Saturday, July 31, 2010



The Pakistani hold in Balochistan continues to weaken. Despite ruthless suppression by the Pakistan Army headed by Gen.Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), the Baloch freedom fighters are making headway. Their significant success has been not only in ground actions through their guerilla armies against the Pakistani security forces, but also in successfully spreading the ideology of an independent Balochistan amongst the Balochs. Those among the Balochs as well as the non-Balochs, who try to speak for the State of Pakistan, find themselves increasingly isolated. The Pakistani flag is disappearing from Government buildings in Quetta, the Baloch capital.

2.The Baloch freedom struggle has become as much an ideological struggle as a militant struggle, as much a struggle for achieving the Balochs’ unfinished agenda of the Partition through ideological emancipation as a struggle for economic emancipation from the post-Partition Punjabi domination of their economy and natural resources, as much a struggle for their ethnic pride as it is for their national, inter-tribal solidarity.

3.The State is being increasingly administered not from Quetta, but from Karachi or Dubai. The members of the Baloch State Government are being increasingly seen by the people as quislings of Islamabad and are afraid of staying in Quetta. They spend more time in Karachi or Dubai than in Quetta. Government files go to them for orders there. Even if they pass orders on the files in Karachi or Dubai, the bureaucrats, who have stayed behind in Quetta, are not able to have them implemented. The police and the Army are not able to protect the life and property of the non-Baloch ruling and business class, who are increasingly targeted by the freedom-fighters.

4.Balochistan's economy is in a shambles. So is Pakistan's economy which cannot improve without the flow of gas from Balochistan. The gas supply from the existing wells to the industries of Punjab is subject to frequent disruptions. The industrial production has been coming down. So is agricultural production due to the shortage of oil for running agricultural machinery. The Pakistan economy cannot improve without peace and stability in Balochistan. There cannot be peace and stability in Balochistan unless the aspirations of the people are met by the Government.

5.Pakistan has become a land of serious shortages----shortage of water for agricultural and drinking purposes, shortage of electricity and gas for private and industrial consumers, shortage of money for development. However, there is no shortage of US dollars. The misuse of the enhanced economic assistance from the US under the Kerry-Lugar Act is resulting in a situation where much of the money is misutilised for non-development purposes or for feeding corruption.

6.Pakistan's hopes of profiting from the war in Afghanistan and regaining its influence in that country will prove to be a chimera without peace and stability in Balochistan. That peace and stability is nowhere in sight. The dramatic situation in Balochistan, where the freedom struggle is forging ahead relentlessly, has been brought out in a statement made by Mr.Rehman Malick, Pakistan's Interior Minister, in the Senate, the upper House of Parliament, on July 27,2010, and in a series of articles carried by the " Dawn" and “News”. Relevant extracts are given below:


Settlers are being killed in Balochistan.So far over 100,000 people have migrated from the province. Militants are burning Pakistani flags. They do not allow the hoisting of the Pakistani flag nor the national anthem to be recited in educational institutions while pro-Pakistan elements are falling victim to targeted killing. From January to July 13 this year, 252 settlers including 13 officers of the Pakistan Army, 21 officers of the Frontier Corps, 27 Police officials, 26 Punjabis, 21 Pashtoons, 12 Sindhis and 112 from other parts of the country have died in targeted killings. “Balochistan is part of Pakistan, then why are settlers being killed there?” he asked. “Why those who are killing patriotic Pakistanis and burning national flag are not condemned?”


More than the proliferation of radical groups, however, what worries observers is the widening scope of targets. Attacks on security forces, state installations and government offices are all standard fare in Baloch insurgencies. In addition, killings of ‘settlers’ (groups considered non-Baloch because they trace their ancestry to outside the province, even though in many instances they have been residing in Balochistan for generations) have occurred in the past. This time, however, it is the breadth and intensity of such killings that is alarming. A senior journalist in Quetta claimed: “The target killings started in 2003, but they were sectarian in nature. The radical groups started their killings post-Bugti, initially in Quetta. Now, though, it has spread. Nushki, Khuzdar, Mastung, Gwadar, Turbat, Kech, the target killings are happening everywhere.” According to the Balochistan Government’s most recent figures, more than 125 people have been killed and nearly 200 injured in the last 18 months alone in settler-related violence. Another worrying trend this year: the killing of fellow Baloch by the insurgent groups. The victims have been accused of spying and working as agents of the Pakistani state. A senior journalist said, “Even Pathans have been killed, and businessmen too. The impact is enormous. There is an exodus of teachers, doctors, businessmen.”

A handful of groups dominate the insurgency, of which the Balochistan Liberation Army is perhaps the most well-known. The BLA appeared in its present incarnation soon after the arrest of Khair Bakhsh Marri in January 2000. The powerful Marri chief was accused of having a hand in the murder of a Balochistan High Court judge. Originally a rural phenomenon and limiting its operations to Dera Bugti and Kohlu, the BLA is believed to have expanded its attacks into the cities following the breakdown of a unilateral ceasefire declared in September 2008. An affiliate of the BLA is the Balochistan Liberation United Front, a smaller organisation thought to be ‘more sophisticated’ and considerably more hard-line. The other high-profile radical group is the Baloch Republican Army, the militant wing of the Balochistan Republican Party, a rechristened arm of Akbar Bugti’s Jamhoori Watan Party. The BRA came into existence after Bugti’s death in August 2006 and is believed to be controlled by his grandson, Brahmdagh. Its area of operations appears to be in relatively remote areas such as Dera Bugti, Jaffarabad and Naseerabad. A third major group is the Balochistan Liberation Front, another name resurrected from the last insurgency in the 1970s. The present-day version operates mostly in the Mekran area and is also linked to Khair Bakhsh Marri. Recently, a new organisation called the Baloch Armed Defence Organisation (Baloch Musallah Defai Tanzeem) has come up. It is a relatively new ‘anti-Baloch-nationalist’ group about which little is known, though the Balochs claim it is a front for the intelligence agencies. That is denied by the army. Asma Jahangir, former chairperson of the HRCP (Human Rights Commission of Pakistan), however, is not convinced: “The cleansing of the Baloch intelligentsia can only be the work of the agencies.”


Why is the cycle of violence still continuing in Balochistan? While the violence is down from the 2005-2008 peak period, the Pakistani state and parts of the Baloch population are undeniably still locked in conflict. In a series of conversations with Dawn, senior government and army officials and Baloch representatives attempted to explain why, in their view, a conflict that has claimed between 500 and 1,500 lives since 2001 continues today. Foremost is the issue of missing persons. Estimates vary wildly: the Baloch claim thousands of fellow citizens are missing; rights groups like the HRCP ( Human Rights Commission of Pakistan) suggest a figure in the low hundreds; the army acknowledges no more than a few dozen missing. Yet, it isn’t necessarily the detentions per se but the lack of information about the detainees that makes the missing-persons issue so incendiary. A senior federal minister involved in discussions concerning Balochistan concurred: “We weren’t even asking to set them free. But they (the army) weren’t willing to listen because they considered them (the missing persons) to be treasonous. We said, they may have done things they need to be punished for, but they are still Pakistanis and we have to treat them as such.” Part of the problem is that the army does not understand the impact of missing persons. “Balochistan is a backward society. If you pick up a boy from a village, you make an enemy of the entire village.” The depth of anger over the missing persons can be gauged from the fact that it has dislodged as the central issue the decades-old grievance of the Balochs that the province’s gas and mineral riches have been exploited by the Pakistani state. No one, not even army officers, denies that reality. Referring to the disparity in the gas price offered to Balochistan and the other provinces, Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Naveed Qamar explained: “There was definitely an anomaly in pricing. " However, Mr Qamar disputes the notion the centre is still exploiting Balochistan’s resources: “Over the last 18 months, significant change has come about. We’ve fixed the gas-price anomaly to a large extent. Rikodiq (where large reserves of gold and copper are reported to exist) has been handed over to the provincial government and Saindak will be soon.” Even so, perceptions about the intentions of the army and ‘centrist’ bureaucrats in Islamabad linger. “It’s about greed. They want Balochistan’s resources to create prosperity in the other provinces,” claimed Syeda Abida Hussain, co-founder with her husband, Fakhar Imam, of the Friends of Baloch and Balochistan. “It’s no longer about the resource-sharing at present. It’s about the potential,” Naveed Qamar suggested. “Balochistan contributes 17 or 18 per cent of gas today to Pakistan’s needs, but the vast resources that are still untapped because of the security situation, that is the real prize.” The Balochs look no further for modern-day proof of the Pakistani state’s intention to ‘colonise’ Balochistan than the port at Gwadar. “There are these beautiful, paved boulevards in the port area. And right outside the poverty of the Balochs is shocking,” said Sanaullah Baloch, a former BNP-M senator. “Gwadar has nothing to do with concern for the Balochs.” If the Balochs, army and government do agree on one thing, it is that a great deal of the blame for the violence continuing must be shouldered by the Balochistan government. The provincial government is widely perceived to be epically corrupt and monumentally inefficient. That has real consequences. For one, it allows the army to deflect attention from the heavy-handedness of the Frontier Corps, which is still tasked with law and order duties. Practically speaking, it becomes difficult to debate the withdrawal of the FC, a major demand of the Balochs, when the police are incapable of establishing even a modicum of law and order. The provincial government’s incompetence also impacts on the possibility of winning over disaffected Balochs. “They’ve got all this extra money,” Naveed Qamar said referring to the Rs12 billion of new resources-related payments to the province, “but will it make its way to the people? That’s a big question mark.” Another commonality among the Balochs, government officials and army officers spoken to: none were optimistic the violence will abate soon. In fact, many suggested the two extremes appear to be digging in their heels. On the Baloch side, the armed radicals are bent on intimidating, perhaps even eliminating, moderate voices, making the possibility of a compromise with the state that much more distant. On the army’s side, while it fiercely denies it has a ‘colonial’ approach towards Balochistan, there is a steely resolve to prevent any ‘mischief’ by outside powers in the province — an approach which severely diminishes the possibility of concessions towards the Baloch extremists. “If the federation is to survive, the moderates need to be heard,” according to Raza Rabbani. The trouble is, no one seems to believe that is an imminent possibility.


