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Volume 11 | Issue 6 | July 2013

India - US Strategic Dialogue


Note Dear Readers,

Welcome to the July issue of Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine! With so much of going-on in the recent months, one gets the feeling that one is living amidst the defining moments of world’s history. Incidents normally downplayed by players involved in incidents like Chinese incursion into Ladakh, US-Japan developments in mutual cooperation, Syrian rebellion, Egyptian unrest etc epitomizes the volatile global scenario. To top it all, we have the European economic situation which is heading in directions that are really and truly indeterminate even by experts. Everything is not gloomy and this magazine exists to convey to its readers this very message. Along side turmoil, this is also the age of bilateral and multi-lateral joining together of hands to make history work in unison for global prosperity, peace and goodwill. We have covered Indo-US bilateral relationship, politics, the economic precursor to the ASEAN Meet scheduled to take place later this year, Egyptian experiments with feminism, environment protection within Bolivia including other issues given the vast canvas of international diplomacy and foreign affairs. I wish all my readers well and hope they have a great read. Happy Reading!

the team

India - US

Strategic Dialogue Changing

Editor-in-Chief Maheswaran Gnanaprakasam Consultant Editor Janaki Bahadur Kremmer Executive Editor Vijay Chand Marketing Manish Jha Design Achint Head Office S-442, Shakarpur, School Block, Laxmi Nagar, New Delhi – 110092 For Queries Printed and published by Maheswaran Gnanaprakasam Editor Maheswaran Gnanaprakasam Published from S-442, Shakarpur, School Block, Laxmi Nagar, New Delhi – 110092 Editorial Board Professor Greg Battye, Head, School of Creative Communication, University of Canberra, Australia Dr. Kei Koga, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University Ian Taylor, Professor in International Relations and African Politics at University of St Andrews, Scotland and Chair Professor, School of International Studies, Renmin University, China Janaki Bahadur Kremmer, Senior Diplomatic Journalist, Australia

Maheswaran Gnanaprakasam Editor-in-Chief Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine

Contact: Visit us at Disclaimer The opinions/comments from writers are their own and Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs magazine does not endorse the claims made therein.

Professor Alexander Huang, Director, Dean’s Scholars in Shakespeare Program, George Washington University, Washington DC Takaaki Kojima, Former Ambassador of Japan to Singapore and Australia Joergen Oerstroem Moeller, Former Danish Ambassador to Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Australia and New Zealand, Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISAS), Singapore Professor Biman Chand Prasad, University of the South Pacific, Fiji, and Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Pacific Studies Tanut Tritasavit, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore






Interview H.E. Mr. Juan Alfredo Pinto, Ambassador of Columbia to India


Iran and the Failure of American Sanctions


India - US Strategic Dialogue: Changing Dynamics of India-US Relations


Depsang Incident: The Border Issue and the Broader India-China Relationship Matrix


Understanding African Polities : A Critique of Alternative Theories


How Serious is North Korean Missile Threat to US


Japan & the US Pivot: Who Rides the Tiger


Politics, Economics and People Take Centre Stage at 22nd ASEAN Summit


Regional Economic Integration Learning from South Asia and the World


State feminism and Women’s Legal Rights The Role of National Council for Women in Today’s Egypt


With Or Without You: Why The International Community Should Support The Reduction Of Deforestation In Bolivia


Missing in Action: India at the ShangriLa Dialogue


The Employment of Chemical Weapons in Syria


Missile Defense & Crisis Stability in the Middle East

Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine S-442, Shakarpur School Block, New Delhi - 110092 India Tel. No. 011-32316194 Email :


H.E. Mr. Juan Alfredo Pinto, Ambassador of Columbia to India


ccording to the strategy papers made available by your government Colombia has got a favorable environment for business. What are your thoughts on having more companies from India investing into Colombia? The number of Indian companies in Colombia has increased from 4 to 35 over the past five years. This means the IDI (Indian Direct Investment) grew nine times. Now, we want quality investments and companies that will help India and Colombia integrate into global value chains. Traditionally, our focus has bee in IT and BPO sectors, but we are diversifying our focus into different sectors such as automobiles, infrastructure, oil and gas services and metalmechanics.


olombia ranks first in terms of investor protection and 4th on the metric for ease of doing business in the entire Latin American region. What according to you could be the reason why Indo-Colombian bilateral economic cooperation is still relatively small-scale? Colombia’s “Ease of Doing Business Index� by the World Bank improved by four positions and our country is the top performer in Latin America for the two consecutive years. The total trade between Colombia and India rose to $2.5 billion in 2012 from $340 million in 2007. We are exporting 14 products to India now compared to a couple of products five years back. The trade, however, concentrated more of non value-added products. Moreover we enjoy favorable terms of trade now, meaning our exports to India are higher than what we import from India. We want investments that will integrate the global value chain.


Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine | July 2013

Therefore, though the trade between Colombia and India is small compared to other countries, it has been growing with several opportunities to be tapped.


hat are the avenues or aspects of Colombian culture that you really wish to make more popular in India. The cultural relations between India and Colombia in terms of music and dance have been very strong. We have introduced Salsa music in India while Colombian artists like Shakira are famous in India. At the same time, Colombians listen and dance to Bollywood music. Our literature is popular in India, particularly authors such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Alvaro Mutis are well known here. As a writer I feel satisfied as my books are being translated and published by Sahitya Akademi. We want to make progress in Film business. We won the Goa Film Festival 2011 and our films gained recognition in this country. We would like Indo-Colombian film productions going forward and encourage Indian film makers to shoot in Colombia.


he Indo-Colombian economic ties have seen a significant jump in terms of bilateral trade. Which business/industry segments have been pivotal for you for this increase, and do you think there is more scope for further bilateral involvement in these segments? The trade between the two countries is at a primary stage due to the focus on natural resources such as oil and coal. However, we are noticing significant trade in value added products in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, textiles, automotive (two and

four wheelers), processed food and agro business. The market share of our traditional products such as coffee and emerald are growing as well.


hich segments have been left untouched but are those where you would like to see more bilateral cooperation? I would like to develop strong bilateral relations in the fields of film industry, renewable energy, infrastructure, biotechnology, geological services and bilingual e-learning technologies.


he Colombia-India Chambers of Commerce was formed in Bogota in September 2008 by Indian and Colombian firms. What would be your guidance to the members of this body? Colombia-India Chamber of Commerce is a good initiative and it is working very well promoting business, delegations and exchange. Also Tequendama Group, an informal organization of prominent Indians that promotes bilateral relations is an interesting instrument.


olombia and India do not have Free Trade Agreements (FTA) despite the fact that Colombia has FTAs with countries that are diversely located. Don’t you think that its high time such a thing should be persued? We have a BIPPA operating, and the DTAA is in the final process. Once the DTAA is operational, we will initiate negotiations for a FTA.

MoUs on exchange of information and defense sector and we are working to improve our instruments in this regard.


olombia and India have signed a Cultural Exchange Programme for 2012-2016 in March 2012. Your views on the activities and progress made so far.

Cultural relationship between India and Colombia is a

model. There have been multiple activities in the fields of music, photography, literature, dance, theatre, sculpture and plastic arts. Our programs for this year include mucic, Salsa dance by the world champions, paintings, exhibitions and participation in cinema festivals. We will start other activities such as heritage for the 2012-16 program as we will be participating in book fairs. To put modestly, I will be presenting my book “Stories of the Lotus” in Hindi version.


n recent years, we have seen quite a good amount of delegation exchanges and ministerial-level visits from both sides. In the backdrop of this, how can we have more people

to people involvement? We have signed four big agreements, eight MoUs in various sectors, 8 MoUs between universities, 10 MoUs between industry chambers and associations so far. We have a set of institutional agreements to support our growing economic, political and cultural relations. The number of visitors and tourists rose four times over the past four years. We have scholarships, internships,


hat are the challenges for an Indo-Colombia Free Trade Agreement should your government be in favor of this? While Colombia is an open economy, India is a market economy with restrictions in trade; it is like a semi-open economy. We believe that an FTA can eliminate restrictions in trade, investments and other barriers in the future.


nfortunately, India does not feature in the top 7 destinations of Colombian exports. Do you see potential for this to change? With a potential market of 300 million people in the middle class of course offers a lot of potential. However, India has several trade barriers in sectors such as processed food, flowers, metalmechanics and jewelry where I see potential for Colombian products.


here is a proposal for an Honorary Consulate in the port and industrial city of Barranquilla in the north Caribbean coast of Colombia. Given the fertile Indo-Colombia bilateral environment, wouldn’t this be something which should see the light of day soon? We are in the process of having honorary consuls in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. I hope India would achieve its goal of opening honorary consulates in the metro cities of Colombia.


here is and Indo-Colombia Extradition Treaty under consideration. Your comments on the progress. Judicial cooperation is very important in the struggle against terrorism and international drug trafficking. We have

cultural delegations, young professional exchanges, visiting professors and high level visitors.


olombia as a tourist destination is an untapped area. What can be done to explore growth in Colombian tourism? As Colombia is reaching its goal of two mllion tourists

and with tourists from India growing at 15% annually, I believe we have potential in this area. The MoU on commercial aviation which is under negotiation will create more routes and create better conditions to intensify tourism promotion activities. Our strategy will be promoting different locations in Colombia among Indians who travel to this country.


s an eminent-cum-distinguished personality and an author of 24 highly regarded books many of which have been the basis of policy formation in Colombia, what are

your insights with respect to the current status and future of India-Colombia relations? India and Colombia have built a very important structure

in bilateral relations transforming the existing scenario. Investments, trade, cooperation, culture and political relations have improved in a relevant manner. However, there are challenges in creating investments and trade integration into different global value chains that may lead to stronger business relations between both the countries. Indeed it will bring positive changes in bringing development in R&D, science and technology, that may help achieving an FTA in the future. July 2013 | Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine


Iran and the Failure of

American Sanctions By Dr. Morris M Mottale


ran and its policy of building a nuclear capability are hot topics in Washington and Jerusalem, in some European capitals, the United Nations in New York, and the European Union in Brussels. The Iranian leadership’s controversial statements and positions on Israel, American foreign policy, and disarmament have in the last few years provoked an international reaction headed by the United States that has been articulated by the constant escalation of pressures against the clerical regime in Tehran. However, American and international sanctions against Iran have not blunted the Iranian pursuit of a nuclear capability. By the middle of April 2013, Amos Yadlin the former Military Intelligence chief of Israel claimed that Iran had already crossed the nuclear red line that had been set by Netanyahu at the United Nations in his speech before the United Nations General Assembly a few months earlier. His comments were in line with an assessment made earlier in February, when he had pointed


Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine | July 2013

out that the rate of uranium enrichment would have allowed the Islamic Republic to reach a nuclear breakout capability between June and August of 2013. Shortly after the Israeli statements, the Iranian finance minister in Washington, interviewed by Christiane Amanpour on April 24, 2013 on CNN stated that the sanctions had not hurt Iran and if anything they had forced Iran to diversify its internal economic configuration and its economic relations in the international system. In analyzing the relative American failure of sanctions against Iran it is relevant to first focus on the nature and background of the leadership in Tehran. The Iranian political system ever since 1979 has evolved into a state where the clerical elites have come to be linked through economic, security, and ideological interest to the Revolutionary Guards, who control vast segments of the Iranian economy. The leadership, as a whole, sees foreign policy as an extension of vital ideological and economic necessities that

U.S. Navy passing through Strait of Hormuz

buttress the control of the clerical and Revolutionary Guard elites on Iranian society. The confrontation with the United States and Iran’s path toward the acquisition of nuclear weapons capability is part and parcel of the power configuration within Iranian society. The capacity of the political elites of Iran to control Iranian societal development and values is crucially contingent on the ability to maximize revenues derived from oil exports. To a large extent, as in many other oil producing countries whether in North Africa, the Middle East, or Latin America, Iran is a rentier state in that the regime survives principally by relying on the economic resources from oil exports. It cannot survive without its policy of economic subsidies for the population at large, ranging from food to energy and construction, without greater and greater access to oil revenues that are needed to meet the rising and continuing economic expectations of the population in Iran.

