Crisis India-Pakistan:
Achtergrondinformatie, analyse en nieuws
uit de Indiase, Pakistaanse en internationale media.

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Deccan Herald, September 15, 2005

Indo-Pak peace process - Dialogue format inadequate

By M.B. Naqvi

Unless South Asia is rid of nuclear weapons and mutual mistrust, there will be little scope for a Kashmir solution

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are meeting in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Celebrating the 60th year of the UN is important enough. But the scheduled bilateral summit is of far greater interest.
The two are expected to kickstart the stalled Composite Dialogue. The latter went through two full rounds; both failed. No agreement on any of the eight disputes was reached. It is true a number of CBMs, particularly the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service, were agreed upon. For the rest, the two-year dialogue produced no great credit entry. Neither side conceded anything.
What characterised the earlier summit level agreements in 2004 is that they simply agreed to resolve disputes without identifying common goals. It is time to realise that a dialogue in political vacuum cannot be sustained, much less achieve results, despite objective conditions being exceptionally favourable. Both the people have unmistakably shown that they want peace and friendship between themselves with free trade and travel. The two sides could at least have agreed on issues such as Siachin and Sir Creek. Only a modicum of goodwill and some mutual trust was required. Even the water disputes could have been settled because neither side wants the 1960 Water Treaty to fail.
For the Treaty to live, it is imperative that disputes like the Kishen Ganga Project and the Wullur Barrage are resolved. Open mind and a measure of goodwill are needed. These were not available. The fact is the two governments just do not trust each other; each believes that the other will, given a chance, do it down. This is true of Kashmir and both their security policies.

Lack of faith
Pakistan's security doctrine is avowedly India-specific. In India's case a good part of its deterrent will have to be Pakistan-specific in reply. In India's war gaming, the 'enemy' could only be Pakistan.
India faces neither a Chinese invasion nor an American one. No other power is likely to invade it. Its build-up is sui genrie. It may not even be aimed at any one power.
But Pakistan believes it is the only likely target. It is not wholly true. India is acquiring a blue water navy. To tackle Pakistan, India needs no blue water navy. But the harvest of hate and mistrust between them is the real threat. Can India deal with Pakistan's 'unfriendliness' without war? Doubtless Indian war preparations are way out of proportion to tackling Pakistan.
A quick point is that Musharraf and Manmohan Singh should not start a Third Round without giving guidelines dictated by agreed common purposes for their bureaucrats or ministers to achieve. Meandering negotiations with no clear aim will result in repeating known positions. Each side will read its brief and that will be the end of negotiations. Officers cannot make political concessions. Even ministers can make only minor concessions.
Disputes require political concessions. The current format cannot achieve desired results. The two leaders must find common purposes to strive for. Without which friendship will have no meaning. Today both countries are nuclear armed. Since only a few minutes' time is needed for a missile to reach India or Pakistan, the needed preparedness for either Nuclear Deterrent during crises and tensions, have to be instant readiness.
The only effective use of nuclear weapons by either side is mounting an unexpected massive nuclear attack on the other to totally decapitate it. Short of that, use of the weapon would be senseless. Neither side can afford the losses inflicted by a few atomic weapons and in return the other's response will be massive. That will be utter disaster.
Overall, from civilisation's viewpoint it is madness in either case. Actually atomic weapons cannot be used as the experience of 2002 suggested. Although India was ready to take advantage in conventional weaponry by challenging Pakistan to use its nuclear weapons first, it was Pakistan that wisely backed down.
Indian response would devastate everything. Next time too, the same considerations will apply. Such issues cannot be tackled by officials. Cabinet and summits have to do much work. None should expect the Foreign Office or other officials to change a country's traditional position. They require mandate of what to talk. Top leaders have to give that mandate.
Agra's lesson should not be ignored. Summits are where political concessions are made; they need careful preparations. Officials come after that. Officers can only be sherpas. They are told what to say or agree to. Summiteers have to work first.

Issues need work
Summits need in depth Track II diplomacy, which, in turn, would require a diffused but in greater depth Track III diplomacy of intellectuals. Three issues require this kind of sustained work: (a) identifying common goals; (b) Kashmir's settlement; and (c) nuclear weapons.
This writer asserts that so long as there are two opposing Nuclear Deterrents, sitting so close to each other, there will never be enough trust to agree on an understanding over nuclear weapons. Unless South Asia is rid of nuclear weapons, there will be little scope for a Kashmir solution. Old contenders cannot be fobbed off with mere Confidence Building Measures. Major problems need trust for resolution. Should there be progress on Kashmir and nuclear matters, Siachin, Sir Creek and Wuller Barrage and other matters will be easy to resolve. But trust is a tricky business.
It can come from a people-to-people reconciliation, economic development and some harmonisation of policies and regional economic integration. These will be worthy goals for India and Pakistan to pursue. Without these, there will never be progress in Indo-Pakistan dialogue.

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The Times of India, September 15, 2005

India-Pakistan:

Prisoners of peace

Sorit Gupto

Danish Kumar, 13, is in Indian custody since June 27, 2003. His parents were on a visit to their native village, Umarkot, in Sind when Danish escaped from his home on June 26, 2003 and unwittingly crossed over the border to the Indian side.
According to media reports, he was arrested by the BSF for not carrying legal documents, while trying to enter India through gate 101 at Wagah border.
Like Danish, a large number of Indians in Pakistani jails and Pakistanis in Indian jails have been stuck for years, their only crime being crossing the border without legal documents.
The most affected are fishermen who have strayed across the invisible line that divides control of the Arabian Sea - men lost as a result of rough seas, broken engines or poor navigation.
Many of these fishermen are mere children, some as young as 14. What happens to these poor, illiterate and innocent people, once they are caught in 'foreign territory'?
They become 'spies', disappearing into the oblivion of a jail register. They rot in jails year after year, sometimes for more than 25 years.
Life imprisonment in India, a sentence given for murder, does not exceed 14 years. Mohammad Babar crossed over to Rajasthan to buy a gift for his fiancee.
He spent 15 years in jail, only to be released recently on an arbitrary burst of goodwill between the governments of India and Pakistan.
Was his crime more grave than murder? Unfortunates like Babar can face a trial against any kind of allegation, the most common being spying as in the case of Roop Lal or Sarabjit Singh.
Some die in jail. Muhammed Ahmed of Dera Dosa Budha village of Chakwal district, Pakistan, died serving his term in an Indian jail.
It is argued that such people are in the jails of Pakistan or India because they do not have legal documents; hence, it is not possible for the authorities to prove their identity.
If so, how or why did the authorities reveal the identity of Muhammed Ahmed only after his death? Some of them meet with an even more tragic death, as in the case of a Bangladeshi who came to Ajmer on pilgrimage.
He was alleged to have been taken away to a police station. He was never traced. The needle of suspicion points to the police and BSF.
A habeas corpus petition was filed in Calcutta high court; it was dismissed on grounds of jurisdiction. Sarabjit Singh is luckier than most.
His family is fighting a battle with the governments of Pakistan and India to prove his identity. Singh's case is one rare moment of national attention for an issue that has stretched back to 1947, when Britain divided the subcontinent into India and Pakistan.
The rare few were freed, as in the case of Mehboob Iliyasi of Kolkata, who was released in December 1996. He had spent 20 years in Pakistani prisons on charges of espionage.
According to Iliyasi, successive Indian governments have not done enough to secure the release of Indian prisoners in Pakistan.
Iliyasi is ready to identify places in Pakistan where helpless Indians are imprisoned. But Indian authorities are in no mood to listen.
The callousness of both governments shows in their records - they don't have any official figure of the number of foreign prisoners in their respective jails.
On September 12, as a goodwill gesture, India and Pakistan released 587 prisoners, of which 472 or 80% were poor fishermen, not criminals.
Of these released prisoners some were deaf and dumb. One Pakistani prisoner was been released from a leper home in Delhi. No one knows how many still await their freedom in different jails of India and Pakistan.
They do not have anyone to provide them legal support. They have pinned their freedom hopes on goodwill gestures between two nations.
They are pawns that politicians toy around with in grand summits and conferences. The Geneva Convention commisserates with prisoners of war.
But what of Babar, Iliyasi, Singh and Lal? Caught in turbulent waters between two countries, they are prisoners of peace.

