<![CDATA[SASFOR - Musings]]>Sat, 13 Feb 2016 14:43:55 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[India’s Place in China’s Geostrategic Calculus]]>Mon, 20 May 2013 02:49:59 GMThttp://www.sasfor.com/musings/indias-place-in-chinas-geostrategic-calculus“A deadlock in icy desert wastelands appears to make little sense as two Asian giants increasingly work together to boost trade and bilateral ties” --- Debasish Roy Chowdhury.
Magoo on "India’s Place in China’s Geostrategic Calculus"
In mid-April, when the winter snows melt sufficiently to permit troops, tasked to secure the Line of Actual Control (LAC), start reoccupying their warm season deployments. It’s quite akin to hunting hounds released from the kennels scurrying to mark their territory and sniff out any unwanted intrusions during their confinement. Unexpected incursions are met with loud barks and ominous snarling till they retire to their accepted territories or, on rare occasions, after intervention by their handlers. Such was the nature of the incident on May 9 this year in the Depsang valley in Eastern Ladakh. Troops of both the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the Indian Army advanced forward only to report that each was in violation of their country’s perception of the LAC resulting in a lot of snarling and teeth gnashing. Management of borders between troops to avoid unnecessary conflagrations is a complex and intricate function and is conducted in keeping with the larger national security matrix.

Over the years both militaries have developed a sociological structure that resolves the problems of frontline troops amicably. Their eyeball to eyeball deployment notwithstanding, for 45 years after the Nathu La incident in 1967 both armies have avoided resorting to gunfire to settle hundreds of perceived or deliberate violations of the LAC. As Mohan Guruswamy so aptly puts it
local commanders have evolved a pattern of ritualistic behaviour and local bonhomie that is very different from the rigid formalities of international politics. Both sides have invested enough to have a vested interest in keeping the peace and tranquillity of the frontier.”

Unfortunately this incident was pounced upon by a largely ignorant electronic media that in India is more wont to try to make news rather than report it. The echoes of the 1962 Sino-India war were rekindled at Daulat Baig Oldi (DBO) and the media cacophony obfuscating the national strategic imperatives blew the episode out of all proportions. They screamed for blood where none was due. To give substance to their reporting they co-opted equally ignorant politicians that in the run up to the coming elections turned a hitherto insignificant exchange between the troops in remote Ladakh into a tool to belabour a besieged Government. Party sensitivities and interest overtook national interests and imperatives.

In this media blitz the Government was forced into being seen to be to be combative thus jeopardising years of careful efforts to resolve the territorial dispute between the two countries and generate a benign if not friendly relationship that would ensure a stable and secure environment on the Asian continent. News reports preferred not to link this seasonal happening to the matrix of in which the Sino-Indian relationship is developing.

The significance of New Delhi having been selected as the first foreign port of call, after installation of the new Government in Beijing, for Premier Li Keqiang, even though protocol indicated that it was the turn of the Indian Premier to visit Beijing in reciprocation to Premier Wen Jiabao’s 2011 tour, was lost in the din and dust raised by the media.

This was further reinforced by an observation by Lei Guang, director of the 21st Century China Programme at the University of California “China at this moment does not have anything to gain from asserting itself against India. If anything, as former Indian foreign minister Jaswant Singh puts it, China seems to pivot to Russia and India, even while it seems to adopt a more assertive attitude towards Japan and Southeast Asia."

Therefore, the April-May standoff at DBO came as a surprise to many China watchers and international experts leading them to believe that “India is stoking the stand-off with China, with the media highlighting the issue and continuous remarks by government and opposition leaders. While China has tried to play down the dispute, the Chinese media are increasingly discussing the possibility of confrontation with India.”

I fear we were "missing the woods for the trees". It’s a sad day when political sensitivities of a political party overtake the larger national interest at the instigation of the media screaming for blood and gore.

At times the Indian strategic community tends to dissociate the Sino-Indian equation from Beijing’s view of the global strategic environment and the primacy of its focus on the United States and the Asia Pacific region. While Beijing is concerned about its territorial integrity that draws considerable attention to its South-western border with India, the primary threat it perceives is from the US, one that is heightened by the ‘pivot to Asia Pacific’, NATO’s recent strategic alliance with Japan and, the extended strategy in the form of the ‘US Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean pivot. These strategies are indicative of an attempt to contain China a la the Cold war vis-a-vis the then Soviet Union. At the operational level Beijing is focused on developing and fielding competent military means to offset the ‘air-sea battle’ concept being put into place by the US Pacific Command.

