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EDITORIALS

Kashmir is bilateral
US opts for new hyphenation

THE new US administration has finally realised the sensitive nature of the Kashmir question. That is why it has categorically stated that Kashmir does not figure on President Barack Obama’s agenda.

Oil gets cheaper
Time is ripe for price deregulation
T
HE much-awaited reduction in the petrol, diesel and cooking gas prices has happened, though not to the extent some had expected or news reports had suggested. What has not happened is the deregulation of the oil prices. There is almost unanimity at the top level about linking the oil prices to market rates.


EARLIER STORIES

Outrage in Mangalore
January 29, 2009
Have autonomy talks
January 28, 2009
Pin Pakistan down
January 26, 2009
Civil services: The blunted edge
January 25, 2009
Credibility, the best asset
January 24, 2009
Obama on Pakistan
January 23, 2009
Words to remember
January 22, 2009
Metro is not for Maytas
January 21, 2009
President Obama
January 20, 2009
Adieu, George Bush
January 19, 2009


Worthy of emulation
Chandigarh court sets record in rape case
B
Y all accounts, Chandigarh’s Additional District and Sessions Judge has set an example in convicting five persons and awarding them life imprisonment for raping a German tourist in a speedy trial that lasted just a week. This is an example worthy of emulation.

ARTICLE

Benefactors of Pakistan
Similarities between US, China policies
by Zorawar Daulet Singh
P
ost-Mumbai South Asian diplomacy has exposed New Delhi’s lack of leverage on Pakistani behaviour. Rather, Pakistan’s traditional benefactors, specially the United States and China, continue to hold sway when it comes to influencing their protégé’s external behaviour. It is only apt then to reflect on this persistent external intervention into the subcontinent’s affairs.

MIDDLE

Crime and punishment
by A.J. Philip
S
AJI MOHAN, now in police custody in Mumbai, and I have many things in common. While he was a veterinary doctor who got into the IPS, I opted out of BVSc to study English literature.

OPED

Partnering with Pakistan
US assistance is not charity

by Asif Ali Zardari
Pakistan looks forward to a new beginning in its bilateral relationship with the United States. First, we congratulate Barack Obama and the country that had the character to elect him, and we welcome his decision to name a special envoy to Southwest Asia.

Withdraw from Indus treaty
by M.S. Menon
T
he despicable act of mass-casualty terrorism carried out by Pakistan sponsored terrorists on November 26, 2008, in Mumbai, and subsequent denials by our neighbour have revealed that India’s policy of appeasing Pakistan in the hope of peace had the opposite effect of what this country had hoped for.

Delhi Durbar
Pranab stands behind junior
E
ven as he recovered from the coronary bypass surgery at the AIIMS, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's attention was solely on the mundane affairs of the state. He kept a close tab on almost all administrative matters, particularly financial and foreign policy issues.

 


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EDITORIALS

Kashmir is bilateral
US opts for new hyphenation

THE new US administration has finally realised the sensitive nature of the Kashmir question. That is why it has categorically stated that Kashmir does not figure on President Barack Obama’s agenda. Washington has also made it clear that the US special envoy for Pakistan-Afghanistan, Mr Richard Holbrooke, has nothing to do with Kashmir, a matter involving India and Pakistan. The US was required to restate its position in view of what Mr Obama said during his two interviews with Time magazine and US Ambassador-Designate Susan Rice’s description of Kashmir as one of the world’s “hot spots” and a recruiting ground for Al-Qaida. This indicated a change in the US stance. However, with the State Department clarifying its position as it existed earlier, the confusion over Kashmir vis-à-vis the US has come to a happy end.

India has always been of the view that Kashmir is a bilateral issue to be sorted out between India and Pakistan. New Delhi cannot tolerate a third-party intervention on an issue involving two neighbours. Contrary to this, Pakistan has been seeing virtue in internationalising the issue, and hence Islamabad’s efforts to bring in outside powers to mediate in its resolution. Pakistan wants the world to believe that a resolution of the issue through international mediation will help contain terrorism. President Asif Zardari wrote an article carried in Wednesday’s issue of The Washington Post, arguing that a link existed between terrorism and Kashmir. He unsuccessfully pleaded for including Kashmir in Mr Holbrooke’s agenda.

