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General Articles (21)

नास्तिक व् आस्तिक दोनों ही ईश्वर में प्रबल विश्वासकर्ता है ।

 

वह प्रत्येक मानव जो ईश्वर सत्ता को मानता है , उसमे विश्वास व् भक्ति रखता है हम उसे आस्तिक कह देते है।

दूसरा जो किसी अनदेखी शक्ति जिससे वह प्रत्यक्ष न हुआ हो उसपर विश्वास नही करता। वह दृश्य जगत को ही प्रत्यक्ष और सत्य मान, स्वयं पर विश्वास कर आगे बढ़ता है । हम उसे नास्तिक कह देते हैं।

पर इस नास्तिक का उस हठधर्मी से कोई मोल नही जो सब कुछ जान कर भी सिर्फ अपने हठ हेतु ईश्वर या ऐसी किसी शक्ति को नकारता है। वह नास्तिक नही सिर्फ हठी है।

आस्तिक व् नास्तिक दोनों ही समान रूप से आध्यात्मिक विकास को प्राप्त करने के हक़दार होते है। असल में दोनों ही के बीच "विश्वास" की समानता है।

ईश्वर गुणी भी कहलाता है , निर्गुणी भी । वह सकार भी है और निराकार भी अर्थात हमारे विश्वास की दिशा ही सब कुछ तय करती है ।

यह दोनों मार्गों पर जो समानता है "विश्वास" तत्व की , यही तत्व उस ईश्वरीय तत्व का मूल जान पड़ता है।

जिसे विश्वास है उसकी मनोकामना पत्थर की मूर्तिं भी पूरी कर देती है । जो नही विश्वास करता वो समस्त प्रयासों व् संसाधनों की मौजूदगी के बाद भी असफल हो जाता है ।

अर्थात सफलता का एक मात्र सूत्र "विश्वास" है । अगर हमे विश्वास है की कोई बाह्य सकती ईश्वर है जिससे यह समस्त चराचर जगत गतिमान है तो निश्चित ही हमारे हेतु सृष्टि यही स्वरुप धारण किये रहेगी।

पर जिसे वह शक्ति जिससे समस्त ब्रह्माण्ड के प्रत्येक कण में स्पंदन व्याप्त है  स्वयं में ही स्थित होने का विश्वास हो , वो "ब्रह्मोस्मि" का साधक हो निश्चित ही उसके पूर्ण विश्वास से प्रकति वह तत्व उसमे ही स्थापित कर देगी।

पर सावधान रहना होगा। हम आस्तिक या नास्तिक दोनों ही मार्गों से इस पथ पर चल लक्ष्य तो पा सकते हैं। पर हठ धर्मिता को कभी "विश्वास" रूप में परिवर्तित नही कर सकते। अपितु वह तो उस माया के समान है जो हमारे बुद्धि पर इस निर्वाण अथवा मोक्ष मार्ग के विपरीत का आवरण डाल देगी। फिर हम लाख उद्घोसणा कर ले , लड़ ले सर पटक ले हमे प्राप्त कुछ नही होगा ।

 

इन दोनों के बीच वही भेद है , जो एक ईश्वर की भक्ति से मोक्ष पाने वाले और स्वयं को सर्वसमर्थ मान साधना मार्ग से निर्वाण अथवा बुद्ध पद प्राप्तकर्ता के बीच है । दोनों का लक्ष्य एक है । अंत में दोनों एक ही स्थान प्राप्त करते हैं। बस फर्क उनके विश्वास स्वरुप में है ।

एक ईश्वर के आकार को पूर्व सुनिश्चित कर के इस पथ पर आगे बढ़ता है और वह सर्व शक्तिमान परमात्मा उसकी भक्ति अनुसार वही रूप धर कर उपस्थित हो जाता है ।

तो दूसरा उस अनजाने पथ भर भयरहित विश्वास से पूर्ण होकर आगे बढ़ता है और उस शक्ति का उसके प्राकृतिक स्वरुप में ही प्रत्यक्ष दर्शन को उद्धत रहता है और उसकी सफलता उसे उस परम् शक्ति से प्रत्यक्ष करवाती है।

यह जानने और मानने के बीच का भेद है । यह जानकारी व् ज्ञान के बीच का भेद है । यह बताई गई बात व् अनुभव के बीच का भेद है ।

 

यह वही भेद है जो हम यह जानने वाले की यह शरीर नश्वर है और हम शरीर नही अनश्वर आत्मा है  और आत्मा से साक्षात्कार कर चुके आत्मज्ञानी के बीच है।

हम यह जानते तो हैं की  हम आत्मा है देह नही। पर विश्वास नही है चाहे हम ऊपरी रूप जितना भी कह ले की भरोसा तो है, पर भरोसा है नही ।विश्वास क्षीण है क्योंकि इसकी जानकारी है अनुभव नही ।

चोट लगने पर दर्द होगा यह हम सब जानते पर जब तक चोट लगे न उसके दर्द का अनुभव नही कर सकते , ठीक उसी प्रकार जैस आग की ज्वलनशीलता से अनभिज्ञ अभी जल्द ही चलना सीखा बालक आग से भी खेलने को आगे बढ़ सकता है जब तक उसके ज्वलनशीलता का अनुभव न हो वह उससे दूर नही हो पाता।

चोट से पूर्व अनुभव नही होना स्पष्ट करता है की अनुभव साक्षात्कार के बिना सम्भव नही है ।

 

