Saturday, December 31, 2011




In a televised broadcast on December 31,2011,Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in parts of the country following anti-Christian violence by a jihadi group called Boko Haram. The State of Emergency will be in force in the Yobe and Borno states in the north-east. It authorises the Government to use the Armed Forces for counter-terrorism duties. Nigeria’s international borders with Niger, Chad and Cameroon are reported to have been closed.

2. The President’s action followed a series of bombings in the affected region on Christmas Day in which 42 persons were reported to have been killed. The bombings were directed at churches and other targets.

3.Before his televised address, Jonathan spoke at a church in Abuja where 37 people were killed. He said that Boko Haram, which had "started as a harmless group", had "now grown cancerous".

4. The full name of Boko Haram is jama'atu ahlis sunna lidda'awati wal-jihad. It means People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad. The shortened version of its name as Boko Haram in the Housa dialect means “Western Education Is Sin”. It has been campaigning against Western and Christian education and for the enforcement of Sharia in a country where Christians and animists are in a majority in the South. It was responsible for more than 450 killings in Nigeria in 2011.

5. The organisation was formed in the town of Maiduguri , the capital of the Borno State, in 2002 by a cleric called Mohammad Yousef. He was reported killed by the police in 2009.The name of its present leader is not known. It was initially thought of as an Islamic fundamentalist organisation with no links to Al Qaeda and other international jihadi terrorist affiliates of Al Qaeda such as Al Qaeda units in Yemen,Somalia and Algeria or the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in Pakistan or the Taliban in the Af-Pak region. Since it stepped up its acts of violence in 2009, there are growing concerns of such linkages.

6.Ayman al-Zawahiri, the present head of Al Qaeda, believes that instead of over-focussing on spreading the jihad to the US homeland, Al Qaeda should concentrate on creating a prairie fire of jihadi intifada across countries that have a Muslim majority as well as lands that, according to him, traditionally belonged to Muslims, but are now under the control of non-Muslims. He has been saying that African countries such as Algeria should play an important role in this multi-front war for the triumph of Islam.

7.The spreading and growing pan-African jihadi violence since 2009 has to be seen in the beliefs and conviction of Zawahiri who is now in the driving seat of international jihadi terrorism. The death of Osama bin Laden during the US raid at Abbottabad on May 2,2011, was a set-back to those in Al Qaeda who had in the past advocated a US homeland-centric campaign. It has seen the coming to the fore of Zawahiri and his followers who believe that instead of wasting human and material resources for organising jihadi attacks in the US, Al Qaeda and its affiliates should concentrate on spreading the prairie fire of Intifada across the Islamic world.

8. In 2004, from Maiduguri, Boko Haram spread to Kanamma in the Yobe State where it reportedly set up a base called “Afghanistan” , giving the first indication of a possible Afghan/Taliban inspiration for its ideology and activities. It spread its targets and started attacking the police too. It then spread to the Bauchi area.

9.On August 26, 2011, the UN headquarters in Abuja was blown up by a suicide car bomber, leaving at least 21 dead and dozens more injured. On November 5, 2011,a series of coordinated attacks in Borno and Yobe states, mainly around Damaturu, killed at least 67 people, and practically destroyed a new police headquarters .Local government offices were damaged. A Boko Haram spokesman claimed responsibility for the attacks.

10.U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) Commander General Carter F. Ham stated in September 2011 that three African terrorist groups - Shabab of Somalia, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb across the Sahel region, and Boko Haram - "have very explicitly and publicly voiced an intent to target Westerners, and the U.S. specifically."

11.General Ham was quoted as stating after the Christmas Day bombings: "I remain greatly concerned about their stated intent to connect with Al Qaeda senior leadership, most likely through Al Qaeda in the lands of the Islamic Maghreb.”

12.A bipartisan U.S. congressional counterterrorism panel stated as follows in November 2011:

a. Boko Haram poses an emerging threat to U.S. interests and the U.S. Homeland.

b. Boko Haram has the intent and may be developing the capability to coordinate on a rhetorical and operational level with Al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al Shabaab.

c. Boko Haram’s evolution in targeting and tactics closely follows that of other Al Qaeda affiliates that have targeted the U.S. Homeland, most notably Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

13.There still seems to be a difference of opinion in the US as to whether Boko Haram is a purely regional organisation of concern to Nigeria and its neighbouring States only or whether it has graduated into an international jihadi terrorist organisation capable of attacking targets in the US homeland.

14.Congressional experts seem to suspect a linkage between Boko Haram and the Pakistani Taliban called the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Since the US has a number of Muslim migrants from Nigeria, they seem worried over the dangers of Boko Haram developing sleeper cells in the US with the help of the TTP. Counter-terrorism experts of the US intelligence community share the concerns of the Congressional experts over the unchecked growth of the organisation in Nigeria, but do not feel it could pose a threat to the US Homeland.

15.The US intelligence Community seems to be under-estimating the potential of Boko Haram just it had under-estimated the potential of the LET till the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai. The death of OBL might have weakened Al Qaeda’s senior leadership, but it has not weakened the jihadi virus and its trans-national carriers.

16.It is important for Indian counter-terrorism agencies to start closely studying the activities of Boko Haram.

17.This may please by read in continuation of my article of June 17,2011, titled AL-ZAWAHIRI: Advocate of Global Jihadi Intifada - International Terrorism Monitor—Paper No. 728 available at

( 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: Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )

Friday, December 30, 2011



It is 27 months since we started living together---my present mistress and I.

I had known other women in my life. I met them somewhere, somehow. We drank, sang and danced together. We spent nights wandering in the streets of Paris, Geneva,Amsterdam, Rome, Venice,Naples, Montreal,Jerusalem, Tokyo, Bangkok, Vientiane, Copenhagen,Athens, Damascus,Kampala, Istanbul.We spent hours, days and weeks in the Islands of Greece, Bali, Angkor Wat.

We developed a liking for each other, a love for each other. We started living together---live-in companions. When we could live together no longer, we said adieu to each other. A painful adieu, but the pain lasted only till I met someone new. I was like Claude Francois’ vagabond of no importance. Like George Moustaki’s gypsy.

One night in 2009, as I was sleeping alone in my bed, I woke up to realise I was not alone. I had a new live-in companion---one I had not met or known before. She had unnoticed, unfelt, unsensed ,uninvited moved in to live with me.

She has been there all the time---a part of me. She follows me wherever I go like a shadow. She sleeps with me. We have no love for each other. Yet, we are destined to live together . Hang out together. Only death can part us.

How to describe my emotions when I found her inside me? Not happiness----definitely not. Sorrow? I don’t think so. Shock? A little bit.Fear, possibly.

Whatever were the predominant emotions, I managed to bring them under control. I managed to rid myself of the fear of pain and death. Blood coming out of my body---like water from the fountains of Versailles--- no longer unnerves me.

I have lost my initial fears of this unknown mistress. Disappointment lingers. That after having spent my life with wonderful women, I should be condemned to spend the last years of my life with a mistress whom I do not love.

But I had no choice. What cannot be cured has to be endured. What cannot be shaken off has to be accepted.

I have accepted my new mistress. I have learnt to live in peaceful co-existence with her. She has helped me get rid of the fear of pain and death.

I was born again in 2011. I have re-discovered the zest for life. I live and travel again. I do once again all the things which I had always loved doing---reading, writing, listening to music, fraternising with people, loving wonderful women.

I feel young again. I feel the best of me is yet to come. 75 is not an old age---an age of philosophical resignation with nothing more to look forward to till I die. It is an age of re-discovery of myself. An age of new thoughts and new love. Like the vagabond, I have started singing again---songs of life, love and tears.

2012---- Here I come (31-12-2011)


At least eight persons----seven Uighurs and a senior police officer of the Chinese-controlled Xinjiang province --- were reported to have been killed on the night of December 28,2011, in Hotan's Pishan county. Pishan county lies on the southern edge of the Taklamakan desert near the border with Pakistan.

2. According to available details from reliable Uighur sources, a police party tried to stop a group of Uighur youth who were about to enter Pakistan near village Mukula. One of the Uighur youth allegedly stabbed Adil Abduveli, the leader of the police party. The remaining members of the Police party allegedly shot dead seven of the Uighur youth who were trying to cross over into Pakistan.

3. The police have alleged that the Uighurs who were killed were terrorists who tried to take hostage two police officers. This led to an exchange of fire during which, according to the Police, the Uighurs were killed. Uighur sources have denied this version.

4. Earlier this month, one Han Chinese was reported killed and several others were injured when an Uighur attacked a group of people with a pair of shears in the streets of Dolebagh township in Kashgar city. Following this, the police rounded up 50 Uighurs of the area for questioning. Thirty of them were released and allowed to go home after the questioning. About 20 remained unaccounted for. There was speculation that they managed to escape from police custody during the questioning and that the police had intensified border patrolling in order to prevent them from escaping into Pakistan.

5.There have been a number of stabbing incidents in the province this year. On April 18, a young Uighur stabbed six Han Chinese and then stabbed himself to death. Four days later, another Uighur allegedly stabbed to death a 39-year-old Han woman. On July 30 and 31, at least 14 persons were stabbed to death in the Kashgar area by two groups of Uighur youth. Previously, there was a ban on Uighurs possessing fire-arms. Now a ban has been imposed on their possessing their traditional knives too, which has added to their resentment against the police.

