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  --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]





Ten Uighurs, three Hans and two Mongols working for the Ministry of Public Security in Xinjiang and six Uighur separatists were killed on the morning of April 23,2013, in an incident in the Selibya Township in the Bachu county, in the Kashgar area of China’s Xinjiang province. The area of the incident is near Xinjiang’s borders with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

2. The Information Office of the Xinjiang Government has projected the incident as a “severe, violent, terror incident” which has been brought under control. It has projected 15 of those killed as police officers and social workers helping the police in maintaining security.

3. In its announcement, the Information Office has given the following details of the incident: The  incident happened after three community workers  found several suspicious people and knives in a local house. They reported the details to their supervisor but were then restrained by suspected terrorists. When police and community workers arrived, they were ambushed by attackers inside and outside the house. The attackers, who had killed the three community workers who had been held captive, then set fire to the house. By the time police brought the situation under control, 15 people had been killed by the gang. Six gang members were shot dead at the scene, bringing the death toll to 21.

4.The “China Daily” has quoted Mutalif Wubuli, commissioner of Kashgar prefecture, as saying that eight suspects have been arrested. It has also quoted Qi Baowen, commander of the Xinjiang Armed Police, as saying that the consequences of the incident are relatively severe because there are many casualties.

5. Last month, courts in Kashgar had sentenced 19 people for their alleged  involvement in organized terror activities and for spreading extreme religious information via the  Internet and cellphones.

6.In March, the local Ministry of Public Security had started what was described as “Social management in communities” under which Uighurs were recruited as community workers to help the police in the maintenance of security. “It is the foundation of maintaining stability in the region,” Xiong Xuanguo, Secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission of Xinjiang, had said in a media briefing.

7. The incident of April 23,2013, appears to have been in retaliation for the jailing of 19 Uighurs last month and to deter the local Uighurs from co-operating with the police in dealing with separatism.

8. In a commentary on the incident carried on April 25,2013, the “Global Times” of the Communist Party of China said: “The latest clashes show that Xinjiang has a long way to go in its anti-terrorism efforts. But it's worth pointing out that this case will not pose a threat to the overall stability of Xinjiang. The public expects social harmony and prosperity…..Although Xinjiang has experienced several violent clashes in recent years, social confidence in Xinjiang and the confidence of the whole country toward the region have remained stable. The situation in Xinjiang since the July 5 riots in 2009  has improved and no violent cases have impeded that process. As the sources of violence in Xinjiang haven't been eradicated, its occasional occurrence cannot be fully prevented. Xinjiang has learned to manage the situation despite some isolated violent cases. It has been investigating and eradicating the internal and external sources of violent terrorist attacks. We should firmly act against violent terrorists. Terrorists should not be permitted to have the misconception that they are carrying out a "holy war" or simply fighting against the regime. They must be clear that they are making enemies of all the Xinjiang people and the Chinese people.”

9.The Xinjiang authorities have not so far blamed the Pakistan-based Islamic Movement of Eastern Turkestan for the fresh violence. They are apparently worried that as the US-led Western troops thin out from Afghanistan, violence by different separatist groups could increase in Xinjiang adding to internal instability. Hence, their interest in co-operating with India in monitoring the ground situation in Afghanistan.

10.The Chinese face a two-pronged threat to their peripheral security--- from the growing anger of the Tibetans in the Tibetan areas and from the Uighurs in Xinjiang. Their hopes that rapid economic development of these areas will dilute the threat have been belied so far.

11. In view of China’s insensitivity to India’s core interests and major concerns in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, it will not be in India’s interest to co-operate with China in relation to its peripheral security problems. ( 25-4-2013)


( 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)


Monday, April 22, 2013




( To be read in continuation of my article of November 6,2012, titled “Chinese Checkers” carried by “Outlook” in its online edition at )


The continuing (since April 15,2013) Chinese troop intrusion ( about 20 troops) 10 kms into Indian territory near Burthe in the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) area of Eastern Ladakh in the western sector of the Sino-Indian border should be a matter for careful analysis and concern, but not alarm.

