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CHINDIA THE 21st CENTURY CHALLENGE

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contents n. 3/2005 2 Editorial CHINA AND INDIA OR CHINDIA?

4 Margherita PAOLINI – The Giants Take the Field 10 Ryan FLOYD – Seducing Delhi 16 Barry DESKER – Capt. Hook joins Al-Qaeda in the Malacca Straits 23 Ajai SAHNI – Nepal, the Agony of

the Ancien Régime

CHINA

33 Fabrizio VIELMINI – Rebuilding the Silk Road(s) 35 Wang XIAODONG – Chinese Nationalism Manifesto 48 Silvia SARTORI – How China Sees India and the World 59 Francesco SISCI – Red Shadows Over the Yellow Sea INDIA

64 P.M. KAMATH – India-China-Pakistan: The Insecurity Triangle 73 Kanwar Pal Singh GILL – India is Tired of

the Clash of Civilizations

81 Manas PAUL – In Mongolian India Ethnic Guerrilla Rages 88 Hiranmoy KARLEKAR – If 93 AUTHORS

Bangladesh Becomes a Taliban State


CHINDIA, THE 21st CENTURY CHALLENGE

EDITORIAL

The Secret of Pansak

I

t has yet to begin and already it mustn’t be. Throughout the world the media has

determined that this will be the “Asian century”. By the beginning of the new millennium it became fashionable to evoke the China of miracles, now joined by India. The slogan-makers coined a new term: Chindia, the Sino-Indian centaur of nearly two and a half billion people predestined for global hegemony. Some with alarm, some with hope, some just to follow the current; economists, journalists and politicians routinely rattle off the standard predictions for Asia’s supplanting the West. By mid-century, the economy of Chindia could equal that of the rest of the planet, with a lock on the development of leading technologies—instrument of control. According to the American futurologists at the National Intelligence Council, the annus horribilis will be 2040, when the Chinese GDP surpasses America’s while India will reach third place in 2030, overtaking Japan and Germany. Recent CIA analyses already put the Chinese GDP at second place, at least in terms of purchasing power parity. Thus the anticipated date would actually be 2015. Nor is it just the economy. At play is global power. Sooner or later, America will no longer be the only one in command, assuming that’s how it stands today. The competition is open to determine who will join, and perhaps succeed, it as “hyperpower”. Candidate number one is China, especially if it manages to draw India and a good part of Asia into its orbit. If the Middle Kingdom is the anti-America, the Indian giant is the marginal quantity, the swing power that will assign victory to Beijing or Washington. So says mainstream opinion, distilled in intelligence laboratories. A cocktail of economics, philosophy of history and strategic thought, plus a drop of prognostication, to be served hot (as the media is wont to do). The stimulating effect is guaranteed by the diffused American and European ignorance of that which China and India—two civilizations before they were states—meant for the world economy until less than two centuries ago: in 1830 still, more than half of global production came from the two Asian colossi. The CIA scenario for 2040 would hence be a return to past glories, in a totally new context.

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CHINA AND INDIA OR CHINDIA?


CHINDIA, THE 21st CENTURY CHALLENGE

THE GIANTS TAKE THE FIELD

THE GIANTS TAKE THE FIELD

by Margherita PAOLINI

China and India’s hunt for energy resources upsets the global balance, with important geopolitical consequences. Convergence and divergence between approaches of Beijing and Delhi. Tensions with the Americans.

1.

T

he geopolitics of energy in the new

century counts two new protagonists: China and India. Their growing thirst for oil and gas has unbalanced the traditional supply-demand ratio to which the West was accustomed. The Chinese and the Indians never fail to remind us that until now the rich countries have had unlimited access to the planet’s energy resources even if they represent only a fifth of the world’s population. Today the Chinese demand for oil is calculated at around 6.5-7 billion barrels a day; Indian demand is 2.2 b/d. Together, India and China take in over 10% of world consumption (83 million b/d). During the 20’s, China’s energy requirement will grow by 150%—seven times faster than that of the US. In 2020, China will import half of the oil that it consumes (11 million b/d, the amount that the US today gets from abroad). Beyond the necessity created by economic growth which continues at exponential rates in both countries, soon the Indian and Chinese demand will be increased by the building of strategic reserves on the American model. China was a net exporter of oil until 1993. Since 1997 it has begun to project itself abroad seeking energy, not only to acquire it on the market but also to produce it at controlled costs. Time is tight, seeing that the Chinese oilfields still have fourteen years of life. India has always had to import energy but it has begun to follow the path of foreign direct supplying (participation in the exploration and development of oilfields) later than China. Today the energy strategies of the two Asian giants are similar. India is gaining ground thanks to a very pragmatic and linear approach. In any case Delhi is less anxious than Beijing, both because Washington has decided to bet on India against China, promising to contribute to the development of its civil nuclear program, and because the compact conformation of the country facilitates the supply schemes. The once-prohibited offshore fields have now become more attractive as well. Indian hopes are concentrated on the Gulf of Bengal and the Arabian Sea; the Chinese, besides the northwestern periphery (central Asia), fixate on the potential of the East and South Chinese Seas. To be able to put production in these areas in motion requires a great deal of money. For this the Chinese and Indians have in large part privatized their energy utilities and used the revenue to modernize them and meet the costs of exploration and internal production. The privatizations have also involved foreign corporations. This benefits China in particular, where for example Exxon-Mobil holds

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19% of Sinopec (a major refinement and distribution company). The competition for external prospecting rights has two aspects. First, guaranteeing the so-called “equity cost”: to participate in the development of an oil field means securing the costs of importation. Equity oil is today valued at 8-10 dollars a barrel. Second, making up for the immobility of the major companies and investing their strong earnings, at least in the dimensions required by the producing countries. China and India think that presently there is not enough oil on the world market to cover their demand. And that which is there is too expensive. The energy crisis in southeast Asia explains what is happening now. The maritime basin of southeast Asia is still rich in hydrocarbons. In theory, it has sufficient resources to guarantee restocking for all the countries in the area. A few of these countries, all producers (Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and especially Indonesia), find themselves in difficult straits. The problem is the risk of instability. Besides, the oilfields are almost all offshore and require strong investments. Indonesia, one of the founders of OPEC, risks already as of this year not having more crude to export. In this context, recent Chinese attempts to acquire foreign companies are understandable. Such is the case with the American Unocal. The possession of this firm would have allowed CNOOC—the principal Chinese corporation for foreign activity, privatized but still supported by the government—to manage oilfields in Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia and Malaysia. The operation was blocked in extremis by the American Congress, with the official explanation that one could not cede an asset of such importance to a company de facto controlled by the government of Beijing, the major strategic rival of the US. In general, the foreign projection of China and India has opened up a competition on a global scale (from southeast Asia to Africa, from central Asia to Latin America). According to Washington, the results threaten vital national interests. America, totally entrusted to private companies that act on the basis of pure market logic, is disadvantaged in comparison with India and China. Delhi and Beijing, in fact, take into consideration the interests of the producer countries insofar as they coincide with their own. The two Asian giants bring to the countries endowed with energy resources the finances used to develop them, whereas the corporations are greedy. They prefer to satisfy the immediate appetites of their shareholders, thanks to the increase of the price of oil already in use. Result: today America is handicapped in the game of new explorations. It remains to be seen if and in what measure China and India are disposed to consolidate and structure their present energy cooperation. The only certainty is that the presumed India-China-Russia “strategic triangle” does not exist on the energy level. Let’s see how the collaboration/competition between India and China develops on the ground. 2. Let’s begin on a global scale. The energy geostrategies of China and India have the construction of respective offshore bastions as their highest priority. These

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contribute to guaranteeing supplies to their hinterlands. For Delhi the strategic oceanic platform is represented by the Andaman Sea, between the Gulf of Bengal and the Strait of Malacca. For Beijing the entire Chinese Sea is mare nostrum. The respective projections of global supplying begin from these positions. In recent years the two countries have organized a sort of race, seeking the best opportunities and above all equity oil, to modify their excessive dependence on commercial acquisitions from the Persian Gulf. But the risky passage through the Strait of Hormuz remains a problem. Areas of common interest are: western Africa, North Africa and Sudan, besides obviously the Persian Gulf (Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia). New Indian and Chinese activities are also developing in Russia, along the western Australian coast, in Indonesia, Myanmar and Kazakhstan. China is also adventuring in Latin America (Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador) and in Canada. Chinese and Indians have profited from tensions between the United States and certain countries rich in resources like Iran and Venezuela, or considered off limits, like Sudan and Myanmar. In their global explorations China and India have however a technological handicap with respect to the major corporations, equipped with knowledge in confronting extreme situations. The hardest matches will play out in central Asia and offshore of southeast Asia. These were and remain elected areas for the major corporations, both in terms of supplying and of local markets. Indian and especially Chinese activism in southeast Asia puts their hegemony into question. 3. Let’s focus on Chinese security. China intends to mark its boundaries and reinforce them. The immediate aim is to sustain the rate of economic growth in its most developed regions, from the Yellow Sea to the Gulf of Tonkin. The increase of the price of oil threatens to slow the rates of increase of the Chinese GDP. Beijing must then guarantee and protect the principal flow of provisions, which comes via the Indian Ocean (Strait of Malacca) from North Africa and western Africa, Sudan, the Arabian Sea and especially from the Persian Gulf. Over 89% of Chinese energy imports pass through the Strait of Malacca: a corridor infested by pirates and controlled by the American Navy, which dominates the entire Asia-Pacific region (bases in Guam, Manila, Okinawa, Yokosuka; support in South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam). The penury of oil and the stratospheric prices irritate the countries of southeast Asia. An area of historical territorial and maritime claims, which today assume a concrete energy significance. In fact, the contested zones—for example, the Paracel, Spratly Natuna, Senkaku islands and especially Taiwan—are desirable for their energy resources. In this contest of all against all tensions reemerge between Malaysia and Indonesia, Vietnam and China, and especially China and Japan. The interest in the Chinese Sea is due to the important crude oil refineries. In the near future, resources from Canada and Latin America will arrive on the Chinese coasts. Thus the reason why Beijing keeps control of seemingly insignificant islands in the Chinese Sea. Including them in its sphere of influence, or better appropriating them

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in it, the Chinese platform extends nearly to the Strait of Malacca. Via Spratly, China projects itself to the offshore reaches of Borneo and Palawan and , on the western front, toward Vietnam. Via Paracel, Beijing reinforces its strategic system based on Hainan. As far as Taiwan is concerned, apart from its obvious symbolic-geopolitical significance, for Beijing it is what connects the fronts of the East Chinese Sea (already under control) with the Western Chinese Sea (disputed). Besides this, the possession of Taiwan would legitimize the annexation of the Senkaku islands and thus the rights over the rich offshore contested by Japan. China has declared once and for all that the perimeter of its maritime claims stretches from the Senkaku to Natuna. Whoever attempts to fish for hydrocarbons in that area does so at their peril. 4. Let’s seek now to determine if a strategic energy partnership can be formed between China and India, or if one will prevail in a regional conflict. On the Asian scale, China and India are trying to use two so-far rather incoherent organizations in order to patch an energy network, which each country may use in its own manner. China counts on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to strengthen its expansive push towards the west, through central Asia. The former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are considered by Beijing as a privileged sphere of influence. Over these, it supports the development of strategic but isolated areas of the Middle Kingdom, in particular Xingjian. On this front, Moscow’s attitude is decisive. In the end, between China and Japan, Putin seems to have chosen the former, the Siberian pipeline notwithstanding. There is a division of labor between Moscow, concentrated on the Caspian and northwestern Kazakhstan, and Beijing, pledged to use the resources of central Kazakhstan. The competition between China and India, for now apparently won by Beijing, for the acquisition of Petrokazakhstan is an important stage for structuring Chinese activities on Kazakh territory. Sino-Russian cooperation is emphasized by the sale of Russian arms to China and by common military maneuvers with an anti-Japan function. The last meaning of such agreements is to signal to Washington that central Asia is no one’s land, as the recent decision of the SCO to ask the Americans to close their military bases in the region confirms. The Petrokazakhstan affair was a slight to India, who in this game has lamented the absence of coordination with the Chinese. But on other fronts Delhi, while safeguarding its own interests, also favors those of Beijing. What the SCO is for the Chinese, BIMST-EC (Bangladesh India Myanmar Sri Lanka Thailand Economic Cooperation) is for the Indians. Also India tends to bypass the Strait of Malacca when provisioning in the South China Sea. At the same time, it pursues the project of an energy network in southeast Asia. Thanks to this approach, two corridors are opening through Myanmar and Thailand: the first will give Yunnan an outlet on the Gulf of Bengal; the second with connect oilfields in the South China Sea with those in the Andaman Sea. Thus is born a network through the Gulf of Bengal, under Indian protection. It is the embryo of an ambitious Indian gas project, to tie together the ASEAN system. The network of the Gulf of Bengal can also act as currency to obtain

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guarantees from Beijing over future energy provisions from Sakhalin via China. On the western front, the two Asian giants follow distinct though not conflicting strategies. Both have certain interests in protecting resources coming from the Persian Gulf. With Riyadh, India works for joint-refinement and energy prospecting in the Rub’-al-Hali desert and the Indian offshore. It remains to be seen what will become of the conduction of Turkmen or Iranian gas via Pakistan. China is already in Pakistan to secure a gas outlet on the Arabian Sea. India continues to discuss with Pakistan the two gas options (via Iran or via Afghanistan). America will be decisive, with the offer to support the Indian nuclear program, penalizing the gas pipeline from Iran. 5. The acquisition of oilfields does not guarantee the security of supplies. Nor does it secure against an upswing in prices. It only means control over the routes. America does not have an energy security policy; it has a policy of protection of the pathways of hydrocarbons on a global scale. Under this profile, India limits itself to the essential, presiding over the Gulf of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. Quite different from China, with various maritime cases in the southeast and with the need to create posts on the Indian Ocean that also become aids to its blue water navy, in the west. In outlining its maritime security, Beijing is betting on the port of Gwadar, a decisive military and energy hub on the Indian Ocean. Energy paradox: Pakistan, which, according to Washington, should have contained China’s geopolitical ambitions, will host Beijing’s principal overlook on the Arabian Sea on its territory. The Chinese are building a superhighway from Gwadar to Karachi, which will allow it to monitor 725 km of coastline. The Chinese security chain, which has two other outlets on the Indian Ocean develops from Gwadar. Beyond the Strait of Malacca begins the zone of patrol for the Chinese Navy. The chain is completed by four posts of strategic oil reserves. The security system will have to be completed by 2009, when hydrocarbons from Canada, Latina America and Australia will pour in. 6. China is not a monolith. It suffers from contradictions and it is partly a prisoner of its own rhetoric. The expectations raised in the population by the tumultuous economic growth at the sign of the motto “to get rich is glorious!” are not easily managed. Under the energy profile, the government policy of low prices at the pump in a regime of high market prices is putting the local refinement system in crisis. So the refiners seek to remake themselves, exporting part of their products, at the expense of local consumers. Beyond this, Beijing will also have to concern itself with strategic reserves (125 million barrels, against 700 in American reserves), to be paid at market prices. For how long will it be possible to manage these contradictions? The climate of risk is visible from the queues of drivers that form in a few privileged areas, beginning with the Shanghai region. The conflict on the Unocal front is certainly a Chinese problem, but it is also an American one. The interdependencies between the two economies are crucial. A few

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American banks are interested in the volume of Chinese liquidity because they are consultants to the government and to Chinese firms, which pay them in dollars. The Unocal event was followed in certain American financial circles with consternation. First of all for the strategic repercussions: they fear that the Chinese, deprived of the oil and gas which Unocal controls in various Asian regions, would grow more aggressive in other areas of American interest. Even Exxon has stigmatized the barrage of the American Congress, accused of blind protectionism. The delegated administrator, Lee Raymond, expressed fear that it would harm US enterprises abroad. The Unocal event remains ambiguous and mysterious. Bush has in fact avoided committing himself in this game, perhaps because he saw in the Chinese attempt to acquire Unocal an opportunity for the Americans to penetrate the sancta santorum of Chinese strategy. The acquisition of Petrokazakhstan (4.2 billion dollars) lacks the economic dimensions of the Unocal operation (for which CNOOC was ready to offer 18.5 billion). But it is a notable geostrategic asset in central Asia. China planted itself at the center of the Kazakh energy theater, in the southern basin of Turgaj, and seized the Shymkent refinery, the most important in Kazakhstan. With Petrokazakhstan, Beijing thus begins to construct its central Asian energy funnel, designed to nourish its industrial heartland. Both the Unocal case and the Petrokazakhstan one signal the United States’ loss of control over the Asian continent. While China and India penetrate the reserves of the Asian markets, Washington’s best allies, from Japan to South Korea to the Philippines, are experiencing an energy crisis. If then China and India had truly taken the road of energy cooperation, the problem for the United States would be much more serious. But it remains an uncertain prospect. It is certain that the American government will do its best to divide the two giants, even against the interests of the major corporations. From the point of view of the investors, however, India is becoming more and more attractive. With respect to China, the environment for those who are willing to risk their capital is definitely improved, especially in terms of certainty of rights. It is true that in China 60 billion dollars of foreign investment pour in each year, against seven for India. But this is more the fruit of the strategies of the multinationals than of a coherent and integrated Chinese strategy. Especially in the energy field.

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SEDUCING DELHI

SEDUCING DELHI

by Ryan FLOYD

Washington does the best it can to secure a strategic alliance with India, since a special relationship with Delhi is considered crucial to isolate Beijing. But turning a blind eye to Kashmir is not enough anymore: now the setoff is energy.

I

ndia has an enormous film industry that

pumps out film after four-hour film, using bright colors, elaborate song and dance and dramatic plot structures. One of the most common story lines goes like this: two brothers are separated at a young age, growing up in different towns. Eventually, fate conspire to bring them back together, usually culminating in an elaborate song and dance—literally. Bilateral relations between the United States and India have followed a similar path. The two are the largest democracies in the world, boasting pluralistic societies, enjoying broad protection of human rights and wrestling with terrorism at home or abroad on a daily basis. Perhaps only Great Britain has more in common with the United States. But destiny, like in the movies, has kept the two countries apart for decades. India has been interested in close relations with Washington since the end of the Cold War, but the US has remained aloof until only recently. Next to the Poles, Indians have the highest opinion of America of any country in the world. Washington needs a strong Asian ally with dynamic economic and cultural appeal. China continues to deepen its ties with the ASEAN countries, expand military cooperation with Myanmar and Bangladesh and rattle sabers over Taiwan and Japan. The United States will need to contain China with India’s help, much as Great Britain, in the 19th century, sought to contain an expansionist Germany with the help of France. The American grand strategy will require rewarding China for good behavior, warning against bad behavior and sharing the burden with India by developing a close and flexible relationship. Delhi has reason to be suspicious of America’s grand gestures because of years of neglect and misunderstanding. Actions are beginning to speak louder than words, as the United States recently signed a 10-year defense procurement agreement with India, in addition to anti-ballistic missile defense and the restart of civilian nuclear energy cooperation. The world’s center of gravity is shifting to the East. High unemployment, low growth, and miserable demographic prospects in Europe compare with India and China’s declining unemployment, gravity-defying growth levels and other-worldly demographic prospects. Connecting China’s population to the world economy has made the country the second largest importer of oil in the world, with India quickly catching up. As troubles in the world arise, whether over North Korea, Taiwan, terrorism or conflicts in central Asia, the United States’ “friends” in Europe won’t be

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able to come out and play because they won’t have the necessary economic or military capabilities. From an economic, military, and even cultural standpoint India and China are destined to grab and hold the world’s attention for the next decades. America’s challenge is in finding the right way to manage these relationships to maintain its own interests in Asia and the world over.

Relations with China China’s strength is the product of prudent consolidation of land power and rational economic reforms. The country has a proven military record, using the Soviets to build its base, defeating American troops in Korea and Vietnam directly or through proxy forces, and encircling India with deepening relations with the South Asian countries. Since 1949, Beijing has flooded Tibet and Xingjian, its mineral-rich western Muslim province, with ethnic Han Chinese. Deng Xiaoping’s emergence in the immediate years following Mao’s death ushered in a series of free market reforms, setting China on its stunning economic growth rates of 8-11% over the past 25 years. As the country has developed, American companies have begun to depend on China its impressive manufacturing capacity, in turn linking the destiny of the two great trading partners. China’s economic growth depends on maintaining access to raw materials. Hence, China has become friendly with Zimbabwe and Sudan and is flooding Central Asia with Han Chinese to gain access to energy resources. Countries want to be close to China to enjoy the economic spoils and have begun to play it against Washington, as seen in Australia’s courting China’s premier while virtually snubbing George Bush on his last state visit. The EU—particularly France—has not masked its interest in forging ties with China both in economic and military spheres. The United States’ strategy with respect to China should rest on the following pillars: maintaining strong, cooperative relations with China’s neighbors such as India, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, Japan, Russia, and Kazakhstan; rewarding China for peaceful cooperative behavior; threatening against warlike actions; and reaping an economic windfall through free trade. Despite all the slobbering from the Sinophiles over China’s deft and brilliant foreign policy, Beijing has its own problems with diplomacy. The CCP likes to instigate anti-Japanese protests on a regular basis. After the tsunami, China had little to offer its neighbor Indonesia. With threats to invade Taiwan, partners may fear getting dragged into a conflict with Washington. And its investments in raw materials come with requirements on price, volume, and shipments, turning its partners into commercial colonies. On military matters, a lesson from Reagan’s relationship with the Soviet Union will show the benefits of playing the game, tit for tat. The US should give incentives to maintaining peace in East Asia, such as weighing on Taiwan against declaring independence. Moreover, Washington should make clear that China will face penalties for threats against invasion or inciting instability.

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Most importantly, the United States should stop its adolescent protectionist whining about China’s economic threat. In the 1980’s, nationalistic American businessmen complained that state-controlled Japanese firms were buying American golf courses and the Rockefeller center in New York City. Look where it got Japan? American companies will stay competitive by growing profits, period. What better way to maintain peaceful ties than having a joint interest with the Chinese companies and government in the pursuit of profit? Threatening tariffs against cheap Chinese imports will increase inflation, hurt the American consumer, protect inefficient American industries and anger a great power. The growth in China’s economy presents one of the greatest international opportunities for American businesses in decades or longer.

Relations with India Relations with India were never smooth for the United States. General misunderstanding and differences in assumptions about the international system divided Delhi and Washington even when their interests coincided in the early days of the Cold War. The U.S. threatened India in its war against Pakistan in 1971 by sending the U.S.S. Enterprise to the Bay of Bengal. Delhi turned to the Soviet Union as an ally, whose mutual interests were reaffirmed during the United States’ cooperation with Pakistan in Afghanistan. With the end of the Cold War, India lost its strongest ally. But the Clinton Administration remained unhelpful. The United States’ official policy consisted of complaining against India’s alleged human rights abuses in Kashmir and chastising the country for its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Washington did not notice China’s nuclear trade with Pakistan or Islamabad’s support of low-level terrorist attacks in Kashmir. Despite having more in common with India than any other country apart from the UK, Washington failed to understand India’s security needs in the 1990’s. The Bush Administration has taken America’s relationship with India to another level. Bush said on his campaign trail that his “big idea” was to have closer relations with India. He dispatched Robert Blackwill, now a close advisor on Iraq, as Ambassador to India. The two countries formalized a framework for cooperation in the “Next Steps in the Strategic Partnership,” which mainly focused on compelling India to secure formally its nuclear facilities against tampering and proliferation. The two countries performed joint military maneuvers in Alaska and off India’s west coast with a frequency rivaling that of NATO countries. The United States stopped discussing Kashmir, leaving it as an internal Indian matter. India has the potential to be a great power. Scholars have noted for decades that India is isolationist because it is multicultural and can’t “get its own house in order” as compared with China’s competence. This misses an important point of timing. China began reforming its socialist system in 1978 and India only in 1991. One must remember that in 1990, an Indian steel company had to apply to the government for a license to produce more product. The country has really only become economically

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confident on the global stage within the last two years. The Left, with lingering anti-capitalist and anti-American sentiments remains a strong political force there. But unlike other countries, India’s long history of compromise and dialogue has opened up the issues of globalization and foreign policy to the public. There is no sense in India that the country has been hijacked by its elite. India has little threat of revolution because most individuals feel they have a stake in the system. Indeed, a consistently high percentage of the population votes in elections.

Relations with Pakistan Pakistan rests at the center of the United States’ triangular relations with China and India. Beijing’s relationship with Islamabad is one of the most flexible and longstanding alliances existing in the world today. Since independence, Beijing could offer diplomatic cover in the United Nations, military and economic support, and use Islamabad as its henchman in conflicts with India, while keeping its own hands relatively clean. Pakistan fought offensive wars against India in 1948, 1965, 1999 and 2001, including a low-level terrorist conflict in Punjab during the 1980’s and Kashmir in the 1990’s. China could act aloof from India’s conflict and maintain a great power aura, concerned with loftier international affairs. The United States has also depended on Pakistan over the years. Pakistan is strategically placed on the edge of the Middle East. It helped score a defeat against Moscow during the Cold War by providing a base for military operations and training for troops fighting in Afghanistan. Now, during the war on terror, Musharraf has made himself indispensable and Washington demands his assistance in rounding up terror suspect. Indians see all of this “support” from Islamabad as a joke. Savvy Pakistani military leaders have played Washington for years, providing just enough assistance to get financial backing. The country has always been miserably governed, and would have collapsed multiple times if not for American support. India’s trouble with Pakistan will fade into the distance but never vanish. Increasingly, Indians care less and less about Pakistan and focus more on the growing strength of China. Delhi doesn’t want to see its western neighbor disintegrate. Yet, as a matter of simple economics, as India’s economy and military strength gallop ahead of Pakistan’s canter, India will be able to see the world without its view being clouded by threats from Islamabad. Nonetheless, America will have to play its relationships with both countries very sensitively.

