Rohit Kumar's Views

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Decision Time

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This week in Islamabad, the Government of Pakistan and the international community came together for the first meeting of the Pakistan Development Forum in two years. Just over three months since Pakistan’s devastating monsoon floods, it was a chance for the Government of Pakistan and the international community to take stock of the challenges facing Pakistan. And to set the direction for both Pakistan’s government and the international community in helping Pakistan overcome those challenges and reach its full economic potential.

Britain’s Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell took part in the Forum in Islamabad. It was his third visit to Pakistan since Britain’s new coalition government took office six months ago, and his fourth visit this year. Britain has been speedy and generous in its support for Pakistan. The UK has been at the forefront of the flood response, committing a total of £134 million to provide emergency shelter, food packages and safe water and to help start the reconstruction process with support for farmers and for getting children back to school. The British public has made its support for Pakistan clear, donating a further £64m (Rs 8.5bn) to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal.

The Forum highlighted the massive scale of the challenge that Pakistan faces after this summer’s devastating monsoon floods. The Asian Development Bank and the World Bank presented their damage needs assessment. Their conclusions were sobering. They estimated that this summer’s floods had caused a total of $10bn worth of damage across Pakistan. A minimum of $6.8bn is needed for repair, recovery and reconstruction across all sectors. Most affected are Pakistan’s agriculture and housing sectors. Agriculture and housing losses are estimated at $5bn and $1bn respectively.

Pakistan’s challenge was great enough before this summer’s floods. Pakistan’s population is expected to increase by 85 million by 2030. Pakistan’s working age population is increasing by nearly 10,000 people every day. That is 4 million people every year. For Pakistan to create enough jobs for these people, the economy needs to grow at 8% per annum. Over the past five years, growth has averaged just 4%.

The UK stands ready to increase its support to help Pakistan secure the vibrant, properous and strong future its people deserve. But, as Andrew Mitchell told the Pakistan Development Forum this week, an exceptional package of reforms by the Government of Pakistan is essential to securing this future. Without reforms to increase tax revenue and control public spending, the risks posed by large and persistent deficits – financed through ever greater levels of borrowing – are considerable and debilitating. Inflation is likely to keep rising, and investor confidence – which has fallen 25% this year – will continue to be shaky. All of which would destroy rather than create jobs.

The Government of Pakistan is making some tough decisions and beginning to make progress towards reform. The Reformed General Sales Tax Bill tabled in the National Assembly last week is part of the right approach. Pakistan’s politicians need now to move to agreement and implementation. To build public confidence, it needs to be accompanied by continued measures to tackle corruption and improve the effectiveness of public spending. In order to stay on a positive path to long-term development Pakistan needs to take some tough choices to reform the economy to ensure sustainable economic growth which will reduce poverty and inequality and allow Pakistan to realise its potential.

Finally, at this time of Eid-ul-Azha let me wish you and your families Eid Mubarak.

World response to flood victims disappointing: Clegg

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Online International News Network

SUKKUR : British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on Wednesday underlined that destruction caused by devastating floods in Pakistan is more than our imagination stressing undoubtedly response of International Community towards flood affectees is ‘disappointing’.

British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg expressed these views during his visit to flood hit areas in Sukkur and in a quick chat with flood victims on Wednesday.

The UK’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg during his visit also announced how lifesaving aid from the UK will be allocated while visiting Sukkur.

The aid will be targeted at Punjab and Sindh, and includes 2,330 water pumps/points to provide safe drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people; · 1,150 private bathing facilities, benefiting thousands of people particularly women; Emergency shelter kits for around 30,500 families – provide shelter for more than 152,000 people;·Around 5,000 toilets installed/repaired, for use by some quarter of a million people; Hygiene kits for about 75,000 families, containing for example bath, dish and laundry soap, disinfectant, women’s sanitary materials, tooth brush/paste, towel, comb etc.

