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FP Analysis: The Population Bomb

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By Enum Naseer
FOR PAKISTAN

It is simple economics: resources are scarce and wants are unlimited. The problem of allocation gets more serious when population growth is unchecked- as is the case in Pakistan. It is confusing hence, that no one has taken the pains to voice the issue in the mainstream media; no political party mentioned it in its rallies; no slogans or chants went further than the usual clichés. While the future leaders and the public busy themselves with the task of wooing and being wooed, the population bomb ticks away. The promises and plans, albeit optimistic and hopeful, evade the population issue almost strategically. It is as if the fact that the unrestrained population growth will have an undesirable impact on the distribution of resources like food has gone unnoticed. Or more so perhaps, the problem has been brushed under the carpet for fear that it may give rise to an uncomfortable debate?

Read more….

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Kashmir Nuclear Scare: Myth or Muscle Fatigue

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Tacstrat Analysis

Earlier this week, State Disaster Response Force officials in Indian occupied Kashmir distributed pamphlets warning citizens to make preparations for a possible nuclear attack. People were told to build bomb-proof basements and collect provisions to last them two weeks in confinement. This lengthy warning was published in the Greater Kashmir newspaper and described a possible war scene in detail. People were told to brace themselves for possible shock and to ‘expect initial disorientation as the blast wave may blow down and carry away many prominent and familiar features’. While Indian officials have called this ‘regular year-round civil defence preparedness’, and urged people not to connect it with anything else, one cannot help but speculate about the convenient timing of this ‘annual’ safety drill, which has in fact taken place for the first time.

The cross border skirmish earlier this year, has led to a staggering halt of negotiations and a perfunctory handshake on both sides that have been gritting their teeth since. The 70 year old lady’s flight into Pakistan had alarmed Indian officials who began setting up additional observation posts along the LoC. Pakistan fired across the border, and while cross border skirmishes barely make news any more, an Indian soldier with an ‘aggressive’ track record ordered a cross border attack. While the international media, as always, is wont to take an ‘unbiased’ approach to this series of attacks, several Indian newspapers have discussed the possibility and consequences of this bald provocation that led to the death of a Pakistani soldier. Two Indian soldiers were killed in a retaliatory skirmish that now appears to have escalated, as the streets of Srinagar are abuzz with rumours of a possible nuclear attack.

Indian soldiers, on many online forums, have said that even if their authorities have warned people to prepare themselves for a nuclear attack, this is purely for defensive purposes because of India’s ‘no first use’ nuclear doctrine, and Pakistan’s lack thereof.

This leads us to the question of nuclear doctrines espoused by both countries. Pakistan has stood behind its doctrine of ‘first use but last resort’, and has been severely criticised for it by western scholarship, which conveniently over looks Israel’s ‘Samson Option’. Last year President Zardari announced his inclination to sign a ‘no first use’ policy in line with India’s, while no action towards this end has been taken so far, a brief analysis of the India doctrine, which espouses the very reassuring ‘no first use’ policy, is in order.

The doctrine states that any threat of use of nuclear weapons against India shall invoke measures to counter the threat (clause 2.3a). The repeated assurance of ‘retaliation only’ does not care to expand on what constitutes these measures. Clause 2.5 states that “India will not resort to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against States which do not possess nuclear weapons, or are not aligned with nuclear weapon powers.” This clause further adds to the ambiguity ensconced in the doctrine that shrouds itself behind empty words and unspoken promises. The distinction between non-nuclear states and countries they are aligned with, in effect, places every single country on the Indian hit list. Since Germany and Japan, two non-nuclear states, are aligned with the US on many fronts (the doctrine doesn’t specify the type of alliance either), that makes them possible targets, especially if: “in the event of a major attack against India, or Indian forces anywhere, by biological or chemical weapons, India will retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons”. Thus, if Indian soldiers (they could be infiltrators or even part of a UN deputation) are attacked with nuclear weapons in any part of the world, the ‘no first use’ policy becomes null and void. Furthermore clause 2.3a, revised in 2003 states that, “however, in the event of a major attack against India, or Indian forces anywhere, by biological or chemical weapons, India will retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons.” Thus Blanco-ing out the ‘no first use’ for all intents and purposes.

Pakistan has justified its stance of adopting the ‘aggressive’ moral ground, by saying the ‘no first use’ policy on both sides would leave the concept of nuclear deterrence redundant and invite aggression from the Indian side. Pakistan has furthermore explained how the nuclear option will be employed once all others have been exhausted. This effectively places India and Pakistan on a level playing field.

The ‘threat’ of a Pakistani attack on Srinagar is by far the least plausible of all explanations our friends across the border have been proffering. Even less true is the statement that this is a routine safety drill. At best this can be described muscle flexing and a plea for attention in the post UN-observer mission stalemate. In terms of diplomatic progress, this might set the two countries back by two years of consistent peace talks and people-to-people contact. As the initial smokescreen of mistrust rises between the two countries, the audience can not help but wait for what will unfold next.

Pakistani govt wants us to delay Kishenganga project: Omar

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Chief minister Omar Abdullah on Monday accused Pakistan for trying to “delay” the Kishenganga Hydroelectric Power project along the Line of Control in Gurez.

