India indispensable regional actor: US report

Press Trust Of India

Washington, April 06, 2009

First Published: 01:20 IST(6/4/2009)

Last Updated: 01:29 IST(6/4/2009)

Observing that India is an 'indispensable regional actor', an independent task force of the US-based Asia Society has stressed on the need to have friendly relationship between India and Pakistan.

Co-chaired by Thomas Pickering, who was US Ambassador to India from 1992 to 1993, and Barnett Rubin and a team of eminent experts of the region, the task force's report 'A Strategy for Stabilizing Afghanistan-Pakistan' was recently submitted to the Obama administration and released to the public.

Set up last year by the Asia Society, the task force included Richard Holbrooke, the Special US Representatives for Pakistan and Afghanistan, and General James Jones, National Security Advisor of Obama. But both of them stepped down from the task force before the first draft was written, and as such they are not associated with the report, it says.

India is an indispensable regional actor, task force said in its 50-page report. "The United States should undertake to relieve Pakistan's anxiety about the Indian consulates in Afghanistan (which, contrary to what Pakistan says, do have legitimate consular functions) by encouraging transparency and dialogue between the two countries in Afghanistan, it said.

Specifically, the United States should encourage Pakistan and India to speak directly about their mutual suspicions toward each other's interests in Afghanistan.

India, the report said, will argue that it has legitimate interests in Afghanistan and that it is a major donor to the international effort to rebuild that country.

Pakistan, on the other hand it said, will charge that India is running operations out of its consulates in Afghanistan in order to stir up trouble across the border.

"Pakistan sees itself as caught in a vice between its western and eastern neighbors. But these long-standing concerns are now being trumped by a new reality the need for India and Pakistan to look beyond their traditional rivalries and to agree on a joint strategy to confront the extremists operating along the PakistanAfghanistan border and in their respective countries," it said.

Besides supporting a composite dialogue between India and Pakistan, the report said the Obama administration need to inform Pakistan that active support and engagement for this process will depend on its concrete action against the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks and similar events. The report said unless the Pakistan military comes to see its domestic insurgents as a greater threat than India, it is unlikely to support the plans needed to integrate FATA, close militant bases, and develop counterinsurgency capacity.

The task force has also urged the US to take steps to make sure that there is free land transit of Afghan products across Pakistan to India.

Observing that the security establishment in Pakistan has always considered both the Afghan Taliban and militant groups fighting in Kashmir to be strategic assets, the report said: Transfixed by what it views as a far greater Indian threat, it has been reluctant to recognize that the support structures and networks for these groups have also provided a safe haven for Al-Qaeda and groups fighting the Pakistani state under the banner of the Pakistan Taliban Movement (Tehrik-i Taliban-i Pakistan), led by Baitullah Mehsud.


Task Force Calls for Comprehensive New Strategy in the US Administration’s Efforts to Stabilize Afghanistan-Pakistan

New York, April 2, 2009—An Asia Society task force report released today recommends a comprehensive reformulation of US strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan amidst rapidly deteriorating conditions in both countries. The report argues that much of the effort in Afghanistan over recent years has been strategically unfocused and often counter-productive. Incremental changes alone, such as more troops or more aid, cannot address the monumental challenge the US faces in the region. The US must focus on isolating and defeating Al Qaeda and eliminating their sanctuaries in the region by providing security for the Afghan population, providing for the long-term stabilization of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and encouraging regional cooperation in support of the above goals.

Back from the Brink? A Strategy for Stabilizing Afghanistan-Pakistan was co-chaired by former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Dr. Barnett Rubin, one of the foremost experts on Afghanistan. Other notable task force members included former Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth, former US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ronald Neumann, as well as Ambassador Teresita Schaffer, Ahmed Rashid, Peter Bergen, and Rory Stewart. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, former Chairman of the Asia Society and current Special Representative for Afghanistan-Pakistan, as well as National Security Adviser General James Jones were also members of the task force but stepped down to assume their new appointments before the first draft of the report was completed.

“This report is an unprecedented call for dramatic policy changes, both in terms of the caliber of its authors and the scope of their recommendations. As the new US administration and the UN—really, the world—look for answers for this region, this task force provides a bold new vision for the way forward,” said Asia Society President Vishakha N. Desai.

