Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Following report is written by Arun Kumar Singh, retired Vice-Admiral, Eastern Command,Indian Navy.
DECCAN CHRONICLE, Hyderabad , India
January 26th, 2009
On the eve of India’s 59th Republic Day, while reports of terror threats come in, few have read the Chinese media articles of “teaching India a lesson” on Arunachal Pradesh. In India doubts remain about control of India’s “nuclear button,” while the PM recuperates post-surgery at a time when the future of Pakistan and the safety of its nuclear weapons is under global debate. Terrorism, “nukes” and the Chinese threat make a deadly cocktail.
The Western world has kept a close watch on events in South Asia after 26/11. A fortnight ago I was on a television panel discussing the latest Rand Corporation Report on the theoretical “one bomb each” nuclear exchange scenario between India and Pakistan. In this six-stage scenario, India finally reacts militarily to Pakistani terror strikes. And in the final stage, responding to an advancing Indian conventional military thrust, Pakistan uses one of its 20-kiloton uranium bombs on Jodhpur, and India retaliates with a single 200-kiloton thermonuclear plutonium device on Pakistan’s Hyderabad before a ceasefire comes into force.
If the Rand Corporation Report is correct then India does possess the “optimum bomb,” albeit untested.
It is my opinion that, in an unlikely doomsday scenario, a dozen such 200-kiloton devices would suffice to knock Pakistan back to the pre-stone age era.
Pakistan, which has been doing daily diplomatic flip-flops since 26/11, sees the change in guard at Washington as a golden opportunity to use brinkmanship to get another $15 billion worth of gifted arms and a $60 billion grant from the new Obama administration.
On January 10, 2009, India TV telecast a brief interview of former ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul (Retd), where he said (in Urdu), “Look what 10 boys did in Mumbai. If 10,000 to 12,000 are sent, then Bharat ko naani yaad aayegi (India will remember its granny)”. Such statements indicate that Pakistan’s Army has not given up its goal of dismembering India.
In India much needs to be done urgently. My comments and questions — which should be addressed as soon as possible, ideally before the nation swings into election mode — are:
l What are the preventive measures — organisational, accountability, manpower, hardware — that have been approved and budgeted for time-bound implementation?
l When will the government undo the demoralising impact the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission have had on the military?
l Are we prepared for a simultaneous, conventional China-Pak threat?
l Is there a need to review India’s nuclear “no first strike” policy? Does it cater to a simultaneous China-Pak threat?
l How will we respond if terrorists use WMDs?
l Given its failure during the Bihar and Assam floods of 2008, is the newly set up disaster management authority ready and equipped to deal with the effects of WMDs? (In Hiroshima, 90 per cent of the doctors and medical staff were killed in the first few seconds of the blast.)
l An audit of our port security needs to be done, specially for “actual” ISPS (International Ship and Port Facility Security) code compliance. Some coastal states do not even have a state maritime board.
l The IEA (International Energy Agency) stipulates that nations should keep 90 days’ “strategic oil reserves”. India’s strategic oil reserves, being increased from 15 to 45 days, should finally reach 90 days. Pakistan has oil reserves of 21 days, China 30 days (increasing to 90 days) and the US 180 days.
The 7,000-strong Indian Coast Guard (ICG) would be marking its 31st Raising Day on February 1. Presently, this professional but tiny and ill-equipped force cannot meet the ground reality of “no war-no peace”. The long-ignored ICG needs to double its strength by 2015, and again by 2020. In the interim, most of its coastal security tasks would need to be augmented by the Navy.
Legally, the peacetime role of the Navy does not cover maritime terror or coastal and port security. However, common sense dictates that the Navy play a major interim role in combating coastal and blue water terror from the sea, while simultaneously combating piracy in the distant Gulf of Aden. Hence, in addition to doubling the size of the Navy by 2020, new legislation needs to be urgently put in place to enable the following:
l The government needs to emulate the American system which permits any US Navy ship to carry out US Coast Guard (USCG) tasks, simply by having one USCG officer on board and hoisting the USCG flag (in addition to the Navy Ensign) at the time of action.
l Permit Indian naval ships to stop and search any suspected ship in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ, i.e. 200nm from the coast), well before it enters Indian port.