It is true that President Obama has certain ideas on Kashmir which he articulated in the course of the interviews he gave to Time in October and December 2008. But his views were, perhaps, wrongly interpreted to mean that Kashmir figures in his “strategy in Afghanistan”. The US under him has shifted the hyphen between India and Pakistan to Pakistan-Afghanistan. That is why Washington is concentrating on the tribal areas inhabited by the Pashtu-speaking people on both sides of the Durand Line to eliminate terrorism. The drone attacks on the Pakistani side are likely to intensify to smoke out the terrorists in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). This brings out the truth that terrorism and Kashmir are totally unconnected.
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Oil gets cheaper
Time is ripe for price deregulation

THE much-awaited reduction in the petrol, diesel and cooking gas prices has happened, though not to the extent some had expected or news reports had suggested. What has not happened is the deregulation of the oil prices. There is almost unanimity at the top level about linking the oil prices to market rates. The Petroleum Minister, the Planning Commission and the Prime Minister, who holds the Finance portfolio, all favour this and their recent utterances to this effect had revived hopes. However, problems would arise when the oil prices shoot up and subsidy may have to be restored. The tricky issue, which requires a detailed discussion and political consensus, has been kept pending. Besides, the Prime Minister was unavailable due to his hospitalisation after the recent heart surgery.

The relief to the oil and LPG consumers ahead of the Lok Sabha elections may stand the ruling coalition in good stead. However, the government must ensure that the benefit percolates to the grassroots level. Public and private transport fares, once raised, usually do not come down in tandem with the oil price declines. Some state governments like that of Punjab were quick to raise the taxes on oil that they cut when the global prices had skyrocketed last year. The Centre had sharply reduced or scrapped the Customs duty on petroleum products to cushion the impact of high prices on the consumer.

The slashing of the oil prices will have a cascading effect on inflation, which climbed up for the second consecutive week to reach 5.64 per cent on Thursday. The spike in inflation is temporary and is attributed to the recent truckers’ strike. The RBI expects inflation to fall below 3 per cent by the end of March. This may prompt banks to lower interest rates though the RBI had on Tuesday left the key rates unchanged. To fight economic slowdown it is necessary to shore up demand and ensure more cash in the hands of consumers. This can be done partly by cutting taxes and commodity prices.
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Worthy of emulation
Chandigarh court sets record in rape case

BY all accounts, Chandigarh’s Additional District and Sessions Judge has set an example in convicting five persons and awarding them life imprisonment for raping a German tourist in a speedy trial that lasted just a week. This is an example worthy of emulation. Though it was not a fast-track court, judge Raj Shekhar Attri heard the case on a day-to-day basis wherein the prosecution got its nine witnesses examined and the defense got the statements of seven recorded. The hearing revolved around four contentions -- the victim’s language, her statements before the police and the trial court, the girl’s “consent and free will” and medical evidence. As the victim spoke in German during the recording of her statement, three interpreters, including one from the German Embassy, helped her.

According to the prosecution, the victim had been maintaining that she was raped and because of the language problem she could not communicate it to the police initially. The fact that the victim sustained 26 injuries nailed the defense counsel’s claim that she voluntarily went with the boys. Moreover, the Central Forensic Science Research Laboratory had confirmed that she was raped. The blood stains, hair strands, cigarette butts, semen swabs and condom samples recovered from the vehicle used for abducting the victim were that of the accused, it said.