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Voice of America News, September 14, 2005

India Taps France and Other Countries in Drive to Modernize its Military

NEW DELHI --- An order for six French submarines announced early this week is just the latest step in India's drive to modernize its armed forces. The submarines are part of India's plan to flex its military muscles more forcefully.
Indian officials say the six French Scorpene submarines will be assembled at a naval dockyard in Bombay. The submarines will replace aging vessels in India's fleet of 14 French and Russian-built subs.
The nearly 2 billion dollar submarine deal was confirmed earlier this week during a visit to Paris by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Rahul Bedi, a correspondent at Jane's Defense Weekly, says over the next few years, India plans to increase its submarine strength substantially.
"It wants to bolster its submarine fleet to between 20 and 30. It is a fairly formidable navy. It has a long reach, it is growing longer sea legs," said Bedi.
The submarine deal is the latest in a series of big-ticket defense purchases by India, which is modernizing its military equipment, most of which was bought from the former Soviet Union.
A report prepared for the United States Congress says that last year, India emerged as the largest buyer among developing nations of conventional arms. The report says India agreed to deals worth 5.7 billion dollars.
Uday Bhaskar, the head of the government-funded Indian Institute of Defense Studies and Analysis, says the recent purchases will help plug the gaps in all three of India's military branches, the air force, navy and army.
"It is a case of being able to redress the situation of obsolescence, where in many major platforms, aircrafts, ships and certain equipment for the army, which could not be acquired due to funding constraints, are now gradually being redressed," said Bhaskar.
Big defense deals struck in the past year include an agreement to buy a Russian aircraft carrier. The Indian air force is also acquiring advanced jet trainers for its fighter pilots. And New Delhi has signed a deal with Israel for the supply of three sophisticated early-warning radar systems.
Rahul Bedi of Jane's Defense Weekly says the purchases are part of nuclear-capable India's plans to flex its military muscles in South Asia.
"India is now embarked on a regional power projection exercise, and for this exercise it needs more sophisticated platforms for its navy and its air force, and these acquisitions are in fact going to continue over many years," said Bedi.
Much of India's defense equipment is still purchased from Russia, but Israel is also emerging as a key supplier, as are the Western European countries. The United States, the largest supplier of arms to developing nations, is also feeding the Indian market.

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TerraDaily.com, September 13, 2005

Scorpene Deal Will Ensure Nuke Supply

Along with six Scorpene submarines, Paris will also transfer its technology to India for domestic production. The Indian navy planned to manufacture 24 submarines in a phased manner. The project will also help India build nuclear-powered submarines.

by Kushal Jeena
New Delhi (UPI) Sep 13, 2005

India's decision to buy Scorpene submarines from France at for $3 billion is a step that could ultimately lead to the supply of a French reactor and fuel to New Delhi's civilian nuclear energy requirements, Indian strategic and nuclear analysts said Tuesday.
"The announcement by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that India would acquire six Scorpene submarines from France is a move that could help India getting nuclear energy for its civilian purposes, " said A.B. Mahapatra an expert in nuclear affairs.
He said the Indian government's decision to acquire the Scorpenes would further strengthen Indo-French strategic cooperation. He said France's commitment to fully cooperate with India in its civilian nuclear program had given a further boost to India's image as a responsible nuclear state.
Singh, who stopped off at Paris on his way to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly session, met with French President Jacques Chirac and announced India would acquire the submarines; France then pledged its full support for India's civilian nuclear program.
"France, like the U.S. and Britain, will work with other members of the 44-nation Nuclear Supply Group to dismantle the long-standing restrictions on the supply of technology and equipment for India's civilian nuclear program," Chirac said at the end of talks with Singh.
The United States and its allies imposed sanctions on India after it conducted nuclear tests in 1998.
India and France also agreed to have a framework agreement on defense cooperation, it was announced after the Monday's talks.
"In order to further strengthen the defense relationship, the two countries will hold discussions with a view to finalizing a framework agreement on defense cooperation at an early date," said a joint statement issued after the meeting.
The statement said the joint exercise carried out by the armed forces of the two countries testified to the high degree of confidence built over the years. The joint Indo-French military exercise were held in January-February this year.
"India and France already have high-level defense cooperation, which will be further boosted by the deal on Scorpene submarine," said a senior Indian navy official.
India's navy has asked the government to acquire high-quality submarines, as 16 of its present subs are to be retired in a phased manner in four years from 2008 to 2012. The Indian navy preferred the Scorpene for its endurance capacity, which is 240 hours and nose velocity, which is less than Russian submarines that India now uses. Besides, Scorpene has a better air-independent propulsion system and can remain submerged for longer periods. It also has a state-of-the-art communications system.
India's Cabinet Committee on Security, the highest-level Cabinet committee to look into the country's defense requirements, cleared the Scorpene deal ahead of Singh's visit to France.
"We have waited for this project, which involves construction of six diesel-electric Scorpene submarines at Mazgaon Dock in western Bombay," said a senior defense official.
He said the project would kick off the navy's long-term perspective program to acquire local capability in design, development and construction of submarines.
Along with six Scorpene submarines, Paris will also transfer its technology to India for domestic production. The Indian navy planned to manufacture 24 submarines in a phased manner. The project will also help India build nuclear-powered submarines.
"The Scorpene project will also help us maintain force levels," said a navy officer.
He said the six Scorpenes would roll out between 2009 and 2015, with an option for six more.
France has the highest number of nuclear reactors after the United States. Paris is also a prominent member of NSG, which control nuclear technology exports.
After signing a civilian nuclear energy agreement with the United States in July, India has been lobbying hard to convince NSG members to provide it with nuclear energy for its civilian program.
"Buying submarines from France is also part of Indian strategy to make inroads in NSG countries," said another analyst.
Indian Foreign Secretary Shayam Saran, who accompanied Singh, said Paris would work with the NSG to try and get the rest of the equipment and technology sanctions lifted.
India and France will also work out a nuclear cooperation deal similar to the one New Delhi signed with Washington. For India, French support is crucial not only because Paris' clout at the NSG, but also because of India's nuclear fuel requirements.
The United States had barred the supply of atomic technology to India after New Delhi refused to sign nuclear non-proliferation treaty designed to prevent spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear tests.
Washington promised to change its policy after New Delhi assured it that it would adhere to international the non-proliferation regime without actually signing on to the pact. Washington's assurances still need congressional approval, however.
India's arch-rival Pakistan has also called on the United States and other Western countries to help develop its nuclear technology to meet growing energy needs. Islamabad hinted it was ready to accept the U.S. request to abandon a gas pipeline from Iran to India via its territory in exchange for U.S. financial assistance for Pakistani nuclear reactors.

