Monday, November 30, 2009

Its time Mr. President

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's main opposition party Sunday demanded the president give up the sweeping powers he inherited from his predecessor, setting the stage for political turmoil just as the Obama administration wants the country to focus on fighting the Taliban.

President Asif Ali Zardari's grip on power is increasingly under threat from opposition lawmakers and elements within the powerful military who want him to resign or divest powers to the prime minister and take on a ceremonial role. Opinion polls show him to be desperately unpopular 15 months into a five-year term.

His presidency suffered another blow Saturday when an amnesty protecting him, several key allies and thousands of other officials from graft prosecution expired. While he enjoys immunity from prosecution as president, opponents could now go to the Supreme Court to challenge his eligibility for office.

Adding to a sense of a government under siege, Taliban militants have unleashed a surge of suicide bombings in recent weeks in response to an army offensive into one of their strongholds close to the Afghan border, killing hundreds of people.

The nuclear-armed country's Western backers had hoped Zardari and the civilian government he leads would usher in political stability after the chaos that marked the end of the nine-year tenure of his predecessor, military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Zardari took the presidency months after his wife, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, was killed in a suicide bombing at the end of 2007.

A major factor in his unpopularity are the many presidential powers he took from Musharraf, who staged a 1999 military coup and resigned last year amid nationwide protests. Among the most important are the authority to fire an elected government and appoint top military chiefs.

On Friday, Zardari transferred another Musharraf-era power — the command of the country's nuclear arsenal — to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. The move, which had no impact on nuclear security, was seen as an attempt to allay some of his critics within the military by giving up some authority.

Shahbaz Sharif, the brother of main opposition leader Nawaz Sharif and chief minister of Pakistan's largest province, Punjab, said Zardari should act to now to transfer the other powers to the prime minister, noting that the president had already promised to do so.

"The nation would appreciate this act," Sharif told reporters Sunday.

Late Sunday, Zardari said he would make an announcement "soon" on changes to the constitution needed to divest those powers, but the statement gave no specifics. He already promised at least twice give up some of his authority to the prime minister since taking office.

He also took a swipe at his critics, saying the democratically elected government "was being subjected to a vicious campaign to tarnish its image by the remnants of dictatorship."

The political upheaval comes as President Barack Obama's administration is expected to announce this week a new strategy for defeating the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan and on Pakistan's northwestern border. To have much hope of success, the U.S needs a stable Pakistani government committed to fighting militants blamed for attacks in both countries.

Pakistan's original constitution envisages a parliamentary style of government in which a popularly elected prime minister is the chief executive and the president is a ceremonial head of state. But Musharraf, who was widely despised when he stood down, accumulated powers to stay in office.

Shabaz Sharif did not repeat a remark by one opposition lawmaker on Saturday calling on Zardari to resign, neither did he call for anti-government street rallies, perhaps wary of pushing the country into chaos and paving the way for more military rule.

Some analysts have said they believe opposition leader Nawaz Sharif — whom opinion polls show to be the most popular politician in the country by far — would prefer to wait for national elections that he is seen likely as winning than join any movement to push Zardari out. Such a drive would likely require the support of the army, which has had uneasy relations with Sharif in the past.

That reluctance could help Zardari complete his term so long as he takes on a ceremonial role, analysts say, especially given that impeaching him looks all but impossible because the party he heads is the largest in parliament.

Zardari, 54, has long been haunted by corruption allegations dating back to governments led by his late wife, Bhutto.

He denies any wrongdoing. He spent several years in prison under previous administrations in connection with the allegations which he says were politically motivated.

Since taking office, the president has found himself locked in a power struggle with the powerful military, which sees defense policy and relations with India and Afghanistan as its responsibility despite being nominally under civilian control.

Military chiefs have objected to his friendly overtures toward India and his acceptance of a multibillion dollar U.S. aid bill that came with conditions they feared imposed controls over the army. Pakistan's president told to give up powers By CHRIS BRUMMITT (AP) – Associated Press writer Asif Shahzad contributed to this report

Obama’s new Grand bargain: More aid & intelligence cooperation & a few threats

Details are leaking out about the President Obama’s new strategy on Afghanistan and new plans for Pakistan. Gone is the Bruce Riedel’s AfPak linkage, at least the acronym is dead semantically. Foreign Policy—a Pro-Republican think tank (formerly known as Plan for a new American Century—PNAC) which reflects Conservative thinking and the Christian right’s point of view. The Foreign Policy article is based on the leaked letter from President Obama to President Zardari delivered to Islamabad by the US National Security Advisor James L. Jones. According to the letter, the US wants Pakistan to go beyond South Waziristan and attack the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan. The Haqqani Network is part and parcel of coalition of forces fighting the US occupation in Afghanistan. According to US analysts many of the Haqqani fighters are imbedded in the rugged region of North Waziristan. In return the US will attack the TTP.

Obama's speech Tuesday night at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., will address primarily the Afghanistan aspects of the strategy. But despite the public and political attention focused on the number of new troops, Pakistan has been the hot core of the months-long strategy review. The long-term consequences of failure there, the review concluded, far outweigh those in Afghanistan.

"We can't succeed without Pakistan," a senior administration official involved in the White House review said. "You have to differentiate between public statements and reality. There is nobody who is under any illusions about this."

This official and others, all of whom spoke about the closely held details of the new strategy on the condition of anonymity, emphasized that without "changing the nature of U.S.-Pakistan relations in a new direction, you're not going to win in Afghanistan," as one put it. "And if you don't win in Afghanistan, then Pakistan will automatically be imperiled, and that will make Afghanistan look like child's play." Washington Post. November 30th, 2009

In return for storming the Anti-US forces out of Pakistan, the US is ready to offer more military and financial aid to Pakistan.

On the Pakistani side, the U.S. and the Pakistani government have worked out a deal that would commit Washington to additional military aid, economic assistance, and intelligence cooperation as part of an expanded effort to combat extremists elements residing in Pakistan, according to the source.

What's not settled is exactly what the Pakistanis would have to do in return for the added support. The two sides are in negotiations over what the source called a "grand bargain" that would involve Obama administration support for any of a number of Pakistani asks in exchange for the Pakistani government actually going after all extremist groups in Pakistan -- including those focused on creating havoc in Afghanistan.

The outlines of this offer were communicated in a letter from Obama to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in a letter delivered personally by Jones. Zardari has yet to formally respond, according to the source.

"Obama is saying to the Pakistanis, if you commit 100 percent we will commit 100 percent," the source explained, adding that the details of exactly what will go on between the Obama administration and the Pakistani government will take weeks or more to iron out.

For that reason and because the White House is extremely aware of Pakistani sensitivities in the wake of the botched rollout of the Kerry-Lugar Pakistani aid bill, Obama is likely to "soft pedal" the Pakistani side of the new strategy during the new strategy announcement, the source said.

Also, the administration is expected to drop the use of the abbreviated term "Af-Pak," which angered many in both countries, while still maintaining the linkage of the U.S. approach to both nations as part of one comprehensive issue.

Top administration officials are already scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill beginning Wednesday.

The White House declined to comment on the details of the strategy as outlined by the diplomatic source. Details leak out ahead of Obama’s big Afghanistan speech, Mon, 11/30/2009 - 11:15am

According to the Washington Post, some of the US carrots will be considered as “Greek Trojan’s bearing gifts”. Pakistanis view “regional cooperation with India” with deep suspicion. If this is the lynchpin of the new US policy, it might as well be Dead on Arrival (DOA).

Proffered U.S. carrots, outlined during Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's October visit to Islamabad, center on a far more comprehensive and long-term bilateral relationship. It would feature enhanced development and trade assistance; improved intelligence collaboration and a more secure and upgraded military equipment pipeline; more public praise and less public criticism of Pakistan; and an initiative to build greater regional cooperation among Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. Washington Post. November 30th, 2009

Some US analysts and policy makers do not know the fact that US pressure on Pakistan doesn’t always produce the desired results (from a US point of view).

