In the Russian view, there is another serious threat that should be discussed: Pakistan. Pakistan is a nation with nuclear weapons, various delivery systems and a domestic situation that is highly unstable. Russia assesses that Islamists are not only seeking power in Pakistan but are also trying to get their hands on nuclear materials. – Wikileaks, November 2010.
The Russian assessment of the Pakistani nuclear threat has to be seen in the backdrop of Islamabad’s insecurity-fuelled weapons programme. The country has not only cranked up its production of nuclear warheads, it is doing so primarily in the area of battlefield nuclear weapons designed for use against the Indian Army’s armour and troop concentrations. While Pakistan’s strategic arsenal is said to be under constant scrutiny by US intelligence agencies, the tactical warheads will be located in forward bases, presenting a tempting target for terrorist groups.
The exact number of nuclear warheads in any country’s armoury is a closely guarded secret, but guesstimates are that by the end of the decade Pakistan will overtake France’s tally of around 300 nuclear warheads.
Strange as it may seem, many in the West blame India for Pakistan’s nuclear underground. They are of the view that it is India’s new Cold War military doctrine that is accelerating the production of nuclear weapons next door. The fact that it's the Americans – along with China – who had actively helped Pakistan develop nuclear weapons is conveniently forgotten.
To be sure, Pakistan has embarked upon a wasteful militarisation programme that could wreck its economy because of the fear of India. According to Wikileaks, more than the al-Qaida, more than American plans to seize its nuclear stockpile, or even a hostile Afghan government, what’s causing jitters among Pakistani generals is Cold Start – a new version of blitzkrieg being perfected by the Indian Army.
So deeply does it dread Cold Start that the Pakistani military has increased its output to an all-time high of over 20 nuclear bombs annually. To understand why Pakistan is now upping the ante with battlefield nuclear weapons, we need to understand the dynamics unleashed by Cold Start.
India Army: Need for speed
India and Pakistan have fought wars in 1948, 1965, 1971 and 1999. Each of these conflicts was launched by the Pakistani military with the knowledge that if its military thrusts failed, its patrons – the US and China – could be relied upon to work the diplomatic back channels, get the world media to raise the alarm, and issue veiled threats, thereby bringing pressure upon India’s political leadership to call off its attack.
India’s military strategy was different. After the defending corps along the border soften Pakistan’s frontal positions, the mechanised columns of India’s elite strike corps roll across the border, destroy the core of the Pakistan Army and slice the country in two, giving the political leadership a huge bargaining advantage.
Sounds like a bullet-proof strategy. But because India’s strike corps were based in central India, a significant distance from the international border, it took up to three weeks for these three armies – comprising hundreds of thousands of troops – to reach the front.
Because of the long mobilisation period, the intervention by Western nations and the truce-happy nature of its political leadership, India’s military brass could not use its strike forces to their full potential.
Quick strikes
Cold Start was designed to run around this logistical Maginot Line. The doctrine reorganises the Indian Army’s offensive power away from the three large strike corps into eight smaller division-sized battle groups that combine mechanised infantry, artillery, and armour in a manner reminiscent of the Soviet Union’s operational maneuver groups. According to Dr Subhash Kapila, an international relations and strategic affairs analyst at the New Delhi-based South Asia Analysis Group, Cold Start aims to seize the initiative and finish the war before India’s political leadership loses its nerve.
“The long mobilisation time gives the political leadership time to waver under pressure, and in the process deny the Indian Army its due military victories,” says Kapila. “The new war doctrine would compel the political leadership to give political approval ‘ab-initio’ and thereby free the armed forces to generate their full combat potential from the outset.”
The crux of Cold Start is:
  • Pakistan must not enjoy the luxury of time. Cold Start aims for eight “Battle Groups”, comprising independent armoured and mechanised brigades that would launch counterattacks within hours.
  • These Battle Groups will be fully integrated with the Indian Air Force and naval aviation, and launch multiple strikes round the clock into Pakistan.
  • Each Battle Group will be the size of a division (30,000-50,000 troops) and highly mobile unlike the strike corps.
  • Ominously for Pakistan, the Battle Groups will be well forward from existing garrisons. India’s elite strike forces will no longer sit idle waiting for the opportune moment, which never came in the last wars.
Calculus of war
In a Harvard paper on Cold Start, Walter C. Ladwig writes, “As the Indian military enhances its ability to implement Cold Start, it is simultaneously degrading the chance that diplomacy could diffuse a crisis on the subcontinent. In a future emergency, the international community may find the Battle Groups on the road to Lahore before anyone in Washington, Brussels or Beijing has the chance to act.”
Cold Start is also aimed at paralysing Pakistani response. Although its operational details remain classified, it appears that the goal would be to have three to five Battle Groups entering Pakistani territory within 72 to 96 hours from the time the order to mobilise is issued.
“Only such simultaneity of operations will unhinge the enemy, break his cohesion, and paralyse him into making mistakes from which he will not be able to recover,” writes Gurmeet Kanwal, director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi.
Agrees Ladwig: “Multiple divisions operating independently have the potential to disrupt or incapacitate the Pakistani leadership's decision making cycle, as happened to the French high command in the face of the German blitzkrieg of 1940.”
Also, rather than seek to deliver a catastrophic blow to Pakistan (i.e., cutting the country in two), the goal of Indian military operations would be to make shallow territorial gains, 50-80 km deep, that could be used in post-conflict negotiations to extract concessions from Islamabad.
Where the strike corps had the power to deliver a knockout blow, the Battle Groups can only “bite and hold” territory. This denies Pakistan the “regime survival” justification for employing nuclear weapons in response to India's conventional attack.
Tactical nukes: Pakistan’s back-up
Pakistan has declared it will launch nuclear strikes against India when a significant portion of its territory has been captured or is likely to be captured, or the Pakistani military suffers heavy losses.
At the same time the Pakistani military is taking out another insurance policy – through battlefield nuclear weapons. The message is that Islamabad is prepared to use these compact warheads, which can be launched on purpose-built short range rockets, such as the much hyped Nasr, in the early days of war.
This can be interpreted in two ways. One, Pakistan has come round to the thinking that it can never defeat the Indian Army. Two, the Pakistani generals believe Cold Start cannot be allowed to stymie their plan to bleed India “with a thousand cuts”. In their view, achieving nuclear deterrence is not a victory but to stop their proxy war against India would be a defeat. This is not something to be taken lightly as it shows that the Pakistani elites want perpetual conflict with India in order to control Pakistani resources for their own benefit.
