October 15, 2010
It is learnt that Chinese Air Force planes had re-fueled in Pakistan and Iran last month while on their way to Turkey to participate in a joint air exercise with Turkish Air Force planes. On the way back, they refueled only in Iran. The air exercise preceded the recent visit of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to Turkey.
2.Turkey’s agreement to hold a joint exercise with the People’s Liberation Army (Air Force) is significant for two reasons. Firstly, Turkey agreed to participate in the exercise and to host Wen despite the considerable unhappiness and anger caused among the religious elements of Turkey last year over the suppression of the Uighurs of Xinjiang by the PLA. The Munich-based World Uighur Congress, which Beijing blamed for the Uighur uprising in Xinjiang last year, enjoys considerable support in Turkey. Secondly, the Obama Administration does not appear to have opposed the joint exercise despite the fact that the planes of the Turkish Air Force that participated in the joint exercise had been given by the US.
3. Some details of the exercise have been carried by the “People’s Daily” of China on the basis of Western and Turkish media reports. The salient points are summarized below:
Su-27.jpg (21.39 KB)
Turkish press reports confirmed the unprecedented involvement of PLA ( Air Force) jets in Turkey's annual joint exercises, known as Anatolian Eagle, held over the centre of the country.
Army Lt. Col. Tamara Parker, a Pentagon spokeswoman, confirmed European press reports of the unusual aerial military exercises involving U.S.-made Turkish jets and Chinese Su-27 fighters that engaged in simulated aerial combat. She said: "The Government of Turkey is committed to the NATO Alliance and the continuation of strong ties to the United States, and Turkey assured us they would take the utmost care related to their possession of U.S. and NATO technologies." However, she did not address the issue of whether the Chinese military might have learned sensitive NATO aerial combat information.
Jane's Defense Weekly, quoting Turkish diplomatic sources, stated that the exercises involved less-capable U.S.-made F-4s and Chinese Su-27s, but not the more advanced U.S.-made F-16s.
Ed Timperlake, a former Marine Corps fighter pilot and former Pentagon technology security official, said allowing the Chinese Air Force to exercise with a NATO ally posed security risks. He said: 'The Turkish Air Force helping the PLAAF to see NATO combat tactics and training is a very bad idea. It is deadly serious stuff." He said the exercises and Turkey's warming relations with neighboring Iran should lead the Pentagon to rethink its decision to sell the new F-35 jet to Turkey. Richard Fisher, a specialist on China's military at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, also criticized Turkey's military for conducting aerial exercises with a communist power that posed a threat to U.S. and allied security interests in Asia. "It's not a good thing," he said.Mr. Fisher said Turkey in the late 1990s used Chinese technology to jointly develop short-range B611 missiles.
The Tehran Press TV Online reported that Iran opened its airspace to the Turkish and Chinese jets.
The daily “Hurriyat” ( of Turkey?) reported that Iran indirectly supported a secret military drill between the Turkish and Chinese Air Forces. Four drill-bound Chinese SU-27 warplanes that took off from bases in China refueled in Iran – the first time the Islamic Republic has ever allowed foreign warplanes to refuel at its airbases, the daily said. The Russian-made SU-27s used by the Chinese Air Force had to refuel in both Pakistan and Iran because of their limited 3,500-kilometer range. Official letters were sent to the two countries prior to the exercise requesting the use of airspace and passage and refueling privileges. The warplanes refueled a second time in Iran on their return to China. The exercise was conducted after two years of deliberations, the report said, adding that its sole purpose was to improve mutual cooperation between the two friendly countries. Washington contacted Ankara ahead of the drill to express concerns over the planned use of F-16 warplanes in a military drill involving China – which the U.S. considers a possible threat. "We expect you to honor the agreement article that requires the exercise of caution regarding the transfer of technology to third countries," the memorandum read. American concerns were taken into consideration and F-16 fighters were replaced by older F-4 models in the exercise.
4.The “China Daily” reported on October 15 that a new Strategic Concept expected to be discussed by a NATO summit to be held in Lisbon next month proposes regular consultations with countries like China and India. The paper said: “However, there is slim hope that China will put on its own agenda the cooperation with the NATO, according to Tao Wenzhao, a professor at the Institute of American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "NATO has been eyeing deeper ties with China for some time, because they are looking for substantial help from China to ease things up in Afghanistan, a nine-year-old war that has required the deployment of 150,000 multinational troops," Tao said. But even if Beijing is supportive of anti-terrorism measures, China remains a country firmly committed to non-alliance. Moreover, it is unlikely China would carry out in-depth cooperation with NATO, an outcome of the cold war, said Tao.”
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Se
cretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org )
October 14, 2010
In early 1990s ,at his new year reception in Ankara after exchange of warm greetings , the Turkish Prime Minister said to me ,”Ambassador ,let us now try to normalize relations between our two friendly states , India and Pakistan”. Instinctively I responded ,”Excellency ,Pakistan is not a state but an anti-India profession” .Before completing my sentence I regretted my rather undiplomatic indiscretion ,but the Turkish leader said nothing then or ever referred to it during my many meetings alone or with Indian delegations , during my stay when our relations warmed up further.
Since long Pakistan has been a failing state , having failed to even create a territory based identity .It has been a plaything first of Britain , then of USA and China too .Saudi Arabia with its petrodollars disseminates obscurantist Wahabi ideology around the world , which keeps Muslims backwards and ignorant .It has led to fatal attacks not only on Ahmedias and Kadianis ,even mainline Shias and Mohajirs in Pakistan .So Tehran retaliates by supporting Shias in Pakistan . Unless the Washington -Saud Dynasty-Wahabi Axis is undone , Muslims will remain divided and backward , which suits the three members .US provides guarantee to Saudi Dynasty, which allows a free run to Wahabis in and outside Saudi Arbia , while Washington exploits Arab oil resources for its benefit.
In my many articles I have given background based on British archives that London created a weak Pakistan as an ally south of the then Soviet Russian underbelly to safe guard western oilfields in the Middle East ,which is still the prize the West is fighting for in Iraq, Iran ,Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Gulf , the Caspian Basin and central Asia, since Indian leaders Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru were rightly unlikely to join subservient Western alliances .USA has still not given up India with pensioners of the Washington Consensus outfits key decision makers in New Delhi. Washington would like to use India against China as it used Iraq against Iran .You can see former Indian diplomats to USA, US poodles and trumpeteers ,bribed by scholarships , well paid seminars etc clogging India’s info-challenged corporate media and celebrity and trivia obsessed TV channels .Fortunately we have in experienced diplomat Shankar Menon an able national security adviser unlike the last Intelligence Bureau policeman who could not think beyond Pakistan and guided by handlers in Washington , London and Tel Aviv.
Unfortunately for US, London , after losing premier position as the major world power following the WWII has hung on to Washington for reflected power and glory and crumbs of loot .The unfortunate part has been misguiding Washington ‘s policies .The encouragement and joining by congenital liar Tony Blair , now disgraced British Prime Minister , who egged on a strategically blank slate US President George Bush and joined him in the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq , which has killed over 1.3 million Iraqis .But the US is now caught in a quagmire .The Congress Committee Chairman decorated Marine Murtha stated 4 years ago that US armed forces have broken down in the killing fields of Iraq .Iraq lies destroyed and divided .The fawning corporate medias in US and India make no mention of this genocide and crimes by US led invasion and brutal occupation.
Worse has been British scheming in Afghanistan, which the British think is their specialty since the days of Raj in Hindustan, Pakistan and central Asia with India a victim of collateral damage .Timid Indians donot even protest .Not even a whimper when it is clear that Washington knew in advance about 2611 rape of Mumbai , in which its spy George Headley was a key participant .Who needs enemies with friends like Washington But the chickens are coming home to roost but I doubt if India is prepared for the outflow of lava of violence and mayhem from Pakistan. In history Delhi woke up only when invaders reached Panipat .The so called martial races used as cannon fodder by the colonial British between Peshawar and Panipat never fought except under Sardar Ranjit Singh .After King Porus , the area became porous for invaders .Yes looters and terrorists ,which holds good even now .
Below is a piece by Ramtanu Maitra , a US based expert on strategic developments specially on Asia. This piece appeared in Economic Intelligence Review recently.
Take care Gajendra 15 October, 2010 Mayur Vihar Delhi.