India could also emulate the website of the US homeland security department which, in addition to “do’s & don’ts,” gives citizens an updated terrorist attack threat warning, separately on the nation and domestic and international flights in the following simple five-colour code: Red (severe threat of terrorist attacks); Orange (high threat); Yellow (elevated threat); Blue (guarded threat); Green (low threat).
The Indian leadership needs to focus on combating asymmetric terror strikes by all available means. Remember this quote from Leon Trotsky:“You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you”. War is indeed terrible, but defeat is worse. India desperately needs leaders of the calibre of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Indira Gandhi if it wants to win its war on terror.
Vice-Admiral Arun Kumar Singh retired as Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command, Visakhapatnam
Monday, January 26, 2009
Friends, Its my firm belief that only and outsider can paint a real/neutral picture of any ongoing conflict between nations. For long, I have loved this journalist for his outstanding coverage and unmatched detailed analysis...Please Read,Share and Remember !
By : M. J. Akbar, Arab News (Published Sunday 25 January 2009)
Pakistan has advantage over India.
Foreign policy is not made in a day, much less on inauguration day. The smiles that broke out in Delhi when President Barack Obama cautioned Pakistan that nonmilitary aid would be cut if it did not curb domestic terrorism were premature. In any case, it is military aid rather than civilian aid to Islamabad which should be of more concern to Delhi, but the government in Delhi has become so dependent on the United States that it gets pleased with very little. An inaugural speech can only be peppered with markers that will slowly be fleshed into policy. But amateurs in Delhi have rushed to judgment where professionals fear to tread.
There was an air of simulation in the bluster with which Pakistan reacted. The boys of Islamabad know a charade when they see it; they are experts in the game themselves, after all. They don’t need spectacles to read between the lines of Obama’s South Asia policy.
Obama, still brimming with the audacity of hope, has promised peace all over the world and war in one corner: Afghanistan. Pakistan is not very competent in the disbursement of peace. Its expertise lies in the dissemination of war, by declaration or proxy, on enemy territory or the land of friends. And now of course it is fighting more than one war on its own soil. Pakistan knows that America cannot fight in Afghanistan without force, intelligence and logistical support provided by Pakistan. As long as this material situation does not change, America needs Pakistan more than Pakistan needs America. Pakistan has decided to not merely extract a financial price for this support, but also a political price.
London and Washington already know what the price is, and are getting ready to pay it in some abbreviated form. Pakistan has begun with a tremendous advantage over India in the Washington diplomatic game. It engaged with the Obama campaign and the transition team, while Indian diplomats, taking their cue from Dr. Manmohan Singh’s near-obsessive love for George W. Bush, concentrated totally on Bush and the Republicans. This has been a great failure of foreign policy for which we have already begun to suffer. Pakistan has persuaded key advisers of Obama that it cannot fight the Taleban with its full resources as long as it has to simultaneously defend its border with India. The Indian threat can only be lowered with a resolution of the Kashmir issue. Therefore, it is time America and Britain persuaded India to discuss and settle Kashmir.
In an extraordinary maneuver, Pakistan turned around the Mumbai terror attack, organized on its soil. From predator, it refashioned itself into a victim. It used the war rhetoric from the Indian government to warn the West that it would pull out of the war against the Taleban. Delhi’s hot air proved doubly insipid. It did not frighten Pakistan one bit, but it scared the wits out of Washington and London, who rushed to Delhi and leaned on it. Delhi succumbed. India has lost twice over through Mumbai. It has become a laughing stock at security conferences. And it has allowed what could have been a diplomatic coup against Pakistan to become a diplomatic coup against India. This is incompetent governance, not just abysmal security.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband was audacious enough to contradict India’s prime minister on Indian soil, by saying that the terrorist attack was not sponsored by the Pakistan government, and that India had better do something about the core cause, Kashmir. Instead of snubbing him, Rahul Gandhi, Congress’ proxy prime minister, took Miliband for some private tourism of poverty. British correspondents in Delhi have applauded Miliband for telling it like it is, throwing in a sentence that this is going to be Obama’s line as well.
