Indian Defence Ministry needs to show good governance

Posted by Admin On Friday, 30 March 2012 0 comments
Confused Defence Ministry: stumbling statecraft, security imperilled These two in reality are the core issues: statecraft and national security; that is why they are central to our concerns, also in...

Confused Defence Ministry: stumbling statecraft, security imperilled
These two in reality are the core issues: statecraft and national security; that is why they are central to our concerns, also in part explanatory of the shemozzle that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has made in the discharge of its responsibilities. It is self-evident that there has to be demonstrable good sense in managing public responsibility. Whereafter, axiomatic that a full understanding, due appreciation and timely responsiveness to the ingrained sensibilities of the armed forces must not only be observed, this should be demonstrably so. Then it is also clear that without an effective demonstration of statecraft in confronting the challenges to the state — challenges which are always an inevitable accompaniment of office — good governance will simply not be there. And if these attributes are absent in a government, any government, India’s security will be imperilled. This, too, is an axiom.
Let us briefly recapitulate the sequence of important events in this continuing saga of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) vs MoD as the wags put it. The first sorry episode is, of course, the Chief’s date of birth confusion. It requires no elaboration that no one can be born on two different dates. Without tediously repeating the entire course of events, I am persuaded to believe that this could have been handled with much greater administrative finesse. The Raksha Mantri ought to have, with due grace, accepted what was averred by the Chief. But had the Defence Minister come to the conclusion that the conduct of the COAS was unacceptable, he ought then to have said so and taken all such steps as his high office mandated.
Post the Supreme Court “judgment”, of sorts in reality, the management of the MoD became considerably more complex. It was then that the Prime Minister needed to step in; he is after all the Chairman of the CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security). For the country’s security, the PM, as the head of this apex body, bears full responsibility. The PM, alas, instead chose to make completely non-committal utterances of the most inane variety. The good Raksha Mantri in the meantime concentrated on remaining “good.”
Then, departing from all past traditions of the army, and sound good military order and form, the government, prematurely, and in haste, announced the name of the successor Chief. This was totally unnecessary, for in so doing the government has landed the Chief designate in avoidable and unneeded controversy. He thus starts his tenure with a cloud of controversy around him. Another demonstration of absence of sense resulting in again chipping at national security.
Then came the curious episode of B vehicles known as TATRA, of Czech origin. It would be too tedious to go into all the detailed explanations of how much, for example, a tarpaulin costs in the market and how much the MoD paid for it, whether directly or through BEML (Bharat Earth Movers Ltd). Here the plot really thickened, for the COAS, in an interview broadcast over TV and widely published by the print media, made known to all that he had been offered a “bribe” of some Rs 14-odd crore were he to approve acquisition of some 600 of these vehicles from BEML. Also, that in an outraged frame of mind, he had promptly gone and reported the matter to the Raksha Mantri. So far so good. But really not so good after all for subsequent revelations inform us that the RM, shocked and rendered speechless by all this, chose to sink his head in his hands, presumably in an act of hopeless despair, “good man” that he is.
Well, this was neither any effective demonstration of governance; of meeting the challenge of circumstances, of rising to the occasion, etc, or such other phrases of stock usage, nor of leadership. The RM says he told the COAS to take action or send a report or some such other vague generality. Not good enough, Mr Defence Minister; in reality, too flaccid, too feeble. What then does the COAS do? Well, he just goes back to his office or wherever and does nothing at all until he goes public on it some two months later. This is totally unacceptable conduct.
Let us, however, take it step by step. First, he (the COAS) could have taken no other action but to report to his superior, that is the Raksha Mantri, who it was that should have immediately initiated action. Why this sudden need for a written report, etc? The Chief is unquestionably subordinate to the RM, and as per Army Law, that is where he was obliged to report the matter. The RM’s explanations are ex-post-facto and unsustainable. Is it the RM’s suggestion that reversing responsibilities, he wanted the Chief to give instructions? These failures of sense, sensibility and statecraft begin to further burden our national security.
I do wish to add two thoughts here which my friend and colleague Arun Singh, with whom I have had the great honour, pleasure and privilege of working in the Ministry of Defence, has shared.
In a note, amongst other aspects, he has held: “If the COAS advised inaction, then why did he go to the RM in the first place? Was it, simply, as the navy puts it ‘to clear his yardarm’ and, if so, why didn’t RM disallow such a ‘clearance’ in a matter like this?”
Then a rap on the COAS’ knuckles. “If COAS knew the vehicles were either substandard or over-priced, relative to his General Staff Requirement (the operational guiding principles for all procurements), why did he not instruct his subordinates in Army HQ to reject the supply out of hand? He could not have been faulted for doing so, irrespective of any pressures that may or could have been brought to bear on him from the Department of Defence or the Department of Defence Production, if he was sure of his facts”.
Now consider for a moment the report in Dainik Bhaskar of March 28. It is an alarming news item reproducing the essential contents of purportedly a “Top Secret” letter written by the Chief (some say on March 12) to the PM. This is extremely worrisome and on various counts. The first, of course, is whether there does exist such a letter? Presumably, it does for it has not yet been denied. Then are its contents correct? The Raksha Mantri’s initial responses in Rajya Sabha do not refute the report. This complicates the issue (or issues) immeasurably. Are the contents correct is the very first question, for it is central to national security.
Then, secondly, how has a top secret communication between the Chief and the PM become public? This is a valid query and we do have a right to know. Before we reflect further on the conduct of the COAS, a word, and very briefly on this entire laggard process of our weapons’ procurement procedures and systems. The COAS has rather despairingly commented recently that “the procurement game is a version of snakes and ladders where there is no ladder but only snakes, and if the snakes bite you somewhere, the whole thing comes back to zero.” A stray example would be the acquisition of 75 much-needed Pilatus PC-7 Mk II trainer aircraft, announced last year, currently delayed like so many other procurements before it. Why? Over allegations of irregularities in the bidding process. Worryingly, questions have also now been asked about the Rafale procurement.
We need also to realistically assess, rather re-evaluate our so-termed “indigenous defence industry.” Here, our dreams do not match our achievements, but this is presently not central to our inquiry.
Before I go back to the COAS, a disagreement with and an appeal to the Raksha Mantri. First, you do not act because, you said “you had no report.” Then even though you have no report other than that of visual or print media, you self-satisfiedly announce that even without a report you have ordered a “comprehensive CBI inquiry”.
Mr Raksha Mantri, may I point out, most respectfully, that this is such an egregiously faulty step as to almost be beyond criticism? This grossly compounds earlier mistakes and causes further damage to the principal institutions of the Defence Ministry. Do investigate the whole bribe offer episode, certainly, but please not through the police elements of the CBI. Have you no confidence in your own military courts of inquiry; or examinations by peers of all matters military? Why cause injury and then sprinkle the salt of insult on it? In this, lies a gross failure of appreciating the sensibilities of the armed forces.
Now some words of advice to the COAS, from someone who is almost totally a product, from childhood to now of the army, and who was, besides, commissioned years earlier. The Chiefs of the three services are, of course, individuals, holding their high office for fixed terms, subject to the usual conditions. So have you held office notwithstanding all those age-related conundrums. The office of COAS, Air staff or Naval Staff is greater than the individual occupying it. Try and not overlook this crucial aspect.
Then let me take you to the Drill Square of the IMA, and the haloed Chetwode Hall, through the portals of which thousands of young gentlemen cadets slow march into commissioned service of the Republic. Remember that unerasable inscription of Field Marshal Chetwode’s advice to all those that go through that gateway? “The Honour, Safety, Security of your country comes first always and every time” and so on, in that order of priority ‘of the men that you command’, and ‘your own last’ always and every time.” Apply this simple, (or not so simple) yardstick, now as your career in the army draws to its close: “Has your conduct of the last several months been in harmony with that hoary injunction, or even with the great and distinguished service that you have yourself rendered to the country for all these years?”
With the Hon’ble PM and the Hon’ble RM, both very good men, I share Lord Halifax’s sneeringly patrician remark: “State craft is a cruel business, good nature is a bungler at it”.
Believe me, my good sirs, the nation is weary of your “good nature,” we crave for “good governance.” Can you now, please, for a change do just that?