The fixation of the United States to get India on board a strategic alliance, without which the stratagem to contain China would be a non-starter, is of greater concern to China than the localised territorial problems it has in the Himalayas. If Xi Jinping were to pressure New Delhi by offensive actions on the Sino-Indian borders it would push India into Washington’s strategic embrace. Weighing one against the other it’s obvious that China now has a strategic imperative to woo New Delhi.

Outwardly the Sino-Indian equation is seen to have frozen in the polemics of the 1962 security environment as the recent standoff between the two suggests. But that is not entirely correct. The phenomenon of globalisation that did not factor in relations between countries in the mid-20th century has driven the evolution of the global strategic environment has not left relationship between these two Asian powers unaffected. The perceptions of their domestic and external environment has created a new set of values and national interests which have driven the equation inexorably with effect on their behaviour pattern towards each other, whether it’s publicly visible or not. As Mohan Guruswamy puts it, “The new global arrangements have nevertheless worked well for all of us and the global economy has been expanding at a never before seen pace. This is now a world system without major friendships or enmities, except for the usual local ones such as India and Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia, and Israel and the Arab world.”

National Economic growth is dependent on a secure and stable atmosphere. Stability is achieved through ensuring a benign environment by developing and maintaining friendly relationships with other countries and by creating an appropriate security apparatus capable of securing national interests beyond national shores in areas susceptible to exploitation by a hostile power.

China is dependent of sea lanes of communications (SLOC) through the India Ocean, which is dominated by the Indian sub-continent. In April China imported 23.08 million metric tons of crude oil and 41% of China's exports pass through the Indian Ocean. A conflict with India would endanger this critical commercial activity by hostile actions by the Indian Navy.

Bilateral trade is yet another fast growing factor that influence behavioural patterns between the two. According to Zhang Lizhong, Chinese consul general in Kolkata, "Our target for bilateral trade between India and China is $100 billion by 2015 compared to $66.4 billion in 2012. Trade volume between the two countries had declined to $66.4 billion from $73.9 billion in 2011.” China benefits by the huge trade surplus it enjoys with India. Lizhong went on to report that, “In 2006, India and China signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation in agriculture and allied sectors. Odisha is also keen to collaborate with us for hybrid rice technology.”

Yet another issue Beijing factor that affects their relationship with New Delhi is Tibet. An area where New Delhi can constructively help or effectively undermine the sitsution through means and influences that Beijing is well aware of.

Surprisingly, during the month long stand-off on the LAC, one did not come across any analysis of what the short or mid-term costs of a limited or full-fledged conflict would be on a beleaguered national economy at this point of time. Instead the Fourth Estate concentrated on capitalising on sensationalism to swell their budgets.

A minor fracas on the border was willy-nilly attributed to Beijing. The emphasis was on vilifying the Dragon without a thought to Beijing’s priorities vis-à-vis its strategic imperatives. This was a marked difference to media and political reaction to the incidents on the Line of control (LoC) in J&K. 

The fact is that in today’s global and regional environment both Asian powers have got to a point where their future growth and well-being are increasingly linked.  They have points of friction and convergence that increases their levels of interdependencies for their individual national good. Both have good cause to work in consonance instead of creating mountains out of a mole hills. The point to note is that at this point of time India’s place in China’s geostrategic calculus is more important than is generally acknowledged. It needs India more than India needs it.

It was gratifying to see New Delhi hold its nerve and manoeuvre through this unseemly media blitz and political opportunism - a minefield that roused public opinion. 

<![CDATA[Shame In Chicago]]>Sun, 27 May 2012 03:32:55 GMThttp://www.sasfor.com/musings/shame-in-chicagoBy Munir Akram (Former Pak Amb to UN)
Source: http://dawn.com/2012/05/27/shame-in-chicago/

Why did Pakistan’s president attend the Nato summit in Chicago? The US had not met any of Pakistan’s conditions for resetting relations after the Salala attack: a formal apology; end to drone strikes; release of blocked military reimbursement.

Instead, it was the US which imposed a ‘condition’ for Pakistan’s participation: prior acceptance that the supply routes to Afghanistan be reopened. Following a hasty meeting, the cabinet announced that the decision to reopen the supply route had been taken and the president would attend the summit.