Calling the bluff
What if Pakistan uses tactical nuclear bombs against the Indian Army’s Battle Groups the moment Cold Start is initiated? In Kapila’s view, Pakistan’s low nuclear threshold is a myth – perpetuated and planted by Western academia and think tanks. This suits the needs of the conservative American establishment in whose eyes India is a long-term rival and Pakistan a useful, if unreliable, ally. Unfortunately, India’s political leadership and its uncritical media have been brainwashed into believing that Cold Start has apocalyptic consequences.
“Nuclear warfare is not a commando raid or commando operation with which Pakistan is more familiar," says Kapila. “Crossing the nuclear threshold is so fateful a decision that even strong American Presidents in the past have baulked at exercising it or the prospects of exercising it.” Pakistan cannot expect India would sit idle and suffer a Pakistani nuclear strike without a massive nuclear retaliation.
Broken arrows: Threat for the West, not India
The spectre of battlefield nuclear weapons under the direct control of commanders who sympathise with Islamic terrorists no doubt scares a lot of people. According to Wikileaks, in the Russian view, “extremist organisations have more opportunities to recruit people working in (Pakistan’s) nuclear and missile programmes”.
Although Pakistan’s strategic nukes are stored in well guarded depots, the miniaturised tactical nukes are harder to supervise 24/7. To ensure battlefield nuclear weapons are used at the opportune time, field commanders need independent charge and prior clearance. This is why German Army commanders have independent control of American nuclear warheads kept at NATO bases in Germany.
There is no need for New Delhi to feel alarmed. If, say, the al-Qaeda or the Islamic State manages to get hold of a battlefield nuke, the biggest threat is not to India but to Pakistan and the West. It is the West that made a Faustian bargain with Pakistan in order to target Russia. And like all Faustian bargains there comes a time to pay up. A broken arrow (code for a lost nuclear bomb) from Pakistan’s arsenal is more likely to explode in New York or London than New Delhi.
However, if these terrorists brandish nukes against India, it is Pakistan that will have to deal with the consequences. American strategic analyst, Ralph Peters, the author of Looking for Trouble, says: “Let India deal with Pakistan. Pakistan would have to behave responsibly at last. Or face nuclear-armed India. And Pakistan's leaders know full well that a nuclear exchange would leave their country a wasteland. India would dust itself off and move on.”
Islamabad is thus faced with the cold reality that India is prepared to undertake offensive operations without giving it time to bring diplomatic leverages into play. Since India has declared it will not resort to a nuclear first strike, the onus is on Pakistan and its patrons – the US and China. A South Asian nuclear exchange has the potential to spiral out of control, sucking in China, the US, the Islamic world and Russia. That would drive the global economy right over the cliff. Therefore, argues Kapila, “A nuclear conflict will take place in South Asia only if the United States wants it and lets Pakistan permissively cross the nuclear threshold.”
Without firing a shot
The beauty of Cold Start is it may never have to be used. It screws with the Pakistani military’s mind and forces the generals to spend time and scarce resources on finding ways to stop an Indian blitzkrieg.
Cold Start also works to undermine the much smaller Pakistani economy. According to the Pakistani media, the threat of the Indian Cold Start doctrine and increase in India’s defence budget has prompted the Pakistan government to sharply increase its defence budget, further increasing the strain on that country’s fragile economy.
However, if at all Pakistan uses tactical nuclear warheads on Indian armoured columns thundering towards its cities, it would end up devastating its own Punjabi heartland. Most Pakistani cities are close to the border and would become uninhabitable while India would lose only a small part of its army.
Cold Start was devised by India’s brightest military minds to end the standoff in the subcontinent. In their view, no country can be allowed to export terror and brandish nuclear weapons at India, without a fitting response.
As Chanakya wrote in the Arthashastra, the Indian treatise on statecraft, 2300 years ago: “The antidote of poison is poison, not nectar.”The opinion of the writer may not necessarily reflect the position of RIR.
Intelligence: Sex And Money Gets It Done
   March 16, 2015: Indian police recently arrested an employee (a cameraman) for the government defense research organization (DRDO) and accused the man of spying for Pakistan. The suspect was accused of passing on information about missile research and tests and doing so for up to ten months. The suspect admitted that he had met with ISI (Pakistani intelligence) agents in India several times in 2014. Apparently this man was caught because Indian intelligence was monitoring ISI agents. It’s unclear why the Indian man agreed to be a spy, although money appears to be the most likely motivator.
While money is a common lure for spies, sex also works and is being used more frequently in India. In mid-2014 an Indian army warrant officer (Subedar) was arrested and charged with spying for Pakistan. The arrested man had been recruited in 2013 via Facebook by a woman who sent him software that he posted to his work server. This software enabled the Pakistanis to hack into the headquarters where the warrant officer worked. The Pakistani woman (or someone posing as a woman) convinced the warrant officer she was interested in him and asked him to help her with some work she was doing for the NGO she was employed by. The warrant officer fell for all this and enabled the Pakistanis to get a lot of information about the readiness and deployment of several Indian missile units. It is as yet unclear if the warrant officer knew he was being played or that he was really smitten by his new online girlfriend.
Such honey traps (using sex for recruiting or blackmailing people to spy) have been encountered in India for quite some time and were known to exist in antiquity. In 2011 an infantry lieutenant-colonel was prosecuted for spying for Pakistan. The officer was recruited in 2010 while in Bangladesh, where he was attending a course at a Bangladesh military school. The Pakistani ISI had a woman operative seduce the Indian officer, and the sexual activity was recorded on video. The officer was given a choice of the video being made public, or him becoming a Pakistani spy. The officer became a spy and was caught by Indian counterintelligence after a few months.
Honey traps are still less frequently encountered in South Asia and the most common method is simply offering cash. An Indian army clerk was arrested earlier in 2014 for doing that. In early 2013 India police arrested four Indians and accused them of working for ISI and passing on information and documents for at least three years. That spy cell mainly operated near the Nepal border and cash was the main motivator.
Pakistan is constantly seeking Indian military personnel willing to spy for cash. Even most Indian Moslems have no love for Pakistan and thus ISI concentrates on the greed, need or blackmail approach to recruiting Indian agents. India does the same in Pakistan, but India, with six times the population of Pakistan, is a far larger target.