The nuclear element Manmohan Singh’s visit to Washington was of historic importance. The Sikh Prime Minister spoke to a joint session of Congress and President Bush requested that Congress liberalize trade of nuclear materials to India’s civilian program—essentially recognizing India as a nuclear power. Legalistic nonproliferation experts grumbled that

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such a policy change would shred the NPT and open the flood gate for more countries to obtain nuclear weapons. India began developing nuclear weapons seriously in the 1960’s. For decades, Indians complained about the standards by which the five nuclear powers froze out other countries from the bomb, regardless of their security concerns. India built its bomb through domestic research and development and the importation of dual-use technology. China, European companies and traders in Dubai built Pakistan’s bomb. The Indian government knew that it would not be taken seriously in the world nor be able to provide security while flanked by two nuclear powers and lacking the bomb. The nationalist BJP was willing to undergo sanctions when it decided to test nuclear weapons in 1998. Legalists in Washington wanted to make examples of India and Pakistan to prevent other countries from going the same route and slapped sanctions on both countries. The tables turned in 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Washington had to increase military aid to Pakistan to fight the Taliban. At the same time, the Next Steps in the Strategic Partnership provided assurances against the proliferation of India’s nuclear technology. In July of 2003, Bush and Singh outlined a system whereby the IAEA would monitor India’s nuclear technology to prevent its exports. Across the board, India has a stellar anti-proliferation history. Now, Washington wants India to use its clout to prevent other countries, notably Iran, from pursuing WMD’s. To India, providing energy comes before such diplomatic luxuries. Hence, the United States wants to be able to sell advanced civilian nuclear technology to India to allow the country to depend less on petroleum and gas from Iran.

Conclusion The US wants to be able to shift some of its global burden to India. Right now the U.S. dominates the Indian Ocean with military bases on the island of Diego Garcia. Washington could cede some responsibility for maintaining free trade lanes throughout the world. India has the largest army in Asia. Washington wants its relationship with Delhi to graduate from joint military exercises to being able to depend on India for putting boots on the ground. That might not happen in the Middle East because of India’s Muslim population, but may take the form of assistance in peacemaking or peacekeeping operations in South and Southeast Asia. At first, such a deployment may be overly cumbersome, so America should begin by encouraging India to send police officers or army engineers in state-based peacemaking and peacekeeping situations. Strong ties with India will give the United States access to cheap and high-level defense skills. State-owned companies dominate India’s national defense procurement system. But Boeing and Lockheed Martin have already seized the opportunity for building part of their systems with low-wage Indian engineers. Lockheed is building a plant to manufacture F-18s. And Washington is cooperating with India on missile defense. A strong partnership with India can increase the productivity of American military capabilities, establishing economies of scale and enabling the two countries to

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compete with the fast-growing Chinese forces. India wants first and foremost the intangible acknowledgement and trust of the United States as a partner. The proud country is insulated by its nuclear exile. India is the only country bordered by two nuclear weapon states, and has never understood how it could be placed in nuclear exile even though it never signed the NPT. India has been snubbed by the US many times and needs to know that the US won’t back Pakistan in a war against India. Most importantly, India needs energy. The country imports the vast majority of its oil. The national oil and gas companies have been courting and signing deals with Iran, Nigeria, and most recently Kazakhstan, competing with China over rights to energy resources. The most recent agreement with President Bush has paved the way for the sale of civilian nuclear reactors to reduce India’s dependence on Iran and other unsavory regimes. The US will gain India’s paramount trust if it can cooperate in assuring sources of energy. Unfortunately, that is a tall order which the US can barely do for itself. And eventually, such issues will place the greatest strain on the bilateral relationship. Step by step, Washington will have to bring India along with it—much as it has done with the UK and Australia—to provide assistance in tough situations throughout the world. And a general relationship will develop over time if both countries are flexible and open to one another. Their interests largely coincide. Only whining about human rights violations in Indian Kashmir or aggressively rearming Pakistan could endanger the bilateral relationship which will aid America in balancing a rising China.

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CAPT. HOOK JOINS AL-QAEDA IN THE MALACCA STRAITS

CAPT. HOOK JOINS AL-QAEDA IN THE MALACCA STRAITS

by Barry DESKER

In a crucial artery of the Region’s trade and oil network, the risk of catastrophic terrorist actions adds up to the old plague of piracy, rising concerns in both littoral and user States. The vital interests of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. The role of China, Japan, South Korea and the United States. The need for regional cooperation.

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here has been of late increasing concern

over the safety of navigation in the Malacca Straits. Recently the Lloyd’s and London insurance market Joint War Committee (JWC) declared the Malacca Strait and twenty other areas to be at risk from “war, strikes, terrorism and related perils”. The JWC drew up a revised list including the Strait following a first major analysis advised by security consultancy Aegis Defence Services. The area covered runs the entire distance of the Strait and includes major Indonesia ports such as Dumai and Belawan. This announcement gives insurers the discretion to raise premiums for the high-risk zones. This decision of the JWC has met with a negative reaction from ship owners, coastal states and even the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), as the decision was based on an Aegis Threat Assessment report that lumped together the various but distinct security concerns, such as piracy, robbery at sea, hijacking, kidnap for ransom, civil war and the probability of maritime terrorism. IMB’s objections arose since there has been no report of any terrorist attacks in the straits since it started collating incidents of attacks against vessels in 1992. However, in the wake of violent pirate attacks on vessels in the Strait, there is an increasing concern that shipping in the region could also be vulnerable to the threat of maritime terrorism. The JWC also expressed apprehension about the growing sophistication of attacks on shipping. These concerns are not totally unfounded. Al Qaeda attacks on the USS Cole in Aden in October 2000 and the French-owned super tanker, Limburg, off the coast of Aden in October 2002 have attracted international attention. There was also the bombing of a super ferry by the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group in waters of Manila in February 2004, which was the worst act of maritime terrorism in recent years with more than 100 passengers killed. Two examples suffice to highlight the significance of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore to international shipping. Firstly, oil flows through the Straits are three times greater than the Suez Canal/Sumed pipeline and fifteen times greater than oil flows through the Panama Canal. Secondly, two-thirds of the tonnage passing through

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the Straits consists of crude oil from the Persian Gulf bound for Japan, South Korea and, increasingly, China. This strategic significance is only expected to increase in the future with the increasing appetite for oil as an energy resource, due to the rapid growth in some Asian economies heavily dependent on energy shipments. The eleven million barrels per day (MMBD) that passes through the straits today is set to climb at the rate of three percent every annum between now and 2025. China alone would account for one-third of this increase with its demand growing as much as five-fold to ten MMBD from the current levels with almost two-third of the additional supply imported from the Middle East and Africa thus needing to pass through the straits.1 Almost 55,000 ships carrying more than a third of the world’s tonnage and half of the world’s oil shipment passes through the Straits. 2 The International Maritime Organization (IMO) estimates that if for some reason the Straits were closed, all excess shipping capacity would be absorbed, “with the effects being strongest for crude oil shipments and dry bulk cargoes such as coal… [which] could be expected to immediately raise freight rates worldwide.” The IMO has noted a number of violent attacks on shipping in the Straits since mid-May 2004. A tug, a barge, an offshore support vessel and two cargo ships have been attacked in broad daylight using automatic weapons and grenades. The most serious incident in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore occurred much earlier and has not been repeated. In 1992, pirates boarded a super tanker and tied up the 24-member crew, leaving the seven-storey high vessel the length of two football pitches to drift among the dangerous reefs and shoals as it sailed on autopilot through the Straits of Singapore. Disaster was averted when one of the crew broke free and slowed down the tanker. In the post-9/11 environment, such incidents have raised the possibility of terrorist attacks on ocean-going vessels such as oil and chemical tankers traversing the Straits. It is also widely believed that the Acehnese independence movement Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM) has been orchestrating acts of piracy in the northern stretch of the Straits of Malacca, particularly in 2004. Significantly, these attacks evaporated after the devastating tsunami of 26 December 2004 that destroyed coastal communities in northern Aceh. However, attacks have now occurred again suggesting that the ‘pirates’ have replaced their vessels. Although a settlement has been reached between the Indonesian government and GAM and a peace accord signed in Helsinki on 15 August 2005, acts of piracy by groups in coastal communities operating independently are likely to continue. 2. Today there is growing concern that such acts of piracy may be linked to regional and global organizations such as al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah, which 1

International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook, 2004, OECD, Paris. And also refer to Energy Information Administration,” Country Analysis Briefs, South China sea”, September 2003. 2 Straits Times, “Malaysia seeks concrete assistance to beat pirates” by David Boey, Defence Correspondent, June 6th 2005, http://www.iiss.org/confPress-more.php?confID=625,

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involves the risk of “low probability, high impact scenarios” such as the possible hijacking of a tanker or an LNG carrier for use as a human-guided missile, or an attack on a commercial or naval vessel at narrow points in the Straits intended to disrupt traffic flows within the waterway. The idea is not so far-fetched. Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) operatives arrested in Singapore in late 2001 had undertaken operational surveillance and considered the possibility of an attack on US naval vessels in Singapore waters off the Straits of Singapore. The topographical map that was found in the possession of one of the JI operatives had markings which indicated the detailed planning that had gone in to bring forth a sea borne bomb attack using a small vessel against US ships traveling eastwards from Sembawang Wharf via Pulau Tekong. The markings on the topographical map had recognized this ‘strategic kill zone’ where the ship would be left with no maneuvering space thus making collision with any fast approaching suicide vessel unavoidable. Investigations revealed that the JI members monitored the route and the schedule of the Coast Guard patrols, and observed the vessels at the Sembawang Wharf from locations in Johor (Malaysia). The operatives were also cognizant of the fact that the geographic location of the area prevented visual or radar detection of an approaching attack vessel. The amount of research and planning and the sophistication of the analysis highlight the gravity of the situation and are a reminder of the possible threat of terrorist attacks. At its narrowest point, between Raffles Lighthouse and Batu Berhenti, the Straits of Singapore is 1.2 nautical miles wide, creating a natural bottleneck if there were a collision or grounding, aside from the probable pollution of the maritime environment. The presence of such ‘choke points’ has led the IMO to closely monitor the risk of acts of maritime terrorism in the Malacca Straits and led the littoral states to consider ways and means of increasing cooperation and enhancing the security of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. Trilateral coordinated patrols between the navies of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore (codenamed Operation MALSINDO) were implemented on 20 July 2004 and are targeted against sea piracy and maritime terrorism. These efforts was borne fruit, as piracy attacks have fallen by 25 percent since these coordinated patrols were initiated. According to the Kuala Lumpur based International Maritime Bureau, only four pirate attacks were logged in the strait between January and March this year, 50 percent down from the eight attacks during the same period last year. But more needs to be done. In the 4th Shangri-La Dialogue security conference in Singapore held from 3-5 June 2005 organized by the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Najib Tun Rajak issued a surprise invitation to the Royal Thai Navy to take part in the coordinated patrols in the Malacca Straits. The Thai warships could “enhance security along the approaches to the strait especially on the northern end where the sea-lanes enter the Indian Ocean”3. In the conference which brought together about 250 defense ministers, policy makers 3

Straits Times, “Malaysia needs concrete assistance to beat pirates”, June 6 2005.

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and security analysts from around 20 countries, Singapore’s Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean suggested a further step in reinforcing maritime security when he indicated that Joint Patrols between Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are a possibility in the future4. Unlike "coordinated” patrols, "joint" patrols allow for hot pursuit into the territorial waters of another country.5 If implemented, this proposal gives a better chance of apprehending the perpetrators as the pirates have been operating with virtual impunity across national borders with less than 1 percent getting caught. 3. The emerging threats have led to a change in the attitude of the littoral states. Recently, Malaysian Defence Minister Najib proposed "eyes in the sky” with foreign surveillance planes enlisted to fight piracy in the straits.6 He hinted that Malaysia was not averse to an international role in policing the waterway and would consider allowing maritime aircraft of nations such as United States, Japan and Australia to use its domestic airspace. Najib’s view is an important departure from the previous Malaysian rhetoric, which emphasized the sovereignty of the coastal states. This change in stance was probably prompted by the importance of rising cargo volumes of Malaysian ports especially Port Klang & Tanjong Pelepas port. As Malaysia realizes the huge economic benefits that it can reap through secure passage through the straits, it is increasingly looking at the issues from the perspective of a port state. By contrast, Singapore has flourished as a maritime nation serving as a one of the busiest ports in the world. Today, more that 400 vessels arrive in Singapore everyday and there are more than 1000 ships within Singapore port at any one time, with a ship sailing through Singapore every 3 minutes.7 Amongst the varieties of goods in their cargo holds is oil, and Singapore has carved a niche for itself as a major oil refining centre in the world and a base for oil exploration and engineering as well as equipment manufacturing. It is estimated that a terrorist attack on a global port such as Singapore could cost US$200 billion a year from disruptions to global inventory and production cycles.8 The straits hold immense economic significance for Singapore and since it’s founding in 1819, Singapore has been interested in safety of navigation for international shipping. Indonesia, on the other hand, has traditionally focused on questions of sovereignty because it gained few benefits from the transit passage by international shipping through the Malacca Straits. However, because of the need for international support following the Asian Economic Crises of 1997-98 and also due to the emergence of a democratic regime in Indonesia after the fall of President Soeharto in May 1998, 4

“Fact sheet” - Transcript of the Doorstop Interview with Minister on 4 Jun 05 at the Fourth Shangri-La Dialogue” by MINDEF 5 http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/southeastasia/view/93163/1/.html 6 Dow Jones International News, “Malaysia: Need More Aircraft For Malacca Strait Security”, 6/7/2005 7 www.sedb.com/edbcorp/sg/en_uk/index/in_the_news/2003/2004/marine_industry_commits.html 8 The New Paper, “Port attack will be costly”, 27 November 2004

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there is a greater willingness today to consider the role of the international community and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) today. The fourth country Thailand, which is also a littoral state, had previously not been a part of any of the initiatives. But with the growing insurgency in southern Thailand, terrorism has become an issue of concern of the international community. Two sets of meetings held on 2 August 2005 reflect the critical shift in perspectives in the region. A meeting of Foreign Ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore in Batam reaffirmed the sovereign rights of the three countries but it also acknowledged the interest and possible contributions of other states that use the waterways as well as that of relevant maritime agencies. In Kuala Lumpur, at a meeting of the chiefs of defense forces of the three countries held at the same time, it was agreed to start coordinated air patrols to complement ongoing sea surveillance in the straits. These meetings reflect the emergence of concern over the threat of terrorism and the perception that the Straits of Malacca and Singapore is a high risk area for international shipping. Traditionally, the focus in such meetings was on the sovereignty of the littoral states whereas the emphasis today is on cooperation with other states to create an effective deterrent to pirates, terrorists and organized crime. The changed strategic environment in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore is of particular interest to two communities of states. Firstly, the littoral states –Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand— because of the threat of pollution and the possible risk of attacks on onshore facilities. Secondly, the user states, especially Japan, China and South Korea, which are dependent on the Malacca Straits for the smooth and efficient transit of cargo, especially energy supplies. Other user states include the major maritime powers, such as the United States, which are concerned about the possible threat to their naval vessels traversing through the straits. Japan heavily relies on imports for its energy needs with 80% of its oil imports coming from the Middle East transiting through the Malacca Straits. Bypassing the straits would mean that ships to Japan would have to travel an extra 1000 miles, translating into significant additional costs and another drag on the long suffering Japanese economy. While Japan has funded the activities of the Malacca Straits Council since its inception, Japan has not played a significant role in protecting the security of the maritime traffic through the Malacca Straits. Malaysian Defence Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s recent comments calling for a Japanese role in protecting the Malacca Straits therefore highlights a shift in attitudes among the littoral states. Korea imports all of the 2.1 million barrels of oil per day that it consumes and most of it comes through the Malacca Straits. Clearly, Korea has a vital interest in keeping the straits open. So far, Korea has not been involved much in maintaining the security of the Malacca Straits but that may change as Korea begins to address its security needs beyond defending itself from a North Korean attack. Singapore and Japan have been advocating greater defense coordination among nations with an interest in

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keeping the straits open. Singapore has even directly asked Korea for greater involvement in the straits.9 China had earlier taken a stance supportive of the littoral states in the negotiations leading to the 1982 UN law of the Sea convention. However, with its growing dependence on the oil transhipped through the Malacca Straits, there has been a change in its perspective. Today, with its growing reliance on imported oil from the Middle East and Africa, China is concerned with piracy threats and terrorist acts in the straits. This year, China’s demand for oil is expected to reach 100 million metric tones, 32 per cent of which is imported. The International Energy Agency estimated that China’s fuel consumption in 2030 is likely to grow to almost 11 MMBD with almost 80 percent of it being imported.10 While China is not entirely without its own sources of oil, it will continue to be dependent on imported oil especially from the Middle East. China’s import of Middle East oil now constitutes 58 per cent of its total oil imports and is expected to increase to 70 per cent by 2015 with the bulk of such imports passing through the straits. Beijing’s feelings toward the issue have been clearly expressed by the Chinese President Hu Jiantao, who stressed that the “Malacca-dilemma” is the key to China’s energy security.11 Moreover, China is also concerned about transit rights for its navy as it develops a blue water fleet capable of force projection hundreds of miles beyond its coastal waters into international waters. China is rapidly expanding its naval strength and is expected to take its submarine force to about 85 by 2010, from around 69 that it has today. In contrast, Russia, which once had 90 submarines in the Pacific, now has 55. Japan has 16 submarines and no plans to buy more. The U.S. Pacific Fleet has 72 submarines, with many considered to be the most modern in the world. According to Eric McVadon, a retired U.S. Navy admiral who served as defense attaché in Beijing in the early 1990s, China is planning a $10 billion submarine acquisition and upgrade program. It also plans to buy destroyers and frigates and equip them with modern anti-ship cruise missiles. 12 Currently, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has around 63 Principal Surface Combatants in the form of 21 destroyers and around 42 frigates.13 The upgrading of Chinese capabilities has been closely tracked by the Japanese government, which is increasingly involved in a competitive relationship with China in Southeast Asia. Japan has sought to maintain control over the consultation process on the Malacca Straits. There is a Japanese preference to use the Tokyo-based Malacca Straits Council, largely funded by the Nippon Foundation to regulate issues regarding 9

Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Dr. Tony Tan, at the World Economic Forum Asia Strategic Insight Roundtable, Seoul. June 13-14, 2004 10 International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook, 2004, OECD, Paris 11 Shawn W Crispin, “Pipe of Prosperity”, Far Eastern Economic Review. Vol.167, Iss. 7; pg. 12, Hong Kong: Feb 19, 2004. 12 http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,FL_china_123104,00.html 13 The Military Balance, The International Institute of Strategic Studies, 2004-2005, pp 171-172

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the Malacca Straits. The Nippon Foundation has made a series of contributions stretching back over more than 35 years, aimed at enhancing navigational safety in the Malacca Straits. The Foundation has spent almost 13 billion yen over this period, on various projects such as the installation of lighthouses, beacons and buoys constituting some two-thirds of the major visual aids to navigation in the Strait. Aside from the Nippon Foundation, other funding comes from a variety of Governmental and non-governmental sources in Japan, which is the leading contributor among the user countries of this important waterway. 4. Both littoral states and user states have thus a critical interest in ensuring the safety of navigation in the Malacca Straits. The status of the straits as a waterway used for international shipping therefore requires an inclusive approach to the future management of the straits. A solution could be the institutionalization of the IMO-sponsored meeting on the Straits of Malacca and Singapore involving all interested parties. Institutionalization would ensure that the stakeholders have a “collective interest� in preserving the straits as a safe sea line of communication, whatever their respective rationale might be. A proper institutional setup could help in creating a consensus for burden sharing.14. An IMO-sponsored institution would not only make information sharing easier but also reduce the costs and time involved in negotiating various issues individually between states. The aim should be to go beyond the modest objectives envisaged in the original proposal and to consider ways and means of implementing of 1982 United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS), whose article 43 provided for burden-sharing agreements between the littoral states and user states. Such an inclusive process will strengthen the commitment of user states to meet the costs of upgrading the capabilities of the littoral states. It will also encourage the user states to ensure the provision of safety and navigational aids and the establishment of state-of-the-art electronic information systems, which would help coordinating responses by naval, coast guard and marine police capabilities operating in or traversing through the Straits in the event of acts of piracy or maritime terrorism.

14

Mearsheimer, John. "The False Promise of International Institutions." International Security 19, no. 3 Winter 1994-95

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NEPAL, THE AGONY OF THE ANCIEN REGIME

NEPAL THE AGONY OF THE ANCIEN REGIME

by Ajai Sahni

An unpopular king, whose power rests uniquely on the army, unsuccessfully attempts to crush the Maoist insurrection. With most of the State’s infrastructures destroyed, the population is left to its own destiny. The interests of China and India.

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any commentators have been astonished

by the phenomenon of a rampaging Maoist insurgency in Nepal and in an extended area along India’s eastern board, at a time in history when Maoism appears to have been repudiated in the land of its birth, and when the entire spectrum of Marxist-Leninist doctrines stands ostensibly disgraced by the failure and eventual collapse of the Soviet Union, on the one hand, and China’s enthusiastic embrace of capitalist globalization, on the other. But there is a lag, a hiatus in the historical evolution of South Asia, one that creates spaces for the propagation and advancement of millennial and violent creeds; a radical and growing disjunction between the qualities and skills that political management in the modern world demands, and the actual capacities of the political leadership that modern systems – including democracies – throw up. Nowhere is this more dramatically evident today than in the crumbling political realities of Nepal, where the bankrupt dogmas of feudalism and Maoist communism appear locked in a struggle to death; where fourteen years of democracy produced little more than a multitude of cantankerous and embittered veterans who would rather see their country in ruins than share power and responsibility at a common table; and where an ambitious, unpopular and reckless King – catapulted to the throne through a murky palace massacre that has left the Himalayan Kingdom rife with whispered suspicions – seeks to restore an absolute monarchy whose age is long past. As the tide of blood rises, no single political initiative over the past four years – since the Maoist ‘People’s war’ escalated after the attack at the Army barracks at Dang on November 23, 2001 – suggests any reversal of the quickening decay that has infected the vitals of the country. This is, truly, as The Economist remarked, a country “unable to offer its citizens anything other than poverty and fear”.1 2. ‘Poverty and fear’ have multiplied exponentially over the past years, as terror, death and displacement become quotidian realities for vast populations that have 1

“Nepal: A Failing State,” The Economist, December 2, 2004.

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virtually been abandoned by the state – indeed, many of which were only nominally ‘governed’ at any point of time in Nepal’s history. In the early years of the people’s war, fatalities were relatively low – ‘only’ 1,406 persons were killed between 1996 and 2000 in Maoist-related violence.2 Since then, however, at least 12,054 persons have been killed between 2001 and June 2005, 4,896 in 2002 alone3 – the worst year by far, marked by a bloody and indiscriminate ‘counter-terrorism’ campaign by the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) which killed at least 3,992 deemed ‘Maoists’, even as the ground situation steadily worsened. Brutal repression, indiscriminate violence and a crude reliance on blunt and overwhelming force have, in fact, characterized the RNA’s response to the Maoist movement from the moment the Army entered the conflict after the attacks on its barracks at Dang.4 At the same time, there has been a continuous and plummeting retreat of civil governance from all but the most protected urban concentrations. The impact, particularly in the rural hinterland, has been devastating. Nepal ranked among the poorest countries of the world even before the violence, though social and economic indicators were showing some improvement over the preceding decades. In 1990, it was 152nd out of 173 countries on the basis of Human Development Index rankings; by 2000, it had crawled up ten places to 142nd. 5 Nevertheless, fully 42 per cent of its population was below the poverty line in 1996 (the last year for which data is available). 6 Today, however, virtually all developmental works across the country have been suspended, and even in the limited areas under secure Government control, most developmental activity has been deeply undermined. The country’s economy has been shattered by the violence, by the loss of control by the state over large areas of its territory, and, increasingly, by the progressive withdrawal of international aid. Kathmandu’s programs for development 2

Info available at Informal Sector Service Centre, www.inseconline.org/download/Killings_Data.pdf. The data on fatalities in Nepal is far from authoritative. The Nepalese Government has tended to be secretive about the counter-terrorism campaigns and fitful in its release of information. There are vast areas, moreover, including the Far West, where the Government’s own sources of information would be unreliable, if not non-existent. Present estimates are drawn from continuous monitoring by the Institute for Conflict Management, Delhi, of official sources and reportage in the English language Press of Nepal. The categorisation of fatalities into ‘insurgent’, ‘civilian’ and ‘security forces’ is, moreover, uncritical and relies entirely on such reports. There is no independent verification, for instance, that fatalities listed as ‘insurgents’ are, in fact, drawn from the combatant ranks of the Maoists, and not from non-combatant militia, sympathisers and civilian populations. There is reason to believe that at least a proportion of the violence on both sides is indiscriminate and targets innocents. 4 See, for instance, Ajai Sahni, “Nepal: How not to fight an insurgency”, South Asia Intelligence Review, Vol. 2, N. 21, Dec 8, 2003, www.satp.org/satporgtp/sair/Archives/2_21.htm#ASSESSMENT1. 5 UN Human Development Indicators, http://hdr.undp.org/reports/global/2002/en/pdf/hdi.pdf 6 Devendra Chhetry, “Understanding Rural Poverty in Nepal”, paper delivered at the Asia and Pacific Forum on Poverty: Reforming Policies and Institutions for Poverty Reduction, held at the Asian Development Bank, Manila, 5-9 February 2001. http://www.adb.org/Poverty/Forum/pdf/Chhetry.pdf 3

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have long been supported by liberal foreign aid – and generous material support had also been extended by various countries, especially India, the US and UK, for its military efforts against the Maoist. After King Gyanendra’s abandonment of the fig leaf of a ‘representative government’ with the dismissal of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s Government on February 1, 2005, however, most of this support has vanished.