इन सभी से यह स्पष्ट होता है की विश्वास के लिए साक्षात्कार आवश्यक है । बिना अनुभव अपने जानकारी पर विश्वास नही हो सकता ।

 

आस्तिक व् नास्तिक दोनों ही भिन्न आध्यात्मिक स्तर है । जो एक ही मार्ग पर  प्रशस्त हैं।

यह स्तर भेद मूर्ति पूजक व् आत्म साधना प्रविष्ट साधक के बीच का भेद हैं।यह भेद जानकारी व् ज्ञान के मध्य का भेद है।

हम सभी को ज्ञात है की वैदिक काल के पूर्वाध में मूर्ति पूजा नही थी । यह निश्चित ही धर्म कमजोर पड़ने व् समाज का आध्यात्मिक स्तर गिरने पर धर्म में प्रविष्ट हुआ होगा।

 

शुरुवात में साक्षात्कार के आभाव में एक प्रत्यक्ष की आवश्यकता होगी। यही सोच इसे स्थान दिया गया होगा। पर इसका आजतक (दीर्घकाल तक) स्थिर रहना यह अंकित करता है की मानव समाज अभी तक वापस उस अद्यात्मिक स्तर को प्राप्त नही कर सका है ।

दीर्घकाल तक मूर्ति पूजा की परम्परा जारी रहने से  हमारी निर्भरता बढ़ गई। हम आगे बढ़ना भूलते जाएंगे। यह धर्म हानि का भविष्य में कारण बन सकता है । जैसे ईश्वर को खुद से बाहर मूर्ति में खोजते अधिकतर मानव स्वार्थ पूर्ति हेतु ही उनके समक्ष जाते है। ईश्वर वस्तुनिष्ठ अभिलाषा को पूर्ण करने वाली दिव्य शक्ति बन चूका एक बड़े तबके के लियें । तब निश्चित ही स्वयं की दिव्यता से किसी का साक्षात्कार नही हो पाएगा।

 

तब आत्मा के सत्य से दूर देह ही सत्य कहलाएगी। अज्ञानता ही ज्ञान कहलाने लगेगी।

 

इस हेतु आत्मचिंतन व् आत्ममंथन आवश्यक है । अपने विश्वास व् जानकारी की परख अनिवार्य है । मूर्ति पूजा को प्रथम सोपान मान क्रमबद्ध रूप से प्राणायाम, साधना, संकल्प , ध्यान व् समाधि के पथ पर अग्रसर होना होगा।

यही भारत में पुनः सनातन धर्म की स्थापना के साथ इसे धरती पर ज्ञान कुञ्ज रूप स्थापित करेगी।

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 08:20
Monday, 18 April 2016 10:36

Russia`s Oil and Nuclear Game

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Whether there is a sign of growing threats of Third World War now a days or a cold war situation again being emerged? These questions became relevant due to recent developments in relationship of US and Russia.  Firstly it was Russia`s absence from Nuclear Security Summit called by Russia in the beginning of April 2016 and merely within fifteen days on 11 April the situation of a tension emerged in Baltic sea when Russian fighter jets “aggressively”  flew over US Navy ship Donald Cook. Both the developments are disturbing as Russia has returned back from Syria but relationship between Russia and US not looks quite satisfactory.  It seems that both superpowers are flexing muscles against each other and their stance also creates a suspicion among other countries of the world about what will be the course of action.

Let us first discuss the Russia`s misadventure in Baltic sea. According to media reports, on April 11 two SU-24 jets of Russia very closely passed through US ship Donald Cook several times. As per release of US Department of Defense, “One of the passes, which occurred while the allied helicopter was refuelling on the destroyer’s deck, was deemed unsafe by the ship’s commanding officer, Eucom officials said, adding that as a safety precaution, flight operations were suspended until the SU-24s left the area.” Similar kind of action was happened next day also. US administration and defense officials assume Russia`s interference in Baltic Sea a premeditated and provocative action. Though, Russia immediately not reacted on the issue. But it can be easily assumed that such kind of action can trigger war-like situation among both the powers.

Taking into account Russian jet fighter plane`s maneuvers in Baltic sea this is also to be noted that Russia`s action occurred just within four months after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on country`s National Security Strategy. It also points out and criticized expansion of NATO and its approach to Russia`s borders as a threat to national security. This document clearly asserts that, “The independent domestic and foreign policy conducted by Russia triggers counter-action from the US and other allies seeking to keep up their domination in global affairs.”

Hence,  It can be easily understood that just before a scheduled meeting of ambassadors of NATO countries and Russia, what a message Russia wanted to flash. Actually the exercise of Russia is a part of greater oil politics on the one hand and on the other hand to challenge the endeavor of hegemony created by US in the world after cold war era. 

Here it is important to notice that Baltic Sea that was once dominated by Sweden has now become one of the world’s most strategic locations not only for US, Europe and other Asian countries but for Russia alone also as this is one of the most important oil-exporting routs. Expert of energy and international affairs Kjell Aleklett pointed out, “ The Russians have built a new, modern export harbor in Primorsk and that means that oil exports through the Baltic Sea are increasing. The chokepoint between Sweden and Denmark, the Danish Straits, has now become the world’s third most important chockpoint for global oil exports and these exports have increased in recent years. If one also takes into account the new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany and the planed imports of LNG into the Baltic States then one can certainly understand its importance.”