The oil revenues allow the Mullahs to engage in a populist economic program of subsidies that ostensibly benefit the lower orders and meet the real or imaginary commitment of the regime to social justice. This arrangement allows the regime to co-opt segments and strata of the population and the more ambitious members of society. This economic control has been strengthened by a policy of privatization that has allowed the clerical and Revolutionary Guard elites to fortify their control over the economic system. American sanctions have been primarily concerned with denying Iran access to any technology that can be used for the purpose of expanding its nuclear capabilities and simultaneously trying to deny export markets for its oil and denying access to the international financial system by making it impossible for Iran to carry out normal trade transactions. Thus, the nature of the sanctions has been a systematic American driven campaign, either bilaterally or multilaterally, to deny Iran the resources necessary to carry out its military and foreign policies. These policies have not succeeded and if their goal was to slow down the Iranian program or to reduce Iranian power in the region they have been an abysmal failure. Ever since the establishment of Khomeini’s utopia in 1979, the survival of the Islamic regime has been contingent on controlling and influencing oil markets. The Persian Gulf and Iran are the repository of the most easily accessible oil in the world. Physical and/or political control over access to the oil and its pricing policy would give the Iranian elites an even greater capacity to satisfy rising expectations in Iran, expectations that cannot be met through systematic economic development at home or reliance by the state on internal revenues alone. Iran, whether under the Shah or the Mullahs, has always aimed for greater oil export quotas for itself and higher prices per barrel in the OPEC system opposing the Saudis and other producers who aim for more moderation in oil pricing. The acquisition of a nuclear component would give Iran the ability to pressure some of its neighbors to acquiesce to Iranian demands while gambling to force the United States out of the area and the region as a whole and exert its hegemony on its weaker oil producing neighbors. Iran’s conventional military power is very weak and the acquisition of atomic weapons would allow Iran’s clerical state to display the status of a great power and act as deterrents against real and imaginary enemies. Threats against Israel, the denial of the Holocaust, the support for all groups opposed to the state of Israel, are part in parcel of the Iranian attempt to control the configuration of power in the Arab world. By appealing to the sympathies of the Arab and Muslim masses with the Palestinians and the demonization of the state of Israel, Tehran weakens any attempts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conundrum. Washington has been trying to constrain and divert the Iranian quest for power in the area, a quest that in the eyes of the Mullahs can be aided by the possession of nuclear weapons. Sabotage and assassinations, very likely coordinated between Jerusalem and Washington, have not stopped the Iranian nuclear program. Even the relative difficulty of Iran to acquire foreign exchange through oil sales has not been aggravated by Washington’s pressures on Iran’s trading partners. Through barter, the use of gold for pricing purposes, exchanging oil for

July 2013 | Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine


Indian or Chinese currency where the Iranian state will avoid the use of dollars or Euros, and most importantly European banks, the Mullahs have successfully skirted the sanctions. Western goods and technologies enter Iran via Turkey or Pakistan. Banking, financial, and commercial sanctions on Iran have not stopped Iranian individuals and companies from trading abroad. While some segments of Iranian society may have some problem in acquiring the goods and services that came from foreign countries, all in all the evidence shows Iran as a whole has managed to coexist with sanctions rather well. The centuries old link between the clerical elites and the mercantile classes serve Iranian policy makers very well. Shrewd, malevolently disposed toward the West, skillful in manipulating Iranian populist nationalism, and appealing to an Iranian sense of victimhood, the Mullahs have been riding sanctions very well. At the diplomatic level, Iran has been able to use the Syrian card against its Turkish and Arab Sunni neighbors by leveraging Chinese and Russian interests in opposing American hegemony in the area. Sanctions have not stopped Iran from influencing the government of Iraq especially following the withdrawal of American troops from Mesopotamia. Tehran is now eagerly waiting for the withdrawal of the Allied forces in Afghanistan, ready to extend its influence in a country marked by a large Shiite presence and influenced heavily by Persian language, culture, and civilization. Tehran has also been able to prop up Assad’s regime in Syria as the Mullahs consider their influence in Lebanon and Damascus a paramount strategic necessity. The present leadership was forged in the successful attempt to first overthrow the imperial regime and then in the fires of the Iran-Iraq War, where Iranians came to believe that they were victims of an aggressor. However, it is often forgotten that on the very onset of his coming to power, Khomeini was already bent on subverting the Shiite community in the region and the wider Islamic world as the Lebanese case demonstrates with the rise to preeminence by Hezbollah. His stated political goal was the destruction of Israel and the removal of American power from the area in the name of a utopian Islam.

The Mullahs have linked religious ideological legitimization, The South Pars oil refinery in Iran Iranian national interests, and crucial domestic economic necessities to their policy of confrontation with the West, and their quest for status and technological prowess in nuclear development. Most importantly, such a policy can also blunt domestic opposition by Iranians who favor a more liberal democratic system and cooperation with Europe and the United States by claiming to be more nationalist and patriotic than the secular opposition. As it is, the confrontation with the West has allowed the regime to strengthen its hold on the institutions of the state and appealed to segments of the Iranian population that see their country either a glorious manifestation of Islam or a return to some past Iranian national greatness. The question confronting the present administration in Washington is how to improve sanctions or compel Iran by some means to stop its nuclear program without going to war. The US is subtly and not so subtly putting pressures on Tehran by stating that Israel has the right to defend itself in the pursuit of its own national interests and by stating that negotiations with Iran will eventually come to an end. All the same, the Iranians have successfully negotiated constant delays by haggling over details of nuclear enrichment or diverting the subject to regional security and Israeli aggression. Historically, sanctions have always been rather problematic for US foreign policy; they have not been successful in the case of Cuba and North Korea for example. Israel has always made very clear that they will go to any means to stop nuclear weapons programs that may endanger its regional security as it has been the case with Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007. Iran on the other hand has threatened retaliation on Israel through its allies in the Gaza strip and Lebanon, while explicitly threatening American installations and interests in the Persian Gulf. Iranian counter threats, however bombastic at times, are another indication of the relative failure of American sanctions. Perhaps a concerted effort by American diplomacy with Moscow and Beijing may sway the Iranian leadership from pursuing its nuclear programs. From the standpoint of regional stability, American sensitivity to Moscow’s security needs in the Caucasus and their interests in the Fertile Crescent could be parlayed into a more systematic great power pressure on the inheritors of Ayatollah Khomeini’s mantle. Neither Moscow nor Beijing have an interest in seeing a nuclear Iran destabilize a region in such a way as to threaten the stability of an area that provides the energy resources for so much of Europe and the Middle East or that may buttress the asymmetric capabilities of subversive radical Islamist groups sponsored by Iran. „

about the author Dr. Morris M. Mottale, Professor of International Relations and Comparative Politics, Chair, Department of Political Science, Franklin College, Switzerland


Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine | July 2013

India - US

Strategic Dialogue

Changing Dynamics of India-US Relations


he fourth round of the annual India-US Strategic Dialogue was held in New Delhi on June 24th. The three day meeting was co-chaired by United States Secretary of State John Kerry and Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Kurshid. This exercise which was started in the year 2009 has come to symbolize the changing nature of the India-US relations. From the days of mistrust that has its roots in the Nehruvian era, India has come a long way especially under the leadership of the incumbent Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to forge a strategic relationship with the US. Carrying forward the progress that was achieved in the last three years, this year’s meeting also discussed a wide range of issues with special emphasis on bilateral trade, defence and security cooperation. Other areas discussed were higher education, energy security, climate change, non-proliferation and space cooperation. The fourth strategic dialogue assumes utmost importance as it came in the midst of domestic and global uncertainties for both the countries. While India has to deal with the political turmoil preceding the leadership change and the economic slowdown, the United States is entangled in problems that have the capability of threatening the gradually recovering economy. The issues that accompany such different situations are myriad and perhaps finding a common ground is the only key to bring about fairness. On one hand, the US companies have accused India of adhering to strict protectionist measures when the global situation has improved and countries have started looking for markets, adhering to this demand is unacceptable to India as such an intervention can destabilize the present economic order and prove detrimental to the interests of the domestic

July 2013 | Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine


producers. On the other hand, India is disappointed with the anti-immigration stance that the US has taken thus jeopardizing the skill export of India to the US which also happens to have the largest share in the export market. Here also reconciliation is difficult and the US has to tackle a rising unemployment rate. In such a scenario, the commitment to improve bilateral trade which is already close to $100 billion and the efforts to take the defence trade beyond buyer-seller relationship to a strategic partnership were steps that proved that both the countries are willing to compromise and give each other prime importance in their foreign policy formulations. When the international situation is taken into consideration, this partnership assumes even more importance as they have a crucial role to play in the events that might unfold in the future. Right now, the most important task that the Obama administration is faced with is the pull out of troops from Afghanistan. If not executed properly this can have detrimental effects to the region’s security and this is where America wants India to take hold of the reins and guide the war ravaged nation to peace and stability. Also for America, India is an essential player to check the growing clout of China in the region. On India’s side also, the concerns are many with America being in talks with Pakistan and Taliban to ensure a speedy pullout. The opening of the Taliban’s office in Doha and the inability of the US to come up with a long-lasting solution that would put this problem to an end has only added to India’s worries. Though India tried to raise the issue in the talks, the response given by John Kerry in which the hard stance against any kind of terrorism was reiterated has failed to appease the policy

On India’s side also, the concerns are many with America being in talks with Pakistan and Taliban to ensure a speedy pullout. The opening of the Taliban’s office in Doha and the inability of the US to come up with a long-lasting solution that would put this problem to an end has only added to India’s worries.

makers and the public alike. India’s fear that there would be total chaos in the region if the US pulls out without putting a proper administrative mechanism in place is only justifiable and needs to be addressed more seriously by the present Government if it truly sees India as an ally. Another reason why India has become important for the US is its recent ‘Pivot to Asia’ policy. For US to make its presence felt in a region that is overshadowed by the existence of China,

The U.S. plans to withdraw all combat troops by the end of 2014


Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine | July 2013

US Navy Petty Officer Matthew Pukey (2nd from right) and an Afghan interpreter talk to an Afghan boy at a vehicle checkpoint.

it needs a partner that can give it a sense of legitimacy. And India is the only country that can play this role effectively. India also stands to gain from such a partnership as it would help the country become a substantial player in deciding the power equations of the region. The nuclear deal which is responsible for bringing the countries together has become the reason for causing a drift in the present relationship. The stringent clauses that the US has put forward coupled with the international community’s hesitation in accepting India as a responsible nuclear power has been a major cause of uneasiness in India. Hopefully Kerry’s announcement that the American nuclear equipment supplier Westinghouse Electric Co. would sign an agreement to sell nuclear reactors to India’s Nuclear Power Corporation by September would take the talks forward. It should also be noted here that unless and until there is technology transfer, India will forever remain a consumer state and will never be able to become a power in its own right. So if the promises of the US seeing India as an important ally are to come true, it is important for both the countries to be on an equal footing. The double standards that the US adopt when dealing with their friends and foes have come to light often. The conflicting positions that the US has taken in many of the recent international issues especially in the case of Syria is a testimony to this fact. In India’s case also, the situation is no different. If the US wants India to help tide over the crisis in Afghanistan and make its presence felt in Asia, it is also true that the domestic sentiments in US is against giving any kind of boost to India that would phenomenally aid in the country’s development.

This undermining of India’s interests is seen in the US policies of terrorism and trade. Its covert support to militant outfits and the unfair procedures followed particularly in the area of defence trade show the absence of a single coherent policy that could have acted as a frame of reference for other countries in the engagements with the US. India has to tread a very careful path if the sovereignty of the country has to be maintained in the truest sense of the term. A fine balance should be struck between rhetoric and actions if it has to establish itself as a major global power. India’s growth can be ensured only if its foreign policy remains independent of the external pressures. The Indo-US strategic partnership is without doubt extremely crucial in determining how international politics will play out in the coming years. Furthermore with the China factor looming large in the mindsets of both the countries; such a union becomes a necessity. But an enduring impact can be made only if this is based on mutual respect for each other’s interests and the willingness to make some sacrifices for the betterment of the global community at large. „

about the author Lekshmi P is an assistant Editor at Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine. She completed her Master in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi.

July 2013 | Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine


Depsang Incident: The Border Issue and the Broader India-China Relationship Matrix by P.K. Anand


he three-week long stand-off at Daulat Beg Oldi in the Depsang plains over the ‘incursion’ by a small platoon of Chinese troops brought back questions regarding the disputed boundary between both the countries and has been seen as throwing a spanner into the renewed efforts on both the sides to engage with each other. As the fifth generation Chinese leadership took office and made its intention clear of continuing the good neighbourhood policy-of maintaining harmonious relations with all its neighbors on equal parity - this incident was portrayed by the media and sections of the strategic-military community as muscle-flexing and shoring up its weight and ambitions. Even though the issue was settled and the situation returned to status quo ante after prolonged military-diplomatic dialogue and negotiations, this incident has only further illustrated the complexity of one of the longest existing boundary disputes in the world that even led to a border war in 1962. While the actual motive or rationale for this incident by the Chinese is still not clear, it has been pointed out that this was largely due to the fortifications and infrastructural build-up undertaken by the Indians, as it was felt by the Chinese that their strategic locations were being on the line of monitoring. While the secrecy and opaqueness of the Indian government over this matter came under intense criticism of the media (whose role was appreciated in some quarters for keeping the focus on


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the issue and acting as a pressure point on the government), the government also did not allow itself to be swayed by highdecibel emotions and chose to stick with the normal diplomatic methods to find a solution. Given that the structures put up by the Chinese were clearly temporary and the onset of some highprofile visits mainly that of the Chinese Premier, it was unlikely that they were in there for a long haul. The Indian Prime Minister in his dialogue with his Chinese counterpart also underlined that peace and tranquility in the border was essential for an enduring relationship. Therefore, it is also clear that the Indian side had drawn certain lines and the Chinese were also mature enough to understand and take notice. Even though the Sino-Indian relations have moved from the freezing times of the post-1962 conflict, the ever-persisting border dispute has continued to remain as a point that causes frequent hiccups. On many parts of the western sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), both the sides have often found to be having conflicting claims. This has led to such transgressions on both sides, even though these have not given rise to physical confrontation or skirmishes. The institutionalization of the Special Representatives (SRs) to work out a credible solution to this issue since 2003 has seen 15 rounds of talks with both sides exchanging maps and trying to come up with possible answers; but such is the complexity of the issue that any easy solutions

Chinese troops in Ladakh holding a banner reading, ‘You’ve crossed the border, please go back’

Even though the Sino-Indian relations have moved from the freezing times of the post-1962 conflict, the ever-persisting border dispute has continued to remain as a point that causes frequent hiccups. On many parts of the western sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), both the sides have often found to be having conflicting claims. This has led to such transgressions on both sides, even though these have not given rise to physical confrontation or skirmishes.

are unlikely to emerge in the short run. Over the years, several formal mechanisms for military-to-military and government-togovernment mechanisms have been put in place by both the sides to carry forward the interactions and relations, including for possible exigencies. But incidents like these put pressure on those mechanisms which stand seriously on cooperation.

