Tuesday, May 14, 2013




Prime Minister Li Kequiang of China, who took over  in March last, is to visit India, Pakistan, Switzerland and Germany during his first round of overseas visits after taking over as the Prime Minister.

2. His clubbing together his visits to India and Pakistan on his way to Europe indicates the equal importance which the newly-elected Chinese leadership attaches to China’s relations with India and Pakistan.

3. The visit to India from May 19 to 21 threatened to come under a cloud following the intrusion by a platoon of PLA troops into Indian  territory in the Daulat Beg Oldie area of Eastern Ladakh on April 15 and their camping in tents there for nearly three weeks.

4.The resulting stand-off between Chinese and Indian troops of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) created trans-Line of Actual Control tensions and led to demands in India for the postponement of the visit of our Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid to Beijing to make preparations for Li’s visit. The stand-off also revived the distrust of China in Indian strategic circles.

5. The two countries managed to avert an embarrassing postponement of the visits by agreeing on the restoration of the status quo ante. The Chinese troops then vacated the Indian territory into which they had intruded.

6. Two questions remain unclear. Firstly, why did the Chinese troops intrude into this area even at the risk of their intrusion casting a shadow on the first visit of their new Prime Minister to India? Secondly, was there an Indian quid pro quo for the Chinese withdrawal? Sections of the Indian media had reported that India had  agreed to remove some temporary infrastructure like bunkers for sheltering patrolling Indian troops from its territory. If media accounts of the quid pro quo are correct, it could ultimately turn out to be to the detriment of our sovereignty claims in that area.

7.While the Ministry of Defence of the Government of India has been a little more forthcoming on the Indian right to build defensive and logistics infrastructure in our territory, the Ministry of External Affairs has been evasive.

8.Ever since Xi Jinping took over as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in November last year, he has been talking of the need for a border settlement “ as early as possible.” The previous leaderships used to talk of the need for time and patience in reaching a border accord and for not allowing this to come in the way of the development of the bilateral relations in the economic and other fields. India had been going along with this formulation of the past leaderships.

9. From the various remarks of Xi  on Sino-Indian relations since he took over, it would seem that he wants a time-frame for finding a border accord without allowing the pressure for a time-frame coming in the way of strengthening relations in other fields. The recent intrusion, in this regard, could be interpreted as an attempt by the new leadership to press the need for a solution “ as early as possible” without letting the negotiations drag on endlessly.

10. It would be in India’s interest too to work for a border accord “as early as possible.” At the same time, India should not accept the Chinese formulation that the absence of a border accord should not come in the way of the economic and other relations. This formulation has immensely benefitted China.

11.Much of the delay till now has been due to Beijing dragging its feet on exchanging maps of  the line of actual control, which has to be the first step. During the forthcoming visit of the Chinese Prime Minister, we should make it clear that we too want a border accord “ as early as possible”, but this would depend upon the Chinese taking the first step of exchanging maps of the LAC which have to be the basis of further negotiations.

12. We should also make it clear that relations in the economic and other fields cannot improve without satisfactory progress in the border talks.  (15-5-13)

( 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. Twitter: @SORBONNE75  )




(Medical history. Will be 77 in August next )


27-9-2009—Heavy blood in urine after I returned from evening walk. Only one episode.Underwent cystoscopy in Apollo Main, Chennai. Urologist—Dr. Murali Venkataraman.Biopsy result: “ Bladder biopsies superficial and deep and prostatic chips showing features of a high grade carcinoma. The morphology is suggestive of a prostatic adenocarcinoma. Immunobiochemistry is advised for confirmation.”

Gleeson score test was not done. At the time of bleeding my PSA was around 4 only.

Full body PET CT scan was done on 3-11-09. Its conclusion:

“ Known case of high-grade carcinoma of the prostate.

“ Enlarged prostate with hetrogenous increased metabolic activity predominantly in the left half of the gland and in the intravesical component involving the bladder base. No obvious involvement of seminal vesicles. Metabolically active left obturator and internal illac lymadenopathy--- metastasis.

“Hypermetabolic skeletal metastasis involving the right aia of sacrum and left inferior public ramus.”

Severe urinal bleeding on the night of November 1,2009. Stopped on its own

Dr. Murali Venkataraman and Dr. I Raja, Oncologist of Apollo, Chennai, advised me to undergo total androgen blocade. Was given one Lucrin  depot injection once a quarter from November 18,2009. Took one tablet of Calutide 50 daily.

My PSA level, which was already normal, came down below one.Dr. Venkataraman stopped the Lucrin depot injection from November 18,2011. Felt  after two years of injection, it could make my bones fragile. Continued taking Calutide 50.

My PSA level started going up from Feb 11,2012, ( 1.67) and reached 14.28 on November 27,2012

In November,2012, started feeling weak, legs swollen, pain while walking, gasping.

My haemoglobin level was taken in Apollo Main 5.9.

Ultrasound scan in Bharath Scan showed:

“Bladder diffusely thickened measuring 4.8 mm.

“Presence of multiple polypoidal growths noted within the urinary bladder, largest measuring 78 + 50 mm.

“ Significant postvoid residual urine in the bladder vol 205 ml”

“ Volume of prostate is 17 ml.

“It shows altered echo pattern.

“ Evidence of calcification. “

Admitted in Fortis Malar, Chennai, hospital under care of Dr. Pari, Urologist on Dec 3,2012. Cystoscopy , CT scan and biopsy were done. Cystoscopy  conclusion :

 Bladder tumour.

“Prostate fossa—Normal

“Large tumour from anterior wall of bladder 7 cm extending from bladder neck.”

Biopsy conclusion:

“Papillary urothelial neoplasm---high grade.

“Extent of invasion – Lamina propria

“Lymphatic/vascular invasion---Not detected.

“Histological type---Usual.

“Pattern of growth---Nodular.”

The CT scan in Malar Fortis did not indicate any abnormality in liver.

Overall diagnosis of Dr. Pari:

“ CT whole abdomen showed enhancing bladder growth with dilated and thickened perivesial lymphatic.Large hiatus hernia”

On his recommendation underwent 36 doses of radiation in Apollo Cancer Hospital under care of Dr. Ratna Devi, Radiologist, from January 2,2013 to Feb 23,2013.

On her advice, a PET CT scan of the  abdomen was taken in the Apollo Cancer hospital, Chennai, on April 29,2013. Observations:

“Multiple hypodense lesions are seen in both lobes of liver, largest in segment V measures 3.5 + 4.7 cms. No focal lesion seen. Portal vein is normal. Intra hepatic biliary radicals are not dilated.