If the Chandigarh example is followed, it will not only speed up the justice delivery system but also instil the much-needed fear of the law among the people. As the wheels of justice in the clogged up courts move very slowly in the country, there is a general impression that one can commit any kind of crime and go scot-free. The Chandigarh court has now proved that the accused can be brought to justice promptly. Unfortunately, even though the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Act stipulates that the investigation of rape cases should be completed in three months and the trial in two months, the advocates have been opposing the amendment for reasons best known to them. The amendment needs to be followed by the courts scrupulously for bringing rapists to book expeditiously.
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Thought for the Day

To fly from, need not be to hate, mankind. — Lord Byron
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ARTICLE

Benefactors of Pakistan
Similarities between US, China policies
by Zorawar Daulet Singh

Post-Mumbai South Asian diplomacy has exposed New Delhi’s lack of leverage on Pakistani behaviour. Rather, Pakistan’s traditional benefactors, specially the United States and China, continue to hold sway when it comes to influencing their protégé’s external behaviour. It is only apt then to reflect on this persistent external intervention into the subcontinent’s affairs.

The inglorious China-Pakistan nexus has been a recurring theme in Indian security discourse. The consensus view holds that China has played a crucial role in shaping the balance of power on the subcontinent via Beijing’s transfer of nuclear and missile-related weaponry to Islamabad. Such a perspective is empirically justified and the ramifications of Beijing’s contribution to horizontal proliferation to India’s arch rival have been truly profound. For instance, aside from the palpable lack of resolve of the Central government, the one decisive factor that weighs against the Indian use of force in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror strikes is the deterrence value of Pakistani nuclear weapons.

It is also a fact that Washington has hardly been a passive actor in the Pakistani nuclear bazaar. As recent revelations by Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark have made abundantly clear, the US intelligence community has always been aware of the covert arrangement between Beijing and Islamabad, and it can be conjectured that given the extent of US-Pakistani and US-Chinese strategic cooperation during the last decade of the Cold War, the US implicit acquiescence must surely have been a factor in Beijing’s strategic arms transfers to an American ally. Even through the 1990s and the early 2000s, Washington made no sustained effort to impose any costs on Beijing for its proliferation activities. In sum, Washington has been an accessory to the nuclear proliferation to Pakistan.

Thus, during much of the Cold War, on the issue of constraining India, there was little disagreement among Washington, Beijing and Islamabad.

After a short interlude in the 1990s, during which South Asia was left largely to its own dynamic, the US resumed its regional interest in the aftermath of South Asia going nuclear. It was not, however, until the onset of military intervention in Afghanistan in late 2001 and the subsequent re-activation of the Cold War alliance with Islamabad that Washington signalled a long-term strategic involvement in the region. Since then the Pakistani military-industrial complex has been sustained and nurtured by Washington and its allies who have transferred sophisticated conventional capabilities unnecessary for the prosecution of the Afghan campaign.

China’s traditional strategy for Indian containment via buttressing Pakistan’s security has undergone subtle changes since the resumption of US aid to Pakistan eight years ago. John Garver, a leading China scholar, has suggested that American presence in Afghanistan and its attendant logic for an elevated relationship between the US and Pakistani militaries freed Beijing from the diplomatically formidable and resource-consuming task of shoring up the stability of the Pakistani state. It also enabled Beijing to pursue a diplomatically balanced posture in its South Asia policy by focusing on the rapprochement process with India.

Hu Jintao’s 2006 visit was perhaps Beijing’s first serious attempt to signal a more balanced and equidistant posture to India and Pakistan. During that trip, Hu stated China’s unwillingness to seek “selfish gains” in South Asia, an attempt to signal to both India and Pakistan that Beijing’s hitherto zero-sum approach to the region was no longer a relevant guide to Chinese policy. In the context of post-Mumbai diplomacy, India’s Foreign Secretary recently described China’s diplomatic posture as seeking to strike a balance between “its strategic partner (India)” and “a close and very important friend (Pakistan)”.

Thus, while it might be popular to exaggerate Beijing’s influence over Islamabad in the present phase of South Asian geopolitics, the 2000s have demonstrated that Washington is by far the final arbiter for Pakistani affairs. Beijing’s influence in Islamabad has been subordinated to US priorities. And a vital contributing factor to Beijing’s sensitivity and reluctance to play a spoiler to Washington’s South Asia policies has been the rising trajectory of US-China relations. In fact, there are compelling geoeconomic and geostrategic variables for even more robust US-China ties in the coming decade. And given the premium Beijing places on its “complex interdependence” with Washington, it would be more amenable to coordinating its Pakistan policy with the US.