“Guardian angels” for US forces in Afghanistan

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Soldiers will guard sleeping comrades in Afghanistan U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan have assigned “guardian angels” — troops that watch over their comrades even as they sleep — and have...

Soldiers will guard sleeping comrades in Afghanistan
U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan have assigned “guardian angels” — troops that watch over their comrades even as they sleep — and have ordered a series of other increased security measures to protect troops against possible attacks by rogue Afghans.
The added protections are part of a directive issued in recent weeks by Marine Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, to guard against insider threats, according to a senior military official. And they come in the wake of a spike in attacks on U.S. and coalition forces by Afghans, including the point-blank shooting deaths of two U.S. advisers in Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior.
Some of the changes have been subtle, others not so much.
In several Afghan ministries, Americans are now allowed to carry weapons. And they have been instructed to rearrange their office desks there to face the door, so they can see who is coming in, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the internal directive.
While Allen did not detail the new measures in a briefing earlier this week, he acknowledged that changes had been made.
“We have taken steps necessary on our side to protect ourselves with respect to, in fact, sleeping arrangements, internal defenses associated with those small bases in which we operate,” Allen said, adding that now someone is “always overwatching our forces.”
The security measures came after the U.S. military mistakenly burned Korans and other religious materials in February, triggering anti-American demonstrations and riots. And on Feb. 25, two U.S. military advisers were gunned down at their desks in one of the most heavily guarded ministry buildings in Kabul.
As a result of the shootings, more than 300 advisers were pulled out of the Afghan ministries. So far, several dozen have returned, but many will not go back until additional security measures are put in place by the Afghans.

War fever circulating Iran

Posted by Admin On Thursday, 29 March 2012 0 comments
In his important article in the New York Times on March 17, 2012, James Risen summarised the remarkable consensus of the intelligence community in the United States that Iran abandoned its programme...