“Enlarged retroperitoneal, retro crural and bilateral common iliac nodes noted, largest paraaortic node measures 1.9 + 1.4 cms.Ne mesenteric or peritoneal deposits. No ascites.

“Hypodense lesion noted in right adrenal gland measures 2.0 + 0.8 cms.

“ Prostate measures 3.8 + 2.6 + 4.2 cms.No focal lesions.

“ Bladder wall irregularly thickened. The seminal vesicles are normal. No significant pelvic adenopathy.

“Paraoesophageal hiatus hernia noted.

“Multiple subpleural and parenchymal nodules are seen in visualised lung bases.

“Hypermetabolic hepatic, right adrenal, retroperitoneal and bilateral common iliac nodal and marrow metastases.

“ No other demonstrable, significant metabolically active disease in rest of the abdominal and pelvic regions.’

Side-effects of radiation that still continue 10 weeks after radiation was completed:

(a)      Burning sensation while passing urine. Urispass of no benefit,

(b)      Periodic constipation aggravating a long-standing piles complaint.

(c)      Severe flatulence causing discomfort in lower part of abdomen all the time.

(d). Severe & frequent belching. Sucrafil and Domstahl of no benefit

Dr. Sankar Srinivasan, Oncologist, Apollo Cancer Hospital, has been my consultant since May 9,2013.


B.Raman, 11-5-2013. Will be 77 in August.

Friday, May 10, 2013



 There is a need to restrain euphoric expectations from the positive statements on relations with India coming out of some mainstream Pakistani political leaders such as Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minister and leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML—N).

2.Nawaz Sharif, in particular, has gone out of his way in befriending some of the Indian journalists covering the just-ended Pakistani election campaign and expressing his intention to improve relations with India and hold an enquiry into the Kargil military conflict of 1999, which, according o him, was initiated by Gen.Pervez Musharraf, the then Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), without his (Nawaz’s) knowledge.

3. Such statements have created unwarranted expectations of better India-Pakistan relations in sections of the Indian media.

4.The assessment in media circles in Pakistan is that the PML (N) may emerge as the largest single party in the elections being held on May 11 followed by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) and the united front of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) and  the Awami National Party (ANP), which have been viewed by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as liberal parties and have been the targets of violent attacks by the TTP to disrupt their poll prospects.

5.Whoever comes out on top in the elections, the period after the elections will see competitive attempts to form a new coalition to rule the country. During the period of the coalition formation, foreign policy, except  the policy towards the Afghan Taliban and on opposition to the US war on global terrorism, particularly the use of the Drone strikes by the US against targets in Pakistani territory, is expected to occupy a low priority.

6.Better relations with India will be a minefield. The sensitivities of the Army and the fundamentalist and jihadi organisations may have to be taken into consideration by the mainstream parties doing well in the elections before they take any major initiative for a policy change in a positive direction. They have to go very slow and keep down their enthusiasm. Better relations with India are, therefore, unlikely to be for tomorrow unless the PML (N)  comes out with an absolute majority of its own.

7.India’s immediate policy interest ought to be not in the prospects for a quick improvement in the bilateral relations , but in the prospects for  better internal stability and better internal security in Pakistan with a genuine control over the activities of the TTP, the Lashkar-e-Toiba, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) and other jihadi organisations.

8. India has had a contentious relationship with Pakistan ever since the two countries became independent in 1947.If this contentious relationship continues for some more years, we can live with it provided the new ruling dispensation in Pakistan shows the courage and foresight to take on the fundamentalist and jihadi organisations and defeat them in the interest of the people of Pakistan and at the same time persuade the Army to co-operate with the civilian leadership in this direction.

9. If and when the fundamentalist and jihadi organisations are removed from the scene, the obstacles in the way of better ties with India will get gradually diluted.  (11-5-13)

( 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. Twitter : @SORBONNE75  )

Tuesday, May 7, 2013



The reported accident at an election meeting in Lahore on May 7,2013, at which Imran Khan, the leader of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI),  was injured requiring hospitalisation, has added to the unpredictability of the Pakistani elections being held on May 11.

2.The election campaign has already lost much of its value due to the systematic violent campaign of intimidation and retribution unleashed by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) against the three perceived liberal parties ---namely, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Awami National Party (ANP), which has resulted in about 100 deaths since the campaign began a month ago.

3.The calculated reluctance of the Pakistan Muslim League of Nawaz Sharif ( PML-N) and the PTI of Imran to condemn the violence partly out of intimidation and partly out of selfish electoral motives of gains has made the elections, which should have marked an important landmark in the coming of age of Pakistani democracy after five years of uninterrupted civilian rule, anything but a genuine exercise in democracy.

4.Public disillusionment with the democratic process is bound to increase. The beneficiaries will be the Army and the religious groups enjoying the patronage of the Army and political forces allied with the Army. The elections might take the country further away from whatever little liberal influence the country has and make the fundamentalist and jihadi forces the continued arbiters of Pakistan’s future.

5.In maintaining silence in the face of the Taliban’s violence, the PML (N) and the PTI have been short-sighted in calculating their electoral gains of questionable value and closing their eyes to the damage being inflicted to the cause of democracy.

6.The PTI may still do well despite the injuries to Imran Khan in the vital closing stages of the campaign. The PPP, the MQM and the ANP may retain their following in their traditional areas of support in Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtoonkwa (KP) and the Seraiki areas of Southern Punjab, but the injuries sustained by the democratic process in Pakistan will take a long time to heal. The religious fundamentalist and jihadi forces will continue to hold the country to ransom for many more years to come.

7. Instead of presenting a united front to the fundamentalist and jihadi forces determined to keep the country bleeding till the fundamentalist forces succeed in capturing power, the partisan electoral calculations of the non-fundamentalist forces and their inability to unite against these dark forces will ensure that Pakistan remains on the road to darkness despite five years of seeming civilian democracy. (8-5-13)

( 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. Twitter: @SORBONNE75  )

Monday, May 6, 2013





SITE, an Internet monitoring group, has drawn attention to a new web-based jihadi magazine in English called “Azan”.

2.According to SITE, the magazine is believed to have been started by jihadis in Afghanistan and Pakistan and its first web issue appeared on May 5,2013.