Anybody who has not been to Quetta for some time will be aghast to see the ghost town that it has become. Half of the once-bustling and lively town goes to sleep as soon as the sun sets. The other half trembles even to the sound of a cracker while locked inside their overly guarded houses. The British garrison city that was known for its cultural diversity and for its laidback evenings stands divided into quarters based on ethnicity and religion. And, more important, whether you are a “uniformed person” or not. A quarter of the city is a no-go-area worse than Karachi’s killing alleys in the 1990s. A non-Baloch would not venture into areas around Saryab Road and Arbab Karam Road even during daytime. The localities of Spiny Road and Smungli Road are no less dangerous as the marauding gangs of armed youth are found witch-hunting for anybody wearing trousers or matching the profile of a “non-local.” Local police enter the localities at considerable risk. Even the paramilitary Frontier Corps pickets get attacked occasionally. The picket leading to Bolan Medical College, meaningfully named as “Golimaar,” has been targeted more than once by grenade attacks. In suburbs, 16 kilometres off Quetta city on the western bypass, the Hazar Ganj bus stand was ambushed by rockets. The situation on the east side is equally scary. Life in the Quetta Cantonment is stable, thanks to the 24-hour armed-to-the-teeth vigilance. But the ordinary citizenry has been left to the butchery of a lethal mix of extremist nationalists, political separatists, religious fanatics, smugglers, drug dealers and the land mafia hand in glove with criminals, not to forget international terrorists and foreign intelligence agencies. The locals are shifting to the relatively safer Pashtun localities of, say, Nawankali and Sraghurdhi. The so-called Punjabi settlers, who may have lived in Quetta for generations, are being forced to leave for other provinces, sometime after selling their assets for pennies. “The country seems to have given up on Balochistan,” says social activist Dr Faiz Rehman. He believes doctors are being discouraged to attend clinics in trouble areas so that such incidents do not get reported. Dr Yousaf Nasir, a top surgeon who was a cousin of former federal Minister Yaqoob Nasir, was ambushed in a target killing. Another senior surgeon Chiragh Hassan is also receiving threats to move out. “Everybody wants to get out of here,” he added. Security officials are on top of the hit lists. Around 1,600 government officials have applied for long leave and for transfer to other provinces. Under such trying times, one hardly finds a notable politician in Quetta or even in Balochistan. While half of the province is inundated because of floods, killing scores of people, Chief Minister Aslam Raisani is languishing in Dubai. His staff said he was in Dubai for many days and they could not confirm when he would return. In any case, he is known to be a part-time CM as he lives in Dubai or Islamabad nearly 15 days a month and is never available, intelligibly that is, after 8:00pm come crash floods or cyclone. In the meantime, on average two persons die every day in target killings. The official figure for target killings in the last 10 months is 370 but others say the actual number should be around 600.

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

Friday, July 30, 2010



Coinciding with the US-South Korea joint naval exercise from July 24 to 27,2010, in the Sea of Japan, a large-scale naval exercise was held by the Chinese Navy in the South China Sea. Wide publicity was given to it by the China Central Television (CCTV). The Chief of General Staff of the People's Liberation Army Chen Bingde, the navy commander and other senior commanders of the People's Liberation Army oversaw the exercise. The North China, East China and South China Sea Fleets participated in the exercise. While the CCTV telecast pictures of the exercise, it did not say where exactly in the South China Sea it was held.

2.The TV said in its accompanying commentary: "Chen Bingde stressed that (the military) should pay close attention to changes in the situation and tasks, and get well prepared for military conflicts." According to the CCTV commentary, the exercise consisted of six parts two of which were long-range precision strikes and defence against jet fighters and missiles. The CCTV telecast on July 27 footage of the Nanjing Military Command testing a new long-range artillery rocket on land toward the Yellow Sea. It said it was the first time China had carried out such a large-scale long-range artillery rocket drill. Liu Mingjin, chief of staff of the artillery division, told the CCTV that the drill was intended to test the troop's long-range striking precision.

3. According to the CCTV, the exercise took place under an electromagnetic environment meant to simulate realistic combat conditions. It added: "It is one of the drills in China's naval history that involved comprehensive cooperation and included the launch of many missiles." It added that the exercise was just one of a series of exercises the PLA undertook before and during the US-South Korea exercise in the Sea of Japan.

4.The "China Daily" quoted Mr.Li Jie, a researcher with the Chinese navy's military academy, as saying that Beijing has shown it has the determination to protect its territory not only through diplomatic actions but also by demonstrating its military strength. He said: "If the bottom line were to be crossed, then China would firmly react. The actions further stress that the South China Sea is one of China's core interests. The fact that the chief personally watched the performances implies that the region is seen as highly important, and the drills are considered vital."

5.Mr.Li further said that the South China Sea issue has become more complicated due to the the involvement of the US and Japan and that the drill, taking place under an electromagnetic environment, had likely taken into consideration the advanced communication-jamming technologies of the US.

6.In a despatch of July 29, the Xinhua reported that that simultaneously with the naval exercise of the PLA-Navy,an army unit based at an inland province in the Jinan Military Command ferried combat forces and arms to "a coastal city" in the Shandong province on July 27. Mr.Li Qinggong, deputy secretary-general of the China Council for National Security Policy Studies, has said he did not believe the Chinese exercises were directed at the US-ROK drill, because such preparations take a long time and the timing may be a coincidence

7. Code-named "Invincible Spirit," the four-day joint US-South Korea naval and air exercises involved 20 ships, including the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington of the US Navy, submarines, 200 aircraft and 8,000 troops from the two nations. According to the Xinhua, the exercise included anti-submarine drills, naval live-fire exercises, aerial training and computer-based simulation exercises. It quoted the South Korean media as saying that it was the first in a series of similar joint exercises to be conducted in coming months, part of military "countermeasures" against North Korea. Apart from the routine annual exercises , which will take place between August 16 and 26, the two countries will also stage joint military drills in waters off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula in September, and will conduct similar drills every month till the end of this year, as a warning to North Korea.

8.The ships participating in “Invincible Spirit” kept out of the Yellow Sea in response to Chinese sensitivities, but the South Korean media has indicated that the September exercise would cover the Yellow Sea too in order to underline that the US and South Korea do not accept the Chinese contention that the Yellow Sea is China’s psychological territorial waters from which they should keep out. The Chinese claim that many past invasions of China took place via the Yellow Sea and that, because of this, the appearance of any foreign naval ship, particularly an aircraft-carrier, in the Yellow Sea could create psychological fears in the minds of the population of Beijing. Seoul's Yonhap News Agency quoted a high-level ROK military officer as saying on July 29 that the US and South Korea will "hold a joint military exercise once every month until the end of the year".

9.Simultanously, Mr.Hu Zhengyue, a Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister, is on a visit to North Korea amid speculation that North Korea is pressing China to agree to a joint China-North Korea naval exercise. However, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson has described the visit as "a normal exchange between the two foreign ministries."

10. Amid the concerns over the US determination to counter Chinese maritime assertiveness, the debate on the need for the Chinese Navy to have one or more aircraft carriers has been revived. In an editorial, the "Global Times" published by the People's daily group said on July 30,2010: "The recent war of words surrounding the deployment of the US aircraft carrier George Washington close to China's waters has once again sparked debate on the symbolic and practical significance of the large naval vessel. How would an aircraft carrier change the dynamics of China's rise and how would it affect the regional geopolitical landscape? The outcome depends on China's overall aircraft carrier strategy. An aircraft carrier is a crucial element of a modern naval force. Currently there are 22 aircraft carriers in active service in nine countries. China is the only UN Security Council permanent member that does not have an aircraft carrier. The public strongly desires an aircraft carrier because of the prestige associated with one, the power it projects to the rest of the world and the sense of defensive security it provides. There is a lot of speculation about China's aircraft carrier plan. Given a carrier's incredible size, it could be wrongly perceived as Chinese military assertiveness, and may create unnecessary tension. In the South China Sea, for example, where tensions occasionally spill over, an aircraft carrier might help China achieve victory in small-scale clashes in disputed waters. However, the win might turn a relatively small dispute into long running hostility that destabilizes bilateral relationships. But on the high seas, an aircraft carrier could be an effective tool to maintain order, and it could win China respect from neighboring countries. The number of the aircraft carriers China hopes to posses should also be well pondered. Too small a fleet and it may be ineffective, but an oversized fleet will eat up too much of the defense budget. The best deployment of an aircraft carrier would be for effective deterrence and to strengthen China's military power. A carrier could also provide a platform to launch industrial and technological upgrades. Domestically there is also opposition against building or acquiring aircraft carriers given the enormous cost and maintenance difficulties. The Chinese Government has kept tacit (silent) over its aircraft carrier strategy, though many signs suggest that they (aircraft carriers)are elements that would make the Chinese navy complete. A sound aircraft carrier strategy should be put in place to optimize its future functions." ( 30-7-10)

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



" It is clear that military clashes would bring bad results to all countries in the region involved, but China will never waive its right to protect its core interest with military means."--- From a "Global Times" editorial of July 26,2010


After having adopted a soft policy towards China since coming to office in January 2009, the administration of President Barack Obama is showing signs of starting to articulate in public its concerns over the implications of the growth of the Chinese naval power and its likely impact on the freedom of navigation and maritime trade. The public articulation of the concerns of the Obama Administration in this regard were triggered off by China's ambivalence on the question of action against North Korea for allegedly sinking a South Korean naval ship in March and its strong statements in recent months on its rights in the South China Sea and its determination to play what Beijing looks upon as its rightful role in the Western Pacific.