The Serpent Eggs Are Hatched, And London’s Snakes Are Out
By Ramtanu Maitra
Oct. 9—Pakistan is now firmly caught in a vortex of violence. There is no indication whatsoever that the Pakistani authorities have either the capability, or the intent, to get to the root cause of this catastrophic development, to put a stop to the growing violence. What is evident, however, is that Pakistan is becoming increasingly unstable, with large parts virtually ungovernable. If this trend continues, not just India and Afghanistan, but the surrounding region will soon be subjected to the disastrous effects of this instability.
There are many reasons why Pakistan’s instability has reached this state, but most important, is Islamabad’s unwillingness to get out of the colonial mindset, learned from the rulers of the British Raj, and move quickly to integrate the nation. In Pakistan, the ethnic and provincial identities have been kept intact, if not sharpened during the 60-plus years of its existence, and Islamabad has kept vast areas, the bulk of its geographical territory, underdeveloped and virtually untouched. Behind Islamabad’s policy is the old British imperial strategy of maintaining ethnic and sub-ethnic identities, thereby facilitating the rule of a few over the rest.
It appears now that the serpent’s eggs have been hatched, and London’s snakes are spilling all over Pakistan to poison the land. Despite these visible developments, Pakistan’s powers-that-be, the Punjabi-dominated military, and the weak democratic forces, have long since opted for a policy of blaming others, and doing nothing. It is “Hamlet-like” paralysis, where those who have to act have convinced themselves that no action is the best action. The result of this paralysis has become obvious for all to see.
As with the recent floods in Pakistan, which were caused by unusually heavy monsoon rains over a very short period of time, and where the authorities had adopted the self-consoling illusion that such a catastrophe would never occur, in the same way, they believe the violence taking place in Pakistan today is “just the way things are.”
The presence of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan has further facilitated the process of disintegration, and it has now reached a point where even the departure of the foreign troops from Afghanistan, may not bring down the level of violence inside Pakistan. Terrorists, organized by Islamabad in the 1980s and 1990s to “bleed India” in the (disputed) state of Jammu and Kashmir, have not only consolidated their foothold within Pakistan, but have formed strong ties with foreign instigators, such as Britain and Saudi Arabia (see last week’s EIR).
On Sept. 30, a NATO airship crossed into Pakistan’s airspace in the Upper Kurram region near Pakistan’s western borders with Afghanistan and killed three Pakistani soldiers. In protest, Pakistan stopped the huge line of supplies that snakes its way daily from the southern Pakistani port of Karachi through the legendary Khyber Pass, into the Bagram Air Base near Kabul. As a result, this now stationary convoy of trucks has come under attack from the “insurgents.”
At the time of this writing, at least 150 oil tankers have been burnt up. A number of the tankers were snaking their way to the open southern route that enters Afghanistan through the Pakistani border town of Chaman. It is unlikely that anyone, besides a few insiders, would know how much of this supply is taken off by the insurgents on a routine basis. Neither the Americans, who depend heavily on keeping the supply line to feed the war in Afghanistan, nor the Pakistanis, who collect a goodly sum for keeping the supply line “undisturbed,” are inclined to divulge this inside information.
While the “Taliban” and other “insurgents” have been accused of this misdeed, it is anyone’s guess who did the burning and looting. The fact remains that this long convoy, which brings in 70% of the supplies needed by the 150,000 U.S. and NATO troops stationed in Afghanistan, is contracted out to the Pakistanis and Afghans. It is impossible to evaluate how many of these “contractors” are working for the insurgents. It is likely that the supply line has been allowed to function throughout the nine years since 2001, when Afghanistan was invaded by the Americans, because many of these “contractors” were paying a “due share” to the insurgents, strengthening their firepower against the U.S. and NATO troops.
Pakistan’s (or Britain’s?) Frontiers
The area through which the huge convoy brings in supplies for the U.S. and NATO troops, passes through the troubled western frontier areas of Pakistan/Afghanistan, known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, and
Balochistan. While all three areas are in turmoil, the FATA is now a hotbed of Wahhabi-influenced jihadi movements and old tribal rivalries.
It is divided into seven districts, called agencies: Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Orakzai,Kurram, North Waziristan, and South Waziristan. FATA is thinly populated (3 million, in contrast to the total of 170 million in Pakistan) and has a very rough terrain. The FATA and Afghanistan are separated by the non-demarcated Durand Line, literally, a “line in the sand,” drawn arbitrarily by the British Raj in 1893, but never accepted by Kabul.
The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (formerly the North West Frontier Province, NWFP), along with Balochistan, was brought under British control in 1880, after the second Afghan War (1878-80), when parts of its territory was wrested from Afghanistan, bringing the British-controlled territories within 50 miles of Kabul. The administrative system that prevails today in the FATA, is almost identical to that which originated under the British Raj. The FATA is officially under the directive of the Pakistani President, who has empowered the governor of neighboring Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as his representative. The governor, in turn, appoints an “agent” for each agency of the FATA.
These agents are senior administrators in their regions, and are governed by rules established by a British Act of Parliament in 1901. This set of rules is called the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR). The FCR was enforced by the British Raj in the Pushtun-inhabited tribal areas in Northwest British India, as it was called then. The laws were devised especially to counter the fierce opposition of the Pushtuns to British rule; their main objective was to protect the interests of the British Empire. Although, formally, that British Empire is history, Islamabad has done its very best to keep its laws intact in the FATA.
As a result of keeping the FATA undeveloped, as if the British Empire still ruled there, the FATA, during the nine years of war in Afghanistan, went “under the de facto joint control of al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, except for the tribal agency of South Waziristan, which was recently retaken from the Mahsud Taliban network by the Pakistani army,” to quote Farhat Taj of the Jamestown Foundation. The concentration of terrorists within the FATA was helped by the Pakistani military’s ground action in South Waziristan and some other tribal agencies, and the increasingly bloody drone attacks by the U.S. and NATO.
Islamabad’s involvement in these drone attacks, although often denied by the Pakistani authorities, and condemned as a violation of its sovereignty, is now clear. There were many reports that the drone strikes on the FATA are carried out from air bases within Pakistan.
U.S. officials say the strikes are carried out under an informal agreement with Islamabad that allows Pakistani leaders to criticize them in public, but Pakistan denies the existence of any such agreement. This denial of reality, which is allowing the killing of many innocent Pakistanis by foreigners, has hardened the belief of many in the tribal area that Islamabad does not really consider them to be citizens.
Living in Fear in Balochistan
But it is not only the FATA: All areas west of the River Indus are in flames, not only because of the Pakistani support lent to the needless war in Afghanistan, and its direct violent impact on the people living in the border areas, but also the historic neglect of these people.
Take the case of Balochistan: Inhabited mostly by Baloch tribes and some Pushtuns, it has been in flames for years. During the Cold War, Islamabad blamed the Soviet Union for supporting the Baloch communists seeking separation. Now, Pakistan blames India for fanning the flames in Balochistan. Since these accusations cannot be verified, nor can New Delhi’s denials be wholly accepted as truth, the fact remains that Balochistan has been treated by Islamabad since its inception as a colonial part of Islamabad’s newly acquired “empire.”
It is shocking to note that, on at least two occasions, under two different rulers in Islamabad, Balochistan was subjected to air strikes. In fact, Baloch dissidence has always been met with guns by Islamabad. In 1954, Islamabad merged the four provinces of West Pakistan—Balochistan, NWFP, Punjab, and Sindh—into “One Unit.” One Unit was formed without adequate dialogue and, as a result, an anti-One Unit movement emerged in Balochistan. To overcome this opposition, the Pakistani Army was deployed, and the Khan of Kalat was arrested, but not before the Baloch oppositionists to the One Unit had engaged the Pakistani Army in pitched battles.
In 1973, following his visit to Iran, then-Pakistani President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto dismissed the elected provincial government of Balochistan. The pretext was that a cache of 350 Soviet submachine guns and 100,000 rounds of ammunition had supposedly been discovered in the Iraqi attaché’s house, and were destined for Balochistan, according to Ray Fulcher in his Nov. 30, 2006 article, “Balochistan’s History of Insurgency.”
The ensuing protest against the dismissal of the duly elected government brought in another wave of the Pakistani Army—78,000 men, to be precise—supported by Iranian Cobra helicopters. The troops were resisted by some 50,000 Baloch. The conflict took the lives of 3,300 Pakistani troops, 5,300 Baloch, and thousands of civilians. That 1973 invasion created deep divisions between the Baloch people and Islamabad, and made the Baloch vulnerable to London’s machinations.