A surprise awaited at the summit. President Obama refused to meet the Pakistan president ‘one-to-one’ unless Pakistan agreed to the immediate release of all the ‘held up’ cargo at Karachi port. To his credit, President Zardari did not yield to this crass conditionality. This public insult was inflicted not only on the person of the president but the entire Pakistani nation. …
Magoo on "Shame in Chicago"
The belief that Pakistan’s geostrategic location makes it an indispensable entity in the geopolitical matrix of the major world powers has fostered the core of Islamabad’s national security strategy from the time it was conceived, and continues to date, used indiscriminately to attain the whims of whoever has been on the gaddi. The philosophy is based on an expectation to harness the exceptional clout of a foreign power to help overcome its limitations to cut its bete-noir, India, down to size, by military intervention.

Consequently it allied itself with the Western Bloc against the Warsaw Pact in the conviction that this alliance would be mutual, thereby giving rise to the belief that allies would intervene on Islamabad’s behalf when it engineered a conflict with India. Only to discover that this form of “strategic alliance” was a ‘one way street’ that precluded actual military intervention.

Islamabad then got on to the Chinese bandwagon in the belief that Beijing, that had a major territorial dispute with India, could be induced to effectively intervene on Islamabad’s behalf in a military conflict. This proved to be a non-starter in 1971 when the latter facilitated the breakaway of Bangladesh.

Thereafter, Islamabad tried to reset this core strategic philosophy by joining the US led intervention against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979-89, while maintaining its strategic alliance with China.

During this period the Afghan Mujahedeen, which comprised of indigenous and foreign elements, received official and unofficial military and financial support from the US and its allies. Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan gave rise to the concept to acquire strategic depth on its Western borders, ostensibly to strengthen its hand vis-à-vis India on its Eastern flank.

The Soviet Union threw in the towel and withdrew from Afghanistan in February 1989. The US also abandoned the region without having stabilized the war zone in Afghanistan and its logistic bases to the South from where the war had projected. Pakistan continued to consolidate its position in Afghanistan in alliance with the Taliban Mujahedeen and its foreign surrogates.

This led to the Talibanisation of Afghanistan that in turn brought about the US war on terror to eliminate Al Qaeda and the Taliban! That has culminated in the current Pak US imbroglio that Ambassador MunirAkram laments and is labeled as “America and Pakistan do their dance of death” by the Independent Newspaper in the UK.

The core of Islamabad’s “strategy of intervention” has proved to be flawed and the root of the grief heaped on Pakistan for six decades. Yet the learned Ambassador fails to see the light and makes a laughable ploy for a global intervention – “To avoid such a miscalculation, Pakistan’s new nuclear deterrence doctrine, aimed to deter aggression from not only India but also from other sources, needs to be clearly and publicly spelt out. The apocalyptic danger of a military conflict between two (albeit unequal) nuclear powers should be addressed urgently by the international community.” The strategic elite in Pakistan is so obviously carried away by its belief in its omnipotence – one it believes the right to outrageous demands. 

<![CDATA[Peeling Or Trading Onions?]]>Sun, 20 May 2012 03:01:36 GMThttp://www.sasfor.com/musings/peeling-or-trading-onionsSource: http://krepon.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/3447/peeling-or-trading-onions

J.P. Donleavy used to be a popular author. He made a big splash with The Ginger Man, but many readers lost interest when it became apparent in The Saddest Summer of Samuel S and The Onion Eaters, that he kept writing the same book. Donleavy comes to mind when following efforts over the past two decades by Pakistani and Indian diplomats to negotiate confidence-building and nuclear risk-reduction measures.

Existing measures, such as prior notifications for certain military exercises and ballistic missile flight tests, have been useful, but regrettably sparse. The Stimson Center and others helped midwife these CBMs in the 1990s, thinking they would lead to progressively more ambitious and stabilizing measures. Instead, the process of negotiating CBMs has been like peeling an onion, one thin layer at a time. Diplomatic onion peelers have viewed these CBMs as devices to alleviate external pressures after a crisis, as trading material, or as add-ons when bigger issues, like Kashmir, are properly dealt with. If authorities in India and Pakistan had viewed CBMs as worthwhile steps in and of themselves, a cruise missile flight test notification agreement and an incidents at sea agreement would have been negotiated long ago. Deals on a mutual withdrawal from the Siachen Glacier and a settlement of the Sir Creek dispute have also been within grasp for many years.