The task force acknowledges that American interests and objectives in the Afghanistan-Pakistan nexus remain critically important to US security and addressing the threat of al-Qaida and its allies, but emphasizes that policy must be grounded in a realistic understanding of what is achievable. To achieve lasting stability, US strategy in the region must integrate counterterrorism, governance, economic development, and regional objectives.

The report includes the following recommendations: 
• “Explicitly end the rhetorical emphasis on the “war on terror” and define our enemy as those who attacked our nation—al-Qaida and its allies.”
• “End Operation Enduring Freedom, the counter-terrorism command in Afghanistan, because al-Qaida’s sanctuary is now in Pakistan, not Afghanistan and integrate all troops an operations under a single NATO-ISAF command.”
• “Begin negotiations on a Status of Forces Agreement to be concluded after the next round of elections.”
• “Separate funding for Afghanistan, including for security forces, from Iraq.”
• “Engage with the Afghan government and the United Nations to ensure an accepted and legitimate constitutional transition of presidential power and a more effective government.”
• “Transfer assistance to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund and security duties to official institutions, Afghan and international, as soon as possible, consistent with transparency and fiduciary oversight.”
• “Combat narcotics by…taking a gradual [yet systemic] approach to this huge industry, rather than artificially trying to make economic transformation a quick-fix counterinsurgency strategy.”
• “Support efforts in Pakistan…to integrate FATA into the mainstream of Pakistan and create conditions under which Pakistan can take direct responsibility for the security of its borders, and Afghanistan can recognize them as open borders.”
• “Focus regional policy on creating conditions for the transformation of Pakistan’s security doctrine so that it no longer requires the use of covertly supported guerrilla forces against neighbors.”
• “Establish regular dialogue and exchanges over Afghanistan and Pakistan with Russia, China, India, Iran, Turkey, the Central Asian states, and Saudi Arabia.”

Full version of the report and executive summary are available at here.

Download the complete report

If Pakistan fails, India wins


I am concerned that the security analysts of Hindusthan are not paying enough attention to the state of affairs in Pakistan. Here is an executive summary of the report of the Atlantic Council issued in February 2009. One of the authors is Sen. John Kerry.


It is clear that the imminent collapse of Pakistan despite the $7 billion proposed to be pumped in by Pres. Obama during the next 5 years.


Obama and his security team will realize that there is no solution to Pakistan-Afghanistan without recognizing that these two areas are within the sphere of the influence of Hindusthan.


Step 1 should be to pull out the nuclear teeth of Pakistan. These false teeth have been set by China-USA axis and pulling out should not be too difficult. So far USA has been using this as a red herring to frighten Hindusthan from acting to protect herself against the islamist-jihadi terror unleashed from terror central, that is Pakistan.


Pakistan should become an integral part of Hindusthan as it was prior to 1947 when the British colonial regime created a false state by forcing partition of the nation of Hindusthan.


USA and NATO will realize soon that the victory of the ongoing war against islamist-jihadi-terror has to be won only with the full cooperation and participation of Hindusthan which has borne the brunt of this terror for over 60 years.


It is time for the security pundits of Hindusthan to provide a clear road-map for Hindusthan to get involved, whether the pro-Paki elements in Obama’s administration like it or not.


If Pakistan fails, India wins.




Full text: A report by the Atlantic Council “Needed: a comprehensive US Policy towards Pakistan” (Feb. 2009)


Executive Summary


Pakistan faces dire economic and security threats that threaten both the existence of Pakistan as a democratic and stable state and the region as a whole. Given the tools and the financing, Pakistan can turn back from the brink. But for that to happen, it needs help now. Such a reversal demands far greater and more urgent support and assistance from the international community in general and the United States in particular. And it needs to be based on focused policy changes and disciplined implementation by the Pakistan government, with adequate oversight to ensure that Pakistan can do the job.


A total of $4-5 billion above the (Biden)-Kerry-Lugar proposals is needed beyond the IMF and other loans from the U.S. and other sources. Of this, about $3 billion should go to the economic and social sectors directly.


About $1 billion of fresh or redirected funds would go to security forces - both military and law enforcement. Of this $1 billion, approximately $200 million would be applied to recruiting, training, and deployment of an additional 15,000 police within the next six months who are essential to bringing long-term law and order to all of Pakistan.