However, Islamabad’s British colonial-like policy towards Balochistan did not end in 1973. As the Baloch internal security situation deteriorated following the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, Islamabad, under President Pervez Musharraf, became uneasy. Between December 2005 and June 2006, more than 900 Baloch were killed, about 140,000 were displaced, 450 political activists (mainly from the Baloch National Party) disappeared, and 4,000 activists were arrested, some reports indicate.
Killers in Karachi
The convoy that brings supplies to the foreign soldiers in Afghanistan starts its daily journey, from Karachi in Sindh province, which, like India’s Mumbai, is Pakistan’s principal port and main commercial center. And, yet, Islamabad has allowed it to be taken over, not by the local mafia, a phenomenon that keeps Mumbai highly vulnerable, but by groups of killers who were earlier organized by Islamabad for “political” reasons.
The “political” reasons emerged in the late 1970s, when Gen. Zia ul-Haq—the Pakistani military dictator and darling of Washington in its campaign to deliver a defeat to the Soviet Army in the 1980s—having hanged the Sindhi political leader of the mass-based Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in 1979, set about to capture control of Karachi. He created a goon squad, co-opted the opponents of the PPP in Karachi, the Mohajir Qaum Movement (MQM, now known as Muttahida Qaum Movement), armed them, and pitched them against the PPP.
Later, when the Soviets moved into Afghanistan and the Washington-London-Islamabad-organized freedom fighters (mujahideen) took up opium production to “balance their budgets,” hundreds of thousands of Pushtuns moved into Karachi. Drug and crime became their trademark, right under the nose of Islamabad. If they were not encouraged, they were not taken down either. Islamabad saw the benefit of keeping the city divided, in the same way that the British found “strategic” advantage in keeping people divided in order to facilitate their rule.
Now that billions of dollars worth of goods are moving from Karachi to the Khyber Pass and the
Chaman entry point, these killer squads have become very active. There is money in it—a lot of it. As a result, Karachi is fast becoming an inferno. Political personnel, drug-runners, gun-runners—many of these nefarious characters wearing garb of Islamic jihadis—are making hay. It is not difficult to find the British pawprints all over the place. For instance, the leader of the
Zia-created MQM is now leading the party from London, as a British subject, ostensibly under the protection of the British SIS.
Karachi is now also the center of targetted assassination. By early August, the city had the distinction of claiming 300 target assassination victims. By now, the number could be as high as 400. But, that is not taking into consideration the so-called religious killings. This city has more than 14 million people of various Islamic beliefs, and routinely, the Saudi-controlled and Islamabad-tolerated Wahhabis (Sunni extremists) are blowing up Sufi and Shi’a mosques.
A case in point is the tragedy that occurred on Oct. 7, when suicide bombings at the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine killed at least eight people and wounded 65 others at the crowded site. The attack happened at the busiest time of the week, when thousands of people typically visit the site to pray, distribute food to the poor, and toss rose petals on the grave of the saint. The first explosion took place as the suspected bomber was going through a metal detector leading up to the shrine, according to Babar Khattak, the senior police official in Sindh province. The Oct. 7 explosions echoed a twin suicide bombing at a well-known Sufi shrine in the eastern city of Lahore, that left 40 people dead earlier this year.
What followed is typical of many such incidents in Karachi before. The attack was blamed on the Wahhabi goons, and the people took to the street in protest to burn down whatever they could lay their hands on. Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari blamed the attacks on “those who want to impose an extremist mindset and lifestyle upon our country,” but said the government would not be deterred.
What is the problem that Pakistan faces today? It could be summed up in two statements issued recently from London, by the former military dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who has been in self-imposed exile in London since 2008. London, of course, controls most, if not all, of the violence that occurs in Pakistan. Musharraf, in an interview with Der Spiegel on Oct. 6, said that militant groups “were indeed formed. The government turned a blind eye because they wanted India to discuss Kashmir.”
The next day, he described his political detractors as “cowards,” and added, “I would say, failure of governance is the greatest threat today.”
What Musharraf seems to forget, is that he, himself, did next to nothing, during his nine years in power, to integrate the economically deprived and underdeveloped provinces with Punjab, the powerhouse of Pakistan. Nor did he do anything to curb the violence caused by decades of continuation of British policies of divide and rule.
Let noble thoughts come to us from all sides. (Rig Veda)
Dear seekers of Vedic knowledge,
The metaphysics of Socrates and Plato influenced so much the Western social and spiritual thought and brought enlightenment to the West that today “West” describes Plato as philosophy and philosophy as Plato. We in India seem to have forgotten that that source of his writings and philosophy was Vedic metaphysics. Before Plato, Pythagoras went from Samos (Greece) to land of Ganga to learn Geometry. He would not have gone such a long and strange journey had the reputation of Brahmin’s (Vedic) science not been long established in Europe. (Francois. M. Voltaire).
Plato left Athens for about one decade and visited Prasava (Persia), Ariana (Iran) and North West part of the then India-land of Aryans. He seems to have discussed a number of metaphysical concepts with the then Vedic Rsis and Munnies. On his return to Athens, he propagated those thoughts without making any reference to Vedic rsis and munnies. However, the influence of Vedic metaphysics is clearly visible in Plato’s writings/books.
Like the Vedic concept of moderation and Iddm nan mam (enlightened liberalism) Plato mentions in his Laws (174-f) and also in Utopia that in an Ideal state the range of economic disparities should be within 1:16. If the range of disparity increases marginally, the state is less ideal. However, if it increases considerably, the state is either a Democracy or an Oligarchy. The rulers in both tend to be tyrannical, corrupt, and hypocritical.
In his metaphysics, Plato says that the soul of virtuous people becomes lighter and goes toward heaven by moving upward after death and that of the non-virtuous, being heavier, it stays near the earth and is the cause of rebirth. On rebirth, people may be born in one of the nine kinds of families professing different faiths, religions, as well as in the different regions of the earth. Plato thus becomes one of the few ancient Western philosophers who gave a perfect philosophical theory on secularism and universal brotherhood which in the East Vedic rsis and munnies had already conveyed through Vedas.
In an ideal state, which he described as Republic, divine guidance is the maximum and in Tyranny it reaches its minimum and world dissolution (Vedic Pralaya) comes when that divine guidance is totally withdrawn. Like Vedic metaphysics Plato confirms that life in this vast turbulent ocean of matter- the material world is an illusion of comfort (Vedic Maya) and described the gross world as a phenomenal world. Plato held largely similar views like Vedic Rta (Laws of Nature) in his theory of Forms and Ideas. A few other glimpses of Vedic metaphysics can also seen in Plato’s writings relating to divinity in the noble vocations, social classes, education system extending up to 48 years, value system and need based living, absolute nature of right and wrong and many other concepts. Like Vedas he mentioned worst thing about corruption is that it distorts the concept of knowledge. He must have learnt about the ideal philosopher king Janaka of Bhagavad-Gita assisted by Rishi Yajnvalkya and Rsika Gargi and developed the theory of “philosopher kings” for his Republic. His concept of economics and global trade has great resemblance to Vedic economics and global trade.
While Plato propagated the Vedic concept of scientific temper, his disciple Aristotle spread the message of Physical Sciences of matter with unsuspected vitality without referring to Vedas. Later many of these thoughts are found in the metaphysics of Saint Aquinas, Augustine, Immanuel Kant and many others including some scientists like Newton, Einstein etc.
Is it not surprising that seekers of Vedic knowledge can get PhD Degree in Vedas in USA- the bastion of secularism and a few other Western countries but not in secular India? Even the former Acting Chief Justice of Pakistan Supreme Court Mr. Mohd Ramde Khalilee when he met me last year confirmed that he was a seeker of Vedic knowledge as it originated largely in the then N.W India now in Pakistan.
Lately an e-mail has been sent to a large number of people by an American Christian “Mike” who has done PhD in Vedic metaphysics. The e-mail says if the world is to be saved from self destruction follow Vedic eternal spiritual science - Sanatan Dharma. Somewhat similar thoughts earlier the great German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer had expressed about Upanishads about two hundred years ago.
Considering the great importance of Vedic metaphysics for the welfare of mankind and Sanatan Dharma (Vedic eternal religion), after studying the metaphysical (Upanishadic) part of four Vedas, I have written the book “Glimpses of Vedic Metaphysics” as a commoner and for the common people who are seekers of Vedic knowledge. It is not a book on Vedic literature, history or language but contains Vedic guidelines, teachings and thoughts on material, spiritual and divine aspects of human life. The seekers of Vedic knowledge can read and even take print at no cost on website http://www.sabhlokcity.com/metaphysics . Also the book can be accessed through google.com, yahoo.com, lulu.com. Kindly render divine noble service and forward this Website to other seekers of Vedic knowledge and strengthen Vedic eternal religion. Suggestions for any improvement in the book conforming strictly to Vedas are most welcome. Within my limitation of knowledge I do try to update the book periodically.