2. Interestingly and intriguingly, the concerns of the Obama Administration over the ambivalent policies of China in this region and over the implications of the increasing maritime assertiveness of the Chinese Navy were voiced by two dignitaries of the Obama Administration, who recently visited New Delhi and Hanoi, thereby hinting that there was a triangular convergence of these concerns in the US, India and Vietnam. Does this presage the beginning of a thinking in the corridors of power in Washington on the likely benefits of a co-ordinated strategy by the US, India and Vietnam towards the growing assertiveness of the Chinese Navy?

3. That is the questioin that has started bothering some analysts in China. While they have so far refrained from naming India in this context, they have already named Vietnam and cautioned it not to be misled by professions of US friendship for that country.

4.The opening salvo in the articulation of the US concerns was fired by Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, during an official visit to India.He told Indian media persons on July 23,2010, that China's aggressive posturing over territorial claims in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions was a matter of concern that the US shared with India. He was quoted by the Indian media as saying as follows: "China seems to be asserting itself more and more with respect to the kinds of territorial claims. They seem to be taking a much more aggressive approach to the near-sea areas recently....There is growing concern over it. In my perspective, we (the US) must work with India in this regard.In my recent interactions with its leadership, India too has expressed similar concerns." He gave the example of recent public statements by China about the US Navy operating in the Yellow Sea. Noting that the US navy was in the international waters, Mullen said despite such remarks by China, the US would continue to operate in the international waters there.

5.Admiral Mullen said further that the US believed China was shifting focus from land-centric to air and maritime capabilities. "Fairly recently I have gone from being curious about where China is headed to being concerned about it. One of the characteristics that does not exist as far as China appears militarily is transparency. In fact, there is opaqueness to it that we continue to really scratch our heads about from a military standpoint. We have virtually no relationship with the Chinese military. If we have such relationship, we can agree on and disagree on, and also we can learn from each other." He pointed out that the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions were critical to economic and trade activities and that stability in these two regions was absolutely vital.

6. The same day in her address to the Foreign Ministers of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) at Hanoi, Mrs.Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, said that resolving disputes over the South China Sea was "pivotal" to regional stability and suggested an international mechanism to solve the issue. "The United States has a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia's maritime commons, and respect for international law in the South China Sea," Mrs. Clinton said. According to the "China Daily",Washington has called for unfettered access to the area and accused Beijing of adopting an increasingly aggressive stance on the high seas.

7.While Beijing has not yet reacted to the remarks of Admiral Mullen in New Delhi, it reacted immediately and with virulence against the remarks of Mrs.Clinton--- thereby indicating that it possibly distrusts Vietnam more than it distrusts India. The Chinese Foreign Minister,Mr.Yang Jiechi. who challenged the remarks of Mrs.Clinton at the Hanoi ARF meeting, strongly opposed attempts to internationalise the South China Sea issue."What will be the consequences if this issue is turned into an international or multilateral one? It will only make matters worse and the resolution more difficult," Mr. Yang said and added:"International practices show that the best way to resolve such disputes is for countries concerned to have direct bilateral negotiations. "

8.Mr.Yang said in his rejoinder to Mrs.Clinton: "China has territorial disputes with a few ASEAN member countries. The South China Sea is currently a peaceful area with navigational freedom.Trade has been growing rapidly in this region and China has become the number one trading partner of many countries in the region.In my bilateral discussions with both ASEAN colleagues and others, they all say that there is no threat to regional peace and stability.It is not China but some other country that is "coercing" regional countries to take sides on the issue. Asia can solve its own problems without interference by outside countries. ASEAN is also not an appropriate forum to resolve the issue.China and some ASEAN nations have territorial and maritime rights disputes because we are neighbors. And those disputes shouldn't be viewed as ones between China and ASEAN as a whole just because the countries involved are ASEAN members.The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed by China and ASEAN member countries in 2002 has played a good role in containing regional conflicts and will see high-level meetings when conditions are mature. In the declaration, the countries pledged to exercise restraint, and not to make it an international issue or multilateral issue.Channels of discussion are there, and they are open and smooth."

9. There is suspicion in China that Mrs.Clinton would not have made such a strong statement without the tacit concurrence of Hanoi. Mr.Su Hao, a researcher on Asia-Pacific studies with the Beijing-based China Foreign Affairs University, said there had been many "subtle changes" in the South China Sea issue in the past year, with countries including Vietnam becoming much tougher and Washington moving away from its previous low-profile tone. "I'm sure the US is the basic reason for the change - it is supporting the other sides," Su said and added: "During a recent visit to Vietnam, I told a Vietnamese officer with diplomatic background that our late leader Deng Xiaoping had said 'since we can't solve the South China Sea issue, we can leave it to the next generation which will be smarter." According to Mr. Su, the Vietnamese officer replied: "That is why we have to solve it now." Mr. Shi Zhan, an international studies researcher at China Foreign Affairs University, said the US is re-flexing its muscles in the South China Sea partly because of the resources in the area.

10.In an editorial under the title "American Shadow Over South China Sea" published on July 26, the "Global Times" of Beijing wrote: "Maintaining and playing up regional tensions are typical American ways of keeping a presence and causing interference in disputed areas.On Friday (July 23), US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed "concern" over navigation freedom and offered help in facilitating communication in the South China Sea. Are any of them a major concern in the region at the moment? No. The remarks of secretary Clinton were, of course, made after various US think tanks and media groups created much fanfare about potential clashes that would necessitate the step-in of the US government. Clinton's words clearly signaled America's strategic intentions in the South China Sea. The US will not put regional interests first. This is something that Southeast Asian countries have to bear in mind. Regional stability will be difficult to maintain if the countries concerned allow themselves to be controlled by the strategic guidance of the US. China and its neighboring countries have built a consultative mechanism to smooth out disagreements in the disputed water, and the communication channels are open. Conflicts, though they appear sporadically, are expected to be diminished with deeper understanding. Fully aware of the complexity of the region, China offered a solution of "shelving disagreement and joint development" to help foster trust and move the issue forward. China's objective is clear: to build strategic trust with neighboring countries under China's tolerance and patience. But that hard-earned trust is under threat with the US intention to meddle in the region, and force countries to choose between China and the US. With growing economic power, China and the US may encounter more clashes in China's adjacent sea. Few Southeast Asian countries would like to get in the middle of Sino-US tensions, but like many other regions, they are caught in a dilemma: economically close to China yet militarily guarded against China. Southeast Asian countries need to understand that any attempt to maximize gains by playing a balancing game between China and the US is risky. China's tolerance was sometimes taken advantage of by neighboring countries to seize unoccupied islands and grab natural resources under China's sovereignty. China's long-term strategic plan should never be taken as a weak stand. It is clear that military clashes would bring bad results to all countries in the region involved, but China will never waive its right to protect its core interest with military means. To maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, the solution of "shelving disagreement and joint development" is the only option. "

11.In another editorial under the heading "US push in Vietnam suspicious", the "Global Times" wrote on July 28,2010: "In another sign that the US is "back to Southeast Asia," the US is approaching its old adversary in the region. During her two-day stay in Vietnam last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed economic cooperation, promised to solve the legacy of Agent Orange, and praised the unlimited potential of improved US-Vietnam relations. The message was clear when the US claimed, on Vietnamese soil, that it is in the US national interest to resolve South China Sea disputes. Embracing a former adversary for broader strategic gains is diplomacy the US is good at. It's true there is still conflict between China and Vietnam over disputed waters and natural resources. Both are hot-button issues that can trigger public resentment toward each other. It is also an obstacle to deepening bilateral ties between China and Vietnam. But from a historical perspective, the two countries have overcome the shadow of past military clashes for mutual benefit. China has been the largest trading partner of Vietnam for five consecutive years. Charting a similar reform road like China, Vietnam is benefiting from economic boom and political stability that is envied by neighboring coun-tries. The desire for mutual economic benefit surpasses the dispute over sea territories and it also lays a solid foundation for solving the dispute peacefully. Two weeks ago, the two sides finished a 1,300-kilometer long land boundary demarcation. Six years ago, the two sides inked the treaty over maritime boundary demarcation at Beibei Gulf, setting a reference point for solving issues over disputed waters in the South China Sea. Pressure to maintain an influence and guard against a rising China, the West is eager to cozy up to Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries. Meanwhile, the Western media likes to poison Sino-Vietnamese ties by painting China as "an elephant" which can easily trample on the interest of Vietnam.Vietnam should also be careful about not becoming a chess piece for the US as it pursues a broader regional agenda. China does not include Vietnam into its sphere of influence. The two countries are making an effort to build normal nation-to-nation relations. The two can find ways to solve disputes peacefully and avoid being taken advantage of by other countries. "

12. In bitter attacks on Mrs.Clinton's observations, some Chinese bloggers have accused her of ambushing China in its backyard. There is not yet a smilar reaction against the comments of Admiral Mullen, but the Chinese must be nursing a similar, but not yet openly expressed apprehension that there is another US ambush at New Delhi.