During 2008, several useful reports on Pakistan were published by some of the nation’s most respected think tanks. Each of these studies contained sensible analyses of what the United States should do regarding Pakistan and proposed sound recommendations accordingly. Rather than repeat or duplicate these efforts, this report by the Atlantic Council proceeds along a different path.


First, this report sounds the alarm that we are running out of time to help Pakistan change its present course toward increasing economic and political instability, and even ultimate failure. The urgency of action has been brought home by the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in late November that set Pakistan and India on a dangerous collision course. Simply put, time is running out for stabilizing Pakistan’s economy and security.


As Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari told the Atlantic Council during our December 2008 trip to Islamabad, “we - [the United States, Pakistan, NATO and the world at large] - are losing the battle” to keep Pakistan stable, at peace and prosperous.


Unlike Afghanistan - where the international community is losing the struggle because of its failure to reform the civilian sector - Pakistan has the manpower and infrastructure to win its battles. But Pakistan can only do so if it gets the necessary support urgently. And it is self-evident that a secure, stable, and prospering Pakistan is in the best interests of the international community.


We – meaning Pakistan and its friends – can and must win collectively. The starting point must be a full and objective understanding of today’s Pakistan and the fact that it is on a rapid trajectory toward becoming a failing or failed state. That trajectory must be reversed now.


Second, this report provides a conceptual framework, strategy, and specific actions that are  needed to begin the long process of bringing peace, prosperity, and stability to Pakistan and to the region. The issue is not Pakistan alone or Pakistan and Afghanistan. The issue is broader and is inextricably linked with India, the Gulf, and Pakistan’s other close neighbors. As a senior Pakistani military officer told us: “If Pakistan fails, the world fails.”


Third, this report outlines the possible short-and long-term consequences of inaction: some of these, such as the breakup of the country, civil war or an all-out war with India, could be catastrophic for the country, for the region, and for U.S. interests.


Despite its current economic hardships, the United States has poured hundreds of billions of dollars into Iraq and many billions into Afghanistan in the past. However, it has been relatively miserly in its assistance for Pakistan where the stakes are far larger and more important to long-term American interests. There are good and bad reasons for this contradiction between needs and funding. And it will be extraordinarily difficult to convince a skeptical Congress and a public – already reeling with the trillion dollar cost of bailing out failed American corporations and agencies – of Pakistan’s urgent needs.


The time horizon to get aid to Pakistan so it can begin the job of turning around its economy and polity is months not years. Pakistan requires a great deal more assistance than it currently getting if it is to succeed and the principal source of that assistance must be the United States.


The U.S. also needs to urgently close the “Trust Deficit” between it and Pakistan, with greater exchanges of high-level visits, closer military, intelligence, and economic cooperation. And it needs to pass the (Biden)-Kerry-Lugar bill as soon as possible to begin the flow of more resources to Pakistan.


April 6, 2009


Pakistan: Obama’s Reluctant Partner Against Al Qaeda


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan  President Obama’s strategy of offering Pakistan a partnership to defeat the insurgency here calls for a virtual remake of this nation’s institutions and even of the national psyche, an ambitious agenda that Pakistan’s politicians and people appear unprepared to take up.

Officially, Pakistan’s government welcomed Mr. Obama’s strategy, with its hefty infusions of American money, hailing it as a “positive change.” But as the Obama administration tries to bring Pakistanis to its side, large parts of the public, political class and military have brushed off the plan, rebuffing the idea that the threat from Al Qaeda and Taliban militants, whom Washington calls a common enemy, was so urgent.

Some, including the army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and the president, Asif Ali Zardari, may be coming around. But for the military, at least, India remains priority No. 1, as it has for the 61 years of Pakistan’s existence.

How to shift that focus in time for Pakistan to defeat a fast-expanding Islamic insurgency that threatens to devour the country is the challenge facing Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke, the special envoy to the region, as they arrive in Pakistan for talks early this week.

Strengthening Pakistan’s weak civilian institutions, updating political parties rooted in feudal loyalties and recasting a military fixated on yesterday’s enemy, and stuck in the traditions of conventional warfare, are generational challenges. But Pakistan may not have the luxury of the long term to meet them.

Some analysts here and in Washington are already putting forward apocalyptic timetables for the country. “We are running out of time to help Pakistan change its present course toward increasing economic and political instability, and even ultimate failure,” said a recent report by a task force of the Atlantic Council that was led by former Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.

The report, released in February, gave the Pakistani government 6 to 12 months before things went from bad to dangerous.