It is high time we establish a University in India where through Vedic studies students could get post graduate and PhD degrees and they strengthen Vedic Sanatan Dharma (eternal religion) in India and abroad.
With kind regards,
Yours spiritual brother,
President Barack Obama has made another overture of likely strategic significance to China, which could be a new landmark in moves to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries. This step has been taken despite the differences between the US and China on tactical issues such as the continued US sales of arms to Taiwan, US contacts with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, open expression of US concerns over China's naval assertiveness in the South China Sea and the US demand for the release of Liu Xiaobo, who has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
2. The new overture relates to possible Sino-US co-operation in manned spaceflights. An agreement in principle to initiate exploratory talks on this subject had been reached during Obama's visit to China in November,2009. According to the "Global Times" of China (October 15,2010), in pursuance of this agreement, an eight-member team of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) headed by Charles Bolden, its chief who is designated as Administrator,is visiting China from October 16 for talks with their Chinese counterparts. The Chinese are taking the US team on a visit to their space establishments which handle manned flights.
3.According to the "Global Times",some Congressional members including Frank Wolf and John Culberson, both Republicans, have cautioned Bolden that space-exploration cooperation with China has not been approved by the Congress and that bills authorizing NASA research have placed strict limitations on such cooperation with China. In a letter replying to their objection to his proposed visit, Bolden is reported to have stated as follows: "The visit is intended to be introductory in nature and will not include consideration of any specific proposals for human space-flight cooperation or new cooperation in any other areas of NASA's activities.I have also been invited to conduct site visits to Chinese human spaceflight facilities that were not offered to my predecessors."
4. The "Global Times" has quoted Hu Yumin, a senior researcher at the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, as stating as follows:"Although it has been impossible for the two sides to work out any substantive agreements, the visit could pave the way for possible future cooperation.The US, a leader in space technology, possibly conceives cooperation with China as helpful to addressing obstacles in future US space projects.Many scientists in both countries have longed for cooperation between China and the US. Bolden's trip will not only cement bilateral cooperation but also increase trust between the two countries."
5. One has been seeing a trust-distrust syndrome in Sino-US relations since the beginning of this year. The People's Liberation Army (PLA), particularly the new generation of younger officers who are rising to positions of senior leadership in the military hierarchy, continues to show signs of distrust of the US. This is particularly so in the Navy. In other segments of the Chinese strategic community such as the Foreign Office, the various economic ministries and scientific establishments the distrust of the US is not that pronounced. In fact, these non-military elements in the strategic community seem to be keen to keep the present level of co-operation with the US and even increase it. ( 15-10-10)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com )
President Barack Obama will be visiting India in November. During his stay , apart from holding talks with Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh and other Indian leaders, he is expected to address a joint session of the Indian Parliament and possibly visit Mumbai. This would be the sixth visit by a US President to India since it became independent in 1947. The previous visits were of Dwight Eisenhower in 1959, Richard Nixon in 1969, Jimmy Carter in 1978, Bill Clinton in 2000 and George Bush in 2006.
2. Obama’s predecessor George Bush visited Afghanistan, India and Pakistan in March 2006. During his stay in India, there was a terrorist attack in Karachi in which an American diplomat posted in the US Consulate was killed. Despite this, Bush went ahead with his visit to Islamabad. His decision to stick to his itinerary despite the Karachi incident spoke highly of the confidence of the US Secret Service in its ability to protect him.
3. During the visit of Bill Clinton in March 2000, no public announcement was made about a visit to Pakistan. He did visit Islamabad for a few hours from a Gulf country before flying back to Washington DC. On the eve of his arrival in New Delhi (March 20,2000), 15-17 terrorists , dressed in army fatigues, entered the village of Chattisinghpora, located in the Anantnag district, ordered all of the Sikh men and boys to assemble at the village gurudwara, and systematically shot and killed 34 of them. Many others were injured.
4. White House officials have been quoted as saying that Obama does not intend visiting Pakistan, but one should not be surprised if after visiting India, Obama makes a quick visit to Pakistan as Clinton did. Indian security agencies should be alert to the possibility of a mass casualty terrorist strike, possibly in J&K, during his visit to embarrass him and the Indian leaders.
5. The forthcoming visit of Obama to India has not given rise to the same excitement and the same kind of expectations as the visit of Bush had done. Since Obama assumed office in January last year, Indo-US relations have lost some of the élan that they had acquired under Bush. During the presidency of Bush, Indo-US relations were rich in symbolism and protocol as well as in substance. Bush and his Secretary of State, MS.Condoleezza Rice, made no secret of their desire to help India emerge as a big Asian power on par with China.
6.Commenting on the visit of Bush to the three countries the “Dawn” of Karachi wrote as follows on March 11,2006: “THE recent visit of President Bush to Afghanistan, India and Pakistan has brought home the point once again that India is and likely to remain for a long time the centrepiece of the US policy towards South Asia. In contrast, Pakistan, despite its services in the war on terror, seems to have lost its earlier pre-eminent position in US foreign policy calculations. The fact that India is a well-established democracy is a source of great strength to its strategic ties with the US which under President Bush has made the promotion of democracy one of the salient features of its foreign policy. Their joint cooperation in combating nuclear proliferation and terrorism is another link bringing the two countries closer together as is the prospect of mutually beneficial cooperation in the fields of economics, commerce, defence and civil nuclear technology. Above all, it is the prospect of the emergence of India as a major power in the 21st century and as a counterweight to China on its southern periphery that is acting like a magnet in attracting US policymakers towards India. Thus, the growing Indo-US strategic relationship neatly dovetails the strategic objectives of a global hegemon and an aspiring regional hegemon.” The “Dawn” was not wide off the mark in its assessment.
7. Under Bush, Indo-US relations were marked by a breath-taking flow of new ideas on how India and the US can work together. To mention some of them--- Indo-US civilian nuclear co-operation, strategic partnership, joint army, air force and naval exercises, Indian naval escort for US warships moving between the Pacific and the Gulf during the Iraq military conflict, co-operation in counter-terrorism and cyber security, joint humanitarian missions to help the victims of the tsunami of December 2004 in the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, a concert of democracies consisting of India, the US, Japan and Australia and so on.
8. While the Bush Administration was not enthusiastic about any Indian strategic role in Afghanistan and about a Look West Policy by the Indian Navy lest it add to the concerns of Pakistan, fear of adverse reactions from China was not an inhibiting factor in respect of ideas for Indo-US co-operation in areas to the East of India. Bush and his aides did not try to project China as having a legitimate role in South Asia.
9. The enthusiastic ideas of the Bush Administration relating to Indo-US co-operation were a refreshing departure from the hesitant policies of the Clinton Administration which for the first time, much to the unhappiness of India, brought in the idea of a Chinese strategic role in South Asia during Clinton’s visit to China in June-July 1998. Under Obama, the high symbolism and protocol of the Bush administration have remained, but the substance of the relations has been diluted much to the chagrin of India. Indo-US relations are back to the hesitant days of Clinton. Chinese sensitivies are once again a determining factor influencing policy-making towards South Asia in Washington DC. The reference to the role that China could play in South Asia during Obama’s visit to China in November 2009 showed a reversion back to the days of Bill Clinton.
10. The 22 months of the Obama Administration have been marked by a paucity of ideas as to what India and the US can do together. Apart from the Joint Counter-Terrorism Initiative launched by the two countries during the visit of the Indian Prime Minister to the US in November 2009, there has been hardly any new idea which could be called Obama’s own and over which India could feel excited. Even the Joint Counter-Terrorism Initiative has had an indifferent start due to the disappointing experience of Indian officials relating to the interrogation of David Coleman Headley, of the Chicago cell of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET). The pressure exercised by the US on Pakistan to act against Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed, the Amir of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, and to vigorously prosecute the Pakistan-based conspirators of the Mumbai 26/11 terrorist strikes has been half-hearted and has not produced results to the satisfaction of India. All US Administrations, including that of Bush, have been soft towards Pakistan and have avoided acting against it for sponsoring terrorism against India. The Obama Administration has been particularly so. Its priority is to nudge Pakistan to act against Al Qaeda, the Afghan and Pakistani Talibans and the associates of Al Qaeda posing a threat to US nationals and interests in Afghanistan, in the US homeland and elsewhere. Action against Pakistani Punjabi terrorists posing a threat to Indian nationals and interests, whether in India or in Afghanistan, has a lesser priority.