13. These developments call for a strategic naval dialogue between India and Vietnam in order to assess the seriousness of the Chinese maritime threats to the region and exchange views on the options available to India and Vietnam to protect their maritime interests. It would not be advisable to associate the US with the India-Vietnam dialogue on this subject. Any Indo-US dialogue should be kept separate in order not to create any fears in Beijing that India, the US and Vietnam are ganging up to prevent the emergence of China as a naval power. (30-7-10)

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

Monday, July 26, 2010



The leakage of nearly 90,000 documents relating to the Afghan war for the period between January 2004 and December 2009 by Wikileaks, a US web site which disseminates secret information of public interest received from whistleblowers after verifying the authenticity of the secret information, could damage the chances of re-election of President Barack Obama in the presidential elections of 2012.

2. The documents cover a period of six years--- five years of the presidency of Mr.George Bush and one year of Mr.Obama. The reaction of the officials of the Obama Administration to the leakage went through three phases. In the first phase, they tried to prevent the secret documents from being brought into the public domain. In the second phase, they grudgingly admitted the seriousness of the facts as disclosed in the leaked documents and sought to absolve the Obama Administration of responsibility for the state of affairs in Afghanistan as revealed in these documents by highlighting the fact that most of these documents related to the period when Mr.Bush was the President. Only now it has dawned upon them that about 20 per cent of the leaked documents relate to the period since January 2009 when Mr.Obama took over as the President. Even if the vast majority of the documents cover five years of the presidency of Mr.Bush, there will be a legitimate assumption under the law that officials of the Obama Administration---if not Mr.Obama himself--- must have been aware of all this.

3. Yet, the Obama Administration did not take into account this disturbing state of affairs in Afghanistan while formulating its new Af-Pak strategy. This strategy had two aspects. The first was a surge in US troops sent to Afghanistan in an attempt to weaken, if not defeat, the Taliban by the middle of 2011. The second was to integrate Pakistan into this strategy in order to seek its co-operation in the military operations against the Taliban and in restoring stability in Afghanistan.

4. As part of this attempt to integrate Pakistan into this strategy, military and economic assistance amounting to US $ 7.5 billion over a five-year period for Pakistan was got approved by the Congress under the Kerry-Lugar Bill. As the Congress was discussing and approving the Bill, the officials of the Obama Administration were aware of the continuing collusion of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) with the Taliban and the ISI's attempts to de-stabilise the Hamid Karzai Government. They were also aware of the role of the Taliban in the bomb explosion outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul on July 7,2008, in which 58 persons were killed.

5. Despite the availability in the records of the Administration of all this information regarding the deception played by Pakistan on the US, the officials of the Administration persuaded the Congress to pass the Bill. From the comments made by Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, regarding the leaks it is apparent that he has been disturbed by the disclosures regarding Pakistan's collusion with the Taliban made in the leaked documents. The British Broadcasting Corporation has quoted him as saying: "However illegally these documents came to light, they raise serious questions about the reality of America's policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan."

6. Mr.Kerry and other members of the Congress who voted increased economic and military assistance for Pakistan might have been unaware of the full details of what Kr.Kerry described as "the reality of America's policy towards Pakistan and Afghanistan." But Mr.Obama and his advisers in the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon cannot claim that they too were unaware.

7. What role did the ISI's collusion with the Taliban play in the increasing fatalities suffered by the US troops in Afghanistan? How could the Obama Administration have decided to step up military and economic assistance to Pakistan despite being aware of the "reality" of the ISI's role in helping the Taliban in its operations against the US and NATO troops. Previously, it used to be believed that the ISI was using terrorist organisations only to kill Indian nationals and target Indian interests. The leaked documents clearly indicate that the ISI had been knowingly helping the Taliban, another terrorist organisation, against the troops of the US-led NATO forces and the Afghan Security Forces.

8. Even if the Obama Administration did not want to act against Pakistan for killing Indians, one would have expected it to act against Pakistan for contributing to the deaths of US soldiers by assisting the Taliban. In spite of having and knowing all these details about the ISI-Taliban collusion, the Obama Administration chose not to act. That is the shocking "reality of America's policy towards Pakistan and Afghanistan."

9.As these facts are widely discussed in the US, the credibility of Mr.Obama could be dented and his chances for re-election as the President damaged.

10.The second implication of the Wikileaks should be of concern to the intelligence and security agencies of all countries of the world, including India. That is how did a junior US military analyst posted in Baghdad come to have access to two highly-classified data bases of the US---- one of the Pentagon relating to military developments and the other probably of the US State Department relating to diplomatic developments. He seems to have transferred to compact discs the contents of nearly 200,000 documents from these two data bases. Only 90,000 of these documents relating to military developments in Afghanistan have been disseminated by Wikileaks so far. The contents of the remaining---many of which probably relate to diplomatic developments---- have not been disseminated so far. One does not know why.

11. The action of the junior US analyst in managing to have access to these data-bases and transferring their contents to his CDs shows how insecure the so-called secure data-bases are and how one could break into them. Instead of harassing and prosecuting the analyst, the US agencies should enter into a plea bargain with him by promising no action if he told them how he did this so that the US security agencies could plug the loopholes in their cyber security. ( 27-7-10)

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


Even if the US wants to leave Afghanistan in a hurry, it won't be able to.Afghanistan is not Vietnam. Al Qaeda is not Vietcong.Once the US decided to quit Vietnam,. Vietcong was happy & didn't chase them. It focussed on developing Vietnam. Al Qaeda and its jihadi hordes will chase them and keep killing more.Al Qaeda is a good terrorist organisation.It is not a good insurgent organisation. It cannot fight a guerilla warfare on the ground.If the Americans want to leave Afghanistan and live in peace in their homeland, their troops should enter North Waziristan, destroy Al Qaeda to the last Arab and Salafi and then leave.In Vietnam, the US fought a wrong war.In Afghanistan, it is fighting a right war the wrong way, B.Raman



According to Wikipedia, a 22-year-old US Army intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning, was arrested by the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command in May 2010. Manning was detained without charge in a military jail at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.

2. To quote the Wikipedia: "In early July, he was faced with two charges of misconduct: "transferring classified data onto his personal computer and adding unauthorised software to a classified computer system" and "communicating, transmitting and delivering national defence information to an unauthorised source". The maximum jail sentence is 52 years. Lieutenant Colonel Eric Bloom has said that "as part of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the next step in proceedings would be an Article 32 Hearing, which is similar to a grand jury. An investigating officer will be appointed, and that officer looks into all facts of the matter, does an investigation, and upon conclusion, the findings will be presented to a convening court martial authority. The division commander will consider based on what is in that, what the next steps are. Either there is enough evidence or not enough evidence to proceed to a court-martial ... A date has not yet been set. We haven't even identified the investigating officer. We're still in the early stages of this case".

3. It added: "Manning allegedly told journalist and former hacker Adrian Lamo via instant messenging that he had leaked the "Collateral Murder" video (of the July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike), in addition to a video of the Granai airstrike and around 260,000 diplomatic cables, to the whistleblower website Wikileaks. Lamo handed the instant messenger chat logs to U.S. investigators, who began searching for evidence to determine whether Manning's apparent statements to Lamo were true. The "Collateral Murder" video showed an attack by a U.S. helicopter crew on a group of men presumed to be insurgents. Two children were wounded, and several men were killed, including the father of the children and two men who were later identified as Reuters employees. Manning reportedly said that the diplomatic documents expose "almost criminal political back dealings" and that they explain "how the first world exploits the third, in detail". He said that he hoped the release of the videos and documents would lead to "worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms". Manning reportedly wrote, "everywhere there’s a U.S. post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed." However, Wikileaks said "allegations that we have been sent 260,000 classified US embassy cables are, as far as we can tell, incorrect".

4.On June 17, 2010, Daniel Ellsberg, a military analyst working for the Rand Corporation during the Vietnam war, who had similarly leaked on grounds of conscience a large number of Pentagon papers about the Vietnam war, was interviewed by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales on the Democracy Now! TV and Radio show regarding the parallels between his actions and those of Bradley Manning.Ellsberg said that he feared for Manning and another person by name Julian Assange, as he feared for himself after the initial publication of the Pentagon Papers. He called them "two new heroes of mine".

5. Though Wikileaks, the whistleblowers' web site, may not admit it, there are strong grounds for suspecting that Bradley Manning must have been the source of the nearly 90,000 classified documents, mainly relating to the war in Afghanistan, which were uploaded by Wikileaks on its web site on July 25. It had allegedly made many of them available in advance to the "New York Times", the "Guardian" of the UK and "Der Spiegal" of Germany.

6.Senator John Kerry, the Chairman of of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who is close to President Barack Obama, has been quoted by the British Broadcasting Corporation as saying that the leak came at a "critical stage" for US policy in the region. He added: "However illegally these documents came to light, they raise serious questions about the reality of America's policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan."

7.How long will the US cover up the misdeeds of Pakistan against India in order to protect American lives and interests? How long will India keep silent on the US cover-up of Pakistani misdeeds in the long-term interests of the developing strategic relations between India and the US? For an Indian, these are the two questions which assume even greater importance than in the past as a result of the leakage. The leaked documents confirm three facts which were already known---firstly, the role of Pakistan in training and arming the Taliban; secondly, the role of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Taliban in organising a car bomb explosion through a suicide bomber outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul on July 7,2008, and thirdly, the attempts of the ISI to use the Taliban to have the Hamid Karzai Government in Afghanistan destabilised. Fifty-eight persons, including India's Defence attache Brigadier R D Mehta and Counsellor Venkateswara Rao, were killed when the suicide bomber targeted the Embassy during the morning rush hour.