In his important article in the New York Times on March 17, 2012, James Risen summarised the remarkable consensus of the intelligence community in the United States that Iran abandoned its programme to develop nuclear weapons in 2003 and no persuasive evidence exists that it has departed from this decision.
It might have been expected that such news – based on the best evidence on which billions was spent due to sensitive security issues – would produce a huge sigh of relief in Washington and Tel Aviv. On the contrary, it has been totally ignored, including by the highest officers in the government, and the opposite reality has been confirmed.
The US president has not even bothered to acknowledge this electrifying conclusion that should have put the brakes on what appears to be a slide toward a disastrous regional war.
We must insistently ask “why” such a prudent and positive course of action has not been adopted or at least explored. And we must tentatively answer that there must be some reason other than the supposed fear of Iran possessing a few nuclear bombs that explains the war fever, but what?
No credible evidence
Given that the American debate and Israeli pressure proceeds on the basis of the exact opposite assumption – as if Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons is a virtual certainty. The contrary finding that it is a high probability that Iran gave up its quest of nuclear weapons almost a decade ago is quite startling and is opposed by no credible evidence.
Listening to the Republican presidential candidates or Netanyahu and even to President Obama makes it still seem as if Iran is without doubt hell-bent on having nuclear weapons at the earliest possible time.
With such a misleading approach, the only policy question being posed – and it is a false one – is whether to rely on diplomacy backed by harsh sanctions to achieve the desired goal or that only an early attack to stop Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold. Because Obama prefers for now the diplomatic option he is presented by supporters as a “moderate” and criticised by the extreme war hawks as an “appeaser”.
It seems perverse that this public debate on policy toward Iran should be framed in such a belligerent and seemingly wrongheaded manner. After all, the US was stampeded into a disastrous oil-driven war against Iraq nine years ago on the basis of deceptive reports about its supposed stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, trumped up exile allegations and media hype.
I would have assumed that these bad memories would make Washington very cautious about drifting toward war with Iran, a far more dangerous enemy than Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
It would seem that at present, the politicians are distrustful of reassuring intelligence reports and completely willing to go along with the intelligence community when it counsels an unlawful and imprudent war as “a slam dunk”.
Reinforcing this skepticism about Iran’s nuclear intentions is a realistic assessment of the risk posed in the unlikely event that the intelligence community’s consensus is wrong and Iran after all succeeds in acquiring nuclear weapons.
As former heads of Mossad and others have pointed out the existential threat to Israel even then Iran’s threat would still be minimal. It should be obvious that Iran’s few bombs could never be used against Israel or elsewhere without producing an annihilating response. There is absolutely no evidence that Iran has any disposition to commit national suicide.
There is a further troubling aspect of how this issue is being addressed. Even in the Risen article it is presumed that if the evidence existed that Iran possesses a nuclear weapons programme, a military attack would be a permissible option.
Such a presumption is based on the irrelevance of international law to a national decision to attack a sovereign state and a silent endorsement of “aggressive war” that had been supposedly criminalised back in 1945 as the principal conclusion of the Nuremberg Judgment.
Better policy options
This dubious thinking has gone unchallenged in the media, in government pronouncements and even in diplomatic posturing. We need to recall that at the end of World War II when the UN was established, states agreed in the UN Charter to give up their military option except in clear instances of self-defence. To some extent, over the years, this prohibition has been eroded, but in the setting of Iran policy, it has been all but abandoned without even the pressure of extenuating circumstances.
Of course, it would be in some respects unfortunate if Iran acquires nuclear weapons given the instability of the region and the general dangers associated with their spread. But no persuasive international law argument or precedent is available to justify attacking a sovereign state because it goes nuclear.
After all, Israel became a nuclear weapons’ state secretly decades ago without a whimper of opposition from the West. And the same goes for India, Pakistan and North Korea’s acquisition of weapons which produced only a muted response that was soon dropped from sight.
There are far better policy options that are worth considering, which uphold international law and have a good chance of leading to enhanced regional stability. The most obvious option is containment that worked for decades against an expansionist Soviet Union with a gigantic arsenal of nuclear weapons.
A second option would be to establish a nuclear weapons free zone for the Middle East, an idea that has been around for years and enjoys the endorsement of most governments in the region, including Iran.
Israel might seem to have the most to lose by a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East because it alone currently possesses nuclear weapons. And Israel would benefit immensely by the reduction in regional tensions and probable economic and diplomatic benefits, particularly if accompanied by a more constructive approach to resolving the conflict with the Palestinian people.
The most ambitious and desirable option, given political credibility by President Obama in his Prague speech of 2009, expressing commitment to a world without nuclear weapons, would be to table a proposal for complete nuclear disarmament on a step-by-step basis.
Each of these approaches seem far preferable to what is now planned, prudent, accord with common sense, show respect for international law, a passion for the peaceful resolution of conflict and at minimum, deserve to be widely discussed and appraised.
As it is, there is no legal foundation in the Non-Proliferation Treaty or elsewhere for the present reliance on threat diplomacy in dealing with Iran. These threats of a military attack violate Article 2(4) of the UN Charter that wisely prohibits not only uses of force, but also threats to use force.
Iran diplomacy presents an odd case, as political real politik and international law clearly point away from the military option and yet the winds of war are blowing ever harder.
Perhaps, it is naïve to expect political leaders in the West to awake and realise finally that respect for international law provides the only practical foundation for a rational and sustainable foreign policy in the 21st century. This is highly unlikely to happen until American leaders can conceive of security outside the military box that has so often in recent years led to disaster for others and failure for the militarists.

Are we preparing for the third world war?

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It seems that 2012 onwards, the world is on the brink of Third World War. All sane and peace loving men would pray that it is averted. For, the horoscope...