3. The English jihadi magazine, which is apparently meant to cater to English-literate Muslims in South Asia, including Afghanistan, is similar to “Inspire”. the English jihadi magazine of Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula operating from Yemen, which has a readership among the Muslims of South India. Some Muslims arrested by the Bengaluru police last year were alleged by the Police to have been motivated by the articles carried by “Inspire”

4.It is not yet clear who has started “Azan”. One suspect is the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which is the Pakistani Taliban. The other suspect is  Al Qaeda headquarters in the South Waziristan area of Pakistan.

5. An article attacks the Pakistan Army for turning its back on traditional enemy India to fight in the tribal areas. It appeals to young Pakistani soldiers to turn away from the military. “Azan” says it considers the entire Pakistani  state apparatus – from the army to police to intelligence agencies – as the enemy. It also carries an article on the evils of democracy.

6. It appeals to Muslims around the world to come up with technology to hack into or manipulate Drones. It said the Drones were affecting the jihad in the Waziristan area of Pakistan and represented a challenge to the Ummah.

7.It says: “With the death of so many Muslim assets, this is one of the utmost important issues that the Ummah must unite and come up with an answer to. Any opinions, thoughts, ideas and practical implementations to defeat this Drone technology must be communicated to us as early as possible because these would aid the Ummah greatly in its war against the Crusader-Zionist enemy.”

8. The magazine carries extracts from past speeches of the late Osama bin Laden and Mulla Mohammad Omar, the Amir of the Afghan Taliban, and carries articles on the state of the jihad in Syria, Mali and other places. ( 7-5-2013)

( 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. Twitter: @SORBONNE75)













Saturday, May 4, 2013





According to the Xinhua news agency, the Xinjiang authorities have arrested 11 more suspected terrorists in connection with the investigation of a violent incident on April 23,2013, in a town in Kashgar’s Bachu county, 1200 kms south-west of Urumqi, in which 21 persons allegedly  belonging to different communities were killed.

2. Since the clash, 19 arrests have been made by the police from the  Kashgar Prefecture, the Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture of Bayingolin and  Urumqi.

3. The Xinjiang Police have blamed the clash on a new terrorist group headed by one  Qasim Muhammat, which, according to them, was founded in September 2012.

4. The Police have alleged that since  early December 2012, the members of this group used to   gather at the house of one Muhanmetemin Barat,  to undergo training with the help of video clips.

5. The Police further alleged that in March, they fabricated explosive devices and tested them. The clash occurred when the Police and some members of the local community co-operating with the police tried to arrest them.

6. The World Uighur Congress (WUC) based in Munich and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples’ Organisation (UNPO) based in Holland have strongly questioned the police version and called upon the European Parliament to urge an international enquiry into the incident.

7.The Chinese authorities are worried that despite frequent occurrence of violent incidents in different parts of Xinjiang, they have not been able to convince the international community that these incidents are due to terrorism sponsored from outside.

8. In an article contributed to the “Global Times” of the Communist Party of China, an associate research fellow of the Sociology Institute with the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences has stated: “The Bachu incident  reflects the severe social conflicts within Xinjiang. In recent years, Xinjiang has achieved substantial progress in terms of economic development, the social insurance system and people's livelihoods. However, the social conflicts in Xinjiang remain complicated.

“While the policies made by local authorities are mainly to improve the economy, they are still inadequate in fully and timely responding to the political demands of ethnic groups. Social conflicts have been accumulating rather than being resolved.

“The Bachu incident has aroused international attention, and external observers mainly cast doubt on whether this violent attack was really terrorism.

“The nature of terrorist attacks in China is not very different with that in Western countries. They are, cruelly and inhumanely, targeted randomly at innocent civilians.

“What's different is that the terrorist attacks in Western countries can be traced to external input, while those in Xinjiang have shown a tendency to come from inside.

“There have been terrorist activities in Xinjiang, but so far there hasn't been enough evidence to show a concrete terrorist organization exists.

“A terrorist organization needs an explicit political doctrine, leading figures and a set of organizational bodies to raise funds, train its staff, purchase arms and support logistics. Judging from this, there is no terrorist organization in Xinjiang.

“The terrorist activities are committed mainly under the influence of terrorist thought and partly because of dissatisfaction with local governments and the Han people.

“In the long run, violent terrorism is likely to take place in Xinjiang again, and a terrorist organization in the real sense may emerge. But terrorism is preventable and its head can be lowered. It depends on whether we conduct solid work.”

9.The PLA’s concerns over the internal security situation in the peripheral regions inhabited by Tibetans and Uighurs were reflected at a meeting convened by the Central Military Commission at Beijing on May 2,2013, to underline the PLA’s role in the economic development and internal stability of China’s soft Western region.

10.According to Xinhua, addressing the meeting, Xu Qiliang, Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission, said the military should prioritize improving people's livelihoods and addressing issues that affect their most immediate interests, while participating in the development of western regions.

11.He asked the PLA  to make utmost efforts to maintain border security, enhance solidarity between the military, local governments and the public, as well as to uphold ethnic solidarity.

12.Xinhua has quoted him as saying as follows: “The prosperity, development and stability of western regions are of strategic importance to national security and development. The military should  be fully aware that helping develop the west boosts the military's capacity to carry out diversified tasks.”

13. There are no indications that the meeting might have been triggered by the Indo-Chinese stand-off in Eastern Ladakh, but the PLA’s inability to strengthen internal security in the Tibetan and Uighur areas and signs of continuing anti-Han alienation among the Tibetans and Uighurs is a factor that needs to be continuously monitored and assessed by Indian policy makers.( 5-5-2013)

( 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. Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )



Thursday, May 2, 2013



It is more than two weeks now since a platoon of the PLA of China moved about 19 kms into Indian-claimed territory in Eastern Ladakh which, according to India, is on its side of the Line of Actual Control (LOAC) and set up a temporary camp with tents.

2.Media reports suggest that the Chinese action seems to be in retaliation for India strengthening its military-related infrastructure around the Daulat Beg Oldie area within Indian-claimed LOAC.

3. Three flag meetings at the level of local military commanders have not persuaded the Chinese authorities to vacate the Indian territory occupied by them. The Chinese attitude has been deliberately vague and evasive. It is not even clear whether the Chinese are projecting their vacation as a quid pro quo for India suspending its work on its infrastructure.

4. Ever since Rajiv Gandhi as the Prime Minister visited China in 1988 and had a cordial meeting with Deng Xiao-Ping, the two countries have been following a policy of continuing with the border talks while not allowing the lack of progress in it to affect the development of bilateral relations in the political and economic fields. They have also been following a policy of not taking any action that could affect peace and tranquillity across the LOAC.