8.The leaked documents also show that the Taliban has shoulder-fired, heat-seeking missiles which it had been using against NATO planes and helicopters. During the 1980s, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had trained the Afghan Mujahideen in the use of Stinger missiles against Soviet aircraft. It had issued a large stock of these missiles to the ISI for being given to the Afghan Mujahideen. The ISI issued some to the Mujahideen, gave some to Iran and one to North Korea for re-engineering purposes and kept some for use by the Pakistan Army against India. After the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan, the CIA asked the ISI to buy back the unused Stinger missiles from the Afghan Mujahideen and return them to the CIA. The ISI evaded doing so. On coming to office in January 1993, President Bill Clinton forced Mr.Nawaz Sharif, the then Pakistani Prime Minister, to sack Lt.Gen.Javed Nasir, the then Director-General of the ISI, and some other senior officers who had avoided returning the unused Stinger missiles. Till Mr.Nawaz sacked them. Mr.Clinton had placed Pakistan on a so-called list of suspected State-sponsors of terrorism. In 1994, when the Taliban was formed by the ISI, some of the unused Stinger missiles were given to it. The leaked documents only mention in passing that the Taliban has shoulder-fired missiles without mentioning all these details as to how the Stinger missiles reached the Taliban.

9. This is one of many such instances of the ISI training and arming the Taliban, the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and other terrorist organisations for using them to advance its strategic agenda in Afghanistan and India. It has been brazenly doing this because of its confidence that the US would not take any punitive action against it and that the Indian leadership and bureaucracy would not have the courage to act against it----either on the diplomatic or military front or through appropriate covert actions. The ISI did have some fears when Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Narasimha Rao were Prime Ministers, but thereafter it lost all fears because of a succession of soft Prime Ministers we have had.

10. Will the revelations about Pakistan and the ISI in the documents leaked to Wikileaks lead at long last to Pakistan and its ISI being subjected to punitive action. I have serious doubts. After some strong statements, the US will hush up the matter once again and the Govt. of India will avoid pressing the US to act against Pakistan. It is a great national shame. ( 26-7-10)

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

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I keep getting messages enquiring about my health for which I am grateful. Following is an update on my health:

Since November 11,2009, I am under hormonal treatment for metastasised cancer of prostate origin. It seems to have started about four or five years earlier from the prostate and from there spread to the urinary bladder, a nearby bone and a lymph-node. It was detected late since the first external symptom (bleeding) appeared only on September 30,2009. The cancer is such that it cannot be cured, but can be contained. Till now, it has been responding positively to the treatment to contain it and I have learnt to peacefully co-exist with it. I have not allowed it to affect my normal life. I continue to be as active---physically and mentally--- as I have always been.



The Chinese are facing a new threat to their national security---a tweeting Dalai Lama. His Holiness has started a direct dialogue with interested Chinese and Tibetan netizens with the help of Chinese writer Wang Lixiong, presently living in the US, who is the husband of the Tibetan dissident writer Woeser. His Tweets with the Chinese netizens are hosted on His Holiness' new Chinese blog on Twitter: @dailalamacn.

2. The questions have to be submitted in advance. With the help of his advisers, His Holiness selects 10 questions and replies to them. He has had two sessions so far---on May 21 and again on July 19. It is learnt that for the session of July 19, he received 326 questions. He replied to 10 of them. Radio Free Asia, funded by the US State Department, has been disseminating the questions to which HIs Holiness replied with a summary of his answers.

3. Some of his significant replies are given below:

* “The term ‘autonomy by Tibetans’ should refer to having Tibetans as the majority and other ethnic groups as the minority [of the Tibet Autonomous Region].If the situation were in reverse, then the word ‘autonomy’ would be meaningless."
* He hopes to “build up a big family that enables Chinese and Tibetans to coexist in a friendly fashion over 1,000 years, as before.” He wants to see all ethnic groups in China “coexist amicably with each other on the principle of equality.”
* He rejected the concept of a so-called “Greater Tibet,” which was Beijing's propaganda..“We never advocated ‘Greater Tibet.’ That is a label put on us by the Chinese Communist Party’s Department of the United Front.” “What we have been pursuing is that all Tibetans who use the same spoken and written language need equal rights to protect and develop their religious culture, as well as equal rights to economic development.”
* He is not the sole figure to embody the Tibetan spirit. He has been operating in semi-retirement over the last 10 years.All major political decisions have been made by a leadership group elected by Tibetan exiles.After his death, all policy would be managed in the same way.

4. His advisers have estimated that about 5000 persons have been following his Tweets, but less than 500 are submitting questions. The Chinese have not so far tried to block his Tweets. While the Chinese would not be unduly concerned over his Twittterlogue with the Han Chinese, they would be worried over his Twitterlogue with Tibtans. It remains to be seen how they deal with this problem. Internet access in Tibet is freer than it is in Xinjiang. The Chinese imposed severe restrictions on the use of the Internet in Xinjiang after they found out that the Munich-based World Uighur Congress was in touch with its followers in Xinjiang through the Internet.

5. Unrelated to this, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, which is responsible for internal security, has continued to keep up pressure on Nepalese leaders and officials to stop what it describes as the anti-China activities by the Tibetan exiles in Nepal, particularly those whom it suspects to be working for Radio Free Asia. Chen Zhimin, the Chinese Vice-Minister for Public Security, is to visit Kathmandu for talks with Nepalese officials on July 26. ( 25-7-10)

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

Saturday, July 24, 2010



Is the jihadi ideology spreading in the Muslim community of China ---- geographically as well as ethnically? Has it started infecting Muslims in provinces other than the Xinjiang Autonomous Region? Has it started affecting the Huis and other non-Uighur segements of the Chinese Muslim community? Is the Uighur separatist movement becoming part of the global jihadi movement? What has been the influence of Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban on the Chinese Muslims? What role has the Internet, which has spread spectacularly in China, been playing in facilitating the self-radicalisation of sections of the Chinese Muslim community?

2. These are questions which China analysts will be increasingly confronted with as they study the scanty information coming out of Xinjiang and other areas where there is a Muslim community. This is a sensitive subject for the Chinese. Their analysts rarely pose these questions and seek answers for them. The Chinese media merely repeats the Government propaganda---- the Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is the source of all evil; it operates from the Af-Pak region; it is associated with Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban; it exploits the economic grievances of the UIghurs for achieving religious objectives; there is no religious anger in Xinjiang; people are happy as Muslims; the Government gives them all the facilities they need as Muslims; their grievances are mainly because they are economically not as advanced as the Chinese in the other provinces; the Government has decided to pour money into Xinjiang for its economic development; once that happens the Uighur splittist problem will be over. So the people in the rest of China and the international community are told. These are not lies, but these are not the whole truth either.

3. There has always been religious anger in Xinjiang over issues such as restrictions on people going on Haj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. curbs on the observance of the holy fasting period, ban on private Koranic schools and classes, the requirement of Government's prior approval for religious sermons in mosques, the alleged imposition of Islam in Chinese colours etc.New religious issues have come up after the violent riots of July last year. One such issue is the alleged practice by the Chinese police of cremating the dead bodies of Muslims whose relatives cannot be traced. Another is the on-going replacement of exclusively Uighur quartiers in Urumqi by mixed quartiers where the Uighurs are forced to live side by side with Han Chinese in order to break their religious solidarity.

4. These grievances are keeping the anger against the Government alive. Is the anger also showing a tendency to spread---geographically and ethnically? It is difficult to answer this question definitively in the absence of data, But one occasionally finds tits-bits of information here and there as one monitors the Chinese media for information regarding the Chinese Muslim community. One such bit of information was found in an article published by the "China Daily" on July 3 on the joint Sino-Pakistani counter-terrorism exercise. It quoted Mr. Li Wei, a Beijing-based anti-terrorism researcher, as saying that besides the Xinjiang Region, the ETIM has also made its presence felt in central-eastern China, including in the Henan and Shanxi provinces. He said: "After the July 5 riot last year, China beefed up border security checks in Xinjiang, so instead of getting out of China through that region, more ETIM terrorists are now fleeing to the southwestern parts of China and getting out of the country there." He added that another new challenge for all countries is that terrorists have turned to the Internet where they recruit and brainwash new members. "This kind of prevention is even harder to do." He spoke generally about the problem faced by the rest of the world due to dangers of radicalisation through the Internet, but he did not say specifically whether there have been such instances in the Muslim community in China itself. (25-7-10)



Muslims live in every region in China. The highest concentrations are found in the northwest provinces of Xinjiang, Gansu, and Ningxia, with significant populations also found throughout Yunnan province in southwest China and Henan province in central China. Of China’s 55 officially recognized minority peoples, ten groups are predominately Muslim. The largest groups in descending order are Hui (9.8 million in year 2000 census, or 48% of the officially tabulated number of Muslims), Uyghur (8.4 million, 41%), Kazakh (1.25 million , 6.1%), Dongxiang (514,000, 2.5%), Kyrgyz (161,000), Salar (105,000), Tajik (41,000), Uzbeks, Bonan (17,000), and Tatar (5,000). However, individual members of traditionally Muslim ethnic groups may profess other religions or none at all. Additionally, Tibetan Muslims are officially classified along with the Tibetan people, unlike the Hui who are classified as a separate people, even though they are indistinguishable from the Han. Muslims live predominantly in the areas that border Central Asia, Tibet and Mongolia, i.e. Xinjiang, Ningxia, Gansu and Qinghai, which is known as the "Quran Belt".