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Sp!ts, September 12, 2005

India en Pakistan ruilen gevangenen

New Delhi - India en Pakistan zijn begonnen met de uitwisseling van 587 gevangenen, vooral vissers. India zet 152 gevangenen uit, terwijl Pakistan er 435 naar India stuurt. Het is in omvang de grootste gevangenenruil uit de roerige geschiedenis van beide buurlanden.
De mannen en vrouwen zijn opgepakt rond het grensgebied. Sommigen zitten al tien jaar vast. Het besluit tot de ruil kwam in augustus. De Pakistaanse president Pervez Musharraf en de Indiase premier Manmohan Singh spreken elkaar deze week op de bijeenkomst van de Verenigde Naties. Beide kernmachten proberen hun gespannen relatie te verbeteren. (ANP/DPA)

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Frontline, September 10, 2005

For a creative 'near-West' policy

India's good start in Afghanistan must be followed by efforts for deeper economic cooperation. New Delhi needs to integrate them into an independent, comprehensive, pro-active policy towards Central and West Asia, including Iran and Israel.
By all accounts, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's brief visit to Afghanistan, the first by an Indian head of government in 29 years, was a resounding success. It marks the restoration and consolidation of traditional bonds between the two countries, which were greatly weakened during the past quarter century of upheaval in Afghanistan, and totally severed during the dark years of Taliban rule (1996-2001). New Delhi also appears to have restored the old balance in its contact and engagement with a range of different ethnic groups and political currents in Afghanistan. The balance was disrupted during the 1990s when India backed the Tajik-dominated Northern Alliance as a counter to Pakistani-controlled hardline Pushtun factions of which the Taliban were the most malign expression.
It was only a coincidence that Manmohan Singh along with President Hamid Karzai laid the foundation stone for the Afghan parliament's new building, to be constructed by India's Central Public Works Department (CPWD). But as it happens, this highlights the contribution India has made to the economic and political reconstruction of Afghanistan as that country struggles to become a modern, relatively non-violent, "normal" democracy.
With its $500-million aid over four years, India has emerged as one of the top donors to Afghanistan. Indian assistance is not, unlike most Western aid, channelled through layer after layer of sub-contractors - many of them from the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries and completely unacquainted with Afghan realities - who skim off substantial chunks of the original disbursement and ultimately deliver poor results. Many route the last links of the assistance chain through local or international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which have little experience of service delivery. By contrast, India's assistance is direct and often physically tangible: buses, sewing machines, high-nutrition biscuits, agricultural scientists, 500 scholarships, and so on.
According to several recent visitors to Afghanistan this writer spoke to, including United States and European Union-based scholars, an international development banker and a United Nations diplomat, goodwill for India is remarkably high and widespread in Afghanistan. This assessment is shared by Afghanistan expert Barnett R. Rubin of the Centre on International Cooperation, New York University, who advised senior U.N. official Lakhdar Brahimi during a critical phase and has been involved in Afghanistan's transition right from the Taliban period to the present, including facilitation of the Bonn process, Constitution-making and presidential elections. India is seen as playing a positive, non-interfering and friendly role in Afghanistan.
Thus, it is only appropriate that Manmohan Singh and Karzai proposed closer economic cooperation between the two countries both bilaterally and through a larger regional arrangement in which Afghanistan acts as a "land bridge" between the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia, as well as a conduit to Iran and the rest of West Asia.
The most exciting proposal in this regard is the one for constructing a network of highways and energy pipelines between Central Asian countries, Pakistan and India and beyond. The two leaders specifically "endorsed the need for greater consultation and cooperation in a future project of a Turkmenistan gas pipeline that would pass through Afghanistan and Pakistan". They also noted "India's support for Afghanistan's engagement with SAARC [South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation]".
Yet, as Manmohan Singh himself noted, the execution of all such proposals critically depends on Pakistan's active cooperation. He repeatedly said: "The main issue is to persuade Pakistan", and "we have to induce Pakistan to fall in line... " Karzai too was candid: "Improvement of relations between India and Pakistan is such a necessity because it overtakes every other issue."
Pakistan has so far refused even the transit of aid materials from India to Afghanistan, including high-protein biscuits for schoolchildren. It has made transit rights conditional upon a resolution of the Kashmir issue. This is its precondition even for the movement of goods by truck across the Wagah border as part of bilateral trade. Even on the issue of associating Afghanistan with SAARC (for example, through an economic cooperation arrangement analogous to the security-related Association of South East Asian Nations Regional Forum), Pakistan is likely to stall.
The reasons for Pakistan's reluctance to cooperate are not hard to understand. They are of two kinds. The first variety is related to overblown images and fanciful perceptions about Pakistan's historical and political relationship with Afghanistan; and the second to substantive considerations of security and self-interest. In the first category fall such things as the assumption that Pakistan has a uniquely privileged role, and even some kind of veto status, in Afghanistan because of the Pushtun-ethnic link between the two countries; and the idea that Afghanistan, as Pakistan's next-door "friendly neighbour" (or subordinate?), can give it the "strategic depth" it lacks vis-a-vis India.
Both premises are specious. True, there are more Pushtuns in Pakistan than in Afghanistan: after all, the North West Frontier Province was what the British carved out of Afghanistan during their half-successful campaign for imperial expansion. But the Pushtuns are by no means homogenous. They are divided into tribes, and increasingly differentiated internally by exposure to the forces of modernity, including contemporary politics.
That apart, Pushtuns form only about two-fifths of Afghanistan's population. Even more important, the terrible experience of the Taliban regime - which they regard as the worst form of tufangsalari, or the rule of the gun - has scarred large numbers of Pushtuns and made them hostile to Pakistan. Pakistan is widely seen as having interfered in Afghanistan's affairs. In fact, in the current political discourse, antipathy towards Pakistan is seen as an essential component of Afghan nationalism.
The "strategic depth" idea, held dear by many in the Pakistani security community, is downright silly. Apart from regarding Afghanistan as a mere adjunct of Pakistan, it presumes that Pakistani troops could retreat safely into a "secure refuge" in Afghanistan - an idea that makes no sense given the reach of modern armies and weaponry. This notion served an egregious political purpose: to invent an excuse for, and legitimise, the creation of the Taliban and its infiltration into Afghanistan, leading to its eventual takeover. But that is all there is to it.