5. While de jure adhering to the various confidence-building measures agreed to by  the two countries, the Chinese have de facto been trying to change the ground rules in their favour through a series of steps the implications of which were not initially grasped by India.

6. Firstly, they have avoided for over 20 years exchanging maps indicating the LOAC. As a result, they have sought to make where the LOAC lays a matter of conjecture suiting them than settled fact. Secondly, they went back on the understanding reached between our Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh and their former Prime Minister Mr. Wen Jiabao that any border adjustments in the Arunachal Pradesh area  (Eastern sector) should not affect populated areas. Thirdly, they unilaterally introduced a drastically reduced measurement of the length of the disputed border in the Ladakh sector in a disguised attempt to pave the way for inducting Pakistan as an interested party in the Western sector at a suitable opportunity. And now, fourthly, they have unilaterally sought to change the perceived, but not yet marked LOAC thereby preparing the ground for increasing their sovereignty claims in this area.

7.While  subtly changing the ground situation in their favour and to the detriment of India, they have fully benefitted economically from the agreement not to let the border dispute affect the relations in the political and economic fields. China has become India’s biggest trading partner with a huge surplus trade balance in its favour. The Chinese manufacturing industry has benefited immensely from its ability to export its goods to the Indian market. India has emerged as the largest market for Chinese construction companies which have won more construction contracts in India than in any other country of the world. The relaxed Indian attitude to security considerations have enabled Chinese telecom companies, some of them owned by retired PLA officers, which have been facing difficulties in the West, particularly the US, having a free run of the Indian market. Indian IT companies have not benefitted to the extent expected from their presence in China.

8. Thus, China has been the beneficiary of the policy followed till now. The time has come to revisit this policy and make it clear to China that unless and until the border dispute is settled to mutual satisfaction,  the relations in other fields cannot improve.

9. The Prime Minister should immediately convene a meeting of the National Security Council to discuss a new strategy with the following components and initiate action for their implementation:

Firstly, all exchanges of visits between the leaders of the two countries, and planned joint military exercises should be postponed till China vacates its occupation of Indian territory.

Secondly, India should go ahead with the strengthening of its infrastructure in its territory in all the sectors.

Thirdly, no new construction contracts should be awarded to Chinese companies till the border issue is settled.

Fourthly, no replacement visas should be issued in respect of on-going construction contracts.

10. Our Army should strengthen its presence in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh to pre-empt the Chinese surprising us there as they have done in Eastern Ladakh. ( 3-5-13)

( 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 Fror China Studies. Twitter @SORBONNE75)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


                                                                       A CORRECTION

In the above-mentioned article, I had referred to A.P.Verma of the 1959 batch of IPS from UP. A reader has pointed out this should be M.S.Verma of the 1958 batch from MP. I stand corrected with apologies. B.Raman





In an article of December 20,2010, titled “Sino-India border row: China's bid to boost Pak 'presence' in J&K” carried by Rediff.com at http://www.rediff.com/news/column/chinas-bid-to-boost-pak-presence-in-jk/20101220.htm, I had stated as follows:

“China, which had never openly questioned the Indian estimate of the length of the common border before, is now unilaterally seeking to exclude from  consideration during the border talks the dispute between India and China over the Chinese occupation of a large territory in the Ladakh sector of J&K.

“In fact, it is seeking to question India's locus standi to discuss with China the border in the J&K area in view of Pakistan's claims to this area. It is trying to bring in Pakistan as an interested party in so far as the border talks regarding the western sector are concerned.

“It wants to change the format of the border talks in order to keep it confined bilaterally to the eastern and middle sectors and expand it to a trilateral issue involving India, China and Pakistan in the western sector.

“The exclusion of the border in the J&K sector from its estimate of the total length of the border is another indication that it does not recognise India's claims of sovereignty over J&K.

“It is apparent that this is part of a well thought-out policy of unilaterally changing the ground rules of the border talks. It had earlier allegedly changed the ground rules in the eastern sector by going back on a prior understanding with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh  that the border should be demarcated in such a manner as not to affect populated areas.

“It is now going back on its previous stand in the western sector by seeking to challenge India's locus standi in view of its dispute with Pakistan.

“Even at the risk of a further delay in the exercise to solve the border dispute, India should not agree to any change in the ground rules which would restrict the border talks only to the eastern and middle sectors and exclude the western sector on the ground that India has a dispute over this area with Pakistan.”

2. The Chinese manoeuvres to change the ground rules are reflected in the latest situation created by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) ( a platoon of it) in advancing 19 kms inside the hitherto perceived Line of Actual Control (LOAC) in the Dipsang area of Eastern Ladakh on April 15,2013, and staying put there in tents.

3.In the absence of any commonly accepted maps indicating a mutually accepted perception of the LOAC, the understanding as to where the LOAC lies largely depends on the differing individual perceptions of the two countries. While the Indian perceptions remain constant, the Chinese perceptions remain changing depending on its individual interest.

4. The Chinese assertion of claims of territorial sovereignty in the Eastern Ladakh area had in the past remained restricted to a few kms from the LOAC. For the first time now, it has unilaterally changed the perception by 19 kms. Whether the Chinese ultimately withdraw from this area or not, by this intrusion, Beijing is seeking to impose a change in the ground situation that had prevailed since 1962 by unilaterally imposing a new perception of the LOAC which will expand Chinese claims to Indian territory in this area.

5.At the same time, according to media reports that have not been questioned by the Government of India, the PLA is demanding India’s reversal of its reported re-activation of the advanced landing grounds at Daulat Beg Oldie, Fukche and Nyoma and suspension of India’s construction of temporary posts at Chumar and Fukche to provide shelters to patrolling Indian troops.

6.In one stroke, China is seeking to expand considerably the area over which it claims sovereignty and restrict or reduce the area over which India has been claiming sovereignty.

7. Why has China suddenly sought to activate sovereignty issues in this area and to  change unilaterally hitherto accepted perceptions/claims of the LOAC? This area where the PLA has embarked on a policy of activism contrary to China’s proclamations of its interest in finding a peaceful solution to the border dispute and maintaining peace and tranquillity in the border areas has assumed importance for China in view of its proximity to the Karakoram area in the Gilgit-Baltistan area of Pakistan where the Chinese have stepped their construction activities and inducted Chinese protection troops to protect the construction teams with the acceptance of the Government of Pakistan, which has been in illegal occupation of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).

8.If a confrontational situation develops between India and China, India will have two cards at its disposal--- re-activate Tibet, which will be a difficult option or make the Chinese presence in GB prohibitively costly for China just as the US made the Soviet presence in Afghanistan bloody costly for the erstwhile USSR. The second is a doable option.