China is home to a large population of adherents of Islam. According to the CIA World Factbook, about 1%-2% of the total population in China are Muslims, while the US Department of State's International Religious Freedom Report shows that Muslims constitute about 1.5% of the Chinese population. Recent census counts imply that there may be up to 20 million Muslims in China. However, the last three national censuses (1982, 1990, and 2000) did not include questions about religion. The number of religious believers can be inferred indirectly from census counts of the number of people who identify themselves as belonging to particular ethnic groups, some of whom are known to be predominantly members of certain religious groups. A 2009 study done by the Pew Research Center, based on China's census, concluded there are 21,667,000 Muslims in China, accounting for 1.6% of the total population. According to data provided by the San Diego State University's International Population Center to U.S. News & World Report, China has 65.3 million Muslims. The BBC's "Religion and Ethics" website gave a range of 20 million to 100 million (1.5% to 7.5% of the total) Muslims in China.

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

Friday, July 23, 2010



Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff who visited Delhi this week for talks with Indian officials, is reported to have told Indian media persons on July 23,2010, that China's aggressive posturing over territorial claims in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions was a matter of concern that the US shared with India.

2. He has been quoted by as saying as follows: "China seems to be asserting itself more and more with respect to the kinds of territorial claims. They seem to be taking a much more aggressive approach to the near-sea areas recently....There is growing concern over it. In my perspective, we (the US) must work with India in this regard.In my recent interactions with its leadership, India too has expressed similar concerns." He gave the example of recent public statements by China about the US Navy operating in the Yellow Sea. Noting that the US navy was in the international waters, Mullen said despite such remarks by China, the US would continue to operate in the international waters there.

3.According to, Admiral Mullen said further that the US believed China was shifting focus from land-centric to air and maritime capabilities. "Fairly recently I have gone from being curious about where China is headed to being concerned about it. One of the characteristics that does not exist as far as China appears militarily is transparency. In fact, there is opaqueness to it that we continue to really scratch our heads about from a military standpoint. We have virtually no relationship with the Chinese military. If we have such relationship, we can agree on and disagree on, and also we can learn from each other."

4. He pointed out that the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions were critical to economic and trade activities and that stability in these two regions was absolutely vital.

5. One was gratified by his observations because one was intrigued by the relative silence of the US media over the increasing naval assertiveness of China in the South and East China Seas and in the Yellow Sea and by its repeated demand since the beginning of this year for equality of status with the US Navy in the Western Pacific. In the past, the Chinese used to project themselves as a rising economic power, but were coy on their military power----particularly naval power. Now, for the last few months, they don't fight shy of projecting themselves as a rising naval power.

6. Since the crisis broke out in March following the North Korean sinking of a South Korean naval vessel and particularly since the US and South Korea announced a programme for a series of joint naval exercises to deter Norh Korea from any more such adventurist actions,Chinese media and strategic experts, including some from the Navy and the faculty of some Chinese training institutions, including their National Defence University, have been talking and writing increasingly of what they project as a looming naval conflict between a hegemonist naval power (US) and a rising naval power (China).

7. They strongly opposed the US-South Korea naval exercises covering the Yellow Sea and warned of the dangers of incidents if the US and South Korea went ahead with their exercises, which would involve the participation of a nuclear-powered aircraft-carrier of the US Navy. Even after the US and South Korea indicated that their naval exercise starting on July 25---- which would be the first in the series---- would not cover the Yellow Sea, the Chinese have kept up their campaign. Their Foreign Office claims to have issued five warnings to the US not to send its ships into the Yellow Sea.

8. The following points emerge clearly from the recent Chinese campaign:

* Firstly, the rise of the Chinese naval power is unstoppable.
* Secondly, instead of trying to counter it, the US should accommodate itself with it by accepting the new reality in the Western Pacific as a result of the rise of the Chinese Navy.
* Thirdly, China is keen to improve its military-military relations with the US, but this will be possible only if the US accepts this reality and pays attention to the Chinese sensitivities on maritime issues and Chinese interests in the Yellow Sea. Chinese expectations are no longer confined to US understanding Chinese sensitivities on arms sales to Taiwan. Beijing now has an expanded list of core sensitivities.

9. The Chinese are not yet talking---at least openly---- of their aspirations as an Indian Ocean power, but it is only a question of time before they start doing so and challenging any Indian primacy in the Indian Ocean Region. In their long-term plans to do so, they will first try to undermine the Indian naval influence in the island countries such as Sri Lanka, the Maldives. Seychelles and Mauritius and use repeated invitations from the Pakistani political leadership and Armed Forces to make greater use of the naval facilities in Pakistan for their ships in the Indian Ocean. Annexed is an article on co-operation between the Chinese and the Pakistani Navies carried by the "China Daily" on July 22,2010. There is a need for a joint monitoring of Chinese naval activities by India and the US.

10. This article may please be read in continuation of my following articles on the subject available at the web site of the Chennai Centre For China Studies at
(1).“Chinese Sovereign Waters”, “Waters of China’s Interests”,”Psychological Territorial Seas” of July 14,2010

(2). De-Escalation Moves in Yellow Sea of June 29,2010

(3). Hu Proposes, PLA Disposes of June 28,2010

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


Article carried by the "China Daily" on July 22,2010

Pakistan navy vows to expand co-op with China
By Sun Yuqing (

Pakistan's navy is very satisfied with the performance of the F-22P frigate it bought from China and hopes to further the cooperation with the nation, said Admiral Noman Bashir, Pakistan's Chief of Naval Staff.

Two of the four F-22P frigates it ordered are already in service in Pakistan Navy, with the third one scheduled to be commissioned on September 15 this year. It's also expected that all four ships will be in service by 2013.

"We are very happy with the performance, and some technology is as good as in Western countries," said Noman Bashir, who visited China four times last year.

Pakistan also hopes to buy bigger ships with more firepower from China, such as 4,000 ton class frigates.

Pakistan has proposed to develop strategic maritime cooperation with China in both military and commercial sects, such as in fishery, economic development zones, and cargo, he said.

"The friendship between China and Pakistan is greater than the Himalayas and deeper than the Ocean. We already made progress in air force and other areas, now we should further and expand the cooperation in Navy, a broadly-based relation."

Pakistan's strategic geographical location in the Arabian Sea and its long coastline mean its possible contribution to the missions of China's navy, particular under the context of energy need from the Persian Gulf, said Pakistan officials.

Pakistan also has rich experiences in countering illegal activities at sea in order to maintain maritime security, four ships participated in anti-piracy operations, and there has been no act of maritime terrorism in its region in the recent past.

"We can provide facilities, ports, logistics, maintenance among other things (to Chinese navy)," said a Pakistan navy official.

Pakistan hopes to buy more ships from China, UK and France according to its development plan



Gen.Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who will be completing his three-year tenure as Pakistan's Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) on November 28,2010, has been given a three-year extension by the civilian Government of Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani. He will now continue as the COAS till November 28, 2013.

2. Mr.Gilani, who announced the decision to give him an extension in a brief telecast speech on the evening of July 22,2010, said the extension had been given in the interest of continuity at a time when the war on terror was successfully continuing against the elements who wanted to impose a system of their choice on the country ( an apparent reference to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan) . He said: “The success of military operations could only have been achieved under General Ashfaq Kayani’s leadership. He has been involved in planning and monitoring of operations in militancy-hit areas. These operations are at a critical stage and successful continuation of these operations required continuation in military high command. General Kayani is held in high esteem at the international level due to his excellent military leadership qualities and pro-democracy views. In the best interest of the nation, I, in my capacity as prime minister, have decided to give General Kayani a three-year extension in his service from November 29, 2010, relaxing the rules, and after consulting President Asif Ali Zardari.” Interestingly, he made no reference to the situation in Afghanistan and the tensions in Pakistan's relations with India while justifying the decision to extend his term. It was the General's role in countering the threats from terrorist elements in Pakistan which was underlined as the main reason for extending his term.

3. The decision to give him an extension, which was expected for some weeks, was announced shortly after the visits of Mr.S.M.Krishna, India's Minister For External Affairs, and Mrs.Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, to Islamabad. Mr.Krishna visited Islamabad for talks with his Pakistani counterpart, Mr.Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and Mrs.Clinton for the periodic strategic dialogue with Pakistani leaders and officials. Official sources took care to emphasise that there was no linkage between these visits and the timing of the announcement.

4.Ever since the elected civilian Government came to office in March 2008, there had been indications that while the General's relations with Prime Minister Gilani were correct and warm, his relations with Mr.Asif Ali Zardari, who took over as the President in September 2008, were correct, but lacking in warmth. The lack of warmth could be attributed to the general suspicion of the Army which Mr.Zardari had inherited from his wife Mrs.Benazir Bhutto and the General's feeling of discomfort with some of the persons in the entourage of Mr.Zardari, particularly Mr.Rehman Malik, an ex-police officer who is now the Interior Minister. Gen.Kayani, like some of his senior colleagues in the Army, also viewed with suspicion some of the initial statements of Mr.Zardari advocating close relations with India. The failed attempt of Mr.Zardari to have the control of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) transferred to the Interior Ministry also added to the misgivings nursed by Gen.Kayani and other Army officers about Mr.Zardari. These suspicions also played a role in Mr.Zardari having to give up his control of the nuclear national command authority which was transferred to the Prime Minister.

5. In view of these misgivings about each other nursed by Mr.Zardari and his entourage on the one side and Gen. Kayani and his Corps Commanders on the other, there was an element of doubt whether Mr.Zardari would agree to give his consent to the extension. Under the present dispensation after the passage of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, the prerogative of selecting the COAS is that of the Prime Minister. But since Mr.Zardari controls the Pakistan People's Party, Mr. Gilani did not want to take the decision unilaterally without his consent . Ultimately, Mr.Gilani succeeded in convincing Mr.Zardari and his entourage that there would be no threat to the civilian Government from Gen.Kayani if he were given an extension.