Border not Stand-Alone Post-1988 visit of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to Beijing, both sides had agreed that the larger relations cannot be hostage to the border issue and went ahead with decoupling of this aspect from the other dimensions. In the era post-Globalization, the remarkable rise of India and China as the two emerging economies is being watched with much anticipation. The growth and economic transformation of both these developing countries which encompass a combined population of 2.5 billion offer significant potential and possibilities. This also entails that there is bound to be immense competition between the two for acquiring resources and access in the global value chain, which opens the ground for criss-crossing and overlapping of various interests by both the countries. Hence, it’s not just on the border angle, but also on various other fronts that one can feel a ripple effect. Over the years, even though within the government level in India, views on China have become more nuanced, the

July 2013 | Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine


The Rivalry between India and China spill over into global diplomacy

baggage of suspicion and mistrust is still carried on at the mass level. Similarly, the Central Government in Beijing as well as the Chinese media has also tended to be swayed and rankled by the skewed and misinformed reports appearing in the Indian media. There is a serious need for both sides to see beyond this haze in order to genuinely reach out to each other. On the border issue, the Chinese side has been arguing for a Border Agreement - which was aimed to be given concrete shape in the visits of the Indian External Affairs minister to Beijing and Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Delhi - that would bring about a freeze in the strength of current troop levels at the LAC, prior information on patrols by both sides as well as infrastructural activities. India had resisted this, as at current levels, the infrastructural development on the Chinese side was superior and former had been late in building up its own. In fact, that in itself comes under scrutiny because despite the acceleration now shown in border roads, the communications network in the border regions on Indian side leaves much to be desired. In order to overcome the trust deficit, Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) need to be augmented and diversified. While there is a discussion about putting in place a hotline between the leadership in both countries, a similar mechanism is also in the pipeline between the military commanders/officials in both the Eastern and Western Sector. The opening up of the Karakoram Pass for traders and pilgrims on both sides would also work as a major boost-up. While military exchanges have been taking place for a while now, there is a serious need to encourage and actualize bilateral visits/linkages between the military officials and bureaucrats of both countries, since their roles are of extreme importance in the relationship matrix. Not just restricted to the border issue, there are various


Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine | July 2013

On the border issue, the Chinese side has been arguing for a Border Agreement - which was aimed to be given concrete shape in the visits of the Indian External Affairs minister to Beijing and Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Delhi - that would bring about a freeze in the strength of current troop levels at the LAC, prior information on patrols by both sides as well as infrastructural activities. other avenues for both countries to enter into multiple levels of engagement. While the visit of Premier Li Keqiang and the subsequent Joint Statement by both the sides did provide some thrust on a gamut of issues, there is a serious need to follow-up and build on them in a sustained manner. To dispel the trust deficit at the popular level, People-to-People contacts, cultural, intellectual and educational exchanges need to be promoted on a much more larger scale. Even while knowledge about each other is gradually trickling from the intellectual, academic and bureaucratic levels to the public, the pace must be quickened and the spread diversified. Increase in the number of existing scholarships, encouraging the learning of languages and augmenting field trips can also help in narrowing the Himalayan gap, leading to a much more open exchange of ideas and knowledge. Both India and China need to realize that there is enough space for cooperation and competition among them. Rather than interpreting the areas of possible frictions, both the countries can and should explore the various mechanisms for forging stronger bonds. The dominant narrative and discourse that still shrouds the popular opinion is mired with suspicion, distrust and notions of rivalry. While being involved in the international arena, such attachments may not be easy to dislodge. The fact that the two countries operate under two different political systems is also seen in some quarters as being asymmetrical. However, it is in such situations that opportunities also exist, which require to be utilized with some out of the box ideas and thoughts. Being two rising nations, India and China also need to display maturity and sincerity expected of them. While it is agreed that being a electoral democracy has its own constraints and that the public opinion may still be not in favour to exorcise the effects of 1962, it would not be

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, in New Delhi in May. At left is E. Ahamed, India’s minister for external affairs

a bad idea for Indian leadership, bureaucracy and policymakers to rework and refit their thought processes in their negotiations with China. Some amount of prudence, pragmatism and flexibility needs to be adopted, as these may be unavoidable with the passage of time to solve outstanding issues. Similarly, the Chinese side also must understand that India, given its rising prominence in economic terms, also needs to carry forth its outreach programmes in its neighbourhood and beyond, and that this is not aimed at China’s containment as is popularly believed. By its muscle-flexing through such incidents, the Chinese should also realize that apprehensions get strengthened in the neighbourhood, which turn becomes cannon fodder for those arguing for the military hardball over diplomatic maneuverability. Therefore, it is always worth avoiding such dynamics that could bring things on the brink of eruption.

Conclusion “Good Fences Make Good Neighbours” is a constant line in Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall”. While the poet’s neighbour

is adamant that proper walls are necessary for stable neighbourly relations, the poet in turns points to other forces of nature whose actions pull down the walls leading to rebuild them. In fact, the poet adds that he would ideally like to ask his neighbour to elaborate on how the fences ensure smoother relations. Taking this analogy, it is important that as two big neighbours, adamancy and fixation on the border issue would only result in it being an irritant in the overall matrix of the relations. While working in a sustained manner through the meaningful dialogue and negotiations under the mechanism of the Special Representatives (SRs) without attempting to cut corners, there also needs to be improvement in engagement in other areas along with exploration of further avenues of cooperation. India and China must understand that rather than being driven by animosity and conflict, there is enough space for both of them to engage and socialize with the larger world. As Premier Li Keqiang remarked through the Chinese proverb, “a distant relative may not be useful as a neighbour.” „

about the author P.K. Anand is a Research Assistant at the Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS), New Delhi. He is pursuing his Ph.D on “Market Dynamics and States Responses in China: Social Welfare and Industrial Workers, 1987-2008” from the Chinese Studies Division of the Centre for East Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. (The author wishes to thank Dr. Jabin Jacob, Ambassador M.K.Bhadrakumar, Neville Maxwell and Zorawar Daulat Singh for their recent articles which formed the background of study while preparing this article) July 2013 | Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine


Understanding African Polities A Critique of Alternative Theories by Julius Agbor Agbor


ver the past century several scholars have offered many different explanations as to why African political systems and economic structures continue to function in a markedly distinct manner from those of other regions in the world. For instance, despite the increasing globalization of the concept of democracy, 14 of the 54 current African presidents have been in office for at least 16 years (in other words, have served a comparism of at least 4 U.S. presidential terms) and a good number of them have either ascended to power or are clinging to power through unconstitutional means. To maintain their grip on power, these kleptocratic rulers have enforced predatory institutions on their citizens, thereby denying them the opportunity of attaining their full potential. A major consequence is that Africa is the continent which has suffered the most from capital flight (both human and financial) with disastrous collateral

damage to long term development. Worse still, democratic agencies of restrain - such as independent courts, independent electoral institutions, free press and vibrant civil society – which have enabled citizens elsewhere to hold their leaders accountable, are simply difficult to establish in Africa. Even development strategies that have proven effective in other regions of the world notably, import-substitution industrialization (ISI) that was instrumental in the rapid growth of the East Asian Tigers was unsuccessful in Africa, though some have argued that it was not really tried. Even more puzzling, unlike the recent economic growth in China which dragged more than a million people out of poverty, with seven of the ten fastest growing economies in the world in Africa today, Africa’s economic growth has paradoxically been unable to lift a significant number of people out of poverty. A key question to ask is why is Africa so different?

Malawi’s new president Joyce Banda


Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine | July 2013

This essay reviews some of the main theories that have been advanced in explanation of the uniqueness of African polities, with the aim of contributing to our understanding of modern day Africa. Over time two broad lines of explanation have emerged: the exogenous and the endogenous schools of thought. A key distinguishing factor between these schools of thought is the notion of institutional path-dependence, poineered in the work of Douglass North (1990). The exogenous school of thought does not necessarily agree with notion of path dependence since it claims that conditions exogenous to the territory (state) determined rulers’ choices of the set of institutions to pursue. Therefore, whatever happened to the territory after the colonizers left was entirely the responsibility of the indigenous governing elites that took over. A number of authors, notably, Rowley (2000), McGuire & Olson (1996) and Olson (2000); have likened colonial rule to a kind of altruistic “stationary bandits” as distinct from the non-altruistic “roving bandits” that came to rule Africa in the post-colonial period. Obvously, such broad uniform categorization of colonial rulers and post-colonial African elites is counterintuitive and too tall an assumption. Besides ignoring the role of institutional path-dependence, the other main problem with the exogenous school of thought is that it undermines the influence of existing local conditions on the choices that colonisers faced. The endogenous school of thought, on the other hand, takes into account local conditions in determining the choices of both colonisers and indigenous governing elites and it expressly acknowledges institutional path-dependence. However, it does recognize that path-dependence could emanate from inherited colonial institutions as well as from pre-colonial African political institutions. Along the line of theories emphasizing the legacies of colonial inheritance, the argument has been that many of the present day African polities (whether benign or predatory) are the direct result of the legacy of European colonialism. Accordingly, it is claimed that European colonizers sometimes chosed benign or extractive institutions in different places based on the underlying geographical conditions notably, the disease burden (Acemoglu et al, 2001) or the initial endowments (Engerman & Sokoloff, 2002). Hence, benign institutions were more likely to be established in places like Botswana and Southern Africa in general, where climatic conditions were favorable to European settlement. On the contrary, in West and Central Africa, where tropical conditions were unfavorable for European settlement, there was no incentive to establish similar benign institutions. While certainly of explanatory power, these “colonial legacies path-dependence” theories fail to account for heterogeneity in institutional quality across sub-Saharan African countries with seemingly homogenous geographical conditions. For instance, how are we to explain the fact that governance institutions in Ghana are much less predatory than those in the Côte d’Ivoire given that both countries continue to share similar climate, disease burden and have strong similarities in factor endowments, including strong cultural similarities in their populations? Another broad endogenous school of thought considers path dependence on the part of pre-colonial African polities themselves. According to this line of argument, local conditions helped shape pre-colonial African polities and the pre-colonial

institutional pattern has largely persisted to date. Boone (2003) - a leading proponent of this viewpoint - explains why some contemporary African polities are characterized by devolved accountable regimes whereas others are characterised by heavy centralization and the usurpation of local elite power. The fact that there were significant variations among or within territories colonized by the same European power suggests, Boone argues, that the explanation of institutional difference must take more systematic account of the political realities that rulers (colonizers) confronted in the countryside. In particular, the ease with which rulers found/constituted cooperative local intermediaries (or elites) through whom they would effectively govern. Boone further argues that it is the nature of the strategic interaction between rulers and these rural elites - which interaction is shaped by the nature of the geographical landscape within and across countries – that explains the differences in institutional choices. Thus, rulers selected ideologies, as it were, to fit with strategies formulated in response to local challenges. For instance, as the Botswana evidence suggests, where rural notables’ economic privileges and prerogatives depended upon the direct continuous exercise of state power, rural notables did not have much autonomy vis-à-vis the ruling regime, and were consequently forced to be regime allies. Rulers were therefore inclined to setting up power-sharing institutions and to devolve administrative authority. By contrast, in some states - like the Asante in postindependence Ghana - where rural notables accumulated wealth via means largely independent of direct state intervention, relative economic autonomy vis-à-vis the ruling regime enhanced their political autonomy, making them more or less rivals to rulers. In that case, regimes were most likely to pursue statebuilding strategies aimed at taking power away from the rural elite (usurpation). Although Boone’s framework is a useful characterization of the dynamics of institutional choice in several African states, it has some weaknesses. First, the notion of institutional path-dependence becomes somewhat dynamic from the moment that the strategic relationship between rulers and rural elites changes, as we observe in post-independence Ghana. Initially, due to the antagonistic relationship between the Asante elites and the Nkrumah regime, the Ghanaian polity was massively predatory but devolution later took place urshering in a more accountable power sharing polity, in spite of the fact that the Asante continue to be politically powerful and independent. Furthermore, Boone’s framework is less applicable in crosscountry analysis, even amongst former colonies of the same colonial power. For instance, although Ghana and Nigeria had long opted for devolved political institutions, Boone’s framework leaves us with little clue as to why the extent of predation in Nigerian institutions is much higher than in Ghanaian. Some more recent scholars, notably, Agbor et al (2010) have attempted to fill the void in Boone’s framework by highlighting the role of human capital transfers from colonizers to the indigenous elites of former colonies in shaping the strategic interaction between colonizers and these elites (and correspondingly between the elites and the rural masses). They argue that, where the colonial educational ideology emphasized the notion of “assimilation” (akin to the French colonial administration),

July 2013 | Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine


Ashanti chiefs at the funeral of Elizabeth Asante in Kumasi, Ghana

the system tended to produce elites that depended highly on the colonizer for their livelihood, hence necessitating a continuation of the imperial relationship even after independence. On the contrary, where the educational ideology emphasized the strengthening of the ‘solid elements’ of the countryside (akin to the British colonial administration), the system tended to produce elites that were quite independent of the colonizer and consequently had little to loose from a disruption of the imperial relationship at independence. Their analysis provides insight as to why many former French sub-Saharan African polities have remained highly centralized, predatory and inextricably tied to France, while the pattern of pre-colonial traditional African institutions has been largely maintained in many contemporary former British sub-Saharan African polities. Agbor et al (2010) framework thus provides reasonable intuition for the observed differences between Ghanaian and Ivoirian polities, even though it is an inadequate explanation of why the Senegalese polity is much more decentralized and less attached to France as the Gabonese polity. Finally, another important endogenous theory that helps our understanding of contemporary African polities has been advanced by Herbst (2000). Herbst uses the experience of state formation in Europe since the middle ages to argue why the ‘states formation’ process hasn’t taken place in Africa up to date. He argues that low population densities in pre-colonial Africa reduced the incidence of inter-state wars, besides making land less valuable. As a consequence, there was never an acute need for African states to raise revenues since those revenues were only critically needed in order to raise finance for war (hence, there were no incentives to build effective fiscal institutions). Correspondingly also, there were no incentives to make concessions of property rights (safe in persons because


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labor instead of land, was the scarce commodity) and there was also no incentive to give voice to the people. Thus, Herbst helps us understand why over time, African states have organized themselves toward slave raiding and the predation of their own citizens instead of providing public goods. While there is certainly a strong correlation between low population densities and the extent of slave raiding in pre-colonial times (see also Nunn, 2008), Herbst’s theory fails to provide a satisfactory explanatory of why states with relatively higher population densities in pre-colonial days are not the ones with the most effective institutions today, Nigeria being a case in point. This essay has attempted a recapitulation of the many different theories which have been advanced in explanation of the uniqueness of African polities. Though many African polities have experienced similar undesirable outcomes, the analysis in this essay clearly points to the need for a country or contextspecific approach to unraveling the underlying dynamics that have driven African polities. This therefore sounds an alarm warning to experts who have relied on cross-country or regional empirical evidence to inform decisions at country level. Like elsewhere, there is the need to recognize that in Africa, no one size solution fits all. „

about the author Julius Agbor Agbor, Ph.D. is an Africa Research Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Washington DC. He is also a Research Fellow at the Department of Economics at Stellenbosch University (South Africa).

