersand the Sri Lankan Tamils---including their overseas diaspora--- to do an introspection on their future course of action. If they have topreserve the gains made by thousands of their cadres since 1983, they have to find a new leadership. Prabakaran is no longer the man ofthe future. He is passe. He has become a liability for the Tamil cause. The sooner the Sri Lankan Tamils realise it, the better for them."

---------- Extract from my article of January 22,2007, titled LTTE AVOIDS BATTLE OF ATTRITION IN THE EAST available at

The reports regarding the desperate plight of about 1,50,000 Sri Lankan Tamils caught up between an advancing Sri Lankan Army and aretreating Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the Wanni area of northern Sri Lanka are confusing.

2. Many have reportedly died and many, including many children, have been injured in the exchange of artillery fire between the two sides.In a situation like this, it is impossible to establish whose artillery killed whom. All one can say is that innocent civilians are paying a heavyprice for the heavy exchange of artillery.

3. The Sri Lankan Army is disinclined to agree to a ceasefire to let the civilians be evacuated by the International Committee of the RedCross (ICRC) lest the LTTE take advantage of it to regroup. The LTTE is disinclined to let the civilians move to the safety zones set up by theGovernment lest this facilitate the advance of the Army.

4. The international community, including the Government of India, are unable to effectively bring pressure on both sides to help out thecivilians. The Sri Lankan Army has estimated that it is only a few weeks away from totally eliminating the capability of the LTTE forconventional fighting and it is determined to achieve that objective even at the risk of some collateral damage to the civilians. The LTTE isafraid that if it lets the civilians go, it will have a face-to-face confrontation with the Army in which it is unlikely to do well.

5. Prabakaran, who is believed to be still commanding the retreating LTTE fighters, does not seem to realise that the chances of the LTTEstaging a spectacular come-back as it did in the 1990s and recaptured Kilinochchi and Mulaithivu are remote. The loss of control overterritory in the Northern Province is not so devastaing for him as the loss of control over the Tamil population in the Eastern Province. In thepast, many of the conventional fighters of the LTTE came from the Eastern Province and many of the terrorists from the Northern Province.It is no longer possible for him to get new recruits from the Eastern Province. The recent fighting in the North has indicated that the LTTE'sshortages in arm and ammunition and explosives are much more serious than originally estimated. With the rapidly decreasing possibility offinding replacement of human and material resources, his chances of staging a come-back conventionally are much less than what theywere in the 1990s.

6. The terrorist wing of the LTTE also seems to be facing severe problems due to a shortage of explosive material, a drop in volunteers forsuicide terrorism and the lack of time and space in the midst of a furious conventional war to motivate and train new volunteers and mountoperations.

7. The use of the civilians to avert an impending final defeat on the ground should be condemned by all the political parties in Tamil Nadu,by the Government of India and the international community. Prabakaran has been living in a world of illusions just as Hitler was in the final days of the defeat of the Nazi Army before he and his mistress committed suicide in a Berlin bunker to avoid being captured by theadvancing Soviet Army. Till he decided to kill himself, Hitler was fondly hoping that a reversal of fortunes was still possible.So too,Prabakaran seems to be having a fond hope that he and his men can stage a come-back even at this stage.

8. It is time for the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora to assert itself and call upon the LTTE cadres to overthrow Prabakaran and other leaders,arrest them, hand them over to the Sri Lankan authorities and proclaim a unilateral ceasefire. It is time for the diaspora to come to termswith the reality and act before more civilians are killed.If they fail to do so and continue to encourage Prabakaran in his irrational illusions,history will judge them harshly. ( 29-1-09)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For TopicalStudies, Chennai. E-mail: )

Tuesday, January 27, 2009



President Barack Obama has been in office hardly for a week now. It will be too early to expect a comprehensive security strategy in thePakistan-Afghanistan region to emerge from his administration. All one can say is that an exercise to evolve a strategy, which will beconsiderably different from that followed by George Bush, has been undertaken at various levels in the White House itself, in the NationalSecurity Council, in the State Department and in the Pentagon and that some Pakistani analysts such as Ahmed Rashid, the well-knownAfghan expert, are playing an active behind-the-scene role in this exercise There has been no involvement of any Indian analyst----eitherIndia or US based--- in this exercise. As a result, non-American inputs for this exercise have been coming largely from Pakistan.

2. On the basis of the initial comments of Obama himself, Vice-President Joe Biden, Richard Holbrooke, the newly-appointed SpecialRepresentative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and others, one could already make a reasonable assessment that certain aspects of thepolicy followed by the Bush Administration are unlikely to change and that certain other aspects are likely to change.

3. What are the aspects that are unlikely to change?

The US commitment to the war against the remnants of Al Qaeda operating from sanctuaries in the Pakistani territory till Al Qaeda ceases to be a threat to the security of the US homeland and US interests abroad. This commitment is expected to be reinforced with the induction of more US troops (an estimate given is about 30,000) into Afghanistan. The US is prepared to face the risk of increased American fatalities resulting from this surge.

The primacy given by the Bush administration to the military option will stay.Holbrooke has been quoted as saying on January 25,2009: " We plan to work closely with General Petraeus, Centcom, Admiral Mullen, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General McKiernan and the command in Afghanistan, to create a more coherent programme.”

The rules of engagement against suspected terrorists operating from the Pakistani territory as formulated by the Bush Administration will be adhered to. These rules provided for unilateral Predator (unmanned aircraft) strikes against suspected terrorist hide-outs in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan without prior intimation to Pakistan lest the information leak out. Such strikes in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) will be more an exception than the rule and will be avoided in Balochistan where the command and contreol of the Afghan Neo Taliban, headed by its Amir Mulla Mohammad Omar, is allegedly based. There has already been at least one--possibly two--- Predator strikes in Pakistani territory after Obama assumed office. The Bush policy of avoiding ground strikes in Pakistani territory unless there is specific intelligence about the presence of high-value targets such as Osama bin Laden himself and his No.2 Ayman al-Zawahiri will continue.

4. What are the aspects that could change as a result of the on-going exercise?

A greater priority to non-military aid to Pakistan than to military aid as was the case under Bush.

Linking all aid----whether military or non-military---- to Pakistan's performance in acting against Al Qaeda and the Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistani territory. In an article, which appeared in the "Foreign Affairs" magazine last year, Holbrooke said that the Obama Administration would face many tough challenges with regard to the war in Afghanistan and global peace, but the toughest was the insurgent sanctuaries in the tribal areas of Pakistan. There will, however, be no such linkage with the Pakistani action against anti-India terrorist sanctuaries such as those of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET, which was involved in the terrorist attack in Mumbai from November 26 to 29,2008. The pressure on Pakistan in respect of Al Qaeda and the Taliban will be diplomatic as well as punitive. There will be no punitive element in respect of the anti-India terrorist infrastructure.

A greater attention to the political dimensions of the security strategy than was given under the Bush Administration. While continuing to say that the US wants to strengthen democracy and improve governance in both Pakistan and Afgfhanistan, but has no interest in specific personalities, the Obama Administration will work discreetly to strengthen the position of Asif Ali Zardari in Pakistan and to have Hamid Karzai eased out-----if possible, before the Afghan Presidential elections due in October,2009, or at least during the elections. Obama's advisers are evidently worried that if Zardari is discredited and falls, his replacement may be either the army or Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League, who has been strongly critical of the US policies in the region. Obama and his advisers do not feel comfortable with either.Disappointment with the alleged unsatisfactory record of Karzai----without, however, namimg him--- whether in improving governance or security is evident in all statements on Afghanistan emanating from Obama and his entourage.

Giving a more strategic dimension to the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban than was done under the Bush Administration. It is in the context of this strategtic dimension that one has been seeing repeatedly comments from Obama and others about the need for a regional approach----whether in relation to the restoration of normalcy in Afghanistan or the fight against jihadi terrorism emanating from the Pakistani territory.

5. India comes into their policy calculations with regard to this regional approach. Pakistani analysts such as Ahmed Rashid have been ableto sell the idea to the advisers of Obama that a regional approach to the question of restoration of normalcy In Afghanistan would have toaddress the concerns of the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment over what they view as the increasing Indian presence inAfghanistan. This presence is viewed by the military-intelligence establishment as detrimental to Pakistan's historic interests in Afghanistanand its internal security, particularly in Balochistan. Till 2004, the Bush Administration was attentive to Pakistani concerns and sought todiscourage an increase in the Indian presence in Afghanistan. Its policy changed thereafter due to the belief that greater interactionsbetween India and Afghanistan could contribute to the strengthening of democracy and governance in Afghanistan.

6. Similarly, analysts such as Ahmed Rashid have been able to convince Obama and his advisers that without a more active role by the US infacilitating a search for a solution to the Kashmir issue, there will be no incentive for Pakistan to act sincerely and effectively against theterrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory. The Bush Administratiion was disinclined to follow an activist policy on Kashmir and acceptedIndia's stand that it was a bilteral issue between India and Pakistan in which others should have no role. Obama and his advisers areprepared to revisit this policy, if not immediately, at a later date.