According to one estimate, the total cost of the conflict in Nepal just over two years, 2001-2002 and 2002-2003, amounted to as much as Nepali Rupees (NPR) 119 billion (USD 1.7 billion).7 The enormity of this figure can be assessed by the fact that Nepal’s current GDP stands at just NPR 406 billion (USD 5.8 billion).8 Of this, almost NPR 40 billion went towards the Government’s direct expenditure on the military (10 per cent of GDP), and the destruction of physical infrastructure accounted for another NPR 25 billion.9 Defence (security) expenditure has risen continuously, from NPR 7

Ratna S. Rana and Sharad Sharma, “Development Cooperation and Conflict”, Paper presented at the workshop Causes of internal conflicts and means to resolve them: Case Study of Nepal, at Nagarkot, February 21-22, 2004 quoted in Upreti, South Asian Journal (2004) 8 Index of Economic Freedom 2005, www.heritage.org/research/features/index/country.cfm?id=Nepal. 9 Ratna S. Rana and Sharad Sharma, op. cit.

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5.94 billion in the financial year 1996-1997 to NPR 18.78 billion allocated for 2005-2006.10 After the ‘King’s Coup’ of February 2005, several countries and international agencies have suspended financial aid (in addition to the suspension of military aid by Nepal’s primary arms suppliers, India and the USA). On February 25, 2005, the World Bank announced the suspension of its USD 70 million budgetary support for the year on the grounds of “extremely slow implementation of agreed reform measures”; and on March 9, 2005, the Asian Development Bank’s country director, S. Haveez Rahman, indicated that, “ADB’s ongoing operations will critically depend on how the security situation evolves.” 11 The ADB had pledge USD 121 million for developmental initiatives in Nepal.12 India, US, UK and Finland are among the various countries that have diluted ongoing aid programs, making their revival substantially contingent on the restoration of democracy. Large scale corruption in Government had, in any event, heavily reduced the flow of real developmental investments in rural areas. Economic indicators, however, draw an indistinct picture of the sheer magnitude of political and administrative chaos the war has inflicted. More than a third of the 4,500 Village Development Committee buildings – the basic constituent element for rural administration – in the country have been destroyed, while most of the others are abandoned. The nominated members of these and other local bodies have resigned under Maoist pressure in an overwhelming number of cases, leaving no administrative machinery or control in the rural areas. Having forced the nominated representatives on local bodies to vacate their posts, the Maoists have also demonstrated their strength by imposing blockades across large parts of the country, even as they roam freely in and around the villages and conduct ‘judicial trials’ through their ‘People’s Courts’. Worse, from the hills and mountains of the North to the plains of southern Terai bordering India, the Government has already pulled out of police stations, forest offices and other local administrative and enforcement units in the rural areas, 13 leaving the people entirely at the mercy of the Maoists, and the occasional Army column that passes through particular areas in their hunt for the rebels. Post offices, bridges and telecommunication and power stations in almost all the districts have been bombed again and again. Telecommunication repeater stations in most of the hill districts have been damaged and are inoperative. The Maoists have attacked schools and colleges as well, declaring these as ‘instruments of the state’, and large numbers of these have been forced to shut down. The Maoists have also declared at least 21 of Nepal’s 75 districts ‘autonomous regions’,14 mostly in the mid-Western and Far-Western regions, and have created a 10

Source: Kantipur Online, July 16, 2005, http://www.kantipuronline.com. “ADB reviewing impact of Feb. 1 move on its projects”, The Himalayan Times, March 2, 2005. 12 “Donor agencies pledge continued assistance”, The Rising Nepal, February 27, 2005. 13 Keshab Poudel, “Maoists Overrun the Hinterland”, South Asia Intelligence Review, Vol. 2, No. 47, June 7, 2004. 14 Sudheer Sharma, "The Maoist Movement: An Evolutionary Perspective," in Deepak Thapa, ed., Understanding the Maoist Movement in Nepal (Kathmandu: Martin Chautari, 2003), p.364. 11

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structure of parallel government – their ‘people’s governments’ – there. They ‘conducted elections’ in some of these areas in January 2004, and a majority of developmental projects and large-scale business establishments operate there with the permission of these ‘people’s governments’ and pay ‘tax’ to them. Maoist ‘taxation’ or extortion is endemic and rich and poor alike in all areas of Maoist control and influence are forced to ‘contribute’. These processes have been greatly facilitated by the complete or near-complete absence of the state’s institutions of governance and enforcement in wide areas. The human tragedy all this entails is colossal, with every vestige of security, stability and continuity violently erased from the lives of the people. More than half of the total casualties of war are civilians. The Maoists hand out verdicts for executions, maiming and torture against ‘class enemies’, ‘informers’ and other ‘offenders’ in their ‘people’s courts’, and have repeatedly targeted civilians. Entire villages have been ‘abducted’ and forced into indoctrination and training camps, and child recruitment is also rampant. Coercive enlistment into the Maoist ranks, as well as forced participation in Maoist attacks on Government and security facilities have been reported frequently. During clashes, both the Maoists and the Security Forces have shown a tendency to take shelter in civilian areas, causing heavy civilian casualties. The RNA’s military operations have been ham-handed and indiscriminate, and many among the thousands of alleged ‘Maoists’ who have been killed would, at worst, have been passive sympathizers; others are simply innocents in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nepal has now emerged among the world’s worst countries for extrajudicial killings and ‘disappearances’. The enveloping insecurity and fear has forced a mass exodus from the villages, both into the city areas, and out of the country, largely into neighboring India.15 While no accurate estimates are available, one approximation by the Community Study and Welfare Centre, Katmandu, puts the number of displaced persons at 350,000 to 400,000.16 Other estimates are significantly higher. 3. How has this come to pass in a land so recently viewed by the world as an idyllic mountain paradise, “a Himalayan Shangri-La good for trekking and mountaineering and budget mysticism”17? The truth is, that image was an illusion. Nepal has been an oppressive and divided land through the history of the Shah dynasty, “a monolithic, feudal, autocratic, centralized and closed state for centuries.” 18 Dominated entirely by a narrow oligarchy of three ‘upper caste’ groups – the warrior Chettris, the priestly Bahun, and the Newars, an ethnic group indigenous to Katmandu 15

India and Nepal have an extraordinary open border agreement, allowing citizens to cross over without passports, and, technically, with any document of identification at 22 border check posts. In fact, the border is largely un-policed, and people cross over unchecked virtually anywhere. 16 International Federation Terre des hommes (IFTDH), “Children as Victims of the Armed Conflict in Nepal”, 12 May 2005, www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/VBOL-6CBGX4?OpenDocument. 17 Manjushree Thapa, Forget Kathmandu: An Elegy for Democracy, New Delhi: Viking, 2005, p. 3. 18 Dr. Bishnu Raj Upreti, “Nepal: a Tragedy of Triple Conflict”, South Asian Journal, January-March, 2005, p. 137.

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who controlled key administrative positions – the vast majority, comprising the ‘lower castes’ of the Hindu system and the 36 ethnic sub-groups in Nepal, were entirely marginalized and had no voice in the political system. The advent of democracy in 1991, after decades of simmering discontent and struggle that eventually culminated in the mass Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (which was strongly backed by India) in late 1989, was supposed to change all this. But the fragile, unequal and fractious infant democracy of Nepal – undermined by Constitutional imbalances in favor of the Palace, and particularly by the King’s continued control over the RNA – was given little chance of success. Between 1991 and 2001 – when an Emergency was declared (Parliament was subsequently dissolved in May 2002), and a succession of Palace-appointed Prime Ministers took over the reins of power – the country changed 10 Governments (and another four Governments thereafter, including the dispensation after the ‘King’s coup’ on February 1, 2005). Democracy itself had been rejected at the outset by a radical faction of the Communist Party of Nepal – Unity Centre (CPN-UC), committed to a Maoist ideology, but which had originally participated briefly in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy. The Party remained ‘underground’ after a Constitutional monarchy and multi-party democracy had been established in 1991, and subsequently split in 1994, though it floated ‘overground’ political fronts to engage in democratic processes. When the faction led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka ‘Prachanda’, failed to secure recognition from the election Commission for the 1994 elections, its overground faction of the United People’s Front (UPF) led by Baburam Bhattarai boycotted the elections and, in 1994, both these groups united under the banner of the Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist (CPN-M) and began to frame their strategy for the violent ‘peoples war’ that was eventually declared on February 13, 1996. The initial trajectory of the insurgency and the State’s responses was peculiar in the extreme. Periods of extreme violence alternated with extraordinary neglect that would border on the farcical, were it not so tragic. As groups of hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of Maoists targeted rural police stations and small district headquarters, slaughtering policemen and looting arms, the RNA stood mutely by, often witnessing the march of these gangs to their targets as well as their triumphant return after a successful ‘operation’. Through this period, there was an unspoken ‘arrangement’ between the Maoists and the RNA that they would not target each other. The police, extraordinarily ill-equipped, with little fire-power and isolated in shoddy and undermanned police posts, were simply no match for the sheer numbers that were pitted against them. When successive Prime Ministers sought the engagement of the RNA in counter-insurgency operations, their pleas were contemptuously dismissed by the Palace, which insisted that the ‘internal disorder’ had to be dealt with by the internal security agencies – the police and paramilitaries – and not the Army. In 1995 and again in 1998, major counter insurgency operations were carried out against the Maoists in the areas of their domination – the first, Operation Romeo, in the Rolpa and Rukum Districts; the second, Operation Kilo Sierra 2, in 18 districts across the country. Both were brutal, indiscriminate and counter-productive; neither helped restore any measure of control over the target areas.

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Then came a bolt from the blue. On June 2, 2001, King Birendra Bikram Shah, his wife, as well as seven other members of his family, were killed, allegedly by his son and heir, Prince Dipendra, who then turned his gun on himself, in the palace massacre that was to catapult King Gyanendra to the throne amidst dark whispers of conspiracy, and that deeply undermined the legitimacy of the monarchy itself. This was the beginning of the end; from this point on, Nepal has hurtled giddily into chaos. Soon thereafter, the Maoists gathered enough confidence to decide to take their ‘people’s war’ to the next level, and on November 23, 2001, they attacked an RNA barracks in Dang, killing 14 soldiers, including a Major, and 11 officers, and looting the armory to grab at least 450 arms, including SLRs, SMGs, GPMGs, rocket launchers and mortars. The attack forced the Army to abandon its posture of detached superiority, and to engage directly with the Maoists. It also precipitated the declaration of the Emergency and the progressive assumption of absolute powers by the far-from-popular King Gyanendra, culminating in the Royal takeover of February 1, 2005. But the King is fighting an un-winnable war. The Palace coup divested the King of all constituencies of political support within Nepal, except the Royal Nepal Army, a small band of conservative loyalists and a handful of opportunists. Militarily, Katmandu simply does not have the capacities to take on the Maoists. With an estimated strength of just 80,000 soldiers in the RNA, 17,000 personnel in the recently raised Armed Police Force (APF) and a poorly equipped Police Force comprising 47,000 men, Nepal simply does not have the numbers to contain an insurgency of the magnitude of the Maoist movement, in a population of nearly 27 million people, with every one of its 75 districts currently afflicted. According to estimates in early 2003, the Maoists had an estimated strength of between 5,500 well-armed and trained ‘regulars’ or ‘combatants’; 8,000 ‘militia’, who are also trained and armed, but with relatively less sophisticated weapons; 4,500 ‘cadres’, who engage primarily in political mobilization and ‘administration’, but who may also participate in ‘military operations’; and 33,000 ‘hardcore followers. These are backed up by an estimated 100,000 and 200,000 ‘sympathizers’ who can, under certain circumstances, be mobilized – voluntarily or coercively – for violent action.19 The current strength of 144,000 men in all state Forces cannot even provide a fraction of a minimally acceptable counter-insurgency Force ratio, which would have to exceed at least 1:10, and arrives at desirable (though far from optimal) levels at 1:20. Indeed, even such ratios may not allow the state Forces to dominate the entire countryside, given the nature of the terrain – which overwhelmingly favors guerrilla and irregular Forces – in Nepal. The very inadequacy of Forces implies, essentially, that a strategy of repression would have to depend overwhelmingly on relatively indiscriminate violence in ‘target areas’ deemed to be ‘Maoist infested’. Irrespective of the brutality of such operations, however, the state’s Forces would not be able to establish a permanent presence or 19

See, Nepal Assessment 2003, Institute for Conflict Management, http://satp.org/satporgtp/ countries/nepal/index.html

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control over the country’s sprawling hinterland – there simply are not enough ‘boots on the ground’. Indeed, the Maoists themselves would not be particularly averse to increasing ‘state brutality’. It is useful to recall that it was precisely at the time of the most brutal phase of its military campaign against the rebels – after the collapse of the ceasefire in August 2003 – that Katmandu lost control of its territories at the most rapid rate. Given this record, the possibility that the Maoists may, in fact, actively seek to provoke indiscriminate state violence, cannot be ruled out. This would feed their ranks and may, eventually, so sicken the RNA’s soldiery that they would begin to ask themselves whether such a King and such a regime, which commands them to fight and slaughter their own countrymen, is worth fighting for. It is this outcome, and not some dramatic military confrontation at the gates of Katmandu, that the Maoists will seek to engineer with a combination of demonstrations, disruptive activities, blockades and targeted violence. 4. While Katmandu is currently being held down with sheer force, and while the memory of the incompetence of the fractious democratic parties is presently fresh in the public mind, it will not take much before people begin speaking of the ‘better times’ under the democratic leadership. Indeed, this is the critical flaw in the King's strategy – he has removed the buffer between the palace and the people. Henceforth, while all credit for improbable successes would no doubt flow directly to him, so, indeed, would all blame for failure and governmental incapacity in every sphere. External players – most particularly India – cannot be indifferent to objective calculations of the probable success or failure of the King’s current enterprise. In this, of course, the King has also sought to force their hand by playing up traditional geopolitical rivalries – and there have been rather obvious overtures in the recent past to both China and (particularly for India’s benefit) Pakistan. But here, the King may well have overplayed his hand. The delusions of the ‘absolute power’ of the monarch notwithstanding, the truth is, Katmandu has always been, and remains, a weak and immensely dependent centre of power. More significantly, China has refused to break ranks with other international players, despite its clear opposition to the Maoists – who it dismisses as renegades who “misuse the name of Chairman Mao” – and has substantially held to the embargo on arms supplies to Katmandu. The inauguration of the Katmandu-Lhasa bus route, however, suggests that China may, in the foreseeable future, not be averse to deepening its relationship with the King’s regime. India’s apprehensions regarding the Maoist rampage in Nepal are accentuated further by the CPN-M’s linkages with Indian Maoist groups. Significant areas along India’s eastern board, starting, in the North at the border with Nepal, and extending far into the South, to Andhra Pradesh and beyond, have been brought under the scope of Maoist activities, or are being actively targeted for these. While the ‘export’ of a successful Maoist revolution from Nepal to India is not a major worry, the demonstration effect of Maoist successes in Nepal on Indian Maoists could certainly

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provide the ‘spark to start a prairie fire’20. As time passes, as King’s position against the Maoists progressively weakens, and as the ‘Constitutional parties’ are forced progressively into a marriage of convenience with the Maoists, it will become necessary for India and the international community to begin imagining and assessing the possibilities and character of the successor state at Katmandu, thus containing the possibility of Nepal’s spiral into chaos.

20

Mao Tse Tung, “A Single Spark can Start a Prairie Fire”, Jan. 5, 1930.

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CHINA


CHINDIA, THE 21st CENTURY CHALLENGE

REBUILDING THE SILK ROAD(S)

REBUILDING THE SILK ROAD(S)

by Fabrizio VIELMINI

The Eurasian transcontinental corridors represent an antidote to Central Asia’s instability and an engine of economic development, as well as a means to tackle the US presence in the Region. The active role of the Central Asian Republics. China’s bet on the “Second transcontinental bridge”. Russia’s renewed interest for the post-Soviet space. And Europe? Likely to fall behind.

I consider it a singular plan of the fates that human cultivation and refinement should today be concentrated, as it were, in the two extremes of our continent, in Europe and China, which adorns the Orient as Europe does at the opposite edge of the earth. Perhaps Supreme Providence has ordained such an arrangement, so that, the most cultivated and distant peoples stretch out their arms to each other gradually bringing to a better way of life those in between. Gottfried W. Leibnitz, Novissima Sinica, 1697.

1.

T

he

world’s

economy

is

currently

characterized by a transformation of the Asian-Pacific Region (APR) into the most dynamic region against a background of general slowing down of economic indicators inside the Atlantic area. Increasing European diplomatic overtures to China illustrate how the relations with the APR are a crucial aspect for the development of the European economy. This situation has deep implications for the post-Soviet space, which may become the main transit bridge between the APR and the other poles of the Eurasian macro-continent. The post-Soviet countries would thus transform their territories along the main railways lines to be set into “development corridors”, thus leaving definitely behind the consequences of Soviet economic collapse. These developments, however, together with their enormous potential benefits for all the continental Eurasian countries, have been until now curbed by the general framework of structural international financial crisis linked to the falling position of the US dollar. Washington’s choice to establish its presence in Eurasia by military means is an obstacle of no less momentum. One should also add that the most difficult impediment for ITC realization lies in the hegemony of “free trade” liberal doctrines, a fact that prevent Russia and European States from realize the massive investments needed for ITC. Indeed, ITC development is a major geopolitical and strategic task, requiring massive financial resources. Such a task could not be managed by private economic actors or specialized international agencies but require the direct and concrete involvement of all the countries placed between the European Atlantic shores

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and APR, in their capacity of sovereign subjects responsible for the fate of future generations. 2. For Central Asian countries successful ITC development is probably the major guarantee of their future stability. Historically, Central Asia has always played the role of transit link in the system of interconnections between Asian and European countries.1 Though often mythicised, the Silk Road provided prosperity for the region which started becoming a “geopolitical black hole" exactly when the world trade shifted to oceanic routes as a result of Christopher Columbus’s discovery. After 1991, a similar process occurred again as the result of the Soviet collapse, due to which trans-Eurasian corridors provided earlier by the Union stopped functioning. At the same time, the 20.000-km Central Asian railroad sector, maybe the best heritage from the Soviet period, started to decline. One exception is Kazakhstan. The country differs from other republics not only in its richness in natural resources, but also in its efforts to integrate with the neighboring countries, first of all Russia and China, and in the growth rate of railway transportation. Kazakhstan could not be such a successful example of economic growth in the region without this. The governmental decision to build new railway lines, as well as the adoption of the transport strategy of Kazakhstan until 2020 show how Astana is aware of the fact that railways are a key factor for the national economy.2 Improved international transport corridors may thus become the drive of Kazakhstan’s economy. The combination of geographical features (vast spaces, low population density, abundance of natural resources, the strategic location between China, Iran and Russia) makes Kazakhstan’s economy one of the most freight capacious in the world, but also dependant on the transport system. Thanks to its location, Kazakhstan may provide substantial reduction of distances for all flows of goods moving from one side of Eurasia to the other.3 However, what a single country may do for concrete promotion of the land transport potential is clearly insufficient. The overall strategic dimension overwhelms the economic one. 3. On a Eurasian scale, in terms of ITC development, China is the country that has set the tone for the rest of the continent, providing an important example for all its capitals. Since the early 1990s, the Chinese political leadership made a stake on development of national transport infrastructures, intending this decision in a clear strategic perspective.4 This effort resulted in the opening of what Beijing has called 1 S. K. Kuљkumbaev, Geopolitika transportnyx kommunikacij centralnoj Azii, «Љyryz», 2004, pp. 100-114. 2 A. Sadeљov, Љajman-arba gosudarstvennogo masљtaba, «Exclusive», n. 2 (35), 2005, pp. 6-10. 3 R. Egorjan, M. Oganesjan, A. Manveljan, Kazaxstan: sostajaie i perspektivy transportnyx koridorov, «Central'naja Azija i Kavkaz», n.3 (27), 2003, pp. 170-178. 4 The Eurasian Land-Bridge, EIR Special Report, Executive Intelligence Review, Washington, D. C., January 1997.

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the “Second Euro-Asian transcontinental bridge” (the first being the Transiberian railroad): an 11.000-km steel artery starting from the port of Lianyungang (Chinese Pacific coast), crossing all the country through Xingjian, from there into Kazakhstan and then via Russia to Europe until Rotterdam. A new route, which is considerably shorter than the sea lanes and the existing Transiberian, is now operating between Europe and Asia. However, the potential of this link has not been fully exploited yet.5 The absence of a common approach and of a clear strategy coped with the attempts to maximize national short-sighted interests of the post-Soviet countries. This, combined with the fact that China continued to perform its transhipments without taking enough into account the international conventions, has created a situation where international standards are not met. So, only a small amount of goods went along the full-length extension of the new artery. Nevertheless, China has fully reached its objectives. The fast creation of transport communications became the essence of the Chinese success in developing its peripheral regions, now crossed by a massive “development corridor”. By creating a powerful infrastructure, Beijing has set the basis to make Xingjian the future core of communications between APR, India and the rest of Eurasia. Misinformation on the problems of the Uighur minority cannot conceal the fact that the Chinese work in the region has transformed it from a marginal area into a bridge connecting neighboring civilizations. Here and in the other territories crossed by the new arteries an enormous work was accomplished to fully electrify a number of lines and industrial areas. The Chinese experience offered to the post-Soviet world a brilliant example of how to solve the most serious internal problem of continental countries troubled by big internal imbalances between urban areas and vast rural peripheries, that require huge infrastructural investments to be developed. This example is particularly important on a theoretical level. Without State-driven development policies – the real precondition to successful private initiative – and public regulation of the financial market there could be no economic success similar to the one that China has realized in the last years. This is a lesson valid also for Europe. It should be also noticed the importance of ITC development as a means to positively orient Chinese foreign policy. This was especially true for Kazakhstan-Chinese relations as far as Beijing effort has met Astana’s parallel infrastructural engagements, leading to several concrete bilateral projects. However, in recent years, China's aspirations chocked against the rising instability stemming from the U.S. policy aimed at maintaining the dollar's exchange rate. The difficulties arising from this situation call for a more consistent involvement of Europe and Russia in ITC’s development.

5

I. Azovskij, Ћeleznye dorogi stran Central;noj Azii: problemy i perspektivy, «Central'naja Azija i Kavkaz», n. 1 (31), 2004, pp. 148-154.

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4. The development of Euro-Asian corridors is a vital question for Russia. As President Putin openly admitted in his address to the nation last year,6 for Russia there is much more at stake than economic issues. For Moscow the real issue is having an effective network of transport infrastructure to improve a better spatial coherence of such a vast country. The current Russian economic structure suffers from its strong dependence upon energy resources and it is hard to call Russia’s steps towards integration into the global economy successful - a situation not much different from other Central Eurasian countries. This fact calls for a radical rethinking of Russia’s economic strategy. The international financial market shows little interest to invest in Russian economy. To make up for this absence, Russia should fund the needed infrastructural improvements. This means that, as it has always been in Russian history, the State itself should manage the overall process, posing restrictions to the outflow of capitals and intervening directly in their redirection toward transport infrastructure.7 Again one should not underestimate the negative role played by the liberal doctrines. The "liberal disease" was about to be fatal to Russia, and the country is still not insured against reoccurrence of this disorder. The internal struggle between Prime Minister Fradkov and the liberal oriented ministries of finance and development reflect a more general one between partisans of true national renewal and the residual influence of oligarch forces interested in maintaining the country’s role of raw materials exporter. It is difficult to forecast a real Russian final recovery, unless the Government uses national budget assets to encourage the economy by repairing and upgrading transport infrastructures towards APR, Europe, Iran and India. In Moscow it is more and more clear that the Eastern development vector is not of less importance than the Western one. Russia’s future depends upon the successful balance of those two vectors - if that balance cannot be achieved the country will loose global importance.8 Russia’s strategic objective is having several main routes of trans-continental significance, crossing its huge space. In addition, the rebuilding of the main transport routes is the main way to restore the technical level of national infrastructures, a big part of which have reached their final exhaustion point. If no steps are made in coming years, consequences may be unpleasant for all sectors of the Russian economy, accelerating the decadence of the country and hence jeopardizing the stability of the entire Eurasian space. On the contrary, a full Russian involvement in the development of the Euro-Asian transport system would likely benefit all its neighbors.9 Probably, the political and economic integration of the post-Soviet region will take place via Russia. 6

State of the nation address to Russian parliament, Moscow, May 2004. V. Paramonov, A. Strokov, Russia's Strategic Choice: Regionalization versus Globalization, Conflict Studies Research Center of the Defense Academy of the United Kindom, London, may 2004. 8 A. D. Voskresenskyj (ed.), Severo-vostoиnaja i Central'naja Azija. Dinamika meћdunarodnyx i meћregional'nyx vzaimnodejstvij, Rosspкn, Moskva, 2004. 9 V. L. Cymburskij, Borba za «evrazijskuju Atlantidu»: geoкkonomika i geostrategija, Institut кkonomiиeskich strategij, Moskva, 2000, pp. 35. 7

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For Central Asia, Russia means access to the sea, to foreign markets, a source of technology and intellectual resources, as well as the only viable strategic warrant for the region. It makes no sense to talk about competition between Russia and Kazakhstan in this regard. There is a need for different transit corridors serving customers in different regions: the Transiberian serves the Northeast-Asian markets while the Kazakh routes cover the Southeast-Asia markets and the rising provinces of Central China. Moscow and Astana should therefore coordinate their policies regarding railway transport and push the establishment of harmonized logistics. 5. In Europe, the acknowledgement of the importance of ITC development went a long an even more suffered path than in Russia. Signs of goodwill in the relations with China are by now far from being sufficient, as they are simply reflecting the basic fact that the European economy is holding its world position thanks to contracts with the Asian-Pacific region. In fact, Europe is missing the historical opportunity opened by the end of the cold war rather than using it to benefit its citizens. It is a fate’s irony that the Europeans decided to set up a policy of Trans-European Network (a 78.000-km railroad)10 in the same town of Maastricht were they signed the homonymous treaty which has resulted in blocking the capacity of the public sector as a creator of wealth up to our days. As a result, the European transport policy has generated only limited results. It should be added that a big amount of Brussels’s scarce transport investment resources have been concentrated on the realization of the TRACECA corridor, a lane envisaging transport between Europe and Asia through Turkmenistan and the Southern Caucasus. Today, it is obvious to most experts that the conception of TRACECA has not proved valid, as it does not correspond to the physical and economic realities of Eurasia – not to talk about its geostrategic planning, aimed at rebuffing Russian and Iranian influence from Central Asia. Unlike Brussels, the necessity to build trans-Eurasian land-bridges is today clear in Berlin and Paris. Germany in particular is a leading partner for both Russia and China in advanced technology projects. A proof can be found in the latest negotiations between the Russian President and the German Chancellor, where the railway sector was a leading subject. The perspectives associated with the development of ITC are no less relevant to the French economy, to which hi-tech industries such as railways, nuclear technology and equipment for big industrial complexes are of extraordinary importance. In his New Year speech to the Nation, President J. Chirac said that the industrial policy should continue to be a key factor of national development. The future of France, like the one of Germany, actually lies in the extension of these sectors and the related investments. However, apart from the increasing efforts of Paris and Berlin to strengthen their infrastructural cooperation with China and Russia, at a European level there’s still a dramatic lack of awareness about the geopolitical implications of ITC 10

E. C. del Re, Corridoio VIII. Realizzazione, finanziamenti, lavori, impatto, ANAS, Rome, 2004.

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development. Central Asia continues to be seen basically as a supplier of energy resources. Europe's increasing energy dependence should suggest the establishment of long-term partnerships with the oil-rich Eurasian countries. But it is in parallel high time to consider Central Eurasia as a strategic pivot, whose stability could influence the global geopolitical balance. It is thus capital for Europe to endorse Russia’s efforts to recompose the post-Soviet space, in order to give a clear and positive response to the Chinese effort. 6. The importance of transit corridors’ development through Eurasia should by no means be underestimated. The link between infrastructure development and the general course of policy of the countries involved in it is maybe the main point that should be taken into account. A comprehensive project with such a number of implications as the Eurasian land-bridge could only be realized through long-term agreements between the governments of the leading nations of the Eurasian continent. A general rethinking of the economic and geopolitical relations between the Eurasian countries is required. It should be guided by the consciousness that to be at stake is not only the economic recovery of post-Soviet space and the welfare of Eurasian nations, but also the chances of an alternative security order of this crucial region. A clear awareness of the economic and political importance of shifting shipment from the Suez-Channel route to the Eurasian is paramount in the current international situation, characterized by growing instability as a result of the opening of the U.S. basis in Central Asia. The final outcome of such a deployment is a shift of international cooperation from economic to security aspects. On the background of recent degeneration of Kyrghiz and Uzbek internal situations, this could result in permanent destabilization of the region. The development of the land-bridges could trigger a process finally resulting in leaving aside the U.S. ambiguous strategic tutelage, thus strengthening the regional security and stability. Should the Eurasian transport system develop with Russia, China and Iran as leading players having a stake in its permanent and smooth functioning, it will guarantee each player against incorrect behavior of the others. ITC will thus act as a powerful factor in building confidence among the Shangai Cooperation Organization’s member countries, easing China's pressure on Kazakh and Russian lands. The security of Central Asia would be thus assured, and the economic development of the Region would be ensured by its transformation from a semi-colonial provider of raw materials into the world's key area in the 21st century.