Keeping in mind Russia`s dependence on Baltic Sea, it is necessary to understand how Russia can undermine US  presence in the area and therefore if US uses this area to monitor global oil exports then Russia would also want to prove its might to counter its decades long adversary i.e. the US.

Coming to another part of ongoing tussle between US and Russia, let us discuss the issue of nuclear summit convened by US. It is well known that  the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) is a world summit, aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism around the globe. For background, the first summit was held in Washington, D.C., United States, on April 12–13, 2010. The second summit was held in Seoul, South Korea, in 2012. The third summit was held in The Hague, Netherlands, on March 24–25, 2014. The fourth summit was held in Washington, D.C. on March 31-April 1, 2016.

Russia willingly skipped the 2016 summit and much before, in mid October 2015 itself Russia informed US that it will not attend the summit. Their Foreign Ministry of Russia questioned the role of US in convening such international meeting unilaterally taking aside International Atomic Energy Agency. Thereafter, according to reports, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia refused to participate in the 4th Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Washington because of absence of equal right guarantee to its participants. He said, “We have repeatedly explained both in written and in an oral form that we will be ready to participate only in events which would imply collective and equal work, including collective discussion and coordination of the final documents. ..Secondly, the U.S. made an attempt to substitute the UN, Interpol and the International Atomic Energy Agency by itself.’’

Russia earlier stressed that such gatherings should be convened under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) framework. Lavrov alleged that convening NSS “U.S. was trying to deceive the world public saying Russia’s refusal to participate in the summit took them by surprise.’’ He added that Russia had explained its position to U.S. partners many times since the idea to organize this event emerged a year and a half ago. Whereas, according to reports of Xinhua, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia had refused to participate due to lack of cooperation from other participants.

The NSS drew together leaders and envoys from over 50 countries including India and four international organizations, with the focus on strengthening global nuclear security.

Russia`s absence from the NSS was seen as its boycott of the meeting and once again it became clear that Russia is not ready to accept US as a single global superpower. It was also witnessed during Russia`s intervention in Syria in the name of fight against ISIS. Russia did not join the league of US but unilaterally conducted its exercise for the help of President Assad and after that took an exit from Syria`s battlefield. Russia`s exercise in Syria was also seen as testing of its long-developed arsenal. But, nobody can deny the fact that Russia`s intervention in Syria also worried US and allies.

Now, absence of Russia from NSS also draws assumptions that Russia is not ready to throw up its nuclear arsenal under such global pressures that emerge from international conventions like NSS. For example, the approach of US President Barack Obama regarding India`s nuclear power and its use in his submission in NSS was strongly countered and India`s MEA termed Obama`s comments as “lack of understanding” of country`s defense posture. Therefore, it can be said that Russia neither wanted to indulge in war of words nor it wants to compromise or to make any settlements. Russia`s agenda is clear and so its preparation for any untoward happening against its might and sovereignty. Despite ending of cold war Russia under Vladimir Putin`s presidency Russia wants to retain its superpower status and also wants to be regarded in the same manner. According to reports of The Moscow Times, “Russia has continued to increase its arsenal of strategic warheads, although their number will have to be reduced to meet a 5-year-old arms reduction treaty with the United States that comes into effect in 2018, according to figures released by the U.S. State Department. Under the New START Treaty, the number of strategic warheads deployed by Russia and the United States must be reduced to 1,550 apiece when the treaty's restrictions take effect in February 2018. The United States has reduced its stockpile to 1,481 strategic warheads since 2011. Whereas, Russia has increased the number of strategic warheads it deploys on its ballistic missiles to 1,735 under the latest count — up from 1,566 in 2011.”

The question is that, why Russia is rebuilding its nuclear arsenal? After the NSS this question again becomes significant. As per reports, President Putin accused “US of trying to “neutralize” Russia’s nuclear arsenal by building a missile shield over Europe” and in response he vowed to “strengthen the potential of its strategic nuclear forces.” It has also been observed that Russia is developing weapons such as nuclear submarines and a device called Status-6 that is able “to create an extensive zone of radioactive contamination” on the lines of previous Soviet government.

On the one side outgoing US President Obama has described his vision of nuclear free world and on the other hand world is facing severe threats from terrorists like Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi of ISIS. And Russia is like the third party who has to counter many troubles – from hegemonic approach of US to terrorist threats grappling all over the world. One more important point is that in coming future US will get new President and policies may change thereafter. In Russia, it is not clear yet that Vladimir Putin will retain presidency somehow after 2018 or there will be some new political story in Russia after less than 2 years. Such a situation only conclude on the point that anyhow in any case Russia do not want to lose its status in the world, neither Putin wants to lose his grip over country`s politics. The whole global tussle of Russia and US is revolving around this line only.

After several days since the controversy erupted, Russia has reacted on the issue and denied any wrongdoing. According to Reuters, Russia's military rejected criticism by U.S. European Command on Sunday that a Russian jet had made aggressive maneuvers near a U.S. reconnaissance plane over the Baltic Sea, a second incident in the region between the Cold War-era foes in the past week. Russia dismissed the report as "running counter to reality", saying its air defenses had to scramble a fighter jet after detecting a high-speed unidentified target over the Baltic Sea heading for its borders. Russian defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement that, the flight of the Russian warplane was in "strict conformity with international laws ... and there were no emergency situations."