It seems that 2012 onwards, the world is on the brink of Third World War. All sane and peace loving men would pray that it is averted. For, the horoscope of the times, points towards a global catastrophe in the making. The guns of August 1914 – First World War – paled in front of the Panzer Blitzkrieg of September 1939 – Second World War. The Third World War during the Cold War was averted between the Nato and the Warsaw Pact forces. If a war breaks out in 2012 onwards, nukes shall speak and, tragically, billions may die; it will most likely be global. This apocalyptic scenario may yet come to pass, unless it is stopped in its tracks.
Opposing alliances: The US globalists-led Nato still wants to dominate the world, despite the disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is not only that the Western world’s global dominance stands challenged, but also the march of history may be reversed. Since the 1500s scientific discoveries, industrialisation, political revolutions, colonialism, and technological ascendency, the world has been controlled by Western powers. The British Empire, Napoleon’s France, Hitler’s Germany and, more recently, the US have all been part of the Western world’s bid for global hegemony or control.
Now the West is really in decline. The USA – the great power and land of mass production – faces economic stagnation, if not full decline. The EU faces its own economic predicament. Against this backdrop, some Europeans and Americans find the idea of a powerful Germany leading Europe as unacceptable, so far. The two wars were fought – among other reasons – mainly to prevent Germany from its rightful place under the sun. An intra-European conflict may be brewing for the leadership of Europe, even as the US-Nato alliance conflicts with the Russia-China dialectic alliance.
The US geostrategy has been embroiled in Afghanistan and Iraq; now it seeks to extend the war to Iran-Pakistan. Of course, the real war is against Russia and China, the opposing alliance. Washington sees China rising, Russia resurgent, Islamic world defiant (with Arab Spring likely to turn anti-West), Israel endangered, besides Western economic decline.
The presidential elections in America are upping the war ante, forcing President Barack Obama to strike Iran. New Delhi seeks Washington’s support to denuke, balkanise, and de-Islamise Pakistan, before USA’s departure from Afghanistan. Meanwhile Israel is straining at the leash before Iran develops the nuclear arsenal. This will change the strategic balance followed by nuclear Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt.
In Afghanistan, the US seeks to retain a 25,000 strong force for the denuclearisation of Iran and Pakistan. It may seek independence of Balochistan (with Indian support). A clash with Pakistan is likely though not inevitable. Delhi wants to use American power to fight Pakistan, but absurdly believes it can escape the nuclear conflagration. The war with Iran is even nearer – perhaps, 2012.
The US and Nato may attack Iran followed by Pakistan or both at the same time. An Israeli attack on Iran is even more likely and Indian attack on Pakistan (Cold Start) always remains a possibility.
Russia and China are allies against the US-Nato geo-strategy (Iran and Pakistan are joining this alliance). China is rising economically, and Russia is resurgent strategically. After Iraq and Afghanistan, they have seen the US-Nato model of regime change in Libya and Syria by sponsoring local militants. In Russia, President Putin accused the US of instigating the opponents of United Russia; in China, it used India to ferment trouble in Xinjiang, Tibet etc. All this is unifying the alliance of Heartland powers Russia-China and Rimland state actors Iran-Pakistan into anti-US-Nato alliance. But the events are moving too fast! The Mayan Prophesy of 2012 as a ‘catastrophic year’ approaches. The US-Nato-India clash with Pakistan or US-Nato-Israel clash with Iran will lead by default or design to a multi-regional war.
The combined geopolitical space of Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran-Iraq backed by Russia-China is beyond the US-Nato reach. A war against Iran could be catastrophic, but against Pakistan it could be dooms day! In fact, a war against Pakistan is very complicated plus suicidal!
Firstly, Pakistan is neither threatening, nor attacking anybody. It is on high moral ground, despite USA’s propaganda about the security of its nuclear arsenal.
Secondly, Pakistan will defend itself at any level – sub conventional (asymmetrical), conventional (armed forces), above conventional (nuclear –WMD).
Thirdly, Pakistanis are united to defend the motherland and fight the foreign invaders. The people and political parties want an end to the Afghan war and peace in Pakistan.
Fourthly, Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Russia will support Pakistan, despite diverse strategic interests.
Anyhow, the Muslim world would revolt as war with Iran and Pakistan becomes apparent. The initiators of the attack will be burnt by the flames they help ignite themselves (albeit radioactive fires).
Geopolitics of peace is the solution: The US-Nato must relent on Afghanistan; of course, no war with Iran and no interference in Balochistan. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate.
Besides the innocent people of Iran and Pakistan, the people in Europe and USA are being duped by the neocons and globalists. Shocked when the bastion of capitalism, Wall Street came under siege and fearing rapid collapse, war abroad is their illogical choice. Even in Israel, half of the population is against the war. Overall, the good Jewish people, with their historical sense of survival seek peace and security. Pakistan is not anti-Semitic at all, but has deep sympathy with the people in Palestine.
Indeed, peace in the Middle East would be welcome to all. The globalists, however, are adamant to drive the ‘American Titanic’ into the global iceberg. But this war will be self-defeating for all!
A new paradigm shift is needed, rather than beating the drums of war. The Russians have played a great role to deter the US war hawks, aided by the peace-loving Chinese. The Germans and other anti-war Europeans, besides sane people in the US must join hands to abort this global conflagration. Russia’s key role in global peace, security for Israel, no attack on Iran, establishment of the Palestine state, US-Nato exodus from Afghanistan, no interference in Balochistan, return of Kashmir to Pakistan, US-China amity, all have to be part of the geopolitical peacemaking and war avoidance. Indeed, the alternative global nuclear war is too apocalyptic to contemplate.

Kiyani meets with two US commanders in Rawalpindi

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Two US generals met with Pakistan’s army chief on Wednesday in a high-stakes meeting aimed at nudging Islamabad to resume a cooperative relationship with the United States. It was the...

Two US generals met with Pakistan’s army chief on Wednesday in a high-stakes meeting aimed at nudging Islamabad to resume a cooperative relationship with the United States.
It was the first formal discussion among top military commanders since US airstrikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at Afghan border outposts in a hotly disputed attack in November.
Tensions have eased in recent weeks, following outreach by the Obama administration. President Obama made a personal overture toward normalizing what he called the sometimes strained alliance Tuesday, during a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in Seoul, where both leaders were attending an international summit on nuclear security.
The Nov. 26 border airstrikes intensified already furious public opposition to any continued Pakistani support for the US-led effort to defeat a Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.
On Wednesday, Pakistan’s powerful army chief of staff, General Ashfaq Kayani, convened talks in the city of Rawalpindi with General James Mattis, who oversees US military operations in the region, and General John Allen, commander of the US-led coalition in Afghanistan.
Although no agenda was released, a chief concern of the US military is whether Pakistan will once again allow NATO supply convoys to use a route that crosses its border to transport supplies into Afghanistan.
In retaliation for the airstrikes – which the United States said were accidental but Pakistan called deliberate – Pakistan not only shut down that crucial transit route but also banished US personnel from an air base used in the CIA’s drone campaign against Al Qaeda and other militants in the country’s northwestern tribal region.
A military official here who spoke on the condition of anonymity characterized the visit by Mattis and Allen as very important and said the discussion would involve “how to get back to complete normal relations.’’
Another official with knowledge of the talks said they included improving cross-border cooperation between the two militaries.
The meeting comes in the midst of a Pakistani parliamentary debate meant to reset the terms of Islamabad’s relationship with Washington. The United States has relied to varying degrees on its alliance with Pakistan since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Pakistan is apparently insisting that the United States must stop drone strikes in Fata and has offered to use its own air force to destroy militant hideouts, diplomatic sources told...