No clarity on Army promotions policy after Tribunal judgment

Written by Sushant Singh | New Delhi | Published on:March 16, 2015 4:32 pm
Two weeks after the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) struck down the Army’s 2009 promotion policy for Colonels as violative of Article 14 of the Constitution, Army Headquarters is yet to come out with a plan to implement the judgment.
As reported by The Indian Express on Saturday, the Army has cancelled its ongoing boards for promotions from Lt Colonel to Colonel rank. It has been decided that no boards would be held until a “concrete” policy decision is taken in the matter.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is learnt to have “seen” the AFT’s judgment and “given a thought” to its likely implications.
On March 2, the AFT upheld a petition filed by 30 Army officers against the 2009 policy based on the Command Exit Model, which gave infantry and artillery more Colonels than other arms and services.
The AFT had asked Army Headquarters to consider afresh the cases of all officers affected by the 2009 policy, and ordered the Army to distribute vacancies of Colonels in a pro rata manner, i.e., the number of Colonels in each arm and service should be proportional to the strength of Lt Colonels in each arm and service, the way it was done before 2009.
The AFT judgment necessitates the holding of fresh promotion boards for all officers who have been impacted by the 2009 policy. Army Headquarters will have to issue a fresh distribution of vacancies in various arms and services, and a fresh schedule of promotion boards to implement the AFT order.
The judgment has far-reaching consequences, as the number of Brigadiers, Major Generals and Lt Generals among various arms are decided on a pro rata basis from thenumber of Colonels held by each arm. Implementation of the AFT order, which will reduce the number of Colonels from the Infantry and Artillery, can subsequently reduce the number of Brigadiers, Major Generals and Lt Generals from these arms.
The AFT order also affects the current schedule of promotion boards where thenumber of Colonels to be promoted in each arm is decided by the 2009 Command Exit Policy.
As reported by The Indian Express, the promotion board for Air Defence, Engineers, Signals, EME and ASC was scheduled to be held from March 10-14, but has not been held. No intimation of its postponement or cancellation has been received by the officers from the Military Secretary (MS) branch of Army Headquarters, which dealswith the promotions and postings of Army officers.
The lack of clarity has given rise to concerns among the affected officers that the MS branch might be planning to approach the Supreme Court with a Special Leave Petition (SLP) against the AFT judgment.That is the only option available to the Army after the AFT turned down the application of the union government for leave to appeal before the Supreme Court against the order. Meenakshi Lekhi, counsel for petitioners, has filed a caveat in the Supreme Court on March 9 to ensure that the petitioners are heard if the government files an SLP.
Meanwhile, another group of Army officers affected by the 2009 policy, who were not part of the original group of petitioners, is planning to file a case in the Supreme Court on March 22. Following the AFT judgment, these officers feel it is important to become a party to the case in the Supreme Court.
The AFT judgment has led to a lot of discussion among officers of various arms andservices over email and social media.
Even on the veterans’ groups on the Internet, one section has argued for betterpromotion avenues for the infantry and artillery by implementing the 2009 policy, while the other section has argued that this cannot be done at the cost of creating a demotivated and fractured Army.
Lt General (retd) Syed Ata Hasnain, former Military Secretary, has said on Facebook that the Command Exit Model policy of 2009 was never needed, and backed a return to the pro rata model for promotions.


Ex-RAW chief: 'Lakhvi's case exposes tussle between Pakistani government and army'