7. In response to Indian sensitivities, the announcement regarding the appointment of Holbrooke and his terms of reference have avoidedany reference to India or Kashmir. Despite this, it was clear from the confident remarks of Ahmed Rashid in his interview to Karan Thapartelecast by the CNBC-TV 18 TV channel on January 27,2009,that while Kashmir may not figures in his terms of reference just now, thequestion of addressing Pakistani concerns over India's relations with Afghanistan would be very much part of his agenda even though notopenly so stated. According to Ahmed Rashid, for this purpose Holbrooke will have to interact with India. There are wheels within wheelsand invisible hyphens within hyphens in the whole exercise relating to Obama's policy making on the security strategy in this region and theexpected role of Holbrooke in it.

8. It is important for India to make it clear to the Obama Administration at an appropriate stage that any departures from the past USpolicies on these two issues will have a negative impact on the growing strategic relationship between India and the US. A frank and firmexpression of the Indian views on this subject and a strict adherence to those views in our policy-making will be necessary not on the basisof what interested analysts such as Ahmed Rashid have been saying, but in response to any discreet pressures from the ObamaAdministration. (28-1-09)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For TopicalStudies, Chennai. E-mail: )

Monday, January 26, 2009



(Written exclusively for the journal of the Elcano Institute of Madrid at their request. Cannot be reproduced until their journal carries it )

THEME: Prospects for Indo-Pakistan relations after the terrorist attack in Mumbai from November 26 to 29,2008.

SUMMARY: The terrorist attack in Mumbai from November 26 to 29,2008, has caused renewed tensions in Indo-Pakistan relations. While fears of a military confrontation have subsided, the bilateral dialogue on various political and economic issues is in a state of suspension. A return to the pre-November 26 civility in bilateral relations and a resumption of the dialogue could be delayed by the temporary absence of India’s Prime Minister, Dr.Manmohan Singh, from his duties due to a cardiac surgery and the forthcoming elections to the Lok Sabha, the lower House of the Indian Parliament, which have to be held by April,2009. If there is another terrorist attack from Pakistani territory, the possibility of India exercising a military strike against the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory will increase. The revival of the unwise talk in the West about a linkage between terrorism against India and Kashmir has created a dangerous impression in the minds of the Pakistani military leadership that the use of terrorism has started paying results. This impression could come in the way of Pakistan sincerely acting against the terrorists. Therein lies the danger of a future military conflict between the two countries on the issue of terrorism. If that happens, the West will be largely to blame for creating such an impression in the minds of the Pakistani military and intelligence establishment.

ANALYSIS: 138 Indian nationals and 25 foreigners----nine of them Jewish persons from Israel and the US---- were killed when 10 Pakistani nationals belonging to a Pakistani jihadi organization called the Lashkar-e-Toiba (Army of the Pure) , who had clandestinely traveled by sea from Karachi without being intercepted by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard, landed in Mumbai, split into four groups and spread death and destruction in the sea front area of Mumbai for about 60 hours from the night of November 26,2008, till the morning of November 29, 2008.

Five of the fatalities were caused by explosives and the remaining 158 by hand-held weapons (assault rifles and hand-grenades). This was the third act of mass casualty terrorism with fatalities of over 150 in the Indian territory outside Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) since jihadi terrorism made its appearance in India in 1989. All the three were committed in Mumbai, which is the financial capital of India. It is also the corporate capital of India with many of the Indian and foreign corporate houses having their headquarters in Mumbai. In the first act in March,1993, a group of Indian Muslims trained and armed by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) carried out a series of timed explosions against a number of economic targets and killed 257 civilians. In the second incident in July,2006, 181 commuters and others were killed when a mixed group of Indian and Pakistani Muslims trained and armed by the LET in Pakistani territory carried out a series of explosions in suburban trains.

The November 26, 2008, attack differed from the earlier mass casualty attacks in some important aspects. Firstly, 158 out of the 163 fatalities were caused by hand-held weapons. Explosives played a minor role in the attack. Secondly, the terrorists attacked a mix of targets---- ordinary people in public places such as a railway terminus, a hospital, a restaurant, a café etc and the affluent social and business elite ---Indians as well as foreigners--- in two principal hotels of Mumbai , namely, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi/Trident hotels and in a Jewish religious-cum-cultural centre located in a building called the Nariman House. Thirdly, they killed a selected group of foreigners---- nine from Israel and 12 from the US and other Western countries who had contributed troops to the NATO contingent in Afghanistan. The other four were from South-East Asian countries. Fourthly, it was not a classical case of hostage-taking. They were not interested in using the hostages for achieving any demands. Their interest was in a prolonged armed confrontation with the security forces, which would get them publicity. Fifthly, all the 10 perpetrators were Pakistanis specially recruited and trained by the LET in camps in Pakistani territory. Sixthly, it was a case of suicidal terrorism similar to what one had witnessed during the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13,2001. Nine of the terrorists died in the confrontation with the security forces. One ----Ajmal Amir Kasab---was caught alive.

The terrorists had a mix of motives. They wanted to weaken the credibility of the Indian counter-terrorism machinery in the eyes of the Indian public as well as the foreigners. They wanted to shake the confidence of the foreign business community in the ability of the Indian State to protect the lives and property of foreign business people and thereby retard the rise of India as a major economic power. They wanted to punish Israel and the US for their developing strategic relations with India. They wanted to retaliate against Western nations contributing troops to the NATO contingent in Afghanistan. Neither the Kashmir issue nor the grievances of the Indian Muslims against the Government of India had motivated the terrorist strike as it had in the earlier two instances of mass casualty terrorism, in which the anger of sections of the Indian Muslim youth against the Government of India for various reasons was the dominant motive.

The successful terrorist strike was a major political embarrassment for the Government of India. It came after four other major terrorist strikes with timed explosions in public places, which had taken place during 2008 in Jaipur (May,2008), Bangalore (July,2008), Ahmedabad (July,2008) and Delhi (September,2008). The perpetrators in these four attacks were young Indian Muslims, who projected themselves as belonging to an organization called the Indian Mujahideen. They denied they had any links either with Pakistan’s ISI or with any of the jihadi organizations based in Pakistan. Many of those involved in the explosions had studied in secular educational institutions. Three of them were experts in information technology, with one of them occupying a well-paid position in the Indian office of an American IT company. These explosions caused considerable anger against the Government of India for following what was perceived as a soft counter-terrorism strategy marked by a reluctance to act against Muslims involved in terrorism because of what is called in India as the “vote bank politics”. There are over 160 million Muslims in India and their votes are important in certain States----particularly in North India.

It was alleged that electoral calculations came in the way of the Government of India following a stronger policy towards jihadi terrorism by giving the police the additional powers that they needed and setting up a central agency for a co-ordinated investigation of terrorist attacks. However, these explosions did not cause any undue public anger against Pakistan because there was no involvement of any Pakistani national and there was no reason to suspect the involvement of the ISI.

As against this, the Mumbai terrorist attack of 26/11 caused an outburst of public anger against the Government of India as well as against Pakistan. The public anger against the Government of India was because of its failure to revamp the counter-terrorism machinery. There was a colossal failure of physical and coastal security in Mumbai despite the reports received from the Indian and American intelligence in September,2008, about the plans of the LET to launch a sea-borne terrorist attack on some hotels on the Mumbai sea front. The Taj Mahal Hotel was specifically mentioned in these reports as one of the likely targets of the terrorists. The public anger against the Government of India was also due to its perceived failure to put a stop to the ISI’s use of terrorism as a weapon against India for achieving Pakistan’s strategic objectives.

Pakistan’s strategic objectives have been three in number. Firstly, to change the status quo in J&K and force the Government of India to reach a compromise with Pakistan which will concede at least part of the territory to Pakistan. Secondly, to hinder the emergence of India as a major power of the Asian region on par with China. This is an objective which Pakistan and China share. Thirdly, to disrupt the growing strategic relationship of India with the US and Israel. While China has no reasons to be worried over India’s relations with Israel, it is concerned over the growing military--military co-operation between India and the US-----particularly over the co-operation between the two navies and their joint exercises in the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. It suspects that this Indo-US co-operation is directed at containing the Chinese naval power.

The public anger against the Government of India and Pakistan after the Mumbai attack was unprecedented. One had not seen such anger even after the attempted terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament House in New Delhi on December 13,2001 by some terrorists belonging to the LET and another Pakistani jihadi terrorist organization called the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM). This unprecedented public anger was due to the fact that the terrorists of the LET targeted at Mumbai the cream of the cream of India’s business and social elite. In the past, large sections of this elite used to exercise restraint on Government’s policies towards Pakistan and advocated confidence-building measures and more people-to-people contacts. They were outraged that despite their past benign role towards Pakistan, they should have been targeted and attacked by the terrorists.