Sources-

  • http://time.com/4280169/russia-nuclear-security-summit/
  • http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/russia-increases-nuclear-warheads-while-us-decreases-its-arsenal/564681.html
  • https://aleklett.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/the-baltic-sea-is-of-increasing-importance-for-russia/
  • http://www.kagstv.com/news/nation-now/russian-war-planes-buzz-us-destroyer-in-baltic/131032515
  • http://thenewsnigeria.com.ng/2016/04/russia-explains-absence-at-us-nuclear-summit/ 
Last modified on Monday, 18 April 2016 10:45

US Secretary of Defense Ashton J. Carter’s second visit to India within a year has generated lot of interest among our neighbors, especially China, as they see India being wooed up by US as part of balancing China strategy. The Chinese official media has given prime place to Secretary Carter visit and fear that India is slowly moving towards becoming a closer strategic ally of the US in the Asia Pacific region. As per the official Chinese media, the latest move of India signing the logistic support agreement has proven their concern right, and now they call India as “the new anchor” for US military in Asia Pacific. Apart form other two agreement related with drones and laser equipment, the signing of LSA with USA has a very serious implications for the Chinese. As they are already embroiled with the long term US military bases around China, the latest move of US to bring India on the bandwagon is a alarm bell for what they are going to confront in this region.

 China has enough reasons to think in this direction as being the largest trading power in the world they are being kept out of the recently concluded Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Whereas, India, now the fastest growing economy in the world, is seen as a possible strategic partner and ally, which may be included in the TPP expansion. Recently, the US Navy has sent its Aircraft carrier into the South China Sea to check the reinforcement of the freedom of navigation to which China has expressed its opposition voiceferously. The recent events in the South China Sea gives a clear indication of the coming confrontation in this region and US involvement which hitherto was criticized of not protecting the interests of its long-term allies in the region. Will India join the US in its move to contain China in the region is the major question Chinese have been asking us for years. Now the latest deal with US has vindicated their perception that India is moving closer to US and may become a part of containing China.

Since 2010, US has restarted its military bases in the region as part of rebalancing to Asia pacific, and has aided in militarily with arms and ammunitions to Australia, Philipines, Taiwan and now to India to stand against Chinese hegemony in the South China sea. US has been using Indian Ocean as its one of the major military base which is now alarmed by the increased presence of PLAN activities. Hence there is a call for increased cooperation with Indian Navy. As the US based strategic thinker Ashlley Tellis has pitched for in his various articles, the US is willing to share is technology with Indian Navy in building new Aircraft carrier, which hitherto only depended upon Russia. India has not shown a keen interest to this offer, because we do not know what is the hidden cost of this latest US offer. But as the body language shows, the Indian defense minister Shri Manohar Parrikar is feeling quite confortable with his American counterpart, and they have slowly developed a close working relationship which will expedite the various deals which is hanging over from the past one decade.  

 


Photo: Indian defense Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar meeting his US counterpart before signing the historical agreements in the area of defense cooperation.

 

As his gestures suggests, Secretary Ashton has been for long an advocate of closer ties with India, which is clear from his speeches and articles in journals and newspapers. Most of us believe that Secretary Carter has got his policy focus right on Asia-pacific and he is doing his part to convince India to join the US bandwagon in the region. The three agreements signed during his visit are not just ceremonial but it has significant implications in redefine the US military presence around India. Although India has clarified that it will not accept any long term US marine presence near its territory, but it does not mean that there will be no US military presence in some form or other in this region. The US has been known for imposing its will on its partners by either overt or covert means.

 

Photo: Indian Defense Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar and US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter Exchanging the Defense Framework Agreement during the later’s visit to India in  June 2015.

 

During his last visit in June of 2015, Secretary Carter signed a new framework agreement with India for closer cooperation in defense sector. Then also Carter conveyed that India was an important strategic partner for the US and the US policy of rebalance in Asia-Pacific. In his speeches in India, and even before coming to India, Secretary Carter gave enough reasons to convince Indians that now in the background of Rising Chinese hegemony at the Sea, the country should embrace the US as the peace keeper and he considers India to be an important partner as peacemaker in the Asia Pacific region. He has emphasized the common value and talk of convergence of our interest in this region, mainly in the area of checking Islamic terrorism and piracy at the Sea. But it is obvious to policy watchers that the elephant in the room is the People’s Republic of China. Since President Obama launched its policy of rebalancing to Asia, Secretary Carter has been one of his closest allies in this effort. Hence, his latest goodwill for India should be seen in the same policy background of the Obama presidency.

The main stumbling block of Indo-US defense cooperation lies at the export control oversight committee headed by some of the US senators who are controlled by anti-India lobby which objects to any critical technology transfer to the later.  As per the latest talk of Defense Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI), despite several assurances in the past by visiting US Presidents, US administration has not been forthcoming to remove all the barriers on these critical technology exports to India and most often objected by the US senate committee. They treat India as any other countries some time at par with Pakistan and China. These few Senators see India as a threat to US interest in South Asia and hence veto any move to remove the sanctions. Therefore in this background, any talk of co-production and co-development of new arms and equipment is a distant dream to be realized in near future. Therefore, Secretary Ashton has to work hard to remove this misperception about India, as the track record of the country is impeccable. The long demand of US from India to cut off all its dealings with Iran has not been justified on humanitarian or any international legal background. India is a sovereign nation and it has all the equal rights and freedom to have mutual beneficiary bilateral relations with other sovereign nations. 