The UK Government will allocate £9 million (Rs 1.1bn) to Save the Children, Concern, and Oxfam to provide and distribute the aid items announced.

“It’s now one month since the monsoon floods started, and the disaster in Pakistan is getting worse, he said.

“The coming days and weeks are critical; millions of people in Punjab and Sindh in the south of Pakistan have lost their homes and are facing hunger and illness unless they get vital help right now.

“That’s why today I can confirm that the UK will push out more emergency aid over the coming days in what is now the worst affected area of Pakistan, including safe drinking water, toilets, emergency shelter, water pumps, and other lifesaving items”, he added.

Step up aid; Ban, Asif tell world

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ISLAMABAD – UN chief Ban Ki-moon has appealed to the international community to step up aid for flood-ravaged Pakistan, warning the “heart-wrenching” disaster is far from over.

Ban held talks with Pakistani leaders and flew with President Asif Ali Zardari over some of the worst affected areas of the central province of Punjab on Sunday.

“I’m here to urge the world to step up their generous support for Pakistan,” he told a news conference with Zardari.

The UN secretary general said he would never forget the “heart-wrenching” scenes of destruction he had witnessed.

“Many have lost families and friends. Many more are afraid their children and loved ones will not survive in these conditions,” Ban said.

Aid agencies were monitoring the risk of “a second wave” of deaths in the shape of water-borne diseases.

Sami Abdul Malik, spokesman for the UN children’s fund UNICEF, said six million children were affected by the disaster.

“Children are always vulnerable. They cannot control their thirst, they will drink any type of water and may get watery diarrhoea, cholera, malaria and other diseases,” he told AFP.

The United Nations has confirmed at least one cholera case and said 36,000 people were reportedly suffering from acute diarrhoea.

Ban said a possible 20 million people were directly or indirectly affected by the floods and that one fifth of the country had been ravaged.

“This disaster is far from over. The rains are still falling and could continue for weeks.

“The United Nations and international community and international humanitarian community are moving as fast as we can to help the government deliver desperately needed humanitarian assistance,” Ban said.

The UN has appealed for 460 million dollars to deal with the immediate aftermath of the floods, but has warned that billions will be needed in the long term as villages, businesses, crops and infrastructure have been wiped out.

Pakistan’s weak civilian government has appealed to the global community to help it deal with the challenges of a crisis compared by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to the sub-continent’s 1947 partition.

Charities have complained that relief for those affected by the worst natural disaster in Pakistan’s history is lagging far behind what is needed, with six to eight million people dependent on humanitarian aid to survive.

Ban announced a further 10 million dollars from the UN central emergency response fund, making a total of 27 million dollars since the beginning of the crisis. “As the waters recede, we must move quickly,” he said.

Zardari said it would take at least two years to restore the livelihoods of people affected by the floods.

“This is a long-term affair. It is a two years’ campaign,” Zardari said. “We have to consider and keep it in mind that for two years we have to give them crops, fertilisers, seeds, and look after them and feed them to take them to where they were.”

Fresh floods hit the southwestern province of Baluchistan at the weekend, devastating hundreds of villages and causing tens of thousands to flee, said Sher Khan Bazai, the commissioner in the town of Jaffarabad.

“The situation is grim. I saw people sheltering on the roofs of trucks and buses as bridges and roads have been washed away,” Bazai said, adding that authorities had only one helicopter and four boats for rescue missions.

The UN estimates that 1,600 have died in the floods, while the government in Islamabad has confirmed 1,384 deaths.

The nuclear-armed country of 167 million people is on the front line of the US-led fight against Al-Qaeda. Western governments have traced overseas terror plots back to Taliban and Al-Qaeda camps in the lawless tribal mountains.