Mumbai contributes a substantial share of the tax revenue of the Government of India. It also contributes a substantial portion of the advertisement revenue of the Indian media, particularly the privately-owned electronic media. Influential sections of the media were in the forefront of those demanding immediate action to empower the intelligence agencies and the police to deal more effectively with jihadi terrorism and to counter Pakistan’s continued use of terrorism against India. Many so-called doves of the past became hawks with regard to Pakistan post-26/11.

Faced with this unprecedented anger, the Government of India could not but act. Shivraj Patil, who was the Minister in charge of the Home Ministry, which is responsible, inter alia, for counter-terrorism, resigned in response to public demands for action against him. Legislation was passed post-hate by the Parliament with the support of most political parties to give additional powers to the Police and to create a national investigation agency. Other action was initiated by P.Chidambaram, the new Home Minister, to revamp the counter-terrorism machinery. The Navy and the Coast Guard were ordered to strengthen coastal security in the waters to the West of India which had remained relatively neglected till recently because of the Indian Navy’s over-focus on the waters to the East of India because of the China factor and the opportunity it provided for power-projection in the friendly South-East Asian region.

In response to the demand not only from large sections of the public but also from influential sections of the media for action against Pakistan, the Government adopted a nuanced policy. While dangling the Damocle’s sword of military strikes against the anti-India terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory through repeated statements by Pranab Mukherjee, India’s Minister for External Affairs, that “all options are open”, it avoided the actual mobilization of the armed forces on the ground and their deployment on the border with Pakistan as the predecessor Government of Atal Behari Vajpayee had done in 2002 after the attempted attack on the Indian Parliament. It froze the bilateral dialogue process on various issues, including Kashmir, without officially abandoning it, thereby keeping open the possibility of reviving it at a later date if Pakistan satisfied India’s demands. It stepped up diplomatic pressure on Pakistan----directly as well as through the US and other Western supporters of Pakistan--- to act as demanded by India.

India’s demands have been three in number. First, the arrest and handing over to India of the Pakistan-based operatives of the LET who have been named by the lone terrorist survivor as the brains behind the terrorist attack. Second, the dismantling of the anti-India terrorist infrastructure of the LET and other Pakistani jihadi organizations in Pakistani territory. Third, it also revived a long-pending demand for the arrest and handing over of 20 other suspects---- Indians as well as Pakistanis, Muslims as well as Sikhs---- wanted for prosecution in India on charges of terrorism.

Since the Mumbai attack lasted about 60 hours and targeted not only Indian nationals, but also nationals of Israel, the US, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Australia , the intelligence agencies of Israel, the US and the UK had also been closely monitoring the conversations of the terrorists over mobile phone with their headquarters in Pakistan. Moreover, even before 26/11, the US intelligence, at the same time as the Indian intelligence, had collected advance intelligence about the plans of the Pakistan-based LET to launch a sea-borne attack on some hotels in Mumbai. Thus, all these intelligence agencies independently of their Indian counterparts had collected intelligence which convinced them that the attack was made by 10 Pakistani terrorists of the LET, who had traveled to Mumbai by sea. They also had a lot of intelligence in their archives, which showed that the ISI had been using since 1993 the LET against India. However, they were not prepared to accept the Indian allegation that the 26/11 attack was masterminded by the ISI. They continue to insist that they have seen no evidence to show that the ISI was behind the attack, as alleged by India.

The Western approach has been to continue exercising pressure on Pakistan to arrest those involved in Pakistani territory and either hand them over to India or prosecute them before a Pakistani court and to dismantle the anti-India terrorist infrastructure. Initially, Pakistan totally denied the involvement of any Pakistani national or organization. Now, under sustained US pressure, it has admitted that the terrorist caught alive by the Mumbai police is a Pakistani national. It has set up a team of three senior officers of its Federal Investigation Agency to enquire into Indian allegations of the involvement of the LET and has promised to prosecute before its courts anyone found involved. How sincerely it will carry out this promise remains to be seen.

In response to a post-26/11 resolution of the UN Security Council’s Anti-Terrorism committee declaring the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD), the Pakistan-based political wing of the LET, and some of its leaders as involved in terrorism, it has placed the leaders under house arrest and has claimed to have closed down some of their training camps and taken over the management of the madrasas and medical centres run by the JUD at its headquarters at Muridke, near Lahore. How far this is true remains to be seen.

China’s attitude in respect of Pakistani use of terrorism against India has always been marked by double standards. It has consistently refused to admit that there has been any terrorism in J&K. It shares Pakistan’s description of the terrorism in J&K as a freedom struggle. It does accept that some jihadi groups have been indulging in acts of terrorism in Indian territory outside J&K. At the same time, it is not prepared to accept that Pakistan-based organizations are involved in these acts.

The resolution for declaring the JUD as a terrorist organization and some of its leaders as international terrorists was repeatedly coming up before the committee of the UNSC since April, 2006. The resolution on this subject failed to obtain a consensus thrice due to opposition from China, which accepted the Pakistani claim that the JUD was a charitable and not a terrorist organization. Only after 26/11, it joined the consensus in declaring the JUD as a terrorist organization. That too only after Pakistan had told Beijing that it would have no objection to the resolution being passed. But, even now, China has not come out in support of the Indian demand for action against the Pakistani nationals involved in 26/11 and dismantling the anti-India terrorist infrastructure.

The uncertainty and concern over the possible Chinese attitude in the event of India launching military strikes against the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory is one of the factors coming in the way of a military strike by India. China has a long-pending claim to the Tawang area of Arunachal Pradesh in India’s North-East adjoining the Tibetan border. The border negotiations between the two countries have not made any progress because of the Chinese refusal to give up their claim to the Tawang Tract. There is reason to fear that if India is engaged in a military conflict with Pakistan, the Chinese might take advantage of it to occupy Tawang.

Immediately after the 26/11 attack, the West was totally behind India. Pakistan stood isolated. But, through skilful diplomacy, it has managed to come out of this isolation by projecting itself as willing to undertake a thorough investigation of the Indian allegations and prosecute those found guilty and by once again selling to the West its idea that any enduring end to terrorism will not be possible without addressing the Kashmir issue.

Even before 26/11, President Barack Obama and his advisers were expressing the view that the Kashmir question has to be addressed as part of a regional approach to the threat from jihadi terrorism in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region. During his recent visit to India and Pakistan in the middle of January, David Miliband, the British Foreign Secretary, spoke of the linkage between Kashmir and the activities of the LET. India has indignantly denied any such linkage and pointed out that the terrorists, who attacked Mumbai, had nothing to do with Kashmir. Their objectives were more global than sub-continental and directed against Israel, the US and the rest of the West.

CONCLUSION: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has skillfully handled the wave of public anger against his own Government for inaction and against Pakistan for using terrorism against India. He has undertaken measures for strengthening the counter-terrorism machinery, which he had been avoiding till now out of electoral considerations. He and his new Home Minister P.Chidambaram have been projecting these measures as directed against terrorism and not against the Muslim community. In response to the public clamour for action against Pakistan, his Government through Pranab Mukherjee, his Minister for External Affairs, has mounted a diplomatic drive to force Pakistan to act against those involved in planning and carrying out the attack and against their terrorist infrastructure. While proclaiming that his Government was prepared to consider any option if Pakistan does not act, he has avoided the military option. He has not allowed the public clamour for a military strike against Pakistan to hustle him into taking the military option. While freezing the bilateral dialogue process, he has avoided a rupture of the normal diplomatic and economic relations with Pakistan. He was admitted into hospital on January 23,2009, for undergoing a cardiac surgery. The surgery, which has been successful, will keep him out of action for about two to three weeks. No major development in Indo-Pakistan relations is expected during this period.

After he resumes normal duties, he is expected to be preoccupied with the forthcoming elections to the Parliament. He would not like to give the opposition parties an opportunity to project him as weak in dealing with Pakistan. He is, therefore, expected to continue his present policy of a dialogue freeze and stepped up political and diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to make it act against the terrorists. If the coalition led by his Congress (I) returns to power and if there is no more major act of terrorism from Pakistani territory, one could see the beginning of a thaw after the elections. However, if the opposition coalition led by the hardline Bharatiya Janata Party returns to power, one could find the present tensions escalating further and the possibility of a military strike against the terrorist infrastructure in the Pakistani territory increasing. The public clamour for action against Pakistan has subsided. It could revive if Pakistan fails to act against the terrorists. If there is another major attack from Pakistani territory, renewed public pressure might leave the Government with no other option but to act against Pakistan----whichever party may be in power.