Pakistan has once again detained Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a key suspect in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, after a court ordered his release. Expert Vikram Sood suspects the authorities don't want him to reveal secret info.
Pakistani security personnel escort Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi (C), alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, as he leaves the court in Islamabad on December 30, 2014
(Photo: AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)
Just one day after the Islamabad High Court ordered his release, Pakistani authorities announced on Saturday, March 14, that they would detain alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist and Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi for another month, according to a defense lawyer.
Lakhvi, who is one of seven suspects being tried by Pakistan in connection with the attacks, has been in government custody since 2009. Back in December, he was granted a $10,000 bail, but Pakistan decided to detain him for three months, following massive criticism from India, which has repeatedly pressured Islamabad to actively pursue the case.
Lakhvi is accused of planning the attacks on the Taj hotel, a Jewish hostel, and a train station. The 2008 Mumbai attacks, a three-day siege that left more than 160 people dead, seriously damaged the already strained ties between the nuclear-armed neighbors - Pakistan and India.
In a DW interview, Vikram Sood, who headed the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India's foreign intelligence service, from 2001 to March 2003, accuses the Pakistani military of seeking to prevent the Lakhvi case from ever going to trial for fear of him disclosing potentially incriminating information on the army's role.
Vikram Sood
Sood: 'Any disclosures by Lakhvi of the Pakistani state's involvement would naturally be embarrassing for Pakistan'
DW: Why would a Pakistani court cancel a detention order for Lakhvi?
Vikram Sood: This cancelation by a Pakistani court is to be viewed not purely in judicial terms but also in political and strategic terms. The mere fact that the Lakhvi case were to figure in a Pakistani court for trial would mean an admission in the eyes of the military that Pakistan was involved in the Mumbai 2008 terror attacks as alleged by India. They wouldn't want the case to be heard in any court in Pakistan, ever. Therefore, it is more likely that the court was nudged towards this decision. There may be a tussle between the civilian leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif - who is seeking a better relationship with India - and the army - which is not keen on any concessions to India.
Any disclosures by Lakhvi of the Pakistani state's involvement would naturally be embarrassing for Pakistan. This decision by the court soon after the visit of the Indian Foreign Secretary to Islamabad may not be a coincidence, but it does put a speed breaker on the efforts to improve relations.
The fact that Lakhvi has been ordered to be detained once again does not alter the basic truth that authorities do no want him to reveal certain matters.
But why would the Pakistani authorities want to prevent Lakhvi from testifying?
At this juncture, the Pakistani authorities (read military) presumably feel that they are very close to being able to finally assert themselves in Afghanistan to the exclusion of India and with the inclusion of China. It is necessary for them to keep groups like the Afghan Taliban of the Quetta Shura and the Haqqani Network under their control during the soon-to-be-commenced negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
At the same time, groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) along with its ideological masters, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), and the charity organization, Falah-i-Insaniyat, have contented on the Pakistani side. The LeT's goal remains the establishment of three caliphates in India and "liberation" of Kashmir from India. Besides, the LeT is the only terrorist organization which has not carried out terrorist activities inside Pakistan.
What is known about the ISI, the Pakistani intelligence agency's, knowledge of the Mumbai attacks?
The evidence given by David Headley - who helped plan the Mumbai attacks - and by one of the ten terrorists arrested alive, Ajmal Kasab, followed by the arrest of Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari, the LeT operative who was arrested by Indian authorities in August 2012, all indicate extensive ISI involvement in the planning and execution of the attack.
Moreover, the voice overheard during the terror attacks in Mumbai was that of Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhvi issuing instructions or encouragement to the ten terrorists. This has been shared with Pakistan but they have not followed this trail.
Pakistan vowed to cooperate with Indian in bringing all of those involved in the attack to justice. How has this played out so far?
This claim has always been received with extreme and justified skepticism in New Delhi. Pakistan has given no indication about its seriousness to bring all those involved to justice.
It has played out extremely poorly as Pakistan keeps making a sharp distinction between the good terrorist - those who help Pakistan - and the bad terrorists such as the TTP. The usual trick is to ban an organization and then lift the ban surreptitiously after some time or ignore it as in the case of Hafiz Saeed.
How is this tussle over Lakhvi likely to affect Pakistani-Indian ties?
Relations are likely to remain at a low level.
A file picture dated 27 November 2008 shows firefighters trying to douse the fire as smoke rises from the Taj hotel building in Mumbai, India during the terrorists attack
(Photo: EPA/HARISH TYAGI *** Local Caption *** 01942537 +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++)
Sood: 'The LeT is the only terrorist organization which has not carried out terrorist activities inside Pakistan'
Is any improvement in bilateral ties to be expected until this issue is resolved?
There are no indications from Pakistan so far. Instead it now wishes to pretend to be a victim of India-sponsored terrorism. Pakistan is unable to take any firm action against the radicals in the country. Over the years it has come increasingly under the sway of al Qaeda and its various surrogates, and also under the influence of Sunni sectarian terror groups.
There are political connections between the strong sectarian groups and the ruling party. Most of them come from the Punjab province, which is also the home for recruitment of Pakistan Army's soldiery.
All this has led to radicalization of the society with the moderate liberals increasingly sidelined.Vikram Sood currently acts as an advisor to the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation. He headed the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India's foreign intelligence service, from 2001 to March 2003.The interview was conducted by Gabriel Domínguez.

'Shooter Daadi': This 75 Year Old Woman Regularly Beats Men In Shooting Competitions

75 year old Prakaso Tomar is such a good shot that after she beats younger men in shooting competitions, they refuse to be photographed with her “You see my pictures. In most of them, there is no one else in the frame,” she told Yuvadesh with a big smile.
Her fame extends far beyond the village shooting range of Johri, her home. She is disliked by many of the men, and honoured by even more women in western Uttar Pradesh (UP). This region is North India's badlands. Shooting is not a sport - its a life skill here. Guns are common, and so are gunfights to end arguments. And here, she is known as “shooter daadi”, who regularly wins medals and laurels across India.
At first glance, Tomar doesn't look like a woman comfortable with a pistol. But a glance is all she needs to set a target and take a perfect shot. 

How did she begin her tryst with the revolver?

She first visited the shooting range for her grandson, who'd expressed interest in the sport. Her grandson got her to the shooting range, and she showed a streak of beginner's luck that made her coach believe that she was a natural. On her regular trips to the shooting range for her grandson's practice, she began shooting with him. Soon, she was so good that her first few competitions saw her defeat a Delhi Police Deputy Inspector General (DIG). The cop was so embarrassed he left before the prize distribution ceremony!
Today, she's a role model for local women in the male-dominated region, and there have been many stories of local women practicing shooting. In her words, shooting transcends the sport. “It is not a question of practicing shooting. It is a question of having the confidence to compete with men. For generations women here have had no voice. I am happy that my abilities with the gun has now forced the men folk in these parts to sit up and take notice of what we women are capable of, if given an opportunity.” 
Shooting is today what the region is known for, because there's nothing else of note. No pucca roads, no regular supply of water, and obviously a shortage of regular electricity. The shooting range came up in 1989, and was established by Rajpal Singh, honorary Sports Authority of India shooting coach. In the area's love of guns, Rajpal saw the potential for marksmanship.
Over a 1000 people have been trained at the shooting range, most of whom are women today. Many of the great marksmen it has produced also seem to have benefited from the discipline involved. This includes Rubi Tomar (Punjab Police), Seema Tomar and Varsha Tomar (Indian Army) and Shefali Tomar (University of Chandigarh), and Rajiv Jatav, the son of a brick-kiln worker (Central Reserve Police Force).

