Saturday, December 18, 2010



During the current visit of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China to Pakistan, the focus has been on projecting China and Pakistan as military allies helping each other in defending their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

2.The Chinese Government controlled Xinhua news agency quoted Wen as telling Pakistani Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani on December 17 as follows: "China and Pakistan were, are and will always be good neighbors, good friends, good partners and good brothers.China appreciates the strong support Pakistan has long been offering on issues concerning China's core interests, and will continue backing Pakistan's efforts in defending national sovereignty, maintaining social stability and achieving independent and sustainable economic development.” Noting that Pakistan has made huge sacrifice for and important contributions to the global counterterrorism campaign, Wen said his country is ready to work together with Pakistan to promote regional peace and stability.

3. During a meeting with Gen.Khalid Shameem Wynne, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen.Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Chief of the Army Staff, Admiral Noman Bashir, Chief of the Naval Staff, and Air Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, Chief of the Air Staff, at Islamabad on December 18, Wen , according to the Xinhua, called for enhanced military exchanges and cooperation between China and Pakistan so as to cement the bilateral strategic partnership of cooperation. He said: " The Pakistani military is a steadfast supporter and vindicator of the China-Pakistan friendship, and has played an important role in consolidating and developing their strategic partnership of cooperation."He applauded the close exchanges between the two militaries in the areas of anti-terrorism and disaster relief, and hoped to further enhance the military links to contribute to the development of bilateral ties.

4. According to the Xinhua, the Pakistani military chiefs who called on Wen described China as an all-weather strategic partner of Pakistan and said the bilateral friendship had withstood severe challenges. The Pakistani military was ready to work jointly with China to play a positive role in developing their strategic partnership of cooperation. ( 19-12-10)

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



An unnecessary political controversy has been created over a diplomatic cable from the US Embassy in New Delhi to the US State Department in Washington DC summarising, inter alia, a discussion on terrorism in India which the US Ambassador Timothy Roemer reportedly had with Rahul Gandhi, the General Secretary of the Congress (I), at a lunch hosted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in July last year. It is one of the cables leaked out by WikiLeaks.

2. A careful reading and analysis of Rahul Gandhi's observations as reported in the cable would indicate that the theme of the discussions was about the relative threat faced by India from the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), a Pakistani organisation, and indigenous extremist elements belonging to the Hindu as well as Muslim communities. My reading is that Rahul Gandhi had said that the indigenous elements----whether the Indian Muslims who have taken to terrorism or some Hindu elements taking to terrorism--- cause him greater concern than the LET.

3. This is what I have been saying since the Indian Mujahideen (IM) made its appearance in 2007 and since some Hindu elements, angered by what they perceived as the soft policy of the Congress(I) controlled Governments towards Muslim terrorists, took to reprisal terrorism against the Muslims and their places of worship. I have been saying that while we can be ruthless without any qualms of conscience against the LET and other Pakistani jihadi organisations, we cannot be so against our own citizens who take to terrorism---whether they are Hindus or Muslims. We have to be more nuanced in dealing with our indigenous terrorist elements without adding to the anger in the two communities against each other. The LET has been active in India for over 17 years. We are used to dealing with it with no holds barred. The new indigenous elements----Indian Muslims and Hindus--- are of recent origin and it is going to be more difficult to deal with them--- unless we pay attention to the anger in the two communities----- the anger in the Muslim community over perceptions of unfair policies towards their community and the anger in the Hindu community over perceptions of softness towards the Muslim terrorists.

4. I, therefore, do not take serious objection to the views of Rahul Gandhi. However, I wonder whether it was wise on his part to have discussed this with the US Ambassador lest his views be misinterpreted as has happened now following the leak of the cable. (19-12-10)

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



QUESTION:In your article with which I substantially agree, you have said:

>>At the same time, the lack of progress in solving the border dispute in this area has come in the way of the economic integration of Arunachal Pradesh with the rest of India. <<.

Could you tell me why India cannot go ahead and economically integrate Arunachal Pradesh with the rest of India in any manner she thinks appropriate? Why should it depend on any action on China's part?

MY ANSWER:Our policy of economic integration of Arunachal Pradesh has still been half-hearted and hesitant. We have been developing the transport infrastructure, which could add to our defence capabilities. I understand we have also been constructing small-scale hydel stations which could benefit the people. At the same time, we seem to be avoiding projects of a strategic significance such as the exploitation of the oil, gas and other natural resources of the area lest such projects prove provocative and confrontational.Before we go to that stage, we have to further strengthen our defence capabilities in that area.