Pakistan is apparently insisting that the United States must stop drone strikes in Fata and has offered to use its own air force to destroy militant hideouts, diplomatic sources told Dawn.
“They say they are willing to use the F-16s to bomb the hideouts,” a senior diplomatic source said. “They want the drone strikes to halt.”
According to these sources, Pakistan has proposed that whenever the Americans want to bomb a particular militant target inside Fata, “they should pass on the information to them and they will bomb the target for the Americans”.
The US media, however, are reporting that the United States also has sent a set of proposals to Pakistan to settle this dispute.
The proposals include an offer to give Pakistan advanced notice of drone strikes and implement new limits on the types of targets.
Pakistan is believed to have rejected the proposals.
Both sides have clearly defined positions on the use of this unmanned technology which the Americans say has killed many terrorists. The Pakistanis agree but they point out that the drones also have killed many civilians and want them stopped.
Senior Pakistani diplomats, who have stayed engaged with their American counterparts on this issue, admit that the US and Pakistan need to find “a meeting point” to resolve this dispute.
But they also acknowledge that it is difficult to find “a meeting point” when each side is convinced that they “need to stick to their positions to protect their national interests”, as a senior Pakistani diplomat said.
American experts, who spoke to the media on this issue, said that the Pakistani government minimised its options by taking the dispute to parliament. “No parliament can allow an external power to bomb targets inside its own territory,” one such expert said.
Bruce Riedel, who drafted the Obama administration’s first Af-Pak policy, said that the United States would not accept the Pakistani proposal to let it carry out the attacks.
Pakistan wanted to go back to the “Reagan rules — the way the CIA operated with the ISI against the Soviets … We give them a big cheque, and they make every decision about how that is spent”, he told AP.
“Minimal American footprint in country, or involvement in actual fighting the bad guys.”
The US could no longer trust the ISI to fight this war for them after finding Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani military town, he said.
OBL’s discovery in Abbottabad showed that “the ISI was either clueless or complicit,” Mr Riedel said.

Who will make US follow Endgame?

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What can’t the US do to us… The world is being sucked into a vortex of embattlement and warring. The first experiment of this ‘war’ is being conducted on Pakistan....