6.Doletbagh is a small town located in the southeast part of Kashgar with a population of about 14,000, 97 per cent of whom are Uighurs. Most of them are unemployed due to preference given to Hans from outside in recruitment. Unable to get jobs locally, the unemployed youth try to escape into Pakistan. Reliable Uighur sources allege that the youths trying to escape are killed either by the Han Police before they cross over or by the Pakistani security forces after they cross over.
7.Officers of China’s Ministry of Public Security, which is responsible for internal security, are attached to Pakistani security posts on the Pakistani side of the border to prevent illegal crossing of Uighur youth into Pakistan. (30-12-11)

( 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: Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )

Thursday, December 29, 2011



December 29,2011, will go down in the history of Indian democracy as marking the acme of insincerity, ineptitude and infamy.

2. The Government of Dr.Manmohan Singh and the Congress Party headed by Mrs.Sonia Gandhi conducted themselves in a manner that confirmed the suspicions of many ---particularly in the younger generation that is the future of this country---- that they have been insincere in their professions of wanting to rid this country of the evil of corruption by setting up an anti-corruption architecture that will fight this evil with determination and competence.

3. The Lokpal Bill introduced by the Government gave the impression of a leadership at long last conscious of the depth of public anger against corruption at the political and bureaucratic levels and determined to meet the demands and expectations of the civil society for meaningful and firm action to fight it.

4.But the shockingly casual manner in which the Government steered the passage of the Bill through the two Houses of the Parliament demonstrated that it was a make-believe legislative measure brought in not because the Government and the Congress had realised that was the crying need of the hour, but because they felt that it was the only way of diverting the attention and anger of the people away from the misdeeds of the Government and its failure to deal with this evil.

5.Whatever compulsions and anxiety there were in making the Government show even a modicum of determination to have the Bill passed were visibly dissipated when Anna Hazare, the leading and moving spirit of the anti-corruption crusade, and his team of young anti-corruption warriors failed to receive the expected measure of public support when they tried to shift the centre of their protest movement to Mumbai from Delhi.

6.The failure of large sections of the people of Mumbai----for whatever reason---- to respond as enthusiastically to the protest movement as the people of Delhi had done in April and August last brought out dramatically the insincerity of the Government and the Congress leadership. The urgency of action against corruption was lost right across the political spectrum and particularly in the Congress.

7.This insincerity was compounded by the amazing ineptitude with which the Government--- and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in particular--- handled even this make-believe legislative exercise. Ineptitude marked by lack of attention to details, a casual approach to important decision-making and a failure to do the homework efficiently before undertaking important administrative, legislative or policy-related exercises had become the hallmark of the Government since it was re-elected in 2009. It was behind many of the embarrassments faced by the Government one after the other throughout the year.

8. One saw it in the controversies that had surrounded the appointment of a new Chief Vigilance Commissioner, the attempted but jettisoned-half-way-through decision to permit foreign direct investment in the retail sector and now in the legislative exercise to seemingly end corruption. The Bill was badly drafted and provided for a Lokpal without the required independent investigative capability.

9.Moreover, under the ill-advised pressure of the Anna Hazare movement, the Government let itself be forced to tread into the domain of the State Governments by seeking to prescribe in a central legislation the contours of an anti-corruption architecture for the States. This roused the anger of many regional parties---even some who were supposedly allies of the Government in the ruling coalition. In the face of this anger, the Government lost its cool and lucidity. The anger was the result of a lack of consultations with the regional parties while drafting the Bill and the shocking insensitivity of the Government and the Congress to regional concerns and nervousness over the way the Government had gone about this exercise.

10. The Government got the Bill passed in the lower House where it managed to muster the required political support, but it failed to rally majority support in the upper House where it knew it was in a hopeless minority. By lunch-time on December 29, it was apparent to the smallest of political intelligence that the Government would be defeated if the Bill was voted upon .

11. One would have expected a Government and a political party with genuinely democratic instincts and impulses to convene a meeting of the leaders of different political parties represented in the Upper House and find a way out of the dilemma. There was no such move by the Government and the Congress Party.

12. Instead, they blatantly manipulated the proceedings of the upper House in a cynical manner through a mix of filibuster tactics and keeping the other political parties guessing about the real intentions of the Government. In the last hour before the House under the rules was required to be adjourned sine die, it witnessed disorderly scenes----that many suspected with valid reasons to have been choreographed by the Government--- that enabled the Chairman of the House to adjourn the House sine die disregarding the wishes of the members to extend the session.

13.Lack of decorum and gravitas had become the defining characteristic of our Parliament for many years. What one saw on December 29--- a day of infamy in the history of the Parliament---- was a charade organised by the Government in order to wriggle out of the promises and commitments made by it to the civil society of the country.

14. While the Government and the Congress as whole are worthy of total, unreserved condemnation for the way they turned democracy into a cynical exercise in the manipulation of procedures, specially strong words of condemnation are due for the Prime Minister, Mrs.Sonia Gandhi and Dr.Hamid Ansari, the Vice-President of India and the Chairman of the House.

15. Initially, the Prime Minister chose to absent himself from the House, but was forced by the members’ clamour for his presence to rush to the House. Subsequently, he sat through the proceedings without any visible attempt to provide leadership and enter into consultations with other political parties. Sonia Gandhi is not a member of the Upper House, but one expected her as the leader of the party to take over the leadership in the exercise to find a way out of the political quandary in the House. At a time, when her party badly needed her leadership, she failed to rise to the occasion and lead.

16. Dr.Ansari is a batch-mate of mine in the All-India and Central Services. He used to enjoy a tremendous reputation for his straightforwardness, but the way he conducted himself ---as seen on the TV---in the final minutes of this charade made many of us suspect that he chose to play along with this charade instead of stopping it firmly.

17. It was a particularly black day in the history of Indian democracy, the Indian Parliament, the Indian institutions and the Congress leadership. It is important for the public and other political formations which still believe in the importance of political ethics if democracy has to survive in this country to ensure that the Government and the Congress are not able to get away with their sins of December 29.

18. Fresh premature elections are the need of the hour if the reputation of Indian democracy has to be salvaged. All right-thinking persons---particularly the youth---should unite behind the demand for fresh elections. ( 30-12-11 )

( 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: Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )

Monday, December 26, 2011



From today, the nation will be witnessing two non-violent battles against corruption----- the legal battle in the Parliament in New Delhi and the moral battle in Mumbai.

2. The objective of the legal battle will be to give legal shape to the anti-corruption infrastructure through the Lokpal Bill introduced by the Government for debate and approval with changes, if and where necessary, by the elected members of the Lok Sabha representing the will and the expectations of the voters of this country who chose to elect them in their wisdom in the elections held in 2009.

3. The objective of the moral battle, led by Anna Hazare for nearly a year now, will be to impart strength to the legal battle and to ensure that the legal battle gives birth to an anti-corruption infrastructure befitting the nation and the need of the hour to slay the demon of corruption which has stood in the way of the nation moving forward towards its goal of taking its due place in the comity of nations as a modern, developed power which is not afraid of admitting and correcting its deficiencies, the most serious of which is corruption.

4. If the national will has to ultimately prevail, it is important that the power of the Parliament as symbolised by the elected representatives and of the civil society as symbolised by Anna and his followers and a myriad of other non-governmental forces, each as worthy of respect as Anna and his movement, emerge successful from these two battles.

5. The two battles will be fought not against each other, but unitedly against the common enemy of corruption. The moral and legal dimensions of the battle are equally important. Neither can afford to weaken the other. If the moral dimension is weakened, the legal dimension cannot expect to prevail effectively. If the legal dimension is weakened, the moral dimension cannot expect to emerge stronger.

6.The elected representatives of the country and its moral representatives owe it to the nation to ensure that each does not undermine the other in their false pride and ego. This is not the time for false pride and ego. This is the time for rising to the occasion and realising and admitting that healthy accommodation of each other’s point of view is the need of the hour if the nation has to win the battle against corruption ultimately.

7. The nation expects the two forces in New Delhi and Mumbai to reinforce each other through mutual accommodation and mutual goodwill and not try to vanquish each other.

8.Will they do so? If not, the demon of corruption may be the ultimate beneficiary.( 27-12-11)

( 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: Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )



(To be read in continuation of my earlier article of August 28,2011, on the Anti-Corruption Crusade at )

In 1941, during the Second World War, the British set up an organisation called the Special Police Establishment (SPE) to investigate cases of bribery and corruption in the War & Supply Deptt. Even after the War, the need for a Central Government agency to investigate cases of bribery and corruption by Central Government employees was felt. It was decided by the Government of India to continue the SPE and give it a legal cover under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act which came into force in 1946. The CBI's powers to investigate cases of bribery and corruption are derived from this Act. This Act was amended by the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003

2. The Act of 1946 transferred the superintendence of the SPE to the Home Department ( now called the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India) and its functions were expanded to cover all departments of the Govt. of India. The SPE’s territorial jurisdiction was extended to all the Union Territories. It was also laid down that its jurisdiction can be extended also to the States with the consent of the State Government concerned. The DSPE acquired the name the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), through a Home Ministry resolution dated 1.4.1963.

3. Initially, the CBI’s powers were confined to investigation of cases of bribery and corruption by employees of the Government of India. Subsequently, its powers were extended to cover employees of public sector units, including public sector banks, too.

4. From 1965 onwards, the CBI was also entrusted with the investigation of economic offences other than bribery and corruption such as serious cases of fraud and important conventional crimes such as murders, kidnapping, terrorist crimes, etc., when ordered to do so either by the Government of India either at the request of States or with their concurrence or by courts.