Hillary Clinton, the incoming secretary of state, has already enunciated the Obama doctrine at her confirmation hearings in the Senate. The “hard power” of Bush will be replaced by “smart power.” This has been defined as the application of a “full range of tools ... diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal and cultural” in the pursuit of American interests. Pentagon awe will be accompanied by nudge and arm-twist. By the time the twisting is over, Delhi might need a heavy bandage on the elbow.
Obama’s policy toward South Asia will be controlled by the compulsions of a war he wants to win in a hurry, before fatigue and a rising death toll turn it into another Iraq, or, worse, Vietnam. The battlefield will not be Afghanistan alone. American forces might soon have to fight in the western half of Pakistan, from Karachi to Swat, which is already being christened Talibanestan (the eastern half still remains Pakistan). Americans have reached that curious state of mind in which they want to win wars without losing soldiers. Their military research is concentrating on the robotization of the armed forces where even the infantry could become mechanical instead of human. But that is a long way ahead. The war for Afghanistan will be won or lost long before that.
Muslims across the world are taking comfort in the semantics of Obama’s initial remarks. After being misbespoken to for eight years, it must be a relief to hear correct grammar. Some of them have taken partial ownership of his presidency because he used his middle name, Hussein, while taking the oath. But the issue is not what Obama says. It is what he does.
Will he be able to get a resolution to Palestine except on harsh Israeli terms? Even if we ignore his campaign rhetoric — he could hardly afford to alienate the most powerful lobby in the United States — there are powerful interests protecting the expansionist reach of Israel. At all events, it will not be easy. Neither will be a victory in Afghanistan. As pressure mounts on him, he will be tempted to mount pressure on India through Kashmir.
It is going to be a complicated game, which might drift endlessly to a point where every side looks like a loser. Hope needs to be handled very carefully if it wants to remain audacious.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
First of all I convey my special thanks to my friend and colleague,Nishant Sheth for all the motivation he provided me to share my patriotism with friends by starting up a blog. On carefully picked day for the launch of my blog,26th January,60th Republic day of my beloved motherland, in my inaugural post, I would like to share with you the REAL "behind the scenes" story of what happened in long,beautiful and empty corridors of South Block in New Delhi after 26th November,2008, post terrorist attacks on Mumbai. For beginners, South Block is that part of the magnificent Secretariat Building where office of the defense minister of India resides. It is the same building which houses Office of India's Prime Minister, office of the home minister, office of external affairs minister and finance minister. The truthfulness of the following story has been confirmed with me by very high positioned figure in New Delhi.
Before reading the article everyone should clearly understand that N-war between India-Pakistan is NEVER going to become reality. Here is the reason why. If Pakistan was to ever DARE to Nuke India, they know very well that retaliation will be so much more powerful that it will wipe out entire Pakistan as a nation. So all those people saying "Oh !! we should not forget they have Nukes" are mistaken. Nukes looses their appeal if your enemy is even bigger nuclear power, which is the case for Pakistan in context to India and which is also the case for India in context to China. So nuking India would be a suicidal move for Pakistan, which they VERY well know and despite all the vocal threats from their leaders, they will NEVER use nukes against us in real war. In simpler words, we can afford to nuke them, they CANNOT !! This is to say we can confidently go to war with them without worrying about nukes because they can never challenge us in conventional non-nuclear warfare. Their forces are inferior to ours in terms of size,quality and equipments. That being said, If there is someone who should fear war, its them not us !!
Neutrality of the following article is disputed. Nevertheless, present PM(Manmohan Singh) owes answers to every INDIAN to questions raised in the report. So I request DEMAND answer from lame duck politicians. It is OUR country. If we won't demand answers, who else will ? THE TIME TO DEMAND ANSWERS IS NOWWWW. Call them/E-mail them/Fax them....Ask me for contact info.
By Siddharth Srivastava, NEW DELHI
Indian army 'backed out' of Pakistan attack
- Reluctance for battle by an ill-prepared army could have resulted in India not launching an attack on Pakistan in the aftermath of the Pakistan-linked terror attack in the Indian city of Mumbai on November 26 in which nearly 200 people died. High-level government sources have told Asia Times Online that army commanders pressed the political leadership
in New Delhi that an inadequate and obsolete arsenal at their disposal mitigated against an all-out war.