9. India looks upon POK and GB as an integral part of India. The Chinese presence in that area is a violation of India’s sovereignty claims. India has strategic allies amongst the people of GB who could help it in making the Chinese presence costly. GB can provide India with the option of proxy activism in that area to make the  Chinese pay for their repeated intrusions in the Ladakh area.

10. The Chinese are seeking to pre-empt possible  Indian activism against Chinese presence and interests in the GB area by occupying new territory in Eastern Ladakh and keeping the Indian Army away from the vicinity of the Karakoram area.

11. Whatever be the final outcome of the present stand-off, the Chinese manoeuvres to prevent India from possibly using the GB card against them will continue. We should not lose this card and should not legitimise the Chinese presence in the GB area. We have already lost the Tibet card by accepting Tibet in writing as an integral part of China. We should not lose the GB card by succumbing to the new Chinese pressure in the areas in the proximity of the Karakoram area.

12. This may please be read in continuation of my earlier article on the India-China Border Dispute of April 23,2013, at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/node/1248


( 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. Twitter: @SORBONNE75  )

Saturday, April 27, 2013




In the external intelligence division of the Intelligence Bureau, headed by B.N.Mallick, DIB, and subsequently post-1968 in the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW), headed by R.N.Kao, Leh was a coveted posting for young officers.

2.Both Mallick as the DIB and Kao  as the head of the external intelligence division of the IB and then as the head of the R&AW took a lot of interest in the collection of human and technical intelligence from Tibet through young officers posted in Leh.

3.The IB and the R&AW had set up a chain of Forward Intelligence Posts (FIPs) to collect Tibetan intelligence and these were supervised by an officer of the rank of Assistant Director (Superintendent of Police) based in Leh. The logistic and medical cover for the FIPs and the IB/R&AW offices  in Leh was provided by the Army.

4. We had very close co-operation between the Army and the intelligence set-up. Except in Leh where the staff used to move around by jeep, in the interior areas for the collection of Tibetan intelligence the staff used to travel on mule-back.

5.Leh was considered a very difficult posting health-wise. Only officers medically cleared by the Wellington Hospital for travel or posting to Leh were sent there.

6.N.F Suntook, who was the head of Administration in the R&AW under Kao, was once medically cleared for going there on an inspection tour. He almost died there due to accumulation of water in the lungs and had to be airlifted in the nick of time to the Wellington Hospital.

7.Young officers wanting to specialise in Chinese intelligence opted for their initial posting in Leh. They were the blue-eyed boys of Mallick, Kao and A.K.Dave. Leh, Hong Kong to learn the Chinese language and Beijing---used to be the career path of the Chinese hands in our intelligence community.

8.Among the officers who distinguished themselves in Leh were K.C.Patnayak, a 1954 IPS officer from Orissa, the late R.Swaminathan, a 1954 IPS officer from Andhra Pradesh, N.Narasimhan, a 1957 IPS officer from Karnataka A.S.Syali, a 1958 IPS officer from Madhya Pradesh, and A.P.Verma, a 1959 IPS officer from Uttar Pradesh.

9. Of these,  Narasimhan and Syali subsequently rose to be the chief of the R&AW. Collection of trans-border HUMINT from China entailed a lot of imagination, innovation and risks. Since the borders were not demarcated, one did not know where the Indian territory ended and the Chinese territory began.

10.Indian and Chinese intelligence officers manning FIPs often kept intruding into each other’s territory while moving on mule-back for clandestine meetings with sources and for looking after the welfare of their officers. Life was hell and at the same time an adventure for junior officers manning the FIPs.

11. Indian officers had to take risks to get into Chinese-controlled territory to meet their sources without getting caught. If they got caught, there could have been a serious diplomatic incident.

12. How to take the correct amount of risks without being irresponsible and over-adventurous? That was the question constantly before the young officers posted in the Leh sector.

13. One of the most risk-taking and adventurous was A.P Verma, a lover of horses and mules who won the Tonk Cup for equitation in the Central Police Training College in Mount Abu. His adventurous forays into Chinese territory  on mule-back to meet his sources were legendary.

14. There was a remarkable empathy between him and his mules. They knew where he wanted to go and how to escape capture by the Chinese counter-intelligence. To make his mules gallop faster to escape capture by the Chinese, he used to put a stick into the ears of his mules and excite them. They would get excited and irritated, but always gallop to the nearest Indian army camp.

15. It used to be said in the IB that no young officer had forayed so deep into Chinese-controlled territory as Verma and come back alive. Once he went very deep into Chinese-controlled territory for a clandestine meeting with a source. To his surprise, he found that the Chinese had caught his source and were waiting to trap him.

16. He quickly reversed direction and started galloping towards an Indian Army camp with the Chinese chasing him. It must have been a sight for Gods to see----with Verma and the Chinese  galloping in the direction of Indian territory. The Chinese could not catch up with him. He managed to reach safe sanctuary in the Indian Army camp.

17. He sent a flash wireless message to the IB headquarters explaining what happened. Dave and his other supervisory officers were shocked by what they looked upon as his irresponsible action in intruding so deep into Chinese-controlled territory. They called for his explanation and recommended to Mallick that he should be withdrawn to headquarters and reverted back to UP.

18. Mallick was shocked by their recommendation. He called them to his office and expressed his utter amazement that instead of giving a pat on the back for this young and adventurous officer, they should seek to reprimand him for taking unwise risk and send him back to the state.

19.Mallick sent for Verma, congratulated him and recommended him for a gallantry medal. ( 27-4-13)

( 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. Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )

Friday, April 26, 2013




Two Uighurs working for the Ministry of Public Security in the Hotan area of the Xinjiang province of China are reported to have been killed on April 26,2013, when the local Uighurs in the village of Yengi Awat protested against fellow Uighurs forcibly being used by the Han Police to make a physical search of Uighur women suspected of being separatists.

2. Radio Free Asia, funded by the US State Department, which, inter alia reports on the state of the non-Han minorities in China, has quoted Dilxat Raxit, Sweden-based spokesman for the World Uighur Congress, as stating that the Hotan deaths followed clashes between local Muslim Uighurs and local people hired to "maintain stability" and watch over the neighborhood.

3. He said in an interview to the radio: "We are still trying to establish the actual cause of the clashes, but one issue is that China has recently stepped up security patrols in the Hotan area. They have sent large numbers of uniformed personnel there along the state highway from Kashgar, and you can see Chinese military vehicles everywhere, frequently."