The revival of the unwise talk in the West about a linkage between terrorism against India and Kashmir has created a dangerous impression in the minds of the Pakistani military leadership and the ISI that the use of terrorism has started paying results. This impression could come in the way of Pakistan sincerely acting against the terrorists. Therein lies the danger of a future military conflict between the two countries on the issue of terrorism. If that happens, the West will be largely to blame for creating such an impression in the minds of the Pakistani military and intelligence establishment. (3500 words)

( The writer had served in the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), India’s external intelligence Agency, since 1968 and had headed its counter-terrorism division for six years before retiring in August,1994. He was a member of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) of the Government of India from 2000 to 2002. E-mail: )

Thursday, January 22, 2009



The counter-terrorism strategy of President Barack Obama will be different from that followed by his predecessor George Bush. The initial emphasis will be on removing the distortions which had crept into the strategy under Bush in the hope that this would create some goodwill for the US in the Islamic world and using the goodwill thus hopefully generated for enlisting the support of the Muslims in the campaign against Al Qaeda.

2. These distortions were in the form of ethically questionable deviations from the traditional US counter-terrorism practices. Examples of such deviations: Treating the terrorist suspects as prisoners of war and keeping them in an army-controlled detention centre in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and subjecting them to trial by a military tribunal instead of by normal courts; renditions, which are nothing but avoiding the due process of the law by taking the suspects for interrogation to co-operating third countries over which the US judiciary will not have any jurisdiction; and tolerance of practices bordering on torture during the interrogation.

3. By issuing an order on the very first day in office suspending the trial before the military tribunal for 120 days, Obama has made clear his determination to do away with these deviations and make US counter-terrorism practices once again acceptable to the civil society as a whole---- in the US itself as well as in the rest of the world.

4. Dick Cheney, Bush's Vice-President, and some professionals of the US intelligence community had convinced Bush that without such deviations it would be difficult to prevail over a dreaded terrorist organisation such as Al Qaeda. Obama, who does not buy such arguments, expects that there would be opposition from these professionals to his attempts to do away with these deviations. That is why he has chosen for the post of the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Leon Panetta , who is not an intelligence professional, but who is believed to agree with Obama that such deviations have done more harm than good to the fight against Al Qaeda and hence need to be abolished. A professional as the head of the CIA might have dragged his feet in implementing the ideas of Obama. In some instances in the past too, when there were allegations of unethical practices by the CIA, US Presidents had brought outsiders to head it to put an end to such practices.

5. Implementing Obama’s ideas with regard to the Guantanamo Bay detention centre is not going to be easy. Only a small number of the nearly 300 detenus there have specific cases going against them. There should be no problem in transferring their cases to normal courts and shifting them to jails in the US. But, the majority of the inmates of the detention centre are preventive detenus, who are suspected to be associated with Al Qaeda, but against whom there is not sufficient evidence for prosecution. What to do with them since it may not be possible to transfer them to jails in the US? If they are handed over to the countries to which they belong and if those countries release them, they might once again join Al Qaeda with renewed anger against the US for keeping them in the detention centre. Some of the detenus----such as the around 15 Uighurs---- are from countries such as China, which might execute them. Winding up the detention centre without adding to the strength of Al Qaeda and without creating new groups of anger against the US is going to be a tricky task.

6. Will the abolition of such practices help Obama in winning the support of the Muslims for the campaign against Al Qaeda? Doubtful. The anger of the Muslims against the US is not only due to such practices, but also due to the indiscriminate use of air strikes in counter-terrorism operations in Iraq as well as in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region. These air strikes have allegedly been causing a large number of civilian casualties. In the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan, the Bush Administration was constrained to increase the number of air strikes by unmanned Predator aircraft of the CIA on suspected Al Qaeda hide-outs because of the unwillingness or inability or both of the Pakistan Army to act on the ground against these hide-outs.

7. Under the Bush Administration, the number of such air strikes increased dramatically from 10 in 2006 and 2007 combined to over 30 in 2008. Only eight of these strikes were successful in killing Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives. Over 22 strikes proved to have been based on incorrect intelligence and resulted in many civilian casualties. The accuracy rate of the US intelligence is not more than one-third of the reports disseminated.

8. Obama, who was critical of the deviations in the treatment of detained terrorist suspects, was not critical of the use of air strikes. In fact, he has promised a more robust and proactive campaign against Al Qaeda than was, according to him, followed under Bush in order to wipe out the surviving leaders of Al Qaeda operating from sanctuaries in the Pakistani territory. Rules of engagement authorizing air and ground strikes against Al Qada hide-outs in the Pakistani territory are favoured not only by the CIA, but also by the US Armed Forces. Thus, Obama cannot but continue the policy of stepped-up air strikes followed by Bush. His ability to do so without adding to the civilian casualties will depend on an improvement in the quality of the intelligence flow. Will the posting of an outsider and a non-professional as the chief of the CIA help in improving the quality of intelligence? If it does not, the goodwill which Obama might earn by abolishing the deviations might be wiped out by the anger over continuing civilian casualties due to inaccurate intelligence.

9. Obama’s objective is to delink Iraq from the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, divert more forces to Afghanistan and concentrate on the fight against them. His ability to divert forces from Iraq to Afghanistan would depend on the present low level of activity by Al Qaeda in Iraq continuing, thereby enabling the US to thin out its presence in Iraq. The low level of activity of Al Qaeda in Iraq is partly due to the parting of the ways between it and the secular Iraqi resistance fighters and the crushing of Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia by the Saudi authorities. Wahabised Saudis constituted a large component of Al Qaeda in Iraq. A decrease in the flow of Saudis has contributed to the weakening of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

10. Will Al Qaeda consider it to be in the interest of the global jihad being waged by it to let the US shift many of its troops to Afghanistan for crushing the Taliban or will it try to step up its activities in the Sunni areas of Iraq in order to frustrate the plans of Obama to shift troops to Afghanistan? To be able to do so, it will need a fresh flow of Arab volunteers. The widespread anger in the Arab world over the Israeli military strikes in Gaza, the perceived US support for Israel in the UN Security Council and the alleged silence of Obama on the issue could help Al Qaeda in its recruitment of new volunteers for keeping the fighting going in Iraq. If it happens, Obama may not be able to delink Iraq from the ongoing war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

11. Al Qaeda and its Arab supporters do not view Obama as a man of change. They see him as no different from Bush and other American leaders so far as support for Israel is concerned. They do not expect any dramatic change in the US attitude towards Israel under him. If they have to hurt Israel, they have to hurt the US. So they think and so they will try to do.

12. How successful will Obama’s counter-terrorism strategy will be will depend not only on how Obama views the war against Al Qaeda. It will also depend on how Al Qaeda views its jihad against the US. Despite the weakening of its position in Iraq and despite its inability to organize any major terrorist strike outside Pakistan and Algeria since the London and Bali blasts of 2005, Al Qaeda does not think it is losing its global jihad against the US and Israel.

13. It may not have had any spectacular gain on the ground since 2005, but it has convinced itself that the economic difficulties faced by the US are only partly due to the mismanagement of the economy by the Bush Administration. In its view----as seen from its recent messages---- the global jihad as waged under its leadership has also contributed to the economic difficulties of the US by forcing it to spend more and more on the war against it. It thinks it is in the interest of the global jihad to force the US to spend more and more thereby aggravating its economic difficulties. For that, the US will have to be kept preoccupied in Afghanistan as well as Iraq. It has been trying to take advantage of the Arab anger over the Israeli military strikes in Gaza to step up its recruitment and increase its activities in Iraq.

14. The weakest point of the still-evolving counter-terrorism strategy of Obama---- as it was with the strategy of Bush---- is its inability to think of a coherent and compelling response to Pakistan’s complicity, if not collusion, with Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the various other pro-Al Qaeda jihadi terrorist groups operating from Pakistani territory. The present Government of President Asif Ali Zirdari---like its predecessor Government of Pervez Musharraf--- is skillfully exploiting the US fears of a jihadi deluge without Pakistan’s co-operation for following a policy of seeming co-operation with the US and covert complicity with the terrorists. Like Bush, Obama too seems reluctant to confront Pakistan with punitive action if it fails to co-operate. Unless and until Pakistan knows that it will suffer if it does not change its present devious policy, things are not going to change. (22-1-09)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


By B.Raman

(What will be the impact of the global financial and economic melt-down on the Chinese economy? This question should be of interest to the other countries of the South and the South-East Asian region. If the Chinese economy is badly affected, they too are likely to feel the negative consequences of the down-turn in the Chinese economy. Keeping this in view, we have been bringing out a periodic "Chinese Economy Monitor" based on open information. This is the fifth in the series)


Fear of social conflicts due to large-scale unemployment among the post-1980 young generation continues to haunt the Chinese authorities. The large number of young people thrown out of jobs as a result of the economic slow-down and the consequent closure of many factories for want of export orders will be joined during the first six months of 2009 by millions of young people coming out of universities and looking for non-existent jobs. June will see the 20th anniversary of the Tienanmen Square student violence of 1989 and its brutal suppression by the Chinese security forces. If the employment situation does not improve by then, there could be a social explosion involving the young unemployed. A large number of older people have also lost their jobs not only in coastal China, but also in Central and Western China, but they are used to hardships and hold the Communist Party in some esteem for what it had done to the people since the economic reforms were introduced in 1978. The younger generation, with no past memories of hardships, is passing through a spell of hardship for the first time in their lives and they may not understand the difficulties of the party and the Government in the same way as the older generation. This is a fear that is haunting the Chinese Communist Party and Government. President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabo have been touring different Chinese provinces affected by the economic slow-down in order to explain the actions taken by the Government to alleviate the difficulties of the people and to appeal for patience. Till now, their appeals have been heard. Will they continue to be heard in the months to come? It needs to be emphasized that the Chinese economy has been doing better than the economies of many other countries, including India. The difficulties have arisen from the drop in the growth rate from above 10 per cent for a number of years, which created a large number of jobs in the consumer industries, to around eight per cent, which has made many jobs superfluous. The situation has been aggravated by the dependence on exports, particularly to the US, to sustain the 10 per cent plus growth rate. The decline in export orders has led to the closure of a large number of small and medium scale enterprises.