That said, Pakistan does have concerns that arise from its rivalry with India in Afghanistan right since the Soviet intervention in 1979. In the confrontation between the Soviet Union and Islamic hardline Mujahideen, India opposed the latter, but it took a less-than-forthright, ambivalent position on the Soviet intervention. Pakistan became the U.S.' "frontline" ally in this Cold War confrontation. It was the main conduit for arms transfers to and the principal recruiter, trainer and handler of diverse Mujahideen groups, like those led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Yunus Khalis. India-Pakistan rivalry got intensified after the fall of Najibullah and the ensuing chaos that paved the way for the Taliban. During the entire period of Taliban rule, India was nearly excluded from Afghanistan. With Iran, India solidly backed the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, led by Ahmad Shah Massoud. After September 11, 2001, Pakistan was confronted by the U.S. with a "for-us-or-against-us" choice and joined the "war on terrorism". But its effort in detecting and disarming the Taliban was half-hearted.
Islamabad is still not quite reconciled to the Karzai regime and Pakistan's marginalisation in Afghanistan since 2002. Some of its agencies are believed to be backing the neo-Taliban, who continue to launch terrorist attacks on the government and on aid workers. Today, however, President Musharraf is under growing pressure to end completely all support to hardline Islamicist elements in Afghanistan. He has had to undertake, or cooperate with, armed operations against them in South Waziristan and other border areas.
Pakistan feels threatened by the India-Iran alliance and India's plans to help build a road link between Chabahar port in Iran and Delaram in Afghanistan to be used as a trade route, bypassing Pakistan altogether. Many in Pakistan regard this as a strategy of "surrounding" or "encircling" Pakistan and keeping it out of Afghanistan and Central Asia altogether, and resent it. There is, besides, the view held by many policy-makers and -shapers that India being the status quo power has no real intention of beginning serious talks on Kashmir; it must be pressed to do so through the Afghanistan "lever", or trade, or whatever.
The time has come for India and Pakistan to bury the hatchet in Afghanistan and jointly help that country come out of its precarious situation. Afghanistan today is unbelievably insecure and unstable. There has been little progress in disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration of militias. Warlords control large swathes of the country, exploiting the illicit opium economy as a tax-base. The Taliban continue to attack with impunity. Afghanistan's reconstruction is seriously underfunded. It receives among the lowest amounts of aid per capita in recent post-conflict reconstruction cases - for instance, only about a third of the figure for Palestine or East Timor, and less than one-tenth for Kosovo.
The country's human development situation is appalling. Average life-expectancy at birth is 43 years. One out of four Afghan children dies before age 5. There is only one doctor for every 50,000 people. Only 11 out of Afghanistan's 34 provinces have essential obstetric services. Only 23 per cent of the population has access to safe water and only 12 per cent to adequate sanitation. Despite impressive growth in the legal economy (29 and 16 per cent in 2002-03 and 2003-04), Afghanistan remains one of the five poorest countries in the world. It is also among the most corrupt.
Amidst this grim situation of state failure, Pakistan retains the ability to create mayhem. A wave of violence is likely to break out after the parliamentary elections of September 18, which could support such a role for an embittered Pakistan. The best way of preventing Pakistan from aggravating the situation would be to engage and involve it in a three-way cooperative venture by accommodating it - not isolating/excluding it.
This calls for not just a speeding up of the India-Pakistan dialogue, but its extension to include cooperation with and in Afghanistan through joint reconstruction projects. This is perhaps the only way of convincing Islamabad that India-Pakistan's engagement in Afghanistan need not be a zero-sum game. It can benefit all three states. India should seriously propose joint projects in construction, agriculture, industry and skill development.
Such an approach must form part of a larger Indian policy towards Southwest, Central and West Asia, or what might be called our "near-West". This should be based on an independent, comprehensive, proactive perspective that finesses an overwhelming U.S. role in the region. Two examples should suffice to outline what a broad based, multi-faceted policy might look like: India's relations with Iran and Israel.
Iran is a litmus test for India. It is a country with which India has had good friendly relations, but to which the U.S. is hostile for parochial reasons. India, as well as Pakistan, has a good deal to gain from a gas pipeline from Iran, for which negotiations have reached an advanced stage. They should both determinedly resist U.S. pressure on the pipeline. But India has to be concerned about non-proliferation too. It must assert Iran's right to peaceful nuclear activities, but only subject to the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) supervision. India and Pakistan should argue that involving Iran in regional energy cooperation would be the best way of integrating it into the entire West Asia-South Asia region as a responsible state.
Pakistan is about to establish closer relations with Israel - not so much to counter and trump India, as in response to U.S. pressure to demonstrate its commitment to "moderation". Building close relations with today's regime in Israel, with its viciously anti-Palestinian dispensation and its plans of consolidating its occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, is no "moderation". Rather, it amounts to acquiescence in the occupation.
It would be extraordinarily foolish to read Israel's withdrawal from Gaza as a major policy shift signifying the beginning of the end of occupation. In fact, it is a way of changing the demographic balance in Israel-Palestine in favour of the Jewish population. It is part of a larger plan to build yet more settlements in the occupied territories. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is on record as saying that the withdrawal is a way of ending "the Palestinian dream of a separate state" forever. For Pakistan, the withdrawal is only an excuse for executing Washington's will.
However, India's pro-American pro-Israeli lobby has seized on Pakistan's overture to Israel, especially after the September 1 meeting in Istanbul between the Pakistani and Israeli Foreign Ministers, to demand that New Delhi must deepen its relations with Israel by reciprocating Ariel Sharon's visit here in 2003. This is a patently misguided prescription, which will throw India deeper into the U.S.-Israeli axis, which has played a dangerously destabilising role in the whole of West Asia, refuelling Arab resentment.
Under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), India pursued an unbalanced pro-Israeli policy. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) promised to correct it. It must be made to live up to its promise. It is bad enough that India has emerged as Israel's biggest arms buyer, with sales totalling Rs.12,000 crores. This too needs to be reconsidered. At any rate, an arms purchase relationship must not be elevated to foreign policy.
If India is to emerge as a major player in global politics, which advances certain universal values and principles, and contributes to a better, more balanced and peaceful world order, it must fashion a truly broad-horizon, complex and many-layered policy for its own neighbourhood, especially the part close to its Western frontiers. Afghanistan is a good place to begin.