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CHINESE NATIONALISM MANIFESTO

CHINESE NATIONALISM MANIFESTO

by Wang XIAODONG

Nationalists catch on in the Middle Kingdom as a reaction to “reverse racism”, that preaches China’s inferiority in comparison with the great powers. Democracy as premise of China’s rise on the world’s stage. Why we don’t trust the United States.

1.

N

ationalism once occupied a relatively

important place in recent Chinese history. The Qing Dynasty reformer Liang Qichao elegantly praised nationalism, and it is one of the three ideologies espoused in the ‘Three Principles of the People’ of the National Father Sun Yatsen. So nationalism was once an element of the official ideology of the KMT Nationalist Party regime that ruled China before 1949. Nevertheless, after 1949 and the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party regime, the official ideology was changed to Marxism-Leninism and the term ‘nationalism’ seemed to disappear from the life of the Chinese people. I don’t think I heard this term before I was 30 years old and of course I could not have had any idea of the concept behind it. So I never could have thought that later on I would become one of China’s ‘flag bearers of nationalism’. Contemporary Chinese nationalism cannot have been born before the end of the 1980s. Originally this birth did not have a strong relationship with foreigners. At first it was born entirely from doubts about what I later came to call the tide of ‘reverse racism’ among China’s intellectuals. The 1980s was a period when all kinds of new ideas were appearing. Many of these ideas were very good, and encouraged the progress we have today. But some were quite absurd. The most absurd, but very influential - and still having a big influence on China’s intellectuals, academics and media – was that the Chinese people are somehow an inferior nation and have been so since their earliest ancestors. In my opinion, this is not very different from Hitler’s racism. Some people in the West probably still have some sympathy with this kind of attitude, although very few would dare to openly advocate it or present it as ‘science’. Nevertheless, many Chinese intellectuals at that time did openly advocate this kind of racist theory. The only difference between them and Hitler was that they directed this theory against their own race. This is why I coined the term ‘reverse racism’ for this kind of theory. In some ways it is possible to understand this thinking of Chinese intellectuals in the 1980s because they, along with the whole of China’s elite, had just emerged from the disaster of the Cultural Revolution. Having been traumatized by the hardships of the Cultural Revolution, it is understandable that they should harbor this kind of resentment of their own nation. But this kind of racist argument is without doubt wrong. The starting point of what is called contemporary ‘nationalism’ is skepticism towards this kind of racist argument. I am one of the earliest skeptics amongst Chinese intellectuals, and I am still very proud of this.

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As I said before, at that time we did not use the term ‘nationalism’. This term was in fact, applied to us by Western academics and media. Starting around the early 1990s, some Westerners began to be unhappy about our thinking (these Westerners should explain to me why they are not happy with our doubting of racism. Are they not outspoken opponents of racism? Isn’t their kind of double standard testimony to the logic of racism?). The large volume of news reports, academic papers and books attacking ‘Chinese nationalism’ came first of all from the West. As since the late 1970s, the main stream of Chinese intellectuals has been closely tied to the West, Chinese intellectuals also joined the tide of criticizing ‘Chinese nationalism’. It was only at this time that we found out that what we were thinking was called ‘nationalism’. I know that ‘nationalism’ had been a negative word in the West since World War Two due to its association with the Nazis an that Westerners use this to reprimand you, so it is best not to admit that you are a ‘nationalist’; but Westerners have a linguistic hegemony, and even you argue that you are not a ‘nationalist’, if they say you are, then you are. What is most important is the content. The name you use does not matter. That is how we became ‘nationalists’. 2. Western scholars often say that contemporary Chinese nationalism is encouraged by the government, because the government has to consider how to replace a failed communism with a new ideology. This theory could not be further from the truth. It cannot be denied that very many of the early communists who grew up in the May Fourth movement have a small degree of nationalism in their hearts. Nevertheless, the Chinese government has never given up its original communist ideology. It has always used it to educate its members and the public, so basically it cannot use nationalism to replace communist ideology. Moreover, since the late 1970s the Chinese government has strived to maintain good relations with Western states, that are not willing to allow Chinese intellectuals, and especially the ordinary people, to speak out openly about nationalism. For a long time, therefore, Chinese nationalism has not really been able to find a channel to express itself – even now the channel is very narrow. Over 16 or 17 no more than three or four nationalist books have been published. Publishing these has not been easy at all, and often the publishers have demanded changes. Talking of my own experience, my channels for publishing articles have been very few, and often publication has only been possible due to the use of personal relationships. For many years until recently, apart from a very few commercial newspapers, Chinese newspapers have been silent over Chinese nationalism – as well as over American or Japanese nationalisms, that in my view are much stronger than Chinese, especially because, at present, extreme nationalists like President Bush and Prime Minister Koizumi are in government. Under this kind of blockade, Chinese nationalism will most probably remain submerged for a long time with no channel for transmission or space for exchange. For some time to come, written work on Chinese nationalist thinking will probably consist of just a few articles by a few authors. Nevertheless, in the last half of the 1990s a very powerful friend unexpectedly appeared. This friend was a new technology invented by Westerners – the Internet. Proof of the importance of the Internet for the development of nationalism can be found in a comment made by Li Shenzhi, the ‘Father of Chinese

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Liberalism’, who once said at a conference attended by myself that without the Internet there would be no Chinese nationalism. So he thought that the Internet was a very bad invention. When I responded that this is freedom of speech, and that the results of free speech are not always what you like, then Mr. Li Shenzhi realized that this kind of criticism was not compatible with his liberal ideals. In spite of this contradiction, Mr. Li Shenzhi had the right view on the channel through which Chinese nationalism is developing. Only with the new technology of the Internet can the Chinese public spontaneously develop a free space to mature their thinking. In this way contemporary Chinese nationalism has developed completely from the public sphere. Traditional/established forces all have a part of the media that they can use, with the difference being just a matter of degree, but they’re far from being spontaneous. It cannot be said that the views of the state are spontaneous; and it cannot be said that Chinese liberalism is completely spontaneous, because it has received structural encouragement from the Western world; neither can it be said that China’s New Left is completely spontaneous, because it has received support from the Communist Party, albeit not from the mainstream. Chinese nationalists, on the other hand, do not have their own media at all, but can only speak on the Internet. Precisely because it comes spontaneously from the public and has not received any systematic encouragement, contemporary Chinese nationalism has a solid foundation in Chinese society. This raises an important question: if China became a country with full freedom to print books and publish newspapers, and even to own television stations, would Chinese nationalism be stronger or weaker? 3. As I said previously, contemporary Chinese nationalism has been born out of a reaction to a kind of reverse racism. Nevertheless, it cannot remain just a reaction forever. It naturally has to produce its own views on domestic politics and foreign policy. With the Internet, it has not only won a channel for expression, but also a space in which to develop its own intellectual content. In contemporary China, whether or not to have a democratic system is a topic of heated debate for domestic politics. China’s so-called ‘liberals’ (who, in my opinion, are not real liberals, because what they aim to is just to put their own dictatorship in place of that of others), in order to demonize Chinese nationalism, they import some theories from the West, and create some of their own to maintain that nationalism is inseparable from dictatorship. Is this true? Of course it is not. First of all, this ‘flag bearer of nationalism’ before you sincerely feels that for China to finally become a great power in the world, for every Chinese person to be free, to be a master rather than a slave, China definitely has to become a democratic country. As I see it, the aim of China becoming a free country is not a problem. The problem is through which path we are supposed to achieve this aim. Most of all I do not want the current good economic trend to be destroyed by social upheaval. Secondly, there are alternative views on nationalism held by some in the West. Some Western academics think that modern nationalism was born with democracy. In the monarchical system of medieval Europe, people did not think that they were masters of the state, so they could not produce nationalist thought. It was the political

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transformation of the French Revolution that turned Europe towards a democratic system, allowing people to think that they were the masters of their state, giving birth to the nation-state and nationalist thought. From the completely different point of view of a Chinese person, this latter viewpoint is correct. The problem of democracy is not merely a moral one, since it has deep implications on China’s status on the world stage and on the evolution of its nationalism. In my view, democracy is a tide in the world that cannot be stopped. So if China is to be a morally equal member of international society, it must become a democratic country. The true crux of the problem is that we are not recognized as a “democratic country” by international society, and have to give up too much in international exchanges. So as not to let others use the fact that we are not a “democratic country” to range international society against us, we must enter the ranks of “democratic countries”’. Secondly, I painfully feel that my country has been divided because of the problem of democracy: there are so many Chinese who hate their own country because it has not introduced democracy. Because of this hatred, every time China has a conflict with another country, they always stand on the other side. This is really too painful. I think that in order for more Chinese people to love their country, so that they can stand on their own country’s side when China has a conflict with other countries, we must practice democracy. It cannot be denied that the long-term demonization of Chinese nationalism by the ‘liberal faction’ and Westerners has caused some nationalists to develop an angry complex and come to oppose democracy. On the other hand, there are those ‘cultural nationalists’ who advocate returning to China’s traditional Confucian political system, because ‘that is Chinese’. But I maintain that we should not let our thinking be influenced by this kind of anger or narrow self-pride. Our aim is China’s wealth and power, for Chinese people to live a better life and have more rights. If democracy can help use to realize these aims, then we do not need to oppose it just because those who criticize us support it. Even less do we need to refuse it because it happens to have been invented by Westerners. There is really no fundamental difference between us and the ‘liberal faction’ over the question of whether China should have democracy. The difference between us and them is: in the present international order, are the contradictions between states only limited to ideology, only limited to dictatorship versus democracy, or are there contradictions between national interests? We think that the last of these exists in the present situation and is comparatively important. Yes, the president of the United States is elected by the people. That is good and we hope that our country can be the same one day. But at the same time we should not forget, that the American President is elected by the American people, and we Chinese do not have the right to vote. So the American president can only consider the interests of the American people, and cannot consider our interests. This realization of ours is something that most Chinese people also realize. Most Chinese people support democracy, but they also have a strong consciousness of protecting their own nation’s interests. (I can say this because I am not a ‘nationalist’ by profession, but an opinion pollster). So when it comes to the

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problem of the national interest, China’s ‘liberal faction’ stands unconditionally on the side of other countries (mainly the United States), which seriously dents its credibility in China. Because of this, the faith of Chinese people in the words ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ has been damaged. 4. For the last quarter of a century this planet has been witnessing a transformation that is unusually large in the history of humanity, especially because it is peaceful – this is the huge change that has been occurring in China. Within 20 years countless Chinese peasants have moved into the cities: in the eleven years between 1990 and 2001 alone, more than 100 million peasants have moved into cities, a rate of urbanization faster than any other place or time in history. In the coming decades this process could be still faster. In the past 20 years or so, countless high rise buildings have gone up on China’s land; in the past 20 years China has produced countless low-price goods to supply the world’s consumers, so that people have more or less forgotten what inflation is; in the past 20 years multinational corporations have made vast profits in china (such as Germany’s Volkswagen, which produces 14 percent of its global production in China, but which reaps 80 percent of its global profits there). At the same time the standard of living for Chinese people has risen greatly. The feelings of us Chinese people as to this great change are well expressed in an article titled ‘China Cries Out for Industrial Civilization: On the Social Responsibility of Entrepreneurs’, written by the Chinese entrepreneur Wu Kegang to encourage Chinese industry and commerce to strive to break the bureaucratic monopoly on power. He writes: ‘In the 1980s I went out of China for the first time, to Singapore. Singapore is a Chinese society. I was shocked by the culture, the technological progress, the urban splendor, the vibrancy of life. At that time the members of our delegation were talking in the bar, saying “Could our country have a city like Singapore in 50 years time?” At that time our answer was in the negative. We said that it would be very hard to catch up with the basic level of Singapore of that time in 50 years, let alone the fact that Singapore would have progressed further by then. History has proven that we were too cautious, that we were wrong. It took just 25 years. Last year I went to Singapore and my view is that in some places it cannot compete with our Shenzhen, Dalian, Shanghai and Beijing’. Most Chinese people, including many nationalists, are very clear that this development cannot be separated from globalization, from international trade, and a peaceful international environment. China is a beneficiary of the present international order, so it will definitely not want to challenge that order as some have suggested. Perhaps many people will think this strange - if this is the situation, then what is the point of Chinese nationalism? Why not be like China’s ‘liberal faction’ and say that states and nations are things of the past? Well, our view is different from that because we do not believe that the Americans are angels which makes us very concerned about this one country of America preserving international order. So we want to concentrate our strengths and prepare to actively take part in preserving this international order. In domestic politics, what do we call the monopolization of power by an individual or an organization? We call it ‘dictatorship’. If we have this same political structure in international relations is there not a problem? Yes, the United States is a

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democratic country, but that is its domestic affair. That this superpower is the pillar of the world situation at present proves that our international order has the structure of a dictatorship. The present American control over the world is not too bad – I have already said that China is benefiting. The present American imperialism could be called a kind of enlightened dictatorship. But we are worried, because American foreign policy could change. The world situation could change. The situation of the world’s natural resources could change. If we, a big country with a quarter of the world’s people, do not have the ability to guard against this, we have a strong sense of insecurity. Just as the political wisdom of Westerners tells us: ‘Better to have three devils fighting than one monster ruling’. So we definitely do want to take part in preserving this international order. If our present strength is not enough, we have to aim for this tomorrow. China’s best politicians probably all think about problems in this way. Deng Xiaoping once said we should ‘conceal our abilities and bide our time’ (this is probably also a reason why nationalism is not officially supported in China), advocating that building China’s national defense should make way for economic development. Under the guidance of his development strategy, China’s economy was temporarily shifted into the low-tech stream of the international division of labor rather than upstream, which has had some temporarily negative impacts on China’s defence industries. Because of this, some Chinese nationalists and the New Left have been critical of Deng’s policies. Nevertheless, Deng’s thought has been well clarified by China’s recently deceased former CCP general secretary, Zhao Ziyang, recalled that: ‘Deng Xiaoping’s political ideal was to have a wealthy country and strong army. He often said that when our economy is developed we will have the money to strengthen our military power. Then we can become a world great power. He wanted China to be great’. So although there might be some differences of strategy amongst China’s leading politicians when it comes to international relations, their aim is the same, to have a wealthy country and strong army and to become a great world power. This target has existed since the 1840 Opium War with Britain, and has been held over the generations regardless of party or belief. Only after the Cultural Revolution, because of the suffering experienced by China’s elite, did there appear the present division that causes so much pain. But there is plenty of evidence to show that the new generation of Chinese who did not experience such suffering do not harbor the resentment of the older elite. They will return to this aim again. Some Chinese people will not like to hear me use the term ‘wealthy country, strong army’ (fu guo qiang bing). Some among them do not oppose this aim, but are concerned that it will add to the proof of the ‘China threat theory’. Frankly, I think that the ‘China threat theory’ is not entirely without reason. It is not at all strange that foreigners should feel worried about a country as large as China, with such rapid economic growth, with such rapidly growing demands for natural resources. It does not really matter whether we call ourselves a lamb or a tiger. Whatever, China’s development is a ‘threat’ to other countries, but it is also an opportunity. Has not China’s economic development brought benefits to other countries in the world, including Japan and the United States and Europe? Have not the goods produced by the Chinese people brought benefits to the consumers of other countries? How can

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‘threat’ be turned into opportunity? This will depend on the hard work of the Chinese people, and will also depend on foreigners, especially the hard work of the advanced Western states. 5. As I said earlier, Chinese nationalists think that the greatest threat posed by economic globalization for China is that the location of Chinese industry is in the downstream of the international division of labor. This puts our economic, scientific and technological development under the control of others, which is a threat to our national security. This debate has taken place from the beginning of the period of reform and opening down to the present. There are at least three points of view on this. The first is that in this age of the global village the world is for the taking. So long as we use our comparative advantages then its fine. We will do whatever it takes to make money in the market. This is the view of China’s ‘liberal faction’. There is an assumed premise in their view, which is that we should have a high degree of faith in the Americans and not be worried that they might control us. The Americans themselves also try to persuade us in this way. Once I came across an American diplomat who vigorously told me that ‘potato chips and silicon chips are both chips, so long as they make money there is no difference’. I said that they are not the same. If we do not sell you potato chips then you can produce them for yourself, but if you don’t sell us silicon chips we cannot suddenly make them for ourselves. He said, ‘Do you think that the US government would order Intel not to sell you chips? Don’t worry, the government cannot control them’. But I never believed him. The second point of view is a bit more reasonable I think. This holds that we do not blindly trust the Americans, but that we have no alternatives at present. China cannot shoulder the burden of using its national power rather than market forces to gain high technology in an unconventional way. China must patiently bide its time and use its comparative advantage in low technology until it has the money to move to high-tech. I think that Deng Xiaoping is representative of this point of view. Although the assumptions are different, when they become economic policy the results of the first and second views are the same. The third point of view is that China must use its national power to advance to high-tech development in an unconventional way, otherwise it will be controlled by the United States and other advanced countries and will lose the possibility of advancing to high-tech in the future. Ten years ago I was one of those who advocated this third point of view. As everyone knows, the first and second points of view became dominant in China’s economic policy. But I still do think that the first point of view is not worth arguing about, while the second point of view is taking a big risk over whether our economy and technology will be controlled by the United States making us their subsidiary, or whether we can ultimately use foreign investment to attain even faster progress. Looking back over the past ten years, I do not think we can say that China has already won this bet, although the chances of victory are very large because China is already showing signs of moving towards high technology under market forces. If China can win this gamble in the end I will be very happy because, although my point of view lost, my nation will be the winner.

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The second problem that China faces on the road to globalization is environmental degradation and the depletion of natural resources. This is related to the survival of every one of us who live in China. However, I cannot accept some of the accusations about China destroying the environment that are made by some foreigners and some of those ‘reverse racists’ that I spoke about earlier. I often hear some foreigners and some Chinese say that this planet cannot absorb another America of 1.3 billion people. If the Chinese have the same style of life as the Americans, what will the world be like? This is true, an American consumes tens or hundreds of times more natural resources in their life than a Chinese person. Nevertheless, I think the problem lies in who decides that only the Americans have the right to consume so many resources? The American ‘Declaration of Independence’ say that all men are created equal. So what does the distribution of the resources of the planet depend on? Does it depend on market competition or on military supremacy? Many Chinese intellectuals implore their people not to want a western style life, deploying Western thinkers, Buddhism, and the Chinese philosophers Laozi, Zhuangzi, Confucius, Mencius, and even Mao Zedong. But nobody can persuade them. I think that using this kind of argument to persuade them not to raise their standard of living is not as good as thinking scientifically about a way to let the Chinese and people all over the world to live like the Americans while conserving the earth. The countries with advanced technology should speed up and make less expensive the transfer of conservation technology. This will not only help save the developing countries, it will also save them. Money and technology can save some problems. If working with this kind of technology is not enough to solve problems, then international society needs to discuss a complete system for controlling pollution and distributing natural resources. The majority of people must feel that this is fair, otherwise it will be hard for this world to maintain long-term peace and stability. 6. The third problem faced by China on this road is what people often refer to as the widening wealth gap. The biggest problem on China’s road forward at present is how to establish a society that guarantees a certain standard of living for every person, for all to have full degree of freedom, and for all to use their abilities to the full. This will be enough to allow our society to really be peaceful and stable and allow the Chinese people to more fully identify with their country. As for how to create this kind of society, in China there is a way of thinking which is to return to the road of Mao Zedong. But at present, because China can maintain a sufficiently rapid rate of economic growth this option will just remain in the mouths of some disadvantaged minorities and intellectuals. As for those peasants on low incomes, they will pragmatically come to the cities to labor in order to improve their lives. Although this is very hard, it is more practical than waiting for another Mao. However, if China’s economic development hits a serious obstacle, then things could change in a big way. Last but not least, is the problem of China’s relations with the 3rd world countries. Many from the Third World have reprimanded China for joining the advanced countries in plundering the Third World. I want to sincerely say to my poor brothers and sisters in the Third World, China forgot about you a long time ago.

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Although incomes in China are still smaller than those in many Third World countries, China is on the express train to globalization. So no anti-globalization movement can form in China like that in Latin America, or even like those in Europe and the United States. The Chinese already think that they are a little different from the rest of the Third World. Although incomes at present are comparatively low, Chinese people feel that there is most likely no need for them to express dissatisfaction about this world order. They just need to maintain their present attitude of patiently working and biding their time to greatly improve their lives. So they lack sympathy with the problems of the Third World. On the other hand they feel that they have not yet reached a level of wealth at which they can donate money to help the Third World. ‘Let the better off Western countries handle this issue’ is the thinking of many Chinese. Nevertheless, I think that China’s development is of benefit to the Third World states and not disadvantageous. First of all, looking at what is in front of us, China’s fast development can raise the prices of commodities and goods from the Third World. Moreover, if China really does get big and powerful, the Third World will have more choices: if the United States does not treat you well, you can seek help from China. If China does not treat you well, you can seek help from the United States. In this way a balance of power can be created which will be beneficial for the structure of international politics. 7. China is still a developing country and has countless problems. Nevertheless, despite these problems I believe that China’s forward march is unstoppable. This is so in economics, in politics and in national defense – whether or not the EU sells weapons to China does not have much real significance for China’s defense; it is just an expression of whether or not Europe is friendly with China. Just as with China’s economic development, once China devotes resources in this direction, its progress can be faster than what the experts predict. In the next few decades, the Chinese must use their honest labor to obtain large amounts of natural resources. If this process is obstructed then it means that China’s existence is being challenged. The Chinese and the Westerners must work hard to research how the world can cope with the economic, political and other impacts of the rapid development of a country with a population as large as China’s. Some problems are already imminent, such as China’s oil imports: China’s unilateral restriction of its demand would be unfair (why is it only the Americans who have the right to consume so much oil?) and unrealistic (who will be able to persuade 1.3 billion people to suspend their development?). Without doubt, China needs the help of the advanced countries with this kind of problem. And when the advanced countries are helping china, they are helping themselves.

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HOW CHINA SEES INDIA AND THE WORLD

HOW CHINA SEES INDIA AND THE WORLD

by Silvia SARTORI

The analysis of a poll among 100 members of the Chinese elite allows to scrutinize the different perceptions of Beijing’s role on the world’s stage. The ambiguous relationship with Delhi, cemented by energy. The limits of China’s sphere of influence and the role of the United States.

H

ow do Indian elites perceive the

neighboring giant and, in general, their role on the world’s stage, especially with regard to the American superpower? We have tried to find it out through an analysis based on the outcome of a research conducted in May and June 2005 among one hundred Chinese aged between 20 and 60. The sample was heterogeneous in terms of geographical dwelling and academic education, thus contributing to make the survey more diversified in the viewpoints conveyed. The interviewees were asked to fill in a questionnaire either in Chinese or in English where they had to choose between provided answers, including the option of adding personal comments and observations.