How Serious is North Korean

Missile Threat to US The United States is to deploy a THAAD missile defense battery to defend its bases on the Pacific island of Guam


ashington continues to look at the belligerent North Korea described as a ‘rogue state’ as one of its major security challenges. Indeed, a latest Pentagon report to the US Congress reveals that the poverty-ridden North Korea though reeling under the crippling impact of the UN sponsored sanction, is working hard towards realizing its stated objective of building a sturdy missile power good enough to hit the shores of USA. “North Korea will move closer to this goal as well as increase the threat it poses to US forces and allies in the region if it continues testing and devoting scarce regime resources to the program,” observes the Pentagon report. In particular, the Pentagon report drives home the point that the sustained upgradation of Taepodong-2 missile will help it strike the US shores with nuclear weapons. As it is, USA has been expressing concern over the continuous refinement of the nuclear weapons capability


Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine | July 2013

by North Korea. “These advances in ballistic missile delivery systems coupled with the development in nuclear technology - are in line with North Korea’s stated objective of being able to strike the US homeland,” notes the well-documented Pentagon report. Not willing to take any risk, USA has stated that it would deploy 14 new anti-missile defense radars in Alaska. The Pentagon report has also expressed concern over the nuclear test carried out by Pyongyang in February this year. Interestingly, in last December, North Korea pulled off a space mission with a multistage launch vehicle that claims to have delivered an earth observation satellite into orbit. Responding to this orbital mission, USA, Japan and South Korea had alleged that this exercise was meant to refine and upgrade the long range ballistic missile launch capability of the country. A remorseless North Korean ruling dispensation headed by its

new leader Kim-Jong responded furiously to the UN sanctions that came in the wake of Feb 2013 nuclear test with the threat of a full-fledged nuclear war, vowing to scrap peace pacts with the neighboring South Korea and hit the US with nuclear tipped missiles. The joint military exercise by US and South Korean forces in April this year in which nuclear capable B-52 bomber was deployed provoked North Korea to come out with the threat that its rocket forces are ready “to settle accounts with US.” Kim was vocal with the statement that “the time has come to settle accounts with the US imperialists in view of the prevailing situation.” Going further, Kim warned that the US bases in Guam and Okinawa were within the striking range of North Korean missile power. But strategic experts have expressed serious doubt over North Korean capability to hit USA. They say the efficacy and striking capability of North Korea’s Scud and Rodong missiles is in doubt while the long range strike capability of Teapodong-2 missile is yet to be proven. But then in the propaganda war North Korea seems to have proved its excellence. For instance the latest video from the isolated state shows its readiness for a third nuclear test. However, the ground reality is that the missile and launch vehicle development program of North Korea remains shrouded in secrecy. This has made the task of assessing the North Korean missile capability with a certain degree of accuracy is a really difficult proposition. Defense experts familiar with the North Korean strategic landscape suggest that North Korean missiles are not equipped to deliver nuclear warhead over a long distance. Further, they believe, North Korea has only a handful of nuclear weapons which it may not want to put atop missiles of questionable reliability. North Korea has dismissed the allegation that its satellite launch program is a smokescreen for developing a long range missile. The argument of North Korea is that as an independent country it has all the right to explore outer space for peaceful uses. Of course North Korea has demonstrated its capability to build and deploy short and long range missile in addition to orbiting a light weight satellite. But these achievements do not bestow it with the capacity to reach the US with a nuclear warhead. As defense experts point out, North Korea would need to cover much ground before it comes close to building a long range missile equipped to hit the US shores. Commenting on the North Korean missile strike capability, David Wright, Co-Director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Global Security Program says, “If I were in South Korea, and this were ratcheting up, if I were in Japan—you might worry about chemical weapons or something like that they could put on the front of a missile. But once you get farther away from that, I think it is really a bluff”. But then for the US President Barrack Obama, in his second term

at the White House, North Korea’s space and missile development program should pose a complex challenge that would need to be tackled with a lot of patience and foresight. Significantly, North Korea views its missile and space development program as a platform to showcase its technological prowess and military might in addition to using it as a means to divert the attention of the people reeling under the impact of a severe famine. For the regime of Kim Jong-un, it implies a consolidation of its position and tight control over the military set up of the country. Further, North Korea looks at its missile development program as both an investment in its security and means of generating cash through the export of missiles. North Korea is not a signatory to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). UN think tanks believe North Korea is in possession of over 600 Scud missile variants, about 200 Nodong missiles and 50 Taepodong missiles. Meanwhile there are reports suggesting US was able to recover a part of the launch vehicle that North Korea had deployed for its satellite launch last December. As it is, the US naval ships were able to recover the front section of the launch vehicle from the depths of oceanic waters. According to a section of US strategic experts the recovered front end of the launch vehicle gave sufficient proof that North Korea is keen on building a missile capable of accommodating a nuclear warhead. This nuclear warhead, they believe , would be durable enough to be placed on a long range missile that can re-enter earth atmosphere from space. Incidentally, many elements such as electronic, control, guidance, propulsion and other materials are common to a military missile and a civilian launch vehicle. As such, with little fine tuning a launch vehicle designed for hurling a satellite into space can be used for delivering a nuclear warhead to the designated targets. Interestingly, many US based private think tanks have projected the view that the solid fuel driven Agni range of missiles developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) drew heavily from the technology that Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) had developed for India’s first civilian space vehicle SLV-3 that had its successful space debut way back in 1980. Indeed, as pointed out by a section of scholars and analysts, the sabre rattling by North Korea with the occasional boast of unleashing its nuclear tipped missiles against its “enemies” could very well be a ruse to normalize its diplomatic relations with the US, Japan and South Korea and pave way for ending the long standing and crippling UN sponsored sanction. North Korea seems to have perfected the art of extracting concessions by raising the bogey of a nuclear war. The reclusive kingdom of North Korea is no more willing to remain isolated from the rest of the world. „

about the author Radhakrishna Rao writes on defense and aerospace related issues for various reputed think tanks across the world. July 2013 | Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine


Japan & the US Pivot by Rana Divyank Chaudhary


he year 2013 kicked off with fresh turbulence in East Asian waters. China and Japan once again locked horns in sovereignty claims over the Japanesecontrolled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea (Diaoyu Islands as claimed by Beijing). This almost immediately followed Shinzo Abe’s election as Japan’s Prime Minister for the second time in six years. True to popular form, Abe vowed to reawaken the nationalist factor in foreign policy and win higher strategic ground by aggressively expanding and defending Japan’s interests, also implying more teeth and a much longer leash for the Self Defence Forces (SDF). Little surprise therefore, that some attributed the new spike in tensions to Abe’s domestic political grandstanding. Others also saw China’s hand in destabilizing relations by pushing an easy culprit up against the wall.

Japan & the US Pivot – Who Rides the Tiger But this time Abe seemed to enjoy stronger rationale for playing true to his image. Since the US unveiled its new Asia-Pacific strategy – the ‘pivot’, shifts in its regional


Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine | July 2013

Who Rides the Tiger?

Ths US is restructuring its forces to better position them for Oceans and islands

allies’ behaviour started becoming apparent. Countries with unresolved territorial disputes and conflicting interests with China, such as Vietnam, the Philippines, and Taiwan, too have begun risking a forward posture against real and perceived Chinese threats. Visibly on the forefront of this shift, Abe’s Japan did not back down when confronted with Chinese patrols near the Senkakus nor relent in situations which threatened to escalate too far. Arguably, the expected revival of US engagement with East and Southeast Asia is not only infusing confidence in its alliance partners but, perhaps, also indicating to Japan, an established yet constrained power, that it is now possible to initiate a paradigm shift in its foreign policy. There is now a lull in the region while the debate over the future of China-Japan relations rages on. If Abe indeed plans to go ahead with the full spectrum of his campaign promises, not the least of which is reinterpreting the war-renouncing Constitution and the Article Nine, peace could just be a momentary quiet before the storm. The house is divided on whether Japan’s apparent aggressiveness is premature and would hurt US rebalancing or it will end badly for Tokyo itself.

July 2013 | Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine


How is Japan’s internal situation affecting Tokyo’s perception of its part in the US pivot? How is this shaping Japan’s foreign policy making and behaviour? Is Japan placing a disproportionately high premium on the US pivot? What kind of impact could they have on the evolving US strategy of rebalancing? What will be the implications for security and stability in the Asia-Pacific? Will the region erupt into a major conflict owing to these developments?

Tokyo Adrift Popular perception in Japan has not remained insulated from two decades of economic stagnation, unrelenting vicissitudes of domestic politics, the meteoric rise of the Chinese economy, and Japan’s diminishing external clout. Long under the US security umbrella, Japan had foregone military autonomy and pursued a successful strategy of building and expanding its technological base for many decades. But of late, Japan also began enlarging its military’s capabilities and brought about doctrinal flexibility which saw the SDF turn into a highly sophisticated arm operating far away from its designated and self-imposed picket-lines. Changes in Japan’s military posture and security strategy since the mid-1990s finally culminated in the 2010 National Defence Program Guidelines which underscored the need for ‘dynamic deterrence’ capabilities. This was in line with the US interest in Japan’s proactive defence cooperation and lesser constraints on interoperability of the two militaries. The problem for Japan, which kept looming larger and larger, was the lack of economic growth which would correspond with growth in security interests and expansion of the military power base. As a result, Japan not only has not been able to break the ceiling on its

GDP-defence budget ratio and increase its military expenditure, it now senses an ever more compulsive need to attach its security to its alliance with the US. Difficulties arising from the paradox of this desire for internal balancing and a compulsion of external balancing has acquired the centre stage in Japanese politics. Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has come to power amidst these simultaneous imperatives and problems. The uncertainty of wielding dynamic deterrence vis-a-vis China while catching up to its economy was threatening and Abe chose to go full throttle in the direction of change and in a manner he is no stranger to. His two-pronged plan is to rejuvenate the Japanese economy and invigorate the SDF. The symbolism of military power and self-reliance in security is much more visible and that is what was loudest in his rhetoric. But, the fruits of a growing economy are much more palpable and long-standing and that is what he has been prioritising for the past five months in power. There has been a surge in the stock market, consumer spending, and overall economic growth. If he can maintain this while enjoying a majority in both the houses of the Diet, political stability would follow. He will desperately need it to realize his vision for national security and foreign policy.

Banking on the Pivot Generally speaking, Japan’s security in Northeast Asia will be bolstered by the US’s strategic relook at the balance of power equations in the region. An upscale in military deployments, naval power projection, nuclear deterrence, and ballistic missile defence (BMD) would be the prime guarantor of this strategy. But, it is also going to be an exercise in across-the-board

US Ambassador to Singapore David Adelman addresses the crew of the USS Freedom in the North Pacific


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After being elected, Abe embarked upon a comprehensive tour of Southeast Asia and spoke often about building alliances upon shared democratic values with India, Australia, and so on. Japanese companies going in for investments in Myanmar and Vietnam is indicative that Japan would be the prime mover in providing developmental assistance to US allies and other friendly states in Asia. reassessment of US interests, opportunities, and threats, grand strategic planning, and a departure from the Cold War security architecture. From offshore balancing and management of security, the US would now aim to set new rules for games with wider spectrum of stakes. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the East Asia Summit (EAS), a thrust for moving towards the IndoPacific regional construct, and deepening US’s existing bilateral relationships are instances of this strategy in the making. After being elected, Abe embarked upon a comprehensive tour of Southeast Asia and spoke often about building alliances upon shared democratic values with India, Australia, and so on. Japanese companies going in for investments in Myanmar and Vietnam is indicative that Japan would be the prime mover in providing developmental assistance to US allies and other friendly states in Asia. Japan also recently reached an understanding with Taiwan about their conflicting sovereignty claims over the Senkakus. Inklings of providing military support to the Philippines further underscored preparations on the ground for facilitating a wide-arced counterweight to China. This in turn satisfies the proactive-foreign policy constituency in Japan which has its sights set on China above everything else. Japan could very well engage bilaterally with economies other than China in the challenge-free alternative environment created by the pivot and draw down its dependence on Beijing to retain a wider range of foreign policy choices.

