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Peace in South Asia 911

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Three 9/11 dates are memorable for peace and war.

  1. First 9/11: Swami Vivekananda presented Vedanta philosophy at the first-ever Parliament of World Religions opened on September 11, 1893, in Chicago
  2. Second 9/11:  Mahatma Gandhi adopted Satyagraha (Truth Force or Soul Force) in South Africa on September 11, 1906, as the only justifiable peaceful resistance method of achieving humane and just objectives.
  3. Third 9/11 stands for the unforgettable Tuesday in September 2001 for horrific terror attacks on New York and other places in the United States.

 

Peace leads to peace and war to more war. Al Qaeda attacks on the US led to the US War on Terrorism (WOT in Afghanistan-Pakistan, 2001 – present). Swami Vivekananda presented a memorable message for global peace based on Vedanta and the Satyagraha movement was first-ever peaceful struggle for independence of the British India from the colonial British Empire (August 1947). This article is dedicated to memory of all victims of terrorism and faiths that preach peace and God of love, mercy and forgiveness.

The following topics are covered:

  1. Summary     
  2. Introduction: Peace and Energy Security; War and Requirements for Peace; Line of Control: Indian Line of Control fencing; Demography and Gateways for Growth; PK Militancy Issues
  3. Nuclear South Asia:  Military Adventures; Costs of Military Adventures
  4. Volatility of Global Markets:  G-20 and IMF help to India and Pakistan
  5. Terrorism: Proxy warriors and Arab Winter; Pakistan Security
  6. Gateways for New Silk Routes
  7. A star (*) followed by number means see references and notes.

 

Summary 

For a sustainable peace to prevail in South Asia (SA) both nations as against only one have to be committed to economic growth through human resources development. The article discusses importance of select international factors – energy resources, War on Terror (WOT), Arab winter, global economic policies, etc – that have serious bearings on peace in SA. In globalized world SA is not isolated.

There are no easy answers, no quick fixes. PK (Pakistan) militant Islamist are self-inflicted with Caliphate Mania*(1). As long as PK continues to shelter militant Islamist called Taliban, allows militant leaders and ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) sponsored proxy warrior to freely roam all across the nation as well as facilitates infiltrations of terrorists into neighboring lands to east and west it is unlikely to contribute to the peace, stability and prosperity of SA.

Sustainable peace is not on horizon even if Prime Ministers of two nations meet in New York (September 2013).  

Introduction  

    • Peace and Energy Security 

Peace is on minds of all sane South Asians interested in a prosperous South Asia (SA). Energy is a life line for nation building. Because of increasing production at home, the US reliance on imported energy is declining and energy from ME (Middle East) is now available to emerging nations of SA and China. For sustainable regional peace the importance of establishing the New Silk Routes (NSR) is increasing for accessing energy from ME to SA and China and also for establishing supply-chains for two-way trade, etc. A peace dividend for SA will be to secure sustainable energy supplies at affordable prices from ME Gulf of Arabia Sates, Iran and Central Asia. SA has a potential to be a hub of manufactured goods for all nations – from Mediterranean Sea (West Asia), Arab Gulf States and Central Asian nations to PK, India and Bangladesh.

In 2005, the US depended on foreign oil for 60% of its consumption. Today it’s about 36% and declining*(2). The decline makes the US much less energy dependent on imports and it will continue for decades with continuing improvements and the rising energy efficiency for passenger cars, harvesting renewable energy, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling for increasing oil and gas production.

Advanced Fuel Cell technologies to store renewable energy as hydrogen can accelerate emergence of SA as a leader in the Third Industrial Revolution*(2). LNG (liquefied natural gas) is an ideal medium to store and transport hydrogen. The hydrogen enriched natural gas (commercially sourced LNG or biogas) compared to solar PVC (photovoltaic cells) improves efficiency of converting renewable energy to electricity by up to 300%. Globally at present LNG contributes 20% and by 2040 it will be 40% of the global pool of energy. For next two decades SA will be importing LNG from Gulf of Arabia States and the US among other sources (IPI and TAPI pipelines).