But if we do a reality check, the Indo-Us relations are moving very slowly on both political and economic front, and in the area of security cooperation, we are far from becoming a distant ally of the world’s only Super Power, forget about getting the NATO ally status which some Indians has been asking for. The ground reality of our bilateral relations is that US has maintained double standard on various issues of India’s national security concern, especially when it comes to sanctioning the terrorist organizations acting from across our immediate border. US administration have not been very supportive in our effort to get these organizations declared terrorist outfit by the UN and get them banned. US have also refused to extradite the mastermind of the Mumbai terror attack, David Coleman Headley who is an American terrorist of Pakistani origin. On this front, China and US have shown similar apathy to our concern and have sided with Pakistan on various times. Recently at the UN China for the third time vetoed the Indian move to declare the Pakistani terrorist outfit  Jaish-e-mohammad as a terrorist organization which was the mastermind behind the Pathankot attack. 

Under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new pragmatic foreign policy regime, India is testing all the waters and open to all the new and old alliances. But the country is still calculating its strategic move in the Asia-pacific region and has made it clear that the “country will not be part of this joint patrol mechanism in the South China Sea, as proposed by the US.” This might be a decision in hurry, as Indian economy rises it also needs to ensure the free and safe passage of its commercial as well as friendly military vessels to pass through these sea routes, which is now exclusively claimed by Beijing. My own observation of US and Chinese behavior in the Asia pacific tells me that a strong China is also necessary for maintaining peace and stability in Asia.

In the last few years, Pentagon has been under serious budgetary pressure to which India is a very lucrative potential partner. The call for increased activism by India in the Asia Pacific is aimed at reducing the pressure on US military budget imbalances. At the same time India is poised to spend more than USD100 billion on its defense modernization and capacity building in the coming decade. Hence India is being seriously considered as a potential power in not only the Indian Ocean but also in the South China sea which if convinced to join US can create a multi lateral alliance together with Japan, Australia and other US allies. But India is not in a hurry to jump on the US boat, although it may share some In the post independent era, India has for long survived as an independent sovereign state and defended its boundaries on its own in the absence of any major military alliance. It will also take enough precautions to ward off any misperceptions that the new regime in Delhi is saying goody bye to India’s old wisdom of non-alignment and independent foreign policy.

Despite its latest profile of a major power, India will continue to maintain a friendly and mutually beneficial relations with its ancient neighbors based on mutual respect of its sovereignty and non-interference in the domestic matters. This is something in the DNA of our foreign policy, which no Indian leader can afford to sideline. Therefore, India will continue to coexist peacefully with her small or big neighbors but will not compromise if provoked by any state or non-state actors, which operate from across the boundary. India is poised to be emerging as a major power in Asia and a global player for maintaining peace and stability. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today India is a strong country with will power to act decisively. Her confidence is all time high, and her leadership is young and bold. Any misadventure from any country will get a fitting reply.  

Nevertheless, Secretary Carter name will go down as one of the best Secretary of defense who got Asia-pacific right made substantive transformation in US policy to rebalance and reassert the peace and security in this most complex region. Ashton has sent some goodwill sign to India during his two visits and he may be the right partner for India to convince the US congress for the technology we require in our defense modernization. But remember that he would not be doing it alone if not able to get the confidence of defense ministers of like-minded countries in Asia Pacific. In very short time he has been able to win the trust of our defense policy makers and has created a new synergy for cooperation in defense technology. We can hope that in near future India will be able to go through various successful deals by working together with its newly found friend in Washignton.  

It is lately recognized by the US strategic community that India is one of the most important strategic balancer in Asia-pacific, which is the reason that Ashton has made this country as one of its major focus in Washington to get what India wants and in return What India can do for his strategy of US defense policy in Asia. If he can successfully convince the US congressmen, especially those who are falling in the lines of Late Richard Holbrook, then only we can conceive of a lasting strategic alliance with Washington. The world politics is all set for a major transformation and it is the time when new global alliances will be created to take on the new enemy. Therefore, it is also now up to India to be a part of this historical shift and find a close alignment with US in Asia or be left on the periphery and remain a bystander to the vital defense and security issues of Asia-Pacific which will have serious consequences for the peaceful and stable growth of our nation.

To conclude, let us remind us that, Prime Minister Modi’s call for India to become a leading power represents a major strategic shift in our foreign policy. To realize this goal, we all Indians need to work together and create a consensus first domestically, that what role India will play as a major power and who will be our strategic allies? Without having this clear in our mind, we will end up talking to all but allying with none. After going through some of the toughest decade in our foreign policy making, it should be clear to us by now, who is our friend and who cannot become our friend.     

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 13 April 2016 06:23

An Indian think tank delegation was invited by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in India and hosted by the China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU) to Beijing and Shanghai from 15 December to 22 December 2015. The delegation consisted of 28 participants from the Vivekananda International Foundation (VRF), Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS), Forum for Strategic Initiatives (FSI) and National Maritime Foundation (NMF), headed by Brigadier Vinod Anand. Interactions were held with various Chinese universities and think tanks – China Institute of International Studies (CIIS), CFAU, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), Tsinghua University, Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) and Fudan University along with meetings with senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), PRC. 

The main themes of the discussions were the rise of China in the Asia-Pacific region replacing the United States, its efforts to set up multilateral mechanism of One Belt One Road (OBOR) for development of the region and India’s concerns about the OBOR, especially the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and China’s strategic objectives in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region. There were also deliberations on China’s concerns about the strategic partnership of India, Japan and the United States (US) and India’s role in the South China Sea. Besides, a considerable time was spent on finding a common ground on countering Islamic terrorism. The boundary dispute and other contentious issues like Jammu and Kashmir, Tibet and transnational rivers found place only as isolated remarks or queries.