2.Economic indicators for China as its economy slows down:

By the end of November,2008, China’s tax revenue declined by three per cent as compared to 2007 as against an increase of 32 per cent in 2007 as compared to 2006.

China’s foreign exchange reserves were estimated to have increased during 2008 by US $ 177 billion only as against an increase of US $ 415 billion in 2007.

The monthly rate of foreign direct investment flows has declined by more than one-third since the summer of 2008.

The combination of a crash in the real estate market and a two-thirds fall in the Chinese stock markets has resulted in many foreign and overseas Chinese investors taking money quietly out of the country despite stringent currency controls.

China’s average monthly trade surplus, which used to amount to US $ 50 billion during the first half of 2008, came down to US $ 40.1 billion in November,2008, and is expected to decrease further to US $ 30 billion.

To meet the needs of the US $ 600 billion stimulus package launched by the Government, the Chinese purchase of US Treasury bonds is expected to come down. By the end of October, China had invested US $ 652.9 billion in US Treasury bonds as compared to US $ 585.5 billion by Japan.

------“ The International Herala Trbune” of January 8,2009.


3.China’s manufacturing sector contracted for the third month in a row in December,2008, but the pace of deterioration slowed as output and new orders improved slightly, according to an official survey. The official Purchasing Manager’s Index or PMI rose to 41.2 in December from the record low of 38.8 in November, 2008. Readings over 50 indicate an expansion of activity, while those below 50 suggest a deterioration. “This month’s PMI shows that the Chinese economy continues to lose momentum, but there are signs of it hovering around a bottom,” said Zhang Liqun, a Government economist. “ As the adjustment in stocks of goods starts to taper off and macro-economic policies start to show results, the slow-down in growth will probably become less pronounced in the future.” Xinhua reported that China’s foreign trade rose by 18 per cent in 2008, but did not give the figures for December, which would give a clearer picture of the health of the economy. Total trade is expected to have reached US $ 2.55 trillion, Xinhua said, citing the Chinese Customs. It said that the trade surplus for 2008 should be about US $ 290 billion. That would be a new annual record, up 10 per cent from a surplus of US $ 262.2 billion in 2007.

-----Reuters dispatch of January 4,2009.


4.“ Without doubt, now we are entering a peak period for mass incidents. This year, Chinese society may face even more conflicts and clashes that will test even more the governing abilities of all levels of the party and the Government. But the biggest threats to China’s social fabric will come from graduating university students facing a shrinking job market and diminished incomes and from a tide of migrant workers, who have lost their jobs as export-driven factories have closed down. Coastal provinces that have provided millions of lowly paid workers with jobs have reported a leap in the number returning to their villages without work. An estimated 10 million rural migrant workers have lost their jobs. Many of them were born after 1980 and lack the endurance for hardship which their elders had. According to one survey, 80 per cent of them would stay back in cities even without jobs. If there is a large number of unemployed migrant workers who cannot find work for six months or longer milling around in cities with no income, the problem will be even more serious. Protests are increasingly politicized, making it harder for officials to douse them by force or cash hand-outs. Social conflicts have already formed a certain social mass base so that as soon as there is an appropriate fuse, it always swiftly explodes and clashes escalate quickly.”

---- Extract from an article with interviews carried by the “Liaowang” (“Outlook”) magazine circulated by the Xinhua news agency as carried by the “The Straits Times” of January 7,2009, of Singapore.


5.During a tour of the export-oriented industries in the Jiangsu province on January 10 and 11,2009, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao was reported to have made the following points:

"Our aim is to be the first to recover from the financial crisis. We must have faith and determination."

The Government will put forward a series of new measures before the annual session of the National People's Congress that begins on March 5, 2009.
Policymakers have used proactive fiscal and moderately loose monetary policies to maintain the economy's momentum. Plus, the Government is drafting another policy package to help nine key industrial sectors hit hard by the global economic downturn.

The National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top planning body, is likely to announce a detailed policy for the auto sector soon. The policy will offer measures like tax and credit incentives to increase the sale of vehicles.

The Government would expedite the investment of 600 billion yuan ($88 billion) in six major projects, approved in the country's master plan for scientific and technological development over medium and long terms. He did not give details of the six projects but the master plan, released in 2006, included 16 scientific and technological schemes that were expected to be completed by 2020. Among them the development of the indigenously built jumbo passenger aircraft and the manned space program.

China’s economy has been losing steam over the past six months because the global economic downturn has dealt a blow to its exports sector. Exports dropped in November, 2008, the first time in seven years, and the industrial output growth fell to 5.4 percent, the lowest in 10 months. But "our measures have already taken effect", Wen said. According to him, the December data were "better than expected", but he did not give details.

Some economic indicators such as corporate revenue and electricity use have already begun to rebound. According to the China Electricity Council, an industry association, the country's use of electricity rose to 273.7 billion KWh in December, up 6.8 per cent from the previous month. In October, the use of electricity, largely considered an indicator of the country's economic activities, dropped about 4 per cent year-on-year - the first time in a decade.

---“China Daily News” of January 12,2009.


6.The $586-billion fiscal stimulus package, announced on November 9, 2008, is expected to help the economy rebound during 2009, economists with the Standard Chartered Bank have said in a research note on the global economic outlook. They remained upbeat over the country's long-term growth prospects, too, despite the current slowdown. Yi Gang, Vice-Governor of China’s central bank, said at a seminar on January 11,2009, that the country's economic growth would pick up between the second and the third quarters because local enterprises were likely to have reduced their inventories substantially by then.

---“China Daily News” of January 12,2009


7.Du Wing, Vice-Minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), has warned that compared with the coastal regions, China's less-developed Central and Western regions are likely to suffer more due to the global economic slowdown. According to him, the fledgling nature of the industrial structures in Central and Western China, the sharp decline in the prices of the raw materials exported from these regions and a weaker capability to handle risks and social conflicts were worrisome factors. This is the first time the Government has made public such a regional risk assessment, which has been put on the web site of the NDRC. Contrary to conventional thinking that the coastal regions in East China would be the worst hit by the global economic slow-down which has already led to a closure of many of its export-oriented factories, Du believes that the financial crisis will have a deeper impact on the less-developed Central and Western regions in the longer term, though it is not yet visible. Du gave three reasons for his pessimistic assessment. Firstly, the economies in Central and Western China are largely small in scale and are resource intensive. They will be slow to adapt to the changes brought along by the financial crisis. Secondly, the dependence of these regions on the export of raw materials, whose prices are declining sharply in the international market. Thirdly, the weaker economy in the Central and Western regions will not be able to provide enough job opportunities for migrant workers returning home from the closed manufacturing factories in East China. This could give rise to social conflicts. The Central and the Western
regions are China’s major labor exporters. He called for a higher allocation to these regions from the stimulus package announced by the Government.

---“China Daily News” of November 26,2008


8.Donald Tsang, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, told a meeting on the Hong Kong economy on January 19,2009, that Hong Kong’s economy, already in recession, probably contracted again in the fourth quarter of 2008 and was expected to continue shrinking in the next six months. According to him, whether the local economy recovered thereafter would depend on the effectiveness of the various Government measures around the world. He said: "We have a long and difficult road ahead of us in terms of economic recovery." Hong Kong's economy slid into recession in 2008 for the first time in five years as it contracted in the third quarter.
Gross domestic product fell by 0.5 per cent in the July-September quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis, marking the second consecutive quarter of contraction after the economy shrank 1.4 per cent in the second quarter. His negative outlook was reinforced by new figures released the same day showing that the territory's unemployment rate rose to 4.1 per cent in the
October-December period, up from 3.8 percent during the September-November period, according to Hong Kong's Census and Statistics Department. Sectors suffering the brunt of job losses were decoration and maintenance, restaurants, import or export trades, transport and manufacturing. The unemployment rate is at its highest since the May-July period in 2007. Tsang said that the Government would help create more than 60,000 new jobs this year, mostly by fast-tracking infrastructure projects, to cope with the downturn. With local consumption declining sharply, Hong Kong's economy could contract at the rate of 3 per cent for all of 2009, investment bank Goldman Sachs said in research note on January 19,2009. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate could jump to 6.5 per cent by 2010 as companies focused on finance and business, trade services, and retail cut back. “These three main engines driving the labor market boom in the past few years ... are coming to a halt," Goldman said.