5.The SPE initially had two Wings called the General Offences Wing (GOW) and the Economic Offences Wing (EOW). The GOW dealt with cases of bribery and corruption while the EOW investigated other offences entrusted to the CBI.

6.In 1987, these two wings were re-named as the Anti-Corruption Division and the Special Crimes Division. Under its first two Directors--- D.P.Kohli and F.V.Arul—the CBI enjoyed a reputation as a politically neutral agency known for its professionalism. Before the advent of the CBI, the SPE enjoyed a similar reputation between 1947 and 1963.Neither Jawaharlal Nehru nor Lal Bahadur Shastri tried to influence the investigations of the SPE and the CBI. They let them function without political interference.

7. The politicisation of the CBI started under Indira Gandhi and all Prime Ministers from Indira Gandhi onwards tried to influence the investigation of corruption cases by the CBI either to cover up cases involving the ruling party or to implicate political opponents. Many instances of alleged attempts to implicate and harass political opponents were reported during the Emergency (1975-77) under Indira Gandhi. Under Rajiv Gandhi, there were alleged attempts to cover up the investigation of the Bofors case. There have been other instances involving the politicisation of the investigation process under other Prime Ministers too. No Prime Minister after Shastri had refrained from politicising the investigation process in some case or the other.

8. The politicisation of the CBI and its investigation process was made possible by the lack of resistance from successive CBI Directors to political interference. Some of the Directors sought to curry favour with their political masters by colluding with them either for covering up serious instances of corruption or for harassing political opponents. It was alleged that during the Emergency the CBI acted on the instructions of Sanjay Gandhi for harassing those opposed to the Emergency and Indira Gandhi.

9.Since independence, there have been two enquiries into the functioning of the anti-corruption architecture. The first was by the K.Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption in 1966-68 and the second was by the L.P.Singh Committee which was set up by the Morarji Desai Government (1977-79) to enquire into the misuse of the CBI and the Intelligence Bureau by Indira Gandhi during the Emergency.

10. While the recommendations of the Santhanam Committee, which suggested, inter alia, the strengthening of the Vigilance architecture were implemented, those of the L.P.Singh Committee were ignored by Indira Gandhi when she returned to power in 1980.

11. Some of the important recommendations of the L.P.Singh Committee for ensuring the political neutrality of the CBI were:

(a). There should be a separate oversight committee set up by the Parliament to supervise the working of the CBI.

(b). The practice of having only an officer of the Indian Police Service as its head should be discontinued and it should have as its head the best person for the job from whichever walk of life. The committee reportedly felt that IPS officers, who developed close contacts with political leaders during their career, lend themselves to easy manipulation by the political class.

12. The National Police Commission, set up by the Morarji Desai Government under the former Cabinet Secretary, and Governor of West Bengal, Dharam Vira, recommended the formation of a National Security Commission entrusted, inter alia, with the task of supervising the functioning of the CBI. Its recommendations too were not implemented by Indira Gandhi and her successors as Prime Minister.

13. Thus the recommendations of the L.P.Singh Committee for a CBI Oversight Committee to be set up by the Parliament and of the National Police Commission for an independent National Security Commission to supervise the working of the CBI were ignored by successive Governments. So too the recommendation of the L.P.Singh Committee that the practice of appointing an IPS officer as the head of the CBI should be discontinued.

14. An investigation agency performs three kinds of functions---administrative, budgetary and investigative. In the US, the FBI comes under the joint control of the President and the Senate in respect of its administrative and budgetary functions. All appointments of the Director of the FBI have to be confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which holds a detailed enquiry by its staff into the background of the candidate suggested by the President, including an enquiry into the financial background of the person under consideration for appointment as the FBI Director. Many of the Directors chosen by the President and the Senate Judiciary Committee came from the community of distinguished attorneys.

15. The FBI Director has a tenure of 10 years, which is not extendable. This reduces the possibility of the incumbent currying favour with the Executive or the Senate in order to get an extension. Even though the President’s power to remove an FBI Director for valid reasons before he completes his term are not subject to confirmation by the Senate, this power has not been exercised arbitrarily by any President after the Nixon Administration because the Presidents know that if they exercised this power arbitrarily, the Senate could block the appointment of the successor.

16. In India, the CBI Director has a tenure of two years which is extendable. This enabled the Prime Minister of the day to dangle the carrot of possible extension before an incumbent in order to make him carry out his wishes. There is no parliamentary Oversight Committee on the CBI. In the past, the Director of the CBI was chosen by the Prime Minister of the day from amongst IPS officers whom he or she thought would be pliable.

17. In 2003, it was laid down that the Director should be appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of a Committee consisting of (i) the Central Vigilance Commissioner as Chairperson, (ii) Vigilance Commissioners as Members, (iii) Home Secretary and (iv) Secretary Coordination and Public Grievances in the Cabinet Secretariat. No incumbent can be removed during his tenure or no extension can be granted without the concurrence of this committee.

18. While the Central Vigilance Commissioner has thus been given a role in the selection and removal of the Director, who still has to come from the IPS, the Parliament has not been given a role so far. Under the changes proposed by the Government in the Lokpal Bill, the Leader of the Opposition and the Lokpal are to be given a role in the selection and removal of Director, CBI. While this would be an improvement from the earlier practice, this would not be totally satisfactory since we now have a multi-party and not a two-party system which is likely to continue for many years. It is, therefore, important to set up a Lok Sabha CBI Oversight Committee and give it carefully defined powers to confirm the appointment and removal of the Director and to go into the administrative and budgetary aspects of the functioning of the CBI.

19.So far as the investigation process is concerned, all over the world the investigation agency is accountable to the law of the land and the judiciary. Neither the Executive nor the legislature is supposed to have a role in this matter. De jure, this is so even in India. But, de facto, the Executive interferes in the process of investigation and tries to politically influence it. If the CBI Director has no qualms about letting the investigation process be influenced by the political leadership, how to prevent it?

20. One possible way of doing so is to give the Lokpal powers of superintendence over the investigation process of the CBI or by separating the investigation and prosecution wing of the CBI in corruption cases and place it under the control of the Lokpal. If this is done, the residual CBI will become a federal law enforcement agency with powers of investigation and prosecution in important cases other than those involving bribery and corruption. The Lokpal would have no control over this residual law enforcement agency which should be placed under the shared control of the Executive and the Lok Sabha.

21. The new agency for the investigation and prosecution of corruption cases should function under the superintendence of Lokpal. How to prevent the Lokpal from misusing his or her powers to distort the investigation and prosecution process? A multi-member Lokpal, like the multi-member Election Commission, could provide the necessary corrective.

22. Thus, the new architecture could consist of the following:

(a). A multi-member Lokpal with a constitutional status with the procedure for appointment and removal through impeachment carefully laid down.

(b). The bifurcation of the CBI in order to create a new agency for the investigation and prosecution of corruption cases to work under the superintendence of the Lokpal.

( c ). The conversion of the residual CBI after the bifurcation into a federal law enforcement agency to be accountable jointly to the Executive and the Lok Sabha. This residual CBI could be headed by an IPS officer (26-12-11 )

( 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: Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )

Sunday, December 25, 2011



Certain recent events in the Maldives attributed to Islamic hardliners and their opportunistic political supporters need the attention of the Indian authorities. These events indicate support from small sections of the population for an Islamic campaign in favour of an ideology that seems to have been inspired by that of the Taliban of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

2.The number of people supporting this ideological campaign is still small, but the fact that these forces, however small, have established a base for their activities in a country known for its tolerant society should be a matter of concern.

3.The Maldivian authorities have till now succeeded in keeping these forces under control by rallying the tolerant sections of the population, but there is a danger of the anger over the economic difficulties faced by the population being exploited by Islamic hardliners for a religious radicalisation of the population.

4. A wake-up call was sounded during the SAARC summit in November when these elements vandalised and allegedly stole two monuments gifted to the Maldives by President Mahinda Rajapakse of Sri Lanka and Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani of Pakistan. They objected to these monuments as anti-Islamic on the ground that they contained idols.

5. It was reported that the monument gifted by Sri Lanka contained a statue of a lion, the national symbol of Sri Lanka, and that the one gifted by Pakistan had a depiction of the Buddha. Following protests by the Islamic hardliners, Pakistan reportedly agreed to re-design the monument in order to remove the depiction of the Buddha, but despite this attempts were allegedly made to set it on fire and it was stolen.

6. The religious Adhaalath Party and the party of former President of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), proclaimed those responsible for vandalising the monument to be “national heroes”.

7. The Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla told the local media that the monument gifted by Pakistan “should not be kept on Maldivian soil for a single day” and “should be removed immediately.” He added: “We believe it conflicts with the constitution of the Maldives, the Religious Unity Act of 1994 and the regulations under the Act because it depicted objects of worship that denied the oneness of God.”

8. A Member of the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), Ahmed ‘Marz’ Saleem, filed a case with the police against the Maldives Customs Department for allowing ’idols’ to be imported to the Maldives for the SAARC Summit. He accused the Government of attempting “to erase Islam from the country.” He alleged that the Government had dissolved the Quran Department, the Arabiyya School and separate mosques for women.

9. These incidents were followed by two demonstrations on December 23,2011, one in support of the Government and against the Islamic hardliners and the other organised by the Islamic hardliners. The demonstration by the Islamic hardliners reportedly attracted about 5000 people whereas many more responded to the demonstration in support of the Government.