A specialist in guerrilla warfare, David Kilcullen, who advised Gen. David H. Petraeus, the American commander, in Iraq, offered a more dire assessment. Pakistan could be facing internal collapse within six months, he said.

General Petraeus, in Congressional testimony last week, called the insurgency one that could “take down” the country, which is home to Qaeda militants and possesses nuclear arms.

Even before the insurgency has been fully engaged, however, many Pakistanis have concluded that reaching an accommodation with the militants is preferable to fighting them. Some, including mid-ranking soldiers, choose to see the militants not as the enemy, but as fellow Muslims who are deserving of greater sympathy than are the American aims.

It is problematic whether the backing of Mr. Zardari, and the Obama’s administration’s promise of $1.5 billion in aid for each of the next five years, can change the mood in the country, said a former interior minister, Aftab Ahmad Sherpao, who visited Washington last fall to meet with some of the people who are now officials in the Obama administration.

Fighting the insurgency was commonly seen in Pakistan as an American cause, not a Pakistani one, he said.

There were questions, too, whether the Obama offer of nearly $3 billion in counterinsurgency aid could quickly convert the Pakistani military from a force trained to fight India on the plains of Punjab into an outfit that could conquer the mountains of the tribal areas, where the militants operate.

“After such a long time of being with the Americans, the country has been through such stress and strain and nothing good has come of it,” Mr. Sherpao said. “A cross-section of people is dead set against the Americans. Another section is not happy but not vocal. About 1 to 2 percent would say this policy of America should continue.”

The distrust has been heightened by charges from American officials, including General Petraeus and Mr. Holbrooke, that Pakistan’s spy agency is still supporting the Islamic militants who pour over the border to fight American troops in Afghanistan.

A former director general of the agency Inter-Services Intelligence, Lt. Gen. Javed Ashraf, said the American opinions — long held but now publicly stated — did not augur well. A spokesman for the Pakistani military called them “baseless” and part of a “malicious campaign.”

“You can’t start a successful operation with a trust deficit,” General Ashraf said. “Pakistan is an ally. But then you say we are linked with the Taliban. The serving army people will say, ‘To hell with them if this is what we are going to get after laying down more than 1,500 lives.’ ” That is the number of soldiers the Pakistani army says have been killed fighting the militants in the tribal areas.

The lack of trust was evident, military analysts said, in the American refusal to consider a request from the Pakistani military that it operate the remotely piloted aircraft the C.I.A. has been using to hit the militants in the tribal areas.

Although those Predator drones have been successful in killing top Qaeda operatives, a factor acknowledged privately by Pakistani officials, the attacks continued to be criticized even as the new Pakistani-American partnership was supposed to be taking root.

“Predator strikes are not a strategy — not even part of a strategy,” a former army chief of staff and ambassador to Washington, Gen. Jehangir Karamat, said in a front-page article in the newspaper The Nation. “They are tactical actions to ratchet up body counts.”

The Americans have been stingy on even the more basic tools for guerrilla warfare, like helicopter gunships and night vision goggles, which Pakistan has requested for the past three years, Pakistani military officials say. There are still doubts that Washington will deliver such equipment speedily, they said.

Then there is India. Its growing presence in Afghanistan — the building of roads; the opening since 2001 of two consulates in two cities close to Pakistan — makes Pakistan believe it is being encircled, said Ishaq Khan Khakwani, a former senator from the Pakistan Muslim League-Q party.

Pakistanis complain that even though Mr. Obama, during his European trip, called for dialogue between India and Pakistan, his plans fails to address this major strategic concern.

“The United States has to get India to back off in Afghanistan,” said Mr. Khakwani, who is sympathetic to the American position. “Then Pakistan will see Indian interference is diminished and that will give confidence to Pakistan.”

The deep questioning about why the Pakistani Army should fight the Taliban reaches well down into the ranks of the soldiers and their families. Dissent from that goal has become increasingly prevalent among rank-and-file soldiers, and even in the officer corps, said Riffat Hussain, a professor of international relations at Quaid-i-Azam University here who also lectures to soldiers at the National Defense University.

There have been at least a half-dozen reported courts-martial of soldiers who refused to fight, and the real number was probably larger, Professor Hussain said.