4. Before this fresh incident, the Xinjiang authorities had organised a conference on April 25 to discuss measures for maintaining stability in the region under the chairmanship of  Zhang Chunxian, the Party chief of Xinjiang.

5.In a message read out at the conference, President Xi Jinping called for the early restoration of  stability in the region. Party and State Government speakers  at the conference said that terrorists are enemies of the people of all ethnic groups across the country and should be fought with no mercy. They added that it is also important to learn the right lessons from the latest clash and to boost the powers of community-level officials to maintain stability.

6. The “Global Times” of the Communist Party of China (CPC) reported in its web site that Xi gave instructions on "how to handle the case, deal with the aftermath, and maintain stability in Xinjiang".

7.In a commentary carried on April 26, the “China Daily” said: “ Whoever they are, wherever they are, and with whatever it takes, there has to be decisive moves to wipe out terrorist cells in the country. The violent attacks are another bloody reminder that terrorist threats remain a clear and present danger in the country's north-western region.  Since the 2009 riot in the region's capital, Urumqi, which left 197 dead, the local government has been working hard to deal with the threats from separatist, terrorist and extremist forces. While the overall situation in Xinjiang remains stable, Tuesday's violence tells us the battle against the "three evil forces" is still severe and challenging.  Previous violent incidents in Kashgar have all been traced to three evil forces, and overseas separatists, extremists and terrorists have also been found taking advantage of modern communication technologies, such as the Internet, to instigate unrest in Xinjiang.  There has been evidence of infiltration of terrorist organizations from neighbouring countries, some of which have even been found to have links with al-Qaeda.”

8. The Chinese authorities have accused the US of double standards in dealing with terrorism for calling for an impartial enquiry into the violent incidents in Xinjiang. ( 27-4-13)

( 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. Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


( By courtesy of one of my readers who has sent these excerpts. This may please be read in continuation of my article titled “The Jinx Against Women Spies in R&AW” at http://www.rediff.com/news/report/the-jinx-against-women-spies-in-r-aw/20120822.htm  --B.Raman


Excerpts of Remarks Delivered by Central Intelligence Agency Director John O. Brennan and Dr. Madeleine Albright at the CIA Women’s History Month Celebration

 (March 19, 2013)


March 22, 2013


 D/CIA Brennan: Good morning CIA! I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to say that.  [Laughter] Thank you.


It is wonderful being back here at CIA, and to participate in this event. I also would like to welcome back to the Agency my wife Kathy. She is here with us today and is looking forward to once again participating in Agency activities, as she and I did for 25 years.


 I’m especially happy to be part of a celebration that honors women in the federal service. During my three decades in government—including 25 years here at CIA—I’ve seen firsthand the knowledge, leadership, courage, and dedication that women bring to the table in meeting the most difficult missions, including the intelligence mission.


 Years from now, when enough time has passed so that authoritative histories of the post-9/11 counterterrorism campaign can be written, they will tell the story of how quite a few extraordinary women, here at CIA and elsewhere in the government, made truly decisive contributions to the war effort against al-Qa‘ida and its affiliates.


 And just this year, we said farewell to a CIA legend, Jeanne Vertefeuille. An acknowledged expert on counterintelligence and an East Bloc specialist, Jeanne led the unit that identified Aldrich Ames as a mole.


She joined CIA in 1954 as a GS-4 typist and blazed a trail for women in the Directorate of Operations—the forerunner of the National Clandestine Service—at a time when it was overwhelmingly a male enterprise. She worked her way up to leadership positions and retired as a member of the Senior Intelligence Service in 1992.


 In 1976 … our History Staff says that of the Agency’s 98 key officials at that time, only one was a woman. Some might regard that as ancient history, but it was only four years before I joined CIA. [Laughter]


The situation is considerably different now, of course—you’re laughing because I joined CIA that long ago? Yes, I am part of ancient history! [Laughter]


This situation is considerably different now, of course, thanks in part to leaders … [who] paved the way for the likes of Sue Bromley, Fran Moore, Sue Gordon, Jeanne Tisinger, … and so many other women who are part of the Agency’s leadership team today.


 But, as an organization, we can and must do better, leveraging the talents of women in our workforce.


Nearly a year ago, David Petraeus asked our keynote speaker, the Honorable Madeleine K. Albright, to head up the Director’s Advisory Group on Women in Leadership, also known as the DAG. Her mandate was to examine why more women GS-13 and above were not achieving promotions and positions of greater responsibility at the Agency.


 The DAG published its findings last month.  … I was not here for the launch or completion of the study, but I have spoken to Secretary Albright about the report several times and I fully support and endorse the DAG’s findings and recommendations.


 And I would like to thank Secretary Albright and all the members of her team [names removed] for all their hard work and dedication to this project. And now I’d like to ask all of the DAG members to stand up so that we can give them a richly deserved round of applause. [Applause]


 What Secretary Albright and the other senior advisors, such as Michèle Flournoy, Justin Jackson, John McLaughlin, Mike Mullen, Fran Townsend, and the DAG members came up with isn’t a generic re-telling of where the Agency is, or just another study to put on the shelf. It goes beyond numbers and statistics to address some very important aspects of our Agency’s culture.


 The DAG drew on the opinions of a great many officers … through a survey, focus groups, interviews, meetings with Senior Advisors, and the DAG’s blog. They put a tremendous amount of work into this effort, and the final report reflects it.


 And perhaps the most important point I want to make here is that the recommendations will benefit not just women of our workforce, but the entire workforce. These recommendations are about developing and managing all of our people in a way that optimizes talent.


 And I want all our Agency’s leaders to embrace the standards outlined in the DAG’s report—like providing actionable and timely feedback; being candid with officers about the impact of the choices they make on their career; and seeking creative, flexible workplace strategies that allow us to meet our mission.


 Two of the DAG’s ten recommendations—establishing clear promotion criteria from GS-15 to SIS and expanding the pool of nominees for promotion to SIS—are already in effect. But I must tell you that full implementation of all ten recommendations will take years to accomplish.


 Some of these—like promoting sponsorship—are long-term initiatives intended to change certain aspects of our culture. They’ll require sustained attention—and sustained attention we will give them.


Accordingly, I have directed that the report’s ten recommendations and as much of the report as possible be issued in unclassified form. While most aspects of our intelligence mission need to remain classified, we should be open, honest, and proud of our efforts to ensure that all employees have the opportunity to reach their full professional potential.