Pakistan’s nuclear self-belief

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Abu Rasikh Waseem

Exactly 12 years ago, May 28 was pronounced as “Pakistan’s finest hour” by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif when Pakistan detonated five nuclear devices in the Ras-Koh mountain range in Chaghai, in response to the Indian nuclear tests of May 11 and 13, 1998. This was, however, not the first time that India crossed the nuclear threshold. Earlier on May 18, 1974, India used illegally diverted plutonium from the ‘peaceful’ CIRUS reactor to conduct Pokhran-I nuclear weapon test.

Soon after the Indian nuclear tests in May 1998, many in Indian political leadership carried doubts about Pakistan’s nuclear capability. Home Minister L.K. Advani and many other BJP leaders started hurling threats, reminding Pakistan to conform to the new strategic realities in the region. Pakistan, however, did not panic into a reflex action and waited for international community’s response to the Indian nuclear tests.

As witnessed in 1974, international community’s reaction to the 1998 Indian nuclear tests was equally ambivalent. While the US slapped mandatory sanctions against India, EU, France and Russia refused to follow suit. In the absence of achieving security assurances from the US, Pakistan conducted the last nuclear test on May 30, 1998 and thus, restored the disturbing strategic balance of power in the region. Since then and despite many crises, nuclear deterrence has effectively prevailed in the region.

Above notwithstanding, this May 28, 2010 brought together a unique coincidence. At one side the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference was being concluded where the world powers were struggling to defend this discriminatory instrument of global non-proliferation regime. And on the other side was Pakistan standing tall, consolidating itself as a responsible and an established nuclear power.

Two recent events symbolises Pakistan’s this nuclear self-belief in the milieu of so-called ’emerging nuclear order’. Firstly, it is Pakistan’s resolute and principled stance on the issue of Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).

The proposed FMCT aims to ban the future production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. Pakistan with a modest level of fissile stocks considers that such a ban would put it in a position of strategic disadvantage vis-à-vis India, and thus, undermine the credibility of its nuclear deterrent. Pakistan, therefore, propagates an FMT (minus the cut-off) that besides banning the future production, must also take into account the pre-existing fissile stocks.

Pakistan’s resolve was manifest in January 13 National Command Authority (NCA) statement that noted: “Pakistan’s position (on FMCT) will be determined by its national security interests and the objectives of the strategic stability in South Asia, and that Pakistan will not support any approach or measure that is prejudicial to its legitimate security concerns.”

The NCA further noted (the destabilising effects of Indo-US nuclear deal and): “The India-specific exemption made by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and subsequent nuclear fuel supply agreements with several countries, would enable India to produce substantial quantities of fissile material for nuclear weapons by freeing up its domestic resources.” It is estimated that these nuclear deals would enhance India’s nuclear weapons production capability from seven to 40-50 nuclear weapons per year.

Second is Pakistan’s rightful recognition at the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) hosted by the US from April 12 to 13, 2010, at Washington DC. Through its proactive involvement in the negotiating process of the Joint Communiqué and the Work Plan, issued at the culmination of the NSS, Pakistan ensured that its interests were safeguarded and it did not undertake any commitment which was not consistent with its international obligations or national laws.

Pakistan silenced all such evil voices that created a specific linkage between Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and their falling into the hands of terrorists. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who was one of the lead speakers at the Summit, underscored that the nuclear terrorism was a global concern and all states must be in a state of constant preparedness for effective and timely response to the threat. He also said that Pakistan has put in place a multi-pronged robust nuclear security regime to ensure that its nuclear assets remain secure from insider as well as outsider threats. Complementing his views, President Barack Obama expressed confidence in Pakistan’s security around its nuclear weapons and admitted that no nation, including the US, was exempt from taking better steps to ensure security of its nuclear weapons.

Pakistan also amply utilised the event to put forward its legitimate energy needs for power generation. In a national statement, issued at the Nuclear Security Summit, it was contested that with more than 35 years of experience in operating nuclear power plants, Pakistan fully qualified for participation in civil nuclear cooperation at the international level.
As a country with advance fuel cycle capability and strong nuclear safety and security culture, Pakistan also offered its nuclear fuel cycle services under IAEA safeguards and showed its readiness to share competence in the areas of nuclear security, particularly prevention, detection and response to illicit trafficking.