In Sri Lanka, underworked army runs resorts, shops, salons and travel agencies

Written by Shubhajit Roy | Jaffna | Updated: March 16, 2015 7:22 pm
A pristine white building with a classy brown wooden finish overlooks the blue IndianOcean at Kankensanthurai, about 19 km from Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka. It’s a luxury resort, and on Sunday mornings, families come here for a meal, a swim in the pool, and to play on the beach. Foot-tapping music plays at the restaurant, and DJs are hired for corporate-sponsored parties.
The owner and operator of this beachfront property, called the Thalasevana holiday resort, is the Sri Lankan Army. It is one of the many commercial establishments that the Sri Lankan armed forces — numbering a massive 300,000 uniformed personnel in this small country of about 2 crore — own.
In post-2009 Sri Lanka, this large army has no war left to fight. So it runs resorts, hotels, tea boutiques, snack bars, food stalls, barber salons, travel agencies, farms, and even sells vegetables. Land, including private land, has been acquired for developing for commercial needs. So much so that in 2010, a year after the final defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the Ministry of Defence was renamed Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, under the then powerful defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The new government of President Maithripala Sirisena has said it wants to roll back the role of the Sri Lankan army in “non-military” activities, and has announced the return of 1,000 acres of land to the people. It has also separated the Urban Development Ministry, from the Defence Ministry.
But in the enterprises owned by the armed forces, ranked military personnel continue to play roles from waiter to housekeeper, chef to counter salesman.
At the Thalsevana resort, 23-year-old Lance Corporal Tusharsampati Veerasinghe is employed in the housekeeping section. He calls himself “room boy”, and shows guests around the super-luxury rooms, which are priced between Rs 16,500 (USD 124) per night on weekdays to Rs 22,500 (USD 169) per night on long weekends. He is proud to announce that among the guests are several foreign tourists as well.
The bar manager is Samarkumar Desanayake, a commando in the Sri Lankan army who had fought against the LTTE from 2003 onward.
On the Jaffna-Colombo highway, the Sri Lankan army owns and operates a large cafeteria-cum-grocery store called Irnamandu Welfare Shopping Complex. Corporal Shobhana manages the counter along with Dhoominda Gunatilake, while Corporal Sarath Dissanayake bustles about between the counter and the kitchen. Almost all of them, they say, fought the war against the LTTE.
“It was a mistake on the part of the Rajapaksa government to let the army establish and operate these businesses, some of them along the A9 highway from Omanthai to Mirusuvil,” says Muttukrishna Sarvananthan, an economist at the Point Pedro Institute of Development. “It is not the job of the Sri Lankan army to sell soft drinks, biscuits and chocolates along the highway.”
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Suresh Premachandran, who has raised these issues repeatedly in the Sri Lankan parliament, says, “At least 67,000 acres of land have been acquired by the Sri Lankan army for commercial purposes. Land is needed to re-settle people, but the army has occupied land illegally.”
Premachandran claims 18 hotels are run on 6,300 acres in the army’s possession in the northern and eastern provinces of the island nation. There is also a 600-acre golf course.
Sarvananthan says the acute under-employment of armed forces personnel in post-war Sri Lanka is seen in their “bizarre activities”. Army personnel, he says cultivate agricultural crops in state lands and sometimes even on abandoned private land. There have been instances of them selling vegetables, constructing a Buddhist temple, and running a travel agency selling air tickets, says the economist who has researched the subject extensively.
The Sri Lankan navy has been renting out its carrier for corporate entertainment and private functions such as weddings. The air force is involved in domestic air transport under the name “Heli-tours”, and has built a tourist resort in Trincomalee.
Ahilan Kadirgamar, a political economist and independent researcher based in Jaffna, says, “This new government wants to reduce the presence of the army in public and civilian space. Some steps are being taken in that direction, but whether they are able to able to do that remains to be seen.”
Sarvananthan says, “The military’s role in civilian activities will be cut over a period of time, but the government is going slow right now because of the parliamentary elections. They don’t want a backlash from the military at this time.”

India world’s largest importer of arms, military equipment

India world’s largest importer  of arms, military equipment

Major supplier: Russia

  • India accounts for 15% of all international weapons and military equipment imports
  • During 2010-14, Russia supplied 70% of arms to India, the USA 12% and Israel 7%
  • Saudi Arabia, China, the UAE and Pakistan are the next four biggest global importers
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, March 16
India has yet again emerged as the world’s largest buyer of weapons and military equipment, accounting for some 15% of all such international imports. Russia, despite losing monopoly over the Indian defence market, continues to hold a dominant position as the largest supplier for New Delhi. Saudi Arabia, China, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Pakistan, are the next four biggest global importers.These trends have emerged from a report released on Monday by Sweden-based think-tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The assessment was done for a five-year period (2010-2014).
Titled ‘Trends in international arms transfers’, it says India’s share in global imports increased by 140% in previous 2005–2009 period, indicating that New Delhi’s attempts to be self-reliant were not enough as sophisticated planes, warships and radars were being procured from outside.“India’s imports were three times larger than those of either of its regional rivals China and Pakistan. This contrasts with 2005–2009 when India’s imports were 23% below China’s and just over double than those of Pakistan,” The SIPRI report said.In the period 2010–14, which is the basis of the latest report, Russia supplied 70% of India’s arms imports, the USA 12% and Israel 7%. Acquisitions from the US are a break with the recent past. During the period studied by SIPRI, India procured fighter jets and Mi-17-V5 helicopters from Russia; specialised transport planes, the C-130-J Super Hercules and the C-17 Globemaster from the US; UAV’s and radars from Israel. The previous report that studied the period 2009-2013 had said Russia supplied 75% of the equipment to India, while the US and Israel had 7% and 6% sales, respectively. This means Russia’s share of 70% is a drop from earlier year, while the US and Israel have grown.
The Chinese threat
India’s neighbour China is helping Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar (Burma) in ramping up their military prowess.China is now the third largest exporter of weapons ahead of traditional manufacturers Germany, France and UK. Its biggest benefactors are Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma — all having a shared boundary with India and could potentially cause trouble for New Delhi. The three countries accounted for 68% of Beijing’s exports.India sees China’s exports to countries around India as a part of its long-term strategy of having a ‘string of pearls’ — a kind of military toe-hold in countries around India. Chinese exports of major arms increased by 143% between 2005–2009 and during 2010-14. Its share of global arms exports increased from 3% to 5%, the report said.