Chinese perception of India Although being the other Asian giant and sharing a border with the Middle Kingdom, India does not seem to be an area of interest and attention for the ordinary Chinese. To them, it is “a far away country”, hardly affecting Chinese present, if not for reasons of “high level politics”. Once this first impression of indifference overcome, the sample describes the big democratic country as ambitious, developing, important and ambiguous1. These are the most recurrent adjectives used to define all the range of nuances of the Chinese active perception. The ensuing image of India is that of a country endowed with a great potential, undoubtedly rising but whose development direction is not likewise certain. Upon the answers provided, three levels of description can be detected. First, 43 percent of the Chinese sample regards India as ambitious. This is the predominant feature, followed by the acknowledgment of the importance and development of the country at present. By simultaneously being a relevant developing country rich in ambitious, India is also considered as ambiguous. In this largest group, 1

The words used by the sample are kept in italics.

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thus, positive and negative connotations seem to be balanced, however suspicious Indian ambitions may be taken as. The second group, including 31 percent of the answers, is characterized by a neat negative image of India. Starting by defining it as a rising power, this share of the interviewees rather considers the neighbor as unstable, suspect and aggressive. In a sense, this second image gathers those who filter the Indian development basically in suspicious terms. India has embarked on a development path but it is not stable enough to assure a smooth pace of progress and its intentions are not clear either. This image acquires somehow a worrisome weight in that the interviewees recognize that India is a skillful key-player. The suspicions are then grounded on the acknowledgment of both the abilities and the international leverage of the big democratic neighbor. Then, 25 percent of the sample mix positive and worrisome images, looking at India in more extreme ways. On the one point of the spectrum are those who define it as a hostile, threatening country, economically very poor and having an attitude which is either cunning or passive. To a restricted minority, India is even weak, declining, nearly deprived of any power as to be impotent. On the other side, instead, India is regarded as a cooperative, liberal country having a peaceful attitude and playing a necessary role in the world arena. However rich in nuances, the Chinese perception of India thus rests on two pillars. First, India is undoubtedly developing and rising to become a major international actor. Interestingly though, none described India as a strong power. It is undoubtedly growing and enhancing its leverage on the global arena, but it is not likewise clear how powerful its influence is yet. For sure, it is not comparable to China’s. Second, India’s skills and ambitions ensuing from its development make it hard to foresee whether the goals it pursues are peaceful and globally fruitful. Along with its economic growth, New Delhi is indeed nurturing political expectations as well. This is a still largely unpredictable mix having serious implications on China in terms of both economic competition-cooperation and of geopolitical (in)stability. The questions at stake range from the race to gain access to energy to the competition in acquiring FDIs, from the leverage in Asia to the control of the Indian Ocean (vital for Chinese trade to Europe). Factors such as these let some Indians2 fear of a Chinese containment policy, meant to encircle India. Opinions to this regard split almost equally among the interviewees: 47 percent believe that Beijing may be actually conceiving a containment policy towards India, whereas 40 percent find it unlikely. The remaining share provides alternative explanations (see Graph. 1). They argue that China is adjusting its policy towards India by carefully considering step by step what is more convenient, always in the attempt of balancing competition and cooperation. Such a containment strategy may be unfeasible at present but they 2

See for instance: Dr Subhash Kapila. Sino-Indian Relations: Avoid Putting the Gloss, IPCS, Article 389, 20 July 2000; Uday Bhaskar and Cmde. Bhaskar. We must be healthy competitors, The Diplomatist, July-September 2003; Lt Gen V. K. Singh. Sino Indian Strategic Equation, The Diplomatist, July-September 2003.

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consider it viable in the future, especially when it comes to the military side of the relationship. Economically, cooperation may prevail in light of a “win-win policy”, but security reasons may lead to contain India. Graph 1. Does China intend to contain India?

Other 13%

No 40%

Yes 47%

On the other hand, though, both China and India are extremely dissatisfied with the current unipolar state of the world. Not only they are claiming a wider international acknowledgment but they also regret the lack of global balance. However, was a new world order to be shaped, which attitude would China take towards New Delhi? Would it consider it as a noticeable regional power and a worthy ally to counterweight the American predominance? Or would it rather try to contain India as to affirm an unrivalled Chinese preeminence in Asia? Graph 2. Is an anti-American Sino-Indian alliance possible? Other 12%

Yes 23%

No 65%

As showed in Graph 3, The majority of the sample envisages a scenario where China adjusts its foreign relations in order to create a multilateral framework that includes both India and the USA. Balance is the priority for the Chinese. Only 18 percent indeed finds it desirable for China to contain India as an “inferior local power”, while more than 60 percent of the interviewees reject the anti-American Sino-Indian

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relationship (see Graph 2). According to the Chinese, India and China are going through different stages of development and have embarked on different development paths. Second, they both pursue a policy of “no alliance with any other superpower”, rather preferring to adjust their politics according to what seems more convenient and fruitful case by case. As to their reciprocal relations, they’re likely to shape them according to Schopenhauer’s “two hedgehogs” strategy: they won’t get too close not to prick each other, nor they’ll part too much, not to feel cold. A small minority (about 10 percent) admits that Beijing prefers to have no ally at all, thus keeping a completely independent foreign politics. According to this opinion, China would rather look for Europe than for India in case it decides to shape an anti-American alliance, consistently with a scenario of “yuan jiao jin gong policy”, implying tense relations with neighbors but stable friendships with distant countries. Graph 3. What is better for China? 10% 18%

18% 54% To contain India An anti-US Sino-Indian alliance A broad multilateral alliance Other

Hence, what seems quite questionable is the rise of a Sino-Indian pole, meant to counterweight the American one and thus giving birth to the long feared “Asian threat”. If a Sino-Indian cooperation is to be born, it will occur whenever the two countries find it appropriate and mutually beneficial. It will be a non-stable and tacit cooperation, overcoming the binding limits of an official alliance.

Sino-Indian relations Some of the most serious issues pending on the future of Sino-Indian relations are: the influence on East and Southeast Asia, access to energy, a nuclear confrontation. Indochina and Southeast Asia are claimed by both China and India as part of their “traditional areas of influence”. In both cases what is at stake is primarily the

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availability of resources, the access to the sea and potentially the access to air and naval bases. Security as well as economic interests deeply lie on the race to gain the support of this region. To most of the Chinese, such an overlapping claim is going to become a serious factor of tension between Beijing and New Delhi. According to the sample, both countries aim at becoming the dominant regional power, although they are not yet in a position enabling them to play such an exclusive role. Nevertheless, chances to avoid a confrontation on regional influence are envisaged by 40 percent of the interviewees. To them, a settlement of local “areas of influence” can be smoothly achieved. However, India is simultaneously pursuing an unprecedented “Go East policy”. Recently it has remarkably improved its relations with such countries as Vietnam, Japan, ASEAN-members that did not belong to its traditional environment of IR. Is this change to be considered as an attempt to react to the Chinese growing power and leverage in the region? Has New Delhi conceived a containment policy against the Middle Kingdom? Or is it rather trying to restore an imperialistic project shaped on the British legacy? The Chinese interviewees have clear opinions to this regard: India feels undoubtedly threatened by China. If they do not believe in an Indian attempt to restore an imperialistic project for Asia (50 percent declare that India is a non imperialistic country), they largely believe that New Delhi is trying to contain the “uncomfortable neighbor”. Importantly, an imperialistic approach is considered out of question only because India is not yet in a position to implement it, not because it would not find it desirable. It follows that when New Delhi is able to fully unfold its potential power, it could smoothly switch to a more dominant (if not unipolar) approach. However, 40 percent of the interviewees do not interpret the “Go East policy” as a tool to contain China. In their perspective, India is simply enlarging its traditional sphere of dialogue for three reasons. First, New Delhi intends to widen and enhance its foreign relations to acquire the status of “Big Power”. Second, as a reaction to the increasing Chinese dynamism in the region, India finds it vital to look for more benefits “in the neighborhood”. Not only to rival Beijing’s influence, but also to find alternative sources of support and help. Third, it primarily aims at creating an environment conducive to its economic development and political empowerment. In this, it is on the same track as China which “is attempting to reduce geopolitical tensions with as many nations as possible, so that it can devote all its resources and energies to the problems of modernization and reform, diversify its economic relationships, and preserve its strategic independence”3. Thus, for both Beijing and New Delhi, the priority is a safe and fast development and towards this end a stable, supportive and peaceful environment is a crucial requirement. Another requirement for their development is the supply of energy. India already imports two thirds of its oil consumption, whereas China is dependent on foreign supplies for one third of its national needs. In addition, China has 18 billion

3

H. Harding. “China’s Co-operative Behavior”, in W.T. Robinson and D. Sambough, ed.: Chinese foreign policy, Theory and Practice, Clarendon Paperbacks, 1994, p. 388

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barrels of oil reserves, compared to the meager 5 billions of India4. Thus, both India and China are importing energy sources to a large extent and are looking for new partners to supply them. In addition, India is overwhelmed by a sense of urgency since China is far ahead in terms of energy security. This shared urge for energy may easily turn into a factor of competition or instead could be the issue that encourages a wider bilateral cooperation. 52 percent of the interviewees state that such an issue will not be a reason of tension and conflict between the two countries. Quite the opposite, as it is basically regarded as a boost to set in motion a comprehensive economic cooperation program. Besides, unleashing conflicts for energy supply would be a counterproductive move on the way to a full-fledged development. Again, the countries need a peaceful background of foreign relations in order to divert all their efforts to the development program itself. In this light, then, India and China are more likely to become strategic partners rather than competitors. 47 percent of the sample believes indeed that economic pragmatism is gradually transforming the political framework too. To them the Shanghai-Bangalore axis is pivotal in shaping the new status of Sino-Indian relations more than what the Beijing-New Delhi partnership may eventually build up. A strategic partnership would enable both developing countries to promote bilateral exchanges whenever mutually beneficial, trying to limit political interference in the economic agenda. Such an economic pragmatism would help to enhance growth as well as to treat more pragmatically political and territorial disputes that would be otherwise a serious hindrance for common development. Apart from those interviewees (36 percent) who see no chance to avoid competition between China and India in the future, a considerable share (17 percent) puts the issue in “a more Asian way”. The alternative - they argue - is not competition or partnership as the solution lies in between. In other words, Chinese and Indians will be simultaneously partners and competitors. Opinions diversify among those who define competition in economic terms and cooperation at the political level and those who believe in economic cooperation paralleled by political competition. A minor explanation provided is that China and India have a different tao (way). It follows that it is inherently unconceivable that their paths may cross, either in competing or cooperative terms. They are simply meant for different directions and goals, so either option would be inappropriate. In spite of a diverse tao, undoubtedly Beijing and Delhi share one element, i.e. a nuclear program. Having a longer nuclear tradition, China regards carefully the Indian progress in this field. Only 13 percent of the interviewees actually does not hold Delhi’s nuclear programs as a threat to China, whereas the vast majority (55 percent) does not feel threatened at present but believes in a possible future danger behind the neighbor’s nuclearization. More than 60 percent of the interviewees look at the Indian nuclearization as a step conceived to gain international status and to prove to be “a superpower”. The rest of the sample splits among those who find it a response to the historical tension with 4

Chietigj Bajpaee. India, China locked in energy game, Asia Times, 17 March 2005.

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Pakistan (14% of the interviewees) and those who explain it as a mix of fears towards Pakistan and China and an eagerness for international acknowledgment. According to half of the sample, fear towards China may lead New Delhi to get closer to the US in a shared attempt to balance and contain Beijing (see Graph 4). Graph 4. Is an anti-Chinese Us-Indian alliance likely? Other 18% Yes 49%

No 33%

As evident in Graphs 4 and 5, most Chinese share the conviction that India wants to strengthen its partnership with the US rather than increasing its relations with Beijing, though opinions diverge as to the nature (formal or not) of this supposed Indo-American alliance. A third of the sample declares itself skeptical about it, while the 25% of the interviewees believe that the future Sino-Indian relations won’t evolve uniquely in terms of clash or cooperation, but according to a flexible diplomatic strategy tailored on the specific needs of the two countries.

The Chinese chessboard and the American pawn China’s economic growth and paralleled increasing political leverage is changing also the traditional range of influence of the Middle Kingdom. To this regard, the interviewees were asked to indicate two world’s areas subject the most to their homeland influence, both in the past and in the future5. Traditionally, China was recognized to be exerting its influence first in Southeast Asia (61 answers) and second in Northeast Asia (49 answers)6. To the interviewees, hardly any other region in the world was considered part of “China’s 5

Given that each interviewee was asked to provide two answers, the following data regarding Chinese “spheres of influence” are not based on a 100% value. 6 Asian regions are defined as follows: Northeast Asia as the area including China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia; Southeast Asia as the area including Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam; South Asia as the area including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka.

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spheres of influence”. The rest of Asia represented undoubtedly another target but its relevance was far less noticeable than that of the two above mentioned areas, with only 16 percent of answers. Instead, regions outside the continent were hardly touched by the Middle Kingdom. When this happened, Chinese influence could stretch up to Europe (14 answers) and only marginally to the Americas (8 answers). Graph 5. India prefers… 37%

47%

16%

An anti-US alliance with China An anti-Chinese alliance with the US Other

The difference is striking when it comes to the future extent of China’s influence. As a result of its dramatic economic growth and of its increasing political significance, the interviewees detect a wider and more diversified sphere of influence. Several important outcomes surface. First, as a consequence of China’s economic rise and global political status, the country is believed to exert a far broader and geographically diversified influence than it did in the past. So, the distinction between crucial and marginal areas of influence is far less neat. Second, the importance of Europe increases considerably, switching from 14 to 25 answers. What does not seem to change, instead, is the priority of Europe over America (only 9 answers). This results in Europe being dramatically prioritized over the Americas. Third, the position of South Asia does not change at all among the perceived Chinese areas of influence, gaining just 8 answers. This outcome is quite controversial, compared to American and Indian fears of a progressive Chinese penetration in Delhi’s neighborhood. Simultaneously, though, it is consistent with the interviewees’ former rejection of a Chinese containment strategy towards India. Fourth, although remaining widely marginal in the overall panorama, both Africa and Oceania draw more attention. The former switches from 5 to 7 answers, the latter from 2 to 7. Instead, both in the past and in the future, Central Asia by itself is not regarded as a major target of Chinese influence. This is highly due to the sample’s inclusion of the region in the “whole Asia” category, which is indeed the third most

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important arena of Beijing’s foreign projection. What is of the utmost importance to observe is that Southeast Asia is still on top of Beijing’s spheres of influence, followed again by Northeast Asia (respectively 44 and 38 answers). This confirms that Southeast Asia is going to be the major arena of both Sino-Indian and Sino-American confrontation in Asia. India claims it as part of its natural sphere of influence and the interviewees already indicated this Sino-Indian claim as a potential reason for bilateral tension. As to the US, they are enormously committed to the area for economic and security reasons. At present, their trade with the ASEAN countries overcomes the Chinese one in the area, but China is catching up quickly. In addition to buying raw materials and bringing its investments, China is strengthening its political consensus in the area. In October 2003, it was the first non-ASEAN country to sign a Treaty of Amity and Cooperation with the Association. Together, they also agreed on creating a free trade area by 2010, which will become the largest of its kind worldwide. The American perception on these events is as described by James Kelly, US assistant secretary of state for East Asia: “China is challenging the status quo aggressively. It is expanding its influence in Southeast Asia by enhancing its diplomatic representation, increasing foreign assistance, signing new bilateral and regional agreements”7. To the US, the Chinese behavior in this area is indicative of its “myopic approach” to foreign relations. By providing the targeted countries with economic loans, low cost financial capital, bilateral agreements and purportedly neglecting such issues as human rights, governance, transparency and corruption, Beijing is quickly improving its image in Southeast Asians’ minds, to the detriment of the US. At the same time, 90% of the Chinese sample considers American attitude in dealing with world affairs arrogant and aggressive. Two major trends surface in result of such an American attitude towards international issues. First, the sample detects an increase in global conflicts and hence instability. Only 13 percent of the interviewees maintain that the US have enhanced global peace and stability. Interestingly though, even this share consider the American attitude as arrogant and aggressive. Second, 72 percent of the sample acknowledges a widening gap between rich and poor, with inequality and poverty increasing along with the American global preeminence. Human rights records are not performing better either: 25 percent of the interviewee recognizes that the infringement of human rights is spreading as a consequence of the American management of global issues. Criticism against the American hegemonic behavior slightly diminishes when the democratic issues are touched upon. Indeed, rule of law and democracy are the pillars of the American civilization and among the major goals of its “missions” abroad. According to 38 percent of the sample, the US have to be recognized the merit of exporting abroad these values. Although not always in a cooperative way, they have nevertheless contributed the state of the world by spreading the democratic system and enhancing legal systems. Discontentment towards the US does not decrease when the 7

In Frank Ching. China woos influence with soft style, Japan Times, 10 June 2004.

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issue switches to their presence in Asia. For economic, political and security reasons, Washington keeps a stable and deeply rooted foothold on an area vital for American and global interests. To the Chinese, such a presence is first of all excessive and not legitimate, with only 16 percent of the Chinese finding it desirable and positive. Consistently with Beijing’s fears of an American strategy meant to contain China, 75 percent of the sample regards Washington’s commitment to the area as a threat for regional security. If the US explains their presence as a guarantee of safety, only 19 percent of the sample envisages the American umbrella as a trustworthy ground of security in Asia. Two major reasons explain for the uneasiness of the majority about the US foothold in the region. First, the Chinese detect neo-imperialistic ambitions behind it. To 70 percent of the interviewees, the US are aiming at exploiting Asia and are implementing a new version of former imperialistic designs. Second, “Washington’s absolute commitment to the Region” 8 is perceived as a dangerous break of the principle of national sovereignty. Indeed, if the US were to intervene in Asia to promote the spread of democracy and the rule of law, this mission seems to have abundantly failed. Signs of political and legal improvement, due to an American contribution, are identified only by 24 percent of the sample. Together with the rise of its economic status, China’s discomfort with the US presence and attitude in Asia is fundamental in determining Beijing’s behavior in the international arena. Chinese political leaders have repeatedly reassured the world that China does not approve of hegemonic attitudes, nor is it going to develop one of its own9. The path it intends to follow is one of heping juechi (peaceful rise), with rise as the undisputed priority and peacefulness as the selected condition. Interestingly enough, 34 interviewees think instead that a stronger China will try to restore its traditional vassal system. It will surface as unrivalled regional power and a major global actor. As such, it will use its enhanced power to grant assistance and protection to “the faithful countries”, in return for their alliance, obedience and inevitable submission and compliance. Conversely, 55 percent of the sample believes that China will rise treating foreign actors equally (only 5% envisions an arrogantly hegemonic Chinese approach). These outcomes, together with a similar research carried out in Shanghai in August-September 200410, show that Chinese confidence in multilateralism enjoys wide consensus. If the Americans believe in the strong ties deriving from bilateral alliances, the Chinese are convinced that a multilateral cooperative framework, resting on economic assistance as well, enables global actors to adjust their policy to concrete 8

Admiral Lay in P. S. Suryanarayana. U.S. presence in Asia-Pacific will continue, The Hindu, 21 April 2000. 9 For instance, Premier Wen Jiabao declared that “China does not seek hegemony now, nor will it seek hegemony even after it became powerful in the future” (People’s Daily, March 14, 2004). 10 Silvia Sartori. Chinese perceptions of the future geopolitical role of the PRC. A survey on the Chinese viewpoint on issues of present and future international relations, Master thesis, Lund University, Sweden, December 2004.

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changes in the world arena. To this regard, then, the future China won’t differ much from what it used be in its glorious past. During its development, Beijing is restoring its historical habit of pursuing “a multiplicity of independent co-operative relationships, but not alliances”11. As in the Qing era, China is then likely to have “no natural allies and no permanent enemies, but a complex of mutually separable relationships with its neighbors”12. Again, this is part of the Chinese skill in managing diverse relationships always with an eye to opportunities and balance, trying to avoid ouvert confrontation.

11

C. W. Kirby, “Traditions of Centrality”, in W.T. Robinson and D. Sambough, ed.: Chinese foreign policy, Theory and Practice, Clarendon Paperbacks, 1994, pg. 18 12 C. W. Kirby, “Traditions of Centrality”, in W.T. Robinson and D. Sambough, ed.: Chinese foreign policy, Theory and Practice, Clarendon Paperbacks, 1994, pg. 17.

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RED SHADOWS OVER THE YELLOW SEA

RED SHADOWS OVER THE YELLOW SEA

by Francesco SISCI

Rising tensions between China and Japan threaten the stability of the region, and in the long run, seriously trouble the world’s economic and geopolitical equilibrium. The use of nationalist rhetoric. China’s challenge to the Japanese primacy. The Asian phantoms of the Cold War.

1.

T

he recent animosity between China and

Japan over historical issues, though almost unnoticed in Europe and America, is becoming a major source of instability in the region and possibly in the world. It is gaining momentum from growing nationalistic sentiments in both countries. Reasons and causes often appear puzzled, and even well meaning people seem to confuse real reasons with what otherwise appear just manipulations. Hence, it might be necessary to draw some distinctions. China has clearly a problem of democracy, since it is not a democratic country; likewise, it has a problem of human rights, as it allows serious human rights violations. These are objective problems, which are not lessened by the possible “ulterior motives” of those who use them to embarrass China. But still, human rights violations and the alleged ulterior motives are two separate things, which should be addressed separately. In fact, some people in Beijing maintain that China should democratize if it wants to fight back the trouble-makers causing problems to the Government. This argument is gaining strength. Today the “ulterior motives” contention, still much used by the Chinese propaganda in the 1990s, seems to have gone out of fashion. It is as if the Party propaganda engineers now realize that these allegations of “ulterior motives” serve no purpose and can backfire easily. Although it may seem irreverent to compare undemocratic China with democratic Japan, here’s something Tokyo could look at. The “Policy Recommendations on Japan's Diplomacy for China” drawn in July 2005, argue that China uses Japanese politicians’ false steps –namely the visit by the Japanese Prime Minister to the Yasukuni shrine, where the rest of class A war criminals are buried— as an instrument to arouse anti-Japanese sentiments. China’s ultimate goal would be to gain “regional hegemony in Asia”, the study says. The Chinese strongly deny it and claim that they simply do not want the Japanese Prime Minister to visit the memorial, in order to make clear to the Japanese that their Government has drawn a line with the past, and that their political leadership will never be willing to invade China again. Some Japanese are

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unconvinced and say that China’s real objective is to constantly humiliate Japan with the memory of its atrocities during World War II, in order to make sure that in the future Tokyo won’t have the spine to stand up against Chinese rising ambition in the region. However, once again the two issues –the alleged Chinese drive for hegemony and the fact that war criminals are buried in the Yasukuni shrine— need to be separated. If the German or the Italian heads of government were to visit a place where German or Italian World War II criminals are buried, the western world would rise up, even long time after the end of the war. By the same token, the respect paid by some Japanese politicians to war criminals –which, to be honest, can hardly be justified as a means to resist China’s rising power– understandably raise all kinds of suspicions in China, as some Chinese see it as an evidence of Japan’s wish to brush up its imperial past and regain the Asian hegemony it has lost. Thus, in the end, there are suspicions of hegemonic ambitions on either side of the Yellow sea. 2. In the interest of Japan and China –and in the light of their ambitions in Asia— we might modestly give some advices. a) As to Japanese politicians’ visits to the memorial, in their present form they are untenable. Is war criminals who they’re paying homage to in the shrine, and despite their best intentions, this conveys to the Japanese people and to the world a bad message –namely that the Japanese Government is not so unhappy about past fascist military adventures. It is bad taste, at the very least. There is room to believe that these visits are not totally necessary or, if they have to take place, that something can be done with the controversial remains that rest in the shrine, like moving them somewhere else –since they, in fact, haven’t always been there. Since the end of World War II, in Italy and Germany neo-fascist parties and activities are illegal, so there is no shame in dividing up fascist and non-fascists even in their graves. This allows Germans and Italians to be proud of their nationality without having to stick to their ancestors’ fascist ideology. In modern Italy or modern Germany being fascist is by no means the same as being German or Italian. The culture is different in Asia and Europe, but these are not worlds apart: Japan was on Germany and Italy’s side in war, it could be also in peace. Presently the Japanese prime minister visits to the Shrine muddy the waters: the Japanese fascist past is part of the Japanese present? Japan is not alone in this confusion. The official Chinese rhetoric speaks of “anti-Japanese war”, not anti-fascist war. In Europe nobody names World War II as “anti German and anti Italian war”. In no way all Japanese are fascist: Japanese people have to be proud of being Japanese, though some young extremists in China from the wording “anti-Japanese war” might infer that “Japanese” is an insult. This should not happen, because it nourishes the fears of Japanese common people and the revanchism of Japan’s right wing factions. On the other hand, nobody in Japan should be proud of the aggression and the

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massacres in World War II. In his speech on September 2nd the Chinese president Hu Jintao singled out the visit to the shrine as the one element shaking the foundations of the Sino-Japanese relations. Hu may have an “ulterior motive” there; nonetheless, Japan should definitely break off with its fascist past. Such a Japanese step could have the further advantage of clearing the ground with China, depriving Chinese nationalists of a tool to use against Japan. This could help stem the nationalist tide growing on both sides of the Yellow see. These are not overall solutions. The two sides have to re-shape the linguistic framework of their relations. It won’t be easy nor it will be brief. Yet, no one better than the Chinese and Japanese, both studious of Confucius, know that to call things with their proper name is the beginning of getting them right. b) As regards to the issue of primacy in the region, the nationalist rush is stoking the hegemonic ambitions on either sides of the Yellow sea, creating a breeding ground for non-peaceful coexistence in Asia based on the belief that the game among states can be nothing but a zero-sum one. Japanese specialist in Beijing Mrs. Ma Ling maintains that Tokyo resents the present Chinese growth because it still sees China as the loser in the Sino-Japanese war, and since Japan only lost to America and Russia, it’s still firmly convinced that its position in Asia is (and should remain) unrivalled. In fact, in the past five decades Japan has been by far the richest and most powerful country in Asia. The rise of China is now challenging this position. Is Japan’s 50 years-long regional primacy going to be usurped by China in the next future? And, beside this, can there be an Asia without hegemonic powers? Mrs Ling’s reading entails important considerations about the historical developments of Sino-Japanese relations. China was the most powerful country in the region for centuries, until Japan defeated it at the end of the 19th century. Thus, the present Chinese rise could be seen as the restoration of a historical balance between the two countries in China’s favor. Of course, it’s no wonder that Japan is unwilling to cave in. If we think of the China-Japan issue in these terms, either China wins or Japan wins, the two countries, the region and the whole world could all come out as losers. Nothing good can come out from a clash, at any level, between the second largest economy, Japan, and the largest fastest growing economy, China. In this predicament it is not only propaganda manipulators that should take the rap. Nationalism rests on objective conditions – one side’s fear of losing a privileged position against another side getting richer and stronger. After the war, also thanks to the American intervention, European countries dropped the idea of hegemony in the continent: no country would be above the others. They abandoned the zero sum game idea. The same should happen in Asia. 3. Can it be done, anyway? The question must be dealt with without any naïveté, taking into account the peculiarities of the Asian context. In Europe, the past was buried because both winners and losers, France and Germany, Britain and Italy were under the American wing, each playing a specific role in the new Cold War

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confrontation. The zero sum game in Europe was abandoned also in view of a larger confrontation with the eastern bloc. With the disappearance of the iron curtain many cold war losers were welcomed into NATO and EU. All parties conveniently blamed for the past confrontation the ideological factor, communism, which ended up shadowing the geopolitical dynamics underpinning the struggle between US and USSR during the cold war –dynamics that still linger on in the present US-Russia relationship. All this didn’t take place in Asia, where at the end of World War II ranks were just opposite: the old ally, China, sided with the new cold war enemy, USSR; the old enemy, Japan, was on the winners’ side. This confused roles and exerted deep influence on the course of the cold war in Asia, on the evolution of socialist economy in China and on Beijing’s present economic and political growth. It is as if China and Japan were trading places once more 60 years after the end of the war. Economically China is now faring better than Japan, despite the fact that Japan has been on the right side of history for the past 60 years, while China was in and out of favor with America. The cold war in Asia took a different spin after the break between USSR and China and the realignment of China with the US. Nonetheless, if China definitely abandoned planned economy it still retained an autocratic political communistic regime. It is still not clear if Beijing is in or out of communism, the ideology beaten with the end of Cold War in Europe. Therefore, whereas it is clear that the Cold War has ended in Europe, it is not clear where we stand in Asia. Here, beside China, communism is still alive and kicking in North Korea and Vietnam. Furthermore, the geopolitical factor was particularly strong in Asia during the Cold War, as only geopolitical considerations –not ideological ones— stood beside the US-China reproaching in the 1970s. Then what is now the geopolitics of the relationship between China and Japan? For centuries China bossed Japan around and Japan reciprocated by invading China and massacring Chinese as the Mongols invaders had done in the past. Can now long term history take a different turn? These are huge, long term questions which must be seen through different glasses as the world has become smaller and even far away people, like Americans and Europeans, have now a stake in the peace and development of the region. 4. The traditional shadows game of Asia prevents us from fathoming the many issues involved in the Sino-Japanese predicament: the manipulation of the nationalist rhetoric, the drive (and fear of drive) for hegemony, the question of how the Cold War went on and ended in Asia –if it ever ended— and what is now the geopolitics of the region. Against this backdrop many things can go wrong and it is fundamental in the short run to avoid an uncontrollable escalation. So please Mr. Koizumi do something about the visits, and Mr. Hu call the invasion “anti-fascist war”.