Expansion of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship will require overcoming significant public and political mistrust in both countries. Officials said that they recognize the difficulty in delivering on either U.S. promises or threats, and that "our leverage over Pakistan is very limited," the senior administration official said.Washington Post. November 30th, 2009

There were about three decades of massive US-Pakistani collaboration. Neither Ayub Khan, nor Zia Ul Haq or Pervez Musharraf fully met US expectations and all three periods led to “divorce”/”extended separation between the US and Pakistan—all three left with huge Anti-American feelings on the ground, which made it more, not less difficult for the US to deal with the Pakistanis. President Ayub Khan threw out the Americans, and closed down the US air base at Badabar. General Zia Ul Haq took the aid, and built the Pakistani Nuclear bomb. President Pervez Musharraf used US aid but according to the Americans did not fully chase the militants in Pakistan. The latest threats by President Obama may also backfire—with dire consequences for the American policy in Afghanistan.

At the same time, although the administration's goal is to demonstrate a new level and steadfastness of support, short-term U.S. demands may threaten Pakistan's already fragile political stability.

"It's going to be a game of cat-and-mouse with them for a while," another official said, adding that "what we're trying to do is to force them to recalculate" where their advantage lies,… Washington Post. November 30th, 2009

If Pakistan agrees to the “Grand bargain”, it will ask the US to roll back Bharati (aka Indian) presence in Afghanistan, halt support for anti-Pakistan insurgents by CIA/RAW/Mossad, stop criticism of Pakistan in public, a FTA with the US, and the proliferation of Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) in most of Pakistan. These are the basic requirements. Actually the Pakistanis should ask for an real aid package of $100 per annum, wiping off the debt, construction of National Highways from Karachi to Torkham along with speed trains. Pakistan should ask the US to wipe off the $50 Billion debt, build 5000 American sponsored schools, construct 50 new US universities and create 1000 brand new hospitals.  These should be the basic requirements from the Pakistani side

Obama pulls a “Bush” on Afghanistan—More war


President Obama is expected to announce plans to send more troops to Afghanistan.

President Obama is expected to announce plans to send more troops to Afghanistan.


  • Obama expected to lay out strategy for Afghanistan on Tuesday
  • Anti-war Democrats skeptical of sending more troops to the region
  • Reed: Obama must show that troop increase is part of shifting operations to Afghanis
  • Rep. David Obey says proposed tax would create sense of shared sacrifice

(CNN) -- As President Obama prepares to unveil his long-awaited strategy for Afghanistan, key members of his own party warn that he's facing a tough sell.

The president is expected to lay out his plans for the 8-year-old war Tuesday night at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.

Obama's announcement is expected to include a significant boost in troop levels. The Pentagon is making plans to send about 34,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan in anticipation of Obama's decision, a defense official said.

Democrats say Obama must strike a difficult balance, convincing the public that sending more troops is the right thing to do in order to get out of Afghanistan as soon as possible.

"I think he has to make a speech that shows that all of our efforts are pointed to our reduced presence in Afghanistan, but I think he has to also indicate again and again how critical this is to our national security," Democratic Sen. Jack Reed, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a West Point graduate, told CNN's "State of the Union."

Reed said he will support the president as long as he explains how adding more troops would allow the United States to eventually shift operations to the Afghan people.

Obama will explain Tuesday why the United States is in Afghanistan, its interests there and his decision-making process, but "the president does not see this as an open-ended engagement," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

Video: Afghanistan war tax?


Republican strategist and CNN contributor Ed Rollins said Obama will have to address some key questions from within his own party.

"There has to be real clarity. Why are we there? How long are we going to be there? And equally as important, what is the mission and how is the mission different now than it was two years ago or four years ago?" Rollins said.

"Democrats have to be convinced. The president's party is certainly very divided on this issue. I think he'll have the Republican support he needs, but at the end of day, if this is not a bipartisan effort, long-term, they won't get the resources and the funding to make it work," he said.

The president ordered more than 20,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in March. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, reportedly has called for up to 40,000 more to wage a counterinsurgency campaign against the Taliban, the Islamic militia originally ousted by U.S. military action in 2001.

About 68,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan, along with about 45,000 from the NATO alliance.

Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Donna Brazile said Obama needs to explain what has changed since he first laid out his strategy for the region.

"I think the president needs to update us on what has occurred since March that requires to send more troops, more civilians, and how will this be different than, say, what it was two years ago or even in the near future?

"So I think this is a very important speech to not just convince the left but to convince the country that this is an important use of our resources," she said.

The cost of the war has been a sticking point for Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cautioned last week, "There is serious unrest in our caucus about, 'Can we afford this war?' "

Prominent Democrats close to Pelosi, including House Appropriations Chairman David Obey, are proposing to pay for the way with an increase in income taxes for all Americans, except military families. Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin is proposing a similar tax, but only for wealthy Americans.

"My point and our point is simply that, in this war, we have not had any sense of shared sacrifice. The only people being asked to sacrifice are military families," Obey said.

"I'm very dubious about this whole effort in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but if we're going to do it, we shouldn't do it in a way which will destroy every other initiative that we have to rebuild our own economy," he said.

Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, says he has concerns about sending more troops to Afghanistan, given the cost.

"I've got a real problem about expanding this war where the rest of the world is sitting around and saying, isn't it a nice thing that the taxpayers of the United States and the U.S. military are doing the work that the rest of the world should be doing?" he said on ABC's "This Week."

"So what I want to see is some real international cooperation, not just from Europe but from Russia and from China," he said.

Critics of the war have also expressed concerns about the legitimacy of the Afghan government. Afghan President Hamid Karzai won another term in office this month after his opponent for the runoff withdrew.

Sen. Paul Kirk Jr., D-Massachusetts, explained in an opinion piece in The Boston Globe why he opposes a troop increase.

"Without a legitimate and credible Afghan partner, that counterinsurgency strategy is fundamentally flawed. The current Afghan government is neither legitimate nor credible," he said.

"We should not send a single additional dollar in aid or add a single American serviceman or woman to the 68,000 already courageously deployed in Afghanistan until we see a meaningful move by the Karzai regime to root out its corruption," he added.

Obama, he said, has "inherited no good options, but a more focused strategy with no additional troops stands out as preferable to all the others."

Americans are divided over the best way forward in Afghanistan, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released last week.

Half of the people questioned said they would support a decision by Obama to send an additional 34,000 troops to Afghanistan, while 49 percent were opposed.

The survey indicates that 52 percent oppose the war, compared with the 45 percent who support it. Obama's Afghan plans met with skepticism from Dems

November 30, 2009 11:34 a.m. EST

Islamphobic vote in Switzerland shocks world: Decision against UN charter

Swiss Sharply Criticized After Vote to Ban New Minarets

Sebastien Bozon/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

People wait for a tram near a mosque in Zurich on Monday. By NICK CUMMING-BRUCE

Published: November 30, 2009

GENEVA — Switzerland’s political leaders on Monday faced a chorus of criticism at home and abroad over an overwhelming popular vote to ban construction of minarets.

The referendum, which took place Sunday, has propelled the country to the forefront of a European debate on how far countries should go to assimilate Muslim immigrants and Islamic culture.

Government ministers trying to contain the fallout from the vote voiced shock and disappointment with a result that the Swiss establishment newspaper Le Temps called a “brutal sign of hostility” to Muslims that was “inspired by fear, fantasy and ignorance.”

The country’s justice minister, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, said the vote was not a rejection of the Muslim community, religion or culture, but reflected fears among the population.

With support for the ban from 57.5 percent of voters, however, ministers were forced to acknowledge that they had failed to quell popular anxieties about the impact of what right-wing parties have portrayed as “creeping Islamization.”

Ms. Widmer-Schlumpf said that it was “undeniably a reflection of the fears and uncertainties that exist among the population; concerns that Islamic fundamentalist ideas could lead to the establishment of parallel societies.”

Outside Switzerland, criticism was harsh.

“I am a bit shocked by this decision,” the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, said in an interview with RTL radio, calling it “an expression of intolerance.” He added: “I hope the Swiss come back on this decision.”

The Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, whose country holds the rotating E.U. presidency, described the vote as “an expression of quite a bit of prejudice and maybe even fear.”

Muslim communities within Switzerland reacted cautiously, clearly concerned to avoid inflaming tensions. “We were a bit shocked, we hadn’t expected this result,” Abdel Majri, president of the League of Swiss Muslims, said in an interview. “This is another step towards Islamophobia in Switzerland and Europe in general.”

The government and most Swiss political parties had opposed the motion, he noted, attributing the size of the majority in favor of the ban to right-wing playing to popular fears and misconceptions, he said. “We are looking at how we can repair the situation,” he said.

Muslims in Europe expressed concern that there would be less understanding of the ban among non-European Muslims less familiar with European politics and culture. “We are a bit afraid of the rise of extremism on both sides,” said Ayman Ali, secretary general of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe.

Those concerns were born out by the stern reaction from even moderate Muslim leaders in the Middle East. The ban was “not considered just an attack on freedom of beliefs, but also an attempt to insult the feelings of the Muslim community in and outside Switzerland,” Ali Gomaa, an influential Egyptian mufti, was quoted as saying by the Middle East News Agency.

The head of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, representing 57 Muslim countries, expressed disappointment with the vote, which a statement on the its Web site said “stood to be interpreted as xenophobic, prejudiced, discriminative and against the universal human rights values.”

The statement added that “it would tarnish the reputation of the Swiss people as a tolerant and progressive society.”

Swiss newspapers quoted Ms. Widmer-Schlumpf as saying Swiss exports and tourism from the Middle East could suffer as a result of the vote Sunday.

Critics of the ban within Switzerland, meanwhile, started exploring the possibilities for challenging its legality. Ms. Widmer-Schlumpf reportedly said the ban was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Switzerland is a signatory.

UN rep Asma Jahangir warns Swiss over minaret ban

Tuesday, 01 Dec, 2009

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The human rights expert said the ban violated Switzerland’s international obligations and marked ‘clear discrimination.’ Above: Asma Jahangir, UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief and chairperson Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

GENEVA: A UN human rights expert warned on Monday that a Swiss referendum vote banning new minarets restricted religious freedom and violated Switzerland’s international treaty obligations.

‘I therefore urge the Swiss authorities to abide by all its international obligations and to take the necessary measures to fully protect the right to freedom of religion or belief of members of the Muslim community,’ said Asma Jahangir, UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.

‘As also stated by the United Nations Human Rights Committee a month ago, such a ban is contrary to Switzerland’s obligations under international human rights law,’ the statement released by the United Nations added.

In a referendum on Sunday, more than 57 per cent of voters approved a right wing proposal to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland.

The vote had no impact on mosques themselves or religious worship, according to the Swiss government, which had opposed the ban.

However, Jahangir insisted that a ban marked ‘clear discrimination’ against Switzerland’s Muslim community.

‘I have deep concerns at the negative consequences that the outcome of the vote will have on the freedom of religion or belief of members of the Muslim community in Switzerland.’

‘Indeed, a ban on minarets amounts to an undue restriction of the freedom to manifest one’s religion and constitutes a clear discrimination against members of the Muslim community in Switzerland,’ she added.

The 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Switzerland has ratified along with 164 other countries, obliges governments to protect and respect freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

The Swiss Green Party has also said that it was considering an appeal against the ban to the European Court of Human Rights.

The Swiss People’s Party, the country’s biggest political group and the only mainstream force to back the ban, warned Monday that it would rather pull out of international treaties than submit to a UN or European decision.

Although it captured some 28 per cent of the vote in the last general election, the right wing SVP cannot command a parliamentary majority on its own.

Freedom of worship is one of the cornerstones of Switzerland’s founding constitution.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pakistan-Iranian grow: Iran completes pipeline


KARACHI:  Iranian Consul General, Masoud Mohammad Zamani has said Iran has completed major portion of work on Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project and within couple of months the pipeline will at Iran-Pakistan border.

Hopefully, by 2013 Iran gas will be used in Pakistan, Iranian envoy explained during a meeting with members of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry here at KCCI.

He also informed that Iranian Embassy in Islamabad and Consulate in Karachi have been pursuing Pakistan Government and State Bank of Pakistan for setting up a branch of an Iranian Bank here to facilitate growth of Iran-Pakistan bilateral trade and investment in various sectors. He said it was expected that both the countries would have bank branches in each other’s  side.

President KCCI Abdul Majid Haji Muhammad welcomed the efforts for opening of Iran bank branch here and assured that KCCI would also pursue the concerned Pakistani quarters for this purpose. He urged Iranian Consulate to reciprocate by forwarding the agenda of establishing a Pakistani bank branch in Iran. 

Businessmen of both the countries faced problems in opening L/Cs in absence of direct banking facility between the neighbouring countries. This was one of the barriers in promoting bilateral trade which is much below the existing potential.

KCCI leadership and Iranian delegation agreed on exchange of more trade delegations and information about products and investment opportunities available on both sides which includes holding of more trade fairs/ exhibitions.

Iranian Counsel General sought cooperation and assistance from Karachi Chamber in strengthening economic ties between the two countries. We have achieved progress on bilateral trade and investment.  Special counter/window has been set up in Iranian Consulate here for Pakistani businessmen. Iran has already extended facility of multiple visa to Pak businessmen, he added.

He said the Consulate would extend all possible help in holding Pakistan’s Solo Trade Exhibition in Tehran. MoU has been signed and the event would be held soon.

Iran’s Commercial attache here, Ahmed Fasihi  said  that 40-member trade delegation from Pakistan is scheduled to visit  Kermanshah province in next two weeks. Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) is the organiser of this visit.

From Iran, one delegation each from Kurdistan and Khorasan chambers would visit Pakistan early next year.He informed that Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) was discussed in detail in a meeting in Islamabad with Pakistan authorities 3-months back. 339 items have been placed under PTA he said and suggested that more items be included from both sides.

He acknowledged that Pakistan has reduced duties on many products and hoped that this would be done on more items. He was optimistic that PTA would soon be finalised. KCCI President supported  the increase in number of items under PTA.

He pointed out that  a large portion of  bilateral trade was being done through illegal means which is not accounted for. He invited Iranian businessmen to participate in - My Karachi - exhibition, to be  organised by KCCI.

He informed the visiting delegation that KCCI has planned to organise a seminar on PTA to create awareness among the businessmen on available products on both sides and requested  the Iranian Embassy to provide maximum data in this regard.

Vice President KCCI Jawed Ahmed Vohra, Chairman KCCI Committee on Banking and Finance Attique- ur-Rehman, Nadeem Zaffar also participated in the discussion. Iran completes major part of IPI gasline Pakistan Times Business & Commerce Desk

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The pageantry could not hide the rough reality of Indo-US relations

Washington (CNN) -- President Obama toasted a growing U.S. friendship with India at the first state dinner of his administration Tuesday, an evening of regal pageantry and symbolic politics in a tent on the White House South Lawn.

"To the future that beckons all of us," Obama said with glass raised toward his guest of honor, visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. "Let us answer its call. And let our two great nations realize all the triumphs and achievements that await us."

A tradition dating back to 1874, state dinners are the most treasured and formal honor a U.S. president can offer a foreign dignitary, and the most coveted invitation in Washington.

The Tuesday night dinner showed Obama's intention to signal strong ties with the world's largest democracy and go his own way in navigating the pomp and tradition of White House customs.

Traditionally, a new administration's first invitation goes to the leader of neighboring Canada or Mexico, though recent presidents also haven't followed that precedent.

The event planned by first lady Michelle Obama emphasized eco-friendly themes such as White House-grown herbs and lettuce served to guests and sustainably harvested magnolia branches -- from species native to both India and the United States -- in arrangements adorning the tent where more than 300 guests wearing tuxedos and gowns were wined, dined and entertained.

A White House document said common themes of state and official visits are "forging friendships, exchanging knowledge and building bridges that last for years."

In a toast that followed Obama's, Singh praised his host's leadership and prompted applause by citing the charm of the U.S. first lady.