10. The demonstration in support of Islam was spearheaded by a coalition of six parties and some non-Governmental organisations. The demonstrators were wearing T-Shirts reading “Maldivians in defense of Islam”. They carried placards and banners reading as follows: “We stand united for Islam and the nation”, “No idols in this holy land”, “No to the Zionist Murderers”, “No to El Al Airlines” and “We stand for peace” . It has been alleged that to promote tourism the Government has allowed Israel’s El Al Airlines to operate a service to the Maldives.

11. The speakers at a meeting organised by the hardliners denied that they are supporting jihadi terrorism. Till now the indications are that the main aim of this coalition is to use the slogan of danger to Islam as a weapon to win the Presidential elections due in 2013. It should be a matter of concern if their ill-advised exploitation of religious issues to discredit President Nasheed plays into the hands of fundamentalist elements alien to the tolerant culture of the Maldives and creates a mini epi-centre of Islamic fundamentalism to the south of India. ( 25-12-11)

( 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: Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )

Saturday, December 24, 2011



The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued the following reviewed and updated travel advisory on the Maldives on December 25,2011:

“Maldives has been going through a period of political transition. Social unrest is possible and some past demonstrations on the capital, Malé, and other islands have resulted in violence. You should avoid demonstrations and beware of spontaneous gatherings. A number of protests have recently taken place in Malé and we are aware of reports that further demonstrations are being organised, including on 23 December. Please exercise caution at this time.

“There is no British diplomatic mission in Maldives. A Consular Correspondent in the capital, Malé can liaise with the British High Commission in Sri Lanka on emergency consular matters. They can be contacted through the British High Commission in Colombo.

‘There is a general threat from terrorism and attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates, foreign travellers including tourists.

‘The main types of incident for which British nationals required consular assistance in Maldives in 2009 were for lost/stolen passports and hospitalisations. Petty crime occurs and you should take care of your valuables and other personal possessions.

“All British nationals who are resident and/or working in Maldives should register with the British High Commission in Colombo.

“You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.” (25-12-11)

( 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: Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )



Gen.Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), who had taken the Army back into the barracks after succeeding Gen.Pervez Musharraf as the COAS and announced that the Army would no longer dabble in politics, has reversed his past stand and re-asserted the role of the Army as one among equals --- along with the Executive, legislature and the judiciary--- in matters concerning national security.
2. His action in filing before the Supreme Court a separate affidavit in connection with the enquiry being undertaken by the court under Chief justice Iftikhar Ahmed Chaudhury into L’Affaire Memogate, without getting the affidavit vetted by the Ministry of Defence and approved by Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani indicates the assertion of the right of the Army to take an independent view in matters concerning national security without having its view approved by the elected Executive.
3.L’Affaire Memogate refers to the allegations made by Mansoor Ijaz, an American citizen of Pakistani origin, that at the instance of Hussain Haqqani, the then Pakistani Ambassador to the US, he (Ijaz) had passed on a memo drafted by him (Ijaz) to Admiral Mike Mullen, the then Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressing the concerns of the Pakistan Government over the possibility of a military coup after the US raid into Abbottabad on May 2 last to kill Osama bin Laden.
4. The matter is already under enquiry by a committee of the National Assembly and Haqqani has resigned as the Ambassador to the US. Expressing his dissatisfaction over the enquiry by the committee of the National Assembly, Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz Sharif), who himself was overthrown in a coup in 1999 by the Army then headed by Musharraf, filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking an enquiry by the court. Other petitions on similar lines have also been filed by private individuals.
5. Taking notice of these petitions, the Supreme Court had called for affidavits giving their comments, inter alia, from President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani, the Ministry of Defence, Haqqani, Ijaz, Kayani and Lt.Gen.Ahmed Shuja Pasha, Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The affidavits submitted by Kayani and Pasha do not oppose the enquiry by the Supreme Court whereas the Government’s view has been that since a committee of the National Assembly was already enquiring into the matter, there was no need for an enquiry by the court.
6. Kayani and Pasha have taken a diametrically opposite stand of not questioning the need for a separate enquiry by the court. A careful reading of their affidavits would also indicate that they do not question the veracity of the claims of Ijaz which have been strongly denied by Haqqani. Thus acting independently, the Army has taken a stand which is at variance with the stand of the Government and Haqqani and has sought to give credence to the version of Ijaz.
7. An equally intriguing aspect is that Lt Gen (retd) Naeem Khalid Lodhi , Defence Secretary, submitted his own affidavit to the court without getting it cleared by the Government. In this affidavit, he took up the stand that the Army and the ISI were not under the operational control of the Ministry of Defence. What this amounts to is his saying that Kayani and Pasha were entitled to take up an independent stand before the court without having it approved by the Government.
8.It is this open assertion before the court of the independence of the army in national security matters in an enquiry initiated on the basis of a petition by Nawaz that made Gilani express in comments to the National Assembly and at a public gathering that there was a conspiracy against the Government. He also rejected the notion of the independence of the Army in national security matters and underlined that the Army is subordinate to the Government and cannot be a state within the state.
9. In comments apparently in response to those of Gilani, Kayani, during a visit to Army posts in the Mohmand and Kurram agencies on December 23,2011, denied the feverish speculations of a possible coup and asserted the correctness of the position taken by the Army on the Memogate issue. He reportedly said: “Irrespective of all other considerations, there can be no compromise on national security.” He strongly dispelled the speculations of a military takeover and said that “these are misleading and are being used as a bogey to divert focus from the real issues.”
10. In separate comments, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhury has ruled out any ex-post facto validation of a coup. There has never been any danger of a coup because of the present independence of the judiciary.
11. The real outcome of the present controversy is that the elected Government has found whatever little control it had over the Army eroded. The Army is back from the barracks as a political gladiator, determined to play an independent role in matters concerning national security without having to secure the approval of the civilian Government.
12. What we are seeing in Pakistan is not a de jure military coup that would require ex-post facto validation by the court, but a de facto coup that would not require any such validation.
13.It is likely that the Army, to further assert its independence and to rally the support of the religious parties and jihadi forces, might encourage and incite these forces to increase their activities against India in order to re-justify the primacy of the army in national security matters and to underline that the Army better protects national interests than the elected civilian leadership. India has to be alert to the dangers of a new surge in terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and new attacks of mass fatality terrorism in the rest of India. (24-12-11)
( 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: .Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )

Monday, December 19, 2011



One need not be surprised by the regional and global nervousness over the death of Kim Jong-Il, the ruler of North Korea, following a heart attack reportedly suffered by him on board a train on the morning of December 17,2011, and by the naming of his third son and party-anointed successor Kim Jong-Un (pronounced Kim Jong-Woon) as the new ruler by the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and Government within two days of Kim Jong-Il’s death. Kim Jong-Un is still to be appointed as the General Secretary of the Party and the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, which are the official designations of the ruler of North Korea. Kim Jong-Un can be elected to these posts only by the Party Central Committee. Kim Il-Sung, the first President, was designated after his death in 1994 as the “Eternal President”. Hence nobody else is designated as the President.

2.The fact that the death of Kim Jong-Il and his succession as expected by Kim Jong-Un were announced so fast would indicate that there was no apparent attempt to challenge his succession either by other members of the family or by senior elements in the party and the Army, which had a role in decision-making.

3. The reports of considerable nervousness--even in China which had a benign and close relationship with Kim Jong-Il—could be attributed to the fact that so little was known politically about North Korea and its new ruler to friends as well as perceived foes of the country.

4.North Korea is the only post-cold war remnant of an old style Communist State, with an old style communist political structure, with old-style secretive ways of functioning. However, it differed from other Communist States of the past in its dynastic succession. Its founder in 1948 Kim Il-Sung was succeeded on his death in 1994 by his son Kim Jong-il , who in turn has now been succeeded by Kim Jong-Un.

5. Kim Jong-il had been groomed by his father for over 10 years to be his successor. He, therefore, had no challengers on his assuming office in 1994 and thereafter. The 28-year-old Kim Jong-Un, on the contrary, had been groomed by his father hardly for 15 months before he found himself exercising the powers of the office. It is, therefore, natural that many observers of North Korea, even in China, apprehend that Kim Jong-Un might not have had sufficient time to overcome opposition to his rise in power from family circles---particularly his two elder brothers who were overlooked by his father on the reported ground that they were unfit to rule the country--- as well as from the party and the Korean People’s Army, the main pillars of power in the world’s remaining State concealed from the rest of the international community by a communist-style iron curtain.

6. So little is known about North Korea---its political infrastructure, its decision-making apparatus, the inter-personal and inter-institutional relationships that determine political stability, the state of its economy and its military mind-set. To the outside world ---particularly to its neighbour South Korea--- North Korea has been an unpredictable State with unpredictable reflexes and adventurist impulses.

7. Even less is known about the new ruler. All that is known about the pre-2009 brand of Kim Jong-Un is that he was the third son of his father born to his third wife --- reportedly a Japanese of Korean origin--- that he had at least three, if not longer, years of schooling in the international school of Berne, the capital of Switzerland, where he acquired a working knowledge of English, French and German, that on his return from his Swiss school he studied from 2002 to 2006 in the Kim Il-Sung military university named after his grandfather. He became active in party and Government affairs in 2007 as a member of the organisational committee of the party and as an official of the Ministry of Public Security, which was responsible for the collection of external intelligence.