---- “China Daily News” of January 20,2009.


9. The continuously increasing Sino-Indian trade was a bright spot in an otherwise negative economic picture during 2008. The impact of the global melt-down has not yet affected this trade. According to the statistics of the Chinese Customs for 2008,
China's trade with India, its 10th trade partner, reached US $ 51.78 billion in 2008, up 34 per cent year-on-year, as against the target of US $ 60 billion by 2010 fixed by the two countries during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to China in early 2008. Chinese exports to India mainly consisted of telecommunication equipment, electric equipment, organic chemicals and other light industrial products. Some large Chinese firms have made direct investments in India. The Tata Consultancy Service (TCS), India's software
company, has started a joint venture in China with Microsoft and three Chinese entities. Due to India's increasingly widening trade deficit with China, Sino-India trade friction is unavoidable. In the last quarter of 2008, India filed almost the same number of anti-dumping cases against China as it did in the whole of 2007. Besides, India has been imposing high tariffs against Chinese commodities. India is unlikely or not ready to accept China's long-standing demand to accord it market economy status . Due to the deterioration in the world economic situation, trade protectionism in India has increased. At the same time, despite such issues, it should also be acknowledged that the economic and trade cooperation potential between the two countries has not yet been tapped to the full. So long as China and India can cope with problems in their cooperation appropriately and overcome barriers in their trade and investment, they will be able to create an even better economic and trade environment for the trade and business circles of both nations and attain new, higher levels in bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

---- From an article by reporter Wang Lei in the “People’s Daily” of January 19,2009.


10.Addressing the second plenary meeting of the State Council on January 19,2009, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called for more steps in the first quarter of this year to reverse the trend of economic slowdown as soon as possible and realize a good start for the whole of 2009. He said that last year was an unusual year for the country, especially the second half of 2008 when the Government unveiled a series of measures to counter the negative impact of the global financial crisis. He added: "These measures have been proved prompt, correct and effective. This year is the most difficult year for China's economic development so far this century," he said. He further added that efforts should be made to enhance the implementation of the Government's economic stimulus package and measures announced to boost the country's major industries. According to him, the Government has already announced boosting measures for the steel and auto industries, and is planning similar measures for eight other major industries. He called for more efforts on agricultural production during the winter and the coming spring, and said favorable policies for farmers should be firmly implemented. Enterprises should be encouraged to intensify internal management, reduce operating cost, expand markets and stabilize employment, he said, and small and medium-sized enterprises should be given more support. Work should be done to ensure service and commodity supply during the upcoming Spring Festival as well as boost consumption in both rural and urban regions, he said. The Government should work to maintain stable growth in trade, Wen said, underlining the need to expand emerging markets and improve the quality of exported goods. He also stressed the need to ensure the country's financial stability and safety. The Government should properly deal with changes brought about by the global financial crisis and maintain sound operation of the banking sector. He urged public servants at all levels to attach great importance to boosting employment, help people who had difficulties in life, and ensure production safety and social stability.

---- Xinhua news agency of January 20,2009.


11." China’s forex reserves have fallen for the first time since December 2003," Cai Qiusheng, an official at the capital account management department under the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, was quoted as saying. The foreign exchange reserves had topped US$ 1.9 trillion at the end of September, according to central bank figures. However, Cai did not give the figures for the subsequent months apart from stating that they had fallen.

----- Agence France Press of December 22,2008.


12.While reporting to the National People's Congress Standing Committee on the state of the economy on December 24,2008, Zhang Ping, Minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said that the global financial crisis would make it difficult for the country to achieve its economic targets for 2006-10, which were set when the world economy had a positive outlook. He said that the global economic downturn posed a "serious challenge" to the country, especially its efforts to realize the social and economic goals set in the 11th Five-Year (2006-10) Plan. In 2006-07, the economy grew at an average rate of 11.8 per cent, but it slowed down to 9.9 per cent in the first three quarters of 2008.From July to September, 2008 it grew by only 9 per cent. Zhang said that the country faced "worse-than-expected" risks of an economic slowdown because of the global downturn, and it was "still very hard" to say when the worst would be over. Since global economic woes had taken a heavy toll on the country, the Government has lowered its annual economic growth for 2009 to 8 per cent.

----“China Daily News” of December 25,2008.


13.According to the China Customs figures, China imported 164.5 million tons of crude oil by the end of November, 2008, up 9.5 per cent year-on-year. The growth rate during the first 10 months of 2008 stood at 10.6 per cent. However, China imported only 13.36 million tons of crude oil in November, 2008, down 1.86 per cent year-on-year. And compared with October, the
Imports decreased by 17.3 per cent. The trend, according to analysts, is likely to continue into the middle of 2009.Guo Haitao, Assistant Director at the Research Center for Energy Strategy, said ample crude oil reserves and sluggish oil consumption were responsible for the sluggish imports in spite of the decreasing crude prices. He said: "China's oil demand is still on the downward cycle, and the first two quarters of 2009 are the hardest time. This is because oil demand reflects economic performance." According to the China Association of Oil and Chemical Industry, the growth rate of China's oil consumption slowed from 6.1 per cent for January-October,2008, to 5.8 per cent for January-November over the previous year. Official statistics showed China processed 27.27 million tons of crude oil in November,2008, down 2.3 per cent from the previous year. Energy analysts with CBI, a Beijing-based market research agency, said industrial diesel demand nationwide was down 20 per cent to 30 per cent during 2008 due to the closure of many factories.

--------“ China Daily News” of December 25,2008.


14.During an inspection tour of South-west China's Chongqing Municipality from December 21 to 22, 2008, Premier Wen Jiabao said: "Next year, it is an important target to stop the declining trend of economic growth and it is a must to focus on increasing domestic demands so as to promote economic growth.” He expressed serious concern over the negative impact of the global financial crisis on the city's automobile industry. The car sales have been declining since November, 2008. The decline is expected to continue during the first quarter of 2009. Wen said that the difficulties faced by the country's automobile industry would be temporary because "China has a huge market." He visited a communal social security centre to discuss about the difficulties of low-income families. He told the officials of the Centre: "The more financially challenged the people are, the greater the attention we should pay to them." He also visited the homes of pensioners and assured them that the Government would increase their pension and the subsidy for low-income families. He paid an unscheduled visit to a local university and appealed to the students to maintain their morale in these difficult months.

------Xinhua news agency despatch of December 23,2008.

15.President Hu Jintao visited the factories in the north-eastern Liaoning province from December 12 to 14,2008. Many of China’s heavy industries such as those producing iron and steel and aluminium are located in this province. He told the local officials: "Our top economic target next year is to maintain a stable and healthy growth. We should be clear about the serious challenges and difficulties from home and abroad but also realize the great opportunities and favorable conditions in it." He stressed the importance of maintaining social stability when the economic development was facing problems. While the local iron and steel and textile industries have been affected by declining overseas orders, the aluminium industry has not been affected. The Shenyang Yuanda Aluminium Industry Engineering Co. Ltd, registered a revenue increase of 72 per cent in the first ten months of 2008 and the value of overseas orders increased by 1.5 times. Hu told the officials of the factory: "This was very rare and commendable in a shrinking international market. I hope you continue the strategy to win clients through quality products." Addressing the staff of a local employment service centre. Hu said: "Next year's employment market will be very serious, affected by the international financial crisis.” He also visited the houses of some pensioners to enquire about their difficulties.

----- Xinhua news agency despatch of December 15,2008.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: )

Monday, January 19, 2009




There has been considerable anger and indignation in India over the attempt of David Miliband, the British Foreign Secretary, who visitedIndia last week, to rationalise the terrorist attack in Mumbai from November 26 to 29,2008, by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LEt) of Pakistan bylinking the attack to the Kashmir issue. None of the indigenous Kashmiri organisations has linked the Mumbai attack to Kashmir.YetMiliband sought to provide a legitimacy to the LET's terrorist attack by linking it to Kashmir, disregarding the fact that the attack, as seenfrom the brutal murder of nine Jewish persons and 12 nationals of Western countries, which have contributed forces to the NATO contingentin Afghanistan, was part of the global jihadi agenda unrelated to either Kashmir or the grievances of the Indian Muslims.