11.Even more than the Bush Administration, the Obama Administration has been sensitive to Pakistani concerns over India’s presence in Afghanistan to assist the Hamid Karzai Government in matters like medicare, improvement of governance and education, road construction etc. In contrast, the Obama Administration has shown very little concern over the Chinese presence and role in Afghanistan. On the contrary, it has been encouraging China to play its due role as an important regional player by assisting the Governments of both Afghanistan and Pakistan in dealing with terrorism. Richard Holbrooke, Obama’s special envoy on Af-Pak policy, was reported to have visited China to urge a more active role by Beijing in strengthening Pakistan’s counter-terrorism capacity.
12. The reported induction of a large number of Chinese troops into the Gilgit-Baltistan area of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) from Xinjiang has hardly elicited any criticism from the Obama Administration. Even Washington’s opposition to Chinese moves to supply two nuclear power stations to Pakistan in disregard of the restrictions of the Nuclear Suppliers Group has been pro forma and half-hearted. Media reports that the Obama Administration might be linking its support for India’s permanent membership of the UN Security Council to forward movement on the Kashmir issue are not encouraging from the point of view of Indo-US relations.
13. The change in the US public stance on the dispute over the South China Sea islands between China and some ASEAN countries has a pointer for India. China has always been contending that it is a bilateral issue in which third parties have no locus standi, The US had not challenged this Chinese stance in the past, but now it has started saying that the US has a locus standi because the territorial dispute affects regional peace and security and freedom of navigation. It has been accepting till now the Indian stance that the Kashmir issue has to be handled bilaterally by India and Pakistan and that third parties have no role in the matter. Pakistani and even some US analysts have been arguing that the settlement of the Kashmir issue should be of legitimate interest to the US because the so-called dispute has implications for regional peace and security. India cannot take for granted continued US silence and neutrality on the Kashmir issue.
14. The Obama Administration has had differences with Beijing over issues such as the sale of US arms to Taiwan, the meeting of Obama with his Holiness the Dalai Lama in the White House and the Chinese naval assertiveness in the South and East China Seas and the extension of the Chinese naval interests to the Indian Ocean region. Despite this, it looks upon China as capable of playing a benign role in South Asia, including Afghanistan. Indian concerns over the increasing Chinese strategic presence in South Asia were understood and appreciated by the Bush Administration, but not by the Obama Administration.
15. Thus, India has every reason to be disappointed with the policies of the Obama Adminstration. Despite this, we should not relent in our efforts to strengthen India’s economic and strategic relations with the US. Indian policy-makers should be realistic enough to realise that there would be limits to US support for India in matters having an impact on our bilateral disputes with China and Pakistan. This is an unpleasant reality to which we must adjust ourselves. Is it possible to develop the strategic partnership despite this unpleasant reality? If so, how to do it? That is a challenge to Indian and US policy-makers.
16.The amazing lead of the US in science and technology is constantly expanding. Neither its Western allies nor the old communist empire headed by the erstwhile USSR nor the newly-emerging powers such as China or India have been able to catch up with the US in this field. Nor will they be ever able to. Neither China nor India will ever be able to make the kind of financial and intellectual investments in S&T that the US has been making. When countries such as China or India seek a strategic partnership with the US, an important motivating factor is the hope of benefiting from the gains made by the US in S&T. Their hopes remain unfulfilled because of the reluctance of the US to share these gains. While there is no limit to the US generosity when it comes to sharing its economic wealth with the rest of the world, it has been the most reluctant to share the advances made by it in S&T. This is one of the reasons for the tardy progress in its strategic partnerships with China or India or other countries. How to break the US inhibitions in sharing at least some of its technologies with India is a question that needs attention.
17.`Of its military power, the USA's naval strength has been the most important component. India is attracted by its naval power. China is overawed by it. India is hoping to emerge as the most important naval power after the US in the Indian Ocean region. It would like to prevent the emergence of China as an important naval power in the same region. Both these objectives would require the benevolent support of the US. There is a greater admiration and goodwill for the US in the Indian Navy than in the Indian Army or Air Force. This is natural and is likely to continue. The Indian Navy needs the US Navy as a helper in capacity-building, as a collaborator in maintaining the freedom of the seas in the Indian Ocean region and as a facilitator in the rise of India as a benign power.
18. Indian policy-makers and public opinion would welcome Indo-US naval co-operation. Similarly, US policy-makers and public opinion would be comfortable with naval co-operation with India, but might not like to get involved with India in its territorial conflicts with China and Pakistan. Navy-Navy ties have to be an important pillar of the Indo-US strategic infrastructure. In working out its policies in this regard, the US faces a dilemma arising from the question: How to help the Indian Navy in maintaining a primacy vis-a-vis China in the Indian Ocean region while ensuring that the newly-acquired strength of the Indian Navy would not be used against Pakistan? This explains the ambivalence in the US policies---- encouraging Indian naval activism in the waters to the East of India, while discouraging it in the waters to the West lest they cause concern to Pakistan. This ambivalence will continue and act as a speed-breaker in the development of Indo-US strategic partnership.
19. In the acquisition of economic power, China is more than a decade ahead of India, which is unlikely to catch up with China in the short and medium terms. The Chinese lead is due to two reasons. Firstly, it opened up its economy 13 years ahead of India in 1978. It realised the importance of the US market and the purchasing power of the US consumers for the growth of its manufacturing sector. China would not have succeeded in developing as rapidly as it did but for its knack of siphoning benefits from the US market. The role of the US market and the US consumers in making possible the Chinese economic miracle has not been adequately realised in India. India is still not paying the required attention to the US market, the US consumers and US businessmen. It thinks it can achieve the same results as China by depending on its own increasingly prosperous consumers. Its hopes are likely to be belied. India's lead over China in the services and the IT sectors will be short-lived. The manufacturing sector needs greater attention and it should be able to compete with China in the US market.
20.The US will ultimately need both China and India to maintain its economic prosperity. For US economic policy-makers, China is a bird in hand. India is only a bird in the bush. How to create a mutual dependence between the US and Indian economies similar to the mutual dependence between the US and Chinese economies? Is it wise to have such dependence at all? These are important questions to be examined by Indian policy-makers and analysts.
21. Indian soft power, which is growing, is not a copy-cat of American soft power. India has sought to learn from the positive points in the US soft power without blindly aping it. The evolution of the Indian soft power owed more to the Indian ethos and culture than to the American influence. China, which has only recently realised the importance of soft power, is seeking to ape the US and other countries of the West. Its admiration for the US soft power is considerable and influences its policy. In determining the present and future directions of the Indo-US strategic partnership, one has been seeing the role of a new component of soft power, which is a common heritage of India and the US----that is, the soft power of the growing Indo-American community in the US. No other immigrant community in the US----not even from Europe or South America----- has played such an important role as the Indo-American community in acting as a catalyst for closer bilateral relations between the US and the country of origin of the immigrants. One saw in the case of the Jewish community in the US the role which a diaspora can play as an element of soft power. One is seeing it now in the case of the diaspora of Indian origin. This soft power can add strength to the Indo-US strategic partnership and should be valued and nourished by the two Governments. ( 14-10-10)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org )
October 12, 2010
More people were killed and more material damage was caused by the quake in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) and some parts of the North-West Frontier Province ( now called Khyber Pakhtunkwa ) in 2005 than by the recent floods, but the fatalities and damages were confined to a small geographic area.Moreover, there was no long-term damage to Pakistan's economy. Gen.Pervez Musharraf, who was then in power, got over the initial bungling in disaster management and ensured that the Army and the civil administration worked together in dealing with the disaster. He did not have to worry much about the impact of the quake on the morale of the army since very few families of serving soldiers were affected.
2.The disaster caused by the recent floods in Pakistan was spread over a large geographic area extending right across Pakistan. It has caused severe damage to Pakistan's agricultural economy. Many of the strategically important and sensitive areas of Pakistan were affected----particularly in Punjab and in Khyber Pakhtunkwa. Those are the areas from which both the Pakistan Army and the so-called Pashtun and Punjabi Talibans make their recruitment.