2.A spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Office has denied any Chinese intrusion into Indian territory in this area. The Government of India, for the present, has been treating it as one of those intrusions which take place sometimes due to differing perceptions of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in this area and trying to deal with it through the normal mechanism for handling such issues without disturbing peace and tranquillity across the border.

3. There is no evidence to show that this could be a prelude to a major Chinese assertion of territorial sovereignty in this area. The Chinese aim seems to be to re-assert their claim of sovereignty over this area without disturbing peace and tranquillity. The Chinese troops are presently camping in the area in a tent. We will have reasons to be more than concerned only if they stay put there and construct permanent defences as they often do in the uninhabited islands of the South China Sea.

4. Since last year, the Chinese have been a little more assertive of their sovereignty claims over the islands of the South and East China Seas. They have reportedly constructed permanent defensive and administrative structures on some of the islands over which they have disputes with Vietnam and the Philippines.

5. In the East China Sea, where they have sovereignty disputes with Japan, they have avoided any such construction, but stepped up seemingly aggressive air and naval patrols of the areas in the vicinity of these islands. The Chinese Navy has also stepped up its visits to the islands in the South China Sea claimed by Beijing.

6.Till now we have seen greater Chinese activism in the enforcement of their sovereignty claims only in the South and East China seas, but not across the Sino-Indian border. If the Chinese troops stay put in the Burthe area and construct defensive structures in the area, that will be an indicator of their deciding to follow a similar policy of activism across the Sino-Indian border too. That should add to our border concerns. We may have to revisit our peace and tranquillity strategy and think of a more activist policy to face the Chinese activism.

7. In the Western sector of the border, which is largely unpopulated, the status quo favours the Chinese. Since 1962, they are already in occupation of whatever territory they have claimed. We have very few options to re-assert our sovereignty in any area of this sector which is under Chinese control.

8. In the Eastern sector ( Arunachal Pradesh, which the Chinese call Southern Tibet), the area is populated and the status quo favours India. Even though our defensive and administrative infrastructure in the Arunachal Pradesh area is not comparable with the Chinese infrastructure in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), we are in a much stronger position in the Eastern sector than in the Western.

9.While the Chinese continue to repeat from time to time their claims to the Arunachal Pradesh area, they have avoided in the Eastern sector the kind of ground activism that one comes across in the Western sector. There is a noticeable keenness on the part of both China and India to avoid any provocative incident either in the Eastern or Western sector.

10.The Chinese are unlikely to relent in their claims to Indian territory in the Eastern sector till after they have succeeded in imposing on the Tibetans a Dalai Lama chosen by the Communist Party of China (CPC) with the help of the Panchen Lama chosen by the CPC.

11.The wave of self-immolations (115 incidents so far) in the Tibetan areas of China since March 2009 has created concerns in Chinese mind of possible political instability in the Tibetan areas after His Holiness the Dalai Lama when the CPC imposes its nominee on the Tibetans.

12. The older generation of Tibetans continues to abide by His Holiness’ exhortations for peaceful means of protest. The Chinese are worried that the GenNext of Tibetans represented by organisations such as the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) may take to violent means to resist the imposition of a Dalai Lama chosen by the CPC.

13. In their calculation,this may necessitate action by the PLA in the populated areas of Arunachal Pradesh. Till Tibet is pacified without fears of any further trouble and the Chinese have forced the Tibetans to accept their nominee as the Dalai Lama, Beijing would like to maintain its claim to Arunachal Pradesh to justify action by the PLA in that area to contain trouble, if need be.

14. If they now make a deal with India recognising Arunachal Pradesh as an integral part of India, they will not be able to act in that area. By recognising Tibet as an integral part of China we have given up our options for action in Tibet. The Chinese would not want to commit the same mistake by recognising Arunachal Pradesh as an integral part of India.