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The Times of India, September 9, 2005

'India doing nuclear shopping'

Chidanand Rajghatta

WASHINGTON: India, whose nuclear weapons program is mostly plutonium-based, is scouring the world for technologies to enhance its modest uranium enrichment program, a new study has said.
A presentation by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Studies (ISIS), including the first ever satellite image of India’s little-known gas centrifuge and rare metals complex outside Mysore, said New Delhi is now actively seeking equipment for this facility as it seeks to broaden its nuclear assets.
Various Indian private contractors are trying to obtain technologies in the west after the Indian government farmed out tasks through a tendering process, ISIS president David Albright said, expressing concern at the both the procurement and sale of equipment.
Albright also suggested the facility may be linked to India’s nuclear submarine project, which uses moderately enriched uranium. If the facility is successful in making highly-enriched uranium, it is believe that HEU could go into India's alternate nuclear weapons route.
Albright’s remarks and the ISIS report came a day ahead of a crucial Congressional hearing about the U.S-India nuclear deal at which the Bush administration is expected to push for approval to sell nuclear technologies, including uranium fuel, for India civilian nuclear program.
The ISIS report also put India’s nuclear weapons inventory at between 60 to 105, with a median estimate of 80. Among de facto nuclear weapons states, ISIS said, Israel may have between 115-190 weapons (median 145), Pakistan between 55-90 weapons (median 70), and North Korea between three and nine weapons.
Albright however cautioned that these were merely estimates and there was reason to believe that at least in the case of Pakistan, the numbers may be greater.
Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program is mostly uranium-based. According to ISIS estimates, Pakistan is believed to have 1.1 tons of highly-enriched uranium.
India’s gas centrifuge plant outside Mysore has long been in the shadows. ISIS associate Corey Hinderstein said the satellite imagery of the facility was the first they had obtained. The unsafeguarded facility was built in the 1980s and its existence was not acknowledged by the Indian government till the 1990s.
In the past U.S experts believed that India was experiencing significant operating difficulties in enriching uranium at this facility. Absent stolen blueprints for centrifuges as in the case of Pakistan, Indians scientists have had to overcome technical hurdles to design and manufacture the equipment indigenously, a route U.S experts believe has been slow and largely unsuccessful.
The ISIS report also projected a grim overview of nuclear stockpiles across the world, saying there were 1830 tons of plutonium in 35 countries at the end of 2003, enough to make 225,000 nuclear bombs.
Albright expressed concern over the safety of nuclear materials in several countries, placing Russia, Pakistan, India and China among the list of vulnerable countries, and adding that nuclear facilities in Europe and Japan could also be vulnerable to theft.

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The Telegraph, September 8, 2005

Pentagon gets set to grab piece of Delhi pie

Sujan Dutta

Super Hornet (top), Falcon New Delhi, Sept. 7: A team from the US military headquarters at Pentagon will make a series of competitive presentations to the Indian defence establishment tomorrow.
US Air Force members of the team will hardsell the F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft and the US Navy representatives will campaign for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft.
The team is led by General Jeffrey Kohler, head of the Pentagon's Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).
The team comprises representatives of the US Air Force, the US Navy, Lockheed Martin, manufacturers of the F-16 and the Patriot III missile, Boeing, makers of the Super Hornet, and Raytheon, which supplies the avionics and navigation equipment for the Patriot.
The presentation will be made to an Indian side led by the vice-chief of air staff. Washington has offered to sell to Delhi both the F-16 and the Super Hornet. They are in the race for one of the biggest fighter aircraft orders in global aviation and are competing also with the Grippen (Sweden), the Mirage 2000-V (France) and the MiG29-M/M2 (Russia).
The Indian Air Force had sent requests for information to buy 126 multi-role combat aircraft of the above-20-tonne category.
The order for the aircraft, each of which is expected to cost in the region of Rs 100 crore, spread over 10 years, is the most sought after by aviation industry majors.
The presentations by the Pentagon team will be with the aid of electronic audio-visual equipment and thick wads of charts.
New Delhi and Washington have reached an informal agreement that the transaction would be government-to-government and not company-to-government.
The Indian request was sent to Lockheed Martin directly but the US government also routed it to Boeing for the Super Hornet.
The F-16 is flown as one of the main weapons of the US Air Force. The Super Hornet, based on aircraft carriers for combat, is the main air weapon of the US Navy.
Representatives of Lockheed Martin and Boeing have been included in the team as their companies would be the main contractors to service the order in the event the US wins it.
In November, the US Air Force is to hold bilateral combat exercises (Cope India 2005) with the Indian Air Force out of Kalaikunda near Calcutta.
But before that exercise, the US Air Force will deploy another team to make a presentation on F-16s in combat. That presentation will illustrate the use of the aircraft in operations from Operation Desert Storm in the Gulf (1991) to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars in 2001 and 2003.

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Economic and Political Weekly, September 3, 2005
Letters

State and Missing People in Kashmir

The following are extracts from the text of the resolution adopted by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) in New Delhi on August 30, 2005.

"We who are gathered here to commemorate the International Day of the Disappeared are deeply concerned at the recurring incidence of enforced or involuntary disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir, (the) use of doctrine of national security by the government of India whereby no information is given about a missing person's whereabouts and condition, the continued trauma and suffering of their families and friends, and the refusal of the government of India to heed the demands of the APDP who have been demanding an independent inquiry since 1998 into cases of enforced disappearances.
We demand: (1) That the government of India set up an inquiry under (the) Commission of Inquiry Act by August 30, 2006 with a mandate to look into cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances since 1990 and identify the perpetrators of the same; (2) The repeal of (the) Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, etc, because they provide impunity to the security forces to arrest/detain people at will; (3) Urge the working committee of the UN Commission on Human Rights to agree to a text of a convention against enforced disappearances so that it can be placed for adoption next year by the member countries of the UN; (4) The national as well as state human rights acts should be amended to empower NHRC and SHRC to investigate crimes committed by the security forces.
We call upon the democratic-minded people in India to set up a support group as a mark of solidarity with those aggrieved by enforced disappearances and to work with APDP to ensure that justice is provided."

Pervez Imroz
Srinagar, J & K (Patron APDP)

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Inter Press Service, September 3, 2005

India Foxed as Pakistan Plays the Israel Card

Praful Bidwai

Pakistan has stunned the world--and its subcontinental neighbour and rival India--by making an overture to Israel, which it long shunned and condemned as a 'Zionist' state.