Pakistan’s nuclear self-belief should be comforting and assuring to the nation that Pakistan would earn its rightful place in this era of nuclear renaissance and it will not submit to international pressures, what so ever, to compromise the viability of its nuclear deterrent.

Abdullah Haroon urges US to increase aid to Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations Abdullah Hussain Haroon has urged Obama Administration to increase aid for military as well as for social and economic development of impoverished tribal areas. In an interview with CBS News, he said “The Obama Administration needs to increase military aid as well as money for social and economic development of impoverished tribal areas.”

He further added that US aid must be increased, not as a handout, but in training, cooperation and tariff reduction.

To a question he strongly condemned action of Faisal Shahzad in US. “We consider this a despicable act of terror. It only serves to fortify the resolve of the international community that we should join ranks to eliminate this evil.”

“We have to realize that terrorist threat is more dire to the world than any other threat there’s ever been and it tends to encompass the globe with shadows and those shadows strike at will and manage to create havoc and harm and hurt innocents, ” Haroon said.

Ambassador Haroon asked clerics to clearly declare that suicide bombing is forbidden.
“If they do that – even declare a ‘fatwah’ on suicide bombers then the steam would be taken out of some of the attacks across the world.”

He was of the view that “We are not fighting against an organized army, we are fighting against a nebulous series of cells.”

He urged US to transfer drone technology to the Pakistan.

Pakistan push in N.Waziristan needs time: general

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By William Maclean

AMMAN:Pakistani forces, under U.S. pressure to enter the militant bastion of North Waziristan, will do so but in their own time and when adequate resources are available, a Pakistani general said on Monday.

Lieutenant General Sardar Mahmood Ali Khan, Deputy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, added that such a big task in the mountainous northwest was not “firefighting” and had to be done in sequence with other battles.

Pakistan has come under fresh U.S. pressure to send troops into north Waziristan after a failed bombing in New York claimed by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Taliban Movement of Pakistan, which has fighters in northwestern areas including North Waziristan.

Speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Jordan of special operations force commanders, Khan said the army was still busy consolidating its operations following an earlier push into South Waziristan and needed to adhere to a schedule for what he called a long campaign.

Asked if troops would eventually go into North Waziristan, home to a complex web of militant groups, to attack fighters there, he replied: “Of course, all these areas which are affected are on our agenda, yes.”


“It is a long-drawn battle, a long-drawn war, and we are continuing and there is a definite plan, there is a definite strategy which is being followed. It is just not firefighting, because there’s a whole lot of areas affected by this (militancy).”

“Given the limitation of resources and troops involvement and not to leave one portion undone and going to another (too soon), it is sequential. In every area we have already got forces which are busy consolidating.”

Some Western officials have questioned the determination of Pakistan to tackle militants while the long-time U.S. ally addresses other problems, from a sluggish economy to power cuts that have made the government unpopular.

Pakistan has proven capable of capturing militants, including some of al Qaeda’s most notorious heavyweights. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the September 11 attacks, was arrested in Pakistan in 2003.

But Khan said North Waziristan’s geography made it an exceptionally difficult region in which to wage war and suggested any move into the region could not be done lightly.

He referred to a presentation on mountain warfare given at the conference by a special forces colleague, Major General Farrukh Bashir, commander of the Pakistani military’s Special Services Group.

Bashir enumerated many obstacles to mountain fighting, including difficulties in helicopter use, in achieving surprise, the need for large numbers of troops acclimatised for high altitude, and very restricted manoeuvrability.

Bashir told the audience: “Pakistan has the capacity and resolve to defeat militancy. We only expect the international community to understand the nature of the conflict. Some conflicts are very difficult to bring to an end quickly.”

Asked if he would accept more U.S. special forces to Pakistan, Khan declined to reply directly, noting there had been a limited number of these forces doing training in Pakistan for some time and they continued to play that role.