8. Till 2009, his name had never figured even in rumours as a possible successor to Kim Jong-Il. He was considered too young and too inexperienced in party and Army affairs with very little exposure to the party as well as the Army. The general expectation till 2009 was that one of his two elder brothers might succeed Kim Jong-Il. Following a stroke reportedly suffered by Kim Jong-Il around this period, rumours started circulating in South Korea that Kim Jong-Il was disillusioned with his two elder sons and was, therefore, contemplating to make Kim Jong-Un his would-be successor at the third conference of the WPK, which was scheduled to be held on September 28,2010.

9. These rumours acquired credence in August 2010, when Kim Jong-Il undertook an official visit to China----the second in the year that was very unusual--- a month before the party conference. There were strong rumours that Kim Jong-Un had accompanied his father.

10. Kim's visit was confined to Jilin and Heilongjiang, where he visited several agricultural and industrial establishments---- reportedly in order to learn from the Chinese experience in the modernisation of its economy. In this connection, the Chinese media referred to a visit earlier made by him ----without saying when--- to Vietnam to learn from its experience in modernisation. Kim Jong-Il visited a food processing factory, a high-speed train factory and an elementary school in Jilin where his father had studied in the 1920s.

11. The Chinese State TV reported that President Hu Jintao had met Kim Jong-il in Changchun, the capital of the Jilin province, on August 27, 2010. It carried visuals of the meeting between the two leaders and a report on a banquet hosted by Hu in honour of the North Korean leader.

12. An important objective of the visit was to brief the Chinese leaders about what Kim Jong-Il called "the rising generation" and to reassure Beijing that the expected generational changes would not affect North Korean bonds with China. He was quoted as having stated as follows at the banquet hosted by President Hu: "With the international situation remaining complicated, it is our important historical mission to hand over to the rising generation the baton of the traditional friendship passed over by the revolutionary forerunners of the two countries as a precious asset so as to carry it forward through generations."

13. This strengthened speculation that at the party meeting in September,2010, Kim Jong-Il might officially indicate his plans for his succession which might involve the elevation of Kim Jong-Un. Why did Kim Jong-Il feel the need to reassure the Chinese that the "rising generation" would be as close to China as the present generation and the preceding one of his father? Was his visit to the Chinese school which his father had attended meant to emphasise the close links of his family with China and calm possible Chinese misgivings about the impact of the Swiss upbringing of Kim Jong-Un on future North Korean policies?

14. China has reasons to be worried by the rise of Kim Jong-un to power. He has never studied in China in so far as it is known, he has had very little exposure to China, its leadership and people and his only limited exposure to the outside world has been in Switzerland. Would it have any impact on North Korea’s policies. King Jong-il apparently anticipated that such questions would trouble Beijing were his third son to become his successor and he wanted to reassure them that there would be no change in the primacy accorded by North Korea to its relations with China.

15.Chinese views over what could happen in North Korea after Kim Jong-il were reflected in a “Global Times” article of September 28, 2010, which said: “Despite varied versions of the successor choice and to which post the figure will be elevated to at the meeting, some analysts are dismissing the possibility of political chaos as a result of such a transition, saying the country won't undergo any significant policy change that could pose downsides on the security situation of the Korean Peninsula and northeast Asia. A stable North Korea is in China's national interests, regardless of who will be the next leader, experts say.”

16. The visit to China by the father and reportedly his son too was followed by the expected elevation of Kim Jong-Un at the party conference held on September 28,2010. Kim Jong-Un and Kim Kyong Hui, the 64-year-old influential sister of Kim Jong-Il, were elected as members of the 124-member Central Committee. But, surprisingly, while Kim Kyong Hui was elected a member of the important Politbureau of the Central Committee, Kim Jong-Un was not, thereby giving her a more important position in the party. The speculation was that she and her husband would act as mentors in putting Kim Jong-Un through his paces. Will they be content with doing so or will they try to upstage Kim Jong-Un and manipulate themselves into power. This is a question that would worry Kim Jong-Un in the months to come.

17. The party conference also elected Kim Jong-Un as one of the two Vice-Chairmen of the Central Military Commission, the other Vice-Chairman being Ri Yong Ho, chief of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army (KPA). While Kim Jong-Un, who had never held a military rank before, was appointed a General, Ri Yong Ho was promoted as Vice-Marshal. Thus, Ri Yong Ho was given a more important position in the Commission.

18.Thus, Kim Jong-Un was given only the third position in the Party after his father and aunt and the third position in the Central Military Commission after his father and Ho. Despite this, the message that came out from the conference was that it had endorsed Kim Jong-Il’s plans to make his third son his successor. Till now, there were no reports of any opposition to this.

19. The transition in North Korea would be of great interest and concern to China, South Korea, Japan, the US and India. Any political instability in North Korea could cause large refugee influx into China. China would be nervous over the dangers of Kim Jong-Un cutting North Korea’s links with China and giving his policies a pro-Western orientation. For South Korea, the transition could be a threat as well as an opportunity. A threat because of the possibility of an insecure leader giving full rein to North Korea’s adventurist impulses that would most probably be directed at South Korea. An opportunity because of the possibility of a more moderate leader working towards a re-unification of the two Koreas.

20. South Korea, Japan and the US would be worried over the nuclear policies of the new ruler. Would he be inclined to resume the six-power talks on the nuclear issue or would he maintain the present hardline in his attempt to avoid any threat from the army or make it even harder.

21. Indian concerns would be over North Korea’s nuclear and missile relationship with Pakistan. This picked up momentum under Kim Jong-Il after Benazir Bhutto’s visit to North Korea during her second tenure as the Prime Minister (1993-96) and have continued since then. Will Kim Jong-Un maintain this relationship or even develop it further?

22. It is likely that till Kim Jong-Un consolidates his position and feels secure in office, he would continue his father’s policy of close relations with China and placating the Army’s expectations on the nuclear issue---whether on the question of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal or its military and missile supply relationship with Pakistan. Any new policy initiatives are unlikely.

23. If there is instability arising from a post-succession power struggle, North Korea’s unpredictable and adventurist impulses could come to the fore. ( 19-12-11)

( 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: Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )

Sunday, December 18, 2011



The Chinese leadership has been unnerved by the persisting and spreading protest of the people of Wukan, a fishing village ( population 13000) in the Guangdong province of Southern China, where the Chinese economic miracle started in the 1990s and which is always projected as a “showcase” province of China.

2. The protest movement was initially directed against forcible land acquisitions at arbitrarily low prices by the local authorities. It has since turned into a protest against the alleged death of a protester in police custody and against the illegal detention of four other protesters by the police.

3.Wukan has been the scene of sporadic protests against arbitrary land acquisitions for months. The present protest started in September when plans for the construction of a residential project were announced. This involved the acquisition of valuable farm land for the project.

4. The protest has now assumed an uncontrollable dimension for the last 10 days following the death of a protester who was arrested by the local police. The police have claimed that he died of a heart attack, but the villagers have alleged that he was beaten to death by the police.

5.Shops and schools have been closed in the village for the last one week and police reinforcements have been rushed from adjoining villages and towns. The police have reportedly blockaded the village to prevent the protesters from visiting other villages to gather support.

6. The protesters have driven out local officials of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and occupied the local offices of the party. On December 18, they warned that if the body of the protester was not handed over to them and if the four protesters in police custody are not released by December 21, they would march to the offices of the Government located at nearby Lufeng city and occupy them too.

7. The protesters have accused the police of trying to starve the local villagers into submission by stopping the flow of essential commodities into the village from adjoining villages.

8. News and pictures of the protest movement have been spreading across China through micro-blogs despite the efforts of the Ministry of Public Security to block them. According to Radio Free Asia, funded by the US State Department, a video showing several thousand villagers congregating at the Mazu Temple in Wukan village, near the port city of Shanwei, was posted on popular microblogging sites Sina and Tencent Weibo, and was quickly removed by censors. The video showed large numbers of villagers sitting on the ground in the temple courtyard in protest at the detention of their representatives by police. "Down with corrupt officials!" the crowd chanted, then, "Compensation for blood spilled!"

9.The Government has imposed new restrictions regarding registration for microblogs making it obligatory for service providers to verify the identities of the microbloggers before allowing them to use assumed names and to share the real identities with the Ministry of Public Security when called upon to do so in the interest of internal security.

10.This has had no effect on the micro-bloggers, who continue to disseminate news and pics of the unrest in the Wukan village. The Government is worried that the unrest is being orchestrated by unpatriotic elements to cause internal confusion and political instability in the months preceding important Party and National People’s Congress (NPC) meetings early next year to designate the new leadership of the Party and the State to take over from the present leadership when it completes its tenure in 2012 and 2013.

11. The following tweet , which is believed to have originated in Honolulu, has been circulating in the internet: “This only the beginning. The beginning of an end of a regime. Stand strong people, united for your cause. Some people already gave their lives; don't let them go to waste.”

12. The Government’s concerns were enhanced on December 18 when a small protest in sympathy with the villagers of Wukan was held in Guangzhou, the capital of the province.

13.The seriousness of the concerns of the Party and the Government over the situation would be evident from the cancellation, announced on December 13, of the scheduled visits of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to Nepal and Myanmar in December. Even though the Chinese Embassies in Nepal and Myanmar have attributed the cancellation to Wen’s preoccupation with preparations for the Party and NPC meetings next year, many attribute the cancellations to the worries of the leadership over dangers of internal political instability. ( 19-12-11)

( 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: . Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )

Saturday, December 17, 2011



( This is a post-seminar expansion of introductory observations made by me at a seminar on Police and Media at Hyderabad on December 15 and 16,2011)

Concepts keep evolving. When I was in service, one used to talk of media management by the police. It is now a hated concept. After I left service in August,1994, one started talking of perception management. This too has now fallen into disfavour. One now talks of perception correction. It is a politically neutral concept acceptable both to the police and the media.