An agreement to permanently demilitarize Siachen, home of the world’s most senseless and elevated forward deployments, appears stuck because Indian negotiators have heretofore insisted on, and Pakistani negotiators have rejected, recognizing in some fashion the positions seized by the Indian Army in 1984.
Magoo on "Peeling Or Trading Onions?" 
Michael Krepon, reputed in the US as an expert on South Asian security affairs, has spearheaded The Henry L Stimson Center’s initiative to foster confidence-building and nuclear risk-reduction measures between India and Pakistan. This piece is a symptom of the author’s frustration at his inability to influence these two countries to resolve their disputes along lines he has been suggesting for over a decade.

His interpretation of security issues on the sub-continent is typically that as viewed through an American prism. The failure to forget the propensity of the US and its Western allies to go viral if they perceive any infringement of their “National Interests” lends itself to obfuscation of the “National Interests” that South Asian Governments perceive to be critical to their national being, by dazzling the reader with similes such as ‘onion fumes’. These countries have as much right to go viral when these are perceived to be threatened as the US does in its case.

The conclusion that the military deployments by India and Pakistan in Siachen are “the world’s most senseless and elevated forward deployments”, suggests that the author either lacks a comprehensive understanding of all the factors that have brought about this situation, or he chooses to ignore those that do not support his thesis.

His ‘onion peels’ gimmick may have made sense if he had taken time out to view Sub-continental security holistically. He focuses singularly on the India-Pak dispute exclusive of other related issues. His argument fails to address the complexities of the Sino-Indian dispute in the Aksai Chin region combined with the Indo-Pak imbroglio over the erstwhile J&K, and the ceding of the Shaksgam valley by Pakistan to China. The trilateral implications of military deployments in that region and its resolution have implications beyond Islamabad and New Delhi.

Furthermore, it’s not a question of material gains or the altitude at which the disputed area lies, so looking for these is going up a blind alley. It’s a matter of territorial sovereignty and looking at and dealing with ongoing and related disputes concerning three sovereign states, wherein actions and responses to process bilateral negotiations generate a ripple effect that bears on a ‘third party’.

Political leaders in Islamabad, New Delhi and Beijing are no less responsible to safeguard the sovereign rights of their peoples than the President of the USA is to his people.

The strategic ramifications of Siachen to India are decided in New Delhi/Islamabad/Beijing and are exclusive of the perceptions aired by think tanks in Washington

<![CDATA[Patton on Khushab]]>Sat, 29 Oct 2011 03:27:13 GMThttp://www.sasfor.com/musings/patton-on-khushabPatton on Khushab
By Jeffrey Lewis | 28 October 2011.

Source: Arms Control Wonk.

Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Rose Gottemoeller, in a speech at Stanford, praised one of my students, Tamara Patton, for her outstanding work on modeling Pakistan’s Khushab Plutonium Production Complex:

I recently learned about some interesting work of a Master’s Candidate at Monterey Institute, Tamara Patton. Patton is focusing her research on the production capacity of Pakistan’s Khushab Plutonium Production Complex. She is using freely accessible geospatial tools to gather and analyze information about the complex’s capacity levels. The really interesting part comes when she takes the open source satellite images of the complex and turns those into 3-D models using a freely available program called Google Sketch-up. This program constructs the models with dimensions that Patton ascertained using tools in Google Earth and basic trigonometry. The model is then placed on the map and textured using observable features. This modeling can be used both as tool of analysis and as a means of clearly visualizing and communicating results.

Tamara is modeling Khushab for her honor’s thesis, using images generously supplied by the GeoEye Foundation. She hasn’t finished yet, but it looks like she will decisively settle the little spat about the size of the second Khushab reactor. (I am strongly encouraging her to submit her final thesis for publication in a peer reviewed journal.  It’s one hell of a model.)

Until then, you can see one of Tamara’s early presentations on Using Geospatial Analysis Tools for Nonproliferation Research.  Enjoy!
Magoo’s Musings: 
Considering that Pakistan is a long standing ally on board the CENTO and recipient of modern military platforms and munitions for over half a century, it stands to reason that it is party to numerous Defence Pacts including a Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA), Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) and Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA). The same pacts Washington is pressing India to get on board as a precondition to opening its doors for acquisition of military hardware. BECA comprises an exchange between The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency of the US Department of Defense and its counterpart and client departments in India. It requires both parties to provide “Geospatial Information of any type or format resulting from the information collection, transformation, generation, portrayal, dissemination, or storing of geodetic, geophysical, geomagnetic, aeronautical, topographic, hydrographic, commercial and other unclassified imagery, cartographic, cultural, bathymetric, and toponyrnic data or other types of geospatial information. Geospatial information also includes information resulting from the evaluation of topographic, hydrographic, or aeronautical features for their effect on military operations or intelligence. Geospatial information may include, but is not limited to, presentation in the following forms: topographic, planimetric, relief, or thematic maps or graphics; nautical and aeronautical charts and publications; and commercial and other unclassified imagery, as well as simulated, photographic, digital, or computerized formats”.