On Thursday, Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri met his Israeli counterpart Silvan Shalom in Istanbul, Turkey. Shalom described the meeting--held at the initiative of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf--as "historic", and a prelude to an open and mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries.
The two countries could soon agree to establish formal diplomatic relations, according to reports appearing in the 'The Jerusalem Post' on Friday.
Moves are now afoot to arrange a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Musharraf in New York in mid-September on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, which the two leaders are expected to address.
But whether or not a meeting actually takes place will depend on Islamabad’s assessment of the severity of reactions to the Kasuri-Shalom meeting, both domestically and from the larger Muslim world.
In any case, Musharraf is scheduled to address the powerful pro-Israel lobby group, the American Jewish Congress (AJC), on Sep. 17 in New York --a move that is pregnant with political significance.
Jerusalem Post wondered why, if Musharraf worried about opposition to his addressing the AJC, he would want to accept the invitation in the first place. It then cited diplomatic views to suggest that the reason was "not because he has suddenly discovered his Zionistic side, but as a way to throw a spoke in the wheels of the strong and growing Israeli-Indian ties, and also as a way to please America".
Musharraf already bit that bullet when he allied with the United States in the war-against-terror in Afghanistan throttling in the process Islamabad's own creation, the Taliban government, and beating down an Indian bid to enter the fray on the side of the western allies.
While Pakistan’s move to befriend Israel is likely to further consolidate its relations with the United States, it will create complications in its ties with the Arab world, produce domestic difficulties, and generate pressures within India to 'outmanoeuvre' Pakistan by deepening New Delhi's already close relations with Israel.
India has emerged as the world’s largest importer of armaments, overtaking China. And Israel has become India’s single largest source of arms supply, with recent deals totalling as much as 2.8 billion US dollars.
India and Israel also share intelligence. In recent years, Israeli defence personnel and secret service agencies have trained Indian security forces in 'counter-insurgency' operations, especially those focussed on Kashmir.
"The great irony here is that Pakistan regards Kashmir as the 'central' issue and the biggest problem in its relations with India," said Kamal Mitra Chenoy, professor of international relations at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University in an IPS interview.
"It would be interesting to watch how Islamabad tries to match the great concern it professes for the welfare and human rights of the Kashmiri people with friendship with Israel, which strongly supports India’s position on Kashmir and has helped it fight the separatist movement there, which Pakistan backs".
Added Chenoy: "In the past, Israel is believed to have even offered military assistance to India in secret plans that New Delhi once toyed with to attack Pakistan’s nuclear facilities --a repeat of what Israel did to Iraq’s 'Osirak' nuclear research reactor in 1981 when it was still under construction".
Until recently, Pakistan took a harder line against Israel than some Arab states. Now, it could become the fifth Muslim-majority country to have diplomatic relations with Israel, the other four states being Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and Mauritania. (Turkey and Israel have also worked together as military allies in NATO-sponsored security arrangements).
Unlike many Muslim-majority countries, Pakistan describes itself as an Islamic state and makes a distinction between its citizens on the ground of religion. Non-Muslims have separate legislative constituencies.
Islamabad’s overture to Israel has already drawn a hostile response from right-wing Islamicists in Pakistan, organised in the six-party Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal, as well as the Pakistan People’s Party led by former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
The decision also came in for vitriolic criticism from the Islamic-radical group Hamas, which condemned it "in the strongest terms", and said it was a stab in the back of the "Palestinian people and their just cause".
Officially, the Pakistan government has only said it is 'engaging' Israel and not recognising it. But domestically, it is clearly on the defensive.
Why has Musharraf taken this extremely controversial and risky step, which is likely to stir domestic trouble for him? "The principal reason is U.S. pressure", says K.P. Fabian, a former Indian diplomat, scholar, and a Middle East expert. "Washington has been pushing Musharraf to befriend Israel and thus demonstrate that Pakistan is indeed the ‘moderate’ Islamic state that he pledges he wants it to be".
Fabian added that this was also a "way of demonstrating that Pakistan, a U.S. ally in the ‘war against terrorism’, is fully mindful and supportive of Washington’s vital security interests which in the Middle East are represented by Israel. Pakistan was only waiting to make the pro-Israel move. Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip gave it the right opportunity or excuse".
Competing with India in befriending Israel is at best a secondary or minor motive in this calculation. But the pro-Israeli lobby in India has seized upon this to demand that New Delhi adopt a warmer approach towards Israel and build even closer relations.
It accuses the Indian government of "twiddling its thumbs" while Pakistan seizes the moment. It is pressing for a visit to Israel by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in reciprocation of Sharon’s (extremely controversial) visit to India in 2003 under the Vajpayee government--which had an aggressively pro-Zionist stance and called for a strategic alliance with Israel.
Sections of the diplomatic and security communities in India see proximity to Israel as the key to getting into "the inner circle" of Washington’s close allies.
If Pakistan consolidates friendly relations with Israel, these sections will mount a hyperactive campaign for outmanoeuvring Pakistan in building an exclusive strategic partnership with Israel which could produce a peculiar side-show to the already intense India-Pakistan rivalry.
"It is hard to imagine how much Pakistan really stands to gain from relations with Israel", said Chenoy. "Some arms deals may be in the offing, but these may not be substantial. In any case, it will be hard for the Musharraf government to argue that the Gaza withdrawal represents a major shift in Israeli policy".
Israeli leaders are clear that the withdrawal shifts the demographic balance in Israel-Palestine favourably towards the Jewish population. Besides, they have plans to create more settlements in the West Bank, rather than vacate existing ones. The West Bank has 400,000 Jewish settlers. Gaza had only 8,000.
The Gaza issue allowed Pakistan to move expediently from informal contacts and unacknowledged meetings with Israeli leaders to overt and acknowledged talks. Successive Pakistani governments, including those led by the late dictator Gen. Zia-ul Haq, Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto made informal contacts with Israel. Recently, Pakistan stepped up its efforts.
This past January, Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres 'ran into each other' at the World Economic Forum at Davos. Since then, more moves have been made.
Pakistan may try to justify relations with Israel on the ground that this would allow it to play a positive role in the Israeli peace process on behalf of the Palestinians, analysts said. But it is unclear if many people, especially Pakistanis, will buy this argument.

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Asia Times, September 3, 2005