2. Police officers have a right and a responsibility to identify wrong perceptions created by the media either consciously or unconsciously and have them corrected. For that, continuous interaction between the police and the media is necessary---- not only in times of crisis, but also in normal times.

3. Cordial relations with the media is not just a question of entertaining it from time to time. It is a question of respecting it as playing a useful role in keeping its spotlight on the police and winning its respect through our professionalism.

4. A good professional doesn’t have to all the time strut around projecting himself as one. He will be sensed from a distance by the media and the public. Professionalism is a combination of various factors---your competence, your efficiency, your record, your integrity and your ability to earn respect by giving respect.

5. The media expects from us respect, accessibility and a willingness to share correct information that can be shared for the benefit of the media and the public and in the interest of the public and the nation. If these factors are kept in mind, one can more effectively than at present prevent the emergence of wrong perceptions and correct wrong perceptions that arise despite the best efforts of the police to prevent them.

6.Not only concepts evolve, but the media landscape also keeps evolving. When I was in service, dealing with the media was simple. Today, it has become difficult and complex. In those days, we had to deal only with the print media and the Government-run electronic media. The media landscape has since changed beyond recognition due to the mushrooming of privately-run TV and radio networks, the easy availability of foreign channels for the viewers due to satellite TV, the blooming of the new media which has enabled any individual with the required motivation and energy to become a virtual journalist.

7. The rapid advance of media-related technologies has further empowered the media and given the police the impression and feeling of having been disempowered. The police, like other wings of the Government, does not know how to deal with this phenomenon of an aggressive and assertive media and equally aggressive and assertive citizens. Those who understand this phenomenal change in the media landscape and use it for their benefit are the driving force of today. Those, who do not, find themselves left far behind by the march of the new forces and new ideas in the real and virtual world of the media.

8. Without a proper understanding of the new forces and the new ideas sweeping across the media world, the police, like other wings of the Government, will not be able to deal with the multiplying complexities of media relations today.

9. The journalist profile has also been evolving. When I was in service, I had to deal with journos who were in their late 40s or early 50s. They were reverential to senior Government servants, they were respecters of persons and they knew and respected the Laxman Rekha in the relations between the media and the Government.

10. Today, while the media continues to be driven commercially by people in their middle ages, it is driven professionally by journos in their 20s and 30s. There has been a spectacular bloom of young journos, who respect no age, who respect no person, who respect no authority and who observe no Laxman Rekha. For them, getting at the news and reporting it as they think it should be reported is the end-all and be-all of their profession.

11. Today’s young journos, unlike their predecessors, are risk-takers and risk-seekers. Their predecessors used to come to us for advice and briefing before they undertook any dangerous reporting assignment. Today’s journos don’t care. The moment they decide to go somewhere to get the news, they make a dash for it without worrying about the risks and dangers. A new generation of journos has come up since the Kargil conflict driven by a fearsome passion to get at the news even if they have to ruffle the feathers of those in authority. I call it the Barkha generation---- full of determination, drive and courage. Look at the way Barkha dashed into rebel-controlled Libya without worrying about the consequences for her.

12. The Barkha generation has its positive and negative qualities. Look at the way it complicated the handling of the Kandahar hijacking in December 1999. Look at the way Barkha, in alleged disregard of the difficulties of the police and other security forces, covered the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai. I am yet to come across a single IPS officer who does not talk critically of the way she covered the 26/11 strikes. Look at the way she went after a blogger who chose to criticise her style of news coverage. She would expect the Police to understand and be responsive to her style of news coverage, but she could not understand and be responsive to a blogger’s criticism---however immoderate—of her style of reporting. This brought out the double standards adopted by some of the young journos of today.

13. We have not yet found an answer to the question as to how to cope with this new generation of journos with its insatiable hunger for the Breaking News because many of us are not even aware that the media world of today and the ever-bubbling journos of today are unrecognisably different from those of yesterday. This question has to be debated carefully in our search for an answer.

14.Look how poorly we understand the mind-boggling reach and potential of the new media. How many of us have thought of ways of using the new media for disseminating the correct news, for projecting the police point of view and for correcting wrong perceptions? Improving the conventional ways and style of relationship with the media alone is not sufficient. The police has to be proactive in the world of the new media. Instead of understanding the new media and its social networks and benefitting from them, we are thinking of curbing and even suppressing them. This shows that while the mindset of Generation Next in the media world is galloping forward, our mindset remains shackled to the past. It is time to break this. (18-12-11)

( 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: Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )

C'est Moi --That's Me--In October 1961 on Joining IPS Training At Mount Abu & on December 16,2011 at 50th Anniversary Reunion of 1961 IPS at Hyderabad

Tuesday, December 13, 2011



China’s official Xinhua news agency disseminated the following report on December 12,2011:
“China said on Monday that its naval fleet may seek supplies or recuperate at appropriate harbors in Seychelles or other countries as needed during escort missions.
“It is international practice for naval fleets to resupply at the closest port of a nearby state during long-distance missions, the Ministry of National Defense said in a press release commenting on a recent report stating that China will establish a military base in Seychelles to crack down on piracy.
“Chinese naval fleets have resupplied at harbors in Djibouti, Oman and Yemen since the country sent its first convoy to the Gulf of Aden in 2008, according to the ministry
“Defense Minister Liang Guanglie paid an official goodwill visit to Seychelles earlier this month.
“During Liang's visit, the two sides exchanged views on their countries' and armies' cooperation, as well as on the global and regional situation.
“Seychelles appreciates China's efforts to maintain safe navigation on the Indian Ocean, as well as the support it has granted to Seychelles, the ministry said.

“Seychelles also invited China's navy to resupply and recuperate in the country during escort missions, the ministry said.”

2. An article carried the next day by the “China Daily” said:
“The navy is considering taking on supplies in the Seychelles while conducting escort missions to tackle piracy.
“Military experts stressed that the move did not equate to establishing military bases.
“"According to escort needs and the needs of other long-range missions, China will consider seeking supply facilities at appropriate harbors in the Seychelles or other countries," the Ministry of Defense said in a statement on its website on Monday.
“The statement was in response to a recent report that the Seychelles invited China to establish a military base in the Indian Ocean archipelago to crack down on piracy during a visit by Defense Minister Liang Guanglie, the first by a Chinese defense minister, earlier this month.
“The Press Trust of India news agency later interpreted this as Beijing reneging on its promise not to build military bases abroad.
“Li Jie, a professor at the Naval Military Studies Research Institute, told China Daily "as China will not send troops to protect the supply stop in the Seychelles, by no means can it be called an overseas military base".
“Beijing has repeatedly confirmed that its policy of not stationing troops abroad will not be altered. It stands alone among the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council in not having overseas bases.
“Due to anti-piracy missions off the coast of Somalia, it is only natural for Beijing to ensure naval supplies, Li said.”
“Peng Guangqian, a Beijing-based military strategist, said facilities allowing ships to take on supplies cannot be called military bases because "China respects the host's sovereignty and internal politics, and no political conditions are attached".
“"Besides, it will be solely used for logistics and supplies," he added.
“Li Qinggong, deputy secretary of the China Council for National Security Policy Studies, said that any arrangements over the use of facilities will be mutually beneficial with jobs provided for people in the Seychelles and the navy better able to protect China's growing overseas interests.”

3. MY COMMENTS: Chinese naval ships on long-range anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden area do need ports of call for re-stocking, re-fuelling and rest and recreation facilities. Initially, they were using the Karachi port. They have stopped doing so for some months now due to the poor security situation in Karachi, which was highlighted by a terrorist attack on the Pakistani naval air base in May last. They are not going ahead with their original plans for the upgradation of the Gwadar port into a naval base due to the poor security situation in Balochistan.

4.They are, therefore, now looking for such facilities in safe Gulf ports and may start using Hambantota in Sri Lanka once it is ready for receiving Chinese naval vessels. The Chinese have never made any secret of their interest in port calls in the Indian Ocean area for availing of such facilities. Because of the long distance involved from the waters of China to the patrolling areas in the Gulf of Aden their requirements for re-stocking, re-fuelling and rest and recreation are natural and genuine.

5. I understand that as a confidence-building measure, the Indian Navy had also invited Chinese naval vessels returning from anti-piracy patrols to make a port call at Kochi. This was a good initiative which I support. While we must carefully monitor the movements and interests of the Chinese Navy in the Indian Ocean area, we should avoid the kind of paranoia created by the ill-advised PTI report.

6. In a paper presented at a seminar organised by the National Maritime Foundation at Vizag in July last, I had stated as follows: “The indications are that China’s interest in helping the countries of the South Asian region in the development of their port infrastructure is related to its need to ensure the security of its energy supplies from West Asia and Africa. It has no naval power projection dimension at present.

7. Till now, the main driver of China’s strategic interest in Gwadar, Hambantota and Chittagong has been the perceived need for refuelling, re-stocking and rest and recreation facilities for its oil/gas tankers and naval ships deputed for anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden area. China is not yet interested in an overseas naval base, but is interested in overseas logistic facilities for its oil/gas tankers and for its naval vessels.