In the coming years, China’s policy for Pakistan will be driven by multiple factors. First, while the anti-India hedge in Beijing’s Pakistan policy has receded, it has by no means disappeared. Beijing’s role in the Indo-Pakistani equation could once again come to the fore in the (unlikely) scenario of an American withdrawal from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Second, the security of south-western China, specifically for stabilising Beijing’s tenuous hold over Tibet and Xinjiang makes Pakistan an important neighbour. Third, as part of Beijing’s plans to rejuvenate western China, Pakistan’s geography offers a potential, albeit unstable, geoeconomic corridor with West Asia and Africa.

In fact, there are striking similarities between Washington’s South Asia policy and Beijing’s South Asia policy. While seeking to improve relations with New Delhi, both have refused to abandon their traditional policies of sustaining Pakistan as a militarily relevant state and legitimating the rule of its feudal elites. Clearly, abandonment of Pakistan runs contrary to both countries’ strategic template for South Asia. This is as much a reflection of New Delhi’s inability to reorient the foreign policies of Washington and Beijing as it is to the latter two powers’ refusal to endorse India’s regional power position beyond mere rhetoric.

Ironically, it is New Delhi that has made the adjustments and compromises in its foreign policy to seek an accommodation with its irredentist western neighbour in order to sustain its prized bilateral partnerships with the latter’s benefactors. New Delhi’s post-Mumbai diplomatic offensive is nothing but a half-serious attempt to “isolate” Pakistan without invoking even basic political countermeasures (i.e. suspend bilateral diplomatic relations, imposition of sanctions) for that might complicate the US regional policy and hence the ensuing course of Indo-US relations.

Given that, for the foreseeable future India’s influence over the political choices that are made in Pakistan will remain perfunctory, Indian strategists ought to systematically and dispassionately monitor the evolving objectives and policies of Pakistan’s benefactors. (For example, it is baffling how the transfer of JF-17 Chinese fighters to Pakistan invites instant condemnation by Indian analysts, while the transfer of F-16s by the US is somehow condonable.)

Pakistan’s utility as a state deserving great power attention emanates almost entirely from its geopolitical location - useful to any power interested in West and Central Asia, and simultaneously key to shaping the South Asian balance of power or, to put it more bluntly, constraining Indian power. Pakistani security elites have repeatedly played the role of a “frontline” state in order to receive the wherewithal to balance India and sustain their irredentist aspirations. That such a policy has unleashed centrifugal forces with adverse consequences for the stability and even survival of the Pakistani state is a theme that will captivate analysts in the months and years to come.

In the final analysis, India’s diplomatic status has been adversely impacted since the terror strikes in Mumbai. New Delhi’s complete inability or reluctance to impose any meaningful countermeasure to a one-sided proxy war has left it red-faced. What is equally disconcerting is that the enhancement of India’s bilateral relations with Washington and Beijing has yielded little tangible gains for Indian security to cheer about

The writer is an international relations analyst based in New Delhi.

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MIDDLE

Crime and punishment
by A.J. Philip

SAJI MOHAN, now in police custody in Mumbai, and I have many things in common. While he was a veterinary doctor who got into the IPS, I opted out of BVSc to study English literature.

Like me, he has two sons, Allen who studies in Class III and Evan who is in Class I. We met a few times at Malayali functions and he came across as an earnest, well-meaning, though shy, police officer.

A few months back, he came to invite me to participate in a seminar the Narcotics Control Bureau was organising. Since my knowledge of narcotics was near zero, I wriggled out of the invitation.

Saji told me that he was fed up with his job at Chandigarh and was seeking a transfer to Kerala. He hinted at telephonic and other threats he was receiving. One day, he called me to say that he was leaving for Kochi on December 31.

That is when I told him about my own initial plans to leave Chandigarh the same day. It was, therefore, a pleasant surprise for me to find him at a marriage party three days after the Mumbai attack.