Playing with fire

Rajindar SacharHollow and motivated debate over the release of Masarat Alam
Playing with fireThe facts in Masarat Alam''s case had left the government with no choice but to release him
I had never accepted what I maintained was the cynical comment of George Bernard Shaw that “Politics is the last resort for a scoundrel” or even the more cynical one of Samuel Johnson, who noted that “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”. But my resistance has got a blow from the simulated outburst of patriotism by almost all political parties at the release of Masarat Alam.
How hollow and politically motivated was the whole debate! The facts in Masarat Alam's case had left the government with no choice but to release him. He was on bail in 27 cases, though charged under the Public Safety Act. His detention was revoked by the Congress-National Conference government under a Supreme Court order in March 2013. The court had commented adversely on the misuse of power of detention. More significantly, the release order was issued during Governor's rule with the Modi government at the Centre. Ironical that the Left and other non-Congress political parties should insist on the detention of Alam under security and public safety laws when all this time they had been agitating for the repeal of these draconian laws.The hypocritical stand of the Congress-National Conference combine is nauseating. It very glibly offered unconditional support to the Mufti to form a government and promised him full support from outside. Is the anger now borne out of the frustration that they were not able to block the coming together of the PDP-BJP government? Even Congress leader Soz, who knows the real situation in J&K, has openly said that Alam's release was necessary. And yet the Congress floats its opposition from M.P.s from Gwaliar/Rajasthan who have little knowledge of the reality in J & K.  The Congress role is still more hypocritical. It has had a coalition with the Mufti in the past. For practical reasons the Mufti-BJP coalition was inevitable. It alone could provide a sense of participation to all the regions in the valley. It inevitably meant that the BJP would have to forego its dangerous and loud-mouthed noise about abrogating Article 370. Does not the Opposition appreciate that, even though under coalition pressure, the BJP silence over the abrogation of Article 370 will be a blow to the communal and undemocratic wing of the RSS?Prime Minister Narasimha Rao had played a positive role in dealing with the Kashmir problem. His practical approach was shown in the situation created by Yasin Malik, who had publicly abandoned the resort to armed militancy but was maintaining peaceful public protests. It so happened that Yasin (possibly in 1994) went on hunger strike to demand an inquiry by Amnesty International into killings by security forces in J & K. This demand for international involvement was outrageous and could not be conceded. His condition became very serious endangering his life. Yasin then suggested that he was agreeable to have an inquiry by the People's Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL). Rao agreed that if he broke his hunger strike, the Central government would agree to an inquiry being held by the Indian N.G.O. Though Yasin agreed to break his hunger strike but set a pre-condition that he would do so at Srinagar before his family and party colleagues. Yasin's physical condition was so serious that the continuation of hunger strike could pose a danger to his life. Rao and Rajesh Pilot (Minister of State for Home) understood the delicate situation and did not stand on false prestige and arranged a special plane the very next morning to fly Yasin and two PUCL activists to Srinagar, where he broke his fast. There was Governor's rule. Even the Governor was kept out of loop. None suggested that this was an unpatriotic act endangering the security of the state or it showed the weakness of Rao or Pilot. On the contrary, it eased the tension and allowed talks between the government and militants to resume.Much is made of the fact that Alam is a follower of Geelani and is therefore a danger to the security of the state. How laughable! Geelani is a free man and goes everywhere, and even meets the Pakistan High Commissioner. Rightly the government has not taken any action against Geelani. It was P. Chidambaram as Home Minister who initiated the talks with Geelani and other Hurriyat leaders in 2010. What is so magical or mysterious about the release of Aslam that his release caused such a furor among all sections in Parliament?How sad that it did not strike all these worthies as to what message was being sent to the people of J & K, especially to the parents of children who were shot by the security forces in return for stone-throwing. Must India display the same demon-like face, which I had seen in 1993 on a visit to Kashmir as a member of the PUCL delegation? On my return, I had observed: “I do not know how and in what manner the Kashmir question will be solved with its nuances of ‘azadi’, plebiscite and greater autonomy. But one thing is certain — India would remain a loser unless the face that it presents to the people of the Kashmir Valley is humane, compassionate and understanding. At present that face is ugly and insensitive”.It is to be hoped that there would be a quietus to this outrageous provocation by the Opposition. I am quite sure the Mufti is too senior and suave a politician (who has also passed through the deepest agony of his daughter’s abduction during militancy in J & K) to let anger overtake him. He understands the delicate situation in J & K and realises that if the present opportunity is not utilised effectively, we could be in deep waters again for a long time. Will the Opposition make a genuine effort to prove George Bernard Shaw wrong? 


Government of India
Ministry of Personnel Public Grievances and Pensions
Department of Pension and Pensioners Welfare
Lok Nayak Bhawan,
Khan Market, New Delhi-ll0 003
Dated the 5th March, 2015

Office Memorandum
Sub:- Revision of pension ofpre-2006 pensioners - reg.

The orders for implementation of the decision taken by the Government on the recommendations of 6th CPC for revision for pension of past pensioners were issued vide Department of Pension & Pensioners' Welfare's OM dated 1.9.2008. The provisions of Para 4.2 of this OM were clarified vide this Department's letter dated 3.10.2008.

2. The Hon'ble Central Administrative Tribunal, Principal Bench, New Delhi in its common order dated 1.11.2011 in four petitions [OA No.655/2010, 306/2010, 50712010 and 3079/2009] directed that the past pensioners may be granted, w.e.f. 1.1.2006, a minimum pension with reference to the fitment table applicable for revision of pay of serving employees.

3. A large number of representations from pre-2006 pensioners are being received by the Department of Pension & Pensioners' Welfare for extension of benefits similar to what had been
allowed in case ofOA NO.655/2010 by CAT, Principal Bench, New Delhi.

4. In this context, it is informed that four Writ Petitions were filed in the High Court of Delhi challenging the order dated 1.11.2011 of Hon'ble CAT in four OAs. These petitions were dismissed on 29.4.2013. Subsequently, four SLPs were filed in the Hon'ble Supreme Court over a period of time against the said order of the Hon'ble High Court. Of the four SLPs, the one pertaining to Central Government SAG (S-29) Pensioners' Association which was first in the series of said SLPs, has since been dismissed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court on 29.7.2013. As the Reviewl Curative Petition against the said order dated 29.7.2013 also failed, the Government of India decided to comply with the order by extending the requisite benefits to the parties involved in the said SLP. As regards the other three SLPs (Nos.36148-50/2013), Hon'ble Supreme Court in its order dated 19.11.2013 issued notice and made the following observation: .
"Learned Counsel for the respondent submits that during the pendency of these petitions the respondent-writ petitioners shall not precipitate the matter by filing contempt proceedings either before the High Court or before the Tribunal. That statement is recorded. "

5. Thus the issue of revision of pension of pre-2006 pensioners w.e.f. 1.1.2006 as covered under SLP Nos. 36148-50/2013 in the Apex Court which have been tagged with Civil Appeal
No.887S-76/20 11 filed by Ministry of Defence in a similar matter is subjudice.