8.Individual retired officers of the People’s Liberation Army (Navy) have been talking of the likely long-term need for an overseas naval base in the Indian Ocean area, but the Communist Party of China (CPC) has been discouraging such talk. Presently, the Chinese interest in playing a role in the development of the port infrastructure is not designed to place its Navy in a position as to be able to challenge the primacy presently enjoyed by the Navies of the US and India in the Indian Ocean region.

9. China has seen as to how the over-assertiveness of its Navy in the South China Sea has had a negative impact on the comfort level of its relations with the ASEAN countries. The Indian Ocean is not comparable to the South China Sea. China has no territorial claims to islands in the Indian Ocean area. It has no disputes relating to fishing and exploration of oil and gas with any of the countries of the Indian Ocean region. China and its Navy are, therefore, welcomed by the countries of the region. This comfortable position could change if China graduates from energy security to power projection in its strategic planning for the Indian Ocean region.

10. I do not expect this to happen in the short and medium terms (five to 10 years). However, if the Chinese strategic thinking changes in the long-term, what could be the new threats to India and what will be the options for our Navy? We have to start thinking on this.(

11. While reiterating this assessment, I must highlight that there has recently been important statements and comments by President Hu Jintao and Chinese analysts on the need to give priority to further strengthening the Chinese Navy. My present assessment is that these comments are related to the recent re-assertion of the US primacy in the Pacific and the greater interest taken by the US in the South China Sea. They do not seem to be related to Chinese perceptions of any new core interests they may develop in the Indian Ocean region.

12. Presently, they have core concerns in the Indian Ocean area arising from the activities of the Somali pirates and likely threats to their energy security from pirates and terrorists. They have no core interests in the Indian Ocean area, but developing a capability for power projection in the Indian Ocean to counter the renewed US power projection in the Pacific could become a driving force of their strategic vision in the Indian Ocean region. We need to closely monitor the evolution of Chinese strategic thinking in this regard. ( 14-12-11)

( 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: Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )



There have been four mass fatality attacks (with fatalities of more than 100 ) on Indian nationals or foreign nationals of Indian origin by terrorists enjoying sanctuaries in Pakistani territory. Three of these attacks carried out by jihadi terrorists were in Mumbai ( in March 1993,July 2006 and November 2008)and one involved the blowing-up of the Kanishka aircraft of Air India off the Irish coast in June 1985 by Khalistani terrorists.

2. The jihadi attacks in Mumbai were carried out by terrorists who came from sanctuaries and training camps of their organisations in Pakistani territory. Talwinder Singh Parmar of the Babbar Khalsa, who orchestrated the blowing-up of the Kanishka aircraft, came from Vancouver and took sanctuary in Pakistan after having the attack carried out. He was subsequently killed in August 1992 when he crossed over into Indian territory.

3.The two Indian masterminds of the March 1993 terrorist attack in Mumbai----Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon---- continue to live in Karachi without any action being taken against them by the Pakistani authorities. Those involved in the July 2006 terrorist attacks on suburban trains have not been definitively identified, but they are believed to have taken sanctuary with the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in Pakistani territory. The LET masterminds of the November,2008 attacks---- all Pakistani nationals--- are still in Pakistani territory---some facing a make-believe trial and others untouched by the Pakistani authorities.

4. The potentially catastrophic attack on the Indian Parliament by the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), with the suspected complicity of the LET, on December 13,2001,was designed to be a decapitation strike directed at India’s parliamentary leadership, but the alertness and bravery of the Indian security forces guarding the Parliament thwarted their designs. They were prevented from shooting their way into the Parliament and killed. There were no mass fatalities of civilians.

5.The capability of the terrorists to carry out repeated mass fatality attacks or potentially catastrophic attacks was facilitated by the connivance of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and by the availability of sanctuaries and training facilities in Pakistani territory.

6.A repeatedly demonstrated lesson in the history of terrorism is that when terrorists operate with the complicity of a foreign intelligence agency from foreign sanctuaries it would not be possible to eliminate their terrorism unless the intelligence agency and/or the sanctuaries are targeted and irreparable damages are inflicted on them.

7.The US air strikes in Libya ordered by President Reagan in 1986 in retaliation for a bomb attack on US soldiers in Berlin was an example of a justified attack on a foreign State assisting terrorists. The US special forces attack in Abbottabad in Pakistan on May 2,2011, to kill Osama bin Laden was an example of an attack targeting sanctuaries and those given sanctuaries without targeting the State which provided sanctuary. The US has also been using its Drone (pilotless plane) strikes in North and South Waziristan as part of its counter-sanctuaries strategy.

8.Since the mass fatality attacks started in 1985, we have refrained from targeting either the State of Pakistan and its ISI or the terrorists and their sanctuaries in Pakistani territory. Even if we don’t want to exercise a counter-State policy against Pakistan, unless we exercise the counter-sanctuaries policy against the terrorist organisations and their sanctuaries in Pakistani territory, we will be destined to see a periodic recurrence of such attacks on our nationals.

9. There are two requirements for an effective counter-sanctuary strategy---- the political will to undertake targeted attacks against sanctuaries even at the risk of a possible military conflict with Pakistan and the clandestine capability called the covert action capability to translate the political will into action.

10. In India, we do not have either the political will or the covert action capability. Whatever limited covert action capability we had against Pakistan was ordered to be disbanded by Shri Inder Gujral when he was the Prime Minister in 1997. Neither Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, who succeeded him, nor Dr.Manmohan Singh have shown a willingness to order a re-creation of our covert action capability because they did not have the political courage to order its use against the sanctuaries.

11. The ISI as well as the terrorists sponsored by it know that India does not have a retaliatory covert action capability and that fear of a military conflict degenerating into a nuclear one has stymied Indian decision-making on the inclusion of a counter-sanctuary component into our counter-terrorism strategy.

12. The Indian State finds itself in a state of not having the required covert action capability to act against the sanctuaries and not having the political will and courage to use that capability even if we re-create it.

13. We will never be able to deal with mass fatality terrorism emanating from Pakistani territory unless we get out of this self-created and self-imposed paralysis of the will of the Indian State to act.

14. I am all for talks with Pakistan to improve our relations, but the talks must be accompanied by the will to act against the sanctuaries. Talking alone without demonstrating a will to act will prove counter-productive.

15.As we observe the 10th anniversary of the attack on the Parliament and pay homage to our brave security personnel who died to thwart the attack, it is this question-----the resuscitation of the national will to act as demonstrated by Indira Gandhi in 1971 and the re-creation of the covert action capability to translate that will into action--- that should engage our attention.

16. Instead of doing so, the entire focus has been on the perceived delay in the execution of Afzal Guru, an Indian national, who has been sentenced to death by the court for his complicity with the terrorists who came from the sanctuaries in Pakistan. His execution is not going to put an end to the sanctuaries in Pakistan. Only the iron fist of the Indian State will do so. ( 13-12-11)

( 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: .Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )

Monday, December 12, 2011



July 19,2005: Kai-Fu Lee, a well-known Chinese computer expert working for Microsoft in the US, crossed over into Google to help it establish an office in China---reportedly on an annual salary of US $ 13 million. Lee announced his switch-over in his Chinese language web site as follows: “I choose Google. I choose China.” Microsoft filed a suit against Lee. The court ruled on September 13,2005, that while Lee could not share with Google the information acquired by him while serving in Microsoft, there would be no bar to his helping Google in setting up a presence in China. Under a compromise reached by Google and Microsoft in 2006, the latter agreed to lift restrictions imposed by it on Lee.

2.January 27,2006:Google’s China service called was launched. Lee, who headed the office, helped Google in recruiting a large number of Chinese computer experts. It was reported at that time that in return for the Chinese permission to open its services in China, Google had agreed that it would abide by the rules of censorship laid down by the Chinese Government. Soon after started functioning, frictions allegedly developed in its interactions with the Chinese authorities.

3.The “Fortune” magazine (April 15,2011) reported in a special article on Google in China as follows: “ Google had hoped that its decision to create a search engine in the .cn domain -- one that followed government rules of censorship -- would lead to a level playing field. But even as Google rolled out its .cn web address, there were indications that its compromise would not satisfy the Chinese government. Unexplained outages still occurred. (Meanwhile, Google's competitor Baidu seemed to hum along unscathed.) And not long after Google got its operating license in December 2005, the Chinese declared that the license was no longer valid, charging that it wasn't clear whether Google's activities made it an Internet service or a news portal. (Foreigners could not operate the latter.) Google then began a year-and-a-half-long negotiation to restore the license.”

4. In June 2007, the Chinese Government restored Google’s operating license. Neither the Chinese authorities nor Google shared with the public information regarding the conditions, if any, under which its licence was restored. Had Google agreed to continue to abide by Chinese internet censorship rules?

5.In the meanwhile, allegations started surfacing that Google’s management trusted its American employees more than its Chinese employees. It became apparent that Google recruited Lee to make use of his China knowledge and contacts, but did not allow him an unrestricted role in operational management. He was allegedly a glorified head subject to back-seat driving by Americans enjoying the confidence of the Google management in the US.

6. To quote from the “Fortune” article on how Google was coping with increasing Chinese demands for censorship: “A demand would come from a government ministry to take down 10 items; Google would typically take down seven and hope that the compromise resolved the matter. Sometimes after a few days or weeks Google would quietly restore links it had censored. Every five months Google's policy-review committee in China would meet to make sure it was filtering the minimum it could possibly get away with.”