 [A senior officer] has been named to lead the implementation of the DAG’s recommendations, and she has my full and sustained support. I look forward to working with her in applying these initiatives across the Agency. If we can get the implementation right, we'll meet our mission even better.


 And, of course, on behalf of all of us at CIA, I want to express my deep gratitude to Secretary Albright for her tremendous leadership and for providing such a great service to our Agency. Her experience and knowledge were invaluable to this project, and we could never have achieved as much as we did without her.


 Secretary Albright was, of course, America’s first woman to serve as Secretary of State, and, at the time, the highest ranking woman in the history of the United States Government. She remains a widely admired and highly respected authority on international affairs, national security policy, and diplomacy, as well as a committed advocate for democracy and human rights worldwide.


 … So please, everyone, join me in giving a warm Agency welcome to one of the Nation’s greatest public servants and a true friend of CIA: The Honorable Madeleine K. Albright. [Applause]


Dr. Albright: Thank you. Thank you very, very much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I am delighted to be here and to welcome the new Director—really a very, very kind introduction.


And I take to heart very much what you have said in terms of the report and your support for it, because leadership comes from the top and you are providing it in so many ways. So thank you—thank you so much.


I am certain that the President made the right choice for our country in nominating you; whether you made the right choice for your mental health in accepting it [Laughter] only time will tell! But you did survive the Senate, which shows your grit and your capability of succeeding. So I wish you the very, very best.


 And this morning, I am delighted to join with you here in observing Women’s History Month.


I say that not because I recognize any distinction between world history and women’s history or, for that matter, men’s. In my view, these are really not separate categories but should be considered part of a complete whole. I feel this very strongly and may even write about it in my next book, so stay tuned.


 Meanwhile, I want to thank each of you for what you and the Agency accomplish on behalf of our country. I know that, in the popular media, the CIA is often portrayed as either evil or angelic, with a large dose of drama and glamour part of every day. But what is almost never emphasized is how much time and labor goes into the routine but vital job of collecting and analyzing information.


 In my earlier life, as UN Ambassador and then Secretary of State, I was known as a consumer of intelligence—and I always had a voracious appetite. Each morning, I read your briefings and special reports, and consulted with CIA experts on everything from the Middle East and Central Asia to what sounds like the world’s worst law firm: Mobutu, Mugabe, Milosevic, Kim Jong-il—and sons.  [Laughter]


 I always wondered why the briefers stayed and watched me read—to see if I was moving my lips.  [Laughter] But I know—was there in order to answer my questions. Along the way, I did ask many questions and I received many helpful—although carefully hedged—answers.


 I left office believing that the CIA is imperfect—as any human organization is—but that, collectively, you still know more about everything than most of us know about anything, and that you make enormous contributions each day to the safety and security of our people.


 In the years since, nothing has happened to change my opinion. So I was intrigued when, last spring, former Director Petraeus invited me to participate in the Director’s Advisory Group on Women in Leadership. And I want to thank everybody that worked so hard on the DAG …. Really, you worked so hard, and we have now become good friends, and thank you for all your work.


 We were joined by several outstanding outside advisers, and—some of whom are here today—and finally, I would also want to thank the … senior Agency leadership, and have been—who have been so supportive in all the work. I think it really was remarkable.


 Our mandate was to examine and recommend changes in the Agency’s personnel practices as they relate to the careers of women. And, to that end, we consulted widely, and I really am so grateful to many of you that participated. The final report does include these recommendations, and I think that they need—there is need for significant reforms in how people are managed.


 Employees deserve to be judged fairly, rewarded equitably, and informed how and on what basis decisions affecting their careers are made. Overall, there is a requirement for better accountability, more transparency, and a greater willingness to adapt to new circumstances.


 I hope that the report will be received in the same spirit with which it is offered, and that its implementation will benefit both the Agency and its vital mission. And so, I really am so encouraged by your remarks, Mr. Director, and—I guess you’ve ordered everybody to call you John? [Laughter] So, [thank you] for everything that you have done and will do.


 So this morning I was also invited here to share with you a bit of my personal history and to offer my insights, any of which might be of interest to you. Time is limited, so I’ll begin with the Twitter version of my biography. [Laughter]


 Like many Americans, I did not begin my life in this country. Instead, I was born in Czechoslovakia only a few months before Hitler’s troops marched into the capital city of Prague.


My father was a diplomat at the time and unwilling to cooperate with the Nazis. And so my parents and I fled to England, which is where we spent World War Two.


I was just eight years old when that conflict ended and we returned to Prague. And because the fighting was over, my parents and I expected to be able to settle in. But within a couple of years, the government of Czechoslovakia was taken over by the Communists. And once again, my family was forced into exile, this time sailing across the Atlantic to a new and welcoming home.


 We soon moved to Colorado, where my father helped to establish a school of international affairs at the University of Denver. And my own highest ambition was to fit in with my classmates and become a bona fide American teenager.


 My parents weren’t a lot of help in the “blending in” department. [Laughter] Mainly because my mother was this delightful nut who actually read palms at dinner parties [Laughter] and would say to men while sitting next to their wives that they were going to meet mysterious women. [Laughter] She also predicted that I would have three sons and I have three daughters. [Laughter]


 Meanwhile, my father also wanted to fit in but he was very, very serious. In Colorado, fitting in meant you went fishing. It’s just that he wore a coat and tie when he fished. [Laughter]


In high school, when I went out on a date, he’d follow along behind in the family car, later inviting the poor boy in for milk and cookies. So I didn’t have a lot of second dates until I went away to college. [Laughter]


 When I did go away it was to Wellesley, a women’s college in Massachusetts. And I had a wonderful time and I received a fine education. But young women of that era were being groomed more for marriage than for anything else.


 We were part of what we called the Silent Generation, but there were also a time and process of transition, and my own feelings were certainly mixed. I hoped to pursue a career that reflected my interest in journalism and world affairs. But I was also in love and planned to get married right after graduation. I waited actually three days. [Laughter]


 Unfortunately, my new husband happened to work for a newspaper in Chicago where I also wanted to work. And I had done the right thing by working on a small paper in Missouri while he was in the Army.


And then we went to have dinner with his managing editor in Chicago, and he said, “So what are you going to do, Honey?”


And I said I’m going to work on a newspaper. And he said, “I don’t think so. You can’t work on the same paper as your husband because of guild regulations.”


And even though there were three other newspapers in Chicago at the time, he said, “Well, you wouldn’t want to compete with your husband.”