For decades, the US has been exporting refinery products and soon LNG exports will be added to this list. The US legislative actions are already in process for exporting LNG to India. The developing story of the energy markets offer opportunities for emerging BRIC nations for secured energy supplies from sources closure to home.

Oil and gas is a global market, so what happens in the ME, SA and China can still impact the US and allies. Urgency for secured energy suppliers for the US from the global trouble spots is diminishing and for China – second largest energy consumer – it is growing. The energy economist Philip Verleger predicted, “The Middle East is China’s problem.” I believe both China and SA in cooperation with the gateway nations and energy identified exporters should enlist assistance of key global powers like the US for developing required NSR infrastructure for transporting energy at affordable prices.

  • War and Requirements for Peace 

War is not a solution for peace and prosperity; for long range prosperity through peace regional and international wars must be avoided. Historically, wars were for destruction of men and materials, slavery to women and children, not to mention loot, plunder and rape. In the 21st century the violation of the Westphalia treaty principles of peace through respect for sovereignty brings international retaliations. Extraterritorial adventures through proxy wars can bring retaliations with drones and WMD (weapons of mass destruction including chemical and nuclear).

For peace through strength requires human resources development; availability of critical mass of ‘educated and skilled labor’ force is basic to nation building. A lack of critical mass of skilled labor globally in demand may lead a state of economic stagnation and even failure. Without developed human resources future is bleak for any nation.

For a sustainable peace to hold in SA the military establishments and hawks on both sides have to feel secure. They have to adopt reconciliation strategies based on current political and territorial realities recognizing that the region is not isolated and subject to the Westphalia principles. They also have to focus on cooperatively developing infrastructure for secured energy supplies.

    • Line of Control: Indian Line of Control fencing 

In terrorist infested neighborhoods impenetrable defenses are required. The ISI of PK army ignored the axiom that war leads to more war to establish an Islamist militant cadre of proxy warriors to invade Afghanistan and India. Its Afghan policy is in shambles and it is finding harder and harder to penetrate Indian defenses.

As the non-NATO member of the US led WOT from 2001 to present the PK army was busy fighting wars, both across its western border as well as insurgencies instigated by tribal Taliban warlords. India enjoyed ‘peace’ with being at war along its borders with PK. An unintended consequence of facing the ISI instigated proxy war for more than two decades is that India learned how to effectively tackle terrorist and violations of LoC (Line of Control). More importantly, with strong economy (2001 – 12) and increased defense funding India was able to augment its defenses along the 550 of 740 km LoC by establishing layered electric and barbed wired fences connected to a network of motion sensors, thermal imaging devices, lighting systems and alarms to substantially reduce infiltrations of terrorists from PK*(3). The robust gains in economy allowed India to further strengthen defenses by developing a triad (a strong army, a blue water navy and a well equipped air force for defending its positions from high mountains down to plains of SA) forces to attain a status as a regional power.  

    • Demography and Gateways for Growth 

Total population of SA is up to 1.7 billions depending on source. Demographic growth rates of past several decades have made SA and China (1.35 billions) about 43% of 7 billions global populations. The regional demands for energy are rapidly increasing.

AF (Afghanistan), PK and India are gateway nations for trade between ME, Central Asia, SA and China. The regional leaderships have to realize that in the 21st century globalized world regional wars can spread to entire trading regions like wild fire as is the case with conflicts in the AF-PK, and ME region. The Arab Spring is now winter. Participations in the regional wars have serious economic consequences for entire global communities. The wrong moves of 1999 to present in SA have left lasting deleterious impacts on PK economy.

  • PK Militancy Issues 

The ISI is a potent arm of PK army deeply involved in militancy in and from PK for last several decades. The army/ISI was not held accountable for its militancy activities by any past civilian governments, plausibly because ruling establishment agreed with it. Closet Islamists like Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif and his brother PM Nawaz Sharif have contributed millions in budgetary allocations to support Taliban affiliated terrorist organizations*(4). To ensure confidence building for peace in SA the present civilian government has to address following problems.