“Both the parts of Kashmir are constructing power projects on Kishenganga and the project that is completed first will be benefited the more.”,said Omar.

Commenting on Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz’s criticism that the Centre is exploiting the natural resources of Kashmir; Omar said, “we know who pulls their strings and at whose behest they (separatists) are making such allegations”.

“The government of Pakistan and Pakistani Kashmir want us to delay the project,”Omar added.

Omar also assured people of gurez that their safety is taken as priority while the formulation and modification of Kishanganga hydel project.

“There is no threat to the existence of any tribe.Moreover, environment impact analysis of the project has not indicated any flood like situation in Wullar.”,Omar said.

Cautious China Denies Copter Access Reports

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China on Tuesday dismissed a report that Pakistan gave it access to an advanced U.S. “stealth” helicopter that crashed during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May.


Part of a damaged helicopter is seen lying near the compound after U.S. Navy SEAL commandos killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, May 2, 2011.

During the raid, one of two Blackhawk helicopters — believed to use advanced stealth technology — crashed, forcing U.S. commandos to abandon it. The Financial Times reported on Sunday that Pakistani authorities gave China access to the wreckage, despite CIA requests to Islamabad to keep the wreckage under wraps.

China’s Ministry of Defense denied this in a one-sentence statement, Beijing’s first public response to the report.

“This report is totally unfounded and extremely absurd,” said the statement on the ministry’s website. (www.mod.gov.cn)

Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, the country’s top spy agency, also earlier denied the report.

The Financial Times said Pakistan allowed Chinese intelligence officials to take pictures of the crashed helicopter and take samples of its special skin that helped the American raid evade Pakistani radar.

One U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, earlier told Reuters there was reason to believe Pakistan had allowed the Chinese to inspect the aircraft. But the official could not confirm with certainty that this had happened.

The surviving tail section of the downed helicopter was returned to the United States after a trip by U.S. Senator John Kerry in May, a spokesman for the U.S. embassy told Reuters.

Pakistan’s already tense relationship with the United States, its major donor, was badly bruised after U.S. forces killed bin Laden in May in Pakistan where he appears to have been in hiding for several years.

Meanwhile, China and Pakistan call each other “all-weather friends” and their close ties have been underpinned by long-standing wariness of their common neighbor, India, and a desire to hedge against U.S. influence across the region.

After the raid that killed bin Laden — the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks — China called the event a “progressive development” but also defended the Pakistani government, which has been criticized in the U.S. for failing to find bin Laden, if not harboring him.

India can’t do a ‘Geronimo’

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Lt Gen Harwant Singh (retd).

Consequent to American operation ‘Geronimo,’ at Abbottabad in Pakistan to eliminate Osama bin Laden, many in civil society have been asking whether India can go ahead with a similar operation. ‘Geronimo’ involved painstaking intelligence work spread over many years, though the final ‘fine- tuning’ took seven months or so. Detailed intelligence work and application of cutting edge technology apart, it required an enormous amount of co-ordination among those in the higher echelons of the civil administration and military high command as well as with the one who was to control the mission. The entire planning was closely monitored by the Chiefs of Defence Staff, the CIA chief and the President himself, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.

For months they worked on the plan, disseminating information strictly following the principle, ‘need to know’. A mock-up of the ‘Osama house’ would have been erected and an operation rehearsed a number of times by the designated team of helicopter crews and Seals, and the latter had otherwise been undergoing one of the most vigorous training schedules. Only then was it possible to complete the mission with clock-work precision. It was the President who had to take the final call and gave written orders.

Since intelligence is the most essential input for such an operation, can Indian intelligence agencies measure up to this basic requirement? Weaknesses of Indian intelligence have repeatedly surprised the nation, be it the Chinese road across Ladakh, the scale of aggression in 1962, and mass infiltration in 1965 in J and K followed by the attack in Chamb-Jorian. Kargil was a major intelligence failure and so was the attack on Parliament where there were security lapses too. It was repeated at Mumbai, in spite of some early leads. More recent are the cases of lists of terrorists in Pakistan and the CBI team arriving in Copenhangen with an out-dated warrant of arrest. The list is endless.

Accurate and actionable intelligence is fundamental to the success of covert operations, whereas it remains our weakest point. In fact, in the case of Indian intelligence agencies, it is not the case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing but the little finger not knowing whom the index finger, of the same hand, is fingering?

At the national level we have the NSG, especially trained and equipped for such operations. At Mumbai these commandos first took too long to arrive and later too long to complete the operation. Equally, are the NSG commandos equal to the job? Just recall the visuals of a commando holding his weapon well above his head and firing at supposedly some terrorists! This visual was repeatedly shown on the American TV, where we saw the drama unfold. The NSG was commanded by an army officer, invariably an ex-commando, but now it is a police officer with no ground-level experience of commando operations. Grabbing jobs, irrespective of the suitability of the appointee, is another feature of Indian setting.

There was no centralised control over the operation and the entire scene around Taj Hotel appeared one of a ‘circus,’ with apparently no one knowing what to do. The details of ammunition and grenades expended by the commandos in this action would give an idea of the operation and our suspicion of possible collateral damage.