Beijing

The Chinese participants led by Prof Ruan Zongze, Vice-President of CIIS argued strongly that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) was an initiative to undermine the emerging economies or the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and so India should shed its hesitation and join the OBOR that would benefit the entire Asia-Pacific region. He believed that it would not serve India’s interests to negotiate a deal with the US within the TPP framework. Instead, the BCIM (Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar) project of the OBOR would be more consistent with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Act East Policy and India’s strategic and economic objectives. The Indian delegation replied that India has multiple concerns about OBOR and unless China clarifies the objectives and the roadmap of OBOR, it will be very difficult to commit to the China-led mechanism. As far as relations with the US are concerned, India pursues an independent foreign policy, not centred on China, just as China has its separate relations with the US. Indeed, India also is not enthused when concepts like G2 are proposed for a US-China dual hegemony. Both sides, however, were positive about the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) of Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), India, China, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. RCEP could be a counter-weight to TPP if it gets finalised and approved by all the partners.

In CFAU, our delegation met Prof Qin Yaqin, President of CFAU, after which we had a separate symposium on OBOR, Asian Connectivity and Regional Integration. The Chinese side was led by Prof Wei Ling, Director of Institute for Asian Studies, CFAU. Different aspects of OBOR and other regional mechanisms like RCEP, Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) and South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) were discussed and the need for greater co-operation was asserted by both sides. The Chinese side justified the lack of clarity on OBOR as a policy of ‘crossing the river by groping the stones’, i.e. according to the evolution of regional situation and interests, OBOR would acquire its characteristics. Nevertheless, OBOR is intended to promote connectivity and development of the Western region of China that, unlike the Eastern region with access to open seas and rich neighbours, requires state support for economic development. The Chinese side also argued that there are many non-traditional security challenges like climate change and terrorism requiring co-operation and partnership among all countries in the region. Moreover, there is diffusion of power and interdependence in a globalised world order, rendering the concepts of multipolarity and balance of power redundant. So, the American rebalancing strategy (previously, Pivot to Asia) is impractical, India should shed its scepticism and become a partner in OBOR. When the Indian side raised concerns about common terrorist threat to India and China from Islamic terrorism emanating from Pakistan, the reluctance of China to criticise Pakistan and resolve the boundary dispute with India, the Chinese side held that Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism and China cannot jeopardise its ‘all-weather friendship’ for some minor terrorist incidents and advised India to resolve its disputes with Pakistan through dialogue. It also termed the boundary dispute with India as a minor issue hyped by the Indian media. Prof Su Hao (CFAU) was also present in the symposium. He proposed three levels of engagement between China and India – multilateral, triangular and two plus one. The multilateral engagement includes regional organisations such as RCEP, SCO and SAARC. The triangular engagement involves partnership of both China and India with another country. For instance, Japan invests both in China and India and that is a win-win-win situation. China should not perceive Japan-India partnership as a threat; instead compete with Japan for business opportunities in India. The two plus one engagement means that both countries should have joint foreign policies in neighbouring countries like Nepal, Myanmar and Afghanistan, where China and India have common interests, to avoid misunderstanding and unhealthy competition.

In CICIR, we had a symposium with a Chinese delegation led by Dr Wang Shida, the Vice Director of Institute of South Asian, Southeast Asian and Oceanic Studies, CICIR on Political and Security Situations in South Asia and Sino-Indian Relations. Discussions centred around the scope for increasing soft power co-operation through people to people contacts, joint film projects and media coverage of each other. The Chinese side enumerated the main problems as the lack of progress in the resolution of the border dispute, military capacity building in the border areas, India’s conflict with Pakistan, strategic partnership of India, US and Japan and India’s activities in the South China Sea. The Indian side emphasised that as far as India-China relations are concerned, there has been lot of progress in trade, multilateralism and culture, but there is serious mistrust in border dispute, military deployment in the border areas, China-Pakistan relations, especially the CPEC related activities in the disputed territory of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and military and nuclear technology transfer to Pakistan and China’s reluctance to criticise cross border terrorism sponsored by Pakistan. On the South China Sea, the Indian side clarified that 55 per cent of India’s trade passes through the area and hence India has interests in the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. On China’s perception of the constitutional crisis in Nepal, the Chinese side replied that China has three principles – non-interference in the domestic affairs, management of Tibetan political activities and economic support.

Prof Yan Xuetong, the Dean of the Institute of Modern International Relations, Tsinghua University explained that they have developed a Tsinghua Approach to International Relations (IR), applying ancient Chinese thought, modern IR theory, scientific methodology and the experience of China’s rise. The central puzzle is that although China is deficient in comparison to the US due to democracy deficit, economic imbalance and military weakness, how China has reduced the power gap with the US in the last 10-15 years. To solve the puzzle, the IR scholars at Tsinghua have developed the theory of Moral Realism. Morality means the national political leadership should be responsible, reliable and goal-oriented, learning from the national conditions, not borrowing ideas from the hegemon. In the last 10-15 years, China has had the moral leadership of the Communist Party that has both strength and good ideas, but the US has suffered from inconsistent leadership, with President George W. Bush who was strong, but had bad ideas and President Barack H. Obama who has good ideas, but is weak. That is a contrast from the strong and smart leadership of President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. Realism means the international power structure determines the status of a nation and conflict among nations and balance of power strategies are the unchangeable realities of international politics. There is no final solution to conflict and power politics, only conflict management to avoid full-scale wars. Thus, co-operation can only be conditional and there can be no compromise on core interests, for instance China would never accept the independence of Taiwan, the US would not allow non-peaceful integration of Taiwan to China and so, the status quo is the only way to avoid war.