If Tamara Patton, a Masters student using ‘publicly available satellite images and Geospatial Analysis Tools to deduce the production capacity of Pakistan’s Khushab Plutonium Production Complex, a useful adjunct to Non-proliferation Research, it stands to reason that the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency of the US Department of Defense with access to information by virtue of BECA is better placed to determine the same in far greater detail and accuracy.Before putting a foot unwittingly into the BECA bear trap mandarins in South Block need to revisit India’s pre-eminence in Washington’s non-proliferation targeting strategy and the motives to exclude components of its military nuclear establishment from the much touted ‘Indo-US Nuclear Deal’, which has yet to fructify. In this respect BECA is a pre-requisite to the American counter proliferation targeting policy that hangs as the proverbial Damocles Sword above the Indo-US relationship.
<![CDATA[Nato For Greater Engagement With India]]>Fri, 02 Sep 2011 10:05:34 GMThttp://www.sasfor.com/musings/nato-for-greater-engagement-with-indiaNATO For Greater Engagement With India
By Rajat Pandit

Source: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), even as it charts out roadmaps for a sizeable US-led military training mission in Afghanistan till 2024 and a post-conflict role in  Libya, wants a deeper engagement with India in fields ranging from counter-terrorism and anti-piracy to  cyber-security and ballistic missile defence (BMD). "It's important for India and NATO to have a dialogue...it will ultimately depend on India where it wants the relationship to go," said US Permanent Representative to NATO, Ivo H Daalder, adding that senior alliance officials were in touch with their Indian counterparts on it. "NATO, for instance, is getting into BMD technology in a major way...We can share knowledge, train together...We, after all, face similar  threats."

India, however, remains wary of being closely associated with any multi-nation military arrangement unless it's under the UN flag, positioning itself as a neutral player. Defence Minister A K Antony has himself held such exercises should be bilateral rather than multilateral ones, over-cautious as India is about antagonizing a prickly China. Another senior official, pointing to the "shared democratic values, threats and concerns" between India and NATO countries, said New Delhi had "a very significant role" to play in Afghanistan and overall stability in the region.
Magoo’s Musings

As early as 1996 the London based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), that claims to be “the world’s leading authority on political-military conflict”, at its annual seminar held at Dresden, first propagated NATO enlargement. US and UK experts advocated projecting NATO’s military mantle East into Asia and South to Northern and Eastern Africa, with a view to widen the security envelope to bring these regions under their influence to ensure that they conformed with strategies that would guarantee the national interests of member states of the alliance. On being questioned whether the interests and sovereignty of regional players would be taken into account, these so called experts glossed over these issues as subservient to the needs of global (Western) stability and security. 

The rough shod approach suggested that logic was trumped by the belief in US and British infallibility. The very concept of projecting the NATO  military umbrella so soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union was challenged by Russia and found unpalatable by delegates from European countries. Delegates from Russia boycotted the Seminar and the Europeans loudly voiced their dissatisfaction with the proposal. 

A question (posed by me the sole Indian delegate other than Shekhar Gupta of the IISS Council) on why it was necessary to project Western military power in a region where countries had a meaningful military potential to ensure the security and stability of their region, went unanswered. Subsequently we are witness to NATO’s entry into Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya. These military adventures have proven disastrous for the inhabitants of these countries and their surrounding regions; millions have been killed, wounded and rendered homeless; with ‘Rendition’, torture and indiscriminate aerial bombings, human rights have been thrown out of the window; regional security and stability have been emasculated to abnormal proportions; and, not least of all have undermined the economies of the Western powers dangerously generating a far greater threat to global stability. It is in this larger matrix that India must view its national security policy. It can no longer retreat into a shell but needs to project its power potential to 

          (a) safeguard its sovereign interests in the region and 
          (b) avoid becoming an accomplice to the follies of NATO’s expansionist aspirations. 

Haalder advocates a deeper engagement with India in fields ranging from counter-terrorism and anti-piracy to cyber-security and ballistic missile defence (BMD).

How does New Delhi engage with NATO in counter terrorism when it differs fundamentally in its definition of “terrorism” and “concept of engagement” that are integral to its national interests? 