2. The shocking attempt by Miliband to play down the murders of 138 Indians and 25 foreign nationals committed by the Pakistani terroristsof the LET should not have come as a surprise to those aware of the historic links of the British intelligence with the Mirpuri migrants fromPakistani-Occupied Kashmir (POK) in the UK and their important role during elections in certain constituencies which traditionally returnLabour candidates to the House of Commons with the support of the Mirpuri vote bank.

3. In this connection, I am reproducing below extracts from my article of 6-5-07 titled HOME-GROWN JIHADIS (JUNDULLAH) IN UK & US available at


"After Pakistan and Afghanistan, the UK has been traditionally for many years the largest sanctuary to foreign terrorists and extremists.Everybody, who is somebody in the world of terrorism, has found a rear base in the UK--- the Khalistanis in the past, the Liberation Tigers ofTamil Eelam (LTTE), the Mirpuris from Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), the Chechens, the Al Muhajiroun, the Hizbut Tehrir etc. Havingallowed such a medley of terrorists and extremists to operate unchecked from their territory for so long, the British intelligence just doesnot have a correct estimate of how many sleeper cells are operating from their country and of which organisations.

"Since persons of Pakistani origin have been playing an increasingly active role in promoting the activities of Al Qaeda, it is necessary toanalyse the nature of migration from Pakistan to the UK and the US. Muslims from Pakistan constitute the single largest Muslim migrantgroup from the sub-continent in both the UK and the US---followed by Indian and Bangladeshi Muslims. There are estimated to be about700,000 Muslims of Pakistani origin in the UK. No estimate is available in respect of the US.

"The largest migrant group from Pakistan in the UK are Punjabi-speaking Muslims----from Pakistani Punjab as well as Pakistan-OccupiedKashmir (POK). The migrants from the POK are called Mirpuris. They are not ethnic Kashmiris, but Punjabi-speaking migrants from thePakistani Punjab, whose families had settled down in the Mirpur area of the POK for generations. They were essentially small farmers andlandless labourers, who lost their livelihood as a result of the construction of the Mangla dam. They, therefore, migrated to West Europe---thelargest number to the UK and a smaller number to France, Germany and the Scandinavian countries. Many of them preferred to go to the UKbecause it already had a large Punjabi-speaking community from Pakistani Punjab. The initial Mirpuri migrants, who hardly spoke English,felt themselves comfortable in a Punjabi-speaking environment.

" As the number of Muslims of Pakistani origin in the UK increased, mosques came up to cater to their religious needs. Till 1977, thesemosques were headed by clerics from the more tolerant Barelvi Sunni sect. When Gen.Zia-ul-Haq, a devout Deobandi, captured power inPakistan in 1977, he embarked on a policy of marginalising the influence of Barelvi clerics not only in Pakistan, but also in Europe andincreasing the influence of the rabid Deobandis. He inducted Deobandis into the Education Department as Arab teachers and into the ArmedForces to cater to the religious needs of the military personnel. He encouraged and helped the Deobandis to take over the mosques inPakistan and in the UK by replacing the Barelvis. With the induction of an increasing number of Deobandis started the process of theArabisation/Wahabisation of the Muslims in Pakistan and of the Pakistani diaspora in the UK.

"The intelligence agencies of the US and the UK went along with Zia's policy of Arabising/Wahabising the Muslims of Pakistan because thiscontributed to an increase in the flow of jihadi terrorists to fight against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan. Till 1983, the members of thePakistani diaspora in the UK were considered a largely law-abiding people. The first signs of the radicalisation of the diaspora appeared in1983 when a group of jihadi terrorists kidnapped Ravi Mhatre, an Indian diplomat posted in the Indian Assistant High Commission inBirmingham, and demanded the release of Maqbool Butt, the leader of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), who was thenawaiting execution in the Tihar jail in Delhi following his conviction on charges of murder. When the Government of India rejected theirdemand, the terrorists killed Mhatre and threw his dead body into one of the streets. This kidnapping and murder was allegedlyorchestrated by Amanullah Khan, a Gilgiti from Pakistan. He was assisted by some Mirpuris of the Pakistani diaspora. The British wereunco-operative with India in the investigation of this case and declined to hand over those involved in the kidnapping and murder to India forinvestigation and prosecution. By closing their eyes to the terrorist activities of the Mirpuris from their territory, they encouraged the furtherradicalisation of the diaspora.

" Just as the radicalisation of the Muslims of Pakistan suited the US-UK agenda in Afghanistan, the radicalisation of the diaspora in the UK,particularly the Mirpuris, suited their agenda for balkanising Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Many Pakistanis from the UK went to the trainingcamps of the Harkat-ul-Ansar (HUA---now called the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen) and the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in Pakistan and got themselvestrained with the knowledge and complicity of the British. They then went to Bosnia and Kosovo to wage a jihad against the Serbs with armsand ammunition and explosives allegedly supplied by the Iranian intelligence with the tacit consent of the Clinton Administration and paidfor by the Saudi intelligence. As the Pakistani Prime Minister between 1993 and 1996, Mrs. Benazir Bhutto had visited these jihadis from thePakistani diaspora in the UK who were waging a jihad against the Serbs in Bosnia. After waging their jihad against the Serbs, these jihadisfrom the UK moved to Pakistan to join the HUA and the LET and participate in the jihad against India.

"The most notable example of the home-grown jihadis of the diaspora in the UK, who waged a jihad in Bosnia at the instance of the Britishand American intelligence and then turned against them, is Omar Sheikh. From Bosnia, he came to India to wage a jihad and was arrestedby the Indian security forces. He was released by the then Indian Government headed by Mr. A.B.Vajpayee, in December,1999, following thehijacking of an Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar by a group of HUM terrorists from Pakistan. After his release, he went to Pakistan andorchestrated the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl. The second notable example is Rashid Rauf, a Mirpuri, who went to Pakistan fromthe UK to join the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) after marrying a relative of Maulana Masood Azhar, the Amir of the JEM. He was allegedlyinvolved in the plot detected by the London Police in August last year (2006) to blow up a number of US-bound planes. This plot was hatchedby some members of the Pakistani diaspora in the UK. ( My comment: Rashid Rauf was recently killed in a US Predator (unmanned plane)strike on an Al Qaeda hide-out in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas )

"The Mirpuris in the Pakistani diaspora in the UK were in the forefront of those supporting jihadi terrorism against India in Jammu andKashmir and other parts of India since 1993, when the Pakistani jihadi organisations of Afghan vintage were infiltrated into India byPakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). They collected and sent funds to the jihadi terrorists in India. Many of them underwent training inthe camps of the LET, the HUM, the JEM and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) in Pakistan and assisted them in their jihadi operations. TheBritish intelligence was aware of members of the Pakistani diaspora going to Pakistan for training, but closed its eyes to it since it thoughtthat they were going to wage a jihad against the Indians in J&K.

"A careful examination of the details relating to the various jihadi terrorism-related cases in the UK would reveal that the MI 5 was intercepting the telephone conversations of these Mirpuris and other Punjabi Muslims with their friends and relatives in which they spoke oftheir going to Pakistan for jihadi training. It did not take any action against them because it thought that they were going to wage a jihadonly against the Indians and hence did not pose a threat to the British. The MI 5 intercepted the telephone conversation of even one of theperpetrators of the London blasts of July 2005, about his going to Pakistan for jihadi training. It did not act on it thinking he intended towage a jihad against the Indians. Only after the London blasts of July, 2005, did the MI 5 realise with a rude shock that this Mirpuri was talking not of going to India to wage a jihad against the Indians, but to London to wage a jihad against the British.

"There is a sheepish, but indirect admission of this in the statement issued by the MI 5 rebutting criticism of its perceived failure to preventthe London blasts. It says: "RUMOUR: In February 2004, the Security Service recorded Khan's (Mohammed Siddique Khan) wish to fight andhim saying goodbye to his family - a clear indication that he intended a suicide mission. REALITY: The Security Service did recordconversations involving an individual identified after 7 July as Khan. From the context of the recorded conversation it is probable that Khanwas talking about going to fight with militia groups in the Pakistan border areas. He was not talking about acts of terrorism in the UK."

" Today, innocent British civilians are paying for the sins of commission and omission of their authorities since jihadi terrorism broke out inIndian territory in 1989. It would be very difficult for the MI 5 to have an accurate idea of the number of trained Pakistani jihadis already intheir midst. Reliable Police sources in Pakistan say that there are at least about 200 trained, potential suicide bombers in the Pakistanidiaspora in the UK waiting for an opportunity to strike. These trained potential suicide bombers also provide a recruitment reservoir forfuture operations of Al Qaeda in the US homeland.