What can’t the US do to us…
The world is being sucked into a vortex of embattlement and warring. The first experiment of this ‘war’ is being conducted on Pakistan. The interesting thing is while the aggressor is the US, the aggression is emanating from all Pakistani quarters. Our leaders, government officials, public representatives, religious politicos, or any one for that matter doesn’t refrain from rapping on the US while the US is taking all this huffing and puffing with patience and assuring that we will take care of Pakistan’s grievances. But our representatives have mistaken the patience of the US representatives for something else and are putting demand after demand in front of them thinking that now the US is in our clamp, we should milk it for all it’s worth.
Whichever determined hero I talk to, they all claim with single-minded confidence that “the US cannot exit Afghanistan without our help.” This means that we have convinced ourselves that the US indeed does want to leave Afghanistan and that these people believe that the US will stick to the timetable it has given for leaving Afghanistan. But who will make the US follow this timetable? Who? The maulvi sahiban who are out to ‘defend’ Pakistan? Will they make the US scoot? Will the Jamaat-e-Islami take care of the US like it took care of India in East Pakistan? Or will it be our media crusaders who don’t like hearing the name the US but are ever-willing and ever-waiting for invitation to tours to the very same country? When I hear the yammering of such people, I say “We’ll show the US by not taking their money.” But even that doesn’t happen. We threaten the US, try to intimidate it but we also keep asking for dollars. The interesting thing is that the US is also taking the bait to an extent.
Those who think that the US will attack us directly are bound to be disappointed. Military action is always taken where other options are not available. In the past decade or so, the US and its allies have taken formal military action against three countries; these attacks and invasions were conducted on countries where no other options were available.
The first such military action was in Afghanistan. The country is so backward and under-developed, with virtually no economy, infrastructure or functioning society to speak of, that any conspiracy could be enacted there. They neither have industry or a financial system which the US could strangle as leverage. Al-Qaeda had dens all over this administratively anarchic country and was carrying out its plan all around the world from its safe havens here. The US attacked Afghanistan because the country was already too entropic for the US to manipulate through engineering some kind of intrigue or chaos.
The second, Iraq. It was under Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. It had cut off all kinds of trade relations with the US. The Americans weren’t even allowed to enter the country under the pretext of reporting or tourism. If any American was allowed at all, they were kept under strict surveillance. No Iraqi citizen was allowed to have any relations with a US citizen. If an Iraqi was even found to be merely conversing with an American, they would find themselves in a cosy torture cell the very next day. Two-thirds of the staff of an Iraqi embassy was designated to keep tabs on Iraqi diplomats. Iraq wasn’t short on dollars courtesy their earnings from oil exports. No Iraqi was dying of hunger; they would either die a natural death or from that of a bullet from the gun of Saddam’s soldier. Ina country like that, the US had no other option but to directly invade it. They could neither send spies there, nor terrorists. They could also neither send secret agents nor blackmail them by drying up the dollar stream. Thus, the attack.
And then there was Libya. Some time ago, the US had to change the government over there and it was able to make do with just air raids. This is because Qaddafi had lifted the various bans on the US to get American favour. He had also resumed trade ties with them to that end. The Americans were able to come and go freely. Thus, it was very easy to infiltrate the country with US agents. All those people who were exiled from Libya were also brought back. All these people organised and revolted against Qaddafi. Nato’s bombers reduced the Libyan forces to nothing. All of Qaddafi’s military might amounted to naught and he had to die at the hands of his won people. But our situation is possibly even worse than that of Libya’s. If the US ever does decide to move against us, it wouldn’t need any boots on the ground or any fighter jets in the air.
Each thread of the Pakistani economy is inextricably tied to the US. Our forex reserves are in dollars. Most of our exports are to the US and to its allies. A big chunk of our forex earnings comes from these countries. Obviously, these are our earnings but they can be cut off if and when the US so wants. It doesn’t need any new excuse. As long as North Waziristan is present, they will have a readymade pretext to levy sanctions on us. The IFI’s that we are indebted to, if they insist on timely payments on our many many debts, we can be made to default in a matter of minutes. The lifeline that is extended to us sometimes by the World Bank and IMF, that too will not be there. The arms and fighter jets that we got from the US, if we don’t get the tools, parts and money to maintain them and the supply of these is interrupted, these arms and jets will turn into scrap in a matter of four months.
If such a scenario were to play out, all the airs and graces of our ruling elites will have to go. The electricity that we get for a few hours, we won’t even have the money to produce that. There already was little electricity for the loud speakers that our maulvi sahiban shout themselves hoarse through, but it will then be hard to even get batteries for them. We have no ready alternative for all the aid, loans and earning we get from the US and its allies. The anti-US elements in Pakistan have presumptuously made up their minds that China will fill that gap. But is that even a possibility? What we get from China is coming in because the US has never objected to it. We have a recent example: as soon as the US made the slightest indication about its displeasure, China promptly declined to fund the Iran-Pakistan pipeline. It is but to be expected. Why would any country preface its external friendship over its own interests? In China’s mammoth mountain-like economy, our contribution probably amounts to a square foot of grass. Why would the mountain care if that miniscule patch of green flourishes or dries up? On the other hand, the US is a significant trading partner of China and they would never jeopardise their economy which is reliant on the US for Pakistan.
What would we do of the nuclear bombs that we have amassed if the situation that I have just sketched out for you plays out, God forbid? For us, pushing us into the vortex of entropy is enough. We don’t need to be engaged in any war. We need to shelve our delusions of grandeur and get a dose of reality. Those who say that the Afghans ‘defeated’ the US, don’t they see that the US is still occupying Afghanistan? US props are still running the country. It is not Afghanistan that has destroyed the US; it is quite the other way round. The more Afghans resist and try to bleed the US, the more Afghanistan will bleed.
Those talking of the economic problems of the US needn’t worry about that. That country is the home of capital and capital creation. They can revive their economy simply by imposing a war on a country like us. If the mammoth is weakened, the itty bitty bunnies have nothing to be happy about.

Indian Rupee becoming global

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Though the ongoing crisis involving Iran’s nuclear weapons has consumed the minds of many international policymakers in recent weeks, the chillin the U.S.-India relationship has also become a key concern. Indeed,...
Though the ongoing crisis involving Iran’s nuclear weapons has consumed the minds of many international policymakers in recent weeks, the chillin the U.S.-India relationship has also become a key concern. Indeed, even therelatively close relationship between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hasn’t been able to disguise the intractablegeopolitical differences between India and the United States.
India, dependent on the Iran for nearly 12 percent of its oil supplies, refused to cooperate with sanctions and has continued trading with Tehran, to the chagrin of U.S. policymakers. However, through this crisis, Indian policymakers may have found the ideal moment to promote Indian power by ushering in the age of the rupee as a major regional currency.
Until now, India, like other countries has 
 for international trade, including the purchase of petroleum products. As part of the deal to circumvent Washington’s sanctions, India agreed with Iran to pay part of its oil bill in rupees and other goods. The most recent sanctions all but cut off the complicatednetwork of middle-men and banks that India had used to pay Iran.  With a full commitment to use rupees instead, the moment to develop the infrastructure and capacity needed for a global market for rupees may have finally arrived. While this development has been long coming regionally, it will certainly speed up the process. Just last June, the Singapore Exchange announced that they would begin clearing out rupee denominated securities, a step signifying the currency’s gradual rise in importance. The Dubai Commodities and Gold Exchange, meanwhile, announced the creation of a rupee-denominated options contract last September.
The benefits of having a more global rupee would be twofold. First, a strengthened currency could help control the spiraling commodity costs that cripple Indian enterprise. Second, a global rupee would better represent South Asian economic trends on international financial markets, and at global institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Larger businesses would have access to financial instruments, denominated in rupees, which reduce business risk and allow for more cross-border investment.
Of course, talk of an “internationalized” currency from a rising power is nothing new. Back in 2009, the governor of China’s central bank, Zhou Xiaochuan, advocated reducing the world’s dependency on the dollar by creating a new global currency. Since then, while laws regarding renminbi denominated securities have been eased, there are still many restrictions on investors trying to purchase them outside of China. As a result, major money funds have largely stayed away from Chinese securities. The Brazilian real had a similar moment during the “currency war” of 2010, but since then, interest has largely cooled because of the jitters surrounding the European debt crisis.
India’s move into globalizing the rupee could be a smart move for policymakers, and certainly one step in the right direction if they are trying to develop the country’s economic power within the Middle East, South and South East Asia. To this extent, India has several advantages. A large expatriate population in the region can encourage the trading of rupees through existing enterprises and through remittances. For countries such as Burma that are edging away from Chinese power, India’s use of a bilateral trading relationship based around rupee-denominated trade could be the key to promoting enterprise in both countries, and economic growth.
A second method could be through the use of India’s burgeoning aid apparatus. Just as China has actively encouraged the use of the renminbi within countries receiving its development aid monies (such asZambia), India must promote the rupee within its recipient countries. The current international climate is providing a watershed moment for policymakers and the financial industry to build the infrastructure needed to develop a regional trading market based around the rupee. It’s to New Delhi’s advantage to not ignore it.