So, instead of saying what I might say now—or you might say [Laughter]—I basically saluted and went home. But I really didn’t—was not able to forget about it. But what’s interesting is I recently came across a letter that I had written when I was 24 and out of college for two years, sitting at home with my twin daughters.


 I concluded that I had been naïve to think that I could compete in the job market with men. And any competent interviewer would want to know what I would do if an emergency arose with the babies, or if my husband switched jobs and I had to leave town. I described myself as “a housewife who is dissatisfied with housekeeping and who doesn’t know how to get out of the rut.”


 Over the next decade or two, as my husband and I raised our family, we did move whenever he changed jobs. And I kept busy doing volunteer work, arranging car pools, navigating a double-wide stroller through the streets of Georgetown.


 There were many satisfactions in being a mother, but I eventually decided to return to school and started my PhD work. And I used to get up every morning at 4:30 to write my dissertation. I finally finished—I started when my children were two, I finished when they were in junior high—when my daughter said, “Mom, if you can’t finish your paper, we’re never going to finish ours.” [Laughter]


 When I was—when my children were older, I took a job in Washington with then United States Senator Ed Muskie, and then I later served in the Carter Administration on the National Security Council. And in all that time, I never imagined that I would one day become Secretary of State. And it wasn’t that I lacked ambition. It’s just that I had never seen a Secretary of State in a skirt.


 I’ll never forget what it was like the first day after I was sworn into my job and walked down that mahogany hallway at the State Department where all the portraits of my predecessors were hung. And the only difference among them was those who were clean-shaven and those who had beards.


 And I imagined that my—that when my portrait went up, that the walls would shake a bit. Actually they did. [Laughter]


Obviously, this was a pivotal moment that altered perceptions and changed history. And in fact, given what has happened more recently with secretaries Rice and Clinton, we can now say that John Kerry is a source of inspiration for little boys everywhere. [Laughter, applause]


 And by the way, my youngest granddaughter—when she turned seven, which is about three years ago—she said, “So what’s the big deal about Grandma Maddy being Secretary of State? Only girls are Secretary of State.” [Laughter]


 But looking back on my career, you might detect a lot of juggling, which all people who work—and especially women—have to do.


And as my career progressed, I had my share of setbacks and inner doubts, but I was also stubborn. When criticized by the media, I explained that the reason that I looked fatter was that I had grown a thicker skin. [Laughter]


 I was also determined to succeed and felt after a while that I had truly found my voice and that some people, at least, were listening to it. And that’s why I remain truly grateful to President Clinton, not only for nominating me to two cabinet-level positions, but for backing me on many of the key decisions during our years in office. I was proud to be in his administration and absolutely loved my job.


 To me, a career in public service, especially as a representative of the American people, is all anyone can ever ask for. And in that spirit, I offer my respects to all of you, for what—that you would not be here if you had not earned the trust of our government.


 The challenge, always, is to make the most of the opportunity. And that requires both that you do your job to the best of your ability, and that you stand up for your rights.


And this in turn demands leadership, which has been the subject of countless self-help books—none of which I have read. [Laughter]


Unlike some public speakers—Donald Rumsfeld for one—I never developed a catchy list of leadership rules. I don’t have any favorite motivational slogans or quotations from Napoleon. And I find a lot of standard advice to be self-evident, useless, or worse.


 For example, I have found that telling a person who is chronically indecisive to be confident does little good, and that advising a person to trust her instincts can actually cause harm when addressed to someone who has extremely strong opinions that are usually wrong. [Laughter]


 I do, however, have a few suggestions, which you can take for what they’re worth.


Years ago, I noticed that, in the classes I teach at Georgetown, female students were generally more polite than boys. And then I also remembered myself sitting in meetings and thinking that I might want to say something, and then thinking, no, I won’t say it because people will think it’s stupid.


 And then, two people later, some man says it and everybody thinks it’s brilliant.  And you sit there and you’re so mad at yourself for not having spoken up. And everybody thinks that whatever Bill said had been so smart.


 Now in my classes, the girls tended to sit quietly and raise their hands. And this often meant that the boys were able to dominate the discussion. Ever since then, I have told my female students not to be afraid to interrupt. They don’t raise their hands—my classes are a bit of a zoo. [Laughter]


 But the bottom line is that they learn to speak up. In our era, it’s better to risk being thought rude than to give the impression that you have nothing to say.


A second lesson I learned when serving as America’s ambassador to the United Nations. And that—I have to say here I had given all this advice about not sitting in a meeting and not speaking and telling my students to raise their hands, but I walk into my first meeting at the Security Council—not in that big fancy room, but in that—the room where we have our informal discussions—and I sit there, and there are 14 men looking—sitting there and looking at me—and I’m thinking, well, I think I’ll just wait, and see if they like me [Laughter] and what the mood of the room is.


 And then I looked at the sign in front of me, and it said, “United States.” And I thought if I didn’t speak on that day, then, in fact, the voice of the United States would not be heard. And—I really—it was kind of an out-of-body experience.


 I couldn’t sit around and play it safe. I had to plunge ahead. After a while I got used to it and, before long, nobody could shut me up! [Laughter]


My point is that, in any group, someone has to lead and it might as well be you—when if you—and you have to be prepared to do so.


A third lesson I learned is not to be obsessed by the clock. I was 39 years old before I had my first professional job. I was 55 when I became UN ambassador and four years older than that when I became Secretary of State.


 My friend, Senator Barbara Mikulski, says she worked for a quarter of a century to become an overnight success. [Laughter]


There is no question that we live in a youth-oriented culture. But when it comes to generating results, experience and character count far more than a wrinkle-free face.


My fourth point is not to let anyone else tell you what you can do and where you belong. You may have ambitions that go beyond what others expect. These desires may surprise your friends and inconvenience some who are close to you. But you have to make the choice.


 You have to decide whether to allow others to define the boundaries of your life—or to chart your own course even if you’re not entirely sure where you’re going. No one can make that choice for you—and no path is inherently right or wrong.


 My only advice is to act out of hope, not fear, and to take responsibility for whatever you decide.


Finally, I have one message that I always insist on sharing with professional women, and that is to look around the room at the faces of your colleagues and remember that there is a special place in Hell reserved for women who refuse to help one another. [Laughter, applause]


 None of us—none of us get to where we are on our own. And none of us will get to where we want to go unless we move forward together.


And if you remember nothing else from what I’ve said this morning—remember that.


So thank you very, very much, and thank you all for giving me the opportunity to be a part of your family. I hope I get to stay. Thank you very much. [Applause, standing ovation]