"The position in the Pakistani diaspora in the US is somewhat different. The initial wave of migrants to the US from Pakistan consistedlargely of Urdu-speaking Mohajirs from Sindh, who originally went to Pakistan from India. The influence of the more tolerant Barelvi sect onthem is still very strong. The extremist Deobandi/Wahabi ideology has not yet made the same impact on them as it has on thePunjabi-speaking Pakistani diaspora in the UK. Moreover, there has hardly been any migration of the Mirpuris from the POK into the US.Most of the Kashmiri migration into the US has been of ethnic Kashmiris----either the Hindu Pandits, who were driven out of the Valley by thejihadi terrorists after 1989, or sufi Muslims from the Valley. The Muslims from the valley, who had migrated to the US from J&K, are politicallyactive against India, but they have so far kept away from the Deobandis and Wahabis.

"Since the 1980s, there has been an increase in the migration of Punjabi-speaking Muslims from Pakistan into the US. There has beengrowing Deobandi/Wahabi influence on them. It is these elements that Al Qaeda has been targeting for recruitment. A saving grace is thatthe US intelligence has a better awareness than the British of the dangers that could arise from its population of Pakistani origin and hasbeen keeping a tight watch on them. The British are paying a heavy price for their negligence till now."

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies,Chennai. E-mail:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009



Despite differences over strategies and tactics in the fight against global jihadi terrorism, there is a convergence of views between theoutgoing administration of President George Bush and the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama as to what should bethe ultimate objective of the US war against global terrorism.

2. They are both agreed that the ultimate objective should be to prevent another 9/11 in the US homeland by Al Qaeda and an act ofcatastrophic terrorism involving either the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) material or devastating attacks on the criticalinfrastructure.

3. In their view, of all the terrorist organisations operating from the Pakistani territory, only Al Qaeda has the capability for launching another9/11 in the US homeland and for organising an act of catastrophic terrorism. Hence, the first priority of the Bush administration was to thewar against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, its ideological ally. This priority will continue under Obama too. During the election campaign,Obama's criticism of the policies of Bush was not because of the focus on the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, but because of what helooked upon as the inadequacy of that focus as illustrated by the perceived failure of the Bush administration to have Osama bin Laden andhis No.2 Ayman Al-Zawahiri killed or captured and the sanctuaries of Al Qaeda in the Pakistani tribal belt destroyed.

4. He attributed the inadequacy of that focus and the failure of the Bush Administration to destroy or even seriously weaken Al Qaeda towhat he looked upon as the unnecessary US involvement in Iraq, which took resources and attention away from the war against Al Qaeda inthe Pakistan-Afghanistan region. According to him, the real threat to the US homeland comes from the Pakistan-Afghanistan region and notfrom Iraq and hence there should have been no diversion of the attention and resources from there. He said during the election campaign:"We are fighting on the wrong battlefield. The terrorists who attacked us and who continue to plot against us are resurgent in the hillsbetween Afghanistan and Pakistan. They should have been our focus then. They must be our focus now.” In a speech at the Wilson Centre inWashington DC on August 1,2007, he said: “When I am President, we will wage the war that has to be won…The first step must be getting offthe wrong battlefield in Iraq, and taking the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

5.Anoher point on which there has been a convegence between the views of the two is over th importance of Pakistan in the war againstglobal terrorism. Both feel that the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban cannot be won without th co-operation of Pakistan, which,essentially means the Pakistani Army. Obama said during the campaign: "Success in Afghanistan requires action in Pakistan. While Pakistanhas made some contributions by bringing some al Qaeda operatives to justice, the Pakistani government has not done nearly enough to limitextremist activity in the country and to help stabilize Afghanistan. I have supported aid to Pakistan in the Senate and ... I would continuesubstantial military aid if Pakistan takes action to root out the terrorists." He also said when Pervez Musharraf was still the President: “If wehave actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will. I firmly believe that if we know thewhereabouts of bin Laden and his deputies and we have exhausted all other options, we must take them out.”

6. His proclaimed determination to act unilaterally against high-value targets of Al Qaeda in Pakistani territory is no different from the policypursued by the Bush Administration in the last year of its presidency. Unmanned Predator aircraft of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)carried out over 30 strikes on suspected hide-outs of Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistani territory during 2008 as against 10 in 2006 and2007. These strikes were carried out despite protests by the Pakistan Government and Army and resulted in the deaths of eight middle-levelArab operatives of Al Qaeda and Rashid Rauf, a British citizen of Pakistani origin, who was related by marriage to Maulana Masood Azhar, theAmir of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM).

7. Even if Obama wants the CIA to further step up its Predator attacks, their effectiveness would depend on a further improvement in theflow of human and technical intelligence. Obama has avoided specific pronouncements on his willingness to order land-based strikes on thesanctuaries of Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistani territory. Under the Bush administration, the US special forces did try a land-basedstrike in South Waziristan in September,2008, which was not successful. It did not launch any more land-based strikes following a furore inPakistan. While the Asif Ali Zardari Government is avoiding any action to resist the Predator strikes despite its open condemnation of them,there seems to be a fear in Washington that if the US continues to undertake land-based strikes, public pressure could force the PakistanGovernment and the Army to resist them resulting in an undesirable confrontation between the armies of the two countries.

8. Obama is likely to face the same dilemma as Bush faced. The sporadic successes of the Predator strikes alone will not be able toeffectively destroy the terrorist infrastructure of Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistani territory. To be effective, land-based strikes wouldalso be necessary. However, the political consequences of repeated land-based strikes would be unpredictable. There is alreadyconsiderable anger in the tribal belt against the Pakisan army for co-operating----even half-heartedly--- with the US in its war against AlQaeda and the Taliban. How to make up for this unsatisfactory co-operation by the Pakistan Army by stepping up unilateral US covertactions in the Pakistani territory without adding to the public anger against the Zardari Government? That is a question to which theadvisers of Bush were not able to come up with a satisfactory answer. Even the advisers of Obama do not seem to have an answer to this sofar.

9. A recommendation of Gen.David Petraeus, the Commander of the US Central Command, to induct another 30,000 US troops intoAfghanistan in the coming months to counter the activities of the Taliban has already been approved by Bush. This decision has the supportof Obama. But, more troops alone to step up the operations against the Afghan Taliban in Afghan territory would not serve the purposeunless accompanied by action to choke the supplies of men and material from the sanctuaries of Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the Pakistaniterritory and the flow of funds from the once again flourishing heroin trade in Afghanistan.

10. No terrorist organisation in Pakistan can exist without State complicity if not sponsorship, sanctuaries and funds. Not only Al Qaeda andthe Taliban, but also the largely Punjabi terrorist organisations of Pakistan operating against India in Indian territory enjoy these threeessential elements of survival in Pakistan.A ground reality not realised in Washington DC is that all the jihadi terrorist organisations basedin Pakistan make available to each other the use of their hide-outs, sanctuaries and training centres. One recently saw the instance ofRashid Rauf of the JEM being killed in a Predator strike on an Al Qaeda hide-out. There have been reports in the Pakistan media of twoPunjabi terrorists belonging to what they have described as the Punjabi Taliban being killed in a Predator attack on an Al Qaeda vehicle inSouth Waziristan on January 1,2009. The Predator strike targeted and killed Osama al-Kini alias Fahid Mohammad Ally Masalam, describedas responsible for Al Qaeda operations in Pakistan including the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad on September 21,2008, and hisNo. 2 Sheik Ahmed Salim Swedan. Both were Kenyan nationals. In addition to the two of them, the Predator strike also reportedly killed twomembers of the JEM, who were also in the same vehicle. One would recall that in March,2002, Abu Zubaidah, the Palestinian member of AlQaeda, was caught in a hide-out of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in Faislabad in Pakistani Punjab.

11. From such instances, it should be clear that one cannot make a distinction between sanctuaries of Al Qaeda, those of the Taliban andthose of the anti-India organisations. All sanctuaries have to be attacked and destroyed irrespective of to which organisation theybelonged. The Bush Administration was not prepared to follow such a clear-cut policy and tried to make an operational distinction betweenanti-US terrorism and anti-Indian terrorism. Pakistan fully exploited this ambivalence.

12. From the various statements of Obama and his advisers, there is not much reason for India to hope that this ambivalence woulddisappear under him. The double standards vis--vis anti-US and anti-India terrorism, which have been the defining characteristics of UScounter-terrorism policies since 1981, will continue to come to the rescue of Pakistan. It would be futile for India to expect any majorchange under Obama. We should deal with the terrorism against our nationals and interests emanating from Pakistani territory in our ownway, through our own means and on our own terms. So far as India's fight against terrorism is concerned, the advent of Obama as the nextPresident of the US is not going to make any major difference.

13. At the same time, even if he succeeds in damaging if not destroying the capabilities of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, India will have somebeneficial fall-out, but it will not be the end of Pakistani use of terrorism against India. We should wish him well and help him in whateverway we can professionally without accepting any political interference by the US in matters such as Jammu & Kashmir and India's presencein Afghanistan. We should not accept any US overlordship in the region under the pretext of a regional approach to the problem ofterrorism.(15-1-09)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For TopicalStudies, Chennai. E-mail: )