Engagement must therefore be limited to those issues where common ground exists. Cyber-security is a critical national vulnerability that exists in the realms of an invasive ‘electromagnetic spectrum’. Engagement must, therefore, be limited to policy issues without compromising national cyber-security means. Finally the issue of BMD, the threat to NATO and that to India do not converge. 

Can New Delhi bank on NATO to participate in a strategy to secure India against missiles being launched against it during a conflict with China or  Pakistan? 

Or for that matter in the event the US initiates a counter proliferation strike against India in support of an ally? 

Is it prudent for Delhi to be seen taking sides in the ongoing NATO-Russian-American  wrangle vis-à-vis BMD? 

The answer to all three is an emphatic NO.  On the face of it this piece smacks of yet another attempt to facilitate the “folly” of NATO expansion to Asia a la IISS.
<![CDATA[Fail Safe]]>Tue, 23 Aug 2011 09:56:30 GMThttp://www.sasfor.com/musings/fail-safeFail Safe
By Michael Krepon

Source: Arms Control Wonk.

Let’s not argue about this: the three greatest films about the Bomb are John Frankenheimer’s Seven Days in May, Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove and Sidney Lumet’s Fail Safe. All three were released in 1964, when movie-goers were still trying to forget the Cuban missile crisis.

Previous posts have given kudos to Dr. Strangelove and Seven Days in May. Now it’s time to praise Fail Safe. One remedy repeatedly proposed to prevent accidental nuclear war is to reduce the alert status of nuclear weapon delivery vehicles. The counter-argument is that “de-alerting” is a technical fix that can’t solve what is essentially a political problem. The numbers of launch-ready U.S. and Russian warheads remain excessive. States with nuclear weapons use increased alert status (sometimes advertised in the clear)as a signaling device. I don’t see how  de-alerting can prevent this, and it may make the problem marginally, but not significantly worse, at least in my view. I’ll also post about de-alerting in the context of Pakistan and India.
Magoo’s Musings

The closest Krepon has got to defining 'alert status' is his remark - "The numbers of launch-ready US and Russian warheads remain excessive." Actually there is much more to it than that. Levels of 'alert' can be manipulated by a myriad of factors such as the positioning of human resources, technological proficiency, logistics of ‘wholeness’, status of warhead, status of delivery systems, ‘separation’ and so on. Alert status is a function of management of nuclear strategy in the concerned nuclear weapon states. 

Despite the existence of nuclear arsenals with the Western Powers and the erstwhile Soviet Union, now Russian Federation, for over half a century there is no hard evidence on the details of “alert status” or of these being mirrored in the two security blocs. The management of the factors, mentioned above, will vary depending on prevailing technological and military expertise, domestic political imperatives, logistic competencies, strategic doctrine and the concept of ensuring that strategic assets are in keeping with the prevailing security environment vis-à-vis nuclear armed adversaries.‘Alert status’ is critical for the successful management of ‘deterrence strategies’ and is the highly classified core of the ‘nuclear strategy’.

It would be dangerous to predicate employment of strategic forces on presumptions of “mirror image” conclusions of an adversary’s concept of ‘alert status’. I am of the view that theories on the concepts of ‘alert’ and ‘employment’ as advocated in the US or Russia would be unlikely to assess the state of strategic forces in the Indian Subcontinent. In the light of this, I am sceptical of the presumption that he has a clue of strategic doctrines, structures and systems in South Asia, to write meaningfully about de-alerting in the context of Pakistan and India. 
<![CDATA[Forecasting Proliferation]]>Thu, 11 Aug 2011 09:24:21 GMThttp://www.sasfor.com/musings/forecasting-proliferationForecasting Proliferation
By Michael Krepon

Source: Arms Control Wonk.

Alex George, the much-admired Stanford University  professor, wrote Bridging the Gap: Theory and Practice in Foreign Policy (1993) to encourage academia to produce more policy-relevant work. This divide has become wider in subsequent years. Hard-pressed government officials rarely look to academe for help with proliferation. They usually don’t have the time or patience for theorems or quantitative analysis. Bill Potter and Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova have tried to bridge this gap. Their new two-volume set, Forecasting Nuclear Proliferation in the 21st Century (2010) [Vol. 1 | Vol. 2], brings together academics committed to policy-relevant theories of proliferation and offers country studies. There is much that is admirable in both volumes for students, academics and, yes, practitioners. The contributing factors to proliferation are widely recognized. They include domestic drivers, economic and security concerns, as well as regime and leadership types. The  academic school of realism and its various branches do not satisfactorily explain the relative paucity of proliferation cases. The most important policy-relevant conclusion from these essays is a rebuttal of the widely-held assumption of proliferation cascades. Up until now, proliferation has been a relatively rare occurrence, far below projections. The data mined by these authors suggest that, with wise policy choices, this might continue to be the case, even with the current, unsettling Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs.
Magoo's Musings