Another participant in the conference, organised by the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, was Major General Charles Cleveland, Commander of Special Operations for U.S. Central Command, which includes Afghanistan.

He told Reuters he had “no idea” whether more special forces would be going to Pakistan and added that it was not his decision to make.

Sanctions Are Utterly Futile

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by Prof. Louis Rene Beres

Towards US Nuclear Conference Monday: Beres says sanctions against Iran will never work. A dispassionate, sobering analysis of the nuclear threat and the costs and benefits of how Israel might deal with it.

In the matter of Iranian nuclearization, U.S. President Barack Obama still doesn’t get it. Economic sanctions will never work. In Tehran’s national decision-making circles, absolutely nothing can compare to the immense power and status that would presumably come with membership in the Nuclear Club. Indeed, if President Ahmadinejad and his clerical masters truly believe in the Shiite apocalypse, an inevitable final battle against “unbelievers,” they would likely be willing to accept even corollary military sanctions.

“Absolutely nothing can compare to the immense power and status that would presumably come with membership in the Nuclear Club.”

From the standpoint of the United States, a nuclear Iran would pose an unprecedented risk of mass-destruction terrorism. For much smaller Israel, of course, the security risk would be existential.

Legal issues are linked here to various strategic considerations. Supported by international law, specifically by the incontestable right of anticipatory self-defense, Prime Minister Netanyahu understands that any preemptive destruction of Iran’s nuclear infrastructures would involve enormous operational and political difficulties. True, Israel has deployed elements of the “Arrow” system of ballistic missile defense, but even the Arrow could not achieve a sufficiently high probability of intercept to protect civilian populations. Further, now that Mr. Obama has backed away from America’s previously-planned missile shield deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic, Israel has no good reason to place its security hopes in any combined systems of active defense.

Even a single incoming nuclear missile that would manage to penetrate Arrow defenses could kill very large numbers of Israelis. While Obama and the “international community” still fiddles, Iran is plainly augmenting its incendiary intent toward Israel with a corresponding military capacity.

Left to violate non-proliferation treaty (NPT) rules with impunity, Iran’s leaders might ultimately be undeterred by any threats of an Israeli and/or American retaliation. Such a possible failure of nuclear deterrence could be the result of a presumed lack of threat credibility, or even of a genuine Iranian disregard for expected harms. In the worst-case scenario, Iran, animated by certain Shiite visions of inevitable conflict, could become the individual suicide bomber writ large. Such a dire prospect is improbable, but it is not unimaginable.

Iran’s illegal nuclearization has already started a perilous domino effect, especially among certain Sunni Arab states in the region. Not long ago, both Saudi Arabia and Egypt revealed possible plans to develop their own respective nuclear capabilities. But strategic stability in a proliferating Middle East could never resemble US-USSR deterrence during the Cold War. Here, the critical assumption of rationality, which always makes national survival the very highest decisional preference, simply might not hold.

If, somehow, Iran does become fully nuclear, Israel will have to promptly reassess its core policy of nuclear ambiguity, and also certain related questions of targeting. These urgent issues were discussed candidly in my own “Project Daniel” final report, first delivered by hand to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on January 16, 2003.

Israel’s security from mass-destruction attacks will depend in part upon its intended targets in Iran, and on the precise extent to which these targets have been expressly identified. For Israel’s survival, it is not enough to merely have The Bomb. Rather, the adequacy of Israel’s nuclear deterrence and preemption policies will depend
largely upon (1) the presumed destructiveness of these nuclear weapons; and, (2) on where these weapons are thought to be targeted.