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INDIA-CHINA-PAKISTAN THE INSECURITY TRIANGLE

INDIA-CHINA-PAKISTAN THE INSECURITY TRIANGLE

by P. M. KAMATH

The three nuclear powers of the Region are hostages of mutual phobias. The disputed Kashmir region and the recent improvements in Delhi-Islamabad relations. The use of terrorism by Pakistan and the role of the United States after 9/11.

1.

I

ndian northern Himalayan borders are

covered by two historically hostile nations since India’s independence—newly created Pakistan in the Northwest and newly independent China in the Northeast. For different reasons both these nations though newly independent in the 1940s more or less at the same time as India regained its freedom from foreign yoke became hostile to India. Neither their common colonial experience1 nor their common aspirations for rapid economic development could bring them together. Pakistan was created as a safe state for Indian Muslims because one-man-army led by Mohammad Ali Jinnah propounded his two-nation theory to argue that Hindus and Muslims can never live together safely. No sooner the British under their ‘divide and rule’ game theory created it in 19472 it demonstrated animosity against India arising from its sense of insecurity as a nation.3 It laid claim to Jammu & Kashmir (J & K) on the ground that it was a Muslim majority princely state4 despite the fact that its Hindu Ruler had signed instrument of accession with India, as provided under the Indian Independence Act of 19475. In short, it had no colonial experience of a fight against British as the Colonial masters who had facilitated their birth. Their only foe was Hinduism and India, despite the fact that even after religious bloodbath in the aftermath of partition of Indian subcontinent, Indians embraced secularism as a cardinal principle of their political philosophy. 1

Though China was not formally a colony of any one Western power, China was sliced into exclusive zones by the Western powers for their trade and special rights. 2 K. Subrahmanyam, “Pakistan a British creation,” The Times of India (Mumbai), June 22, 2005 3 Religion was used as a basis for Pakistani nation. With the exception of religious difference there is nothing else that separates Pakistanis from Indians. But today even this has become a shaky basis, as Muslim population in India is more than the total population of Pakistan. On the other hand 4 British limited partition of India to the provinces, which constituted British India. 5 The principle of partition neither was applied to the Princely states nor were they to exercise their option of joining one or the other dominion state on the communal composition of the state under their control.

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Pakistan fought a war with India in 1947-‘48 to annex J & K. Anglo-American machinations led to, in effect, the division of J & K, because India accepted a ceasefire, though Indian army could have easily thrown out the invaders from the entire state. Instead, India took the issue of Pakistan’s aggression to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) seeking specifically vacation of Pakistan’s occupation of nearly one-third of the state’s territory. Then, Pakistan became a partner in the United States (US) sponsored Cold War military alliances bringing the US-Soviet Union Cold War to the Indian borders. That in turn drove India to seek the shelter under the Soviet Union’s veto in the UNSC. Since then J & K has been characterized as a ‘disputed territory’ by the US and its alliance partners including Pakistan though the UNSC had named Pakistan as the ‘aggressor’ on the basis of Indian complaint. China emerged as a communist nation in October 1949. No single nation did so much to make other nations in the world to accept People’s Republic of China (PRC) as a legitimate player in world politics as India did. India’s first Prime Minister, Nehru pleaded with members of the UN to seat the PRC in place of Taiwan where Nationalist Government of China led by Cheng Kai-Shek had fled. He introduced Chinese Premier, Chou en Lai to world leaders through various conferences like the Bandung Conference in April 1955,6 earlier having acted as a go between it and the US during the Korean War in 1950-’51. Nehru was pursuing the policy of ‘defense by friendship’ with China. He was trying to foster the spirit of brotherhood amongst the people of Asia on the strength on their common colonial experience. What did Nehru get in return? The People’s Liberation Army first occupied Tibet that never was a part of China. Nehru had conceded then that Tibet was an autonomous region of China and formalized it in 1954 by creating a philosophic basis for Sino-Indian friendship through Panchsheel or Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. But in October 1962 China attacked India moving close to rice fields in Assam.7 Nehru was a shattered man claiming: “We were living in an artificial world of our own creation.”8 Not only Nehru’s ‘defense by friendship’ policy failed in relation to China but it also cemented an all weather friendship between India’s then lonely Northwestern adversary in Pakistan and newly emerging Northeastern adversary, China on the Machiavellian dictum of ‘enemy’s enemy is a friend’. Thus emerged an insecurity triangle in South Asia with India, Pakistan and China representing three poles, which continues to be a factor in foreign policy making in all three nations—though India is 6

George McTurnan Kahin, The Asian African Conference Bandung, Indonesia, April 1955 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1956). 7 Harish Kapur, India’s Foreign Policy, 1947-1992: Shadows and Substance (New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1994), p. 26. 8 A. Appadorai, Domestic Roots of India’s Foreign Policy 1947-1972 (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1981), p.225. Though, of course, General Thimmayya had warned him two months before of a possible conflict.

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the negative focus of the latter two while China and Pakistan positively cooperating to contain India.

China and Pakistan both had their wars with India and a communist China and military dictatorship of Pakistan found it geopolitically beneficial for them to cooperate against a democratic India. This insecurity triangle was well illustrated during the heights of the Bangladesh War in 1971. Of course, as a part of the larger pentagonal relationship—with the greatest champion of democracy, the US joining hands with Communist China and a Pakistani dictatorship against a democratic India, which had the crucial geopolitical support of a communist Soviet Union! Geopolitical compulsions made democracy and dictatorship as non-issues in this war while cementing the best pentagonal and triangular strategic relationships!

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2. Twenty years later, after the Soviet disintegration in 1991, the Pentagon has broken down but Triangle refuses to melt down! China has moved away from the US as a counterweight against the Soviet Union. Russia as the successor state to the Soviet Union has declared that US is no longer its adversary. Russia and China have also developed friendly relations since then. But China and Pakistan have continued to collaborate against India. The continued cooperation and collaboration between the two can well be illustrated with issues, which are not only vital to peace and security in South Asia but also to the entire world. China and Pakistan have cooperated in practically several areas on international relations. Two issues –nuclear and missile development -- are taken up here. The father of Pakistani nuclear bomb, Abdul Qadir Khan, began his nuclear service to Pakistan under the watchful eyes of military with stolen technology.9 Human tendency is: What is stolen, can be gifted; if you accept stealth as a virtue in service of the nation, selling stolen technology can not be considered as anti-national act. But under the US pressure he is now under virtual house arrest in his mother country for running under the counter sale of nuclear technology, to Islamic nations like Libya, Iran and even with alleged links with the Islamic Jihadi terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda. The Americans accepted Pakistani military explanation that it was solo-clandestine shop run by the father of Pakistani nuclear bomb without the knowledge of military leadership. Though Americans attacked Iraq on illusive, unsubstantiated possession of weapons of mass destruction, which were never found even after Saddam Hussein was dethroned. Be that as it may, in the Pakistani development of nuclear weapons with the stolen technology, China played a major role in the 1980s. Since China provided crucial know-how, which Pakistan could not test in its own land, its nuclear weapons were tested in Chinese nuclear weapons testing site at Lop Nor. Khan had boasted of Pakistan’s possession of nuclear weapons in his interview with Kuldip Nayar in 1987. Zia ul-Haq had also done the same in a Time magazine interview.10 This undoubtedly created two-pronged nuclear threat to Indian security from North. Though India had developed proven nuclear capability since 1974 nuclear tests, had shown considerable restraint despite known nuclear security cooperation between China and Pakistan in the hope that the nuclear weapons states will demonstrate their commitment to nuclear disarmament under the provisions of the NPT treaty of 1968. But nuclear weapons states went ahead with their program of vertically increasing 9

A. Q Khan, a metallurgist by profession copied, before returning to Pakistan, all important private suppliers of crucial components for construction of a gas centrifuge plant while employed at the centrifuge plant operated by Urenco at Allmelo in The Netherlands. See Praful Bidwai and Achin Vanaik, South Asia on a Short Fuse: Nuclear Politics and the Future of Global Disarmament (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2001), p.110. Also see Rodney W. Jones, Small Nuclear Forces (New York: Praeger, 1984), p.15. 10 See Strobe Talbott, Engaging India: Diplomacy, Democracy and Bomb (New Delhi: Penguin, 2004), p. 19.

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their stockpile of nuclear weapons. China went ahead in improving its nuclear weapons and its delivery system including long range Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). It has always taken shelter under the argument that it will join in Nuclear Disarmament talks only when others reduce their weapons to its level. As far as Indian concerns were involved, there were clear reports that China targeted its nuclear weapons against Indian cities from Eastern Tibet. In this background when India went ahead with nuclear tests in May 1998 and declared herself as a NWS citing nuclear threat from China, Chinese outbursts against India were in classical mould of an imperial power accusing a vassal state when it deviated from its preordained path! China took upon itself to remind India of need to improve economic conditions of its people as a “developing country.” Its state controlled media commented: “A review of Indian history” makes it clear that “India was once a world power. It is obsessed with a desire to be a regional and world power again.” 11 But when Pakistan, in response to Indian tests conducted nuclear tests in Chagai Hills in Baluchistan on May 28, 1998 China did not condemn or say a word of deploring the tests—since Pakistani nuclear weapons are India-specific. Pakistan had no indigenous missile technology even to the extent of its nuclear know-how. China has provided missile technology to Pakistan sometimes directly sometimes through North Korea. Thus, early 1990s, China provided short range M-11 missile, which was named as Shaheen. In 1998 Pakistan acquired from North Korea No Dong medium-range missiles. These can reach any city right up to South India. These were named as Ghauri after 12th century Muslim invader of India who is famous for looting wealth from Indian temples. This clearly demonstrates Pakistan’s cultural frame of mind and their intentions. Americans were very much aware of Pakistan-China collaboration in missile technology. But despite much taunted Missile Technology Control Regime barring protests, nothing much has been done. For India’s discomfiture they have divulged the fact that North Koreans have provided missile technology in return for nuclear know how. General Musharraf, military dictator presently in power, of course, has acknowledged North Korean help while denying the fact that Pakistan provided in return, nuclear technology to North Korea.12 3. Pakistan suffers from Indo-centric phobia. Three important expressions of the phobia need to be highlighted to understand current problems in India-Pakistan relations. First, the separation of Muslims from India has created a compulsion for seeking an identity independent of India. This became an added compulsion since its eastern wing then known as East Pakistan, inhabited by Bengali speaking Muslims, separated from its western wing by thousand miles of Indian territory, with the birth of an independent nation—Bangladesh in 1971. It showed that Islam as a religion alone 11

For details of reaction of nuclear weapons power to Indian tests see, P. M. Kamath, “Indian Nuclear Strategy: A Perspective for 2020,” Strategic Analysis, Vol. 22, No. 12 (March 1999), pp. 1934-6. 12 The Times of India (Mumbai), November 8, 2003.

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could not be a cementing factor to hold East Pakistan and West Pakistan together.13 A second obsession of Pakistan is parity with India. But search of parity with India, though was there since inception, it has refused to accept its impossibility after it lost East Pakistan in 1971 with birth of independent Bangladesh. However, this search for parity with India has only increased in recent years. Having established parity in missile and nuclear weaponization, now it seeks parity in conventional military strength. Third, there is an intense national urge to pay back to India for its role in the birth of Bangladesh in East Pakistan and take revenge by causing disintegration of India. General Musharraf has expressed his opinion that if India breaks into many countries it will be easy to deal with them. For him India’s size is the problem. In causing disintegration of India, it uses two instruments: First, is to exploit internal dissension within an Indian province. As a functional democracy, there are many ethnic and religious causes for dissensions in India. Second, based on them, in the post-Cold War period, it has promoted cross-border terrorism against India. In the light of these lasting phobias in Pakistan’s foreign policy, let me briefly discuss the two problems affecting India-Pakistan relations --J & K and cross border terrorism. 4. Jammu & Kashmir though legally a part of Indian Union, Pakistan has laid claim to it on the grounds of its being a Muslim majority state since 1947. And in recent years has considered it as a part of unfinished agenda of partition process of the Indian subcontinent. After both the countries declared their status as nuclear weapons states after their nuclear tests in May 1998, former democratically elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif was set to find a solution to the dispute by internationalizing the present Line of Control (LOC). The process initiated after Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee in the early 1999 was derailed by the then Chief of Staff, General Musharraf --first by initiating the Kargil war and then in October 1999 assuming power as the military dictator of Pakistan. Since then Musharraf has made Kashmir a core issue in Pakistan’s relations with India while India has made it a core concern in its national security policy of maintaining territorial integrity and secular character of the society. The J & K dispute is not the only major problem that divides India and Pakistan today but its use of terrorism against India to annex it is also a related problem. It has perfected the promotion of cross border terrorism as an instrument during the last two decades. Hence, first it tried to incite secession in the Indian province of Punjab by aiding them sense of alienation with government after the government used force to ease out Sikh terrorists from the Sikh holy place in Amritsar. Then, having perfected terrorism as an instrument, it turned to J & K. If India is not going to surrender Kashmir through diplomatic negotiations—having failed to secure 13

British, while dividing India territorially did not divide it culturally. Hence, Pakistan suffers from lack of an independent cultural identity. For details, see Manisha Tikekar, “Cultural Idiom in the Indo-Pak Conflict,” in P. M. Kamath (Ed.), India-Pakistan Relations: Courting Peace From the Corridors of War (New Delhi: Promilla & Co, 2005), pp.187-208.

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Kashmir by wars-- terrorism has been handy to break India’s will to preserve territorial integrity. Avenging the Indian role in the birth of Bangladesh from the ruins of former East Pakistan in 1971 and causing cessation of J & K by terrorizing the innocent population of the state by terrorism are closely linked. After the end of the Cold War it was certain that its long time benefactor in the West --the US and China in the East might not support another war between two nuclear weapons states. Instead, with nuclear weapons as a fallback safety device, it decided to use terrorism as a weapon of foreign policy. But even today for Pakistan there is no terrorism in J & K only a freedom movement. 14 Thereby for long, Pakistan has drawn support of Western powers on the grounds of freedom struggle and violation of human rights while enjoying financial and diplomatic support of Islamic countries to their Jihad. It is only after 9/11 and that too gradually that Pakistan was forced to change its approach to Kashmir and terrorism. Additionally it took two failed attempts to assassinate Musharraf by internal Pak-bred terrorist groups made him to accept Indian offer to a peaceful settlement of all disputes through dialogue. But he can revive his use of terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy since Pakistan has not dismantled all its terrorist camps.15 On the question of J & K China has extended consistent support to Pakistan. China was obliged to it as Pakistan had ceded territory from occupied Kashmir to enable it to build an all weather Karakoram road. During the 1965 India – Pakistan war China extended diplomatic support to Pakistan. During 1971 War China stood firmly with Pakistan holding out a threat against India of intervening on the side of Pakistan. It is this possibility that led India to sign the Peace and Friendship Treaty with the then Soviet Union so as to checkmate China. Pakistan seems to have providence on its side. When its use of terrorism was going beyond tolerance limit of the lone super power, September 11, 2001 attack on the US homeland took place. Suddenly the need for access to Pakistani territory to stage attack on Afghanistan’s Taliban regime arose. The US was willing to give any price for military dictator, Musharraf’s support!16 Earlier, in 1979 when US-Pakistan

14

I attended a Conference in Washington, DC hosted by Kashmir American Council in July 2005 where this point of view was aired vehemently. See P. M. Kamath, “Terrorism, is a non-issue to Pakistanis and their US supporters,” The Free Press Journal (Mumbai), August 15, 2005) 15 In his address to the nation on 59th Independence Day on August 15th, 2005 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said: “I am aware that the government of Pakistan has put some checks on the activities of terrorists from its soil. However, it is not possible to achieve success through half hearted efforts. It is necessary that the entire infrastructure of terrorism is totally dismantled.” The Times of India (Mumbai), August 16, 2005. 16 This was second time Afghanistan raising the political fortunes of Pakistan. In December 1979 another military dictator, Zia-ul Haq was facing low fortunes with the US. The Soviet military intervention on the Xmas day led President Carter to offer Zia economic and military aid to the tune of $ 40 million which was rejected by Zia as peanuts. But Reagan raised aid amount to $ 3.2 billion thus

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relations were at their lowest ebb, with President Carter suspending economic aid and Americans being under attack in Islamabad, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan provided an opportunity for the revival of Pakistan’s relations with the US. However, despite Americans having one yardstick to assess terrorist attacks on them and their friends and another to measure it against Indians in J & K, Pakistan stands exposed as a failed state, exporter of terrorism and a breeding ground for religious fanatics. Three of the four suicide bombers in July 7, 2005 bombings in London had their roots in Pakistan. Earlier Mohammed Atta mastermind of 9/11 attacks received his money from Pakistan based terrorists. Pakistan thus has not been able to escape the label as the epicenter of global terrorism. Though all these facts are conveniently ignored by the Bush administration. 5. India is often seen as carrying on with unilateral steps in its relations with China without reciprocity from the other side from the beginning. Even after China attacked India on the borders in 1962, India was in favor of seating China in the UN SC. In the recent years, India unilaterally favored Chinese joining the World Trade Organization (WTO). But similar support for the Indian claim for a permanent seat in the UN SC was not forthcoming from China. In 1994 China was pretending not knowing about Indian seriousness in pursuing the goal of a Permanent seat in the UN Security Council.17 But during Indian Prime minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee’s visit to Beijing in June 2003, two agreed to work together to strengthen the UN. Yet so far it has only worked to stall Indian chances of gaining a permanent seat in the UNSC. However, China is an extremely realistic power, which respects power. Indian nuclear tests made it clear that India has at last decided to assert itself in international relations without playing a second fiddle to China. Hence, China has shown seriousness in settling border problem, which has been assigned to political level officials in June 2003 during Indian PM’s visit to Beijing. The visit also gave a boost to India-China bilateral trade, which has been rising steadily. Those who feared Indian market being flooded with Chinese goods have noted with satisfaction the fact that India enjoys a favorable trade balance. Recently, also the relations with Pakistan have quite improved. India was able to make US see Pakistan’s perfidious role in promoting terrorism in India especially after 13 December 2001 attack against Indian Parliament, which led India to mobilize troops on India- Pakistan borders for nearly ten months. This made the US to get seriously involved in deescalating the crisis in India-Pakistan relations. In June 2002 the US Deputy Secretary of state, Richard Armitage was dispatched to South Asia to turning peanuts into walnuts! See P. M. Kamath, “Conclusions,” in P. M. Kamath (ed.), Indo-US Relations: Dynamics of Change (New Delhi: South Asian Publishers, 1987), pp. 178-9. 17 In an international seminar at New Delhi to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of signing of the Panchsheel, I raised the question of China reciprocating for Indian support to its membership of the WTO, Chinese delegate countered it by asking whether India is serious in pursuing the goal.

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defuse the crisis. He extracted a commitment from General Musharraf, described as “an absolute assurance” not to permit cross border terrorism against India and also to close down all terrorist training camps. 18 The US concern was to prevent a nuclear conflict in the South Asian region. India also realized that a conflict between two nuclear-armed states couldn’t be ensured to limit to conventional weapons. India thus took the third time initiative to improve relations with Pakistan when then the Prime Minister Vajpayee in April 2003 offered to initiate a dialogue between the two and discuss all issues including the J & K. After series of behind the scene talks Indian Prime Minister met General Musharraf in Islamabad in January 2004. In the joint statement issued by the two, once again General Musharraf committed not to permit Pakistan’s territories to be used against India. The peace process initiated then has continued despite change in the government in New Delhi. Not only the new Indian leader, Manmohan Singh and Musharraf have met twice in two years but they have also said that the peace process is “irreversible” though the Prime Minister has openly expressed his dissatisfaction at half hearted efforts made by Pakistan to control cross border terrorism. 6. Can there be new trends in the South Asian region without conflicts constantly manifesting between India and Pakistan? Can they learn to manage their own affairs without their drawing external powers like China and the US? Can India, Pakistan and China security triangle be loosened up? Since the end of the Cold War there has been a great opportunity to nations in the South Asian region as elsewhere in the world to adjust their international relations in a more natural order rather than merely playing geopolitical security game. But Pakistan as a failed state without democracy taking its roots and China ruled by the Communist Party, India is a democratic nation surrounded by anti-democratic forces. So long these nations on India’s northern borders remain anti-democratic, it is unlikely that nexus between China and Pakistan would break; thus continuing the insecurity triangle.

18

Generally see K. Alan Kronstadt, India-U.S. Relations, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress (November 4, 2004).

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INDIA IS TIRED OF THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS

INDIA IS TIRED OF THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS

by Kanwar Pal Singh GILL

Since the Partition, a long chain of interethnic conflicts bloodstains the Indian continent. But after the “Gujarat carnages”, riding the opposite extremisms for electoral purposes doesn’t pay anymore. The revenge of pluralism.

1.