6. This is for information.
~ ~\
(S.K. Makkar)
Under Secretary to the Government of India

7. The outcome of SLPs under reference in Para (4) would be brought to the Ministries/Departments.
All Ministries/Departments.
v6py to NIC for uploading the above OM on the website of the Department.

China’s New Great Game - Pakistan Eager to Sell Out

Paper No. 5877                                 Dated 23-Feb-2015
By Bhaskar Roy
Eager to counter US President Barack Obama attending the Indian Republic Day parade (January 26) as the chief guest, Pakistan jumped the gun announcing that Chinese President Xi Jinping would be the chief guest at Pakistan’s National Day parade on March 23.
The Pakistani foreign office, which thinks and speaks more on  the lines of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) text, where India is concerned, exposed their utter ignorance of larger regional and global issues, especially that of their ‘iron friend’ China.
The Pakistani announcement on the Chinese President’s supposed visit without getting concurrence from Beijing smacked of Islamabad taking Beijing for granted. It projected that China was eager to counter the growing US relationship with India and, thereby, US influence in South Asia. Further, the Pakistani statement suggested the tail was wagging the dog.
Islamabad was frustrated that Barack Obama did not mention Pakistan even once in his speeches in India, indicating thereby that in American foreign policy the hyphenating of India and Pakistan has ceased to play. Pakistan is afraid that it is beginning to be ignored to the point of irrelevance and its days of using terrorism to attract global attention (and aid) are getting over.
In this context, an article in the Chinese communist party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily’s (February 11) overseas edition, makes interesting reading. To note, the article was meant for maximum dissemination internationally and its message to Pakistan was loud and clear.
The article clarified that last year Xi Jinping had to cancel his visit to Pakistan (when Xi visited India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives) because of the unstable political situation there, but stated it that the decision had no negative impact on their bilateral relations. It conveyed that Xi would visit Pakistan “as soon as possible”.
Almost simultaneously, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi who was in Pakistan ostensibly to prepare for Xi Jinping’s visit, announced (Feb.12) that Xi would visit “later in the year”.
The People’s Daily persuasively but emphatically explained that China was not playing a Pakistan sponsored “zero sum” game. It had its interest with India and advised Pakistan not to open a broadside against India.
The article encapsulated China’s policy as follows: Pakistan would play an important role in China’s strategic vision of economic corridors, the Silk Routes and Maritime Silk Road, otherwise known as “One Belt One Road” policy, combating terrorism, and development for all. Beijing is pushing the formulation that development ensures security rather than peace ensures security and development.
In an article “China’s Big plans for Pakistan National Interest – And why India should be concerned” (Dec. 10, 2014 The National Interest Magazine), eminent China expert Gordon G. Chang made a comprehensive analysis, pointing out how Pakistan is becoming “Beijing’s newest colony”. The evidence has been staring us in the face. Last November Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated a section of the Hazara Motorway which will connect Islamabad to China through the Karakoram Highway; it will be completed in two years, with China picking up the $ 297 million bill.
This is part of the Pakistan – China Economic corridor, an arterial corridor connecting China, (through the India claimed Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) to the Gwadar deep sea port on the Baluchistan coast. The Gwadar port was built by Chinese engineers and workers, and financed by China. Pakistan has designated it as a defence establishment, but strategic analysts have for long been viewing the Gwadar port as a potential Chinese naval base.
The economic aspect of this corridor is also very strong. The Chinese plan to carry oil from Gwadar port through a pipeline to South-West China. It was to build  an oil refinery in Gwadar but the project was shelved due to local Balochi resistance.
Along the corridor, however, a large number of projects are planned and paid for by the Chinese, including Special economic Zones (SEZs). The over-capacity built by the Chinese will now be expended in Pakistan – a win-win situation for China. Pakistani leaders believe that this is a win-win situation for them too, since all the expenditure will be borne by China.  Basically, Pakistan is well on the way to be mortgaged to China.
This corridor has serious security implications for India. Pakistan has already ceded an area of over five thousand square miles of disputed Pak territory to China in a 1963 agreement. China is using its military engineering squads to construct infrastructure in the area, counter to its stated position in other places that disputed areas cannot be developed by a third party. This is a strategic area bordering India in Kashmir and Chinese troops would be able to roll down easily in case of a conflict.
Chinese military supply can be transferred more expeditiously and safely to Pakistan through this corridor if necessary. During India’s Operation Parakram in response to the Pakistani terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament, China requisitioned arms and ammunition from its military formations for Pakistan.
China is interested in a stable and friendly Afghanistan. A troubled and terrorism infested Afghanistan was serious security threat to China with Uighur separatists from Xinjiang being trained on Afghan soil, including by the ISI.
 Landlocked Afghanistan, strategically located and forming a gateway to Central Asia, is very important to China both economically and strategically, and is a staging post for China’s Silk Routes (Beltway) to Central Asia.  While in Pakistan (Feb. 11) Wang Yi openly declared China’s intention to support peace talks between the Afghan Taliban and the government in Kabul. With the US retreating, it was obvious that China would move in.
Again, Pakistan is a major player in China’s Afghanistan strategy, having hosted the Afghan Taliban after the Russians were driven out of Afghanistan. Pakistan was also one of two countries which recognized the Taliban government in Kabul.
Here on, Pakistan is unlikely to have a free hand in Afghan affairs. Wang added that he had a strong sense that Pakistan would act as a constructive partner in resolving the Afghan issue. Wang Yi’s statement came obviously after his discussion with the Pakistani leaders in Islamabad, including with the Pakistani army. Making such a statement on Pakistan’s soil appears almost like a directive. It will have to be seen what role the ISI plays. With their role in Afghanistan channelized in a particular direction, and a restrictive hand on adventurism against India, the political importance of the Pakistani army may decline, and its corporate nature dented.
India has suffered a set back in Afghanistan. The new Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani appears to have opted for a greater Pakistan-China role. India dithered in some areas, especially military supplies. The US will continue to play an important role; the key to international financial assistance, which Afghanistan needs directly, is in Washington’s hands.