A New Asian Security or a Strategy for Surrogates? There are fears that Abe’s stress on displaying nationalism in the face of rival powers will ‘shake up’ the US pivot to Asia. It is not completely unqualified to say that tensions between Japan

and China will now seem a natural progression flowing from the backing implicit in the pivot for US’s partners. But that does not necessarily imply that balancing will convert into bandwagoning against China. Any new strategy for regional cohesion is now hinged upon extensive economic ties and free trade areas. The pivot can no longer decidedly suppress China just as it cannot turn India and Vietnam into full-time US allies and Japan into a weapon of the Americans without a mind of its own. This is not to say that these states would or should desist from actively engaging China whether in trade and exchanges or in disputes. The pivot, however, effectively remains a responsive strategy meant to extricate the US military from wasteful wars of the last decade and transfer it to the theatres where bigger challenges to the American hegemony have cropped up. In the long term, its aim must be to moderate economic and security competition in the arenas where the ‘Rest’ is rising and witnessing conflict. The US aims to stay in the game as it can no longer pre-empt it. It will not benefit from the spokes tightening around the hub this time around. Greater opportunities will lie in helping regional partners become self-reliant and autonomous in their strategies while defending US ownership of the platforms and architectures of these partnerships. In keeping with this potentially flexible regional strategy, Japan may have the choice of continuing on its new course. The only thing it must confidently stave off is the threat or provocation of a military nature. Stability with assertiveness is not altogether a bad mix as long as economic strengthening is not disrupted. Abe’s success in pursuing his controversial strategy will, on the one hand, push the possibility of war further and further, while on the other, be a model for all hands on the Asian deck to follow. „

about the author Rana Divyank Chaudhary is a Researcher with the China Research Programme at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS), New Delhi. He can be reached at divyank@

July 2013 | Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine


Politics, Economics and People Take Centre Stage at

22nd ASEAN Summit By S. Pushpanathan

Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, left, and other leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations join their hands for a group photo section during the 22nd Asean Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, Thursday, April 25, 2013.


he ASEAN Heads of State/Government Summit held on 24-25 April in Brunei Darussalam saw the politics of the day, economic community building and building a peopleoriented ASEAN Community taking centre-stage. The summit called for a people-centered ASEAN as the central element of the post 2015 Vision of ASEAN. The ASEAN Community comprising the ASEAN Political and Security Community, the ASEAN Economic Community and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community is expected to be established by the end of 2015 based on the roadmap for an ASEAN Community adopted in 2008. What is striking is that unlike the 20th and 21st Summits held in Cambodia in 2012, this Summit saw no squabbling among the ASEAN countries on the importance of tackling the South China Sea territorial issue as a region with China. At the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Cambodia in July 2012, ASEAN for the first time in its history, failed to issue its joint communiquÊ due to differences within ASEAN on the issue. In this connection, Brunei Darussalam should be commended for a great job done at the 22nd ASEAN Summit in keeping ASEAN together and putting up a collective regional stand. It will now be interesting to see how China will respond to ASEAN’s consolidated position. China has preferred to negotiate bilaterally on the issue with the claimant states thus


Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine | July 2013

far. On their part, the ASEAN leaders have made it clear too that ASEAN would support any initiative to resolve the overlapping claims on a bilateral basis. It is indeed the collective desire of ASEAN and China to ensure that the dispute would not escalate into an armed conflict that may destabilize the region and affect the economic growth and development East Asia continues to experience unabatedly. As a way forward, it is important for both sides to now focus on discussing the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea so that a binding document that would prevent conflicts and manage the crisis in the disputed region could be enacted. Such a document should take into account the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South-China Sea adopted by ASEAN and China a decade ago as well as the ASEAN six-point principles on the South China Sea elaborated by ASEAN. Other key developments in the political and security arena at the Summit included the agreement to publish an ASEAN Security Outlook to promote greater transparency, confidence, and understanding of regional defense policies and security perceptions among ASEAN countries and their regional partners, a regional convention and action plan on combating trafficking in persons, strengthening of regional cooperation in maritime security by utilizing the ASEAN Maritime Forum (AMF) and the

expanded AMF comprising the other East Asia Summit partners consisting of Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. The Summit also discussed the progress achieved in the establishment of an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by the year 2015. Based on the latest AEC Scorecard, ASEAN achieved a rate of 77.54% in implementing the commitments under the AEC Blueprint for the period 2008-2012. ASEAN’s trade has been the catalyst for ASEAN’s stellar economic performance growing by 16.8% from USD 2.05 trillion in 2010 to USD 2.4 trillion in 2011. Intra-ASEAN trade also showed good progress increasing by 15.1% over the same period from USD 520 billion to USD 598 billion. In fact, intra-ASEAN trade is now leading the overall trade growth in ASEAN. On the foreign direct investment (FDI) dimension, the picture continues to be rosy for ASEAN despite the overall reduction in global FDIs and the increasing competition to attract FDIs among Asian countries. In fact, ASEAN achieved a 23% growth in FDI flows from USD 92 billion in 2010 to USD 114 in 2011, which is more than the peak recorded before the financial crisis in 1997/8. The leaders recognized the need to enhance ASEAN competitiveness for the region to maintain its upward economic growth trajectory. This will include addressing issues and challenges impeding the ease of doing business in ASEAN, tackling investment obstacles, promoting regulatory improvement, convergence and harmonization, and incorporating innovation policies into ASEAN’s integration and development.

In this connection, the leaders called for the development of a roadmap to address the various issues. This is indeed critical, as ASEAN will have to undertake domestic reforms if it is to go into its next stage of economic integration. Besides, ASEAN should exert more pressure on putting in place trade and investment facilitation measures such as the ASEAN Single Window by 2015 to enhance and make transparent custom procedures to support a seamless flow of goods as well as an effective dispute settlement mechanism to achieve a rules-based AEC. Non-tariff barriers must be addressed to keep markets open as tariffs are brought to zero. ASEAN leaders are cognizant that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) make up the backbone of the ASEAN industry as they constitute 95% of all industry in ASEAN and employ the majority of the ASEAN workforce even though their contribution to the ASEAN GDP could be further improved. SMEs will require training, advisory and financial support to grow and cross over borders to expand their business within ASEAN, which will require government support and encouragement. In this regard, the ASEAN leaders have echoed their support for the development of a strategic regional platform for long-term SME development cooperation with specific focus on the priority integration sectors of ASEAN such as automotives, textiles, electronics, and food. This will also help in reducing the development gaps in the region and support the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) to help the less-developed ASEAN countries to come on board the integration efforts and to benefit from them.

Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (L) and Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (R), followed by Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

July 2013 | Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine


Tourism is another important source of revenue for ASEAN economies, including the lesser-developed countries such as Cambodia, Laos PDR, and Myanmar. It provides employment for the people and helps to raise the living standards through its multiplier effects on the rest of the ASEAN economy. The Summit has called for more efforts in supporting the mutual recognition agreement on tourism professionals and the establishment of a regional secretariat for ASEAN tourism professionals as well as putting in place a visa free travel in the region for ASEAN nationals and a common visa for non-ASEAN nations to further promote tourism and business mobility. On the external front, the ASEAN leaders welcomed the negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that commenced in May 2013. They hoped that the negotiations would be completed by end 2015 so that a platform for future trade and investment integration in East Asia and the world could be developed. The RCEP would have a significant impact on trade and investment in East Asia, as it will transform the region into an integrated market of more than 3 billion people (or 45% of the world’s population) with a combined GDP of about USD 17.23 trillion, which is about a third of the world’s current annual GDP. The discussion of the ASEAN leaders on the ASEAN SocioCultural Community was focused on building an ASEAN identity among the people and developing a people-centered and socially responsible ASEAN community. Here, they placed emphasis on the youth and young professionals who could support development and sustainability of the region. This would include offering voluntary services in the areas of rural development, disaster relief, health education, and environment. They wanted to see the establishment of the ASEAN Youth Volunteers Program to instill a sense of community building among the youths. The leaders also earmarked sports as a priority for 2013 designating it as ASEAN Sports Industry Year. This will certainly help to promote healthier lifestyles and build strong bonds and a regional identity. All in all, the outcomes at the 22nd ASEAN Summit showed the progress ASEAN is making in building its community and the challenges, both internal and external, it is facing. The current approach adopted by Brunei Darussalam, as the chair, is appropriate as it focuses on the implementation of commitments under the various community blueprints of ASEAN to prepare the region for the ASEAN Community in 2015 as well as to look beyond to a post 2015 vision for the region. While ASEAN is making progress with its economic integration, it will be inevitable that it will come to a point where the more difficult measures will need to be implemented if

Tourism is another important source of revenue for ASEAN economies, including the lesser-developed countries such as Cambodia, Laos PDR, and Myanmar. It provides employment for the people and helps to raise the living standards through its multiplier effects on the rest of the ASEAN economy. ASEAN is to achieve all its commitments under the AEC Blueprint by 2015. It is, therefore, imperative that ASEAN starts addressing these pressing issues, if it wants to ensure the breadth and depth of its integration and the establishment of AEC in the next two and a half years. While the private sector has been mentioned several times in the discussions of the leaders, it is important that they are given wider access and space in terms of participation in the integration process and not relegated to just having interactions and dialogues with the official bodies and committees of ASEAN. What is needed is for the private sector to be involved from the start in ASEAN initiatives and processes. This means being involved in providing inputs to ASEAN policy-making, implementation, and post implementation review and feedback. More public-private partnership platforms are needed within ASEAN, both at the technical and policy levels, for ASEAN economic initiatives to get better traction from the business community. One goodwill initiative that the governments in ASEAN could support is the ASEAN Business Travel Card, which will help the companies to conduct business across ASEAN quite seamlessly. It will show the commitment of governments to engaging the private sector too. Another initiative will be to build a morerules based community with an effective dispute settlement process so as to bring about more transparency, consistency, certainty and with it credibility for businesses operating in the ASEAN community. This will further spur FDIs into the region especially if businesses see ASEAN as one single market. That will be a hallmark of AEC going forward. „

about the author S. Pushpanathan is the Managing Director of EAS Strategic Advice-Asia in Singapore. He was previously the Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for the ASEAN Economic Community (2009-2012). He can be contacted at


Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine | July 2013

Regional Economic Integration Learning from South Asia and the World By Md. Joynal Abdin

Background: The framework of the theory of economic integration was laid out by Jacob Viner (1950) who defined the trade creation and trade diversion effects, the terms introduced for the change of interregional flow of goods caused by changes in customs tariffs due to the creation of an economic union. He considered trade flows between two states prior and after their unification, and compared them with the rest of the world. His findings became and still are the foundation of the theory of economic integration. The basics of the theory were summarized by the Hungarian economist Béla Balassa in the 1960s. As economic integration increases, the barriers of trade between markets diminish. Balassa believed that supranational common markets, with their free movement of economic factors across national borders, naturally generate demand for further integration, not only economically (via monetary unions) but also politically—and, thus, that economic communities naturally evolve into political unions over time.

Economic Integration: Economic integration is the unification of economic policies between different states through the partial or full abolition of tariff and non-tariff restrictions on trade taking place among them prior to their integration. This is meant in turn to lead to lower prices for distributors and consumers with the goal of increasing the combined economic productivity of the states.

Why Economic Integration? 1. a. b. c.


There are economic reasons: For the increase of trade between members states. For mass scale production, higher productivity and economies of scale. Ability of a person or a country to produce a particular good or service at a lower marginal and opportunity cost over another. Technology transfer & replication of best practices.

2. a. b. c.

Political reasons: United position in different international platforms. Increases exchange of culture, knowledge sharing. Reduces armed conflicts. Steps towards regional economic integration: The degree of economic integration can be categorized into seven stages: A preferential Trade Area (also preferential trade agreement, PTA) is a trading bloc that gives preferential access to certain products from the participating countries. This is done by reducing tariffs but not by abolishing them completely. A PTA can be established through a trade pact. It is the first stage of economic integration. The line between a PTA and a free trade area (FTA) may be unclear, as almost any PTA has a main goal of becoming a FTA in accordance with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Example: Multilateral Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA)-1976, SAARC Preferential Trade Arrangement (SAPTA) - 1999 and many more . . . . . . Example: Bilateral India – Afghanistan (2003), India – Nepal (2009), India – Chile (2007), India – MERCOSUR (2009), ASEAN – PR China (2005), Laos – Thailand (1991) and many more . . . . . . A Free Trade Area is a trade bloc whose member countries have signed a free-trade agreement (FTA), which eliminates tariffs, import quotas, and preferences on most (if not all) goods and services traded between them. If people are also free to move between the countries, in addition to FTA, it would also be considered an open border. It can be considered the second stage of economic integration. Example: Multilateral ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) - 1992, Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) - 1994, South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) - 2004/2006 and many more . . . . . . Example: Bilateral ASEAN – Australia – New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) July 2013 | Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine


Figure (1): Steps towards Economic Integration. in effect as of 1 January 2010, ASEAN–China Free Trade Area (ACFTA), in effect as of 1 January 2010, ASEAN–India Free Trade Area (AIFTA), in effect as of 1 January 2010, ASEAN–Korea Free Trade Area (AKFTA), in effect as of 1 January 2010, and many more . . . . . . A customs union is a type of trade bloc which is composed of a free trade area with a common external tariff. The participant countries set up common external trade policy, but in some cases they use different import quotas. Example: In Action East African Community (EAC) - 2005, Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia - 2010, EU-Turkey (1996) etc. Example: Proposed 2015 Arab Customs Union (ACU), 2015 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), 2019 or before Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), 2019 African Economic Community (AEC)etc. A single market is a type of trade bloc which is composed of a free trade area (for goods) with common policies on product regulation, and freedom of movement of the factors of production (capital and labour) and of enterprise and services. The goal is that the movement of capital, labour, goods, and services between the members is as easy as within them. The physical (borders), technical (standards) and fiscal (taxes) barriers among the member states are removed to the maximum extent possible. Example: In Action Canada – Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), European Free Trade Association (EFTA), European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland – European Union etc. Example: Proposed 2015 ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), East African Community (EAC) etc.


Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine | July 2013

An economic and monetary union is a type of trade bloc which is composed of an economic union (common market and customs union) with a monetary union. It is to be distinguished from a mere monetary union (e.g. the Latin Monetary Union in the 19th century), which does not involve a common market. This is the fifth stage of economic integration. Example: In Action: Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union (1999/2002). Example: Proposed: Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - 2013 , East African Community (EAC) - 2015, Caribbean Single Market and Economy (as part of the CARICOM) - 2015 , Southern African Customs Union (SACU) - 2015, Southern African Development Community (SADC) - 2016 etc. Fiscal union is the integration of the fiscal policy of nations or states. Under fiscal union decisions about the collection and expenditure of taxes are taken by common institutions, shared by the participating governments. For example, in federal nations such as the United States, fiscal policy is determined to a large extent by the central government, which is empowered to raise taxes, borrow and spend. It is often proposed that the European Union adopt a form of fiscal union. Most member states of the EU participate in economic and monetary union (EMU), based on the euro currency, but most decisions about taxes and spending remain at the national level. Therefore, although the European Union has a monetary union, it does not have a fiscal union. Example: There is no active fiscal union in the world. It is often proposed that the European Union adopt a form of fiscal union. Most member states of the EU participate in economic and monetary union

(EMU), based on the euro currency, but most decisions about taxes and spending remain at the national level. Therefore, although the European Union has a monetary union, it does not have a fiscal union. Complete economic integration is the final stage of economic integration. After complete economic integration, the integrated units have no or negligible control of economic policy, including full monetary union and complete or near-complete fiscal policy harmonization. Complete economic integration is most common within countries, rather than within supranational institutions. Example: A good example of this is a country like the United States of America which can be viewed as a series of highly integrated quasi-autonomous nation states. In this example it is true that complete economic integration results in a federalist system of governance as it requires political union to function as, in effect, a single economy.