Michael Krepon, draws our attention to publications by Potter and Mukhatzhanova, Forecasting Nuclear Proliferation in the 21st Century”. However, the second volume, which is a compilation of case studies of the usual suspected proliferates, conspicuous for their absence are studies of Israel, India and Pakistan who crossed the nuclear threshold despite the much vaulted non-proliferation regime. Forecasting Proliferation is undoubtedly an issue very high on the priorities of policy makers and planners responsible to secure their respective countries in a nuclear environment. 

The problem lies in the myriad of diverse factors that 'trigger' aspirations to generate nuclear potential for military purposes. So far published literature revolves around the imperatives of the US in particular and Western powers in general. Some of these imperatives tend to give drive to proliferation policies in the larger global community – each for specific reasons of their own. Having said that, I have reservations about Krepon’s observation - "Up until now, proliferation has been a relatively rare occurrence, far below projections.” In an analysis one carried out a decade ago, the number of Nuclear Weapon States, Virtual Nuclear Weapon States, and suspected Proliferates amounted to 38. That was 20 per cent of the existing States. By no means could that number fall into the category of ‘rare occurrences’. 

Furthermore in the post NATO adventure into Libya, Krepon may want to look at a piece put out by the Voice of Russia – “Greater Middle East expects only arms” by Polina Romanova. Sep 6, 2011, quoting Fedor Lukyanov, who opines “States with regimes, against which potentially, the U.S could act can come to only one conclusion; do not abandon nuclear weapons. It is the only guarantee of being left alone. In this sense, North Korea is a good example. All the evidence shows that the U.S should have acted against Pyongyang a long time ago with the object of replacing the regime, but that has not happened because the price would be too high. North Korea has nuclear arms and a missile programme, albeit rudimentary”.
<![CDATA[US-India: Limits To Defence Cooperation With Delhi ]]>Mon, 25 Jul 2011 09:50:15 GMThttp://www.sasfor.com/musings/us-india-limits-to-defence-cooperation-with-delhiUS-India: Limits To Defence Cooperation With Delhi 
By Sourabh Gupta

Source: http://csis.org/files/publication/pac1138.pdf

Much has been written over the past decade about the promise of a transformed US-India strategic relationship, both globally and in Asia. From safeguarding the global commons to promoting the spread of democratic values to preventing the domination of Asia by a single power, this partnership of ‘natural allies’ is deemed to be ‘indispensible’ for stability and prosperity in the 21st century. Much less has been noted about the limits to such cooperation. Yet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton having passed through New Delhi recently following the second round of the annual US-India Strategic Dialogue, one of only a half-dozen such dialogues that the US has, these limits appear to be kicking in forcefully.

In late April, despite personal lobbying by President Obama, New Delhi eliminated the top two US contenders from its shortlist of suppliers for the Indian Air Force’s fourth-generation of advanced combat aircraft. With New Delhi’s preliminary design contract toward co-development of a fifth-generation fighter recently signed with Moscow, the window to US-India collaboration in this space appears to have closed.

In April, New Delhi signaled its disinclination to upgrade the strategic dialogue to a joint 2+2 (foreign + defence ministers) format, as the US has with Tokyo – in turn leading to postponement of the Strategic Dialogue. Attempts in May to revive the issue were met with firm objections, leaving this format of joint talks stillborn. Near-term disappointments aside, it is the underlying variance in New Delhi’s strategic purposes that has been the key obstacle to deepening the US-India defense relationship.
Magoo’s Musings

Shri Gupta, a senior research associate, with Samuels International Associates, Inc. “a diversified international consulting firm specializing in government relations, business, trade and investment matters. Much of our effort involves policies of the American and foreign governments, economic and political risk assessments, investment strategies, and negotiations on trade and investment liberalization,” demonstrates a marked inability to view the efforts at building a meaningful Indo-US relationship as one between two sovereign States. His treatise gives the distinct impression that he views India as a client state that is required to fall in line with US national interest, that are largely driven by the oligarchs of the American defence industrial establishment, at the expense of its own sovereign national interests. 
He fails to understand that strategic alliances are a product of actions to be directed at a power not party to such an   arrangement. He is naïve enough to suggest that Indo-US strategic imperatives require New Delhi to “participate in the soft maritime constrainment of China” along the Pacific Rim, above its concerns to resolve the territorial dispute along its Northern Borders with China, which, in no way is of concern to the US!