In Jhelum, a town 100 miles south of Islamabad and a place with a proud military history, one village had shown in the boldest terms the anger about the military fighting Muslims on Pakistani soil, said Enver Baig, a former senator with the Pakistan Peoples Party, who considers himself a pro-American politician.

When the body of a soldier killed in the tribal areas was brought home to a family last year, the father refused to accept his son’s coffin, Mr. Baig said.

Instead, the father took off his shoe and used it to slap the army officer who had brought the body.

A month later, when another soldier’s body was delivered to the same village, the army left the body on the village outskirts, Mr. Baig said.

Red Alert: Redefining the Global System (with chamcha-s of Hindusthan around)

Global system is in a state of turmoil. It is unfortunate that, at this critical juncture, Hindusthan is currently led by a set of chamcha-s who do not acknowledge and do not even care to respond to the public loot kept in tax havens of the globe. Chamcha-giri has resulted in a free-for-all loot by the criminalized polity.

Let us hope that the electorate of Hindusthan will throw out these rascals and install a state governed by dharma.


Red Alert: Redefining the Global System

April 1, 2009 | 1858 GMT (Stratfor)

From Europe to Turkey, world leaders are coming together this week for a slew of global summits. There is much for these world leaders to discuss: the global financial infrastructure is now up for debate, the jihadist war continues to rage in South Asia, the Russians are locked into intractable negotiations with the Americans over the boundaries of the former Soviet sphere of influence, and the Turks are returning to their great power past.

These summits are not just about photo-ops and handshakes. Taken together, this array of diplomatic meetings constitute the greatest density of decision points in the modern world since the summits that brought about the end of the Cold War. This is a time when the true colors of nation-states come out, as each fights for their political, economic and security interests behind a thin veneer of global cooperation.

With geopolitical boundaries being redrawn across the world, STRATFOR has a responsibility to penetrate the media glitz and read through the lines of diluted joint statements and press conferences to explain to our readers the core issues at stake for each player involved. Through our extensive coverage in this week’s Global Summit series, our intent has been to do just that.

Midway through the bilateral summits, we have yet to see any major surprises deviating from our assessments. In the lead-up to the G-20 summit in London, the Americans and the Germans will be at the core of the debate over how to restructure the global financial system. The Americans, the British and the Japanese believe stimulus is the way to go to put the global economy back on track, while Germany, the economic heavyweight of Europe, prefers instead to export its way out of the recession. This is not a debate that will be resolved by the end of this summit (if at all), leaving G-20 members and the struggling economies watching from the outside with the impression that they have little choice but to fend for themselves in this severe economic environment.

The Americans do not just disagree with the Europeans on economics — in spite of Europe’s enthusiasm for U.S. President Barack Obama, the EU members at the summit made clear their unwillingness to make any meaningful contributions to the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan beyond a few aid packages. With the Western coalition in Afghanistan looking more and more like a one-man show, the Americans are branching out of their post-World War II system of alliance in search of new strategic partners. The United States has found one such partner in Turkey, where Obama will be wrapping up his visit on April 6-7. This will demonstrate to allies and adversaries alike that Washington embraces a greater Turkish role in global affairs that stretch from the Islamic World to the Russian periphery.

The summits thus far have given the Russians plenty to chew on. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev came to the G-20 ready to negotiate with Obama on a slew of issues that revolve around a core Russian imperative of consolidating power in the former Soviet periphery. A look at the joint statement and press conferences from the Obama-Medvedev meetings might leave one with the impression that the Americans and the Russians are ready to cooperate, but in reality, all they could really boast about was a commitment to restart talks on nuclear disarmament, leaving a host of outstanding critical issues in limbo. It is quite apparent that the United States has its hands full, but Obama still let the Russians know that he does not intend sit back and allow Moscow to have its way with Eurasia. The Russians now have a better idea of Obama’s boundaries in these negotiations, but their priorities have not changed; Moscow still has ways of grabbing Washington’s attention.

It has been a roller coaster ride thus far, with still more to come. Before Obama makes his way to Turkey, he still has to touch base with his NATO allies in Prague. With the Russians ready to play hardball and the balance of the Eurasian landmass still in flux, these meetings will be anything but bland. Meanwhile, STRATFOR’s team of expert analysts will be working to provide their members with the analytical context to find significant meaning from these summits. A redefinition of global systems is taking place that will carry well into the future, and STRATFOR is here to provide the historical and analytical record.