T

he ‘Gujarat riots’ – specifically, the riots of

February-May 2002, for there has, in fact, been a long succession of riots in Gujarat – caught the world’s attention primarily because they were the first large-scale riots in India after the revolution in the electronic news media, which brought macabre events in the most distant places into the world’s drawing rooms. The horror of the events that followed the appalling Godhra incident of February 27, 2002 – in which 59 Hindu pilgrims, including women and children, were burnt to death in a train allegedly by a rampaging mob of Muslims1 – cannot be escaped, nor can the evident collusion and collapse of state institutions, including the police. Eventually, 1,044 persons – 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus – were killed2 in over two months of sustained rioting that was only brought to an end after I was appointed Security Advisor to the Chief Minister of Gujarat, and reorganized an often recalcitrant Police Force to take strong and even-handed action against those who were encouraging or participating in the violence. To believe, however, that the Gujarat riots of 2002 were a unique and unprecedented incident – in character, intensity, brutality or scale – is to misunderstand and distort their significance and the context of communal violence in South Asia. 2. South Asia has a long history of the evolution of relations between various religious communities. All the world’s great religions are represented here, and, in India, none of these has historically been targeted for persecution. Even aggressive proselytizing faiths – Christianity and Islam, both of which originally came to the sub-continent peacefully, though they were associated at a later stage of history with violent conquest and colonialism – have been welcomed and absorbed, and, more significantly, have worked out extraordinary systems and traditions of coexistence with other faiths. These systems have periodically broken down, most frequently in 1

The events are in dispute, and two commissions of inquiry have delivered contradictory findings. ‘Post-Godhra toll: 254 Hindus, 790 Muslims’, New Delhi: The Indian Express, May 11, 2005, http://www.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=46538. 2

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local conflagrations, sometimes in wider movements of mutual slaughter. Tensions grew under British colonialism, especially after the mass uprising of 1857 – Indians remember this as the country’s ‘First war of Independence’ – which the British substantially blamed the Muslims for. A policy of ‘divide and rule’, in which local antipathies, including religious sentiments, were systematically exploited, was followed by the British, who found it convenient to manipulate regional and communal faultiness to consolidate their own power in their Indian empire. This general policy culminated, in the early 20th Century, in a series of policies that sought to polarize India’s religious communities, particularly the Hindus and the Muslims. These provoked, first, the demands for ‘separate electorates’ in the nominally representative Legislatures that the British first introduced; and, eventually, under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s Muslim League, the demands for the Partition of the erstwhile Indian empire on the basis of religious majorities, and the creation of a Muslim majority Pakistan, when the British were planning their reluctant departure from the sub-continent. The Partition was by far the worst communal carnage South Asia had witnessed. Up to a million people are estimated to have been slaughtered (there is no single authoritative assessment of fatalities) in the arbitrary sundering of a historically integrated land; over 20 million were uprooted from their homes and flung violently into a great and agonizing journey forced upon them in the name of a pernicious ideology of religious exclusion, the ‘two-nation theory’ that claimed that Muslims could not coexist under the same political order with people of other Faiths – the ideology that underpinned the creation of Pakistan, and that has inspired the religious extremism, fanaticism, and eventually, international Islamist terrorism that has been spawned in that country, and exported across the globe. This ideology was unambiguously rejected by liberal-democratic India, and secularism has been an integral element of the political order and philosophy underlying this country. Nevertheless, the memories of Partition lived on like suppurating wounds in hidden corners of the national psyche. Many political parties, including some that proclaim ‘secularism’ as their motivating ideology, have opportunistically exploited these sentiments for electoral gain and political mass mobilization, and these have also found expression in the ghettoisation of the communities in many areas, as also in fitful communal violence and riots in different parts of the country. 3. Gujarat 2002, consequently, lay squarely along a continuum of recurrent communal confrontations that have been instigated time and again by vested political interests located in parties all along the political spectrum. It is equally true that every major riot in this country has represented a comparable breakdown or collusive dynamic in the state structure, and I am absolutely confident that, where enforcement agencies have a clear mandate, no riot in India can last beyond 24 hours. It is thus absurd, contra-factual and counter-productive, to seek to exaggerate the significant of Gujarat 2002 by playing down the reality of India’s disastrous record of recurrent communal violence since the carnage of Partition.

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Worse still, organized communal violence is an evil that, again and again, “bears the imprimatur of the state,”3 as parties in power abandon constitutional values and subvert the agencies of the state, giving free rein to the forces of hatred. To suggest that state collusion and ‘breakdown’ were something unique to the Narendra Modi Government in Gujarat is to ignore a long history of savage riots in which the agencies of the state either stood by as silent witnesses, or in some of which they actively participated. Gujarat has long been associated in the public imagination with Mahatma 3

Neera Chandoke, “The new tribalism”, Chennai: The Hindu, April 4, 2002.

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Gandhi, the great apostle of peace who humbled the might of the British Empire with his strategy of peaceful resistance that he named satyagraha – a struggle for truth. In focusing on the best known son of the province, it is widely forgotten that Gujarat is as Janus-faced as any other part of the sub-continent – Jinnah, the architect of Partition, the ‘founding father of Pakistan’, and a passionate advocate of religious ghettoisation, was a Gujarati Muslim. The accident of association with Mahatma Gandhi does not create, in this State, any unique proclivity for peace. Indeed, the State has a terrible record of recurrent riots. In 1969 the official record of fatalities was acknowledged at over 660. 1981, 1985, 1990, and 1992-3 were each marked by major communal violence and slaughters,4 and, Bhiku Parekh rightly notes Gujarat’s “dubious distinction of having the highest per capita deaths in such violence in the country and causing the highest number of casualties in a single cluster of riots.”5 One source records as many as 106 ‘major riots’ in the State just between 1987 and 1991.6 Nor, indeed, was the savagery of the riots of 2002 exceptional – though these riots were unimaginably brutal. Communal violence has historically been characterized by the most extraordinary viciousness. In 1992, when riots broke out at Surat, again in Gujarat, rioters not only raped and murdered Muslim girls, but proudly recorded these heinous crimes on videotapes that were, subsequently, privately circulated among their sympathizers and political supporters.7 Similarly, descriptions of the riots of September 1969 could easily be mistaken for an account of what happened in 2002.8 Communal relations in Gujarat, moreover, have been steadily eroded by patterns of politics as well as by social and economic trends in post-Partition India. Partition drew a line of blood along Gujarat’s northern border, and tens of thousands of Gujaratis and Sindhis crossed over into this area after the violent birth of Pakistan. Memories of this trauma have afflicted the psyche of the people of the State, as have the riots of the forties through the seventies, which were largely initiated by Muslims. These broad trends led to the progressive segregation of the communities in exclusionary ghettoes, and a decline in opportunities for social interaction. Part of the tension was also related to the spiraling land values of some of the urban ghettoes, and there have long been whispers about the role of an organized ‘land mafia’ in the riots. Worse, the Gujarat has been specifically targeted by Pakistani clandestine agencies and agents provocateurs, even as it has had very significant 4

Asghar Ali Engineer, “Gujarat: Laboratory of Hindutva,” Progressive Dawoodi Bohras, March 2002, http://wwww.dawoodi-bohras.com/spotlight/riots.htm. 5 Bhiku Parekh, “Making sense of Gujarat,” Society Under Seige, New Delhi, May 2002, p. 26. 6 K.M. Chenoy, S.P. Shukla, K.S. Subramanian & A. Vanaik, Gujarat Carnage 2002 – A Report to the Nation by an Independent Fact Finding Mission, Apr 10, 2002, www.mnet.fr/aiindex/GujCarnage.html. 7 See: M J Akbar, “Ruling by riots”, www.time.com/time/asia/features/india_ayodhya/viewpoint.html; S. Sarkar, “Fascism of the Sangh Parivar” www.mnet.fr/aiindex/sSARKARonSANGHPARIVAR.html. 8 R. Sinha, “Give a dog a bad name and hang it”, New Delhi: The Pioneer, Apr 20, 2002; Col. A. Athale, “We were ready to punish Pakistan”, Mar 2, 2005, www.rediff.com/news/2005/mar/03spec1.htm.

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smuggling, bootlegging (Gujarat is a prohibition State) and organized criminal activities, with connections across the border. Much of this organized criminal activity, with its connections and sponsorship with Pakistan, has taken a strong communal hue, and was long-dominated by Muslims. Organized criminal gangs are also known to have played a pivotal role in earlier riots in the State, when the victims tended, overwhelmingly, to by Hindus. Pakistan has sought to engineer and aid demographic shifts along the border, as well as the growth of mosques and madrassas (seminaries) in the State, at least some of which have lent themselves to subversive, criminal and violent activities. Politics compounded the communal polarization, as political parties – including the secular Congress party – adopted election strategies based on caste and communal mobilization. To break the Congress party’s dominance and undermine its control over long-standing ‘vote banks’ in the State, the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sought to consolidate the Hindu vote on an aggressive ‘Hindutva’ ideological platform9, actively employing radicalized and extremist sister organizations such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal, and the Durga Vahini, in a sustained campaign of mass mobilization. Accentuating communal polarization and isolating the Muslims was an integral element of their strategy of political extension. 4. The ‘Godhra incident’ of February 27, 2002, was the trigger that sparked – or that was used to spark – the widespread riots that followed. It is significant that the largest proportion of the casualties in the riots occurred in just a handful of incidents in the first few days. Nevertheless, continuous orchestration by certain political parties led to widely dispersed incidents across much of the State, and this sporadic violence persisted for over two months, with a daily incidence of fatalities. The most surprising aspect of these persistent disorders was the fact that Ahmedabad, the capital city, was among the worst affected. There was clear evidence, at once, of deliberate orchestration of the violence as well as of the paralysis, the indifference or the collusion of the agencies of the state. Much has been made of the role of the political executive in fanning the flames and in ‘paralysing’ the administrative response – and the partisan role of the State’s political leadership is unquestionable. But the enforcement agencies of the State cannot hide behind this alibi – the gravest failure during the Gujarat 2002 riots was a police failure to fulfill constitutional obligations. Nothing in India’s administrative system requires directives from the political executive to prevent the commission of a crime – including 9

Hindutva is a political ideology that seeks an exclusively ‘Hindu’ state (where ‘Hindu’ is idiosyncratically defined within the context of a ‘cultural nationalism’ that ostensibly comprehends all the people of ‘Hindustan’, but which has, in practice, been actively hostile to non-Hindu religious Faiths). It has been advanced by a group of organizations collectively called the Sangh Parivar (the Sangh Family), so named after the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (the National Self Service Organisation) the parent organisation from which various entities such as the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal and the Durga Vahini are drawn, or from which they receive their inspiration.

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widespread rioting – and no police officer is bound to obey extra-constitutional or illegal directives, or to look to ‘higher authorities’ for a signal to act when confronted by any criminal activity. Nevertheless, the Gujarat Police, for months at end, failed to prevent the violence, failed to protect victims even when specifically called on to do so, failed to register the complaints of victims, and failed to impartially investigate complaints. Worse, there were at least some instances, not only of the police looking away, but of active connivance by some officers with the mobs and their leaders. The number of such complicit elements was minuscule within the Police Force, but, given the context of the wider defalcation, their actions created a terror and sense of helplessness among the victim community. At the same time, violent mobs were being systematically incited and organized to attack or intimidate the minority areas, by leaders drawn from political formations – particularly the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal – that were part of the Sangh Parivar, of which the ruling BJP was also a member. Thousands of Muslims abandoned their homes to huddle fearfully in poorly organized ‘relief camps’, seeking a security in numbers and hoping that the greater media visibility of these makeshift camps would provide some immunity against attack. Through all this, statements and actions emanating, both from the State and Central Government remained ambivalent, and at least in many cases, seemed to justify the violence as a ‘natural reaction’ to the Godhra atrocity.10 It was in these circumstances that the then Union Home Minister, L.K. Advani and Arun Jaitley, the then Union Law Minister, first asked me to take charge of the situation and to bring it under control. Unnecessary controversy was created when I sought to reinforce the Gujarat Police with a contingent from Punjab – the State in which I had led the campaign that comprehensively defeated the Khalistani terrorist movement. However, the Punjab Government saw fit to refuse my request. I had, moreover, been sent to Gujarat as ‘Security Advisor’ to the Chief Minister – a capacity, as the title suggests, strictly advisory, with no direct control over the police administration or executive powers. Clearly, if order had to be restored, a change of guard was necessary at the highest levels of the police. It took me little effort to make police respect some basic behaving rules, but their impact was immediate and total. Literally within days, the killing stopped. 5. It must, however, be understood that ‘peace’ is not something that can be imposed by police fiat. The mandate of the police cannot go beyond the restoration of order and the cessation of violence. Establishing ‘peace’ is something the communities and the political leadership have to do. Regrettably, successive rounds of rioting in Gujarat, as in other parts of the country, have never been followed by such efforts and processes. What went largely unnoticed in Gujarat 2002, moreover, was the sheer duplicity of all political formations in the country – and very particularly the combined Opposition. Some leaders, both in the ruling coalition and the Opposition at the Centre 10

See “'Newton' Modi has a lot to answer,” The Times of India, New Delhi , March 02, 2002.

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made loud protestations of their dissatisfaction with the course of events in, and desire to go to, Gujarat during the period of violence, but ‘wisely refrained,’ as they had been advised by the Gujarat Government that this could be a ‘security risk’. In its darkest hour, Gujarat was singularly divested of the visible presence of prominent political leaders from outside the State. It was not just the State and Central governments that failed the people; it was the entire political leadership. That, however, was not the limit of the failure. Many high profile ‘peoples’ committees’ swarmed in and out of Gujarat at this time, writing poorly investigated, inaccurate and hastily drafted ‘citizens reports’ that, far from documenting the truth and creating pressure for corrective action, exploited the vast and recurrent tragedies of the victims’ lives for personal and partisan projection. Not one of these ‘committees’, whether they belonged to established or quasi-governmental bodies (such as the National Human Rights Commission, the National Commission for Women, etc.), or the many organisations and delegations from the voluntary sector, and the ‘independent fact finding commissions’, camped in the troubled areas for any length of time. These were just photo-ops or worse, excuses to push forward a partisan political agenda. But the Gujarat riots did not establish – as some claimed – “Facism’s firm footprint” 11 on India’s soil. The communal riots in Gujarat appeared to suggest a complete breakdown of democracy and constitutional governance. It is true that most of the guilty will never be punished – this record is consistent with that of all major riots in India in the past – but political readjustments and a range of independent institutional responses are already transforming the structures of power. As one commentator noted: “even as Gujarat, and India, copes with the communal outburst, what may be of interest to political observers is to note how fascism is constrained – albeit with great difficulty – by a democratic country. This is not something which has been witnessed before since Hitler had strangled democracy soon after assuming power. There is reason to believe, however, that democratic India will strangle fascism before it can do much damage… the elaborate paraphernalia of a free society – the judiciary, human rights and minority commissions, the media, NGOs, etc., – ensured that the fire did not burn out of control.12 There were, of course, many miscarriages of justice, and the conduct of the judiciary in Gujarat in cases connected with the riots was at times worse than disgraceful. Eventually, however, the Supreme Court did step in and ordered the re-examination of 2,000 out of 2,108 instances of the summary dismissal of riot cases. Some obvious cases of miscarriage of justice have been shifted out of the Courts in Gujarat to other States, and the Supreme Court is currently monitoring progress in the thousands of prosecutions connected with the riots. More significantly, the efforts of the Hindutva parties to polarize communities in Gujarat eventually failed. Narendra Modi and the BJP were returned to power in the State elections of December 2002; but the BJP led coalition Government at the Centre 11 12

A. Roy, “Democracy: Who is she when she’s at home?” New Delhi: Outlook India, April 28, 2002. A. Ganguli, “Fascists in open society,” New Delhi: New Delhi: The Hindustan Times, April 22, 2002.

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fell in the national elections of April-May 2004. The Gujarat riots are acknowledged by a swelling number within the BJP to have been responsible for this, and a powerful critique of communal politics is currently emerging from within this Party itself. The economic boycott of the Muslims that the Hindutva groups sought to impose in Gujarat has failed comprehensively, and the State has returned to ‘business as usual’ and is, in fact, assessed as India’s most ‘investor friendly’ State today. After the Akshardham Temple – one of the most prominent Hindu temples in Ahmedabad – was attacked, on September 24, 2002, by Islamist terrorists linked with the Lashkar-e-Taiba (a Pakistan-backed pan-Islamist group with primary operations in the State of Jammu & Kashmir, but with a larger agenda of ‘liberating’ all Muslims from non-Muslim ‘oppression’), there was no suggestion of a ‘backlash’ against Muslims in the State. 6. As in the past, India’s democracy has responded – no doubt in tentative and conflicting ways – to the gross aberration of the Gujarat 2002 riots. Given the great complexity of relations between communities in the country, such events may certainly recur – in Gujarat, or in other parts of the country – but they have failed, and will continue to fail to erode or destroy the broad secular and pluralistic sentiment that remains the essence of India. It is significant, within this context, to note – despite occasional and massive conflagrations – that communal riots in India have demonstrated a steadily declining trend over the decades.13 And while communal ‘vote banks’ remain a mainstay of electoral calculations for may political parties, the people themselves are becoming increasingly unresponsive to efforts at communal mobilization. Communal political parties are, moreover, realizing that India is too diverse a country for their narrow ideologies, and that if they are to pursue national ambitions, a broad and inclusive political platform is inescapable. Indian democracy grinds slowly; but the evidence is that it grinds quite well.

13

Crime In India 1995, 2001, 2003, National Crime Records Bureau, Government of India, New Delhi. The years 1990-1999 saw an average of 95,259 cases of rioting (this includes all registered cases of rioting, not just communal rioting) per year; by comparison, the years 2000-2003 had an average of 70,739 registered cases of rioting.

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IN MONGOLIAN INDIA ETHNIC GUERRILLA RAGES

by Manas PAUL

India’s North-East, an area traditionally out of State control, is furrowed by conflicts among profoundly different communities, all using the separatist option as a scarecrow to assert their own interests. China and Pakistan have often fanned the flames. The cases of Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura.

I

ndia’s turbulent Northeast hogs media

headlines for all the wrong reasons-militant violence, ethnic conflict and planned destruction of public utilities. Nature has showered her bounties on this region nestled on an enchanting landscape marked by towering hill ranges, vast water resources and lush greenery bordering China, Myanmar and Bangladesh, but during the past five decades-to be precise since August 15, 1947 when India’s midnight ‘tryst with destiny’ commenced -Northeast India has emerged as arguably the worst ‘killing field’ and ‘most durable theatre of insurgent crossfire’ in South Asia. The surfeit of tribal insurgencies has already taken a heavy toll of human lives and by all indications the region, still groping largely in abject poverty, will continue to bleed in the coming decades. The infinite variety of Northeast in terms of landscape, demography and culture also make it naturally susceptible to pulls and pressures of ethnic conflict as the backward tribal population continue to perceive a threat to their traditional identity and culture amidst their inexorable march towards nationality status. This 225,000 square km of land mass, which ‘looks less and less India and more and more like highland societies of Southeast Asia’, has become the South Asia’s flashpoint of sustained and violent confrontations as several ethnic identities are embroiled in bloody guerrilla battles with the Indian state for ‘sovereignty’. These ‘little wars’ in this region are essentially characterized by civilian massacres, blasting off government establishments and bombing public places or fierce fire fights with the army or security personnel. Many of the insurgents seek to justify their terror campaign for separation of their ethno-specific land from the ‘clutch of Indian colonial power’ with a pinch of Communist rhetoric. The insurrections, though essentially local with immediate responses to area specific political considerations, has been compounded further with bloody intra-ethnic clashes of the rebel outfits bent to create ‘pure ethnic homeland’ in this polyglot region where 325 languages, out of which 175 belong to Tibeto-Burman and Mon Khmer families, are spoken.

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The implication of this ethno-centric insurgency could very well be gauged from the fact that as many as 213 tribal communities (out of total 635 in the country) at varying stages of social development are found in this region. Added to the volatile tribal mosaic are also present in the region almost all Indian nationalities. The socio-ethnic distinctiveness of the region that includes seven states -Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya- also made many sociologists claim it as the ‘Mongoloid fringe of India’. The distinct identities also inculcated in the indigenous people of the region a sense of being ‘different from the rest of the country’. The legacy of rebellion here, however, rests on the deep sense of alienation among the indigenous people from the Indian mainstream. In fact, the high hills, the deep forest or the vast plains that make the present-day Northeast- had never been a controlled territory of the India’s mainland rulers right from the time of medieval Sultanate rule to the mighty Mughals. Barring Assam, Tripura and Manipur where the ‘Hindu’ kings had religious and cultural affiliations with the Indian heartland, it was only the religious envoys or businessmen from the plains who came to this eastern extremity of India.

Historically, Northeast had never formed part of mainstream India. The ‘Rig

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Veda’, the hoary Hindu scripture is silent on the existence of Northeast down the annals of Indian history the region was never politically or emotionally integrated with Indian mainstream until the British arrived on the scene. Even the British did not take much interest in making the region, lacking in natural resources and business potential, a stable and a directly administered constituent of the Empire but preferred to protect this frontier mostly by ‘strategic alliances and token but alert presence’. The British turned its eye to the North East only after it had subjugated the rest of the subcontinent by the first quarter of nineteenth century. It was, actually the perceived threat from the unstable Burmese rulers that forced the British to look east. However, the White men faced fierce resistance from the tribals when they set foot on Naga hills (Nagaland), Lushai hills (Mizoram), Khasi hills (Meghalaya) and Manipur. The fierce guerrilla warfare launched by the Naga and Lushai (Mizo) tribals in the hilly terrains held up mightier British for years. The guerrillas could be tamed only after the British resorted to such brutal force that in places entire villages became ‘populated only by widows’. Nevertheless, the British left the tribal dominated hills to their local chiefs but integrated only Assam for its vast agricultural land –the main source for revenue, tea potential and oil fields. Princely Tripura and Manipur were turned into ‘dependencies’ without regular or direct administrative rein from the Viceroy. The Eastern Frontier Regulation Act, 1873 that enforced the Inner Line Regulation left the tribal dominated hills virtually un-administered ‘Excluded’ zone. For all intents and purposes it was a deliberate attempt on the part of the British to keep the areas out of mainland India’s influence in the wake of the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. The British policy to leave the Northeast tribals to their own traditional life and customary administration continued more or less in a similar fashion in independent India. Country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, in fact, strengthened the isolationism that the British had promoted by retaining the Inner Liner Regulations and concomitantly prohibiting free movement of outsiders in the tribal land. The Indian authorities, moreover, incorporated Constitutional provisions for limited ‘autonomy’ for tribals to safeguard their rights. Distinct ethnic identities, considerable freedom since time immemorial and even during the expansionist British rule, as well as alienation from the influence of Indian mainland culture only deepened the feeling of isolation among the indigenous population of the region. This sense was exacerbated by abject poverty and backwardness among tribal people, abruptly exposed to an uneven economic competition with their more fortunate non-tribal neighbors. China and then Pakistan aided and abetted the armed movement in the Northeast India since beginning by–training and supplying arms and other logistic supports to the first generation insurgent leaders. Pakistan was keen to open a ‘proxy war’ zone in this frontier from its East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) province, but it was China that actually nurtured the Northeast militancy-mainly the Nagas and Mizos -with all care. In early eighties China stopped direct support to the guerrillas, but Pakistan through its intelligence service (ISI) based in Bangladesh, continues to

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foment the Northeast insurgency. After Sheikh Mujibur Rehman’s assassination on 15th August 1975, Bangladesh, caught in the tide of growing Islamic fundamentalism, also became safe haven of the rebels from the ‘Hindu’ country. Indian authorities claimed there are presently about 200 insurgent camps in Bangladesh- mostly in Chittagong Hill Tracts and Sylhet. As surrendered militants disclosed and intelligence reports pointed out, many guerrilla leaders are running flourishing business in Bangladesh capital Dhaka and port city Chittagong with the huge money collected through extortion and robberies. At present more than 40 outfits of varied size and strength are active in the Northeast but all do not essentially qualify in the classic sense as ‘insurgent’ or ‘rebel’ organizations. While some outfits turn out to be mere criminal syndicate some also play ‘moral police’. In many cases their struggle for ‘independence’ ends with a settlement for ‘autonomy’ or financial benefits for their leaders.

Nagaland The armed insurrection of the Nagas, the fierce warriors known as ‘head hunters’, was the mother of all rebellions in this frontier. In 1832 the British first landed in the Naga Hills with 800 soldiers but they had to wait till 1879 to tame the fierce tribesmen. Fifty years later the ‘Naga Club’, an umbrella organization, in a memorandum to Sir John Simon ( Head of Simon Commission ) and Clement Atlee on January 10, 1929 demanded adequate safeguards from any ‘possible rule by Indian or Burmese’ right from the day onward’. The Naga Club’s memorandum sowed seeds of Naga separatism that proliferated and culminated in the formation of Naga National Council on February 2, 1946 by a fierce Naga nationalist Angami Zapu Phizo. On 18 September 1954 Phizo under the banner of NNC and the ‘Federal Naga Government’ launched full scale insurgency. Even as the fierce bush war involving Naga insurgents and the Indian army raged hard on the high confines of the Patkoi hills, foreign powers like China and Pakistan came forward to dabble in the boiling ethnic cauldron. In 1962 guerrilla ‘general’ Kaito Sema led his armed followers to East Pakistan for training and arms procurement. Within four years ‘political commissar’ Thuingaleng Muivah and ‘army commander’ ‘Brigadier’ Thinoselie led 353 Naga guerrillas to the China’s Yunan province for training. Beijing accorder Muivah the status of ‘ambassador’ and took him on an escorted tour of Vietnam for direct experience of guerrilla warfare. Muivah stayed in China for four years. In 1968 Mow Angami and Isaac Chishi Swu led one more guerrilla detachment to China on a similar mission. But Indian government’s divide and rule policy and the virus of clan rivalry started tearing at the entrails of the Naga movement. Kaito Sema in 1968 broke away from the NNC and formed his own short-lived outfit Revolutionary Government of

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Nagaland. London-based Phizo’s failure to garner international support for Naga movement further strained the inner bickering even as the might of the Indian armed forces continued to gain upper hand. However, a semblance of normalcy appeared to battle-weary Naga hills as on 11 November 1975 a group of NNC including Phizo’s younger brother Kevi Yallay signed the bipartite Shillong Peace Accord with the Indian government. But trouble re-surfaced as Muivah and Swu rejected the Shillong Accord, and resumed militancy under the banner of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) for ‘Nagalim’ or greater Nagaland with all Naga inhabited areas of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and even Myanmar. In 1988 the NSCN suffered a vertical split on ethnic line. NSCN general secretary Muivah and president Swu headed the NSCN ( I-M) faction comprising by and large Thankul, Sema and Konyak clans while vice president Khaplang went ahead with his own outfit (NSCN-K) dominated by the fierce Hemi Nagas , settled in bordering areas of Myanmar and Nagaland. The NSCN carried on with violent attacks on army and targeted public properties at the same time ran a parallel government extorting ‘taxes’ from civilians, government employees, businessmen and politicians. Since 1997, however, Muivah and Swu agreed for peace talks with New Delhi and a ceasefire was declared. Both the government and NSCN (I-M) held several rounds of negotiations but the major bone of contentions in the talks turned out to be the issues of ‘Nagalim’, which Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh strongly oppose, and unification of both the NSCN factions. New Delhi feels that without NSCN (Khaplang) in the talks, lasting peace would not come.