Ignoring an ignored generation

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Daniel, an 18-year-old from Newham, in London’s east end, has one regret. “I wish there was more time. More time to have shown them what I really could do.” I...

Daniel, an 18-year-old from Newham, in London’s east end, has one regret.
“I wish there was more time. More time to have shown them what I really could do.”
I asked him: “And what exactly did you do?” 
“Enough,” he says slowly. “I did enough in what time I had.” 
I ask again: “What did you do that was enough?”
“I’m not giving you exact details,” he says. 
I respond: “Why not?”
“Because I’m not,” he says. “If I tell you exactly what I did, they’ll get me for it, and they’re never going to get me. But I can tell you I didn’t loot a thing. I wasn’t out to nick a pair of trainers or a telly - it wasn’t about that. But put it this way, I went to bad happy that night. I slept well.”
Daniel, of course, isn’t his real name. He eventually agreed to this interview, but only if his anonymity was protected. We’re talking about the night of August 8, 2011, when he took to the streets as the rest of the world watched London burn.
Seven months on from the worst civil disorder in England for decades, discarded in the gutter is a generation of ignored, angry young people desperately crying out for help. No one gives a damn about them, least of all the British government, who can only lambast them from their secure fortress at Downing Street. Prime Minister David Cameron’s esteemed analysis of the riots was: “This is criminality, pure and simple“.
I am not attempting to become an apologist for those that set out with the intent to destroy and steal from businesses and homes, but this argument is not about stating the obvious regarding criminal behaviour. This argument is about not accepting and calling to account the oh-so-predictable attack from the indulged governing elite, who label our troubled, frustrated youth as “pure and simple criminals” that behave “in the only way they know how to”. I wonder if it has occurred to the privileged, public schoolboys inside Number 10 to step down from their ivory towers and begin to understand why our future generation knows of no other way to express their anger and resentment at their dark, depressing existence, from which many can see no way out.
Ironically, the PM’s following sentence after his declaration of criminality: “It has to be confronted and defeated.” He is absolutely right on that one. David Cameron has a heavy weight bearing down on his shoulders, and the more he continues to ignore it, the more pain it will inflict on him. Our government and society have an urgent responsibility to “confront and defeat” the destructive cycle that a large proportion of our future generation are trapped within, rather than tossing them back into the gutters, desperately hoping that no one will notice.
Back in Newham, Daniel tells me that if I were to live a day in his life, I too would have been out there rioting. He has been unemployed on and off since leaving school, and says there are no jobs where he lives. He talks me through a typical day of getting up late with nothing to look forward to, hanging around on the streets to avoid going insane in his bedroom and being stopped and searched by the police “so many times it all blurs into one”.
Daniel says there is not one day when he is out, as a young black man, that he is not approached and confronted by the police.
“They manhandle me, it‘s always assumed that I’m holding a knife. I’m threatened – unless I hand it over ‘things will get nasty’.”
I ask: “And are you holding a knife?”
“No. I don’t need to, and besides why would I carry one? The amount of times I’m stopped, it would be pretty stupid of me to carry one”.
 “Are you known to the police then? Are you saying it’s because you’re a young, black man that you are harassed?”
“They search me every day, they’re gonna know me aren’t they? I haven’t been perfect forever; I’ll admit that, nothing serious, just fights when I was younger. The fact is we are targets, I’m not asking for sympathy here, I’m not a victim but it’s a different world being a young black guy surviving in a rough part of London. Unless you’re trapped in this life, you’ll never get it, it’s too difficult to explain. The only people that get it are the ones that are in it and they’ve never known anything different”.
Daniel tells me how he desperately wants a different life from the one he has, but admits it won’t change as the toxicity of depression, with a lack of both motivation and opportunities, are too overwhelming to overcome. Thousands like him across London are fighting to survive. They are wilted, parched fish, gasping and gulping the fume-filled air as they struggle to keep their heads out of the murky dark waters that surround them. Eventually there is no alternative for survival, but to surrender to the shark infested depths that await below.
Abusing powers
Under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, police are allowed to stop and search people – without reasonable suspicion – antagonising and aggravating racial profiling in England. Despite insistence from the Metropolitan Police that “it is used mainly to tackle football hooliganism and gang fights” it appears this “legal right” is and has been abused. The latest research from the London School of Economics and the Open Society Justice Initiative shows under Section 60, black people in the UK are 30 times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people.
The 5 days in August report from the Riots Communities and Victims Panel identified ongoing tensions with the police in relation to stop and search. In some instances, these tensions were cited as a motivating factor in the riots, including some of the attacks on the police. The report stated: “Where young law-abiding people are repeatedly targeted, there is a very real danger that ‘stop and search’ will have a corrosive effect on their relationship with the police. As these young men become future parents these negative experiences will be passed on to another generation.”
Interestingly, in terms of motivation for involvement in the riots, the following reasons were given from the rioters:
“The riots were payback to the police.” 
“They never listen to us - they did that day.”
“They wanted to give the feds [the police] a bloody nose.”
“No opportunities, no jobs – why not?”
“[The police] are just the biggest gang on the block – but they weren’t that day.”
As I read through the reasons from those explaining their involvement in the riots, it struck me how similar the responses were to Daniel’s comments, despite him never reading the report. Throughout our interview he tells me repeatedly that the police are, without a doubt, a legalised gang.