Both the Indian Navy and the Indian Army have special forces which can carry out missions of the type conducted by the US naval Seals at Abbottabad. They are organised and trained for such missions and have the best of leadership. Quality of intelligence inputs apart, it is the joint operations where more than one service is to take part and then problems arise. There are major fault-lines in the field of coordination and meshing together of various aspects of such an operation between the two Services taking part in the operation. This lack of ‘joint-ship’ has been the bane of Indian defence forces, which essentially is the handiwork of the politic-bureaucratic combine. The policy of ‘divide and rule’, and ‘turf-tending’ over national interest has been the dominant feature of the Indian defence apparatus.

In the case of the Abbattobad raid, in spite of the complete integration of the defence forces in the United States, the Naval Seals had their own helicopters to ensure total involvement and commitment of those taking part in the operation. In the case of India, helicopters meant for carrying such troops are with the Indian Air Force rather than the Army! So, the total commitment required on the part of all those taking part in the operation will not measure up to the level required in an operation of the type conducted at Abbottabad. In fact, discord has often appeared when two Services had to operate together. It surfaced in rather an ugly form during the Kargil operations.

In the Indian political setting, a clear direction and the will to go for the kill will continue to be lacking. At Kargil, troops were told to carry out a ‘hot pursuit,’ but were forbidden to cross the Line of Control. This is when Pakistan had violated, on a very wide front and to great depth, India’s territorial integrity and the situation called for and justified a befitting response. However, India’s timid and inappropriate reaction resulted in frontal attacks up those impossible slopes, with avoidable casualties. Pakistan suffered no punishment for its blatant act of aggression. Consequent to attack on Indian Parliament, ‘Operation Parakaram’ kept the troops in their battle locations for months and ended in a fiasco. Indian reaction to these two incidents conveyed to Pakistan that it can take liberties with India and the latter carries no deterrence for the former. At the same time, it demonstrated that Indian political leadership will never have the stomach to order an operation of the ‘Geronimo’ type, no matter how provocative the action of the other country may be.

Civil society has suddenly woken up and is now seeking answers to searching questions on these issues, having closed its eyes and switched off its mind to national security issues all these decades. The inescapable fact is that the full potential of various components of the defence forces just cannot be realised without adopting the concepts of Chiefs of Defence Staff and “Theater Commands” along with the integration of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Services headquarters on the lines of the Pentagon. What has currently been carried out by way of amalgamation of Defence Headquarters with the MoD is a joke and a fraud on the nation. Yet civil society has remained a silent spectator. The Arun Singh Committee Report continues to gather dust, as it stands consigned to the archives of the Indian government.

Besides the above fault-lines in the Indian security establishment, it is the watertight compartments in which various organs of the state work. Foreign policy is evolved and practised in isolation of national security considerations and consultations. Intelligence agencies are never made accountable and have inadequate interaction with the defence Services.

India plans $50 billion purchase of 101 naval warships

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Jason Overdorf

India’s investment in naval power expected to double China’s over next 20 years

India is expected to invest nearly $50 billion to strengthen its naval forces over the next 20 years, adding 101 new warships, ranging from destroyers to nuclear submarines, the Indian Express reported.

“Going by the investment value, India is expected to build sophisticated destroyers, new generation and new radar vessels, nuclear submarines, and amphibious ships,” the paper quoted US naval analyst Bob Nugent as saying.

Nugent said China would likely spend $24 billion to build 113 war vessels, focusing on aircraft carriers, over the same period.

India’s expenditure on warship building could account for as much as 27.8 per cent of the total investment in Asia-Pacific, the paper reported, and spending by India and China naval alone will likely surpass non-NATO and even Russian investments.

Other major naval investors in Asia-Pacific will include Australia at $14 billion, Indonesia at $7 billion, Taiwan at $16 billion, Pakistan at $2.85 billion and Singapore at $1.74 billion.

India has the highest number of stillbirths

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New Delhi: After the explosive report on Delhi’s water being contaminated with the super bug, British medical journal ‘The Lancet’ has again highlighted India, this time in a survey on stillbirths.

The report says India has the highest number of stillbirths in the world. In 2009, more than six lakh children were born dead in India.

In fact, the study says India along with, Pakistan, Nigeria, China and Bangladesh account for half of all stillbirths worldwide.

“Typical complications of pregnancy, hypertension diabetes are still killing a lot of babies in low-income countries. Infections like malaria and syphilis still affecting many babies world over-third group,” says J. Frederik, Author, The Lancet.

In India, the stillbirth rates vary from 20 to 66 per 1,000 births in different states. If one compares the figure with countries like Finland and Singapore that have the lowest childbirth rates (2 per 1000), it is rather shocking as well as embarrassing.

Unflatteringly, the stillbirth rates have declined by barely one percent per year in the last 15 years – from 3 million in 1995 to 2.6 million in 2009.

Coming just weeks after the dismal picture on the child sex ratio painted by the census report, it’s yet another blot for India where prenatal care for lakhs of women is virtually non-existent, care that probably could have turned these statistics around.