Obama's election was "an inspiration to all those who cherish the values of diversity, democracy and equal opportunity," Singh said, adding that India "warmly applauded" the Nobel Peace Prize awarded Obama this year for "the healing touch you have provided and the power of your idealism and your vision."


Video: Obama hosts power players


Video: Obama makes state dinner toast


Video: Star power at state dinner

Gallery: A look at past state dinners

"We need to find new pathways of international cooperation that respond more effectively to the grave challenges caused by the growing interdependence of nations," Singh said. "As two leading democracies, India and the United States must play a leading role in building a shared destiny for all humankind."

Obama, in a black tuxedo, and the first lady, in a dazzling cream gown with silver accents, greeted Singh and his wife, Gursharan Kaur, as they arrived, shaking hands on the White House steps and posing for pictures before leading their guests inside.

Guests in tuxedos and evening gowns streamed into the White House for the historic social event, passing a line of journalists. In one humorous mishap, the cummerbund of Sen. Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, fell off as he and his wife walked in.

The guest list included political allies, a few opponents, celebrities and members of the Indian diplomatic community.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the list, but not her husband, former President Bill Clinton. Democratic colleagues of the president including other Cabinet ministers, several senators and top aides made the list, including Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts (but not his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and White House Budget Director Peter Orszag.

Ticker: See the list of expected attendees

A couple of Republicans also made it, notably Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Celebrities included Hollywood director Steven Spielberg, actors Alfre Woodard and Blair Underwood, CBS News anchor Katie Couric and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman.

However, one name rumored to be included, but not appearing on the list, was Oprah Winfrey.

The dinner, in a tent set up on the White House South Lawn with a view of the Washington Monument, featured round tables for 10 set in resplendent colors -- apple green, ruby, gold -- with floral arrangements of roses, hydrangeas and sweet peas in plum, purple and fuchsia.

Place settings in fine china from three previous administrations -- Eisenhower, Clinton and George W. Bush -- were flanked by five pieces of silverware and crystal glasses. Place cards were in script -- "The President" and "Mrs. Obama" read two.

A seasonal menu reflecting both American and Indian flavors started with a potato and eggplant salad made with White House-grown arugula and accompanied by an onion seed vinaigrette, according to the White House.

Red lentil soup with fresh cheese followed, and then a choice of entrees -- roasted potato dumplings with tomato chutney, chick peas and okra for vegetarians, or green curry prawns, caramelized salsify and smoked collard greens.

A look at the menu

Potato and eggplant salad
White House arugula with onion seed vinaigrette
2008 Sauvignon blanc Modus Operandi, Napa Valley, California
Red lentil soup with fresh cheese
2006 Riesling, Brooks "Ara"
Wilamette Valley roasted potato dumplings with tomato chutney
Chick peas and okra or green curry prawns with caramelized salsify with smoke collard greens and coconut aged basmati
2007 Grenache Beckman Vineyards, Santa Ynez, California
Pumpkin pie tart
Pear tatin
Whipped cream and caramel sauce
Sparkling Chardonnay, Thibaut Janisson Brut, Monticello, Virginia
Petits fours and coffee
Cashew brittle
Pecan pralines
Passion fruit and vanilla gelees
Chocolate dipped fruit


Dessert was pumpkin pie tart and pear tatin with whipped cream and caramel sauce. Each course was paired with a different wine, all of American vintage.

The herbs and lettuces were harvested from the White House Kitchen Garden started by Michelle Obama, with honey from the White House beehive used to poach the dessert pears.

Entertainment was by jazz vocalist Kurt Elling, Grammy and Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson, the National Symphony Orchestra directed by award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch, Academy Award-winning Indian musician and composer A.R. Rahman, and The President's Own United States Marine Band.

"It's not every day you get to sing at the White House or even get invited to the White House," said Hudson, who said she would dress in a purple and black gown "with the longest train I've ever worn" and sing standards including "The Very Thought of You," "What a Difference a Day Makes" and "Somewhere."

Veterans of state dinners said the planning for such a trend-setting event is meticulous.

"It's stressful, it's very stressful," said Lisa Caputo, a press secretary for Hillary Clinton when she was first lady. "What is the first lady going to wear? What will be served? How are the flower arrangements being done? There's a lot of protocol in terms of the serving line."

Every unit in the White House weighs in on the dinner's guest list, Caputo said, with a lot of thought going into who sits where.

"There's particular protocol in terms of who is seated at the president's table and the prime minister's table," Caputo said. "But don't forget that an enormous amount of thought goes into that with the White House social office and the president and first lady in terms of who will round out the appropriate table, who will get along with who, what will be the dynamics of each table.

"Yes, of course it's social, but, of course, there's business done," Caputo said.

The final list is ultimately decided by the president and the first lady, said Anita McBride, who was chief of staff for first lady Laura Bush.

"Of course, having friends and supporters is really important to share that kind of event, and it's also important for all the other guests that are there and the Indian members of the delegation to meet these people that are a cross-section of America," McBride said.

Amy Zantzinger, who was a social secretary for President George W. Bush, said all state dinners are different, and an administration's first one is a big one.

"First they'll bring the newness -- the newness of the whole day because it's their

NRO-Ehtisab Bureau: Hussain Haqqani had criminal cases quashed, FIR dropped

  • There were cases filed against him by the Ehtisab Bureau of Saif ur Rehman in 1999.
  • Pakistan’s ambassador in the US Husain Haqqani, co-accused in Ms BB case of TV channels
    Mr. Haqqani was out on bail by the Lahore High Court after 79 days in detention.
  • The FIR in one of the case was quashed by the Sindh High Court

Pakistan Ambassador to the United States of America, Hussain Haqqani. – AP File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Ambassador to the United States of America, Hussain Haqqani never applied for any benefit under National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) in any alleged case against him, said his lawyer Sohail Hassan Qaiser senior advocate of Akhtar Awan Law Associates.

Haqqani's lawyer stated that National Accountability Bureau (NAB) created by former President General Musharraf had never initiated any reference against Haqqani.

There however, were some cases filed against him by the Ehtisab Bureau of Saif ur Rehman in 1999.

Explaining the circumstances, Qaiser said that Haqqani had to go under physical torture in illegal custody. Later he was handed over to FIA after three days and in order to camouflage their act, three fabricated cases were filed against him. He was later released on bail by the Lahore High Court after 79 days in detention.

He further informed that FIR in one of the case was quashed by the Sindh High Court whereas the other case was dropped by the investigation agency after failing to find any evidence.

The third case that purportedly is on the list of cases dropped after the issuance of NRO (as reported in the media) had never reached the stage of prosecution during the last ten years as far Haqqani and his lawyers know and therefore there was no question of Haqqani requesting any relief under NRO.

'The investigation agency may have dropped the case on its own volition,' the lawyer added.

Haqqani will approach the competent forum to get his name cleared from a patently false case filed with the express motive of political victimization; the lawyer said and added that it was also under consideration to file cases against all those who were responsible for fabricating false cases against him. Haqqani never sought relief under NRO: lawyer, Friday, 20 Nov, 2009

New rocky road in Indo-US relations

The pageant and the thud of the jilt--that ended the romance: New rocky road in Indo-US relations

All of Bharat had gone all out in receiving the last two American presidents—it was time for the White House to return the favor to the Indians who had been good hosts. The ostentatious pageant in Washington, thrown in honor of Prime Minister of Bharat (aka India) will be known for many things—pomp and ceremony, a good payback to a generous hosts who hosted President Bush and President Clinton, a who’s who parade of known Indophiles in the US, flowery language, plenty of great wine and booze (the Indians have a great liking for Whiskey), great sea food complemented with vegetarian choices. John Travolta the best dancer in Hollywood did not take off with Mrs. Singh (like he did with Princess Diana), and Mr. Singh did not barf of President Obama (like Bush 41 had done on the Japanese Premier).

The guest list included political allies, a few opponents, celebrities and members of the Indian diplomatic community.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the list, but not her husband, former President Bill Clinton. Democratic colleagues of the president including other Cabinet ministers, several senators and top aides made the list, including Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts (but not his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and White House Budget Director Peter Orszag.