Our delegation had representations from realist, liberal and postmodern perspectives. From the realist perspective, the question was whether India had to choose between American hegemony and Sinocentric order in Asia-Pacific and what situation may emerge in the coming decades – strategic balance, i.e. economic interdependence keeps political friction under control; ‘dragon fire’, i.e. the US returns to isolation and China prevails; or fragile China, i.e. China’s economic downturn creates a power vacuum and India emerges as a strategic balancer. The liberal argument was that the global governance institutions have inherent deficiencies and biases originating in the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference, where the Anglo-American strategists had entrenched their hegemony. So, the important question is whether alternative institutions developed by the emerging economies, e.g. New Development Bank (NDB) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) would be more inclusive and equitable or the same power interests would prevail. The postmodern problem was that in the great power politics between China and India, the minority communities residing in the Himalayan Region get marginalised and their language and culture are on the verge of extinction. Therefore, the enquiry was if the Tsinghua Approach had any solution to such problems. Another issue was the possibility of India and China working together to develop civilisational universalism based on the teachings of Buddha, Confucius, Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore. The response of Prof Yan was that neither the isolation of the US nor the decline of China was a possibility in the next decade. Hence, there would be bipolarity in the Asia-Pacific. India should in its national interest revive non-alignment and extract maximum benefits from both the US and China. It will not be possible for India to emerge as a separate pole unless it gains a moral leadership that can make it strong and rich, which is impossible as it has a system of government not rooted in Indian conditions. On globalisation, Prof Yan stated that it was a process of the rich, by the rich and for the rich and the poor are incapable of resisting it, so they will remain marginalised and the gap between rich and poor cannot be removed. On the emerging economies, he said that BRICS is an unreal term because Russia and Brazil are shrinking economies, India and South Africa have too many problems and it is not possible for China to revive these economies or solve their problems. He predicted that BRICS will cease to exist by 2023. On the Tsinghua Approach, he explained Moral Realism and then mentioned that every country should develop its local IR theory rooted in its traditions because country suffering from identity crisis can never develop moral leadership. However, it is inefficient for great powers to concentrate on marginal issues, so these issues will always be at the periphery of international politics.

Shanghai

In Shanghai, there were two symposiums – one at SIIS on World Counter-Terrorism Situation and Global Governance with the Chinese team led by Prof Chen Dongxiao, President of SIIS and the other at Fudan University on Asia Pacific Situations and Relations between China, US and India with Prof Shen Dingli, Vice President of the School of International Studies, Fudan University. In SIIS, Prof Zhao Gancheng, Director of the Center of Asia-Pacific Studies spoke on counter-terrorism and stressed the need for India and China to co-operate to tackle both the terrorist infrastructure and ideology. Prof Ye Jiang, Director of the Institute for Global Governance Studies addressed the global governance issues and how India and China could engage at various levels. The Indian side also made presentations, which were followed by questions and answers. In Fudan University, Prof Shen Dingli stressed the necessity of changing the perception of Indians and Chinese towards one another. He admitted that India was a great civilisation with 8000 years of antiquity, a civilisation that has remained in the right side of history and to which China owes a lot of debt. In that spirit of broad-mindedness, he advocated that China should follow the Gujral Doctrine, i.e. China should unilaterally give concessions to India, for instance in the boundary dispute and that would generate tremendous goodwill for China in the hearts of Indians. China should also endorse India’s relations with the US and Japan and use India’s good offices to mend relations with them.

Thus, the visit gave our delegation insights into the diverse foreign policy perspectives in China, helped us establish contacts with important scholars in the foreign policy research community and contribute to the dialogue process between India and China.

 

Last modified on Monday, 15 February 2016 10:23
Thursday, 11 February 2016 11:40

Is India ready to face cyber 26/11?

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International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest reports assured that India is soon going to become the fastest growing economy, forging ahead of China.. India is a leading recipient of the outsourcing of information technology functions like software development and maintenance and also for business process outsourcing. Experts are of the view that with time India will take on more complex software and product development services. 

Indian IT sector has increased its contribution to India’s GDP from 1.2 per cent in 1998 to 7.5 percent till 2012 as per reports. Latest reports issued by, India Brand Equity Foundation, “India accounts for 67 per cent of the world’s outsourced IT sector”. IT-BPM sector grew at “Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR)” of 15 per cent over 2010-2015, which is three to four times higher than the global IT-BPM spent and is estimated to expand at CAGR of 9.5 per cent to reach US$300billion by 2020. 

As per NASSCOM, IT sector of India is expected to grow 11 per cent per annum and triple its current revenue to reach US$350 billion by 2025. India’s Internet economy is expected to reach US$151.6 billion by 2018 accounting for 5 per cent of the country’s whole GDP alone. Indian banking system is also busy in digitalizing its services and processes so as to achieve ‘Financial Inclusion’ at a faster pace. This shows that India’s fast growing economy depends a lot on its IT services.

A country which has such a big IT share of the world and growing at such a fast pace should be ready for any level of ‘Cyber-attack’. With the advancement in technology and science today’s war is fought more through unconventional weapons like the Internet. 