<![CDATA[Washington And The Int’l Criminal Court]]>Tue, 28 Jun 2011 03:50:53 GMThttp://www.sasfor.com/musings/washington-and-the-intl-criminal-courtWashington And The Int’l Criminal Court

By Madeleine Albright, Marwan Muasher
Source: http://carnegieendowment.org/2011/06/28/assad-deserves-swift-trip-to-hague/b5a

It is time for the international community to take a stand against Syria’s use of violence against its citizens. On Monday the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued arrest warrants for Muammer Gaddafi and two of his closest lieutenants for alleged crimes against humanity. The United Nations Security Council should now direct the ICC to investigate whether Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is guilty of crimes against humanity. The charge: using lethal violence to repress peaceful demonstrations in support of democratic rule. At present, the international criminal justice system is the best available way of confronting Syria.
Magoo’s Musings: 

Ms Albright may do well to first get Washington to become a State Party to the Statute before exhorting those of the ‘international community’ that are party to the ICC to lay down new principles in its modus operandi.  Of course, under the new circumstances the likes of GW Bush, D Rumsfeld and now Obama, are responsible for the killings of hundreds of thousands of innocent non-combatant men, women and children, by ordering the use of excessive force in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

Thereby, making them susceptible to similar prosecution were they to set foot in any country party to the Statute, where they may have been charged with similar misdemeanours that Albright refers to. She forgets that Mr. Rumsfeld cancelled a trip to Switzerland when they raised the spectre of arresting him for a “swift trip to the Hague”.
<![CDATA[‘Nightmare Nuclear Scenario’]]>Wed, 01 Jun 2011 03:35:32 GMThttp://www.sasfor.com/musings/nightmare-nuclear-scenario‘Nightmare Nuclear Scenario’

By Shaun Gregory
Source: http://www.dawn.com/2011/06/01/how-pakistans-nuclear-weapons-could-be-jeopardised.html

It’s a nightmare scenario: al Qaeda militants gain control of a Pakistani nuclear weapon, either through a base assault, theft or a rogue commander’s cooperation, possibly in the event of hostilities with nuclear-armed neighbour India. Militants could seize control of a Hatf-9 system — essentially a rocket launcher on a truck. Militants could attack a base, seize a warhead or its core materials and then escape. Rogue commanders could, in a conflict with India, hand over codes and weapons to militants or cooperate with them. The more mercenary types might simply sell them.

Magoo’s Musings: Western media has been used extensively to hype the dangers of a nuclear armed South Asia. It is directed, on the one hand, at the ruling dispensations in India and Pakistan with a view to induce them to cap, freeze and hopefully roll back their nuclear strategies, and on the other hand to divert attention away from the modernisation programmes underway in the original five nuclear weapon states. However, there are more considerations that have to be taken into account.

[A] The learned Professor, Shaun Gregory, attempts to juxtapose a scenario taken right out of the early era of the ‘Cold War’ to suggest a possible South Asia nuclear event, without outlining the copious literature that proved the inoperability of this misplaced Spielberg type Western concept (Davy Crocket type tactical nuclear warfighting syatems) – under all possible conditions other than in the movies!

[B] Considering the deeply implanted belief, in no little way generated by Richard Armitage’s threat to bomb Pakistan back  into the Stone Age, in the military leadership that the US has plans to eliminate Pakistan’s nuclear assets, it is highly unlikely that they would store any part of the nuclear arsenal near a base that is open to US personnel. On the contrary all nuclear assets have been secreted away to deny access not only to the militant fundamentalist groups but more so from the US Special Forces.  Western media’s persistence in repeatedly drawing attention to a fictitious nuclear weapons depository in proximity to PNS Mehran is suspiciously motivated.

[C] The major worry, conspicuously absent from the Western Media offensive, is the strong possibility that the on-going fundamentalist attack on Pakistan, where a significant portion of the military is deeply penetrated by Islamic radicals, may result in the take-over of the State by these fundamentalists. The conversion of the State from a democracy (Sic!) to an Islamic Fundamentalist Emirate would place all assets – military and nuclear under the direct control of this new dispensation, which would really create a catastrophic nuclear environment.