6. Some retired Generals close to the PPP such as Gen.Abdul Wahid Kakkar, who was the COAS during the second tenure of Benazir as the Prime Minister, are also believed to have assured Mr.Zardari that there would be no threat to his position or to the civilian Government as a whole from Gen.Kayani and that at a time when the country was passing through a difficult internal security situation Kayani should be allowed to continue. The Americans too, who believe that a known General is better than an unknown General, were keen that Kayani should continue.

7. Once Mr.Zardari agreed to support the extension, things moved fast. On July 15, when the talks between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan were in progress, Mr.Gilani sent for the General and informed him of the decision to extend his term. Gen.Kayani reportedly wanted to seek the concurrence of his Corps Commanders before accepting the extension. The Corps Commanders, who were consulted by him the next day, approved of his accepting the extension. There was no voice of dissent. He informed Mr.Gilani immediately thereafter and the announcement was made.

8. It is learnt that Mr.Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League, who had suffered at the hands of the Army when Pervez Musharraf was the COAS, had some misgivings too about the wisdom of giving an extension to Gen.Kayani since he feared that the extension could make Gen.Kayani powerful and could once again lead to military interference in politics. However, Mr.Nawaz was ultimately persuaded by his brother Mr.Shabaz Sharif, who is the Chief of Minister of Punjab, not to object to the extension. Gen.Kayani has warm relations with Mr.Shabaz. However, the PML (N) is yet to come out with a statement on the extension.

9. Since taking over as the COAS in November 2007, Gen.Kayani has been assertive in matters concerning the Armed Forces, including the ISI, but accommodating and non-interventionist in matters concerning the political governance and economic management of the country. His quietly assertive style in matters concerning the Armed Forces was seen in his strong opposition to the attempt to transfer the control of the ISI to the Ministry of the Interior under Mr.Rehman Malik, his opposition to some of the original conditionalities in the USA's Kerry-Lugar Bill regarding US assistance to Pakistan which, in the eyes of the senior army officers, tended to reflect negatively on the Army, his insistence that the Government should protest to the UN Secretary-General against the unflattering references to the intelligence agencies in the report of the UN Committee which had enquired into the assassination of Benazir and his reported remonstration with the Foreign Office for failing to counter effectively Indian allegations of the ISI's role in the Mumbai terrorist strikes of 26/11.

10. Gen.Kayani strongly shares the traditional suspicions of India nursed by the Punjabi officers in the Pakistan Army, who look upon India as an ill-wisher of Pakistan. He shares the determination of the Punjabi officers to counter India in every way possible and necessary , whether in Jammu & Kashmir or in Afghanistan or elsewhere. He has a good equation with the leadership of the People’s Liberation Army of China and has further strengthened the military-military relationship with the PLA. The past relations which were focused on the two armies and air forces, have now been expanded to focus more on the two Navies. The joint counter-terrorism exercises between the two armies have practically become joint counter-Uighur exercises, with China increasingly relying on the Pakistani security forces for putting down the revolt of the Uighurs in the Xinjiang province. While he has been reluctant to act against Al Qaeda and its associates in North Waziristan, he has not hesitated to act against the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which poses a threat to China.

11. In the counter-insurgency operations against the TTP he has had partial successes in the Swat Valley, South Waziristan, Bajaur and Orakzai agencies. Under his leadership, the Army has been able to deny the TTP territorial control in these areas, but has not been able to destroy their capability for terrorist strikes and commando-style raids in tribal as well as non-tribal areas. While arresting some leaders of the Afghan Taliban, who were living in Karachi and other non-tribal areas, he has avoided action against the Afghan Taliban leadership operating from the tribal areas.

12. He has avoided any action against Al Qaeda elements which have taken sanctuary in the non-tribal areas. Under Musharraf, the Army and the ISI were much more active against Al Qaeda in the non-tribal areas than they have been under Kayani. The anger of Al Qaeda and its associates against Musharraf because of the action taken by the Army and the ISI was responsible for the virulent campaign of Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri against Musharraf and the Army. They abused Musharraf as apostate, collaborator of the Hindus etc and thrice tried to kill him---once in Karachi and twice in Rawalpindi. Compared to that, there is hardly any Al Qaeda campaign against Kayani. There is a greater threat to Mr.Zardari from Al Qaeda than to Kayani. The Army and the ISI have managed to create an impression in the tribal areas that Mr.Zardari and not Gen.Kayani is responsible for the facilities extended to the US for its Drone (pilotless plane) strikes in the tribal areas. Since Gen.Kayani took over, while many Al Qaeda leaders have been killed in the tribal areas by the Drone strikes, there have been very few arrests of Al Qaeda elements in the non-tribal areas. Al Qaeda feels more secure in the non-tribal areas of Pakistan today than it was under Musharraf.

13. India has reasons to be concerned over the continuance of Gen.Kayani as the COAS. There is unlikely to be any change in Pakistan’s use of terrorism against India. Kayani is thought of well both by the Pentagon and the PLA leadership. The resumed flow of sophisticated US military equipment to Pakistan and the enhanced strategic assistance from China would add to the threats already faced by India. Musharraf started as a fierce adversary of India, but mellowed down over the years. Kayani shows no signs of mellowing down. So long as there is no change in the attitude of Kayani and his Army, including the ISI, even if the elected political leadership sincerely wants better relations with India, it may face difficulties.

14. The continuing paranoia of the Pakistani Army is due to its lingering memories of its humiliation in the 1971 war and its fears that India is determined to break up Pakistan. Any reduction of this paranoia would depend on our success in building up military-military relationships at various levels. The quest for better relations with the Pakistan Army should go hand-in-hand with the quest for better relations with the political leadership and the people. ( 23-7-10)

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

Wednesday, July 21, 2010



A team of investigators from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Govt. of India had been to the US in the beginning of June to question David Coleman Headley, an American citizen of Pakistani origin, who is presently awaiting sentence by a US federal court in Chicago on charges of conspiracy to blow up the office of a Danish newspaper in Copenhagen, which had published cartoons of Prophet Mohammad, and helping the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in carrying out its terrorist strikes in Mumbai from November 26 to 29,2008. According to the USA's Federal Bureau of Investigation, he had visited India a number of times to collect operational data such as details of the targets, possible landing points for the LET boat etc for use in the planning of the strikes. Headley had pleaded guilty to these charges and made a plea bargain with the FBI under which he admitted the charges against him in return for an assurance that he would not be sentenced to death. The court is still to pronounce its judgement on his plea bargain.

2. The NIA reportedly interrogated Headley in the presence of his lawyer and the case officer of the FBI. During his interrogation by the NIA team, he reportedly stated that Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) and Navy had assisted the LET in the planning and execution of its sea-borne raid on Mumbai. He also mentioned the names of some ISI officers who were involved.

3. Headley's admission to the NIA team called for three follow-up actions by the Govt. of India:

* Request the US to exercise pressure on Pakistan to act against the officers named by Headley and co-operate with India in the further investigation. One does not know whether this was done.
* Share the information with the Ministry of Interior of the Government of Pakistan and request for investigation and prosecution of the officers involved. It has been reported that this request was made by Mr.P.Chidambaram, our Home Minister, to Mr.Rehman Malik, the Pakistani Interior Minister, whom he met at Islamabad on June 25 and 26 during a conference of SAARC Home/Interior Ministers. The media was not told about it at that time.
* Share the information with the Governments of countries other than the US whose nationals were killed by the LET and request them to exercise pressure on Pakistan to act against the officers named by Headley. One understands that this action has not so far been taken by the Govt. of India at any level.

4. A few days before the departure of Mr.S.M.Krishna, our Minister For External Affairs, to Islamabad for his July 15 meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Mr.Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Mr.G.K.Pillai, our Home Secretary, is alleged to have told a correspondent of the "Indian Express", New Delhi, about the admission made by Headley regarding the involvement of the ISI "from the beginning till the end." His disclosure to the media reportedly vitiated the atmosphere during and after the meeting of the two Foreign Ministers and created avoidable embarrassment for Mr.Krishna, who has expressed his disapproval of the action of Mr.Pillai in two interviews to Indian media on July 21. His objection seems to be to Mr.Pillai's prematurely disclosing it to the media before the Foreign Ministers' meeting, instead of waiting till the meeting was over.

5. Mr.Pillai's action raises two issues. Firstly, the professional wisdom of his action in disclosing to the media sensitive details of the interrogation of a conspirator when the facts relating to the ISI involvement are still under investigation. Secondly, the procedural appropriateness of his action in disclosing Headley's admission to the media without examining the diplomatic implications of his action in consultation with the Foreign Secretary and the Cabinet Secretary.

6. Interrogations of sensitive suspects give rise to the question whether what they have stated should be disclosed to the media before follow-up enquiries into their disclosure have been completed. In August 1994, the MHA told the media details of the ISI involvement in the Mumbai blasts of March 1993 as disclosed to Indian interrogators by some members of the Memon family of Mumbai, who had allegedly played an active role in helping Dawood Ibrahim in carrying out the blasts. When Narasimha Rao, the then Prime Minister, read about it in the media, he was very unhappy. At an inter-departmental meeting at which I was present, Rao told S.B.Chavan, the then Home Minister: "Dawood Ibrahim and the ISI must be frantically trying to find out what the Memon family members are telling their interrogators. We have made their job easy and helped them by disclosing these details of the interrogation to the media."

7. By disclosing details of Headley's interrogation by the NIA, have we similarly unwittingly helped the ISI and the LET to cover up their tracks? This is a very important question, which does not appear to have been addressed.