It will have to be seen how far the US carries India in Afghanistan on the basis of its strategic partner relationship and the various pronouncements that President Obama made during his visit to New Delhi in January. Nothing comes without a price. That brings us to the Iran issue where the US and India are not really in sync. But strategic cooperation is not a narrow band and India will have to play its cards very astutely.    
Although the “One Belt One Road” strategy is generally attributed to Xi Jinping, it was being developed for over a decade and more. In the 1990s official positions were taken to build a railway from the Chinese coast to Antwerp in Europe through Kazakhstan and other countries. It must be remembered no Chinese major policy is formulated overnight. The “One Belt One Road” policy has been tested out through official statements and articles by experts in the official Chinese media.
The old Silk Belt comprising ancient trade routes, (first used during the Han dynasty- 206 BC- 220 AD) connecting China to Europe, is being revived. (See Map)
Route information
Length:            4,000 mi (6,000 km)
Source: Wikipedia
Today, China has much to export and import, and vitalize its western region. In the current global sense China’s interest in the “Silk Roads” is backed by strong economic and strategic reasons.
China has been repeatedly and emphatically stating that their strategy is not a reaction to Barack Obama’s Pivot to Asia. True, the Chinese concept is much older. But such a wide and deep strategy, backed by influence and money can be used effectively in a variety of directions.
In their usual flowery and sanctimonious propaganda, the Chinese have put forth a “win-win” situation for all. Their key statement is, “If there is development, there will be peace”. The contrary however, is also true: “If there is peace, there will be development”. The Chinese concept of peace entails submitting to Chinese demands including on territory. And, thereupon, with Beijing’s opaque military policy which borders on the offensive at times as India has experienced, peace may be difficult to come by.
China recently operationalized its Silk Road fund of $40 billion, to connect countries from Asia-Pacific/South East Asia, to South Asia and beyond by land and sea.
The Maritime Silk Road (MSR) concept, which started from mid-1995, was probed at several strategic levels, with a view to building ports and infrastructure in the smaller Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) countries, supplemented by military aid. For ruling groups in small countries military power is an important instrument. In the initial stages this was to encircle India – the well discussed ‘string of pearls’ theory.
With growing military and financial power the strategy has emerged into a much larger envelope, enclosing Asia and parts of Africa, and a dominant position in the Indian Ocean.
Sri Lanka is China’s first Indian Ocean post. Although Colombo cannot be compared to Pakistan, there have been fissures between New Delhi and Colombo, some of which can be blamed on Indian policies. The Mahinda Rajapaksa government took an anti-India stand and invited China in. Dudley Senanayake, a two-time prime minister of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) asked (Feb. 1965) Prime minister Mrs. Banderanaike, whether the Trincomalee port was given to China, in which case the next India-China war would be fought in Ceylon, and Ceylon stood to be occupied by the Chinese as Tibet was. The Hambantota container terminal and port, Colombo deep water port, roads and other infrastructure projects were built by China, along with military aid to fight the LTTE. The quiet visits of two Chinese submarines to Sri Lanka in recent months have changed the strategic picture. 
China has extended itself to the Maldives, Mauritius and the Seychelles, where port constructions are high on the agenda. According to Chinese military experts, these ports including in Sri Lanka can be converted into bases in due course.
The Indian government was aware of China’s Indian Ocean strategy since early 2000, but paid little heed. The aim was to appease China and the mantra was ‘watch China, but do not provoke (read displease) China’.
It is significant that under China’s leadership an MOU was signed in Beijing to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to be located in Beijing. India is among the group of 21 countries that signed on.
The MOU specified $100 billion as the authorized capital of the AIIB and the initial authorized capital is expected to be around $ 50 billion (Oct. 24, 2014, Xinhua). The bank will be an inter – governmental regional development institution in Asia. The Articles of Agreement are expected to be signed by the end of 2015 by the founding members.
Most, if not all, countries involved are bending towards China for investments and infrastructure construction. India is going overboard in its enthusiasm, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. China has overcapacity in steel and cement, and many workers freed after the slowdown in growth. 
Declaring intentions publicly is one thing but arriving at agreements/contracts with Chinese companies is something quite different. An influx of construction materials can seriously affect the growth of Indian industries, especially those producing heavy construction material, as well as the labour market.
The Indian government must carefully consider the specific areas which will be opened to Chinese companies. Ports, airports, telecommunications and computer applications are strategic areas all tied to the defence establishment of India. It is important at this juncture to examine the experiences of the US, and Western European countries which have heavy Chinese business. Indian intelligence agencies must be involved in the decisions of the government of India.  
This does not mean we should shut the door to the Chinese but tread carefully.
The maritime Silk Road policy needs to be examined with acuteness. Pressure form Beijing will soon be felt by New Delhi to sign on the Bangladesh, China, Indian and Myanmar (BCIM) connectivity, which will provide China an overland route to the Bay of Bengal (and Indian Ocean). There are moves in Bangladesh to bring in China to construct a deep sea port in Sonadia, much like Gwadar in Pakistan.
How does all these match up to India’s Look East or Act East policy? India has done little till now towards road connectivity with Myanmar and Thailand.
The enormity of the “One Belt One Road” can be visualized while Pakistan is a lynch pin in this strategy. Sri Lanka is being pushed on the Maritime road; Bangladesh may fall in and there will be a tussle over the Maldives. Narendra Modi’s decision to visit Sri Lanka, and other Indian Ocean countries has not come too soon.
Xi Jinping will be in the US on a state visit in September at the invitation of Barack Obama. Xi will be carrying with him the offer of ‘new type of relations between major powers’, and the US is unlikely to reject it. The soft cold war between China and the US will continue. China is making some amendments towards lowering the temperature with Japan and other US interests in that region.
A subtle change in China’s foreign policy is discernable. Of course, it does not intend to replace the US in taking a leading role in hot areas like Ukraine. But it is out mortgaging many small countries.(The writer is a New Delhi based strategic analyst.  He can be reached at e-mail