3. The disaster has affected the Army and the Talibans in different ways. In the Army, the families of many soldiers have been affected. Their land holdings have been rendered unfit for cultivation for some months. The families need all the assistance they could get from the family members to put the land back to cultivation. Difficulties in obtaining leave have created pockets of unhappiness in the lower ranks of the Army. This unhappiness is directed against the senior military and political leadership. Fotunately, desertion rates and instances of unauthorised absence from duty have not gone up. At least, not yet, but they could as the soldiers face increasing pressure from the families to come home on leave to rapair the flood damages to the family land holdings.
4. Gen.Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), who used to be viewed as the soldiers' General has lost some of his shine. His recent stoppage of logistic supplies to the NATO troops in Afghanistan in retaliation for the deaths of two para-military soldiers in a NATO helicopter raid into Pakistani border areas was an attempt to regain his shine as the soldiers’ General. The soldiers, whose families have been affected by the floods, are unhappy with him for two reasons. Firstly, for failing to attend to their problems. Secondly, for failing to force the civil administration to help their families. The Army was active in rescue missions at the height of the floods thereby winning the praise of many civilians, but its role in rehabilitation measures has been very limited. Moreover, the Army is blamed for the inadequacies of the civilian adminstration. "Musharraf would have handled the situation differently", is the comment one often comes across among the lower ranks of the Army.
5. This seeping unhappiness is not only likely to affect its counter-insurgency performance, but it would also add to the sympathy for the Talibans in the lower ranks, thereby possibly sowing the seeds for the Talibanisation of the Army. Osama bin Laden, who has come out with an audio message on the flood situation, has sensed the jihadi opportunities in the country as a whole and in the army in particular as a result of the floods.
6. The impact of the floods on the jihadi organisations has been of a different character. They have stepped up the assistance for putting the rural economy back on its feet----- in the form of seeds and fertilisers and contribution of voluntary labour by their cadres and humanitarian workers to bring the damaged land holdings back under cultivation. They have allowed or even encouraged their trained jihadis to go back to their villages to help their families in coping with the situation. Hence, the drop in recruitment and in the number of terrorist attacks by these organisations since the floods. They are prepared to accept a slowing-down of their jihad in the interest of keeping up the morale of their cadres and winning more support from the rural areas.
7. The political leadership has failed to evaluate the strategic consequences of the floods from the point of view of damage to the rural agricultural economy and the fight against extremism and terrorism. There has been very little co-ordination between the Army and the civilian administration in dealing with the situation. The likely impact of the floods on military morale has not been properly analysed and corrective action has not been taken. The Government of Pakistan and its international backers have been behaving as if all that was needed was more and more money. Financial assistance has been plenty, but this assistance has not addressed the problems of the rural families, which are the mainstay of the Army as well as the Talibans.
8. The result: A situation which could lead to greater instability in Pakistan and provide a more fertile soil than in the past for the spread of jihadi terrorism. An unhappy soldier class could become a new factor in Pakistan's future woes. ( 13-10-10)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com )
1. "All Baloch groups are working on the same plan and it’s to drive out the enemy (Pakistan) from Balochistan. All groups have a common command and they are jointly struggling for the freedom of Balochistan. Our enemy is using misinformation to spread a rumour that many Baloch groups are ready to hold talks with them. It’s propaganda by our enemy – the Punjabis. "
2. "On one hand they (Pakistan army and intelligence agencies) are killing our intellectuals – the lawyers, doctors and students, and on the other side they claim they are inviting Baloch people for talks. Dialogue is impossible till the Pakistan removes its army from Balochistan’s territory. If anybody tries to talk with us in the Punjabi tradition, Baloch people will not tolerate it."
3. "If they (the international community) do not give any attention to Baloch movement now, then after few decades they will realize it was a big mistake. The Balochistan issue is more serious than Kashmir, Afghanistan and even Iraq."
October 10, 2010
Saturday, October 09, 2010 AT 04:31 PM (IST)
There is no role for the international community in resolving Kashmir
Sometimes some people wield an unduly large influence on their nation’s affairs. It gets known much later whether an individual’s politics was good or bad for the country. The recent outburst by Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Kashmir at the United Nations should come as a rude shock to New Delhi.
Qureshi’s remarks were uncalled for and counter-productive when the Indian leadership was going the extra mile to strike a note of cordiality with Pakistan. Qureshi’s statement on Kashmir was more like a self goal when his country’s President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Reza Gilani were keen on accepting the hand of dialogue extended by India.
Qureshi is known to put his foot in the mouth whenever he gets a platform to speak. But his latest ranting on Kashmir has left the atmosphere for future dialogue vitiated. It was Qureshi who derailed the July 2010 dialogue between the two countries when Indian foreign minister S.M. Krishna had gone to Islamabad with great expectations. Unbridled Qureshi vitiated the cordiality by mouthing inane comments about the Indian minister talking on the mobile. Within minutes, Qureshi undid the hard work done by the leadership on both sides of the border to reconnect with each other after the heightened animosity since the Mumbai attack.
His stand on Kashmir at the UN, like his earlier delirious outbursts, has no relationship to facts. The single most important fact in the Kashmir issue is that Pakistan has no role to play in the resolution of some of its problems. India’s stand is that Kashmir is not a part of Pakistan and will never be. No politician or political party can survive in India even for a day if this basic political ethos were not understood and implemented. This must be understood by Qureshi and his mentors at GHQ. Pakistan, therefore, has no locus standi in the issue and no leg to stand in Kashmir. Instead, it would be a better idea for Qureshi and his supporters to figure out what to do with the Kashmir Pakistan has been occupying illegally since 1948.Qureshi’s call to the US, and the international community, to intervene is similarly devoid of any logic. Kashmir is not an international issue like the Taliban-al Qaeda sanctuary Afghanistan-Pakistan is. It is one of the states of the Republic of India and the people, and leadership, of India are quite capable of resolving the problems confronting the people of Kashmir. The call for international community to intervene in Kashmir is highly pernicious. There is no role for the international community in resolving Kashmir. Qureshi’s country might be amenable to foreign governments violating its sovereignty but not India. Kashmir is an integral part of India and any outside involvement in the state will tantamount to violation of Indian sovereignty.
The US or any other western country has no right, moral or legal, to even offer such mediation. The US and its allies have been intervening in sovereign nations for several decades now, creating a spiral of violence and instability. The recent US interference in Afghanistan and Iraq is an apt illustration of what happens when foreign countries intervene in other sovereign nations. Today Iraq is in shambles and Afghanistan remains teetering on the brink of an imminent collapse.
As for the UN intervention, which Qureshi demanded, there is no valid ground. Given the political and economic conditions in Pakistan, the UN should be more concerned about the collapse of a nuclear Islamic country than worry about interfering in Kashmir. Qureshi would do well to look within and should request the UN not only to garner support and funds for the flood hit but the entire country. Pakistan is caught between the deep sea and devil -- the corrupt and inefficient elected government and a high-handed, over-ambitious Pakistan Army. Its survival as a sovereign country has never been so much in doubt. Qureshi and his colleague must really be worried about this state and not about Kashmir.
Seven years ago, Pakistan’s rogue intelligence agency, Inter Services Intelligence, had started a secret mission, “Karachi Project,” to bleed India white through serial urban terrorism strikes with the help of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Harkat-ul Jihad-e-Islami. The existence of Karachi Project may not have come to light ever but for the arrest of the Pakistan-born US citizen David Coleman Headley by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in December 2009. His interrogation by the FBI blew the lid off Karachi Project that is widely believed to be responsible for the killing of over 500 Indians in ten bomb blasts since 2005.Today the tables have turned. The predator has become the prey. Now Pakistan is rapidly falling into the snake pit that it had been digging for India. Ironically, now it is Karachi itself that is being devoured by the demons of terrorism, fundamentalism and sectarian violence.
The Ultimate Weapon is No Weapon:
Please join us at the Stimson Center for a presentation and discussion of Shannon BeeBe and Mary Kaldor's new book, The Ultimate Weapon is No Weapon.
BeeBe and Kaldor collaborate from opposing political perspectives to argue that security is no longer achievable by traditional military strength, even for countries with massive militaries. Countries are less likely to face traditional conflicts with clear-cut nation-state enemies, and as such, Beebe and Kaldor say that the twentieth-century response of force is no longer effective in establishing security around the world.
Instead, the best way to a safer world is through human security. That is, protecting people needs to be an end unto itself. Armies should work together with NGOs, charities, and other organizations that provide vital aid in troubled regions to end violence, actively protect individuals and communities, and preemptively work to prevent the circumstances and conditions that might contribute to conflict in the future.
By examining regional conflicts around the world, Beebe and Kaldor explore the challenges of a new century from a human-security perspective.