State dinner are pompous affairs usually dictated by protocol and timing and how to repay the hosts for their state dinner. When Clinton had visited Bharat (aka India) Bharat had not just thrown a “state dinner”—it was a national celebration for the country. Indian are adept at many languages, 114 of their own, a couple of imported ones, but best of all they are very good at” schmooze”. The arrival of the “gora sahib” Clinton (with his penchant for pretty women) was heralded with more esteem than arrival of a new Viceroy during the British Raj.  Some say that the president did partake in some Indian curry (to use the local colloquialism). The Americans are not used to welcomed in such a manner---there are very few countries where the Yanks are liked so much (Kosova, Canada, the UK---and that's about it), so those who count “protocol-points” had a taken a mental note to treat their hosts in nice manner.

Mr. Singh did praise the president.

Obama's election was "an inspiration to all those who cherish the values of diversity, democracy and equal opportunity," Singh said, adding that India "warmly applauded" the Nobel Peace Prize awarded Obama this year for "the healing touch you have provided and the power of your idealism and your vision."

This week was payback time to return the hospitality.

The timing was just right, The Obama Administration has been taking a beating like a piñata from Congress and from the Republicans in general. The victims were at least two Democratic governors including the electorally important state of New Jersey.  The Afghan war is going horribly for President Obama, and he is ready to announce some major decisions in the lost war and how to go about face saving gestures “after the battle is lost and won and the hurly burly is done”.  The only wise American general in Kabul is unfortunately not wearing the American military uniform—he is running the role of Ambassador and “Save-the-royal-ass-of-Obama-in-Chief”. Fortunately, the words of the US Ambassador in Kabul may outweigh the general who is wearing the US uniform—General McChrystal who is playing the role of “I-wanna-be-just-like-my-defeated-generals-in-Vietnam” and keep asking for more troops.

In Washington it was time for verbosity that doesn’t mean anything, and hyperbole that means even less.

"To the future that beckons all of us," Obama said with glass raised toward his guest of honor, visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. "Let us answer its call. And let our two great nations realize all the triumphs and achievements that await us."

The US Ambassador is working with the Pakistani generals, the ISI, and the stealth Saudi machinery to bring about a face-saving peace deal in Afghanistan. This is the beginning of the end of the war in Afghanistan. The Taliban have been offered at least six provinces—US recognition of the sovereignty of the provinces is the US offer for a safe exit and inclusion in the Central government. Mullah Omar has already offered a peace deal—“safe passage to withdrawing forces—a deal ridiculed by Bruce Riedel. As a hawk, Mr. Riedel once wanted break this confidence of the Taliban. Now the US is dealing exactly with this confidence. Ironically America is negotiating with the ex Afghan Ambassador to Islamabad, the person who was bundled off to Gitmo and tortured and kept in prison without trial for months.

In Wshington it was time paegentry—the menu reflected the season and and the mood.

A seasonal menu reflecting both American and Indian flavors started with a potato and eggplant salad made with White House-grown arugula and accompanied by an onion seed vinaigrette, according to the White House.

Red lentil soup with fresh cheese followed, and then a choice of entrees -- roasted potato dumplings with tomato chutney, chick peas and okra for vegetarians, or green curry prawns, caramelized salsify and smoked collard greens.

A look at the menu

Potato and eggplant salad
White House arugula with onion seed vinaigrette
2008 Sauvignon blanc Modus Operandi, Napa Valley, California
Red lentil soup with fresh cheese
2006 Riesling, Brooks "Ara"
Wilamette Valley roasted potato dumplings with tomato chutney
Chick peas and okra or green curry prawns with caramelized salsify with smoke collard greens and coconut aged basmati
2007 Grenache Beckman Vineyards, Santa Ynez, California
Pumpkin pie tart
Pear tatin
Whipped cream and caramel sauce
Sparkling Chardonnay, Thibaut Janisson Brut, Monticello, Virginia
Petits fours and coffee
Cashew brittle
Pecan pralines
Passion fruit and vanilla gelees
Chocolate dipped fruit

As the saying goes, it was the “best of times”---but also the “worst of times”.  For all the pomp and ceremony the romance between the US and Bharat is coming down to an end. Gone are the good old Bush days when Delhi was being propped by the Neocons as a counterweight to China. Gone are the Clinton days when Delhi was goaded into exploding their half-hatched nuclear devices in Pokhran. Like the Pokhran firecrackers which turned out to be fizzles—the house that Bush built was a deck of cards—it came crashing down with the collapse of the economy. The US tax payers were left with the bills, and Beijing emerged as the new banker.

It was the best of times in Washington.

Dessert was pumpkin pie tart and pear tatin with whipped cream and caramel sauce. Each course was paired with a different wine, all of American vintage.

The herbs and lettuces were harvested from the White House Kitchen Garden started by Michelle Obama, with honey from the White House beehive used to poach the dessert pears.

Entertainment was by jazz vocalist Kurt Elling, Grammy and Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson, the National Symphony Orchestra directed by award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch, Academy Award-winning Indian musician and composer A.R. Rahman, and The President's

It was the worst of times. After the song and dance in Washington, Mr. Singh will return with a “nuclear deal” which severely restricts its atomic ambitions, arrests the program, prohibits any new nuclear tests (to overcome the fizzles at Pokhran II). The announcement of the fizzles at Pokhran are emblematic of the fizzle in US Indian relations.

Just like the Pokhran fizzles, the notion of IndiaUS (USIndia) has been overtaken by ChiAmerica. The recent belligerency on along the McMohan line in the Himalays has totally destroyed any possibility of Chindia. While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was trying hard convince Presidnet Obama that ChiAmerica was a bad idea and that democracy and pluralistic vision, hatred for terror whould be the prime ideals binding the countries together—as such America and India were “natural allies”. President Obama played the good host with laudatory comments to Mr. Manmohan Singh, and to Bharat as a whole—but---but—(its always the but kills the mood), as the CEO of America, Mr. Obama was beholden to the bankers of USA Inc—the ones in Beijing who hold more than a trillion Dollars of US debt. Mr. Obama also listened to Mr. Singh’s rhetorical diatribes on Pakistan, but politely rebuffed him by proclaiming that Pakistan was an important ally of Pakistan.

What President Obama didn’t announce publicly in front of the Bharati prime Minister was the fact that it was Islamabad that was saving America’s butt in Afghanistan and saving it from the sling by stitching together a face-saving mask for America and NATO. If it weren’t for the Pakistanis, the Obama one term presidency would be singing goodbye to a Democratic victory in the next elections.

Mr. Obama is constrained to listed to the hawks in the army and the Gung Ho “take-no-prisoners” conservatives in Congress. So he is between a rock (left leaning Democratic corp who want to end the war in Afghanistan) and a hard place (Ultra conservatives in Congress who want to continue the war and take it to Iran and Pakistan). It would a miracle if Mr. Obama can pull off a feat that pleases all sides—that is an impossibility. This much is certain, he may go for a small surge, a little bit of a peace deal, and plans for an exit strategy. This is as close to “a little bit pregnant” as it gets.

The pageantry in Washington not withstanding, ChiAmerica is the global power which divided the world into two parts, America-Europe and Asia-Africa. The US for obvious reasons gets the good parts (Europe and Americas) and China gets the Asia and Africa. Chipak will help China bring peace to Asia. Chindia is as dead as a doornail, and USPak will be handed over to China as Chipak. Chindia may exist as an economic entity of $60 billion, with China selling parts to Bharat, but that is as far as it goes. Geopolitically and in the realm of international relations Chindia exists as a drop in an ocean ruled by ChiAmerica.