Cyber Space is the new battlefield, where rival countries are trying to attack over government’s website and data centers in order to get access of government plans and other confidential documents.  In the past 15 years Indian government’s official websites including Intelligence agencies websites have been attacked several times by Pakistani and Chinese hackers. 

In 2015, we witnessed an increase in breaches that exposed the identities of millions of people. The most shocking was the Ashley Madison data breach. Even governments were not left out from the game. UK Prime Minister David Cameron and U.S. President Barack Obama agreed to carry out "war game" cyber-attacks on each other in January. Companies could follow their example in 2016-claimed report published in Business Insider.

A report "Shadow in the cloud" by a Canadian think-tank comprising "Information Warfare Monitor and "Shadows Server" released in 2010, said there was evidence of a cyber-espionage network that compromised government, business and academic computer systems in India, especially the office of the Dalai Lama.

According to a Canadian firm, which investigated the hacking of the Dalai Lama’s computer reported that as many as 12 computers of NIC that had been hit by the Chinese hackers. The report said the recovery and analysis of ex-filtrated data, including one that appears to be encrypted diplomatic correspondence; two documents marked "Secret", six as "Restricted", and five as "Confidential". These documents were identified as belonging to the Indian government.

"The recovered documents also include 1,500 letters sent from the Dalai Lama's office between January and November 2009. The profile of documents recovered suggests that the attackers targeted specific systems and profile of users", the report said.

Besides these reports by well-established think tanks, there were several notes drawing urgent attention of various ministries about possible intrusion by hackers either based in China or Pakistan trying to infiltrate into the computers. This shows how the two biggest rival countries and neighbors of India are changing the battlefield for India and switching into cyber space. The most alarming incident was the attack on CBI’s website. The official website of the CBI was hacked by the 'Pakistani Cyber Army' on the intervening night of December 3 and 4, 2010. The incident happened 5 years back, but question is still same are we ready to successfully handle such attacks? Are we prepared to face “Cyber 26/11”?

In October 2001, when Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was the Principal Scientific Advisor prepared a road map for the constitution of technical intelligence agency which later developed as National Technical Research Organization which at present agency is under the National Security Adviser in the Prime Minister's Office. It was set up in 2004, and also includes the National Institute of Cryptology Research and Development (NICRD), which is first of its kind in Asia. In December 2014 it intercepted communication emanating out of Karachi regarding transfer of vital equipment to receivers on the western coast of India. The Coast Guard and navy, were already on the alert because of heightened tensions with Pakistan were then informed. The Coast Guard kept a close vigil through the day on December 31. Around 11 PM on New Year's Eve a suspicious boat was spotted about 200 kms off the coast of Porbandar. On intercepting instead of cooperating the boat headed back towards Karachi. After few hours of chase the occupants set the fishing boat on fire. At least four men were spotted on the boat before it sank.. But still the organization is facing a number of controversies including purchase of Israeli UAVs bought by NTRO in 2007 at the cost of US$66 million was lying unused, as the bundled satellite link purchased was not meant for dedicated military transmission, which would have made it vulnerable to electronic eavesdropping. An internal enquiry was ordered by PMO to find out if there has been a case of financial corruption after CAG reports. 

In 2011, “Pakistani Cyber Army” and individual Chinese hackers together attacked computer systems of IGI airport and check-in counters of all airlines become non-operational, later in the year, websites of government enterprises faced attacks including BSNL, ONGC and TRAI. Computer systems at Ministries of Home and External affairs, ITBP and NSC were accessed by unknown sources. Government officials suspect Chinese and Pakistani hackers against the loophole and concerns over checking of crucial official websites, security agencies have been continuously warning the government about the use of multitasking BlackBerry instruments by some of the officials working in sensitive ministries including the Prime Minister's office.

In earlier checks it was found that some of the officials in the PMO were using BlackBerry services and had linked their official emails on the handset, which is not allowed.

The problem that makes cyber space of the country vulnerable is constant use of official computers by officials in key ministries for Internet usage despite all warning from security agencies not to link them with the Internet. All such incidents are enough to clarify that India needs a strong “Cyber Warfare Doctrine”, to evacuate any Cyber-attack. To keep secret and restricted files safe, either ministries documents or intelligence secret reports, we must use a separate server and Internet network, which should never be connected to World Wide Web. This server should only be used for ministries official works and connecting to intelligence agency officials and other important and vulnerable departments. Let our connection even not to be connected with on the air network, there should be separate optical fiber cable network, whose plan should be kept secret and non-other than important ministries or technology intelligence agencies should know the map of the cables. It will make it nearly impossible for any hacker group to intervene in our network and ever have access of “secret” files.

It is important for country’s security because the growth of country in world IT outsourcing market is expected to grow tremendously and digitalization of country, along with FDI, introduction of foreign companies will make Indian Internet space more vulnerable. There is no way that can 100per cent secure, from last few attacks; Pakistani hackers are intervening through FACEBOOK.

So government must think to develop a separate IT infrastructure for ministries and government offices usage.  

Must do’s-

  1. Establish soon strong Cyber War doctrines
  2. Enact laws and aware citizens
  3. Establish specialized institutes for better research and defend country from such attacks
  4. Soon make operational organizations like NCCC which are on board from last half decades 
  5. Develop strong and separate server and internet facility for vulnerable departments and ministries 
Last modified on Thursday, 11 February 2016 12:12
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