Obstacles to Economic Integration: Obstacles standing as barriers for the development of economic integration include the desire for preservation of the control of tax revenues and licensing by local powers, sometimes requiring decades to pass under the control of supranational bodies. The experience of 1990-2009 has shown radical change in this pattern, as the world has observed the economic success of the European Union. So now no state disputes the benefits of economic integration: the only question is when and how it happens, what exact benefits it may bring to a state, and what kind of negative effects may take place.

Initiative towards Economic Integration in South Asia Though South Asia covers 4,488,300 sq kms of the world’s surface area with a population of 1.5 billion, still it has only a negligible share of the world’s total volume of trade. Most of the people of this region are living below the poverty line. Only mutual initiatives towards economic integration can play a vital role in upgrading the standards of living of the poor people. Academicians have predicted two opposite outcomes, both positive and negative. Negative effects include the possibility that the infant industrial sector may not survive the open market competition or that the sick industries might face ruin. On the other hand, positive effects in the short-run include inland ‘tradecreation effects.’ But that must outweigh trade diversion effects in order to achieve beneficial trade liberalization. However, apart from short-run benefits, there are also the long-run benefits such as greater technical efficiency due to greater competition, larger markets, higher consumer surpluses, and more foreign investments. Example: Multilateral 1. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) - 8 December 1985 2. SAARC Preferential Trade Agreement (SAPTA) - 1999 3. South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) - 2004/2006 4. BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Framework Agreement - 2004. 5. Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement - 2005. Example: Bilateral 1. India-Afghanistan Preferential Trading Agreement

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

India-Bhutan Trade Agreement India-Chile Preferential Trading Agreement India-Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement India-MERCOSUR Preferential Trade Agreement India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement Pakistan-Mauritius Preferential Trade Agreement Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement

Barriers to Make SAFTA Effective: A. Tariff and Non-tariff barriers: Usually there are three types of problems in trans-border business. These are – tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers and non-routine barriers. Tariff barriers are getting removed according to the agreement declarations but non-tariff barriers may be more effective in some cases. On the other hand, some new problems are arising day by day. These may be for short period, though those may be more dangerous than any others. These types of problems may be addressed as non-routine barriers. First steps towards economic integration should be to remove all sorts of barriers to international business. B. Negative list: A country must think of its own industries but those should not be used as barriers to the major exportable goods from other countries. If any common product is there, market should be opened up to face competition. We must have to remember that open competition increases efficiency. Some may argue that infant or sick industries have to be protected. On this score, we must think about the strategic advantage. If any industry has strategic advantage, it will have to continue; otherwise, it will die even after lots of subsidies. For example, in Bangladesh, the readymade garment (RMG) is the energetic sector from the day it was born in 1980s. But jute remained in infancy since the British period. However, at the same time some jute mills are also making enough profit. C. Rules of origin: Rules of origin must not be more stringent than that prevailing under SAPTA. The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FBCCI) therefore advocates non-restrictive and simplified rules of origin, based on value addition criteria (summation of freight on board (FOB) value of exports – summation of cost insurance freight (CIF) value of imports > or = 30 per cent) to match their industrial capabilities as in SAPTA, with derogation of 20 per cent value addition for RMG and other such labor incentive exports products. D. Free Movement of People: Till now visa procedures of SAARC countries is very complicated. To facilitate economic integration at first free movement of goods, services, investment as well as people has to be ensured. Primarily visa system should make easier and intra-SAARC connectivity should be ensured.

Way Forward The following trade facilitation measures should be implemented as an obligation to ensure enabling trade policy and governance for smooth and speedy movement of goods across the borders which can make FTA effective as well as work to build confidence among the nations, which lead us towards the next step of economic integration: July 2013 | Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine










Functioning roads and transit facility: Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Bhutan have to be connected through functioning roads and transit facility should be ensured. More generally, we can say that trucks from any country should have the right to enter any signatory state without prior permission with legal goods. Harmonization of documentation: Cross-border trade regulations and documents need to be harmonized by an end date. Easy access to information: There should be online publications of relevant trade regulations and procedures, including fees and charges, in the local language and in English. Time bound customs clearance: Simplification of customs procedures do need to aim at cutting the time taken and cost of transactions at each customs point. Regional customs action plan should be implemented. Dispute settlement: An effective appeal procedure has to be put in place for customs and other agencies’ rulings must be in place. Infrastructure development: Transport and communications infrastructures, port and warehousing facilities must be developed to benchmark levels within a time frame. Transportation facilities: Direct shipping and air links with necessary support and incentives provided by the respective governments have to be established. Including private sector in the negotiation table: Private

sector specialists should have facilities to take part in the negotiation for effective dialogue among the states. 9. Free movement of people: Nothing will be functional until people can move easily from one country to other without facing visa complexity. 10. More interactions for confidence building: We in South Asia do not believe each other. More frequent interaction among the general people of the region may play a vital role in confidence building among the nations.

Concluding remarks: Regional economic integration is a wide topic to discuss in any single article. It is quite difficult to cover all issues of economic integration elaborately in a single seminar. A book or a series of working paper may touch the technical & theoretical terminologies and well as procedural aspects of the economic integration. I would like to offer my apologies for skipping out many theoretical, technical and procedural issues of economic integration here in this article. „

about the author Md. Joynal Abdin is Program Officer (Research) at SME Foundation, Bangladesh

State feminism and Women’s Legal Rights

The Role of National Council for Women in Today’s Egypt By Lubna Azzam


he NCW was the quintessential expression of state feminism in Egypt in the past ten years. In the past this organization formed in 2000 by presidential decree with first lady Suzanne Mubarak as its patron and first secretary general was the ultimate expression of state feminism in Egypt. Having claimed this it must be noted that state feminism was actually a term coined in the Nasser-era in relation to his policies in favor of integrating women into the workforce. “In societies where religion is a marker of identity, the road to liberal democracy, whatever other twists and turns it takes, cannot avoid passing through the gates of religious politics” (Hashemi, 2009, p. 2) National Council for Women (NCW) was responsible for the codification of positive legal rights for women and deepening of gender equality. It gained its legitimacy from an autocratic leader and his wife Suzanne Mubarak. What does this mean for the NCW of today? More importantly what does this mean for state feminism and codification of positive legal women’s rights in Egypt post2011? Does the association in the past with Egypt’s autocratic ruler and his wife serve to discredit this very important institution in today’s Egypt? How will this organization fare with its primary advocate gone and under a new religious regime? This article will map the history and pre-history of organization to the present. It is not surprising that the NCW had a larger mandate than the previous organizations and that they have been allocated a sizable amount of funding directly from the government’s

budget. Some members of the NCW’s board are representatives of women’s NGOs. It has 11 standing committees, of which one is responsible for women’s NGOs. It has to be added that none of the strongly vocal feminists are represented, even though they are invited to events. NWC-NGO relations are not formalized and dialogues between them are very nebulous (ibid). It must also be noted that the NCW acted as a gatekeeper, determining which civil society organizations are heard and which ones, like representatives of religious organizations, such as those linked to Muslim Brotherhood but also other organizations perceived as being religious, are not. Having been founded by presidential decree in 2000, its position in favor of the state is undisputed. It is, however, a good reflection of the state’s official attitude towards women, but may also be perceived as a signal to the international community on the part of the state regarding its ostensive desire to improve (women’s) human rights in Egypt. The organization may certainly be viewed as an expression of state feminism, but entirely different from the form which Nasser espoused to, when the term was coined following the revolution. There is, however, also a certain similarity in that the state takes control over what it deems to be suitable for discussion.

The History of State Feminism in Egypt The legal status of women demonstrates their social role. The inferior role of women is best shown by means of the personal July 2013 | Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine


status laws (PSL). The Egyptian Feminist Union (EGU) was the first example of institutionalized engagement on the part of Egyptian women in regard to feminism. It has its origins deeply rooted in nationalism, it did, however, have a strong individual identity was not part of Wafd. The women working for this organization did three things, which were revolutionary for women at that period. 1. They removed their veils as a sign of protest against the invisibility. 2. They referred to themselves openly as feminists and not only as women. 3. They built a link to international feminist networks. It is indisputably the predecessor of modern Egyptian NGOs. Its first official speech was held at the “International Women Suffrage Alliance Congress” in Rome in 1923. In the early days of Egyptian feminism the Egyptian peasant women symbolized freedom, a freedom which symbolized equality for the Egyptian woman and the Egyptian nation (The Egyptian Nationalist Party). Though an early member of the EFU, Zeinab al-Ghazali, left this organization to found her own “Islamic Women’s Association” in 1936. Her critique was that the EFU was too Western in its ethos and not authentic enough. This early schism (secular/ religious) within the Egyptian women’s movement is continued to the present day. Gamal Abdel Nasser was associated with a term “state feminism,” which became synonymous with his reign and his (successful) attempt to ingrate women into the labor force and increase female education levels. This having been said, it must be noted that although Nasser was successful in equalizing the “playing field” for women in the public sector, he left the private domain untouched by reforms. This means that within the private confines of the home women were still subject to their “contractual marriage agreement” restriction and restriction to travel without the permission of their husbands or fathers. This is codified in the personal status codes, subject to which each religious community sets the guidelines for its flock. The first attempt to change these restrictive laws was made by Anwar Sadat with “Jihan’s Laws”. Sadat implemented these widereaching amendments per presidential decree due to which they were declared invalid and reversed. In 1983 (following his assassination at the hand of jihadi Muslim Brothers) a “watereddown” version of Jihan’s Laws, were implemented. In 1993, a “National Committee for Women” was established within the “National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM)” due to pressure by the United Nations Organization (UNO). This was replaced in 2000 by the National Council of Women (NCW), whose president is Suzanne Mubarak, the President`s wife. Having been founded by a presidential decree in 2000, its position in favor of the state is undisputed. It is, however, a good reflection of the state’s official attitude towards women, but may also be perceived as a signal to the international community on the part of the state regarding its ostensive desire to improve (women’s) human rights in Egypt. The organization may certainly be viewed as an expression of state feminism, but entirely different from the form which Nasser espoused to, when the term was coined following the revolution. There is, however, also a certain similarity in that the state takes control over what


Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine | July 2013

it deems to be suitable for discussion. It certainly has to be asserted that Gamal Abd El-Nasser introduced a type of feminism, known as “state feminism”, which was perhaps more compatible with the context within which he worked. He too was no democrat but an autocratic, laying the foundations for an autocratic, military domination of Egypt, arguable to this very day. He left women’s role in the private realm untouched by his reforms. The Personal Status Code (PSC) was still dominant for ruling family matters, with each religious grouping regulating for its flock. This put women at a severe disadvantage to men in all religious denominations. To paraphrase Anne Phillips, religion has never been advantageous for women no matter what the context may be. Anwar Sadat introduced laws known as “Jihan’s laws”, named after his wife. Once again an autocrat inspired by his spouse. These laws were enforced by presidential decree and subsequently declared invalid because of the lack of democratic process in their implementation. The laws were revolutionary and very wide-reaching. They gave women the right to travel and work without obtaining spousal approval and also conceived of a female right to unilateral divorce. In 1983, watered-down version of these laws was introduced.

The Position of Non-governmental Organizations in Egypt Women’s Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the Middle East are not mass movements and are not inclusive of the urban poor, the working-class and rural women, as is the case, for example, in India or some countries in Latin America. Their employees fall into two categories; those sent from MOSA (Ministry of Social Affairs) and those directly employed by the NGO. The above, however, is not the case for the Islamic NGOs, who finance themselves through “zakat”. Some of these organizations, especially those working on a national level, have relatively large budgets and are able to pay their employees sizable salaries, whilst at the same time offering their services at moderate rates. Officially the state has a positive position regarding the foundation of NGOs. There are approximately 17,000 such organizations according to estimates made by Freedom House, which are active in education, human rights, micro-finance projects and other areas. The activities of these NGOs are strongly controlled and regimented by the state. A new law was introduced in 2003, which strongly restricted the activities of NGOs by compelling them to be issued with licenses by MOSA and comply with their security regulations. The ministry has the power to dissolve NGOs and also has the power to install members from its own ministry representatives on their managing committees. Law number 32, issued in 1964 offers a very comprehensive system regulating NGOs and private voluntary organizations (PVOs). One of the main provisions of this law is that PVOs may not be politically motivated and in contradiction to the religious and cultural practices and norms.

Achievements Made by NCW The amendment to the nationality law of 2004 in the form of law 54/2004 was a great siege for women in Egypt. This was

Head of the National Council for Women Mervat Talawi

won by the National Council for Women under the autocratic patronage of Suzanne Mubarak. At the same time it calls into question some of the positive changes it did manage to bring about. Law 54 of 2004 is unique in that it allows women to pass their nationality on to their biological children. This is almost unique in the entire Arab World. The question of democratic process and accountability remains, however, concerning the implementation of this amendment. The NCW set up by presidential decree is a perfect metaphor of what was wrong with the Egypt of old. Democratic process was replaced by autocratic decrees from the President on the behest of his spouse. This allowed women to pass on their Egyptian nationality to their biological children for the first time in Egyptian history. This is a very significant step, as it was one of the recommendations laid down by CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women). It is codified in article 9 (2). To enjoy full inclusion Georgina Waylen argues that it is vital to enjoy full citizenship right. Beyond this the NCW also helped to establish family courts in 2004 with 30 females judges called to the bench. Tahany El-Gabali was also called to the Supreme Constitutional Court in 2004 as the first women and elected its deputy in 2010. The above is but one example of the positive legal change implemented by the NCW. Another is Khula, the unilateral right of a woman to a non-fault divorce. This was introduced in 2000 as law number 1/2000. Suzanne Mubarak’s commitment to women’s rights, though laudable, was not democratic in the least. Perhaps some of the social conservatism which is being witnessed in Egyptian society and on the part of the electorate at the moment may be interpreted as being a reaction to this autocratic imposition of Western liberal values, which are not always compatible with those indigenous to the Middle Eastern context.