Saji told me that it was the first marriage party he was attending in the city, though he had lived here for a couple of years. It was obvious that he did not know many as he latched on to me for the rest of the evening.

He told me how, as an IPS officer of the J&K cadre, he had fought militants head on, for which he got President’s police medal. He had a word of praise for the Maharashtra police, though he had his own views on the anti-terrorist operation.

Saji had a few more pegs than I and he left before my wife and I had food. I never saw him “lacing” his drinks as his host suspected after reading all the media reports. Incidentally, the same host had described him as a “noble soul” a few days earlier.

A couple of weeks after the party, Saji sent me an SMS about his departure for Kochi when I told him about my plans to leave The Tribune on January 31. Later, I saw a report about his joining the Enforcement Directorate at Kochi in a Malayalam daily.

Reports have it that he was arrested with 12 kg of heroin while negotiating with a drug trafficker in Mumbai. When I heard of it, I thought he was not a porter to carry such a large quantity of drugs from Chandigarh to Kochi to Delhi, where he had gone for training, and to Mumbai, where he fell into a trap.

If reports are to be believed, Saji lived a double life, had “stolen at least 40 kg heroin” and was a regular at discotheques. However, his father, a retired Subedar Major, says he had to chip in with Rs 5 lakh to help him buy a three-bedroom flat in Kochi.

I do not blame Saji’s “host” for his changed perception. S. Nambi Narayanan was a God-fearing scientist when he became a suspect in the ISRO spy case and was tortured in police custody. Journalist Iftikhar Geelani underwent similar torture. Both were proved innocent.

A close relation of mine was arrested by the CBI in a trumped-up case. He, too, was honourably acquitted.

Saji has a group of friends in Chandigarh, who have been storming the heavens with their prayers for his safety. All I can pray is, if Saji Mohan is guilty, he should be punished severely. Otherwise, his tormentors should get their just deserts for implicating the IPS officer, who roughed up the corrupt while he was in Chandigarh.

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OPED

Partnering with Pakistan
US assistance is not charity

by Asif Ali Zardari

Asif Ali Zardari
Asif Ali Zardari

Pakistan looks forward to a new beginning in its bilateral relationship with the United States. First, we congratulate Barack Obama and the country that had the character to elect him, and we welcome his decision to name a special envoy to Southwest Asia.

Appointing the seasoned diplomat Richard Holbrooke says much about the president's worldview and his understanding of the complexities of peace and stability and the threats of extremism and terrorism. Simply put, we must move beyond rhetoric and tackle the hard problems.

Pakistan has repeatedly been identified as the most critical external problem facing the new administration.

The situation in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India is indeed critical, but its severity actually presents an opportunity for aggressive and innovative action.

Since the end of the Musharraf dictatorship, Pakistan has worked to confront the challenges of a young democracy facing an active insurgency, within the context of an international economic crisis. Ambassador Holbrooke will soon discover that Pakistan is far more than a rhetorical partner in the fight against extremism.

Unlike in the 1980s, we are surrogates for no one. With all due respect, we need no lectures on our commitment. This is our war. 
It is our children and wives who are dying.

Ambassador Holbrooke will encounter a region of interrelated issues crossing borders — old problems that have been left to fester, new realities in an era of active terrorism, and the residual consequences of past Western support for dictatorships and disregard for economic and social development. Let's delineate them.

For almost 60 years the relationship between Pakistan and America has been based on quid pro quo policies with short-term goals and no long-term strategy. Frankly, the abandonment of Afghanistan and Pakistan after the defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s set the stage for the era of terrorism that we are enduring.

U.S. support for the priorities of dictatorship back then, and again at the start of the new millennium, neglected the social and economic development of our nation, the priorities of the people. We must do better.

President Obama understands that for Pakistan to defeat the extremists, it must be stable. For democracy to succeed, Pakistan must be economically viable. Assistance to Pakistan is not charity; rather, the creation of a politically stable and economically viable Pakistan is in the 
long-term, strategic interest of the United States.

The Obama administration should immediately encourage Congress to pass the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act.