The navy and air force, however, had given the government the go-ahead about their preparedness to carry out an attack and repulse any retaliation from Pakistan. Over the past few weeks, it has become increasingly apparent from top officials in the know that the closed-door meetings of top military commanders and political leaders discussed the poor state of the armory (both ammunition and artillery), and that this tilted the balance in favor of not striking at Pakistan.
According to senior officials, following the attack on Mumbai by 10 militants linked to Pakistan, India's top leadership looked at two options closely - war and hot pursuit.
Largely for the reasons cited above, the notion of an all-out war was rejected. Hot pursuit, however, remains very much on the table.
The government sources say that a framework for covert operations is being put in place, although India will continue to deny such actions. Crack naval, air and army forces backed by federal intelligence agencies will be involved. The target areas will be Pakistan-administered Kashmir and areas along the Punjab, such as Multan, where some of the Mumbai attackers are believed to have been recruited.
The coastal belt from the southern port city of Karachi to Gwadar in Balochistan province will also be under active Indian surveillance.
Thumbs down to war
Following the Mumbai attack, New Delhi's inclination was to launch a quick strike against Pakistan to impress domestic opinion, and then be prepared for a short war, given the pressures that would be exercised by international powers for a ceasefire to prevent nuclear war breaking out.
The expectation of New Delhi was that the war would go beyond the traditional skirmishes involving artillery fire that take place at the Kashmir border, essentially to check infiltration by militants, or the brief but bloody exchanges at Kargil in 1999.
It was in this context that the army made it apparent that it was not equipped to fight such a war, given the military's presence along the eastern Chinese borders, and that India was at risk of ceding territory should an instant ceasefire be brokered with Pakistan.
This would have been highly embarrassing, not to mention political suicide for the Congress-led government in an election year. So instead, New Delhi restricted itself to a strident diplomatic offensive that continues to date, and the option of hot pursuit.
The air force, on the other hand, was confident that it was prepared to take on the first retaliatory action by Pakistan, expected at forward air force bases along India's borders in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Indian-administered Kashmir. The role of the navy in the operations was not clearly defined, but it was to cover from the Arabian Sea.
Not ready to fight
Various experts, former generals and independent reports have voiced concern over the past few years about the state of preparedness of the Indian army.
For example, the Bofors gun scandal of the 1980s stymied the army's artillery modernization plan, with no induction of powerful guns since the 1986 purchase of 410 Bofors 155mm/39-caliber howitzers. The army has been trying to introduce 400 such guns from abroad and another 1,100 manufactured domestically, without success.
The latest report by the independent Comptroller and Auditor General said the state's production of 23mm ammunition for Shilka anti-aircraft cannons and 30mm guns mounted on infantry combat vehicles lacked quality. Further, supply was nearly 35% short of requirements.
India's huge tank fleet is in bad shape due to a shortage of Russian spare parts, while indigenous efforts, such as the main battle tank Arjun, have failed.
Signs of trouble emerged during the Kargil war when it was revealed that India's defense forces were dealing with acute shortages in every sphere.
In remarks that underscored the problems, the then-army chief, V P Malik, said his forces would make do with whatever was in hand, given the fears of a full-scale war that was eventually avoided due to pressure by America, then under president Bill Clinton.
The Kargil review committee report noted, "The heavy involvement of the army in counter-insurgency operations cannot but affect its preparedness for its primary role, which is to defend the country against external aggression."
Although there have been attempts to hasten India's overall defense modernization program, estimated at over US$50 billion over the next five years, gaping holes need to be plugged, including corruption and massive delays in the defense procurement processes.
India's defense expenditure has dipped below 2% of gross domestic product for the first time in decades, despite experts BEGGING 3% as adequate.
Other defense arms are in dire need of enhancement. Fighter jet squadrons are much below required strength, while the bidding process for medium fighter planes has only just begun and may take a few years to complete.
Meanwhile, the prospects of an India-Pakistan conflict are not over. India's army chief, General Deepak Kapoor, said last week that Pakistan had redeployed troops from its Afghan border to the western frontier with India. "The Indian army has factored this in its planning," Kapoor said.
Siddharth Srivastava is a New Delhi-based journalist. He can be reached at email@example.com.(Copyright 2009 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)