Manipur Manipur was the last kingdom that fell to the British in 1891. It is, indeed, ironical that Meiteis (the major community in Manipur) despite being Vaishnabite – a Hindu cult that denounces all forms of violence- could take to gun culture. The Meitei insurgency was indirectly a sequel to the Naga rebellion in the adjoining land. Hijam Irabot, one Meitei communist in early sixties formed the ‘Red Guard’ to launch secessionist campaign for Manipur. The movement failed but in 1964, old Red Guard cadres formed United National Liberation Front (UNLF) with A. Samarendra Singh as chief. By 1980 three more Meitei insurgent outfits emerged – People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak ( PREPAK) in 1977 , People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in 1978 and Kangleipak Communist party in 1980. Soon several other organizations including those of Kuki tribes came into being added more violence. By late, nineties Manipur had 34 outfits- with identical modus operandi - killings of security personnel, extortion, robbery and often acting as ‘moral police’ prohibiting drugs abuse or ‘punishing’ corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. Many senior political leaders and bureaucrats had to openly apologize to the guerrillas following their threat and ‘death sentence’ carried out on more unfortunate ones earlier.

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But at present PLA, UNLF and PREPAK remain the most dreaded under the banner of ‘Manipur Peoples’ Liberation Front’. “While the Meiteis, concentrated in the three plain districts around Imphal, occupy only 10 per cent of the territory, they constitute 70 per cent of the state’s population. Their grievances fall by the wayside because, at this juncture, the Nagas and the Kukis, who hold sway in the strategic hill districts, have to be given more consideration. The plain Manipuris are disaffected. New Delhi tries to side-step the issue by buying up votes of legislators”. While this comment of Indian Parliament member Ashok Mitra roughly sums up the predicament of the majority Meitei Manipuris, the state’s litany of trouble partly stems from the fact that at least three hill districts Ukhrul, Mao and Tamenglong , dominated by the tribal Thankul Nagas , have emerged as hotbed of NSCN operations . Despite being in a majority the Meiteis seem to be haunted by a paranoia that armed with constitutional safeguards and hold over larger tracts of territory the tribesmen would overpower their former ruling class. A proud tradition and cultural heritage offset by the present insecurity psychosis and mundane economic problems have led the Manipuris to the blood-spilling urban insurgency. Their predicament worsens with the NSCN continuing its demand for ‘Nagalim’ (greater Nagaland).

Tripura The tribal insurgency in Tripura, marked by mindless violence and a ruthless ethnic cleansing perpetrated on unarmed Bengali civilians by gun-toting rebels currently affiliated with two major outlawed groups- All Tripura Tiger Force and National Liberation Front of Tripura- is fundamentally different from the armed movements raging Nagaland, Assam or Manipur. As both the groups continue murder and mayhem with a vengeance, even by a conservative estimate more than 7000 people, mostly civilians were killed and as many kidnapped till date. Besides, the militants’ organized ethnic cleansing led to internal displacement of more than a quarter million people mostly non tribal Bengalis. And with the trigger-happy insurgents on the prowl all development activities, health care and educational system in the hilly interiors came to stand still. The root of the insurgency in Tripura lies in tribal discontent over the demographic imbalance in the post-independence decades, which saw tribal population reducing sharply in comparison with the Bengalis many of whom had migrated here from East Pakistan as refugees following the Partition of India. But more importantly, most of the political parties sought to exploit the fear psychosis and discontent in tribal mind for immediate political gains. Historically, Tripura’s Manikya rulers had encouraged the non-tribal settlement in this state for plainland farming to ensure a steady revenue flow to the royal coffer, as the tribal subjects accustomed only to the primitive mode of slash and burn cultivation, were in no position to make any significant contribution to the treasury. Besides, since the reign of Ratna Manikya (1464-1468) a large tract of plain

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land comprising Comilla, parts of Noakhali, Chittagong and Sylhet districts of present Bangladesh had formed part of the domain of Tripura Kings. The Bengalis of these parts at that time as ‘Chakla Roshnabad’ were the only viable source of King’s revenue. Following Partition these areas that fell under East Pakistan, a massive influx of non-tribal refugees into Tripura began which permanently altered the demographic balance against the tribals. Exposed to an uneven economic competition with the culturally advanced non-tribals the tribals had to retreat in all spheres. Significantly, political parties in Tripura including the undivided Communist Party of India had developed a vested interest in the refugee settlement as compulsions of electoral politics in which the logic of number dictated course of events. The Indian National Congress found the refugees as the ‘readymade vote bank’. In 1950 Communists had led a tribal uprising but before 1952 Parliament election they also changed their tactical line to woo non-tribal votes demanding ‘proper rehabilitation of refugees’. The emergence of Tripura Upajati Juba Samity (TUJS) as the state’s first tribal party in June 1967 with a demand for tribal autonomy proved to be a turning point in Tripura’s politics. Majority non-tribals, who perceived a threat to their land-rights in the event of tribal autonomy, reacted sharply. Came in the scene Bengali chauvinist party ‘Amra Bangali’ which opposed the autonomy for tribals. The conflicting agitations of TUJS and Amra Bangali finally snowballed into the ethnic riots of 1979 and 1980. In this juncture on 21 December 1978 TUJS leader Bijoy Hrangkhawal, influenced by Mizo militant leader Lal Denga, formed Tripura National Volunteers (TNV) to launch blood spilling militancy. Hrangkhawal signed an agreement with the government on 12 August 1988 on simple terms and became a mainstream politician. But the second phase of organized insurgency led by ATTF and NLFT began in 1989. In May this year 12 disgruntled TNV commanders formed the NLFT and launched its campaign on a low key from November 1991. Both the outfits are arch rivals and their fractious confrontation is exhibited not only in bloody gunfights but also time and again in the democratic space in this beleaguered state where the political discourse circulates around ethnic interests. It is alleged that while NLFT is playing the ‘mentor’ for the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura, a tribal outfit, the ‘Communist Party of India (Marxists) floated the ATTF in May 1990 to sway the tribal vote base during elections’. Both the NLFT and ATTF suffered major splits in 1993 and 2001 on ethnic lines and political questions, but they survived with foreign backing and help from the like minded outfits such as NSCN, PLA and United Liberation Front of Assam. The government has already given a call for the peace talks and over the last one decade, more than 8000 ATTF and NLFT ‘cadres’ –many of them clearly ‘fake’surrendered before the authorities and availed government’s ‘rehabilitation package’ and amnesty. Still the blood soaked hills of Tripura, continue to be ravaged by seemingly unending guerrilla warfare.

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IF BANGLADESH BECOMES A TALIBAN STATE

by Hiranmoy KARLEKAR

There are about 64 thousands deobandi madrases nourishing a Bengali terrorism able to explode some 450 bombs in no more than half an hour. Institutional connivances and the risk of a military coup. “There is no future with man-made laws”.

1.

A

ugust seems to have become a traumatic

month for Bangladesh. On 15th of the month in 1975, group of army officers killed Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the architect of the country’s liberation from Pakistani rule, with all members of his family except two daughters, Sheikh Hasina, who later became Prime Minister from 1996 to 2001, and Sheikh Rehana. They escaped because they were abroad. On 21st of the month last year, a grenade attack on a rally by the Awami League, the country’s main opposition party, in Dhaka, killed 21 persons and injured over 200. Sheikh Hasina, currently leader of the Opposition, escaped death by a whisker. Even while those responsible for the outrage, remain unidentified and untraced, explosions of 459 bombs with timers created panic in 63 of Bangladesh’s 64 districts on 17 August this year. There were 28 blasts in Dhaka, the national capital, alone--one of these on the staircase of the Zia International Airport only two after country’s Prime Minister, Begum Khaleda Zia, had taken off from their on a five-day visit to China. Three things stood out in the midst of the panic that gripped Bangladesh. The blasts, which, except a few, occurred between 11 a.m. and 11.30 a.m, required massive and careful preparation all over the country. Second, these were the work of Islamist fundamentalists. Leaflets, found in a number of explosion sites proclaimed in Bengali and Arabic, “It is time to implement Islamic laws in Bangladesh. There is no future with man-made laws”. Third, failure to anticipate these blasts signified intelligence failure of colossal proportions. The intelligence failure, though reflecting very poorly on Bangladesh Government’s ability to fight terrorism, is hardly surprising. Bangladesh’s intelligence agencies—the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence, National Security Intelligence, the Special Branch, the Detective Branch—had failed to prevent the killing of the Awami League Member of Parliament, Ahsanullah Master, at Tongi on 7 May 2004, the grenade attack at the shrine of Hajrat Shahjalal in Sylhet which killed two persons and injured over 100, including the British High Commissioner in Bangladesh, Anwar Choudhuri, on 21 May last year. It could prevent neither the murder of Professor Mohammad Yunus of Rajshahi University on 24 December 2004,

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nor that of former diplomat and Finance Minister of Bangladesh, SAMS Kibria, in Sylhet district on 27 January 2005. 2. Commenting on the blasts, one of Bangaldesh’s leading English-language newspapers, The Daily Star, observed in an editorial, ‘Intelligence failure of epic proportions’, on 19 August, “Whatever is the capability of these agencies, in most cases their efforts are misutilized, mostly on political purpose. Instead of performing the counter intelligence work, they are utilized either to snoop on the political opponents or cover someone who has fallen foul of the administration and needs to be sorted out. It is thus no wonder that the real anti-state elements and the evildoers are left free to go about their business of endangering the lives of the citizens”. It is typical of the politicization of the intelligence agencies that has occurred that, despite the availability of ample indications, they hesitated for a long time before holding the Jamaatul Mujaheedin Bangladesh (JMB) responsible for the explosions. This warrants serious concern because JMB and its associated organizations, the Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (Awakened Muslim Masses of Bangladesh) or JMJB and the Ahle Hadith Andolan Bangladesh (Ahle Hadith Movement Bangladesh) or AHAB, are among the most sinister terrorist organizations in the country. According to JMJB’s Shaekh (Spiritual Leader) Moulana Abdur Rahman, his organisation had been active secretly since 1998. It was formed as JMB, but renamed JMJB after a gunfight between its cadres and the police at a village in Joypurhat district on 15 August, 2003. Six police personnel were injured and three shotguns and 60 rounds of ammunition snatched from the police. The two organisations overlap almost totally both in structure and personnel. A JMB activist is often one of the JMJB as well and vice versa. The JMJB, JMB and AHAB belong to a network of organisations that cooperate with one another and are closely linked to the Jamaat-e-Islami, commonly, Jamaat, and its student’s organisation, the Islami Chhatra Shibir (Islamic Students Camp) or, commonly, Shibir. Bangla Bhai and Moulana Abdur Rahman were activists of the Shibir when they were students; the Moulana was later an activist of the Jamaat. Muhammad Ahsanullah al-Galib, a teacher of Arabic at Rajshahi University and the Ameer of AHAB, has close links with the JMJB. A report in The Daily Star of 26 February, 2005, quoted Bangladesh intelligence agencies as saying that AHAB mosques, built with funds from the Saudi Arabian organisation Hayatul Igachha and the Kuwait-based Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, were used as JMJB strongholds. Earlier, another report in the same paper had quoted police and intelligence sources as saying that AHAB was just a mass platform for JMB and most of AHAB members had been involved in JMB’s activities. 3. Hence, the blasts on August 17 were the handiwork of all the three organizations that were banned on 23 February 2005. Before the ban, the JMJB’s Operations Commander, Siddiqul Islam, commonly known as ‘Bangla Bhai’ or ‘Bengal Brother’, had terrorised the whole of northern Bangladesh. According to the

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well-known NGO, Ain O Salish Kendro, there were 22 murders and a number of cases of people being tortured between 1 April and 31 July, 2004. Also, a woman, Rabeya, killed herself on 14 May 2004 after being raped by a JMJB militant the day before. The JMJB, JMB and AHAB stand for a Talibanised version of Islam. The JMJB had compelled men to grow beards and wear the Muslim cap, and women to wear burqas or hijabs in areas where it called the shots. Those who defied were subjected to physical abuse and/or had their properties damaged. Like the Taliban, it is against all kinds of entertainment. It was behind bomb attacks on several musical, theatrical and dance performances and village fairs in north-western Bangladesh between 22 November 2004 and 15 January 2005. Several persons were killed and many injured. Brac and Grameen Bank, two of the largest and most respected NGOs in Bangladesh known for their significant contribution to rural development, came under a series of bomb attacks in North Bengal between 13 and 15 February this year. Besides imposing their will in social and cultural matters, JMJB’s cadres were extorting donations for waging a jihad to establish ‘Allah’s law in Allah’s land’. Those refusing to pay or observe their dress code and social and cultural taboos, were told that recalcitrance would lead to their identifiation as supporters of Purba Banglar Communist Party (Communist Party of East Bengal) or PBCP, a Maoist party. The JMJB had abducted hundreds of supporters of the PBCP as well as many innocent persons who had incurred their wrath, and tortured them brutally, sometimes to death. Their screams were blared over loudspeakers to terrorise the entire neighbourhood. JMB, JMJB and AHAB were banned on 23 February 2005, the day on which several important donor countries met in Washington DC to discuss the future of aid to Bangladesh in the context of the rising tide of Islamist violence and growing attacks on opposition leaders in the country. The suspicion, aired by many, that the ban was imposed to prevent a suspension or curtailment of aid, seems to have been corroborated by the fact that though Galib was arrested, both Bangla Bhai and Maulana Abdur Rahman remain at large. Also, shoddy investigation leading to acquittals by court, or withdrawal of cases on the plea of lack of evidence, has led to the release of many of the supporters of the three organizations arrested on specific charges. It is no secret in Bangladesh that a large section of police personnel, including senior officers, were hand in glove with the JMJB; so were important leaders of the BNP and its coalition partner, the Jamaat-e-Islami, a fundamentalist Islamist party that had opposed the liberation struggle in Bangladesh in 1971. In fact, it is widely said that pressure from the Jamaat whose support will be important to the BNP in the parliamentary elections next year, has, in most cases, stalled action against fundamentalist terrorist organisations and their leaders. Support for JMJB and Bangla Bhai extended up to the higher echelons of BNP itself. A Cabinet Minister, a Deputy Minister and several legislators from the Greater Rajshahi area strongly backed him. They told Prime Minister Khaleda Zia after she had ordered his arrest in May 2004, that the police’s failure to protect them from Left extremist had prompted people of Greater Rajshahi area to launch the JMJB and hunt

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the extremists down in cooperation with the law-enforcing agencies. Halting the JMJB in its tracks would only fuel left extremist activity. The report in The Daily Star of 23 May 2004 that stated this also quoted an official in Bangladesh’s Home Ministry as saying that two religion-based parties, particularly the Jamaat, not only backed Bangla Bhai and JMJB but also helped both with manpower and light weapons. 4. The Jamaat is the fulcrum of fundamentalist Islamist violence in Bangladesh. In his book, Aghoshito Juddher Blueprint (Blueprint of an Undeclared War), released on 18 February this year, Professor Abu Sayeed, who was State Minister for Information in Sheikh Hasina’s Government, carries a report on a meeting of Jamaat leaders and activists in Chittagong on 11 and 12 April 2003. The report, according to Sayeed, outlines the Jamaat’s blueprint for capturing power through an armed movement if it cannot do so peacefully. It covers a wide terrain that includes funds procurement and distribution, the setting up of new training centres and new routes to bring arms into Bangladesh, and methods of communicating messages. The Jamaat’s report states that the two-day meeting decided that as the Opposition’s movement against the Government intensified, the party would come out of the latter and announce its intention of capturing political power on its own strength. Apart from sharply castigating the Government for its failure, people at the meeting criticized Prime Minister Khaleda Zia for her ‘un-Islamic activities’, unbridled talk and divergence between her words and deeds. They also criticized some ‘influential’ Ministers and Ministers of State. Addressing a press conference at his residence in Dhaka after the release of ‘Aghoshita Juddher Blueprint', Professor Sayeed said that over 50,000 Islamist zealots, belonging to over 40 militant groups, were receiving military training in 50 camps across Bangladesh. These groups controlled vast stretches of the country with help from the Jamaat and a section of the BNP. Islamist militants, he said, had its people in al departments and sections of society, including mosques, madrasas, educational institutions, the Secretariat, the judiciary, civil society, mass media and even the armed forces. They had also developed a strong countrywide network to capture power through an Islamist revolution. The Jamaat, of course, has strongly repudiated the entire report and allegations of its criticism of Begum Zia. Given the gap that often separates statements by its leaders and the reality—they had on occasions claimed the Bangla Bhai was a fignment—their denial is not terribly covincing. Besides, the Jamaat does maintain an infrastructure for violence, of which the Shibir is the kingpin. On 23 April, 2004, Bangladesh’s 11-party Left alliance alleged that that the Jamaat and the Shibir were developing an ‘Islamic militant network’ across the country by taking advantage of being a partner in the ruling coalition. Earlier, on 16 November, 2000, the Convener of the Bangladesh Madrasa Teachers’ Association, Moulana Mirza Nurul Huq, alleged that it was involved in terrorist activities in educational institutions in the name of Islam.

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Besides clashing with its opponents, members of the Shibir, whose ranks include criminals, have been accused of involvement in some major acts of terrorism. On 16 June, 2001, 22 persons were killed and many others, including the Awami League MP, Shamim Osman, were seriously injured, in a bomb blast at the Awami League’s office in Narayanganj, south of Dhaka. The police, on 29 June, arrested a Shibir activist for involvement in the blast. In another act of violence on 12 July in the same year, Shibir activists killed nine persons, including seven activists of the Bangladesh Chhatra League at Chittagong. One of its worst crimes, however, was the murder of Principal Gopal Krishna Muhuri of Nazirhat College, and a highly respected academic, at his residence in Chittatong on 16 November, 2001. 5. If the Shibir is the kingpin of the Jamaat’s terror network, the HUJIB has close links with it and is perhaps the most important component of Bangladesh’s jihadi infrastructure. It has strong ties with the Al Qaeda. Relevant in this context are five reports appearing in the highly-respected Bengali-language Bangladeshi daily, Prothom Alo, in August 2004 year under the series heading ‘Brihattara Chattagrame Jongi tatparata” or “Militant Activity in Greater Chittagong”. Published 15 August under the joint byline of Saiful Alam Chowdhury and Abdul Quddus Rana, the second report stated that the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation and the Arakan Rohingya National Organization were operating with the help of the Jamaat with which they had established ties through certain foreign organizations. Also, no organization in Bangladesh received any assistance from Saudi Arabia based organizations like World Association of Muslim Youth and Rabeta-al-alam-al-Islami, or the Kuwait-based International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations, without Jamaat-Shibir’s recommendation. The third report, published on August 16 said that the Jamaat had a role in the HUJIB’s rise and that the latter had first started training with Arakan’s militant groups. Later, it established ties with the local Jamaat-e-Islami through these’. That the Jamaat and the HUJIB are closely linked becomes clear on considering that Maulana Delawar Hussain Saydee, Jamaat’s MP and a member of both its Central Executive Committee and Central Working Committee, is also a member of HUJIBs Advisory Council. The HUJIB, one of the most sinister organizations active in South Asia, reportedly has close links with the Al Qaeda which is believed to have been behind its establishment. The third report in the Prothom Alo’s series stated that members of HUJIB, formed by those returning to Bangladesh after the Afghan War, were undergoing arms training in camps in Cox’s Bazar, in the inaccessible hills in Naikkhangchhadi in Bandarban, in the no-man’s land along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, and certain hilly areas of Chittagong.’ The report quoted the Bangladesh Police’s Special Branch as saying that nearly 300 Mujahideen from Bangladesh participated in the war in Afghanistan towards the end of the 1980s. Twenty-nine of them died during it. In 1992, 17 Mujahideen returned to Bangladesh and formed the HUJIB under the leadership of Maulana Sheikh Farid. Rohan Gunaratne, in his book Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror, also puts the year of the HUJIB’s

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formation as 1992 and says that the purpose was to recruit volunteers to fight in Afghanistan and Kashmir. There are reports that the HUJIB and other fundamentalist terrorist organizations in Bangladesh are harboring Al Qaeda fugitives from Afghanistan. In his book Terror sans Frontiers: Islamic Militancy in North-East India, Jaideep Saikia provides a list of mosques and madrasas in Bangladesh housing them. The US State Department declared HUJIB a terrorist organization on 21 May 2002. The HUJIB’s mission is to establish Islamic rule in Bangladesh. Its strength has been variously estimated. According to the survey Bangladesh Assessment 2003 in the South Asia Terrorism Portal maintained by the Institute of Conflict Management, the HUJIB reportedly had 15,000 members of whom 2,000 were ‘hardcore.’ It further stated, ‘Bangladeshi Hindus and moderate Muslims hold them responsible for many attacks against religious minorities, secular intellectuals and journalists. To coordinate the activities of all fundamentalist Islamist groups active in Bangladesh and the neighboring countries, a Bangladesh Islami Manch (Bangladesh Islamic Platform) was set up under HUJIB’s leadership at a meeting in Ukhia in the Chittagong Hills Tract on May 10-11, 2002, attended by 63 representatives of nine Islamic groups, the Islami Oikya Jote and the Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA). Also formed was a ‘Jihad Council’ to coordinate the activities of the nine. Interestingly, Major-General (Retired) Afsir Karim writes in the January, 2005, issue of Aakrosh: Asian Journal on Terrorism and Internal Conflicts, ‘It is a well-known fact that the HUJI-B has been training Rohingya Muslims for the past few years; reports now suggest that it has started training small groups of Muslims in Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and Brunei in the madrasas controlled by it. The aim seems to be to train militants for assisting the IIF [The World Islamic Front that Osama set up in 1998 is also referred to as the International Islamic Front] and step up their movement of establishing the ‘Sharia’ law in Muslim majority pockets in these countries. At least 150-250 cells of al-Qaeda and IIF are reported to be active in Bangladesh. The JeI (Jamaat), IoJ and the HUJI-B have lately been joined by Hizbul Tehrir for training militant groups and working on the junior officers of the armed forces’. Bertil Linter in ‘Bangladesh: Extremist Islamist Consolidation’ in the Faultlines of July 2003, lists 19 training establishments run by HUJIB. South Asia Terrorism Portal’s write-up on the organization, states, ‘The Harkat reportedly maintained six camps in the hilly areas of Chittagong where it cadres were trained in the use of arms. Unconfirmed reports also hold that it maintains six training camps near Cox’s Bazar. The bulk of HUJIB’s funds comes from abroad. It has very close links with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate and receives financial assistance from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan—from the last during Taliban rule--through Muslim NGOs in Bangladesh. According to Haroon Habib’s dispatch in The Hindu of 2 March, 2000, an investigation by The Daily Star had revealed that crores (a crore is ten million) of taka (unit of Bangladesh’s currency) were being channeled into Bangladesh every year to fund fanatics and politically-motivated clerics.

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The Daily Star found that the funds, which were brought into the country legally in the absence of an effective monitoring system, were ostensibly meant for imparting religious education but were in reality used for financing extremist activities whose perpetrators drew their strength from the BNP. 6. Like most other extremist Islamist organizations, the HUJIB draws its rank-and-file and leaders from the Quomi (private) madrasas mushrooming in the country. There are, according to Linter, about 64,000 of these in Bangladesh, of which 7,122 were, in 1999, Aliya madrasas run with Government assistance. These taught subjects like English, science, mathematics and history along with Islamic religious instruction. The overwhelming majority of the rest, Quomi madrasas, provided religious instructions according to the Deobandi school of Islam besides teaching languages like Urdu, Persian, Arabic, which did not prepare their students for jobs and professions in modern societies. The HUJIB began receding into the background after the killing of policemen in front of the American Centre in Kolkata on 22 January 2002. It, however, has continued to be active behind the scenes. Besides, fundamentalist Islamist terrorist outfits keep mushrooming and their number is said to be 53. Apart from the money they receive from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, their investments and enterprises yield, according to Bangladesh’s Manav Unnayan Gaveshana Kendra (Human Development Research Centre), a total gross income of Rs 500 crore annually. Significantly, there has been no crackdown on HUJIB. It is widely believed that this is because the Jamaat’s personnel occupy key positions in the Government. One of them is said to have been the country’s previous Home Sceretary, Omar Farooq On 24 February, the day after the banning of JMB and JMJB, a number of BNP legislators from northern Bangladesh said that the crackdown on Islamist militants had come too late and doubted whether it would succeed. They also questioned the wisdom or retaining Home Secretary Omar Farooq in office. They blamed him for not helping the Government to initiate measures against the emerging fundamentalists groups in time and alleged that he patronized fundamentalists and had links with the Jamaat One can clearly see in these developments signs of the rise of a fundamentalist Islamist State within Bangladesh’s present parliamentary democratic State. As we have seen both JMB and JMBB are parts of a complex of inter-connected Islamist organisations, which the Jamaat has done much to set up and which it dominates. With the drive against JMJB and JMB gathering momentum, their activists had only to melt into the ranks of the HUJI or Shibir or Jamaat itself—and wait for the drive to slacken and an opportunity to revive both organisations under different names or combine the two in a new one. As the bomb explosions on 17 August indicate, they seem to have done precisely that. The question is: Who many such resurrections before Bangladesh is Talibanised?

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AUTHORS MARGHERITA PAOLINI – Scientific Coordinator at Limes – Italian Review of Geopolitics.

RYAN FLOYD – Financial Advisor at Global Brokerage Firm, Auerbach Grayson Co., New York City.

BARRY DESKER - Director of the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Singapore. He has been Singapore's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and Singapore's Ambassador to Indonesia.

AJAI SAHNI – Executive Director at the Institute for Conflict Management in Delhi. FABRIZIO VIELMINI – Freelance journalist, expert in Central Asia. Former Human Dimension Department Chief at the OSCE Centre in Almaty.

WANG XIAODONG – Pollster and representative of the Chinese Nationalist Movement.

SILVIA SARTORI – Researcher. FRANCESCO SISCI – Journalist, columnist at the Italian newspaper La Stampa, Research Fellow at Limes – Italian Review of Geopolitics and Heartland Co-editor.

P.M. KAMATH – Professor of Political Science at Bombay University and honorary Director of the VPMS Center for International Studies, Bombay.

KANWAR PAL SINGH GILL – Former Head of Police in Punjab and former Security Advisor in Gujarat. At present, he chairs the Institute for Conflict Management in Delhi and publishes the South Asia Intelligence Review.

MANAS PAUL – Journalist and correspondent for the Times of India. HIRANMOY KARLEKAR – Columnist at the Indian newspaper The Pioneer and member of the Press Council of India.

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Heartland 2005/03  

Eurasian review of geopolitics