The multiyear, $1.5 billion annual commitment to social progress here would signal to our people that this is no longer a relationship of political convenience but, rather, of shared values and goals. Strengthening our democracy and helping us to improve education, housing and health care is the greatest tool we could wield against extremism. Indeed, such policy is the fanatics' worst fear.

The designation of regional opportunity zones to build a viable economy in Northwest Pakistan and in Afghanistan would give residents an economic and political stake in the success of their democratic governments.

Legislation introduced last year by Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Sen. Maria Cantwell should be quickly revisited; it would signal to our region that the United States understands the correlation between a healthy economy, a satisfied people and a stable government.

Over the past several months, remarkable progress has been made in our battle against the Taliban and al-Qaida. Measures include repeated airstrikes by our F-16s and targeted ground assaults. We are willing to act to save 
our nation.

To the extent that we are unable to fully execute battle plans, we urge the United States to give us necessary resources — upgrading our equipment and providing the newest technology — so that we can fight the terrorists proactively on our terms, not reactively on their terms. Give us the tools, and we will get the job done.

With his experience, Ambassador Holbrooke surely understands that peace in our region can be secured only by addressing long-term and neglected problems.

Much as the Palestinian issue remains the core obstacle to peace in the Middle East, the question of Kashmir must be addressed in some meaningful way to bring stability to this region.

We hope that the special envoy will work with India and Pakistan not only to bring a just and reasonable resolution to the issues of Kashmir and Jammu but also to address critical economic and environmental concerns.

The water crisis in Pakistan is directly linked to relations with India. Resolution could prevent an environmental catastrophe in South Asia, but failure to do so could fuel the fires of discontent that lead to extremism and terrorism. We applaud the president's desire to engage our nation and India to defuse the tensions between us.

Pakistan and the United States have much in common and should be partners in peace. This moment of crisis is an opportunity to recast our relationship. We are extending our hand in friendship.

Indeed, Pakistan's new democracy has pried open the clenched fists of the extremists, to use a metaphor from President Obama's inaugural address.

Let it not be said by future generations that our nations missed an extraordinary opportunity to build lasting peace in South Asia.

The writer is the President of Pakistan.

— By arrangement with LA Times-Washington Post
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Withdraw from Indus treaty
by M.S. Menon

The despicable act of mass-casualty terrorism carried out by Pakistan sponsored terrorists on November 26, 2008, in Mumbai, and subsequent denials by our neighbour have revealed that India’s policy of appeasing Pakistan in the hope of peace had the opposite effect of what this country had hoped for.

Our often misplaced generosity had emboldened our neighbour to redouble its mischief with impunity, proving thereby that there is no short-cut to peace with Pakistan.

Unless Pakistan is made to realise that such acts of theirs against India would harm them more than hurting India, engaging them in the so-called peace process would ultimately turn out to be an exercise in futility.

Many retaliatory actions have been proposed and considered in the agonised deliberations subsequently held in India such as snapping tourism and trade, recalling our High Commissioner and even war.

Certainly war is not an option. But there is one option which can hurt Pakistan most — that of announcing India’s intent to withdraw from the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) of 1960, signed between the two countries allocating the Indus waters .

As per the IWT, while Pakistan got the entire waters of the western rivers (The Indus, Jhelum and Chenab) , India got the eastern rivers (The Ravi, Beas and Sutlej) ie; only 20 per cent of the total water resources of the basin against its rightful share of more than 40 per cent.

If India walks out, the collapse of this Pakistan-biased treaty would trigger serious problems of water shortages there since India would then be having the option to divert and use its equitable share of Indus waters, which was denied all along due to the existing treaty provisions.

Internationally, an impression has been created by vested interests that the treaty is a model for trans-boundary river water agreements because of its in-built resilience and since it has survived two wars between the countries.

However, the fact is that even in spite of the unfair water allocations and treaty provisions, India has been always accommodating Pakistan’s unreasonable demands in the interest of peaceful neighbourly relations.

The reduced allocation has caused water shortages in our states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan seriously affecting irrigated agriculture.