Asia's missiles strike at the heart

By Sudha Ramachandran

BANGALORE - Even as India and Pakistan press ahead with confidence-building measures contributing to a new bonhomie between them, they seem loathe to abandon old habits. Pakistan naming its first cruise missile Babar could signal that one and a half years into the peace process, Islamabad's hostility-driven, missile-naming tradition remains largely unchanged. But there is a change in the mindset, albeit marginal, that many might be missing. On August 11, Pakistan test-fired its first cruise missile. The missile, which has a range of 310 miles and is capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads, was tested barely two days after India and Pakistan formalized an agreement on notifying each other in advance about missile tests. The failure to notify Delhi did annoy some in India. But in testing Babar, Pakistan was not violating the text of the agreement as the missile tested is not a ballistic one and does not fall under the scope of the agreement.
Meanwhile, the cruise missile's name has ruffled some feathers in India. It was named after Babar, a Muslim king from Central Asia who centuries ago invaded India and founded the Moghul dynasty. While Babar is looked upon with regard by most Indians as the founder of the Moghul dynasty rather than as an invader, the naming of the missile after Babar has not gone down well with some who still see it as part of a Pakistani convention of naming missiles after Muslim invaders of India. Ghauri, Ghaznavi and Abdali are some of other names Pakistan has given its missiles. The names are of Muslim kings who invaded India between the 11th and 18th century. In 1988, when India test-fired its surface-to-air missile, Prithvi, Pakistan responded by not only testing a missile the following year but also by naming it Ghauri. In that case, Pakistan named its missile after misunderstanding the Indian missile-naming tradition. Pakistan believed Prithvi was named after Prithvi Raj Chauhan, a 12th century Hindu ruler in northern India. Consequently, it chose the name Ghauri for its response. Mohammed Ghauri was an Afghan warlord who in the 12th century invaded India and waged two wars against Prithvi Raj Chauhan. Mohammed Ghauri was defeated in the first battle but returned to inflict a crushing defeat on Prithvi Raj the following year.
But that is not how the name Prithvi was derived. Prithvi means earth, and the Indian convention is to name missiles after the elements. It was this logic that prompted India to name its subsequent missiles Agni (fire) and Akash (sky). Many Indians might have dismissed Pakistan's naming of the first missile it test-fired as Ghauri as the result of that misunderstanding had Islamabad stopped with Ghauri. It did not. Subsequent Pakistani missiles have carried the names of Muslim invaders, particularly notorious for looting Hindu temples.
The Ghaznavi missiles are named after Mahmud Ghaznavi (971-1030), an Afghan warlord who is described in history books as a destroyer of Hindu temples. Mahmud Ghaznavi directed his attacks on the temple towns of Thanesar, Mathura, Kannauj and Somnath, and stripped these temples of their wealth, then destroyed them. The Abdali missiles are named after Ahmed Shah Abdali (1724-1773), an Afghan king whose invasion of India is particularly notorious for its month-long pillage of Delhi.
Names of missiles have the capacity to generate passionate debate in the sub-continent that is almost as heated as that over the missile capabilities. Most Pakistanis continue to believe that Indian missile names "are inspired by Hindu history". Some admit that Pakistan misinterpreted the naming of the Prithvi missile but the general perception is that the Indian missile names are linked to history.
Dr Hassan Askari Rizvi, a Lahore-based academic, told Asia Times Online that "the names of some Indian missiles - Agni and Prithvi for instance - appear to have cultural and historical reference points". A student from Karachi told this correspondent that "the names of Indian missiles are offensive to the subcontinent's Muslims." "The Prithvi missile was named after a Hindu king, Agni refers to the God of Fire, not fire the element, and the Trishul missile has been named after the trishul [trident] wielded by the Hindu God Siva," he said.
Indians dismiss these allegations as unfounded. It is true that fire and earth are worshipped by Hindus and nature worship is an important aspect of Hinduism. "But the naming of missiles after the elements does not have religious underpinnings, neither does it evoke hostile imagery nor is it offensive to Muslim sensibilities," insisted a retired Indian Defense Ministry official.
He points out that not all Pakistani missiles are named after invaders. "Names like Hatf [Prophet Mohammed's sword, which according to legend never missed its target] might be drawn from Islam, but these are not offensive to Indian or Hindu sensibilities," he said.
A look at Indian and Pakistani blogs on the subject would indicate how closely the names of missiles are watched, the sharp emotions they evoke and the extent to which the issues surrounding the names are dissected. Several Indian bloggers point out that the Muslim rulers after whom Pakistan named its missiles were Afghans, who before plundering territory lying in what is today India, ransacked towns in present day Pakistan.
One blogger points out: "The funny thing is Babar [after whom the missile test-fired in August is named] fought against Ibrahim Lodhi, a Muslim king. So Babar must have killed a good number of Muslims in his conquest. Same with Nadir Shah, Ghaznavi and Ghauri [who] must have raped a large number of women in the border areas of India, which is presently Pakistan."
So what drives the missile-naming tradition? Ammara Durrani, assistant editor at the Pakistani English daily The News, told Asia Times Online that Pakistan's naming of its missiles "after traditional Muslim war heroes" and the Indian government's naming of its missiles "in no less historically militant terms" are not surprising. "Both establishments know that thanks to the largely antagonistic and falsified accounts of history taught to their mass populations, these names would have more resonance and mass appeal for their respective populations in hating the enemy and glorifying the arms for their annihilation. For the vested interests of the two establishments, what better way to perpetuate the India-Pakistan conflict than to induce in it symbolism - through historical references such as the missile names - of the centuries' old Hindu-Muslim and invader-vanquished hostile frames of thought?" she asked.
The BBC's Islamabad correspondent Zafar Abbas points out, "Pakistan has never given any specific reason for naming these missiles after such historical figures. But the symbolism is a clear reflection of the official mindset in the country. It shows that for Islamabad, the present conflict with India is a continuation of the battles of the past between people described in Pakistani history books as just Muslim invaders and several of India's cruel Hindu emperors." For both the Indian and Pakistani governments the missile program is as much about enhancing military capabilities vis-a-vis the other as it is about sending signals to their own domestic audiences. India's former chief of army staff General V P Malik wrote that the display of models of the latest missiles is an important part of the military parades "to convey and often exaggerate technological and military capabilities".
A successful missile test is projected to domestic audiences as a major national technical breakthrough and acquisition of an important capability, as a significant achievement of the government. Models of ballistic missiles were erected and displayed in several Pakistani cities, reminders of the Pakistan government's macho military image and of its "fitting response" to India's nuclear-missile program. To some Indians the names given to recent Pakistani missiles holds out some hope. True, the Babar missile is named after yet another Muslim invader, but he figures in the sub-continent's imagination more as a king who invaded and stayed to found a glorious empire rather than as a plunderer. Noted Indian security analyst and author of the forthcoming book Minimum Deterrence and India's Nuclear Security , Rajesh Basrur, points out that Babar defeated another Muslim king to found the Moghul dynasty in India. "So maybe [the naming tradition] is just down to power and success now," he said.
An attempt to create distance from medieval, hostile, negative imagery in naming missiles is more evident in the case of the Shaheen missile. Durrani argues that "the name Shaheen [eagle in Urdu] could be an attempt by the Pakistani government to introduce a modern language of symbolism, one that falls less on martial references of medieval times, and derives more universal appeal from concepts of enlightenment and progressiveness, as envisaged by [Pakistan's national poet] Mohammed Iqbal [respected in India as well], who urged Muslims of the sub-continent to 'fly like an eagle' in its quest for progress and unity. This move could be an attempt by the Pakistani government to make a slight departure from its traditional approach, to portray its modern image in tune with post-Cold War political ethos."
Sudha Ramachandran is an independent journalist/researcher based in Bangalore.

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DefenseNews.com, September 1, 2005

Pakistan-India to Sign Formal Agreement On Missiles

by Reuters, Islamabad

Nuclear-armed Pakistan and India met to review their slow-moving peace process on Thursday and agreed to continue their dialogue, despite a lack of progress in resolving their bloody dispute over Kashmir. In a tangible, if incremental, step forward, Pakistani Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan and opposite number Shyam Saran announced that a formal agreement would be signed in October on notifying each other about ballistic missile tests. The South Asian neighbors already have an informal agreement to tell each other about missile tests, which they conduct regularly, but have spent months discussing a formal arrangement. "We had a good meeting, a positive meeting," Khan said after the first of two days of talks in Islamabad, adding that a range of issues had been discussed, including the most contentious dispute over the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir. "Both agreed to continue dialogue. Both sides agreed on the integrity of the composite dialogue. The third round will surely take place and hopefully it will start at the end of year." The talks between the top diplomatic bureaucrats were aimed at preparing for another meeting between Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York on Sept. 14.