“For much smaller Israel, of course, the security risk would be existential. “

Mr. Obama’s “Road Map” notwithstanding, a nuclear war in the Middle East is not out of the question. Soon, Israel will need to choose prudently between “assured destruction” strategies, and “nuclear war-fighting” strategies. Assured destruction strategies are sometimes called “counter-value” strategies or “mutual assured destruction” (MAD). Drawn from the Cold War, these are strategies of deterrence in which a country primarily targets its strategic weapons on the other side’s civilian populations, and/or on its supporting civilian infrastructures.

Nuclear war-fighting measures, on the other hand, are called “counterforce” strategies. These are systems of deterrence wherein a country primarily targets its strategic nuclear weapons on the other side’s major weapon systems, and on that state’s supporting military assets.

There are distinctly serious survival consequences for choosing one strategy over the other. Israel could also opt for some sort of “mixed” strategy. Still, for Israel, any policy that might encourage nuclear war fighting should be rejected. This advice was an integral part of the once-confidential Project Daniel final report.

In choosing between the two basic strategic alternatives, Israel should always opt for nuclear deterrence based upon assured destruction. This seemingly insensitive recommendation might elicit opposition amid certain publics, but it is, in fact, more humane. A counterforce targeting doctrine would be less persuasive as a nuclear
deterrent, especially to states whose leaders could willingly sacrifice entire armies as “martyrs.”

If Israel were to opt for nuclear deterrence based upon counterforce capabilities, its enemies could also feel especially threatened. This condition could then enlarge the prospect of a nuclear aggression against Israel, and of a follow-on nuclear exchange.

Israel’s decisions on counter-value versus counterforce doctrines will depend, in part, on prior investigations of enemy country inclinations to strike first; and on enemy country inclinations to strike all-at-once, or in stages. Should Israeli strategic planners assume that an enemy state in process of “going nuclear” is apt to strike first, and to strike with all of its nuclear weapons right away, Israeli counterforce-targeted warheads – used in retaliation – would hit only empty launchers. In such circumstances, Israel’s only plausible application of counterforce doctrine would be to strike first itself, an option that Israel clearly and completely rejects. From the standpoint of intra-war deterrence, a counter-value strategy would prove vastly more appropriate to a fast peace.

Should Israeli planners assume that an enemy country “going nuclear” is apt to strike first, and to strike in a limited fashion, holding some measure of nuclear firepower in reserve, Israeli counterforce-targeted warheads could have some damage-limiting benefits. Here, counterforce operations could appear to serve both an Israeli non-nuclear preemption, or, should Israel decide not to preempt, an Israeli retaliatory strike. Nonetheless, the benefits to Israel of maintaining any counterforce targeting options are generally outweighed by the reasonably expected costs.

To protect itself against a relentlessly nuclearizing Iran, Israel’s best course may still be to seize the conventional preemption option as soon as possible. (After all, a fully nuclear Iran that would actually welcome apocalyptic endings could bring incomparably higher costs to Israel.) Together with such a permissible option, Israel would have to reject any hint of a counterforce targeting doctrine. But if, as now seems clear, Iran is allowed to continue with its illegal nuclear weapons development, Mr. Netanyahu’s correct response should be to quickly end Israel’s
No country can be required to participate in its own annihilation.
historic policy of nuclear ambiguity.

Such a doctrinal termination could permit Israel to enhance its nuclear deterrence posture, but only in regard to a fully rational Iranian adversary. If, after all, Iran’s leaders were to resemble the suicide bomber in macrocosm, they might not be deterred by any expected level of Israeli retaliation.

No country can be required to participate in its own annihilation. Without a prompt and major change in President Obama’s persistently naive attitude toward Iran, a law-enforcing expression of anticipatory self-defense may still offer Israel its only remaining survival option. This will sound unconvincing to many, but rational decision-making – in all fields of human endeavor – is based upon informed comparisons of expected costs and expected benefits.

Does President Obama really believe that both we and the Israelis can somehow live with a nuclear Iran? If he does, he should be reminded that a nuclear balance-of-terror in the Middle East could never replicate the earlier stability of U.S.-Soviet mutual deterrence.

This would not be your father’s Cold War.