The Future of NCW The future of the NCW is still unclear, as only time will tell, if this child of Suzanne Mubarak will enjoy a new lease of life under a new regime. A religious regime less interested in impressing the West and Western interests, but with a new orientation towards the East. This does not bode well of the NCW, a liberal institution set on protecting women’s rights and gender equality. The NCW was reformed following the Revolution of 2011 and is now under the directorship for Mervat al-Tallawy, a former ambassador and women of good reputation in the community. Will she succeed in bringing the NCW onto the political scene as real and serious actor, or will the old ties to the Mubarak regime prove to be fatal in this regard. Only time will tell, but in my opinion the NCW does, indeed, have a chance to succeed and to be taken seriously in the configuration of future Egypt. It is a dire need because there is not enough sufficient gender equality at present. Gender equality should be at the top of any agenda for democratic process, because it is central to democratic values. There can be no democracy without gender equality or even gender parity. „

about the author Lubna Azzam is a PhD candidate in the Excellence Cluster Normative Orders at the Goethe Universität Frankfurt and a research fellow at Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (German Institute for International and Security Affairs - SWP) in Berlin 2012-2013. July 2013 | Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine


With or Without You

Why the international community should support the reduction of deforestation in Bolivia By Dr. Lykke Andersen


here are some policies that are obviously correct from both environmental and economic viewpoints, but which are nevertheless difficult to implement. The elimination of fossil fuel subsidies is such an example. Last year, the Bolivian government spent at least US$750 million on direct subsidies to diesel (62%), gasoline (27%) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) (10%) use (1). Apart from dramatically reducing funds available for public investment, these subsidies also encourage contamination, congestion and deforestation (2), all of which mean substantially higher social costs than the direct costs of the subsidy itself. The beneficiaries of the subsidy are dominated by the agro-industry in Santa Cruz, which profits greatly from the combination of cheap diesel and cheap land. Thus, the subsidy is by no means pro-poor, and a lot of the benefits are even lost to neighboring countries, as their nationals rent cheap land and use subsidized fuel for growing crops in Bolivia. For example, more than 70% of the area dedicated to soy production over the last decade is in the hands of foreigners (3). The Bolivian government realizes all this and has tried, unsuccessfully, to eliminate the fuel subsidy. A possible alternative to reducing fuel subsidies would be a tax on large scale deforestation. It would be similarly beneficial, especially if the revenues are used to promote sustainable productive activities in rural communities that are committed to living well in harmony with nature. According to simulations made using a simulation tool called CISS-Bolivia (4), a tax of


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$1000/ha on large-scale deforestation could raise more than 200 million dollars per year in revenues (5) and cause a reduction in deforestation of about 21% (equating to about 60,000 ha of forest saved annually or 20 million tons of reduced CO2 emissions per year). If those tax revenues are reinvested in sustainable rural communities under the condition that they do not deforest further, it could reduce deforestation by about 27% (reducing CO2 emissions by about 35 million tons per year) and increase the incomes of the poor in these rural communities by about 25%. However, most of the benefits from reduced deforestation in Bolivia accrue to the rest of the world, mainly in the form of reduced CO2 emissions (which in turn would help reduce the risk of catastrophic global warming). In addition, reduced deforestation would tend to put upward pressure on food prices due to the reduction in supply of agricultural products, implying a possible adverse effect on the urban poor, which would have to be compensated for. Thus, it is reasonable to suggest that Bolivia be at least partially reimbursed for the costs of reducing deforestation. If we complement the locally collected deforestation tax revenues with an international compensation of $10 per ton of reduced CO2 emissions, Bolivia would have a total of about $580 million in tax and compensation revenues per year to invest in sustainable rural development. Together these positive and negative incentives would cause a reduction in deforestation

of 36%, a reduction in emissions of 40 million tons per year, an average increase in the income of all the poor in the country of about 21% and an increase of 33% for the poor benefitting directly from the reinvested revenues (see Figure 1). This last policy, combining positive and negative incentives and external financing, would be clearly beneficial for the country in terms of sustainable development and poverty reduction, and it would provide the financing necessary to put action behind the good intentions of the new “Ley Marco de la Madre Tierra y Desarrollo Integral para Vivir Bien” (6) . However, it would imply a massive redistribution from the rich

dollars of non-reimbursable external financing could potentially help create the necessary political will. Failing to do so could amount to an economic, social and environmental disaster for Bolivia. Neighboring Brazil has smartly realized that they can earn billions of dollars in compensation for reduced deforestation within their own territory, while at the same time expanding soy bean cultivation in Bolivia where land is dirt cheap, diesel is heavily subsidized and taxes and regulations are non-existent. Thus, our neighbors are benefiting both from conservation and from agriculture, while Bolivia is footing the bill both financially and ecologically. „

Figure 1: Environmental and socio-economic effects of combinations of taxes and positive incentives.

Source: Results from CISS-Bolivia v. 2.1.

to the poor, so it is going to be met with considerable resistance from powerful people. Furthermore, it is not the only possible development strategy. Powerful factions within the government are planning to reduce poverty and create employment through infrastructure projects, land grants and expansion of the agricultural frontier—a strategy that would be highly incompatible with the policy outlined above. Bolivia thus stands at a cross-roads and has to decide which route to choose. While the new Ley Marco de la Madre Tierra indicates the road to living well in harmony with nature, almost all the money, including the $750 million fuel subsidy mentioned at the beginning of the article, are going down the other road. Although removing fossil fuel subsidies and implementing a tax on deforestation makes good economic sense for the government, it would require considerable political will and power to actually implement these policy changes. Currently, neither the will nor the power exists in Bolivia, but the prospect of a billion

about the author Dr. Lykke Andersen is the Director of the Center for Economic and Environmental Modeling and Analysis (CEEMA) at the Institute for Advanced Development Studies (INESAD), La Paz, Bolivia. INESAD works closely with the Bolivian and donor governments to harmonize and coordinate aid and use scientific research to overcome critical barriers to sustainable development. INESAD was ranked as the best think tank in Bolivia and in the top percentile in Latin America for environmental issues by the 2012 Global Go To Think Tank Index. The index was created by the University of Penssylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Society Program (TTCSP) and included the careful examination of more than 6,500 think tanks. July 2013 | Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine


Missing in Action: India at the Shangri-La Dialogue By Narayani Basu

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel talks with (left to right) President of Boeing DSD Dennis Muilenburg, Japanese Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera, Australian Minister of Defense Stephen Smith and Canadian Minister of Defense Peter MacKay, the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, May 31, 2013.


n stark contrast to the policy paralysis on the domestic front, India’s larger diplomatic strategy towards its more immediate vicinity appears to be almost aggressively courteous. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recently concluded visits to Japan and Thailand highlights a steady growth in political dialogue and foreign policy coordination between India and its East and Southeast Asian neighbors. A case in point is the summit-level talks between Singh and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe in Tokyo last week. The talks, which culminated in the signing of a joint statement, came at a time when the Asia-Pacific, as a region, is being shadowed by a rising and ever assertive China. Meanwhile, Thailand has also expressed an interest in working closely with India in the realm of defense, including bilateral collaboration in production. India’s Defence Minister, AK Antony has made trips to Singapore, Thailand and Australia in the last week alone. The visits appear to suggest the fact that India’s own ideas of a ‘pivot’ to Asia are more than a mere ambition, and is part of a larger geostrategic policy. So when the Defence Minister did not show up at Asia’s


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leading annual defense forum, the Shangri-La Dialogue, it raised more than a few eyebrows. As the Asia-Pacific becomes a theatre for great power rivalry and a potential flashpoint for regional conflict, the Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD), organized by the International Institute of Strategic Studies (headquartered in London), has become a vehicle for formal and informal consultations between the region’s top defense strategists. India’s absence reflects the slipshod attitude of the Indian Ministry of Defence. The Asia-Pacific may be on the highway to economic prosperity, but there are concerns that regional maritime tensions or the actions of irrational players like North Korea could adversely impact the region. The knowledge of these concerns is the reason behind the regular participation of major players like the United States and China, which understand that any competition between them must be moderated, if only because of their economic interdependence. This being said, there should not be any doubt over the fact that their participation is also part of a carefully planned strategy to further their respective ends, which is to maintain hegemony over the regional system.

Some serious Shangri-La Dialogue

For China, certainly, the potential for its own control over the Asia-Pacific is somewhat threatened by the presence of the United States, which has been ‘rebalancing’ in the region for some time now. Prompted by China’s recent grandstanding regarding its territorial claims in the East and South China Seas, the United States has revitalized its alliance system in the region, with newer and more significant members like Vietnam entering the picture. Indeed, the keynote addresses of both the Vietnamese Prime Minister and the Japanese Defense Minister hinted obliquely at the role of China in the region, and the corresponding need for “strategic trust” among regional actors. No wonder then that Lt. General Qi Jianguo, Deputy Chief of General Staff of the PLA and the leader of the Chinese delegation to the SLD, kept the Chinese view peppered with trite catchwords like ‘development’ and ‘win-win’. The bottom line, nevertheless, remained quite firm. The Chinese are quite happy to participate in dialogue and consultations for regional peace, but this does not mean any form of ‘unconditional compromise’, which might hamper the country’s commitment to safeguarding its ‘core national interests.’ On America’s part, the foreign policy formula of the ‘pivot’ has already been spelled out two years ago, in the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s October 2011 speech. On Saturday, US Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel further fleshed out the American strategy as a “diplomatic, economic and cultural strategy” which would mean a shoring up of American allies to deal with regional threats like North Korea and transnational dangers like drug trafficking and cyber-attacks. To this end, the United States is looking to invest in ‘promising technologies and capabilities’ that would serve it well in the long run. Given the importance of the SLD as a platform for regional players, and India’s much-vaunted ‘Look East’ policy, the absence of AK Antony was mysterious to say the least - especially since Mr. Antony was supposed to stop-over in Singapore on his way to Australia. Additionally, an Indian flotilla is currently on a two month deployment in Southeast Asian waters. This is not to say that India is an entirely indifferent actor

in the Asia-Pacific theatre. But foreign policy mandarins in New Delhi must remember that, as far as the game of international politics goes, no country can survive without friends and allies. Sending junior ministers or, in this case the Chief of Naval Staff, is a severe policy and protocol impairment when it comes to sideline meetings or speaking at the prestigious plenary sessions. This year, for example, there was no Indian speaker in the main sessions of the SLD. In today’s world, international relations is not just about assertive posturing or diplomatic muscle-flexing. It is about networking, and about being ready to lead and/or respond, given the circumstances. This was recognized and even highlighted by Hagel, who stated that it was the responsibility of powerful nations to maintain security in their region, simply because of the high stakes involved. The same holds true for India. Choosing not to give importance to events which clearly occupy a crucial place on the foreign policy calendar is not only self-defeating but reflects a sheer lack of political will, on India’s part, to take defense diplomacy seriously as a means to further its international and regional standing. „

about the author Narayani Basu is a Research Intern with the China Research Programme at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. She completed her Masters in East Asian Studies with specialization in Chinese foreign policy and Sino-Indian relations at the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Delhi. She has completed her graduation in history from St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi. She is particularly interested in US-China relations in the region of East Asia. July 2013 | Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine


The Employment of

Chemical Weapons in Syria By Dany Shoham


ymbolically, resembling heavy controversies over the crisis in Syria as a whole, the dispute between the West and Russia concerning the employment of chemical weapons (CW) in this crisis has sharpened recently. While the West, specifically the USA, Britain, France and Israel, contends that apparently the Syrian Army did use CW on several occasions, Russia lately reported, contrastingly, about its own, independent findings from one of those occasions - the March 19-Khan al-Assal arena (Aleppo) - blaming the rebels for the deadly incident. There is full agreement that the nerve agent, sarin has indeed been used thereupon. Yet, according to the Russian findings, the perpetrators were no others than rebels, who launched an unguided sarinfilled Basha’ir-3 projectile that was not industrially manufactured ordnance, with an opening charge (hexogen) that is not utilized in standard ammunition. But the West reached different findings regarding that incident, plus additional ones, noteworthily: It was the Syrian army using sarin in the March 19 attack on the Aleppo suburb of Khan al-Assal, as well as in an April 13 attack on the Aleppo neighborhood of Shaykh Maqsud. Also, unspecified chemicals, possibly including chemical warfare agents, were used by the Syrian army on May 14 in an attack on Qasr Abu Samrah, and in a May 23 attack on Adra. Those discrepancies are meaningful, geopolitically, strategically, militarily, and technically. At any rate, a fundamental distinction has to be made between the very employment of CW by the Syrian army, and secondary – though certainly significant – questions such as what types of chemical warfare agents were used, what delivery and dispersal systems served for employing them, what was the mode of deployment preceding employment, what were the circumstances