Mary Kaldor is professor and director of the Centre for the Study of Global Governance, London School of Economics and Political Science. Her books include: The Baroque Arsenal, The Imaginary War, New and Old Wars, and Global Civil Society. She lives in London, England.
Lieutenant Colonel Shannon D. Beebeserved as the senior Africa analyst at the Pentagon and in Luanda, Angola, where he worked for the United States Embassy.
The Stimson Center
Please RSVP by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or telephone (202-478-2667)
( Abstract: From Wen’s comments at Shenzhen and from his subsequent interview on the CNN, many analysts have jumped to the conclusion that Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao are probably not on the same wavelength as regards the need for political restructuring in China and greater respect for the freedom of speech. But if one reads and analyses carefully the statements and comments made by Hu and Wen since the 17th National Congress of the Party in October 2007, it would be evident that both in their own respective style are reflecting the party line on the need for political restructuring and how to go about it. Both reflect a party consensus that the time has come to undertake changes in the political structure, but such changes should not affect the continuity of the functioning of the State and the Party. The Party will be the innovator and the driving force of the political re-structuring as it was of the economic re-structuring after 1978. The individual freedom of speech advocated by Wen will be freedom in Chinese colours. It will be a freedom to criticize constructively and not freedom to promote destabilizing dissidence. The introduction of the political reforms will be gradual just as the introduction of the economic reforms were. China’s mushrooming community of netizens---the largest in the world---- would make control over the process of political restructuring difficult, but the party leadership seems confident it can manage it. But can it? The answer to that question will determine whether China will remain politically stable or go the way of the USSR and other East European countries despite its economic miracle. Wen’s seeming outspokenness when traveling abroad, as he was in his interview to the CNN, could make conservative Chinese leaders who believe in reticence uncomfortable. But would their discomfort with Wen’s style of articulation create problems for Wen in the party? One has to wait and see )
The debate regarding the need for political re-structuring in China as a follow-up to the economic re-structuring undertaken since 1978 started during the 17th National Congress of the Communist Partry of China held at Beijing in October,2007. The report presented by President Hu Jintao, in his capacity as the Party Secretary, to the Congress contained 60 references to the expression "people's democracy". This expression also figured repeatedly in the subsequent discussion on the report.
2.The 17th National Congress was held 10 months before the Beijing Olympics of August,2008. The party was, therefore, keen to shed the image of China as an authoritarian State and to project its image as a State with a democracy in Chinese colours and not in Western colours. During the Congres, the Chinese Party leaders sought to convey to their own people and to the rest of the world that what one saw in China was not the rule of the few over the many, but the rule of the many through the few. They projected China as a State where decisions were made and power was exercised not in darkness, but in full sunshine.
3.For China's progress and stability in the future, political development was as important as economic and social development. That was what Hu sought to underline in his report. What should be the political characteristics of the Chinese State would be decided by the Chinese people through their party in accordance with their genius and experience. It would not be imposed from outside. The Chinese media quoted Yang Guangbin, Professor of the Renmin University of China. as saying: "With more individual freedom, gradual shaping of unique concept of democracy and solid forming of institutional arrangements, China-style democracy is emerging."
4.In his report, Hu drew attention to the following aspects of democracy in Chinese colours: The supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of the law, avoidance of arbitrariness in decision-making and governance, collective leadership through the party tempered by a division of individual responsibilities, democratic centralism moderated by inner party democracy, decisions based on information and intellectual support to the decision-making process, self-management, self-service, self-education and self-oversight. He emphasised that "power must be exercised in the sunshine to ensure that it is exercised correctly".
5.The key points in his report were:
• Public hearings must be held for the formulation of laws, regulations and policies that bear closely on the interests of the public.
• The most effective and extensive way for the people to be masters of the country was that they directly exercise democratic rights in accordance with the law to manage public affairs and public service programmes at the primary level, practice self-management, self-service, self-education and self-oversight, and exercise democratic oversight over cadres. Such practices must be emphasized and promoted as the groundwork for developing socialist democracy.
• The Party organizations at all levels and all Party members should act under the Constitution and laws on their own initiative and take the lead in upholding the authority of the Constitution and laws.
• The functions of the government must be separated from those of economic enterprises, matters requiring administrative examination and approval must be reduced, procedures must be standardised and Government should not intervene in microeconomic operations.
• Laws and rules of procedure should be improved to ensure that state organs exercise their powers and perform their functions within their statutory jurisdiction and in accordance with legal procedures.
• The need for continuous political re-structuring in order to improve political management.
6.It was stated during the discussion on Hu's report that while China would continue to be a one-party State, the Party should avoid any pretension of a monopoly of wisdom. Non-party intellectuals and technocrats would have an increasing role in policy-formulation and governance. One need not have to be a party member in order to be associated with the Government, but those associated with the Government---whether they were party members or not--- must accept party supervision over their functioning.
7.Liberal democracy has two important features: The right of the people to elect their leaders and to question in open the wisdom of the decisions taken by the Government. The Chinese-style democracy would not have these features. The leaders would be elected by the party cadres in accordance with party procedures. While there would be a widest possible public contribution to decision-making by the leadership, once a decision was made, its wisdom cannot be challenged. The expression of any reservations or dissent should be in the darkness of party corridors and not in open sunshine. However, it was stated that the party had decided to experiment with direct elections of Party chiefs in more than 200 townships in Chongqing, Sichuan and Hubei.
8. The debate on the need for political re-structuring and how to undertake it continued during the session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at Beijing in March 2010. Among the views expressed during the NPC session were: After successfully carrying forward and implementing the policy of economic reforms initiated by Deng Xiaoping in 1978, the time had come to think in terms of initiating a policy of political reforms to give a greater voice to the people and the media in articulating their views on the policies and performance of the Government. At a time when the Internet had registered a spectacular expansion in China and thousands of blogs provided the netizens with an opportunity to express their frank views on the problems confronting the country and the performance of the Communist Party and the Government, it looked absurd to project rubber stamp bodies such as the NPC, as the genuine voice of the people. The time had come for a genuine political restructuring of the country without damaging its political stability.
9.Among those who expressed themselves in favour of political restructuring was Prime Minister Wen Jiabao himself who told the NPC on March 5, 2010, while delivering the annual report on the work of his Government: “China's modernization drive and economic reforms could risk a failure without political restructuring. The Government would create conditions for the people to criticize and supervise the Government, and let news media fully play their oversight role so as to put the authorities under sunlight.”
10.Commenting on his remarks which did not receive outside China the attention they deserved, the Government-owned Xinhua news agency said: “Observers took the remarks as a significant signal for the nation to advance political restructuring.”
11.It quoted Professor Wang Wei of the Politics School of the Chinese Academy of Governance, as commenting as follows on Prime Minister Wen’s remarks: “Wen's statement reflected the Central Government's confidence although the nation faced a complex internal and external environment. If the Government gets carried away by achievements and thinks the system unparalleled, the nation will be thrown into danger, as the nation can hardly sustain its economic prosperity if political restructuring trails."
12.It also quoted Prof. Yu Pei, head of the World History Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, as saying that advancing political restructuring would help China better address its thorny domestic concerns and bring closer the ties between the Government and the people. He added: “’If China wants to seek a bigger role in the global arena, it must grow stronger and have its economic and social problems well addressed first. In his work report to the National People's Congress Wen admitted the Government's work still fell considerably short of public expectations. Wen also admitted that the transformation of Government functions is incomplete and there is too much Government interference in the micro-economy, and public administration and services are relatively weak. Efforts should be made to focus on transforming Government functions, deepening reform of the administrative system and working hard to make the Government devoted to service.”
13.Among the envisaged political reforms mentioned by the Prime Minister were:
• The Government will earnestly deal with serious infringements on public interests related to enterprises' conversion to a stockholding system, land expropriation, housing demolition and resident relocation, environmental protection, labor disputes, and legal and litigation issues.
• It will also improve handling of public complaints.
• It will develop socialist democracy and effectively safeguard the democratic rights of people as "masters of the country."
• China will further expand primary-level democracy and strengthen primary-level self-governing bodies so that people can better participate in the management of local affairs.
• An amendment to the Electoral Law, adopted in 1953, during the session would ensure equal electoral rights between urban and rural residents.
14.The emphasis in Wen’s speech was still on China continuing as a socialist democracy. He ruled out Western-style liberal democracy. There will be greater freedom to criticize Government’s policies and performance, but not political dissidence. The criticisms should seek to improve the party and the Government and not weaken and undermine their primacy. That was the message which he sent across to the people through his statement in the NPC.