It in these circumstances that Mr. Manmohan Singh was gulping down his Red and Blue label on ice.  Like Cindrella he was anxiously looking at the clock and hoping that midnight would not come soon. he wa wondering how much time will the Bhartis have to pack their bags once the Yanks have left Afghanistan. he was wondering, why he coudl not have been the recpient of the Nobel Peace prize. If it weren’t for the Pakistanis, and their obdurate obsession with Kashmir, he could have struck a deal with them and visited Oslo—now it was back tot he grind doing the chores for Sonia and being bombarded by the BJP and the RSS. While sucking a red Label soaked ice cubes, he was wondering why he hated these foreign trips—as much as he tried, he never relished the jjourney back home where he would be roasted in the Lok Sabha.

first big dinner," she said.

What makes a successful dinner? It's what you don't plan, Zantzinger said.

During a Reagan state dinner, Princess Diana and actor John Travolta took to the dance floor.

"What made it so special was that it was so absolutely spontaneous," she said. "You had one of the most beautiful women in the world and one of the best dancers in the world come together in this incredible place, and I think the spontaneity of it and the combination of the two of them was perfection."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Why Pakistanis are mad at the US

The Pakistanis are mad at the US.

The F-16s or F-18s being given to India along with Nuclear plants are for decoration. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Robert Blake’s probable address is in the clouds somewhere—because his thoughts defies gravity and his inane statements and decry logic—far removed from reality. If he hasn’t done so already, he may want to run a few opinion polls in Pakistan. For the first time since 1947, the US is considered more of a threat to Pakistan than Bharat (India). Any diplomat worth his salt would have come to grips with the simple fact that when Secretary of State Clinton was almost booed off the stage, and when Richard Holbrooke cannot hold an open press conference with the Pakistani media then something is wrong with US foreign relations.

When US civilian and military leaders continue the “do more mantra”, blatantly threaten Pakistan “of bombing it to the stone age”, shower veiled threats using loaded clichés like “existential threat”, lecture Pakistanis on how to fight the militants (after the US, NATO and ISAF has lost 80% of Afghanistan to the insurgents), think of real threat to Pakistan (where more than half the Indian forces and planes are arrayed on the Pakistani border) as Pakistani paranoia, and blame Pakistan for local terror in Bharat. And not to forget the installation of an anti-Pakistan government in Afghanistan, allowing 13 Indian “Consulates” to send mercenaries to FATA and Swat, withdraw forces from the Afghan-Pakistan border during the Waziristan operation—then Pakistani worry that any relations with the US are unprofitable. The really old Pakistanis also remember the betrayal in 1965, the arms embargo before the 1971 war,  the non-arrival of the 7th fleet in Chittagong, the Pressler and Symington amendments, and the non-delivery of F-116s after payment had been made (Pakistan never got the money or the planes back). 

“Realistically speaking, we (India) are a second or perhaps third tier force in the eyes of the US”

Stephen Cohen a known Indophile who created the now debunked “Cold Start Strategy” has clearly said that the India and the US are strategically moving apart. This assessment comes in the wake of the reality that America’s new banker is not New York—it is Beijing. Prime Minister Manamohan Singh sheepishly mentioned this anomaly during his various conversations in Washington and elsewhere. While the chest thumping on democracy fell on deaf ears, what chagrined the prime minister and Bharati media was the fact that the US has ignored Delhi’s whining on Mumbai. Contrary to the lobbying efforts of Delhi, the US Congress tripled aid to Pakistan, and then some—it is also working on ROZ and a FTA with Pakistan. Unbeknownst to Delhi, the US Army has helped the generals in Islamabad with weapons that are under the radar or press and or media scrutiny.

While “more Catholic than the Pope” (more Brahman than the monks in Benaras) Indophiles in the ranks of obsequies (Anwar Iqbal—though he is not the only one) are trumpeting the Manmohan trip to Washington as the anointment of Bharat as a superpower---back in the Vatican (or Benaras in this theme) the Bharati media is very aware of the realities. This is not the Clinton or Bush presidency. It is also a different place on the timeline of history. Under the old discarded doctrine India was to be built as a counterweight to China. There is a frenzy in the Neocon ranks for this---the reality in today's world does not allow playing India against China. President Obama’s constrained reality is the financial collapse and the anemic US economy that is not creating jobs, or creating wealth for Americans. While China holds $1 trillion or more of US T-bills, is three times the economy of Bharat, and has an export surplus with the US, and Europe that can only be a wish for the tine $42 billion IT industry out of Banglore that affects only 6 million people.

Most Washington analysts today realize that Bharat is an important country, but it is getting too big for its britches. With a creaky economy (last decade not withstanding), an atrocious infrastructure, mind numbing penury, horrid caste infestation, a superiority complex (which is psychological terms is actually an inferiority complex), and the propensity to dominate all her neighbors, Bharat has reduced itself to a regional state where all countries surrounding it hate her. While China has developed goodwill, friendship and admiration neighbors near and far, Delhi’s policies only conjures up hate and resistance to hegemony. Bharat has unending hatred towards Delhi in Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Kashmir, Lanka, Maldives and even Bangladesh (which it created). Its biggest successes have become its biggest cancers. Kashmir and Bangaldesh thumb their noses at Delhi. Pakistan is a nuclear powered state and has successfully maneuvered itself into the good graces of both the USA and China—with the neutral Russian making overtures—because of China. As a major Non-Nato Ally it has superb relations with Europe and is working on Free Trade Agreements with all three. today Unless and until Delhi learns the norms on how to behave in an international arena, it will never have a voice in world affairs.

In this prodigiously written article, the Christian Science Monitor presents of sample of Bharati thinking.


President Barack Obama meets with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the G-20 summit at the ExCel Centre in London in this April 2 file photo.

Charles Dharapak/AP/File


New Delhi - As India's prime minister Manmohan Singh arrives to a red carpet welcome in Washington Monday – the first state guest of President Barack Obama – commentators in India seemed more preoccupied with the United States' growing friendship with China.

Ties between India and the US are stronger than they have been in decades. Bilateral trade has surged, doubling since 2004 to more than $43 billion a year. Last year the two countries signed a landmark civil nuclear deal, agreed upon by Mr. Singh and former US President George Bush in 2005, that brought India out of nuclear isolation and symbolized a sea change in the countries' political relationship. Indeed, the US sees a vital role for India in the battle against terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan and in a host of other issues from world trade to climate change.

But while talks between Mr. Singh and Mr. Obama scheduled for Tuesday are likely to focus on such matters as Afghanistan, climate change, and cooperation on nuclear energy, pundits in India are more interested in the question of where the US's new friendship with China, as well as its relationship with Pakistan, leaves India.

"We may aspire to a seat at the high table of world power but China is already sitting at the head of the table along with the United States," wrote journalist Gautam Adhikari in the Times of India Monday. "It has enough IOUs in its pocket to stop anyone from pushing it around. We also are a billion-strong nation, a democracy to boot and growing economically at a still impressive rate given the global conditions. But, realistically speaking, we are a second or perhaps third tier force in the eyes of the United States."

A recent joint statement from Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao, which included a line of support for better Indo-Pakistan relations, was regarded in New Delhi as an expression of unwanted interference in a sensitive matter. For some, it raises the worrying specter of Chinese involvement in South Asian diplomacy – and at a time when India's long running border row with China is especially tense. (Read about how each side recently provoked the other and escalated tensions on the border.)

"It seemed to suggest that India had simply fallen between two stools – Pakistan and China were urgent priorities for different reasons," said an editorial in the Indian Express newspaper Monday.

India is also likely to urge the US to take a tougher line on Pakistan, which it blames for harboring terrorists.

India fears losing US favor even as Obama fetes Manmohan Singh

President Obama is hosting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this week with his first state visit. But India worries the US cares more about wooing rivals China and Pakistan.

By Mian Ridge | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

from the November 23, 2009 edition. Read about how China and India's rivalry is playing out on the high seas.

What Mr. Anwar Iqbal don’t seem to realize is the simple fact that this is not the first time that Bharat has tried to be the global superpower. In the 50s Nehru tried to lead the entire workd as a third alternative to the USSR and the USA. It formed its very own Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and Tito, Nehru and Mao were the anointed leaders of the 3rd world. However because of the egomaniacal personality of Mr. Nehru, that initiative didn’t go anywhere. Mao and Nehru had a falling out resulting in the 1962 war between Bharat and China. Tito remained a world player ‘till his demise which led to the total disintegration of his country Yugoslavia. Only the progeny of Mao, steadfast to their country have made to the top

In this new Chinese Century, Beijing has clearly told Washington that Kashmir has to be solved in order to resolve Afghanistan. The recent mention of “India-Pakistani” relations during the final statement after the Obama-Tao summit of course translated into “Kashmir”. The not to oblique reference to a territory that Delhi considers its own created a furor in the Bharati press as well as the political circles in the Lok and Rajha Sabha. The pundits in Delhi. Delhi new exactly what it meant. Allowing China to be the leader in South Asia to work as a referee between India and Pakistan relegates India to parity with its much smaller but nuclear armed neighbor

India’s Cold War strategy guarantees hot war—Nuclear annihilation

First there was the stupid statement by Chief General Deepak Kapoor of the Indian Armed Forces. This sort of claptrap places Indian-Pakistan relations by years. Then there was the expected response to the provocation.

Ironically the original architect of Bharat’s Cold War strategy Mr. Stephen Cohen has recently stated that strategically the US and India are moving apart. This shrewd insight into the foreign policy realities of America have made the Delhi analysts more nervous about American intentions. The Bharati Prime Minister in Washington was bitterly complaining about Pakistan—all Obama could do was provide cheese to the Manmohan whine. Some in the Delhi establishment have not recognized the new realities in Washington. China and Pakistan are in and Bharat is out.

President Obama politely rebuffed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

"Pakistan has an enormously important role in the security of the region by making sure that the extremist organizations that often operate out of its territories are dealt with effectively," Obama said.
"And we've seen some progress,"
he said

NEW DELHI (APP) – Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor said on Monday the possibility of a limited war 'under a nuclear overhang' is still very much a reality in South Asia.

South Asia along with West Asia has emerged as “one of the epicentres of conflict and instability,” he said and added the situation would “further worsen since there was neither any political or diplomatic unity nor any common ground to build a consensus to fight this new war”, General Kapoor said at a seminar on “Changing Nature of Conflict: Trends and Responses”.

“Territorial disputes, provocation by proxy wars, religious fundamentalism, radical extremism, ethnic tensions and socio-economic disparities are the hallmark of South Asia,” he said.
Gen Kapoor said sub-conventional conflicts may force nations to undertake interventions on “purely humanitarian grounds if the diaspora is under threat, sovereignty of nations being questioned such as attacks on missions abroad and national assets and foreign soil being used constantly for attack by state and non-state actors”.
Speaking on the occasion, Indian Defence Minister AK Antony said the threat of nuclear weapons falling into wrong hands was an “area of serious concern” and its consequences would be “unimaginable”.
Meanwhile, India’s Eastern Command Chief Air Marshal SK Bhan said in Shillong on Monday induction of new aircraft and upgradation of Advanced Landing Grounds had nothing to do with China.
“India has no intention of going to war with any country. But if the thrust is on us, we will respond,” he said while responding to a question in a press conference.

He said the Eastern Command would be modernised by 2015, which would reduce dependence on the western sector.

If provocation is what General Kapoor was looking for, he surely did get a befitting and vociferous response from Islamabad. General Kapoor’s timing couldn't have been worse. The statement contradicted what his boss was trying to play victim in front of the US President.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan News: The foreign office has reacted strongly on Indian statement about nuclear war saying that India is preparing for limited war.

In a statement issued by the foreign office, Abdul Basit said India was working on a specific strategy. The statement of Indian Army Chief regarding the limited nuclear war is the clear signal of Indian ambitions of regional domination and nuclear aggression. The FO spokesman urged international community to take notice of this statement and India’s long-term resolves. Abdul Basit said Pakistan was fully capable of protecting its national sovereignty and borders.

Islamabad: Pakistan on Tuesday claimed the Indian Army Chief's comments about the possibility of a limited war under a nuclear overhang were a reflection of the "hegemonic thrust" of India's nuclear doctrine.

Indian Army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor's remarks "only reaffirm India's dangerous and offensive nuclear doctrine," Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said in a statement.

Basit was responding to a question about Kapoor's comment at a seminar in New Delhi yesterday that "a limited war under a nuclear overhang is still very much a reality in the Indian subcontinent".
The spokesman alleged that India has for "long been working on the so-called Cold Start strategy and preparing for a limited war against Pakistan".

Kapoor's statement "confirms the hegemonic thrust of India's nuclear doctrine," he claimed.
The international community "should take notice of Gen Kapoor's remarks and India's long-term intentions", Basit said. "Major powers have a particular responsibility in this regard. They should refrain from steps that in any manner negatively affect the strategic balance in South Asia," he added. PTI

The Cold war strategy could possibly have worked in the early stages of the nuclear development. However, Pakistan is too far advanced, with indigenous fighters (not the control of America), UAVs, and of course short range, medium range and long term missiles. A massive movement of Bharati troops to a staging ground near the Pakistani border would be a dead giveaway. Any movement of Bharati troops would also be seen as a threat by China which would quickly mobilize in a defensive posture near the Bharati border. Pakistan has a standing army of more than half a million men. It also has reserves of about 250,000 men. They are mostly on the Eastern front watching the enemies every move. Any slight change in topography would alert the Pakistanis. Any lightening attack by Bharat would be detected by the Paksat, AWACS, radars, and the planes in the sky.

In actual battle, the Bharatis are not guaranteed success. The Stephen Cohen “Cold Start Strategy” refers to Bharat quickly crossing the border, and seizing Lahore, or Sialkot, or get deep into Sindh trying to bifurcate the country and then dictating conditions.According to the Stephen Cohen doctrine adopted by Bharat, the strategy is based on the theory that all this would happen before the Nuclear threshold is reached. Serious anomalies exist in the doctrine. For example Pakistan could throw small nuclear devices at the advancing troops, which would devastate the advance. Or Pakistan could shower Delhi and Mumbai in a limited strike, perhaps below Bharat’s nuclear threshold. The US conducted hundreds of such possibilities and simulated war games between Pakistan and Bharat—all of them ended in full scale Nuclear war.

Even talk of war between Nuclear armed neighbors is insanity at its worst. This type of thinking shows a total detachment from reality. The Russians and the Americans never contemplated it, but came close to the end of world several times. Bharat has nethir shown maturity or any sense of decency ever since she bacame a nuclear power---with many claiming a doubtful nuclear power (since the tests at Pokhran were a fizzle)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Evidence against India-ISI Chief confronts CIA head about Terror in Pakistan

ISI Chief confronts CIA counterpart with evidence

ISLAMABAD – Serious differences are understood to have cropped up between Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency ISI and US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) over the latter’s dismal role in countering terrorism in Pakistan, TheNation reliably learnt on Friday.
According to well-placed sources, the differences between the two strategic partners in war against terror cropped up when ISI Chief Lt. General Ahmed Shujja Pasha in a meeting expressed his disappointment to his US counterpart, the CIA chief spymaster Leon Panetta, over the US failure to help Pakistan in counter-terrorism efforts.

Although there was no official confirmation either from the US Embassy or ISPR about the meeting, it was learnt that both of them had thought provoking talks here in which General Pasha had presented to the CIA official a shocking evidence about Indian interference into Pakistan by using Afghanistan soil. General Pasha, the informed sources said, had presented the evidence about Indian efforts aiding terrorism in Balochistan and Waziristan.

The sources said that General Pasha was critical to the CIA’s counter-terrorism strategy in Afghanistan and CIA’s failure to provide concrete actionable information to Pakistan in containing flow of aid to terror networks operating from Afghanistan to destabilize Pakistan.

The sources said that the CIA chief is currently visiting Pakistan as a follow-up to the visit of US of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to address complains of Pakistan’s military establishment.

The CIA chief is to meet Army Chief General Ashfaq Pavez Kayani today and is likely to get the similar input from him, the sources said. He is also expected to visit Saudi Arabia before his return to USA. ISI Chief confronts CIA counterpart with evidence, By: Maqbool Malik | Published: November 21, 2009

US and China want Kashmir resolved: Critical International issue

In many public and private statements the US administration, think tanks, generals and politicians have clearly stated that Kashmir is the root cause of much of he militancy in South Asia. After relentless pressure the Americans don’t talk about it publicly. Delhi has used its equity with the Americans on trying to remove Kashmir from the vocabulary of America—and it hasn’t worked. Every once in a while a voice from Washington once again reiterates the fact that Kashmir is disputed territory. For all her maps and talk, Kashmir remains an international issue. Even after six decades Delhi has not been able to gobble up the Muslim majority area. Nehru’s blunder has caused huge problems for generations of Bharatis. On Pakistan's independence day every August 14th, the Kashmiris raise Pakistani flogs on buildings in Srinagar and elsewhere in Indian occupied Kashmir. Every August 15th they raise black flags to protest the Bharati independence day.



‘With respect to any resolution, that’s up to them,’ Clinton responded when asked if Washington is pushing the two countries on the issue. - File photo

WASHINGTON: The United States is negotiating some measurements with both Pakistan and Afghanistan to determine success in the fight against extremists, says US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In three separate interviews to US, Afghan and British media outlets, released by the State Department on Friday, the secretary also acknowledged that the United States was encouraging India and Pakistan to resume their efforts to seek a negotiated settlement of the Kashmir issue.

‘I don’t think that they’re benchmarks … what we’re trying to do is create some measurements that can determine whether we’re succeeding,’ said the secretary when asked if the US was negotiating specific benchmarks with Afghanistan and Pakistan to pave the way for the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan.

Referring to her talks with the Afghan defence minister in Kabul this week over better integration between the Afghan and international forces in Afghanistan, she said: ‘That’s a good benchmark. That’s the kind of benchmark we’re looking at, because what we want to see is how we determine that we’re making progress on the path … where your military will have what it needs to begin to take responsibility for much of the country.’

Mrs Clinton said that over the last 10 months, the US and Pakistan had developed a much higher degree of cooperation and communication.

She noted that only 10 months ago, the two countries didn’t have the necessary trust that  ‘you have to have in order to listen to the other side and say, okay, I agree with you and I’m going forward’.

‘The cooperation between our militaries, the personal relationships that have been established between, for example, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mullen, and chief of the army in Pakistan General Kayani, are incredibly important in helping to break down barriers,’ she added.

‘So when we said at the beginning of this administration that we were disappointed that the Pakistani government was not going after the Taliban — because we saw them as a direct threat to the Pakistani government – and that then the Pakistanis themselves reached a consensus they had to do that, we thought there was a very significant change in attitude.’

The US, she said, would continue to press them to go after all of the extremists in Pakistan.

‘Are you looking at tackling the Kashmir problem to try to help Pakistan really move its focus to the border with Afghanistan?’ she was asked.

‘Well, we’ve encouraged both countries to resume a dialogue that they were engaged in which came to a halt and yet holds a lot of promise. They had made progress, I’m told, in sorting through some of the longstanding difficulties they face, and most particularly the status of Kashmir. But it’s clear that any solution has to come from the two countries themselves,’ said the top US diplomat.

‘You’re not pushing?

‘Well, we are encouraging them to get back into dialogue. We think that is important. But with respect to any resolution, that’s up to them,’ she responded.

dawn. US wants Indo-Pak talks on Kashmir: Clinton Saturday, 21 Nov, 2009

No amount of Indian chagrin can change the fact that China does not accept the Indian occupation of Kashmir. The recent US-China joint statement coming out of Beijing so astounded Delhi that it retorted with several statements decrying the mention of India-Pakistan relations (read Kashmir between the lines).

Hillary Clinton has once again admitted that the US is pushing Bharat towards talks on Kashmir. Delhi missed a huge opportunity with President Musharraf. Now it has go back to old Pakistani positions about a plebiscite. Mir Waiz sensing movement is ready to go on his rounds to Islamabad and Beijing. Mir Waiz in his falwed logic wants a free Kashmir and an independent Kashmir. This folly will make Kashmir end up like Sikkim. Most Kashmiris realize this.That is why Gilani is still so popular. Bharatis living in their isolated homes in apartheid society have no clue about the depth of feeling the Kashmiris have for Pakistan—they never will.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

India can’t even match up against Pakistan in defense: IAF Vice Chief Air Marshal P K Barbora

Talking to the Indian press, about the sad state of affairs of Indian defense, the Indian IAF Vice Chief Air Marshal P K Barbora made the following statement

We do not even match up Pakistan as far defence goes: IAF Vice Chief

Amazingly this story was published only by two Bharti newspapers. Other than the Indian Express all major newspapers either suppressed the story, did not see news value in it or deliberately did not publish it. Bharatis are fed a constant dose of “indigenous production” which they begin to believe. These stories shatter the false paradigm with truth, so most Indian news outlets do not run the stories.

NEW DELHI, Nov. 19 (APP) Indian Air Force Vice Chief Air Marshal P K Barbora while complaining against Indian political class for playing politics on military requirements said “as far as defence goes, we don’t even match up with Pakistan.”Playing politics over defence purchases impinged “very badly” on the country’s military requirements,” he told a CII seminar on energising aviation sector in India.

P K Barbora while expressing dissatisfaction also about India’s Defence exports said, “as far as defence goes, we don’t even match up with Pakistan.”“The internal politics over the years is such that whatever defence requirements are cleared by the government, they are opposed by the opposition parties and the same happens when roles change and opposition sits in government, “ he said.

Barbora’s observations on Tuesday about recruitment of women pilots in IAF also generated heated debate in the media.

He had said “they may be recruited as fighter pilots provided they do not become mother till a certain age.” He also suggested that having woman pilots in IAF may be a bad investment for the government.

Today, he said he did not mean that what had been debated in the media over his remarks saying those were his personal views and not the policy of the Ministry of Defence. APP


The Indian Express also the reported the same story. Here Vice Chief Air Marshal P K Barbora sheds light on the fake indigenous production of planes in Bharat (aka India):

Talking about the transfer of technology (ToT) agreements in the defence deals, Barbora said they were not very beneficial as "what actually has come after so many deals (in ToT) with foreign company or whatever it is, I am sorry, it was tools and kits, which came in bags and containers and we assembled the aircraft here."

Citing example of the success of the European aviation consortium Airbus, Barbora said Indian industry should also look at building partnerships on those lines and must join hands with other countries to grow.

Marshall Barbora had some ideas on how to develop the Indian defense industry, but his ideas failed to explain how China and Pakistan had developed thier local defense industry and both have defense exports bigger than Bharat. Marshall Barbora also did not shed light on why a foreign commercial enterprise would give away its secrets (Coke formula) and commit commercial suicide.

We have to take steps...we need to be bold enough to invite Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), more so into defence use," he told a CII seminar on energising aviation sector in India.

At present, foreign companies are allowed to invest only 26 per cent in Indian companies. Some of the global defence giants such as BAE Systems had proposed to start a joint venture with Mahindra Defence Systems with 49 per cent stakes but it did not get government's approval.

Commenting on the politics over military purchases, Barbora said whatever defence requirements are cleared by the government, they are opposed by the opposition parties and the same happens when roles change and opposition sits in government.

"That impinges very badly on our defence requirements," he said.
Stressing on the need for giving more freedom to private industry, Barbora said, "Private industry has to be evolved and given a market of their choosing and not our choosing, of course with certain guidelines."

He said bringing in private players was very important for the aviation sector as India was not even contributing one per cent to the world market in the aerospace industry.

Asking the private companies to learn reverse engineering processes the way China did to develop most of its defence technologies, he said, "Forget about ethics. China has done all the reverse engineering. Has anyone ever had the courage to ask China why are you doing it. No one cares a hoot. If you can't do it yourself, you should know how to reverse engineering.

"We have not been able to move forward for some reason or the other," Barbora added.

On the present status of the country's capabilities in the aerospace sector, the IAF Vice Chief said India was very happy producing small parts of aircraft and exporting them to Airbus in Europe but China has already started building whole aircraft for the same company. News x.