15. They will, therefore, keep the Arunachal Pradesh issue alive till they have forced the Tibetans to accept their decision regarding succession of His Holiness. We should factor this into our border strategies relating to China. (23-4-13)


( 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. @SORBONNE75  )

Friday, April 19, 2013





Two Chechen brothers living in the US since 2002—Dzhokhar ( 19) and Tamerlan Tsarnaev ( 26),  are suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon on April 15,2013, in which three persons were killed and over 150 injured.

2.The team led by the FBI, which has been investigating the blast, has been able to identify them reportedly through CCTV images of their placing bags, which probably contained the improvised explosive devices (IED), fabricated with a pressure cooker and a metal container, at two places near the finishing line where the explosions occurred.

3. Even though the FBI-led team haS not said so, tip-off from persons knowing the brothers also possibly contributed to the needle of suspicion pointing at the two brothers.

4.Tamerlan died following a shootout with the  police on Thursday ( April 18) night. His  younger brother, Dzhokhar, is still on the run in Boston. However, latest reports indicate that the police are “in engagement” with a person suspected to be Dzhokhar in the Watertown area.

5. From the accounts of the police search for him received so far, Dzhokhar has been making  frantic efforts to evade capture by the police, who must be anxious to catch him alive to question him on what and who motivated him and Tamerlan to commit the bombing, if it is proved that they did it.

5.According to the profile of the Tsarnaev family carried by the BBC and the CNN, they were Chechens who had migrated to Kyrgyzstan and from there to Dagestan. They migrated to the US from Dagestan with Kyrgyz passports in 2002. The father, Anzor Tsarnaev, is since reported to have gone back to Dagestan.

6. According to the BBC, the brothers lived in the Massachusetts town of Cambridge, home of the prestigious Harvard University.  Tamerlan  studied engineering at Bunker Hill Community College just outside Boston but had taken the year off to train as a boxer. Dzhokhar  is enrolled at the University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth to study medicine.

7. Russian news agency RIA Novosti has reported that "extremist material" was on the YouTube account belonging to Tamerlan. "Several albums were posted, one of them titled 'terrorist'," the agency said. However, the BBC says it has been  unable to confirm the presence of extremist material on Tamerlan's YouTube page.

8. Their mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, told Russia's RT television network on April 19: "My youngest was raised from 8 years in America, my oldest he was really properly raised in our house," she said. "Nobody talked about terrorism. Tamerlan got involved in religion five years ago. (He) started following his own religion, never told me he could be on side of jihad."

9. According to some reports, the FBI had interviewed the father sometime ago to enquire why the two sons had started attending a local mosque for prayers. This would show that the two brothers were under watch by the FBI for some time before they carried out the bombing.

10.Details of their life in Boston available so far do not indicate any travels by them either within the US or outside. If they had developed any radical influences, it must have been through the Internet or during their visits to the local mosque for namaz. Particulars of the mosque to which they started going for namaz are not available. Who was the cleric in charge of it? Did he have any radical background? Why was the FBI worried about their going for namaz?

11. Dzhokhar was very proud of his Chechen ethnicity. It has been reported that whenever his friends referred to him as a Russian, he would correct them and say he is a Chechen.

12.If it is established that the two brothers carried out the Marathon bombing, what could have been their motive? They had no reasons to be angry against the US and its civil society. Their anger should have been against Russia.

13.Were they self-motivated to carry out the bombing or was their an external motivation due to US policies towards the Islamic world? It is not anger over the state of affairs in Chechnya and Dagestan, but anger over matters relating to Islam that seem to have motivated them.

14. Was there an Al Qaeda inspiration behind their action? Chechens had always formed an important component of Al Qaeda. Chechen instructors were employed in Al Qaeda’s training camps in the Waziristan area of Pakistan.

15. Under Ayman al-Zawahiri, the present chief of Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda has turned the focus of its operations from the Af-Pak region to Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Mali, Somalia, Libya and Algeria. Did Al Qaeda propaganda against the US policies in Libya and Syria influence the brothers in their actions?

16. There are many questions without answers. To find the answers, it is important for the US authorities to catch Dzhokhar alive. (20-4-13)

( 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)