15.But in an editorial carried on March 4,2010, the party-owned “Global Times”, which seeks to project itself as more independent and objective than other party and Government-owned media, said: “On the long-winding path toward democracy, muzzled "people's representatives" would undoubtedly take the nation nowhere. China is a conventionally centralized society, where consensus seems so easy to reach, and dissenting opinions are so rare. That explains why the delegates' courage and savvy to speak the truth can play a crucial role in properly addressing the concerns of the vulnerable social groups and laying a solid foundation for a civil society. Caught in the "deep water zone" of reform, China finds itself confronted with many pressing economic, political and social problems. Past achievement can at best serve as a morale booster, though at times they may inspire solutions. While they provide a record for going forward, it is problems that demand attention. Only when the people's representatives can freely express their concerns and frankly moot suggestions can the problems be solved efficiently while social justice is delivered. Given the domestic and international scenarios of the "most complicated year," there is a particularly strong case for the authentic voices of representatives to be heard. Riding the wave of rising expectations, both at home and abroad, China can only go forward when the people's representatives are truthful and outspoken at the people's sessions.”
16. This debate was further taken forward during functions held in Shenzhen in August-September to mark the 30th anniversary of the setting up of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) under the directive of Deng. In a speech delivered by him at Shenzhen on August 21,2010, Wen, according to the Xinhua news agency, made the following points: China has to pursue political reform to safeguard its economic health."Without the safeguarding of political restructuring, China may lose what it has already achieved through economic restructuring and the targets of its modernization drive might not be reached. People's democratic rights and legitimate rights must be guaranteed. People should be mobilized and organized to deal with, in accordance with the law, state, economic, social and cultural affairs." Wen also wanted to "create conditions" to allow the people to criticize and supervise the government as a way to address "the problem of over-concentration of power with ineffective supervision."
17. In an analysis, D.S.Rajan, Director, Chennai Centre For China Studies, has underlined that the remarks of Wen identified the following "Four Musts":
(i)both economic reforms and political system reforms must be promoted as without the latter, economic reforms will come to nothing and the modernization drive cannot be achieved,
(ii) political system reforms must protect the democratic and legal rights of the people including in respect of managing the affairs of the State,
(iii) the problem of over concentration of and unchecked power must be resolved at systemic levels and
(iv) a fair and just society, judicial impartiality in particular, must be built.
18.According to Rajan, also notable has been the Premier’s warning on the occasion that “staying put and regressing will not only doom the achievements of 30-year old reforms and open door policy, but will also eventually lead to a road of perdition and suffocate the vitality of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.” Do Wen’s remarks imply a veiled criticism of those in China who, in his view, are wavering on speeding up political reforms? There is no firm answer on this count, at this juncture, says Rajan. Please see Rajan’s article of September 24 titled“ “China: Democracy With Chinese Characteristics” at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers41%5Cpaper4059.html
19. Ming Xia, Professor of politics at the City University of New York, commented as follows: “Wen appears to be following in the footsteps of late reformist leader Deng Xiaoping, who used Shenzhen as a launchpad for economic reforms. Wen Jiabao probably wants to continue to use Shenzhen as a testing ground. In fact, Wen is continuing a train of thought that began with Deng Xiaoping, who always said that economic reforms should come first, and then political reforms should follow. He is using the power of Deng's words as a means of warding off the pressure being put on him by the new left and conservative forces [in the Party]."
20. In an article published on August 23, the “Global Times” commented on Wen’s speech as follows: “Wen's remarks about political reform came 30 years after the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping first raised the issue during an important speech on August 18, 1980, which was regarded as "the programmatic document for China's political restructuring.". After three decades of reform and opening-up, China is expected to overtake Japan to become the world's second largest economy this year, but the country is facing mounting pressure during its social transition including frequent attacks on vulnerable groups, aggravating pollution, serious corruption, inequality of distribution and a widening income gap. Mounting social unrests in recent years have proved costly. In 2009, the government earmarked 514 billion yuan ($76 billion) to maintain stability, much more than the 480 billion yuan for national defense.”
21. The article added:”Zhang Liangui, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, noted that the root cause of growing social conflict is the slow pace of political reform that seriously lags behind unprecedented economic reform. The consequence is problematic social development along with serious bureaucracy that hinders productivity. To prevent corruption, the authorities have adopted various new regulations in recent years such as introducing a property declaration system and monitoring of "naked officials" or those whose spouses and children moved overseas. However, they're not enough to address the growing conflicts, which pose challenges to social stability, Zhang said.”
22. It further said: “Du Daozheng, former director of the State Press and Publication Administration, said little progress was made in the past three decades and concerns about political risks and competing interests were to blame. Du argued that political restructuring wouldn't bring chaos to China because most Chinese support the current reform and opening-up policy and they expect a steady life and a government that is honest, transparent, efficient and which represents their views. He suggested that political reform should begin with pilot projects in some regions and the first step should be to create an open opinion environment inside the Party and across the country. Mao Shoulong, a professor of administrative management at Renmin University, said that we will "cross the river by touching each stone" during political reform, just like economic reform in the past 30 years, and it should be carried out under the framework of the current political system, which is dominated by the CPC. Democracy would probably be promoted at the grassroots level, especially with the election of lower-ranking officials, Mao added.”
23. The message from the article was clear: Yes, China must embark on political reforms, but they should be carried out under the leadership of the Communist Party. The measures undertaken should reform the functioning of the Government and the Party without weakening them.
24.In his speech at Shenzhen on September 6, Hu Jintao avoided the use of expressions such as political re-structuring etc. Hu’s emphasis was on Shenzhen as a trigger for the Chinese economic miracle. He said: "The Shenzhen Special Economic Zone (SEZ) created a miracle in the world's history of industrialization, urbanization and modernization, and has contributed significantly to China's opening up and reform. The central government will, as always, support the brave exploration of the special economic zone as well as its role of testing and carrying out reforms ahead of others." Hu urged the SEZs to be bold in reform and innovation in their roles as the "first movers". But Hu’s speech was not devoid of references to the political system as made out by some analysts. He said that the SEZs could experiment with reforms in economic, political, cultural and social systems.Hu called for "expanding socialist democracy" and speeding up the construction of "a socialist country under the rule of law." He said efforts should be made to carry out democratic elections, decision-making, management and supervision in order to safeguard the people's right to know, to participate, to express and to supervise.
25. In September, Wen was in New York to attend the UN General Assembly session. He was interviewed by Fareed Zakaria for CNN's Global Public Square programme. Zakaria asked him about freedom in China: "Can you be as strong and creative a nation with so many restrictions on freedom of expression, with the internet being censored?" Wen replied: "I believe freedom of speech is indispensable, for any country, a country in the course of development and a country that has become strong. Freedom of speech has been incorporated into the Chinese constitution. I often say that we should not only let people have the freedom of speech, we more importantly must create conditions to let them criticise the work of the government. It is only when there is the supervision and critical oversight from the people that the government will be in a position to do an even better job, and employees of government departments will be the true public servants of the people."
26. From Wen’s comments at Shenzhen and from his subsequent interview on the CNN, many analysts have jumped to the conclusion that Hu and Wen are probably not on the same wavelength as regards the need for political restructuring in China and greater respect for the freedom of speech. But if one reads and analyses carefully the statements and comments made by Hu and Wen since the 17th National Congress of the Party in October 2007, it would be evident that both in their own respective style are reflecting the party line on the need for political restructuring and how to go about it. Both reflect a party consensus that the time has come to undertake changes in the political structure, but such changes should not affect the continuity of the functioning of the State and the Party. The Party will be the innovator and the driving force of the political re-structuring as it was of the economic re-structuring after 1978. The individual freedom of speech advocated by Wen will be freedom in Chinese colours. It will be a freedom to criticize constructively and not freedom to promote destabilizing dissidence. The introduction of the political reforms will be gradual just as the introduction of the economic reforms were. China’s mushrooming community of netizens---the largest in the world---- would make control over the process of political restructuring difficult, but the party leadership seems confident it can manage it. But can it? The answer to that question will determine whether China will remain politically stable or go the way of the USSR and other East European countries despite its economic miracle.
27.In conclusion, it must be underlined that Wen’s seeming outspokenness when traveling abroad, as he was in his interview to the CNN, could make conservative Chinese leaders who believe in reticence uncomfortable. But would their discomfort with Wen’s style of articulation create problems for Wen in the party? One has to wait and see.(10-10-10)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com )