“They are the biggest gang going; they rule the whole of London. We’re assumed to be in gangs because we’re black, young, stand on the street – and on occasions wear hoodies – but we’re not going round terrorising people like they are. I’m honestly telling you the truth, I promise you, you wouldn’t believe what they get away with.”
I ask: “Have you ever filmed anything on your mobile to prove this?”
“Tried it, they take it off me and they’ve got back up everywhere, there’s no point running.”
One thing that strikes me about Daniel is that he doesn’t seem particularly angry with the police or government, but is resigned to the fact (in a non-emotional way) that he is never going to be helped or supported to change his life from the one he is currently trapped in. I felt both sadness and anger at the way he was so accepting of this.
The Metropolitan Police did not respond to interview requests about the abuse of Stop and Search under Section 60 and allegations of fraught tensions between police officers and young black men.
Riots ‘will be repeated’
Former government adviser Peter Taylor-Gooby has published academic research warning that futher government cutbacks will result in yet more riots. In his paperRiots, demonstrations, strikes and the Coalition programme, Taylor-Gooby found high unemployment, increasing poverty and privatisation of public services led to increased social disorder.
Taylor-Gooby, a professor of social policy at the University of Kent, examined data from 1980-2005 from 26 developed countries, and found those with the most rapid increases in public spending cuts and poverty were also found in the top third of major civil unrest incidents. The same results were found for job insecurity and reliance on private – rather than welfare state - services.
He told me: “We only have to look at countries like Greece, Italy and Spain and the unrest there to see how those examples support the strongest possible social science evidence that the kinds of changes the UK government is pursuing generate social disorder.”
Moreover, the discussion paper, 
 [PDF], found from the end of the Weimar Republic in Germany in the 1930s to anti-government demonstrations in Greece in 2010-11, austerity has tended to go hand-in-hand with politically motivated violence and social instability. The paper, released by the Centre for Economic Policy Research, examined the extent to which societies become unstable after budget cuts. The results show a clear, positive correlation between fiscal retrenchment and instability.
This coalition government that the UK is lumbered with for the next three years could not be doing any more to fuel the possibility of more social unrest with their current austerity measures. Their number one objective is reducing the deficit, and Chancellor George Osborne clearly has no qualms about slashing £8bn ($12.7bn) from public spending in 2015-16, and a further £7bn ($11bn) in 2016-17. To hell with growth and investment for everything and everyone else.
How can we ensure our future generation ever live in hope, with pirates like these in charge ferociously wielding their swords?
Given the current economic outlook in the UK, I do wonder why our angry youth haven’t rioted more. Vital support networks, such as sure start centres and youth clubs, are no more. In a cruel twist of fate, frustrated teenagers in north London, angry over their youth club closures, predicted riots just days before they happened.
Moreover, how can the socially deprived ever have a chance of going to university with the abolishment of theEducation Maintenance Allowance - introduced to help poorer students fund A Levels? The real reality of attending university is also now nothing but a distant, hazy blot on the horizon – as the government further let down our young people by trebling tuition fees to £9,000 ($14,300) a year.
The latest youth unemployment statistics from the Office of National Statistics show 1.04 million young people aged 16-24 in the UK are now out of work - the highest level for 16 years. Instead of the fortunate, highly educated (at Eton, for many) ministers tackling this, they are now having to plough their energy into mopping up the mess of one of the worst examples of slave labour they could dream up: the workfare scheme.
The central thrust of the 
 is “work for free or lose your benefits”. Needless to say, it has been an absolute disaster, and thankfully many companies, responding to recent public pressure, have realised exploiting our young and adding them to the grinding cogs in their huge corporate wheels equates to slave labour. Even though we all know what the answer is, the Commons work and pensions committee have now launched an inquiry to find out whether the government’s approach to youth unemployment is working.
The deeply unpopular Health and Social Care Bill, savage disability reform, the capping of benefits – and
 [PDF] by the Institute for Fiscal Studies that at least 400,000 more children in the UK will be in poverty by 2015 – all make for devastating prospects for our future generation.
Contrary to popular belief, the main purpose of the riots was, for many, not to loot. The forgotten underclass saw a chance to fight back, to take control and be heard. Sheldon Thomas is a former gang member who was involved in the Brixton riots in 1981. After long spells in prison and finding faith, Thomas founded Gangsline, which offers support and exit strategies for those affiliated with gangs. He told me the riots weren’t about an opportunity to steal a couple of hoodies or a pair of trainers, but about the invisible becoming visible.
“If they want to steal, they will,” said Thomas. “It doesn’t matter whether the shop is open or shut, the riots weren’t about that. Social mobility in the UK is dead. We’re talking about people who are so far below working class they don’t exist, they’re nothing – and when you’re told that and believe that and you have one opportunity to be heard and noticed, you’re going to take it.
“[On] the nights of the riots, the invisible became visible. In a sense it is already too late, but I pray the government will get their act together and attempt to reach out to those who critically need help and opportunities.”
Reading back through the Riots Communities and Victims Panel’s foreword to their research, the final findings of which were published today, I was struck by the following question the panel posed – and answered -  which seemed to support the theories and interviews above.
“Will the riots happen again? The answer is quite possibly ‘yes’. This is why we need to work together to develop ideas which deal not only with the symptoms of the riots but with the deep-seated causes of dissatisfaction beneath.”
But the most poignant sentence I read was this:
“We have also noted a collective pessimism about the future. We were shocked by the number of young people we spoke to who had no hopes or dreams for their future.”
I can’t help but wonder if our government feels the same way.