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A US Army chemical weapons crew takes samples from an M55 rocket

and purpose of employment, was it authorized by Assad, what were the extent and impact of it, and so forth. Even without there being clear answers to all of those secondary questions, sound intelligence adequately points out the very employment of CW. Such intelligence has been obtained, undoubtedly, by Britain, France and Israel, possibly independently. The US seemed at first to be hesitant, unsurprisingly, considering the ‘red line’ posed by President Obama on the one hand, and the bitter experience the US had in Iraq within a basically similar context in the past, on the other hand. Objectively, though, it is obvious that there is no connection, whatsoever, between the Iraqi CW saga and the events evidenced in Syria. In practice, at least part of the above mentioned secondary questions have been answered, and in that sense the few episodes in which the Syrian regime did use CW – two for sure – constitute an opportunity to explore what happened in actuality and thereby reduce intelligence gaps. And, although it is definite that the Syrian army has a wide, diversified arsenal of CW, the picture is not plain as to what types of chemical warfare agents are included in it, beyond the well established list of sarin, VX and mustard gas, particularly that the category of highly potent incapacitating agents is missing. Likewise, within the Syrian inventory of delivery systems – including surface to surface missiles, aerial bombs, and artillery rockets – the category of short-range tactical delivery systems is not listed. Those two specific missing categories may account for the military characteristics of the CW-employment episodes under discussion. Reference should be made, connectedly, to the unexplored possibility that CW held in the past by Iraq were smuggled to Syria, for instance the notably powerful incapacitating substance Agent 15. The enigmatic

chemical warfare agent effectively employed by Russian security forces in the Moscow Theater incident in 2002 might add another dimension of actual relevance. At any rate, the Russian and Iranian intelligence systems most probably have the most detailed information concerning the CW-employment episodes that took place in Syria. Short-range tactical delivery systems were field tested, experimentally, in August last year by the Syrian army. The tests were conducted near the area where the Safira CW research and development facility is located, east of Aleppo. Several empty shells devised for delivering chemical warfare agents were fired by tanks, at a site called Diraiham in the desert near the village of Khanasir. Iranian officers believed to be members of the Revolutionary Guards were flown in by helicopter for the testing. Officially referred to as a major offshoot of the Damascus military “Scientific Studies and Research Center”, the Safira compound is regarded as Syria’s largest testing site for CW. Scientists from Iran and North Korea appear to to work in the expansive, fenced-off complex, according to Western intelligence agencies, and field test toxic substances on animals. A parallel effort apparently concentrated in finding solutions to stabilize sarin and other agents in small munitions like short range artillery shells. Another endeavor has been taken aiming to form mixtures of different chemical agents - like sarin and tear gas, as one example - in order to create a melange of symptoms that would make the cause hard to identify. Collectively, such melange has indeed been faced, in actuality. Fundamentally, this misleading line is compatible with one of the principles underlying the Russian – rather Soviet – chemical warfare doctrine. Besides, the borderline ostensibly separating between riot-control agents and stronger chemical agents has always been a fragile one. As for the authoritative level permitting operational CW employment in Syria, although primarily presidential, it would be plausible to assume that Assad endowed, to a certain extent, responsibility to the Syrian Minister of Defense or Chief of Staff, due to the complicated circumstances prevailing in Syria. Observing the civil war in Syria in its full perspective, the employment of CW thus far appears to be a marginal, although locally of much influence, when conducted, militarily. But that is not necessarily the foreseeable situation, referring to the extent of CW employment. At any rate, further employment of CW by the Syrian army is supposed to meticulously be considered by the Syrian leadership, though. Beyond, there is still the fear that Syrian CW might be transferred to the Hezbollah, or be captured by the latter, by AlQaeda, or by some other terrorist organizations. At the moment, the likelihood of such development appears to be low. For Israel, in particular, those are unbearable scenarios that would definitely

necessitate, if take place, determined moves, either preventive or instantly conducted post-factum. Coping with the Syrian CW complexity is extremely difficult, then, either militarily or politically. Direct negotiations with the Syrian regime about the related issues do not seem practical, for the time being. The Iranians, although deeply involved in those issues, are far and away from being a political or diplomatic partner. But Russia has the potential to act as a reasonable and legitimate negotiator, in order to untie the entanglement; the Russian channel might perhaps be the mere plausible way for settling the lingering complexity. Both conceptually and practically, Russia - and Iran, obviously - significantly support the fighting of the Syrian army against the uprising. The Iranians are heavily involved, directly, in the battlefields. Both Russia and Iran regard Syria to be a sole, superb, strategic asset in the Middle East, which cannot be given up. Alongside, various Russian and Iranians elements are considerably, if not fully aware - and to an appreciable extent involved - within the Syrian CW alignment at large. Militarily and operationally, systematic employment of CW against the uprising would most probably bring about a shift that is desirable for Assad, Russia and Iran altogether, but the international circumstances and constrains – if not ethical considerations, in parallel - seem to form a crucial hurdle in that concern. Collectively, it may therefore be assumed that the chances for a systematic employment of CW to evolve are low, unless Assad faces a critical situation towards collapse. „

An American sailor during a simulated chemical attack

about the author Dany Shoham is a senior researcher at the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies, Bar-Ilan University, Israel. He investigates chemical and biological warfare in Arab countries, in Iran and around the world. Formerly, he was a senior analyst and lieutenant colonel in military intelligence. Dr. Shoham received a Ph.D. in medical microbiology from Tel Aviv University. He has published numerous articles on virology and on chemical and biological weapons. He is a frequent contributor to the ACPR Policy Paper series as well as Nativ on these topics. July 2013 | Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine


Missile Defense & Crisis Stability in the Middle East By Uzi Rubin


allistic missiles and rockets have been featuring in practically any conflict in the Middle East ever since the October 1973 war, whether in terror/counter terror actions, in wars between states or in civil wars. They have been - and still are - the weapons of choice for radical non government entities, and are stockpiled by them by the hundreds of thousands. The first spectacular case of regional ballistic missile exchange was in the 1980 – 1988 Iran Iraq War, during which both sides pummeled each other’s cities with barrages of high explosive Scud type missiles. Later on, during the 1991 Gulf War, Saddam Hussein sought to throw a monkey wrench into the US led coalition, by lobbing Scud variant missiles into Tel Aviv, Riyadh and Dhahran. In the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah lobbed about 4000 rockets into Northern Israel’s cities, killing scores and causing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands. Currently, the Assad regime is using Syrian ballistic missiles and rockets against insurgents within Syria’s major cities, causing a large number of civilian deaths and sending hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing for shelter in Turkey and Jordan. This is a manifestation of a broader trend in this region: The elevation of ballistic missiles and rockets to the stature of


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strategic, game changing weapons. Some countries especially Iran and Syria have reduced their investments in legacy battlefield weapons such as tanks and combat aircraft. Instead, resources are being increasingly funneled into the acquisition, research, development, production and deployment of ever growing arsenals of ballistic missiles and war rockets – which subsequently feed the stockpiles of proxy non state entities such as Hezbollah in Lebanon or Hamas in Gaza.

Proliferation of Missile Defense Systems This is tantamount to another revolution in military affairs. The gradual decline of classical mobile warfare and the rise of static, stand off firepower warfare has not remained unnoticed by military planners in the US, Europe and Israel. Challenge begets response, and the main response of all threatened nations was to invest in missile defense. With the advent of missiles as a new manifestation of air power, missile defense in the Middle East is assuming a role akin to that of extended air defense. Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Turkey are all investing – or are about to invest – large sums of money into missile defense systems, either purpose built or converted from earlier air defense systems. Large budgets are allocated allover the regions to either buy or

Israel’s Iron Dome defense system fires to intercept incoming missiles from Gaza in the port town of Ashdod

develop indigenous missile defense systems. Thus, along missile proliferation in the Middle East there is a parallel “proliferation” of anti missile systems. Missile defense has a long history of being the focal point of controversy in international relations. When ballistic missiles were first introduced into the battlefield during WW-II, they were deemed as immune to any form of defense due to their very high speed. The air defense systems of the time were incapable of catching up and intercepting them. However, when the steady march of technology brought the concept of missile interception nearer to reality in the 1960’s, a significant controversy erupted among strategists and arms controllers. With the nuclear stalemate of the time, many argued that the introduction of missile defense into the deterrence equation would upset the global balance of power and risk world peace. More specifically, it was feared that missile defense would unleash an unbridled race to make more nuclear weapons, and that its deployment might precipitate a nuclear war due to a preemptive “Use them or lose them” perception. Some of the fears were realized when the Soviet Union, anticipating the US deployment of its first strategic missile defense system “Safeguard”, developed the first multi nuclear warhead, independently targeted (MIRV) intercontinental ballistic missiles. The outcome was the Anti Ballistic Missile defense (ABM) treaty in which both superpowers vowed to give up strategic missile defense. While the ABM treaty has been rescinded more than a decade ago, its rationale and arguments are still reverberating today. The NATO plan to deploy US supplied missile defense system in Eastern Europe is a bone of contention with the Russian Federation that demands legally binding assurance that the system will not be capable of degrading Russia’s own nuclear deterrence against the US. Evidently, Moscow’s old fears that introducing missile defense into the nuclear balance will unhinge it are still alive. What it is demanding to ameliorate its concerns amounts to new ABM treaty. This is hotly rejected by the Western Alliance, who refuses to put any fetter on its freedom of action to defend itself against potential Iranian missile threats. Some present day analysts in the Middle East are voicing similar concerns albeit with a local twist. They argue that missile defense, even against simple, non nuclear missiles such as Scuds and Grad rockets, could motivate the aggressor to buy even more of them and unleash an arms race. They also worry that deploying missile defenses can be interpreted by the aggressor as a signal of foregoing preemption and interdiction – in other

words, a signal of weakness, which might motivate the aggressor to be more assertive and more belligerent which in turn might unleash more fighting. The Middle East is a cockpit of conflict and as such it is often a battle lab in which national security theories are realistically tested. In the matter of missile defense and its impact on conflicts, some experience has already been gained which allows the observers to draw some tentative conclusions about missile defense and stability. Missile defense was used in combat on three different occasions during the last two decades. The first episode was in the Gulf War, when the US and its Western allies deployed Patriot batteries in Israel and Saudi Arabia that proved largely ineffective against Iraqi Al Hussein (extended range Scud) missiles. The second episode occurred in the 2003 Iraq war, when US and Qatari Patriot batteries successfully destroyed Iraqi made short range ballistic missiles. The third episode took place recently in Southern Israel, when the newly minted Iron Dome short range missile defense system defeated salvoes of rockets fired from Gaza on Israeli population centers. The second episode – the battle between the Patriot systems and Saddam Hussein’s home made ballistic missiles in 2003 – was too brief for any strategic level conclusions. Nevertheless, the first and last episodes in 1991 and 2012 respectively are fraught with significance to our discussion in spite of their diametrically opposed operational results: An abject failure in the first and a resounding success in the latter. Still, when examined for their impact the conflicts and their exit strategies, there is a significant commonality between them. Saddam Hussein’s missile attacks on Tel Aviv and Haifa in January 1991 stunned Israel. Notwithstanding the low level of damage and casualties inflicted by them, the sheer fact that hostile missiles were impacting at the heart of Israel’s major urban centers created a sense of outrage and a strong pressure for retribution. Israel’s government came under a strong pressure from its defense establishment to authorize a counterstrike with air and ground forces. This was exactly what Saddam Hussein was hoping for, and what the US mostly feared, because such an Israeli counter offensive would have surely wrecked the anti Saddam coalition, supported as it was by numerous Arab states, bringing the war to a dead stop. This is precisely why the US hastily rushed Patriot batteries to Israel (as did Germany and the Netherlands) in the hope that the throwing of a defensive umbrella over Israel’s cities would quell the public demand for revenge. The Patriots threw up July 2013 | Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine


Patriot Missile System

convincing looking firework displays, Initial reports both in Israel and the US spoke enthusiastically about a high rate of success. As expected, the risk of a coalition wrecking counterattack by Israel receded. However, it became very quickly apparent to Israel’s public that the Patriots were not hitting the Scuds – they could see them missing with the own eyes. Surprisingly and contrary to expectations the visible failure of the Patriot defense system did not cause a backlash, and no demand for immediate retaliation resurfaced. This helped Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to deflect the pressures of the more hawkish members of his government to unleash a military action against Iran, a course of action that he was opposed to. The US led coalition remained intact and completed its mission successfully. Thus, the very presence of missile defense in 1991 was enough to prevent the crisis from spinning out of control – regardless of its actual performance. This dynamics repeated itself more than 20 years later when Israel’s Iron Dome battled Palestinian rockets over Tel Aviv and other major cities in Israel. Rockets have been fired from Lebanon and Gaza at Israeli cities since the early 1980’s, almost invariably resulting in retribution and escalation accompanied by military entanglements and mounting losses on both sides. The prime example was the 1982 Lebanon War that was instigated by an ever increasing tempo of rocket fire on Israel’s North. A similar process occurred in Southern Israel when the Palestinians opened a protracted rocket offensive in the early 2000s. Israel retaliated forcefully with artillery, air to ground attacks and land incursions, resulting in mounting losses on both sides. In the mid 2000’s Israel embarked on a defensive solution and developed a short range missile defense system. It was first deployed in April 2011 and showed its mettle almost immediately. In November 2012 it faced a barrage of 1500 rockets from Gaza. Five Iron Dome batteries engaged almost 500 rockets and destroyed about 84% of them. Losses and damages in Israel were significantly reduced compared to previous occasions. Israel’s population was enthusiastic, and the two armored division deployed near Gaza for a follow on land incursion were ordered to stand down. The successful defense allowed Israel’s government to negotiate a


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cease fire without the need for a costly retaliatory action. Like in 1991, missile defense mitigated and stabilized the crisis. At the same time, neither the Patriots in 1991 nor Iron Dome in 2011 – 2012 discouraged Israel’s adversaries from equipping themselves with more and better missiles and rockets. It can be generally concluded that – at least as the Middle East is concerned - missile defense cannot be expected to mitigate arm races, but it can be expected to mitigate and contain crisis situations. How does this translate to a nuclear confrontation? Fortunately, and unlike the situation in South Asia, there is no nuclear confrontation in the Middle East as yet. However, with Iran’s political aspirations and nuclear ambitions, this situation may change. When it does, missile defense will already be prevalent in the region from Ankara to Dubai. Now, a theater ballistic missile like the Shahab 3 (sibling of Pakistan’s Ghauri) can be configured either as a tactical conventional or as a strategic nuclear missile. At the same time, theater missile defense systems like Israel’s Arrow or the US THAADS don’t make a distinction between conventional or nuclear tipped missiles – they are designed to shoot down the missile with whatever warhead it carries. Thus, every theater missile defense in the Middle East is potentially a strategic defense system. The upshot of all this is that if and when a nuclear confrontation will emerge in the Middle East, strategic defense will already be in place and the controversy whether to deploy it or not will be redundant. „

about the author Uzi Rubin was the first Director of Israel Missile Defense Organization in the Israel Ministry of Defense and a Senior Director for proliferation and technology in the Israel National Security Council. He now heads his own consultancy Rubincon Ltd. and is an associate researcher in the Begin Saddat Center for Strategic Studies, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel.

Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine, July 2013  
Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs Magazine, July 2013  

Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs is a monthly print magazine focused on promoting bilateral cum multilateral relationships between countries depl...