7.“Fortune” added: “For all the progress, some Google executives were beginning to think that its great China compromise wasn't working. A turning point came in 2008, the year China hosted the Olympics. In the run-up to its turn in the international spotlight, China apparently decided to increase its restrictions. It demanded that in addition to censoring the .cn results, Google purge objectionable links from the Chinese-language version of That, of course, was unacceptable to Google -- it would mean that it was acting as an agent of repression for Chinese-speaking people all over the world, including in the U.S. Other search engines, including Microsoft's, agreed to such demands. But Google stalled, hoping that after the Olympics the Chinese would back off. They did not. The demands for censorship became broader and more frequent.”

8.Towards the end of 2009, after discovering that the Chinese security services had been hacking into Google services for allegedly stealing personal data of Chinese using Google services, the Google management in the US decided not to accept any longer Chinese demands for censorship and to close down the services of .

9.China responded firmly to Google’s decision not to accept any more censorship on its search engine and its threat to review and, if left with no other alternative, to close down its operations in China if the censorship and the alleged State-sponsored web snooping continued.

10.The Chinese response was to reiterate the right of the State to impose reasonable restrictions in the interest of security and stability while avoiding any statement or action that might result in a break with Google, which could be bad for the international image of the country. At the same time, the Chinese ruled out any major change in their Internet security policy just because of the threat held out by Google.

11.Jiang Yu, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said that China’s policy would continue to be one of encouragement of an open Internet under proper regulations. She added: “The Internet is open in China, where the Government always encourages its development and has created a favorable environment for its healthy development. China, like other countries, will regulate the Internet industry in line with the law. China welcomes international Internet companies to conduct business within the country according to law."

12.In a statement on its official blog site, David Drummond , Google's corporate development and chief legal officer, said that the company intended to "review the feasibility of our business operations in China." According to him, its disputes with the Chinese Government and unidentified attacks targeting Google's services in China forced the company to make the review and possibly to "shut down" and potentially its China offices.

13.While reiterating the right of the State to impose reasonable restrictions, the Chinese authorities strongly denied that Governmental agencies had any hand in cyber attacks on Google. The spokesperson of the Foreign Office pointed out that Chinese laws "prohibit hacker attacks in any form."

14.Wang Chen, Director of China's State Council Information Office, said on January 14,2010, in an interview to the “People’s Daily”: “China firmly opposes cyber attacks because China itself is a victim of such attacks. Every country needs to effectively regulate the Internet and to make sure their own problems on the web do not affect other countries. Internet security has become a significant problem that does not only involve China but also other countries."

15.Comments made by Chinese non-governmental analysts and Internet users made two points. Firstly, the decision of the Google’s executives to review the continuance of its operations in China appeared to have been triggered off by its failure to make a commercial breakthrough in China after nearly four years of its operations in China and by its inability to face the competition of Chinese search engines, which continued to enjoy a monopoly of the Chinese market. Instead of admitting its commercial inadequacies, it was trying to blame the alleged web censorship and snooping for its decision to review its future operations. They accused Google of looking for moral scapegoats to cover up its commercial failure. In this connection, they pointed out that the so-called censorship regulations were there even in 2006 when Google entered the Chinese market. It did not find anything morally wrong with them at that time, but after its failure to break through in the local market, it started talking of morality issues by making a hue and cry over censorship after having informally accepted censorship for nearly four years.

16. Secondly, they alleged that Google was guilty of double standards. They pointed out that there were regulations in the US prohibiting access to children to pornographic sites. Similarly, after 9/11, to prevent terrorists from having access to pictures and other information which could be useful for planning a terrorist strike, the US Government had been asking Google to remove certain photographs and other materials from the web. Google found nothing wrong in such requests or instructions emanating from the US security agencies and carried out their wishes, but when Chinese agencies issued similar instructions they were accused of coming in the way of the free use of the Internet.

17.The Chinese were hoping that ultimately Google would realise that it had over-reacted to the difficulties faced by it in China and would decide to continue its operations in China in its long-term business interests. However, if Google stuck to its threat and decided to wind up its operations after the proposed review, the Chinese were prepared to face it. They made it clear to Google that they would not be intimidated by its threats to close down its operations in China. They were confident that any decision of Google to wind up would not have any impact on China’s relations with the US and on the confidence of international companies in the business environment in China.

18.Both Google and Beijing started looking for a face-saving patch-up, which could enable Google to stay on in China if Beijing promised to undertake a review of its Internet censorship and security regulations, if not immediately, at least in the foreseeable future.

19.This was evident from the statements and comments that emanated from both sides. A spokesperson of Google was reported to have told the Bloomberg news agency on January 16, 2010, that it was operating business as usual in China, was still censoring search results on and its employees in China were still going to work. The Reuters news agency quoted Google's China office as saying that it would hold talks with the Chinese Government over the next few weeks.

20.The "Global Times", published by the party-owned "People's Daily" group, quoted Google as saying that its planned retreat from China was limited to, hinting that other services such as android phones and Gmail would not be affected. The "Global Times" further said: "A spokesman of the Google company who declined to be named said that Chinese users will possibly be able to continue using the search engine in Chinese through "The only thing we have announced is this: We will be talking to the Chinese authorities about the possibility of operating an uncensored search service within China. If it is impossible to operate an uncensored service within the law, we will close," said the spokesman. "We will obviously continue to offer Chinese-language search on our global search engine. Beyond that, we are making no announcements on any other aspect of our business."

21.An article carried by the "Global Times" on January 17, 2010, under the title "Google-China split would be loss for both sides" said: "Google CEO Eric Schmidt had a famous "5,000-year plan" for China, "We will take a long-term view to win in China. The Chinese have 5,000 years of history. Google has 5,000 years of patience in China." Yet Schmidt's promised patience for developing in China seems to be fading away now. The company's "threat" to pull out of China amid concerns over censorship and cyber attacks has shocked the world and brought down Google's share price by 1.3 per cent. The price dip reflects investors' worries over a huge potential business loss from the parting of ways. With its roughly 33.2 per cent share of China's $1 billion search market in 2009, Google's possible exit would signal that it is giving up a booming Chinese market with 350 million Web surfers. Its strategic loss would be greater than its business loss. While other search engines, Chinese and foreign, would predictably grab a slice of the business abandoned by Google, the Internet giant's inability to localize and tackle difficulties in China would be an incalculable loss to its long-term commitment to innovation. Google's "New approach to China," as spelled out in the title of its recent statement, would do no good to China, either. Should the world's most populous nation fail to provide a foothold to the world's top search engine, it would imply a setback to China and serious loss to China's Net culture. The information highway demands not only safe driving but also free flow of traffic. And, in the interests of the majority's right to know, free flow of information should take precedence in a civil society. In a transitional society like China, the existence of censorship can be justified, as allowing full play to multifarious and disorderly search results poses unprecedented risks to vulnerable netizens and social stability. But the Government must face up to the challenge of where and how to put the checkpoints on the highway. A sensitive and shrewd Government should have the vision and savvy to place the right kind of checkpoints at the right place and at the right time for ensuring the free flow of highway traffic as much as possible in the public interest. When Google entered China's market about five years ago, it named itself "Gu Ge" (Grain Song) in Chinese. Google and China going their separate ways would hurt both sides. Let the song of sowing and expectation continue to be heard in China, for a win-win situation. "

22.In an editorial on the subject the next day, the "Global Times" said: "The world's top search engine needs to reflect on why it is lagging behind a local rival in China and why it is not getting as much support from Chinese Web users as it had expected. .....Technology and business should not be affected by political interests and diplomatic concerns. Though Chinese people have called for further steps to be taken by the Government to ensure free flow of information, it is always in their interest to have any foreign company operating in China abide by Chinese laws. Certainly, Google cannot be an exception. A split between Google and China will hurt both sides. And the Internet giant would lose further ground among its supporters if it is made a political football. Conciliatory negotiation may help in solving any issue. The West's arrogance will not work."

23.Apparently, Google decided to close down its services due to the increasing censorship demands from the Chinese authorities, but to continue its other services. The conditions under which it took this decision were not made public. In the meanwhile, Lee was reported to have quit as the head of the office in China.

24.In March,2011, reports started circulating that G Mail too was facing difficulties due to alleged interference by the Chinese security agencies. In a press statement on March 21,2011, on difficulties allegedly faced by G Mail subscribers in China, Google said: “There is no technical issue on our side; we have checked extensively. This is a government blockage carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail.”

25.In its blog, Google also spoke of “politically motivated” attacks against users. It said: “We’ve noticed some highly targeted and apparently politically motivated attacks against our users. We believe activists may have been a specific target. We’ve also seen attacks against users of another popular social site.”

26.A report published by the “Wall Street Journal” on June 2,2011, indicated continued interference with G Mail services in China from sources allegedly associated with the People’s Liberation Army”.

27.The WSJ report said: “The city of Jinan, which Google described as the origin of the latest attack, sits 400 kilometers south of Beijing and is important technologically and militarily. Jinan houses the headquarters of one of China's eight regional military commands and is home to one of the PLA's technical reconnaissance bureaus. The bureaus serve as arms of China's equivalent to the U.S. National Security Agency, according to a 2009 report from a committee created by Congress to study China.”

28.The WSJ allegations have been denied by the Chinese authorities.

29. The position seems to be as follows: Google was operating two search engines for its users in China. was using a server based in China. was using a server based in the US. From the beginning of its operations in China in 2006, Google was rejecting censorship demands relating to, but informally complying with censorship demands relating to When the Chinese censorship demands on increased and when the Chinese also started demanding censorship of the results of, it decided to transfer to Hong Kong and to continue to reject censorship of

( 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: . Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )