Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A word of caution: Don’t use the “P” word

Many Pakistani Americans do not know the negative connotations of the “P” word. I was astonished to see many youngsters in New York proudly calling themselves Paki—during the Pakistan Day Parade. The 2nd and third generation Pakistanis in America who have not lived in Britain see no harm in suing the short form of Pakistani. While the word equates to the “N” word in England—it has no significance in the USA. Stupid Bigoted Bharatis (aka Indians) don’t know that the “P” word refers to all South Asians including the Indians. Many Bharatis on the internet use the word in front of unsuspecting Pakistanis—and think that they have gotten away with murder. In fact when one minority denigrates another, all minorities suffer.  While Indians are facing severe problems in Australia, they continue to use the “P” word to denigrate Pakistanis. As one Australian said same sh**, different bucket. For the racist bigot, there is no difference between on brown man or another.

Earlier this year, a homemade video of Prince Harry, the impish grandson of the British Queen whose colourful exploits have earned him tabloid darling status, was leaked to a delighted UK press. Training to be a soldier in Her Majesty’s Army, Prince Harry is shown referring to a British Pakistani Muslim colleague as ‘our little Paki friend,’ amongst other questionable remarks. Headlines exploded, the Pakistani community went on the offensive, and race relations experts came out of the woodwork in force to attack the prince.

Prince Harry unreservedly apologised for his comments, and Clarence House, the prince’s representatives, issued a statement explaining that he had used the term without malice. Still, columnists across the political spectrum criticised the prince and even the Daily Mail, the usually contrary voice of conservative Middle England, said the prince ‘had shown incredible crassness… and he can expect no more chances.’

Within the British blogosphere and on newspaper website comment sections, the row blazed on for weeks. Some commentators dismissed the criticism against the prince, claiming it was symptomatic of the prevailing political correctness in society. Others downplayed the prince’s comments and simply equated ‘Paki’ with other jocular terms denoting British regional identities, such as ‘Scot’ (someone from Scotland) or ‘Geordie’ (someone from Newcastle). Former army officers boldly said Prince Harry was just following the grand military tradition of endowing his colleagues with nicknames so that his colleague, Lieutenant Ahmad Khan, was simply ‘Paki,’ just as Sir Henry Havelock, who recaptured Kanpur during the Indian rebellion in 1857 was ‘Gravedigger’ and Philip Chetwode, the Commander in Chief in India in the 1930s, was nicknamed ‘The Bart.’

What the episode outlined – apart from Prince Harry having inherited the gaffe-prone gene of the Windsor dynasty (grandfather Prince Phillip to British students in China during a state visit in 1986: ‘If you stay here for much longer, you’ll go slitty eyed.’) – was that the contention surrounding the word ‘Paki’ was very much alive. Its connotations, context, and usage remain unclear even to desis themselves. The question is, why does the word continue to cause such offense?

For the Pakistani ensconced back home or visiting the UK, the word seems no more than a jovial contraction. Of course, it’s more than that. The word ‘Paki’ is loaded with the UK’s precarious and somewhat violent record of race relations in the late 1960s and 1970s, when immigration from the Indian subcontinent reached its apogee.
The first sensationalist and press-endorsed flogging of Pakistanis came in the early 1960s, during a reported smallpox outbreak in Bradford, where many Pakistanis had settled. A few unvaccinated Pakistanis did fall ill, but, according to Dr. Derrick Tovey, a practicing physician at the time, the press exaggerated the situation. Reportage was ‘often irresponsible,’ with headlines such as ‘City in Fear’ or ‘Keep Out Pakistanis.’ The public response reasserted essentialist – though disproved – colonial ideas about the ‘non-white’ embedded in the national psyche by Victorian science during the height of the British Empire.

Resistance to South Asian immigration materialised more coherently in the 1970s with the rise of nationalist parties and militant outfits like the British National Party and the National Front. These groups pamphleteered in white communities where immigrants had settled, urging Britons to support policies on repatriation and even accusing South Asian communities of stealing jobs and state-funded housing.

While the 1965 Race Relations Act made racial discrimination illegal in public on ‘grounds of colour, race, or ethnic or national origins,’ the Conservative MP Enoch Powell compared such legislation to ‘throwing a match on to gunpowder.’ He actively encouraged the repatriation of settled immigrants, even if they were UK citizens, inflaming national sentiment even further.

Despite race legislation supporting immigrants, many Pakistanis in the UK at the time, will recall the term ‘Paki-bashing,’ used to describe the sordid pastime of working-class white youths, or ‘skinheads,’ who would attack unsuspecting individuals from South Asian communities.

These racial tensions came to a head in 1979, when a teacher died of head injuries during a confrontation with the police in a protest by thousands of anti-racist campaigners. The protestors had assembled against a National Front meeting, which controversially took place in a town hall in Southall, a suburb in south-west London with one of the UK’s largest Asian communities.

Over the years, though, British Asians have moved into the mainstream. They are well represented in professional fields and in the media, and no doubt pleased by a declaration in 2001 by Robin Cook, the erstwhile Foreign Secretary under Tony Blair, that chicken tikka masala is the national dish of the UK. Such developments make it apparent that desis are here to stay and indeed add significant cultural and material value to British society.

Still, the usage of the word ‘Paki’ is as offensive as ever. Last year, on a rather staid UK reality show, Strictly Come Ballroom, where couples contest in ballroom dancing, slick-haired contestant Anton du Beke was accused of racism for dropping the P word. He said that his fellow dance partner, the actress Laila Rouass, who is herself of Indian and Moroccan extraction, ‘looked like a Paki.’ Heavily criticised by the press, Du Beke’s comments were shocking and reprehensible in twenty-first century multicultural Britain. And in July last year, white supremacist Neil Lewington was convicted of preparing for acts of terrorism, and was widely quoted as saying, ‘the only good Paki is a dead Paki.’

But we shouldn’t forget that the use of ‘Paki’ was once fair game on mainstream British television in the 1970s and early 1980s. Take a 1981 episode of Only Fools and Horses, which some critics say was among the best UK television comedies shows ever made. In the offending episode, a white, working class, and slightly befuddled character Uncle Albert says, ‘The Paki shop won't let us have nothing on tick (credit)! Says it’s part of his culture!’ His nephew Rodney replies, ‘Don't think it's got anything to do with the 46 quid we already owe 'em, do you?’

Some may argue that Rodney’s response illustrated the burgeoning resistance to racist syntax prevalent in the 1980s by demystifying Uncle Albert’s flawed assumptions of ‘Paki’ culture. Yet in a period of difficult race relations, in which the use of Paki was commonplace, it is hard to discern an altruistic purpose in the scriptwriter’s decision to use the word ‘Paki,’ whether comically or not.

It’s obvious to say that ‘Paki’ is an offensive, catch-all racist term that seeks to attack, offend, and alienate those of South Asian extraction in the UK. Yet in a post-9/11 – or post-7/7 world with regards to the UK – the term is beginning to connote a new prejudice in which Islamophobia takes centre-stage.

In November 2009, The Guardian reported the launch of a police investigation into a series of attacks on Muslim students at City University in London. According to the Federation of Student Islamic Societies, the gang responsible for the attacks comprised about 30 white and black youths and shouted ‘get those Muslims’ and ‘Pakis.’ Meanwhile, a BBC Panorama documentary aired in November followed two South Asian reporters who had gone undercover being abused in terms such as ‘Paki’ and ‘Taliban’ by the residents of an estate in Bristol.

It is clear that ‘Paki’ in these instances is interchangeable with derogatory anti-Muslim jibes and encompasses religious affiliation as well as ethnic origin. This will be increasingly true in a society facing down Islamist terrorism and inundated with examples of fanatic, semtex-clad British Pakistanis. Shakespeare asked, ‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.’  Change a few things around and you have the Bard hitting it on the nail.

Of course, this isn’t to say its all doom and gloom. Attempts to reclaim and appropriate ‘Paki’ as a positive, even fashionable term have gained ground amongst South Asian youths in the UK, in the same way ‘nigger’ was reclaimed by black hip hop artists and filmmakers in the US. At cricket matches featuring Pakistan, one can regularly see banners by Pakistani youths proclaiming ‘Paki-Power.’ Indeed, ‘Paki’ now encompasses a range of meanings, though that doesn’t lessen the offense the word can still cause

That said, there are few examples within the cultural output of British Asians to suggest a consensus has been reached as to what Paki could mean. In 2005, British Asian artist Aki Nawaz, of the band Fun-da-Mental, agreed to be interviewed for a BBC documentary titled British, Paki and Proud. Once the film was completed, he said, ‘I'm disappointed with the title. I was told [about it] last week. If I had known the title in advance I would have said, 'I will not do it under that title.' The term being endorsed I have a real problem with, it is absolutely unacceptable.’

When it comes down to it, the legitimate use of Paki really depends on who says it or not. It may be acceptable for one South Asian to call another a ‘Paki.’ But change the colour of the speaker and you have racism, it seems. The UK has arrived at the point where there is a sufficient understanding of how ‘Paki’ could be offensive and few are oblivious enough to use the term without an awareness of the ensuing impact.

It’s also worth noting that the term ‘Paki’ is part of a mix of more subtle and sinister forms of racial prejudice that are prevalent in the UK today. Take the race scandal in which Jade Goody, the late contestant on British reality show Big Brother, referred to Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty as ‘Shilpa Poppadom.’ Though not outwardly racist, the culinary reference (a popular appetizer for the British at curry houses) was intended to highlight Shetty’s ethnic origin and, in the malicious context of Goody’s bullying campaign, was no doubt racist.

Of course, as keen as some may be to highlight racist attitudes in the West, our native shores are hardly unfamiliar with prejudice that peppers everyday behaviour and language. They say that charity begins at home and we should look to the mirror for how we view the world. It’s a two-way road. The P Word By Khuroum Ali Bukhari Sunday, 17 Jan, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why China ignored India’s new ‘military doctrine’

Defense Analysts and political scientists and students of international relations experts are watching the rhetoric out of Delhi with keep interests. The three capitals—are looking for small nuances to decipher what was said, when it was said and by whom

Here is the chronology of events. General Kapoor in what would be considered a highly provocative statement said that Bharat (aka India) was ready a two pronged war with Pakistan and China.

Reports on India's revision of its defence doctrine to meet the challenges of a 'two front war' with Pakistan and China have of late received media focus. Pakistan has been prompt in its response, describing India's reported move as 'betraying hostile intent' and reflecting a 'hegemonic and jingoistic mindset'. D S Rajan in Rediff News

As expected there was an explosion in Pakistan. Political leaders, as well as the head of the army and major politicians and the National Assembly decried General Kapoor’s statements and called it an act of grave provocation.

If some analyst had expect an equally robust and angry response from Beijing, they were disappointed. The Chinese response to the Bharati general’s speech was stone silence.

The Chinese leadership saw through the Bharati “strategy” and looked at it for what it was—bluster. The Chinese leadership correctly weighed the Bharti actions and were prepared for it. Deng Xiao Peng had taught them well—Confucius says “keep a low profile, “don’t over react” and “build yourself up”, “avoid conflict” and project “soft power”. There is hard work of nation building to be done—empty chatter resolves nothing and produces nothing.

The Chinese response to Bharati provocation was decided upon decades ago. It does not nee to be reiterated.

Keep a cool head and maintain a low profile. Never take the lead - but aim to do something big. Deng Xiao Peng

Beijing sees Delhi’s bluster as an attempt to raise the stature of Delhi. What better way to raise the stature than to challenge an emerging superpower? One would think that Delhi is some way or form could ever compete with Beijing in anything> If Beijing had responded to General Kapoor’s juvenile delinquency, it would have reduced itself to Delhi’s level. By taking the high road and ignoring Delhi, Beijing reduced Delhi to what it was, a regional bully that can’t even compete with Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Nuclear prowess had reduced Bharati plans. Delhi hegemony hits a brick wall on its Western front. It cannot go one inch forward. The boundary has become sacrosanct, and all the huffing and puffing and paper exercises do nothing to intimidate Islamabad.

The sagacious Maleeha Lodhi, the former Pakistani Ambassador to the US and the UK is one of the most talented political scientist around. she also clearly saw through Delhi’s game and clearly identified the source of entire passages, and the origins of the vocabulary of the Delhi’s new “doctrine”. Delhi had clearly plagiarized it from the American Doctrine of war.

Even more interesting is the fact that Beijing analysts seem to have pre-empted what Delhi was trying to do, and already seem to have written about it. Here is D.S. Rajan on the subject again.

The People's Republic of China does not appear to have come out so far with any official reaction on the subject; interesting however is that the same theme of India's 'two front war', worded a bit differently as 'two front mobile warfare' has figured in an in-depth authoritative Chinese evaluation of India's defence strategy, done as early as November 2009; it raises a question whether or not Beijing [ Images ] already knew about India's reported revision of its defence strategy. This apart, it would be important to have a close look at what has been said in that analysis, for drawing meaningful conclusions. What follows is an attempt in that direction.

Titled 'Great Changes in India's Defence Strategy -- War objective shifts to giving China importance, while treating Pakistan as lightweight', the analysis contributed by Hao Ding, a researcher of the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences, published in the Party-affiliated Chinese language organ, China Youth Daily, on November 27, 2009, identifies following five shifts that have taken place in India's defence strategy:

The Chinese have figured out Delhi’s strategy. Its Marketing 101. When Kia says its just as good as Samsung, it doesn’t increase its stature—but when it says it has better features than a Toyota, the strategy to make people think that its in the same league as a Toyota. Of course the strategy doesn’t work. No matter how many time GM, (with its billions of Dollars of marketing clout) said that its J cars, or K cars, or Saturns were better than Mercedes, or lately better than Toyota—the people didn’t really buy that line—and continue to buy Toyota, Nissan, and Mercedes—placing GM in bankruptcy.

Similarly Bharat’s goals are an over reach which cannot be sustained. A A Lada cannot go out and conquer the world—it lived and died in East Germany. Till Bharat gets its own house in order, and mends its fences with all her neighbors. Having an angry Nepal, a dissatisfied Bangladesh, a mad Sikkim, a seething Bhutan, a cold China, a fearful Maldives, and a belligerent Pakistan on its borders can never allow Bharat to achieve its full potential in world affairs.

'In terms of goals, India now aims at becoming a global military power in contrast to its earlier objective to acquire a regional military power status.' (The author's comments say in this connection that prior to end of the cold war, India followed an expansionist and hegemonic policy in South Asia, dismembered Pakistan, annexed Sikkim kingdom and dispatched troops to Sri Lanka [ Images ] and Maldives [ Images ].

Bharat canot become a world power, unless it fixes its painful penury. Instead of purchasing a $3 Billion Aircraft Carrier, it needs to eliminate “Grabibabad” the largest slum in the world which is really a huge trash can where people live. Slumdog India can not be shining India just because a TV commercial calls it ‘shining’.

According to loft goals, Bharat wants to be a South Asia, power, a Central Asian giant and an Asia-Pacific Hercules. Loft goals for a country where 75% of the people eek out a living at less than $2 per day. Bharat wants to project itself as a Eurasian giant. Amazing goals for a country where 450 million Dalits and invisiable Untouchables don’t have the right to live. Amazingly most Indians cannot see their existence and ignore their poverty through tokenism (appointing one highly visible person in a high position).

India always was  hegemonic. Its calim that it ever had “passive defense” as its policy is belies the facts on the ground—it bullied 560 states into joing the “Indian Unio” in 1948. Nehru declared that any state that would not join the union would be considered an enemy state. It blatantly and illegally took over Hyderabad which did not want to join the Union.

It was a regional bully. Now it wants to be a global bully—without the allies or the money to get there. Bharat’s ‘and aggressive defense’ is something that the Israelis use. Its planner face a Gordian knot. Delhi seems to be in a time warp. It feels that it is in 1972. It has failed to recognize the new nuclear realities of South Asia. It cannot comprehend that mutually assured destruction means just that. It wants to somehow find a sliver of hope to strangulate Pakistan that way it has a choke hold on Sikkim. When Islamabad doesn’t get in its hold—it cries foul and tries to destabilize it—using the Mukti Bahni and Lanka model. While exporting terror does, work, Bharat is unable to achieve its objectives, because its forces cannot cross its Western border—held at bay by Nuclear powered missiles, and tactical Nuclear weapons that will destroy only a moving army.

According to the Chinese analysts, Bharat faces security threats form”the low intensity conflict with Pakistan over Kashmir [ Images ] which can trigger a large scale conflict, the risk of a nuclear confrontation among the two nations and terrorism in South Asia.”

Though accurate, this threat perception is not actually accurate. Bharat faces three major threats to its existence. According to Indian Analyst, Bharat Verma, Bharat faces the biggest threat in Kashmir, the 2nd threat in the Northeast Seven Sister States in Assam and 89 insurgencies raging in almost every Indian state—including the lethal Naxal-Maoist threat that engulfs a huge swathe of land starting from the foot of the Himalayas in the North to the deep South in Andhra Pradesh. The recent issue of Talangana shoed the entire worked the fragile nature of the Indian Union. The people want more than 50 states—in varying degrees of secessionist tendencies. Denial of right willl further exacerbate linguistic, ethnic and  religious tensions in Bharat—leading to a USSR type of implosion or a Yugoslavia type of implosion.

The Indian defence strategy has been revised in such circumstances; The 'active defence' concept has replaced the old line of passive defence, the basic 'regional deterrence' principle has been given a new meaning with 'punishment deterrence' concept taking place of the old principle of 'only deterrence'. India is stressing on taking initiatives so as to be able to conduct a hi-tech 'limited conventional war' against the enemy 'under conditions of nuclear deterrence'. D. S. Rajan

In accordance with the GM strategy (mentioned earlier), the Chinese analyst says 'Looking from the angle of war objectives, India is now laying emphasis to giving China importance while treating Pakistan as lightweight, as compared to the past equal emphasis to China and Pakistan.'

The Chinese have repeatedly said that they are fully aware of the Indian thinking.

China, there is stable political situation, a fast developing economy, a continuously accelerating military modernisation drive and growing comprehensive national strength. India thinks that therefore, the potentials of 'China threat' to it are on the rise. It wants to correctly treat the dialectic relation between the changes that have occurred in military threats posed by Pakistan and China and prepare for all types of military struggles. Based on such reasoning, India has proposed the doctrine of 'two front mobile warfare'.

Bharat has done a lot of rearranging of the chairs on the deck of the Titanic. It thinks that the new pattern of the deck chairs will prevent the looming strategy. Instead of changing course and avoiding the iceberg, it spends all its time on the color scheme of the chairs.  Bharat may be in an illusion

'In matters of strategic deployment, India has shifted to a strategy of stabilising the western front and strengthening the northern front as well as giving equal emphasis to land and sea warfare, in contrast to the earlier stress only on land warfare.'

(1) in recent years, India has carried out adjustments in its defence system to suit to the new needs. 'Stabilising the western front and strengthening the northern front' is a step in this direction. India has already made plans to dispatch additional forces- two mountain divisions- to the Sino-Indian border and deploy Su-30 fighter aircraft as well as missiles there in order to further strengthen its 'partial military superiority' vis-à-vis China, sufficient to fight a 'middle or small-scale partial border war under hi-tech conditions',

(2) India is increasing its deployment of mobile warfare-capable troops. Some units, on 'double combat missions', can launch mobile operations in both China and Pakistan fronts and

(3) India's past attention only to land warfare is now getting shifted in the direction of the Indian Ocean, creating a deployment position capable of paying importance to both land and sea. A part of Indian troops so far located in the rear of the borders is being diverted for coastal defence purposes and a new naval fleet has come up in the south to increase strength in respect of the Indian Ocean.

China is not a superpower, nor will she ever seek to be one. If one day China should change her color and turn into a superpower, if she too should play the tyrant in the world, and everywhere subject others to her bullying, aggression and exploitation, the people of the world should identify her as social-imperialism, expose it, oppose it and work together with the Chinese people to overthrow it. Deng Xiaoping

We quote D. S. Rajan again.

'India is making efforts to create long-range mobile operational strength and gain capacity to launch cross-combat missions.' The Chinese military expert comments that structural adjustment of the Indian military is in progress with focus on building Indian Navy and Air Force as well as rapid action troops, leading to building up of global combat capability of Indian armed forces. The expert cites in this connection the war doctrines of the Indian Army [ Images ] (2004), Indian Navy (2005) and Indian Air Force (2007).

The analysis above needs to be examined together with a very recent Chinese assessment. Given under the title 'Panoramic View of International Military Situation in 2009', the analysis contributed by Ma Kang, deputy director, Institute of Strategic Studies, National Defence University, Liberation Army Daily, December 29 highlights the defence budget increases in the US, Russia [ Images ] and India. It points to India's '24 percent defence budget increase' in 2009 as compared to previous year as well as efforts to build an aircraft carrier of its own, launch of first home made submarine Arihant and goals set towards possessing 'three dimensional nuclear strategic capability.'

What stand out are the unmistakable adversarial tones with which the two highly placed Chinese experts have talked about India. Especially, the evaluation of Hao Ding runs contrary to the officially declared perceptions of India and China that each nation is not a threat to other. Observers in India have reasons to raise their eyebrows on the reappearance of the terminology 'partial border war' after some gap, more so in a contribution made by an academician close to Chinese hierarchy (the last such reference figured in an unofficial strategic affairs website in November 2008).

Also odd is the timing of such comments when India-China bilateral defence, political and economic ties are progressing steadily -- senior Chinese military officers including the Tibet [ Images ] commander have visited India recently, the Indian defence secretary is scheduled to visit Beijing for talks, both India and China have coordinated their actions in the conference at Copenhagen on climatic change, preparations are being made by both sides for the scheduled visit this year to China by the Indian President and lastly, India-China trade volume is slated to touch $60 billion by this year.

Not to place a break on Mr. Rajan’s rhetoric, and burst his bubble, but the Bharati Naval Chief says the following about China:

“In military terms, both conventional and non-conventional, we neither have the capability nor the intention to match China, force for force. These are indeed sobering thoughts and therefore our strategy to deal with China would need to be in consonance with these realities,” Indian Navy Chief, Admiral Suresh Mehta

The coming war between India and China

A basic question would therefore be what is the real meaning of the latest Chinese assessment of Indian defence strategy as above, which, judging from the affiliation of the analyst concerned, can definitely be considered as reflecting official views, especially that of the military. First comes the apparent dichotomy in the thinking of the civilian and military apparatus in China on relationship with India. However, when looked carefully, the reality looks different.

China has always been encouraging expression of strategic opinions and treating them as inputs for decision making at appropriate times. It has at the same time been taking care to see that the required diplomatic options, whether relating to India or other countries, are not prejudiced by such opinions. Specifically, this premise explains the rationale behind China's support to holding diplomatic initiatives, like talks between special representatives, to solve the boundary issue with India, while at the same time allowing hostile articulations on the subject by its strategists.

Beijing's such two-track mindset may also be seen as setting a context for understanding the opinion expressed by the Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh [ Images ] during his recent visit to the US regarding China's 'assertiveness' vis-a-vis India of late.

Secondly, it is probable that the analysis clearly bringing out the 'India threat' theory, albeit after a gap, has something to do with the US factor. No doubt, it makes no mention of the US, but its appearance subsequent to the issuing of US-China Joint Declaration of November 17, 2009, may have its own meaning. Undeniably, reasons seem to have arisen for Beijing to feel that a qualitative change in its favour has occurred in the triangular China-US-India relations consequent to the opening of a new foreign policy course based on a 'smart power' concept (said to be a mix of hard and soft power) by the Barack Obama [ Images ] administration.

The US imperative towards China has undergone a shift to encompass a wider vision -- from one seeking China's emergence as a responsible stake holder in the international system to that aiming to establish a 'positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship' in the 21st century. In addition, the US has chosen to adopt a 'pragmatic' approach on human rights issue in China. If China thinks that it has as such come to occupy a superior position in the Sino-US equation at this juncture in the background of it having emerged as America's biggest creditor, the same may not be misplaced.

The simple fact that the Bush policy of building Bharat as a counterweight to China is no longer feasible or part of the Obama Doctrine. Washington cannot afford to anger its biggest creditor. Bharati policy makers are still under the illusion of Condaleeza Rice when she promised the Bharatis that the USA would make Bharat a Superpower.

For Beijing, the same reason may hold good in believing that the US will be inclined to tone down its support to India on sensitive issues like the boundary problem and that the time is opportune to intensify its strategic pressure on India.

Its readiness to agree with Washington to 'cooperate' on India-Pakistan issues, which touched Indian sensitivities, may relate to such thinking. It may at the same time be not wrong to assume that some Chinese pronouncements (official journal Liaowang, December 1, 2009) considering China-US and China-India relations not as a zero sum game, are only for public consumption.

China does not see a huge threat from Bharat. It is did, it would simply open the technology spigot to Pakistan, and Myanmar—and cut down Bharat to size. Already there are rumors that Burma wants to acquire Nuclear weapons. Lanka has allowed a port to China right on the Bharati border

Lastly, China can be expected to factor the latest views of experts in formulation of its own defence strategy vis-a-vis India. The assessment that China, not Pakistan, is India's priority military target is not going to be missed by the defence policy planners in China. But China may not need to make fresh responses. It has already consolidated its troop strength in the border, established firm defence ties with Indian ocean littorals and stepped up military help to Pakistan; On the last mentioned, Beijing's recent justification of its military aid to Pakistan as a response to India's getting arms from the US and Russia, unveils what could be in store for future.

China's occasional talks on partial border war with India need close attention of New Delhi [ Images ] as they could be in conformity with the need expressed by China to 'win local wars under conditions of informatisation' (China's latest Defence White Paper). In a broader sense, trends in China towards enhancing its extended range force projection capabilities and establishing overseas naval bases, may have implications for the entire region, especially for countries like Japan [ Images], India and South China sea littorals, all having territorial problems with China.

One has only to take note of the US position that China's military modernisation is changing the balance of power in East Asia.

China is giving mixed signals, but it would be in India's interests to continue 'engaging' China. It should at the same time take all necessary steps to protect its strategic interests; India's revised defence strategy proves that it is prepared to do the same. D S Rajan is director, Chennai Centre for China Studies. China experts feel Indian defence strategy treats China, not Pakistan, as priority target, which they also believe provides for a partial border war, writes D S Rajan.

The pace of Chinese development in the past 60 years is one of the wonders of the world. Not long ago the entire Chinese nation was kept in bondage by the East India Company which forced the country to continue to import opium. When the patriots revolted, Britain forced two wars on them. Finally Mao Ze Dung led the country to freedom from the machinations of Imperial Japan, Colonial Britain and a US which was supporting others in the civil war. In the past century the Chinese have walked softly and hidden the Big stick. It has whispered where others have shouted. The leadership in Beiing has bitten its lip on Taiwan and Arunchal Pradesh. It has kept quiet on the boundary line South of Tibet and kept quiet on international issues that it felt strongly about. Now the results are evident for all to see.

National Security: As China announces yet another double-digit increase in its military budget, and as this and other threats continue to grow, President Obama plans to spend just 3% of GDP on defense by 2016.

Almost unnoticed in January was the presence of Chinese warships deployed in the Gulf of Aden, south of the Saudi peninsula, to assist in the international anti-piracy mission. The deployment of naval vessels 4,000 miles from home is significant and historic. It demonstrates that China now has a blue-water navy.

China has announced in advance of the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress that it intends to increase its 2009 defense budget by 14.9%. This follows increases of 17.8% in 2007 and 17.6% in 2008. The actual increase may be higher, as China has traditionally kept many things, including major arms purchases, off budget.

China’s military budget has grown at an average rate of 16% the past decade. China’s military buildup is clearly aimed at acquiring the ability to overwhelm the defenses of, and successfully attack, U.S. carrier battle groups that might come to the aid of Taiwan in a crisis. Investors dot com

Haiti Earthquake: Why isn’t Pakistani ERRA there?

When ERRA was created by President Pervez Musharraf, tall claims were made about developing indigenous expertise for disasters. Claims were also made that ERRA would help other nations in distress. There have been several disasters in countries—in China, Turkey, Iran and now in Haiti—and ERRA is absent.

ERRA should send Sniffing dogs, and a band of men and women who can help the people of Haiti. Where is the OIC—they should be funding a disaster relief effort anywhere and everywhere. Edhi is always one of the first to reach disasters—he was there in the USA during Hurricane Katrina and in Bangladesh and Lanka etc.

Whats wrong with this picture? ERRA the government agency with literally billions under its disposal is absent—and Edhi a private enterprise send volunteers and goods to disaster affected areas of the world.

Pakistan also has a huge database of volunteers—good natured students who want to help. Here is a cause—help the people of Haiti. Haiti has a sizable “Indian” population. There are many Muslims there also.

Mr. Zardari has more than $1.5 billion to his name. How about a donation to assist Haiti. Mr. Bilawal Bhutto is prancing around Oxford. How about taking up a cause and assisting human beings that need our help today

Thursday, January 7, 2010

President Zardari is right about Kashmir: UN Resolutions should be upheld

IT is heartening to note that the President has clearly and unambiguously come out in favour of the Kashmiris' right to decide about their future in accordance with Indian commitments and UN resolutions. Thus, he put to rest the impression, which had gained ground since the PPP-led government came into power, that he was not so enthusiastic about Pakistan's traditional stand on the issue and under US pressure was somehow keen to put the dispute out of the way. There can be little doubt that such a course would work against Pakistan's vital interests. Besides, the quest for peace cannot blind us to the plight of the people of Kashmir under the brutal and illegal occupation of India. President Zardari's emphatic expression of the stand on what he termed as Pakistan's "jugular vein", recalling the words the Quaid-i-Azam used was, therefore, in order and timely.

The country's rivers flow from Held Kashmir for one thing, and the people across the Line of Control have family ties, for another.

Addressing the Azad Kashmir Assembly on January 5, the day in 1949 when the UN Security Council passed a resolution to acknowledge the Kashmiris' right to self-determination under the UN auspices, he did not mince his words about the inextricable connection that peace in the region had with the resolution of the disputed state through that course. He was right that New Delhi would have to sit on the negotiating table with Pakistan to sort out the nitty-gritty of holding the plebiscite. India's persistent refusal to resume composite dialogue with Islamabad and efforts to engage Kashmiri leaders to work out a modus vivendi under the Indian Constitution instead, would not help matters. Neither Pakistan, which is a party to the dispute and has deep interest in its just solution, could be sidetracked, nor genuine Kashmiri leaders would go along with such a formula. The crucial question of durable peace would continue to persist. Peace is possible only when the Indians drop their hegemonic intentions and acknowledge the fact that unless they adopt a policy of having good neighbourly relations with the smaller states of South Asia, there would not be much hope for their own country to live in peace and harmony. And that is what President Zardari meant when he said that it was not possible to change one's neighbours.


Mr Zardari was hopeful that the international community would soon realise the imperative need for bringing the dispute to a close in a fair and acceptable manner. However, considering India's present state of unreasonableness and its aggressive attitude, it is necessary for the government to become active at the diplomatic level. Relying on public statements would not bring the subcontinent any nearer to a political solution.

Senator McCain is wrong again: Illegal Drone attacks only create more militants

The drones attacks are illegal, a total violation of the UN Charter. As such they are a war crime. The murder of civilians in a sovereign country is barbaric which does not conform to the high ideals on which this great country was formed.

The is what Senator McCain said.

The use of drone strikes against suspected Islamist militants in Pakistan is an effective part of US strategy and should continue, Republican Senator John McCain said Thursday.

His comments came after Al-Qaeda reportedly said an attack on a US base in eastern Afghanistan which killed seven CIA agents was to avenge drone strikes that have killed prominent militants.

"The drone strikes are part of an overall set of tactics which make up the strategy for victory and they have been very effective," McCain told reporters during a brief trip to Afghanistan.

Drones had "knocked Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups off balance and they have been successful, and we are working more closely with the Afghan government as well as the Pakistan government to make those operations more efficient and less damaging to the civilian population," McCain said.

"I think it should continue, I think it's an important tool in our overall strategy and we can claim measurable success in carrying out those operations."

The US is a nation of laws, not men. The illegal operations have caused more than a 1000 civilian deaths, five time that number of casualties, and affected a hundred times that number. Drones only create more Anti-Americanism. Terrorists can be nabbed by means other than drones.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Refuting Mr. M.J. Akbar’s Pakistanphobia

There are many types of attacks against Pakistan. There are the Bharati (aka Indian) sponsored and armed TTP mercenaries who blow up innocent civilians and attack the Pakistan Army. The bloody attacks attempt to create pessimism and despair.

The other attacks are direct and veiled threats that come from Bharati (aka Indian) military leadres like General Kapoor and from Bharati politicians like Mr. Modi, Adhvani etc.

However the most insidious attacks on Pakistan come from so called "journalists" who are paid to assassinate the Pakistani ideology, tarnish the Pakistani icons, and put a bad spin on any and every event that happens in Pakistan.

Mr. Akbar's writings stink of Pakistanphobia, and the stake stench affects young minds who grow up in India--with Mr. Akbars distorted view of Pakistan. This patronizing Akbarist groupthink is what keeps South Asia in penury.

M. J. Akbar is one of those pugnacious Indians who makes his living berating Pakistan. All his columns, wheter discussing Kashmir or global warming end up in a rhetorical diatribe against Pakistan, its leaders and its "raison de etre". Propagandists like Mr. Akbar live in their own cacoon world, in their own fake sense of reality. These Indian Orientalists have learened well from their British master the Orientlaists. Their typical weapon is to first demonize Pakistan, paint them in a certain manner, and then proffer a solution based on the false image.

This is what we wrote about him several years ago when he was fired from Asia Tribune:

"Individuals have options. They can either succumb to commercial interests, or become opinion makers and a change agents. Some sign Faustian deals to rise the ladder of success. Others do not. Some can use the power of the pen to reduce bigotry, and international tensions. He could have been an international writer and columnist. He has chosen to be critic-extraordinaire of Pakistan. Mr. M. J. Akbar is not that visionary. His agenda is simple–make money, on the backs of a perceived enemy.

He doesn’t care, that his animus creates hatred and is responsible for lives lost. Mr. Akbar could have created unbiased reporting in Indian journalism. He did not. He jumped on the bandwagon of chauvinism, contemptuousness and xenophobia. As a result most of the “Indian” media ports more views and news, the main theme—impending doom for Pakistan.

One can imagine his obituary—”known for his anti-Pakistan rhetoric” and “below the belt hits on Muslim separatism.”

Astonishingly, he discusses “democracy” as a theme in all his writings but does not respect the Muslim electorate that created Pakistan. His bias is so clear on Kashmir, Siachin, Sir Creek and every illegal act committed by his government. He calls Pakistan a “theocracy” without understanding the facts and figures of Pakistani politics. Amazingly he either doesn’t know about the lack of support for Islamic parties in Pakistan, or doesn’t mention is to score points with his Hinduvata buddies which help him sell his books.

M.J. Akbar aka, Mobashar Jawed Akbar is one of the idle hands that can type. This does not make him worth reading, unless of course one is into self flagellation. Mr. Akbar, congratulations on getting fired from the Asia Tribune. Now two other firings are waiting for you.

Your 15 minutes of fame are over. It is only so long that your anti-Pakistani rhetoric can sell. After a while it becomes stale. It is a rarity when Mr. Akbar does not berate Pakistan in any of his articles. Whether he is discussing the internal happenings of the Indian elections, or a discussion of religion, Mr. Akbar makes it a point to unleash his venomous tirade against Pakistan. Mostly without reason.

He does indulge in some verity in his book on Gandhi, quoted on this site, but he quickly slips into his comfort zone—lambasting Pakistan, Jinnah, and everything Pakistani.

I guess he wants to be more Catholic than the Pope and prove his “Indian-ness” to his readers. Why would authors sell their souls to be commercially viable.

It is sad coming from a person whose name is Akbar, but one is not surprised he writes what sells in “Indian” papers.

He is acerbic, has peripheral knowledge about the Muslim point of view in the history of the Subcontinent, and is not balanced. He does not even have the decency to respond to letters written to him."

Mr. Akbar has been writing his nonsense for decades. Anti-Pakistanism is his passport to corporate--which in 1971 was hungry for "Hindu mind with a Muslim name". While Mr. Mobashar Jawed Akabar has a Muslim name  he hides the Muslim names under the initials M.J. His thoughts and his actions might as well be those coming from Nehru. An apologist for the Nehru dynasty he cherry picks quotes and doles them out to Indians as fact. His most notable misquote is about Iqbal. While ignoring Israr e Khudi, Bal e Jibreel, Shikwa and Jawab Shikwa and Dr. Iqbal's entire body of knowledge in favor of a Muslim nationhood, Mr. Akbar chooses to portray the impression that Iqbal somehow was an Indian.

Mr. Akbar is typical of the RSS and BJP viewpoint on Pakistan--it should not have been, it should not be, and it is going away. The likes of Mr. Akbar have never reocgnized the existence of Pakistan--they never will--only a casket will shut down his racist Pakistanphobia (may he live long and prosper).

There is still time for Mr. Akbar, but experience has shown that people like him do not change. Hubris, ego and a false sense of righteousness stand in the way of humility, humbleness and the right path.

Let us take his current article on Kashmir--which also ended up his his usual claptrap against Pakistan.

His tall claim of "India has accepted the fact of Pakistan" flies in the face of six years of Indian belligerence, war, and sabotage against Pakistan which goes on as we read this article. Of course the statements of Indira Gandhi "NWFP belongs to India and Punjab is along the way" narrated by Henry Kissinger destroy the credibility of of MR. M.J. Akbar.

In his current artilce on Kashmir, India, Pakistan and peace he attempts to place the "Two Nation Theory in the lap of Quaid e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah--forgetting the Hindu (Haldiram, Sarawarkar, and Golwalkar) origins of the Two Nation Theory as espoused by the Shuddi (conversion of all Muslims) and Shangram (expulsion of all Muslim) movements of the 40s.

As an Indian apologist, he tries to gloss over the fact that India now claims that the "Article of Accession" of Kashmir is now lost, if it ever existed. He also does not mention the fact that Indian forces had already gone to Kashmir, before the Raja of Kashmir left Srinagar.

Balakanizing Pakistan is an ideal of not only the blatant Pakistanphobes like Bharat Verma. Self-hating Islamphobes like M.J. Akbar wants to push Kashmir and the rest of Pakistani provinces into the fate of Sikkim. Instead of making Pakistan stronger, this non-practicing non-religious man has spent a lifetime trying to weaken the "Qila of Islam" (Islam's fortress. Mr. M.J. Akbar is doing the work of Lord Clive and Mir Sadiq and Mir Jaffar. He thus promotes a three nation, a four nation and five nation theory for Pakistan--but does not shed any linght on the more than 100 nations that have been subjugated by Delhi and who yearn for liberty and freedom.

Mr. Akbar focuses on terror but forgets to recall Bharat's role in the creation of, arming of, training of more than 80,000 Hindu soldiers for the Mukti Bahni (Source General Manekshaw). Mr. M.J. Akbar also forgets to mention the fact that Bharat was behind the creation of the most cruel terror group on the planet-- the LETTE--unleashed on the Sinhalese Buddhists of Lanka. Mr. Akbar also glosses of Indian support for the TTP terrorists, and the  murderers of the BLA.

Mr. Akbar mention the "idea" of Pakistan, but does not mention that Bharati RAW is behind the battering, and his writings are in the forefront. He doesn't mention that the demand for 50 states is just an excuse to seek independence from Delhi. He does not mention the fact that there are 89 insurgencies raging in almost every state of Bharat. How well do Bharatis get along with each other?

Bharat is a failed state by any measure--75% of the population lives under $2 er day. 450 million Dalits are untouchable. 10 million baby girls are murdered before and right after birth because they are not male. Half the population of Mumbia, Delhi, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Benaras, Kolkota etc live, procreate, are born on and die on the sidewalks. To add insult to injury the cities have institutionalized the renting of asphalt and the city charges rent to generations of Bharatis who have been raised on the footpaths. All this while Delhi purchases an obsolete rusty Aircraft carrier for $2 Billion and hundreds of Flying Coffins worth billions of Dollars. Some democracy and some country!

Mr. Akbar discusses the origins of the word India from the Indus, and forgets to mention the absurdity of naming a country after a river in another country. If Dlehi had any sense it would name the country Ghanghia (after the Ganges).

Mr. Akbar's most laughable claim is when he says that it took five decades os struggle to grant Indians their independence, and it took only 7 years to create Pakistan. Nonsensical circular logic. Mr. Akbar also forgets to mention that it was a joint Hindu-Muslim struggle against the British. One would have to show him the charter of the Indian national Congress when it was formed 125 years ago--it was a British Club to perpetuate the empire.. One would have to remind Mr. Akbar that Mr. Gandhi was "the recrutier in Chief" for the British Empire--sending youth from South Asia as cannon fodder in defense of the empire.

If Mr. Akbar can quote anyone, it should be Prophet Mohmmad, the Caliphs, or Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

Come forward as servants of Islam, organise the people economically, socially, educationally and politically and I am sure that you will be a power that will be accepted by everybody. Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Pakistan not only means freedom and independence but the Muslim Ideology which has to be preserved, which has come to us as a precious gift and treasure and which, we hope other will share with us.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah

"Our object should be peace within, and peace without. We want to live peacefully and maintain cordial friendly relations with our immediate neighbours and with the world at large." Lahore, August 15th, 1947

“My message to you all is of hope, courage and confidence. Let us mobilize all our resources in a systematic and organized way and tackle the grave issues that confront us with grim determination and discipline worthy of a great nation.” Eid-ul-Azha Message to the Nation, October 24, 1947

“You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of Islamic democracy, Islamic social justice and the equality of manhood in your own native soil. With faith, discipline and selfless devotion to duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve.” Address to the officers and men of the 5th Heavy Ack Ack and 6th Light Ack Ack Regiments in Malir, Karachi, February 21, 1948

“That freedom can never be attained by a nation without suffering and sacrifice has been amply borne out by the recent tragic happenings in this subcontinent. We are in the midst of unparalleled difficulties and untold sufferings; we have been through dark days of apprehension and anguish; but I can say with confidence that with courage and self-reliance and by the Grace of God we shall emerge triumphant.”
Speech at a Mammoth Rally at the University Stadium, Lahore, October 30, 1947
“We should have a State in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of Islamicsocial justice could find free play.”
Address to Civil, Naval, Military and Air Force Officers of Pakistan Government, Karachi
October 11, 1947

“We must work our destiny in our own way and present to the world an economic system based on true Islamic concept of equality of manhood and social justice. We will thereby be fulfilling our mission as Muslims and giving to humanity the message of peace which alone can save it and secure the welfare, happiness and prosperity of mankind” Speech at the opening ceremony of State Bank of Pakistan, Karachi
July 1, 1948

Gandhi was condemned by the 109th Congress of the United States of America for his racist bigotry. This was just a few years ago–they took into account his entire life.

Gandhi was criticize by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee and refused a Nobel Peace Prize which it thought Mr. Gandhi did not deserve. It was a few weeks before his death. They scrutinized his life.

Gandhi achieved nothing–the British were going to leave South Asia anyway–just like they left Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma, and Lanka (no Gandhis there!!!).

Dalits don’t hate Gandhi because of his stick–they hate him for many many reasons–the one most important to them is that he did not outlaw the Caste system and kept them enslaved and Untouchable. That is why they never call themselves “Harijans”.

Gandhi like Akbar was  wrong on many counts—on Dalits, brining religious symbols to Bharat, drumming out Muslims from INC, brining in bigots like Patel into the INC, allowing Patel to take over Hyderabad, killing 29,000 Indian National Army soldiers, assassinating Bose, asking Indian government to wage war on Pakistan, etc etc

Dr. Ambedkar, who told him: “Gandhi is the greatest enemy the untouchables have ever had in India.”

Subhash Chandra Bose’s Daughter about Gandhi: Very often Gandhi is portrayed as a saint, which he was not at all. In my opinion he was a very shrewd politician. He was a lawyer who really knew how to work the system and manipulate people in a positive sense. He certainly made my father resign as Congress president

It was not the fifty year old struggle hedonism in the Ashrams, or Gandhi's salt antics that convinced the British to leave South Asia it was Direct Action, and the Indian National Army of Subash Chandra Bose. The countrywide opposition to British rule in which the Indian personnel of the three armies participated, crowned by the naval mutiny, was the direct cause of the decision to transfer power. ”

This is the condition of Akbar's India.

The 1991 census figures show there were 3.45 percent dalits in the household sector, 7.11 percent in non-household industry (meaning factories), and 3.12 percent in the construction industry.http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=32667

The reports by Indian Committees are usually do not depict the horrid conditions on the ground. Even the meagre gains are being opposed by the Bigoted racists who want to keep the malichs out of the mainstream

Khandwa, Dec 25 (PTI) Vishwa Hindu Parishad has said they would launch a country-wide agitation if the Centre implements the Ranganath Mishra Commission report, which has recommended reservation for minorities.

VHP will strongly oppose the implementation of Ranganath Mishra Commission, which has recommended 10 per cent reservation for Muslims and five per cent for Christians, International General Secretary of VHP, Pravin Togadia, told reporters here last evening.

“If this was done, an agitation would be launched on the issue throughout the country,” he saidhttp://www.ptinews.com/news/440319_VHP-will-oppose-Ranganath-Commission-report-s-implementation

The 450 million Dalits are not allowed into homes–read the international and Arundhati Roy’s reports on the matter.

Indians evicted out their only military base outside India in of Ayini-Tajiksitan: Can they return?

Regular readers of Rupee News are fully aware that we have been tracking the Ayini base since its inception. Indian terror base in Farkhor Tajikistan exports sabotage to China, Iran and Pakistan. This article not only traces the history, it also tracks the current situation.

On July 30th, 2009, we wrote this.

President Zardari made a trip to Dushambe and discussed many issues with the Tajik president. Most of it was reported in the press. One issues that was not mentioned by the press is the Bharati presence in Tajikistan. This has been identified as a huge issue for Pakistan. Bharati jets can take off from Farkhor and reach Pakistan within minutes. The base offers Bharat a bird-eye view of Northern Pakistan and the Migs that are stationed at the base are a direct threat to China and Pakistan. Ambassador Bhadrakumar actually reported that Bharat has two bases in Tajikistan.  India’s two bases in Tajikistan major threat to Pakistan & China!

These Bharati bases are a clear and present danger to China and Pakistan and must be shut down forthwith.

Our fortuitous warning was apparently heeded. Now Peter Lee reports that in September of last year, India’s Ayini base was shut down.

For some years after the demise of the USSR, Delhi was allowed a field hospital in Farkhor in Tajikistan. In typical “give them a foot and they will take a mile” Bharat tried to over reach and set up a base at Ayini. They fixed the runaway and hoped to build a full fledged base—as if it was a Superpower or something. Ayini was much heralded as “India’s first foreign Airbase”. There were dreams that Migs would charge down, from the Ferghana Valley and have the ability to swoop down to Islamabad within minutes. Indian “Defense Analysts” wrote reams about the “Ayini Air Force base”, and how it had strategically altered India’s reach to Central Asia. Almost no security column was written in India without mentioning the great Ayini base.On Christmas Day 2005, Shashank Joshi was chest thumping about India’s bases in Tajiksitan. Little did he know about the eviction notice.

  • In July, reportedly at the behest of a seemingly "displeased" Moscow, Tajik Foreign Minister Hamrahon Zaripov declared that Dushanbe was not negotiating with New Delhi about permitting India a military base at Ayni.
  • Tajikistan, responding to some combination of Russian resentment, Chinese objections, and insufficient bribery, decided to evict 150 Indian military engineers, support staff, and trainers from Ayni
  • In a classic case of overreach, Delhi has tried to set up a base in Mongolia

The eviction of India from Tajikistan is a seminal event for Central Asia—because it cuts Bharat down to size.. It could be pure coincidence but the eviction occurred right after the Russians, Pakistanis and Tajiks announced a Karachi to Dushambe road and rail link. The increased cooperation between Tajikistan and Pakistan was announced during a trip made by President Zardari. It is poignant to note that President Patil of India made a trip soon aft wards in September---but was handed the eviction papers by the president of Tajikistan. Peter Lee in a fascinating article published in Asia Times reveals that the Indians have been evicted from Ayini—this time for good.

In 2006, Hree is the Defence of India on a historical perspective as seen as Mr. Lee:

Up to a point, Russia has been able to enlist India - now firmly committed to the civilization-versus-terror narrative courtesy of its burgeoning partnership with the US - in endorsing this world view.
Russia and India share a convergence of strategic interests in Afghanistan, one that conflicts with China's desire to let the Pashtuns sort things out in their own bloody fashion under the watchful eye of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence.

Russia hopes to leverage the Afghan crisis into an acceptance of Moscow's security leadership by Stans vulnerable to Taliban-inspired Islamic militancy. India recognizes any victory by pro-Pakistan Pashtun factions, Taliban or otherwise, in Afghanistan as a defeat for its efforts to distract and bedevil Pakistan.
This shared interest was reflected in the joint statement of Manmohan and President Dmitry Medvedev, which used the rhetoric of terrorism to preclude negotiating with the Taliban insurgency - the unacknowledged centerpiece of the US strategy to cobble together a political settlement and depart the benighted region.
The communique stated:"[Russia and India] agree that the fight against terrorism cannot be selective, and drawing false distinctions between 'good' and 'bad' Taliban would be counter-productive."
But a meaningful alliance between Russia and India appears to founder on the collision between Moscow's crude anti-diplomacy and India's ineffectual and opportunistic outreach. Their divergence of interests is neatly illustrated in the determined dance of the two powers with the tiny republic of Tajikistan.

Tajikistan borders Afghanistan to the north. The Tajik ethnic group disregards the artificial border and dominates northwestern Afghanistan, including the Ferghana Valley, the legendary bulwark of the anti-Pashtun, anti-Taliban Tajik leader and Russian asset, Ahmad Shah Massoud.

Russia relied on Tajikistan to provide a logistical rear area for its support of the Northern Alliance during the period of Taliban domination. India pitched in by constructing a military hospital at the town of Farkhor in Tajikistan territory a scant two kilometers from the Afghan border. Massoud, mortally wounded by an al-Qaeda hit squad, died at the hospital two days before the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Now, Tajikistan is the new hotspot in the global "war on terror" as it forms the centerpiece of US Central Command commander General David Petraeus' efforts to support the Afghan surge with a new supply route - the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) - bypassing Pakistan - and bringing an ocean of cash, development, graft and trouble to the impoverished mountain republic.
Tajikistan security has deteriorated markedly as militants fleeing the Pakistan government crackdown in Waziristan have found refuge in Tajikistan's vulnerable border regions. Tajikistan's Taliban problems have also been exacerbated by the movement of militants to Afghanistan's previously peaceful northern border districts to attack the NDN.
In addition to the US and NATO, Russia and India sense opportunity in Tajikistan, giving the local boss, Emomali Rahmon, a chance to play off one interested party against the other and settle old scores - and reveal the fragility of the strategic partnership between Russia and India in Central Asia.

After the US-led invasion, India maintained its presence at Farkhor and, in a virtually unreported development, quietly negotiated terms in 2002 for its first significant military base outside India, at the Ayni airport on the outskirts of Tajikistan's capital of Dushanbe.

India's ubiquitous quasi-military Border Roads Organization - which increasingly finds itself operating beyond India's borders in places like Afghanistan - went to work expanding Ayni's runway. Stories were floated to anxious observers in Beijing and Islamabad that India would station helicopters or even MiG fighters at Ayni in order to project its power into the remote corners of Central Asia.
The catch was that Ayni would be operated in rotation by Russia, India and Tajikistan, and the Indian Air Force would be reliant on Russia's good offices and logistical support to maintain its presence.

In 2007, an Indian defense website reported:

The Russians have given India the option of sending a squadron of Mi-17 helicopters to Ayni, with a detachment of pilots and support personnel. With Russia and Uzbekistan just next door, logistics support has been assured. Russia has also offered to build fighter maintenance infrastructure at Ayni with India. The option will be made available to India to base a squadron of MiG-29 fighters at the base, but this will not be in the near future, though the implications of this are huge - Indian fighters can be scrambled at a moment's notice for operations anywhere in the area. With mid-air refuelling support promised by the Russians, their reach will be immense.

But what Russia giveth, it taketh away.

Russia has been eyeing India's rapprochement with the US with considerable jealousy and anxiety. It apparently also covets Ayni (and the runway improved by India) as a platform for its own aircraft, so the Russian-backed security collective, the CSTO, can make a statement of its importance in the suddenly significant northern Afghan theater.
Last September, India apparently tried to bypass its putative partner, Russia, and play its own bilateral hand in Tajikistan. India's President Pratihba Patil paid an unprecedented visit to Tajikistan to talk up potential economic, aid, security links and India's interest in Ayni.

However, reports indicate that Tajikistan, responding to some combination of Russian resentment, Chinese objections, and insufficient bribery, decided to evict 150 Indian military engineers, support staff, and trainers from Ayni.

Russia's desire to demonstrate its leverage over its putative strategic partner seems to have been decisive.
An Indian defense website picked up a report from the News Post India:

"This [Russian pressure] appears to be a ploy for more concessions and indulgence from India," a senior military officer associated with the Central Asian Region said. Its Moscow's way of telling New Delhi not to "stray" into the American military hardware camp, the official told IANS.
India annually conducts defense business of over $1.5 billion [...] with Russia, and since the 1960s has acquired Soviet and Russian military equipment worth over $30 billion.
Over the next decade, military planners anticipate purchases of over $40 billion to replace or upgrade India's predominantly Soviet and Russian defense equipment that have reached collective obsolescence.

Moscow is understandably anxious to encash this potential and is wary of competition from other suppliers, particularly the US, in support of IAF's latest requirement of 126 multi-role combat aircraft.

Alongside, India is deadlocked in delicate discussions with Russia wanting to renegotiate its $85 billion Sukhoi 30MkI multi-role fighter deal by demanding a higher price for the timely delivery of the combat aircraft with the agreed specifications.

In July, reportedly at the behest of a seemingly "displeased" Moscow, Tajik Foreign Minister Hamrahon Zaripov declared that Dushanbe was not negotiating with New Delhi about permitting India amilitary base at Ayni.

As the US demonstrated in its convoluted but ultimately successful (and expensive) efforts to forestall eviction from its airbase at Manas Airport in Kyrgyzstan, even apparently hopeless situations can be turned around through the right combination of concessions to Russia and payoffs to the local potentate.

So India might still find a precarious foothold for its air force in Tajikistan, but it will remain beholden to the support of its unpopular Russian patron for its continued presence.
It is not surprising that Russia's heavy-handed approach to Central Asia security, India's aspirations, and military sales has forestalled a genuine strategic partnership between Moscow and New Delhi that will counter the "soft power" outreach of Beijing through the SCO.

While acknowledging seemingly every international organization that engages India - or, like the SCO, resists India's determined efforts to engage with it - the December Russia-India communique made no mention of Russia's pet geopolitical projects: the European Security Treaty or the CTSO.

However, for the time being New Delhi seems bereft of its own strategy and resources for advancing its independent interests inCentral Asia.
As long as India continues to rely on its equivocal relationship as an auxiliary to Russia and, increasingly, the US in their great power machinations in Central Asia, it is likely that India and Russia will keep spinning their gears as China and the SCO continue to move ahead.
Russia-India ties sour in Central Asia By Peter Lee. Peter Lee writes on East and South Asian affairs and their intersection with US foreign policy.

In 2007, Bharat faced certain eviction as reported by Defense of India

India is likely to be evicted from its sole, albeit fledgling, overseas military facility at Ayni air base near Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe under pressure from Russia, which is concerned over New Delhi's burgeoning ties with Washington.

Senior military officials said the emerging possibility of India looking to Washington and other Western suppliers for military hardware was responsible for Russia "leveraging" its considerable influence with Tajikistan to try and terminate New Delhi's "loose arrangement" regarding Ayni if it declined to be "co-operative".

In 2007, Delhi was able to assuage the fears of the Russian, and gotten itself a stay order. Can it do the same again?

What Lee does not mention are the other important events that are happening in Central Asia.

1) China rail integrates Afghanistan, Tajikistan, & Pakistan. China is known for walking silently and brandishing a big stick. This is a seminal event in the history of their region. This news item did not make a headline in the New York Times or the Washington Post. Very quietly China is beginning to encroach upon Afghanist and and ensuring that it is integrated with the economies of Tajikisan, Western China and Pakistan. Linking Tajikistan and Afghanistan to Gwader is a very strategic step that will pay dividends in the long run. The US has ostensibly spent $15 Billion in Afghanistan, but it has nothing to show for it. The reason is that by US law half of the aid stays in America, and 25% is spent on logistics.

2) Tajikistan-Pakistan relations to be bound by energy road & rail ties. Zardari said rail and road links between the two countries through Afghanistan would open Pakistani seaports giving Tajikistan access to the sea, adding that opening of road links was critical to bringing the countries in the region together and for increasing people-to-people contacts, which would benefit the countries’ economically and socially.A pre-feasibility study of the 1,300-kilometer long road connecting Pakistan with Tajikistan and central Asia through the Durrah Pass had already been undertaken, the president was quoted as saying.Transmission line: President Zardari also emphasized early implementation of the 1,000-kilometre-long power transmission line from Tajikistan to Pakistan, known as the Central Asia-South Asia 1000.

3) Kyrgyzstan Pakistan road link integrates OIC & ECO. Kashgar is no longer a mythical land in some ephemeral country–brought to us by Alama Iqbal’s dream and Chaudhry Rehmat Ali’s vision. Kashgar is the end point of the Karakoram Highway on the Chinese side of the border. It is linked to Pakistan by culture, language, and religion, now in Chinese friendship.Pakistan and China are linked by road and are planning to link up by rail. The road and rail link is being extended to Tajikistan. Now the Kyrgyz government wants to link up with Pakistan. The Pakistan and China link would be extended to Kyrgyzstan and then loop down to hook up with Tajikistan and Pakistan (through the narrow strip of land of Afghanistan). Looping upward it would hook up to the other countries of the ECO and the SCO–the future of Pakistan. Kyrgyzstan is working to establish direct road links with Pakistan through Karakoram Highway to further improve bilateral trade and economic relations between the two countries.

These events bring Pakistan closer to Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and China and integrates their economies like bees in a honeycomb. Bound by geography, culture and hsitory that extends beyond the founder of the Mughal and Muslim dynasties, the countries of the ECO are coming together in ways that were unimaginable a few decades ago. However Chaudhry Rehmat Ali.

Movements across the world are brining the Muslim world together. Some misguided ones are using violent means. Other non-violent ones are threatening others. Pakistani leadership has to grab the mantle and take the ECO to the next level.

Fareed Zakaria’s “Shining ‘India’ “

What most of the world today perceives through the lens of the Indian and western media about Hindustan (Republic of India) is indeed very disturbing. The west befooled by the Indian opinion-makers, like Fareed Zakaria, refers to India as "the emerging powerhouse of the 21st century." In his recent treatise, The Post American World, Fareed Zakaria (true to his Indian roots) has described the great story of our times as 'Rise of the Rest' - the growth of countries like China, India, Brazil, Russia, South Africa and Kenya...and we in Pakistan (courtesy some of our own media channels) think that India is the biggest democracy and the star of South Asia. The media of the West and India, which is being referred as Windia, has become the spin-doctor trying to convince the rest of the world that India should be included in countries that can save the world from the current global economic mess and scourge of terrorism. But the million dollar question is, how is it possible for a country to save the world when it has a population of a billion plus of which 400 to 500 million live below poverty line, when it has more than 100 active insurgencies, when its hundreds of thousands die due to pollution and starvation annually, and when it has militarily intervened directly or indirectly in almost every country in its neighbourhood?

Nevertheless, it is important to mention here that there is a huge difference between poverty in an average country like Pakistan and India. India's poor live in subhuman conditions. Whether it is food or basic shelter, the Indian poor don't have that; almost an estimated one million die due to starvation and malnutrition every year. The people in the poor neighbourhoods of Mumbai and Delhi sleep on footpaths. Moreover, there are timings for this facility; you have to share the footpath space as per the prescribed timings. That is the reason why the poor in India live and die on the roads and footpaths; if in doubt, watch Slum Dog Millionaire. In the same vein, there is severe shortage of basic public facilities (toilets).

Furthermore, the Dalits or untouchables in India were and are treated like animals. The Hindu stratification enshrined in The Dharma is turning the poor in India against its own state. Undoubtedly, the world's biggest insurgencies are active in India. Here, I am mainly referring to the Naxal Republic, the three Ks of Khalistan, Kerala and Kashmir, Gurkhaland and the seven sisters adjacent to and including Assam. Other than Kashmir, the most effective insurgency is the Naxalite movement. As per Wikipedia: "Naxalite or Naxalvadis (name from the village of Naxalbari in the Indian State of West Bengal where the movement originated), are a group of far-left radical communists, supportive of Maoist political sentiment and ideology. In recent years, they have spread into less developed areas of rural central and eastern India, such as Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh through the activities of underground groups like the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

"As of 2009, Naxalites are active across approximately 220 districts in 20 states of India accounting for about 40 percent of India's geographical area, they are especially concentrated in an area known as the 'Red Corridor', where they control 92,000 square kilometres. According to India's intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, 20,000 armed cadre Naxalites were operating apart from 50,000 regular cadres working in their various mass organisations and millions of sympathisers, and their growing influence prompted Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to declare them as the most serious internal threat to India's national security ".

At the same time, India treats its minorities ruthlessly by violating religious and human rights. Kashmir, Babri Mosque, Golden Temple and burning of churches in Orissa by extremist Hindus are a few examples. The non-Hindus are being forced to accept pagan traditions in the name of their practicality and logic. Mysterious rituals, where people are forced to marry frogs and dogs to remove evil curses, are common. In a number of Indian cities there are thousands of monkeys allowed to freely roam and pollute streets, causing solid waste problems and harm to the citizens, all in the name of divinity of Hanuman. Drinking cow urine was religiously followed in the country side, it is now becoming fashionable in Indian elite and their night clubs, a re birth of novo Morar Ji Desaies in the name of Pavitarta and divinity of the holy cow.
Then again, India has another problem of managing its water resources. Indian rivers are the most acidic rivers in the world. As per Lifestyle india.com: "Water pollution is a serious problem in India as almost 70 percent of surface water resources have serious pollution problem and a growing number of ground water resources are already contaminated by various pollutants. Though River Ganga's water has not polluted totally, its pollution has reached a critical point since its water is not fit for bathing or drinking. Over the years, of the 3000 aqua creatures found in the Ganga, only 205 have survived." Surely, the basic reason is their belief of throwing ashes of the dead in the river Ganges.

The major deception being played in projecting Shining India is through the media - Windia. This media projects India as the 'Golden State' and ultimate redeemer of the world. Channels like Zee, Star Plus, BBC, National Geographic, Discovery and Bollywood project the themes of milk and honey flowing through the Ganges River. Some of our Pakistani channels (with the big slogan of 'live and let live'), are dying to project India as the ultimate success story of South Asia, despite all of what happens in India, 80 percent of the news about India appears to be from Bollywood or Indian Cricket. They need to be more objective on India.

Windia's India is like a city with its walls painted with pictures of heaven, but once you enter its gates you realise that you have entered hell. Three cheers for Incredible India, the boggy of Windia. UMAR WAQAR. Not so 'Shining India', Published: January 5, 2010, The writer is a freelance columnist.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ruling “India” by breaking it up into more pieces

In mid-October 1952, an acolyte of Mahatma Gandhi named Potti Sriramulu invoked the tactics of his teacher and went on a hunger strike. The nation of India — at the time just five years old — was still finding shape after centuries of division and colonial rule, with many of its diverse regions clamoring for greater political recognition. Sriramulu's fast came on behalf of tens of millions who, like him, spoke Telugu, a prominent south Indian language, and wanted their own state within the country.

Yet his protest went unheeded for weeks by New Delhi and, 58 days after it began, Sriramulu died, a sacrifice that triggered widespread rioting and eventually forced the government into forming the Telugu-speaking state of Andhra Pradesh in 1953, as well as other new states organized on linguistic lines. No small irony then, that, almost 60 years later, another hunger strike threatens to dismember the state Sriramulu first won, and revive a fierce debate about the nature of the federal Indian nation-state.(See a pictorial history of the tempestuous Nehru dynasty of India.)

Late Wednesday, the Indian government announced it would approve the carving out of a separate state known as Telangana from Andhra Pradesh. The movement for Telangana secession is virtually as old as the Indian republic itself, but it gained traction this month after its main political leader, K. Chandrashekar Rao, commenced a week-long fast. Rao's deteriorating health as well as coordinated protests — some violent — across the 10 districts of Andhra Pradhesh's 23 that comprise Telangana, including the influential high-tech capital of Hyderabad, seemed to force New Delhi's hand. But it could open a whole series of controversies for the Indian government as many other regional movements have now stepped up their own demands for statehood.(See a story about the death that may have precipitated the Andhra Pradesh controversy.)

Though Telugu-speaking as well, Telangana had once been part of a separate kingdom ruled from Hyderabad, which recognized British suzerainty during the colonial period but was not administratively part of British India. It was subsumed into the territory of Andhra Pradesh only in 1956, after a further dismemberment of the once independent Hyderabad kingdom. Though the city of Hyderabad was made the capital of the united Andhra Pradesh state, calls for greater autonomy have lingered, with many in Telangana complaining of marginalization at the hands of the coastal Andhra population.

But if New Delhi imagined it would calm tensions with its nod toward accepting a new state, the move backfired. Dozens of local legislators in Andhra Pradesh have resigned their posts and strikes by those opposing Telangana's secession have paralyzed much of the state. Trains have been blocked, businesses shut down. According to news reports on Saturday, two activists in favor of a "united Andhra" took their lives in protest of the state's splitting. The turmoil has also plunged Hyderabad, a booming, cosmopolitan I.T. hub, into panic as politicians and business leaders fret over the costs of the current instability. "This will be a total flop as investors will flee," says Amruthraj Padmanabhundi, a 27-year-old I.T. professional in Hyderabad. "I am very worried [about] my prospects slipping."

The prospect of Telangana's creation has buoyed similar causes elsewhere as calls for secession echo in nearly a dozen states in India. A four-day strike is under way among the picturesque hills and tea estates of Darjeeling, in northern West Bengal, with protesters intensifying demands for a new state of Gorkhaland that would better address the needs of the area's ethnic Nepalese population. More than 100 activists have begun what they call a "fast-unto-death." On the other side of the country, in the vast desert state of Rajasthan, a caravan of some 5,000 demonstrators and 500 camels paraded into the capital of Jaipur on Friday, agitating for the formation of Maru Pradesh, a state that would be carved out of some of Rajasthan's poorest districts. "Rajasthan is huge. It is not easy to keep track of all the villages, of the development or the lack of it," says Jaiveer Godara, the leading voice of the movement. "The person who lives in the last village of Maru Pradesh has to wait for three days to get supply of water from outside ... [And] there are no roads that lead to his village."(See a story about the 1937 silver jubilee of the ruler of Hyderabad, reputedly the world's richest man, from TIME's archives.)

At the root of this looming crisis lies the still unresolved question of how the world's largest democracy ought best to govern itself. Independent India was at first a patchwork of former British provinces and princely states threaded together into a federal republic. Some of its states remain huge and unwieldy — for example, the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, with its estimated 190 million people, would be virtually tied with Brazil as the fifth most populous country on earth but it would also possess 8% of the world's population under the global poverty line. With a country of India's size and diversity — as well as poverty — there is logic in having smaller states. "It will in fact strengthen [governance] through economic and administrative convenience," says Delhi-based political analyst Paranjoy Guha Thakurta. "India can survive and prosper by breaking up."

The Indian government last fashioned new states in 2000, when three largely remote and impoverished regions were elevated in status. At least two of them — Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand — have shown marked progress since their inception. Small states like Kerala in the south and Haryana in the north, both with populations under 30 million, boast some of India's highest development indicators. Backers of further decentralization even point to the original, idealistic Gandhian vision for India — of a republic brought together not by a strong central government, but an "ocean" of egalitarian and self-sufficient villages.

Of course, that sort of utopianism has little place in the current hurly-burly of Indian politics. Experts worry that new states may simply mean more jockeying for power and expanded bureaucracy in a country already notorious for its spools of red tape as well as its perpetual political horse-trading. "Ultimately, fragmentation is not a substitute for good governance," says C.V. Madhukar, director of PRS Legislative Research, a Delhi nonprofit which advises the government.

Hoping to dampen a few of calls for new and smaller states ignited by the Andhra controversy, New Delhi has dialed back its support for Telangana, insisting that the matter now find a resolution through a vote in the Andhra Pradesh legislature. Given the current tumult, it's unclear when or how such a motion may go through. The political party headed by Rao, the Telangana separatist leader, was trounced both in recent state and national polls. His hunger strike — now ended — and the disturbances organized around it were likely an act of desperation of a movement shorn of much of its real political capital. "Having the government buckle to this kind moral blackmail is not a healthy way to go about things," says Madhukar. "There shouldn't be this sword of Damocles hanging over peoples' heads." A young India may have come of age through such dramatic acts of Gandhian sacrifice, but a more mature nation needs more measured habits. —With reporting by Nilanjana Bhowmick/New Delhi. How to Rule India: Break It Into More Pieces? By Ishaan Tharoor Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1947392,00.html#ixzz0ZgzYpaiL

See a pictorial timeline of events that shaped modern India.

Read "The Insurgency Threatening India's Schools."

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1947392,00.html#ixzz0ZgzNJGMa