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DefenseNews.com, September 1, 2005

India becomes Developing World's Top Arms Buyer

by Reuters

India ordered $5.7 billion in weapons last year, overtaking Saudi Arabia and China to become the developing world's leading buyer, a study sent to the U.S. Congress this week showed. Likewise, with $15.7 billion in orders, India edged out China, with $15.3 billion, to become the developing world's biggest weapons buyer for the eight-year period up to 2004 reviewed by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. The figures are contained in an annual study, dated Monday, of conventional arms transfers that is widely considered the most authoritative of its kind available publicly. The report illustrates how global arms-trade patterns have changed in the post-Cold War and post-Persian Gulf War years, wrote Richard Grimmett, the study's author. "India's ongoing defense modernization program reflects its desire to become a significant political-military force in Asia," he added in a telephone interview. U.S. willingness to consider selling advanced military items to India suggests it may view India as a potential regional counterweight to growing Chinese military power, Grimmett added. The United States once again topped the trade with developing states with deals worth $6.9 billion in 2004, or 31.6 percent of worldwide contracts, down from a 43.1 percent share in 2003, the survey showed. Russia was second with $5.9 billion in such arms deals, up from $4.3 billion in 2003. Russia's share of all developing world arms transfer agreements ebbed to 27.1 percent in 2004 from 28.1 percent in 2003. Russia remained the chief supplier to both India and China, but India has expanded its base, the report said. In 2004, for instance, it purchased Phalcon early warning defense system aircraft from Israel for $1.1 billion. Saudi Arabia ranked second among developing world arms buyers last year, with deals valued at $2.9 billion, and China was third, with $2.2 billion in agreements. Asia accounted for the lion's share of Russia's arms-sale agreements in the period surveyed, rising to nearly 82 percent of its total deals worldwide from 2001 to 2004, the study showed. By contrast, only 26 percent of U.S. arms deals were in Asia during the same period. The bulk of U.S. deals, 66 percent, were in the Near East, including sales to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

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Daily Times, September 1, 2005

India world's leading arms purchaser in 1997-2004

by Khalid Hasan

WASHINGTON: India led the developing world in arms purchases in the period 1997-2004, signing agreements totaling $15.7 billion, according to the Congressinal Research Service (CRS).
A report released on Tuesday said that inthe 1997-2000 period, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ranked first in arms transfer agreements at $13.3 billion (in current dollars). In 2001-2004, however, China ranked first in arms transfer agreements, with a dramatic increase to $10.4 billion from $4.9 billion in the earlier 1997-2000 period (in current dollars). "This increase reflects the military modernisation effort by China, beginning in the mid-1990s, and based primarily on major arms agreements with Russia," CRS said.
The total value of all arms transfer agreements with developing nations from 1997-2004 was $152.2 billion in current dollars. Thus India alone was responsible for 10.3percent of all developing world arms transfer agreements during these eight years. In the most recent period, 2001-2004, China made $10.4 billion in arms transfer agreements (in current dollars). This total constituted 14.6percent of all arm transfer agreements with developing nations during these four years ($71.3 billion in current dollars).
India ranked second in arms transfer agreements during 2001-2004 with $7.9 billion (in current dollars), or 11.1 percent of the value of all developing world arms transfer agreements. The values of the arms transfer agreements of the top 10 developing world recipient nations in both the 1997-2000 and 2001-2004 periods accounted for the largest portion of the total developing nations arms market.
During 1997-2000, the top 10 recipients collectively accounted for 71.3 percent of all developing world arms transfer agreements. During 2001-2004, the top 10 recipients collectively accounted for 67.9 percent of all such agreements. Arms transfer agreements with the top 10 developing world recipients, as a group, totaled $16.8 billion in 2004 or 77.1 percent of all arms transfer agreements with developing nations in that year. This reflects the continued concentration of major arms purchases by developing nations within a few countries.
India ranked first among all developing world recipients in the value of arms transfer agreements in 2004, concluding $5.7 billion in such agreements. Saudi Arabia ranked second in agreements in 2004 at $2.9 billion. China ranked third with $2.2 billion in agreements. Five of these top 10 recipients were in the Asian region, while five were in the Near East.
The UAE was the leading recipient of arms deliveries among developing world recipients in 2004, receiving $3.6 billion in such deliveries. Saudi Arabia ranked second in arms deliveries in 2004 with $3.2 billion. China ranked third with $2.7 billion. Arms deliveries to the top ten developing nation recipients, as a group, were valued at $17.7 billion, or 78.8 percent of all arms deliveries to developing nations in 2004. Five of these top 10 recipients were in Asia; four were in the Near East; one was in Africa.
CRS said during the years 1997-2004, the value of arms transfer agreements with developing nations comprised 62.7 percent of all such agreements worldwide. More recently, arms transfer agreements with developing nations constituted 57.3 percent of all such agreements globally from 2001-2004, and 58.9 percent of these agreements in 2004. The value of all arms transfer agreements with developing nations in 2004 was nearly $21.8 billion, a substantial increase over 2003, and the highest total, in real terms, since 2000. In 2004, the value of all arms deliveries to developing nations was nearly $22.5 billion, the highest total in these deliveries values since 2000. From 2001-2004, CRS noted, the United States and Russia have dominated the arms market in the developing world, with the United States ranking first and Russia second each of the last four years in the value of arms transfer agreements. From 2001-2004, the United States made $29.8 billion in arms transfer agreements with developing nations, in constant 2004 dollars, 39.9 percent of all such agreements.
Russia, the second leading supplier during this period, made $21.7 billion in arms transfer agreements, or 29.1 percent. In 2004, the United States ranked first in arms transfer agreements with developing nations with nearly $6.9 billion or 31.6 percent of these agreements. Russia was second with $5.9 billion or 27.1 percent of such agreements.
In 2004, the United States ranked first in the value of arms deliveries to developing nations at nearly $9.6 billion, or 42.6 percent of all such deliveries. Russia ranked second at $4.5 billion or 20 percent such deliveries. France ranked third at $4.2 billion or 18.7 percent of such deliveries.
During the 2001-2004 period, China ranked first among developing nations purchasers in the value of arms transfer agreements, concluding $10.4 billion in such agreements. India ranked second at $7.9 billion. Egypt ranked third at $6.5 billion. In 2004, India ranked first in the value of arms transfer agreements among all developing nations weapons purchasers, concluding $5.7 billion in such agreements. Saudi Arabia ranked second with $2.9 billion in such agreements. China ranked third with $2.2 billion.



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