8. The Home Secretary's disclosure also has diplomatic implications. Firstly, the US would be unhappy that the details have been disclosed to the media at a time when their court is still to pronounce judgement on the plea bargain. Secondly, since there was a danger of its vitiating the atmosphere during the Foreign Ministers' meeting, if the Home Secretary strongly felt that the media should be informed even before the meeting, he should have referred the matter to the collective wisdom of the Secretaries' Committee instead of acting on his own. If the Secretaries' Committee agreed that the media sould be informed, the follow-up action should have been taken by the Foreign Secretary.

9.Previously, national security problems used to arise due to lack of coordination at the level of intelligence and physical security agencies. In the Government of Dr.Manmohan Singh, such problems are arising due to lack of co-ordination at much higher levels such as those of the Home Secretary, the Foreign Secretary, the Defence Secretary and the Cabinet Secretary. This dos not bode well for our national security management.

10. This episode does not speak well of the sense of propriety and professional leadership of Mr.Krishna. At the joint press conference at Islamabad, Mr.Krishna failed to rebuke the Pakistani Foreign Minister when he compared the Home Secretary's disclosure to the media to the instigatory statements of the Amir of the LET. Mr.Krishna is now trying to cover up his confused and over-awed silence on grounds of good manners. This is ridiculous.

11. His publicly blaming the Home Secretary in two media interviews is totally in violation of the rules of ministerial etiquette under which a Minister should not pull up his senior officers in public.Any rebuke must be administered in private and not in public. Mr.Krishna's unwise action mightl affect the stature of the Home Secretary in the eyes of his own staff. The correct thing for Mr.Krishna would have been to convey his unhappiness to Mr.Chidambaram and let him decide how to deal with the matter. Moreover, by publicly expressing his disapproval of the action of the Home Secretary, Mr.Krishna has enabled his Pakistani counterpart to justify his raising the issue of the Home Secretary's disclosure to the media in the obnoxious manner he did. (22-7-10)

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

Tuesday, July 20, 2010



On December 21,1988,Pan Am Flight 103 flying from London to New York was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members. Eleven residents of Lockerbie in southern Scotland were also killed as large sections of the plane fell in and around the town.

2.Joint investigation by the Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary of Scotland and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation( FBI) established after three years that the bombing was carried out by two officers of the Libyan Intelligence, who were identified as Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, who was the security chief of the Libyan Arab Airlines (LAA), and Lamin Khalifah Fhimah, a Libyan intelligence officer working under cover as the station manager of LAA in the Malta airport. The US demanded in the UN Security Council that the two Libyan intelligence officers should be handed over to the Scottish authorities for trial in a neutral venue. On Libya's refusal, the UN Security Council, at the instance of the US, imposed sanctions against Libya. Under sustained international pressure, the Libyan Government handed over the two Libyan intelligence officers to the Scottish Police on April 5,1999. They were tried by a neutral court in Netherlands.

3.On January 31, 2001, Megrahi was convicted of murder by a panel of three Scottish judges and sentenced to 27 years in prison, but Fhimah was acquitted. Megrahi's appeal against his conviction was rejected on March 14, 2002, and his application to the European Court of Human Rights was declared inadmissible in July 2003. On September 23, 2003, he petitioned to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) for his conviction to be reviewed. On June 28, 2007 the SCCRC referred the case to the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh after it found he "may have suffered a miscarriage of justice". He was released from prison on compassionate grounds on August 20, 2009 . It was stated that he was suffering from an incurable ailment He was allowed to return to Libya.

4.On August 15, 2003, Libya's UN Ambassador, Mr. Ahmed Own, informed the UN Security Council that Libya formally accepted "responsibility for the actions of its officials" in relation to the Lockerbie bombing. The Libyan Government paid a compensation of US$8 million to each family which had suffered because of the death of its member or members in the bombing. A sum of US$2.5 million per family was deducted from the compensation payment to reimburse to the Governments concerned the expenditure incurred by them on the investigation and prosecution of the case. The UN and US sanctions against Libya were removed.

5. This is the first instance in the history of counter-terrorism of a State-sponsor of terrorism being held legally accountable for the involvement of its intelligence officers in an act of terrorism abroad targeting innocent civilians. The successful prosecution and the payment of compensation had a salutary effect on the Libyan Government and it stopped sponsoring acts of terrorism through its intelligence agencies to achieve its strategic objectives.

6. The successful and exemplary denouement of the case was made possible by the sustained pressure by the US bilaterally as well as through the UN Security Council, public support for the families of the victims, vigorous activism by the families which did not allow Libya to get away with its criminal act, international support for the US and thorough investigation by the Scottish Police and the FBI.

7.Between November 26 and 29,2008, ten terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), a Pakistani terrorist organisation, organised a sea-borne raid on two five-star hotels, a restaurant, a Jewish cultural centre, a railway station and a hospital, among other places, in Mumbai. They brutally mowed down many passengers in the railway station, held the inmates of the hotel hostages for three days, killed innocent customers in the restaurant and brutally tortured and killed the inmates of the Jewish centre, including a pregnant Jewish woman.

8. By the time they were neutralised by the Indian security forces after three days, they had killed 166 persons--- 123 Indian civilians, 25 foreign civilians and 18 membvers of the security forces. Of the 25 foreign civilians, six were Israelis, three each were Americans and Germans, two each were Canadians and Australians, and one each were British, Belgian, Italian, French, Mauritian, Malaysian, Singaporean, Thai and Japanese.

9. The investigation by the Indian investigators revealed the involvement of officers of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence and Army in helping the LET in mounting the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Independently,the FBI had arrested in the first week of October, 2009, David Coleman Headley, a US citizen of Pakistani origin, because intercepts of his telephone conversations and E-mails with persons in Pakistan showed that he was in touch with the LET and Ilyas Kashmiri of the 313 Brigade, both associates of Al Qaeda, and was trying to help them in planning and executing a terrorist strike on a Danish newspaper, which had in 2005 published some cartoons of Prophet Mohammad.

10. His interrogation after his arrest by FBI officers for eight months also revealed that he had helped the LET in mounting the sea-borne terrorist raid on Mumbai. For this purpose, he had visited India a number of times for taking video photography of suitable targets, for studying those targets, for selecting suitable landing points for the LET boat and for storing data on the glibal positioning system subsequently used by the LET. It also came out that in addition to Ilyas Kashmiri, who is a retired officer of the US-trained Special Services Group (SSG) of the Pakistan Army, which is a special force unit, Headley was in touch with other serving and retired officers of the Pakistan Army.

11. In June,2010, the FBI allowed a team of investigators of India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) to interrogate Headley in US custody in the presence of his lawyer and FBI officers. According to the NIA investigators, Headley confessed during his interrogation that the ISI and the Pakistan Navy had played an active role in helping the LET in getting its terrorists trained and in mounting the attack.

12. Thus, the Indian investigators have two types of evidence of the involvement of the ISI and the Pakistani Army----

* Evidence collected by Indian investigators in India on their own. Pakistan and the US can dismiss this evidence as not credible and as probably obtained through questionable methods such as torture of the witnesses and suspects.
* Evidence collected by the NIA team during their interrogation of Headley in the US. It has a very high value and cannot be dismissed as not credible. He was questioned in US and not Indian custody. Hence, the question of using improper methods does not arise. He was questioned in the presence of his lawyer and FBI officers. Hence, any question of the NIA team fabricating the confession does not arise.

13. If US claims of co-operating with India in counter-terrorism are correct and if its protestations of its determination to fight against terrorism wherever it takes place and whoever is involved are to be believed, one would have expected the US to initiate against the Pakistani officers involved and the Pakisani State the same action as it initiated against the Libyan intelligence officers and the State of Libya. It fought against Libya legally and in the UN Security Council for 13 years in order to have the Libyan intelligence officers convicted and to force Libya to pay compensation to the families of the victims. It imposed its own sanctions against Libya and had other sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council.

14. In a typical example of US double standards in counter-terrorism, the US, which was in the forefront of the international campaign to hold Libya accountable for the actions of its intelligence officers, has pushed the evidence against the ISI and its officers under the carpet as it had repeatedly done in the past and has been trying to see that no harm comes to Pakistan.Libya was punished----politically and economically--- for sponsoring terrorism against the US. Pakistan has been repeatedly rewarded---politically and economically despite evidence of the role of its ISI and Army in the sponsorship of terrorism against India.

15. Pakistan is able to get away with its criminal acts and the US is able to get away with its double standards, because we have a Government, which hesitates to raise vigorously such issues to protect our nationals and to maintain our national honour. Inactions by the US are shocking. Inactions by our own Government are equally shocking:

* Did we take up the case before the UN Security Council? No.
* Did we bring the evidence collected by us to the notice of the anti-terrorism committee of the UN Security Council and demand a debate and follow-up action? No.
* Did we bring the confession of Headley to the notice of the UN Security Council? No.
* Did we register an offence against the ISI and other Pakistani Army officers named by Headley and take up our own investigation? No.
* Did we convene a conference of the officials of the countries whose nationals were killed by the LET, share the evidence against the ISI with them and request them that they too should raise this matter in appropriate fora? No.
* Did we help the familes of the victims in mounting a campaign for the payment of compensation by Pakistan? No.

16. I have been saying and writing for many years that we should follow a two-pronged policy towards Pakistan---"Talk, talk, hit, hit" . Talk, if useful. Hit, if necessary. We have a Government which only wants to talk and does not want to hit.

17. The role of our opposition parties has been equally dismal. They were only interested in exploiting the terrorist strikes during the election campaign last year and for embarrassing the Congress party now. Beyond that, they have hardly done anything to see that justice was done. (21-7-10)

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