Also, endless arguments raised by our neighbour to delay every project planned by India, have grounded the pace of infrastructure development, particularly in J&K.

The treaty does not explicitly provide for an exit option or a mechanism to withdraw from the agreements. The only possibility is to modify the provisions by a duly ratified treaty concluded for that purpose between the two countries; but, this would remain a distant dream in view of the prevailing circumstances.

The time has, therefore, come to put an end to the covert wars waged by that country against India and the option available to us is by justifying India’s right to withdraw from the treaty citing Pakistan’s non-compliance with the UN Security Council’s Resolution 1373 on denial of terrorist sanctuaries and support.

Any pronouncement to walk out of the treaty would need to be followed by requisite actions to show that India means business since pious declarations alone would not stop the flow of the river. Hence, we must be ready with our plans to control and divert the river flows.

In this connection, available data indicate that, in the past, India had planned many schemes across the western rivers to tap the hydropower potential as permitted in the treaty. However, not much has been done to study the diversion possibilities of water from the western to the eastern rivers to augment the flows in the Indian side.

For example, there is a possibility of diverting the Indus at a point upstream of the Stakna hydro power project to a tributary of the Sutlej through a tunnel.

Similarly , the Chenab waters could be diverted from the river Chandra, a tributary of the Chenab, to a tributary of the Beas and from the Chenab main at Marlu to a tributary of the Ravi through tunnels.

A possibility also exists for constructing large dams on the Jhelum to facilitate the diversion of waters to the Chenab and to the Ravi.

In view of the large irrigation water demands made by Indian states, field surveys and sub-surface investigations should be taken up urgently and detailed project reports got ready for implementation of various diversion proposals.

It is, therefore, for India to take the lead in its own defence so that Pakistan would be forced to abide by the UN Security Council Resolution for ending terrorism.
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Delhi Durbar
Pranab stands behind junior

Even as he recovered from the coronary bypass surgery at the AIIMS, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's attention was solely on the mundane affairs of the state. He kept a close tab on almost all administrative matters, particularly financial and foreign policy issues.

As soon as he heard of the demise of former President R Venkataraman, he sent a condolence message to the bereaved family. Singh also made it a point to instruct Minister of State in the PMO Prithviraj Chavan to visit Venkataraman's residence and place a wreath on his body on the Prime Minister's behalf.

The result was that Chavan was the third in the queue of mourners who laid wreath on Venkataraman's body, the first two being the President and the Vice-President. Even Pranab Mukherjee, who is presiding over the government in view of the Prime Minister's hospitalisation, stood behind Chavan, much to the junior minister's own discomfort.

New Boeing jets for VVIPs

Recently when the Prime Minister flew to Shillong in a Boeing, the crew of the aircraft was eager to get photographed with him. It later turned out that Manmohan Singh was flying in a Boeing for the last time and the crew also is likely to lose much of its importance.

The government has now got three business Boeing jets to fly VVIPs on domestic tours. The crew of the jets are obviously going to become the most envied in the aviation industry.

The old Boeing jets are set to be converted into freighters.

Pakistani ‘peacenics’

A Pakistani peace delegation came to India last week expecting that it would have become business as usual in India, nearly two months after the Mumbai terror attacks.

They were hoping that they would once again be welcomed with 'pappis' and 'jhappis' as in the past and lavish parties would again be thrown by Indian 'peacenics' in their honour.

They were, perhaps, sadly mistaken. The wounds of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks are so deep that the Pakistani delegates encountered cold vibes from the Indian intelligentsia as well as the media at most of their engagements in Delhi.

The grapevine has it that the Pakistani delegates also wanted to meet External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. But the tough-talking Indian minister was in no mood to oblige them.

Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon met them for a brief talk during which he asked them to prevail upon their government to take credible action on the leads provided by India on the involvement of the elements in Pakistan in the Mumbai incidents.

Some of the Pakistani delegates privately admitted that they had received a cold response from a majority of the people they met in India during their 'peace mission'.

Contributed by Ashok Tuteja
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