  1. Eliminate the ISI controlled militancy across LoC.
  2. Implement the much-needed security reforms essential to fight internal security challenges posed by terrorism and maintain order across Pakistan and eliminate cross border terrorism.
  3. India is likely to wait and see how Pakistan’s deeply-entrenched institutions will act from now on before entering into trade negotiations.

 

Nuclear South Asia 

With multiple underground tests, both India and PK became nuclear states (May 1998). Nuclear weapons essentially are or should be viewed as weapons of deterrence and instruments for peace through security. The nuclear status should have but did not bring feelings of security to concerned armies and political leaderships of SA.

  • Military Adventures 

With nuclear deterrence at hand and a well established proxy war (terrorism) infrastructure in place the COAS Musharraf became adventurer and Indian civilian authorities were complacent. The PK military precipitated the Kargil War of May – July 1999. Economically the Kargil war drained both nations.

Al Qaeda was supported by the nuclear PK and Taliban in AF. Al Qaeda terrorist in 2001 destroyed New York World Trade Center’s twin towers and attacked Pentagon in Washington, DC. Following the terrorist attacks, the US ultimatum forced the PK Dictator to be a non-NATO ally to wage the War on Terrorism (WOT) in AF. For participation in the WOT from 2001 to present, PK received more than $26 billion in the US aid over the past 12 years*(5).

  • Costs of Military Adventures 

PM Nawaz Sharif paid heavy price for the Kargil War to take place during his watch. In October 1999 after defeat at Kargil a PK military coup over threw elected government of Nawaz Sharif and elevated the COAS to be fourth military Dictator of PK. The Dictator declared that PK treasury was empty.

Over all costs of military adventures for exceeded the foreign aids to PK for participation in the WOT and for allowing regrouping of terrorists from AF to PK. For last several years the regrouped terrorist are busy destabilizing the nation. PK is paying heavy price to quell the insurgency instigated by Taliban affiliated groups.

India technically won the Kargil war with the US negotiated PK troop withdrawals. From 1999 to present India focused on a sustained program of the national economic growth to become an emerging global economy, may be fifth largest @ $1.5 trillion in 2012. Better economy allowed India to be a regional military power with an emerging blue water navy. From April to August 2013 the value of the India rupee declined as much as 20% as it allowed its economic bubble to develop during past several years.

Volatility of Global Markets 

Burdened by two wars (AF and Iraq in 2001 – 08) and to keep its economic engines at full speed the US deregulated financial and banking services. The actions of the US and European bankers’ from 2001 to 2007 created two US economic bubbles – the mortgage bubble and derivatives market crisis. The markets manipulations by developed nations’ bankers and financial businesses precipitated the global financial crisis of 2007 – 09. The global economic disaster wiped out huge savings – pension and personal 403(k) retirement funds of unsuspecting investors.

The emerging economies of the BRIC nations did not suffer as much as the developed nations did in this period as the rich and institutional global investors searching for better returns diverted their investments to the emerging markets. Starting 2008 banks and financial companies pumped in massive amount of capital into Indian markets. Over next several years India developed an economic bubble. The foreign money inflows to the BRIC nations after 2Q 2013 have diminished if not stopped as the US and European markets have recovered from setbacks of past 6 years to resume investing in growth at home.

In early 2013 the US economy had sufficiently recovered to resume steady growth. The US Federal reserve elected not to stimulate the economy any further with monthly $85 billion bond purchases. It has downsized the stimulus by decreasing bond purchases by 75+%. In one month the interest rate on 10-year treasury has jumped from less than 2% to 3%. This is a sign for the large investors to bring home investments made abroad to BRICS nations.

  • G-20 and IMF help to India and PK 

To counter financial troubles India is in,  several policy decisions were taken by the G-20 nations to tide India over currency setbacks. To minimize Indian currency volatility at the 2013 G-20 meeting (September 2013) bankers of the developed nation agreed to provide in future guidance to government to prepare India for what is in pipeline. Similarly Japan increased Forex swap from $15 billion to $50 billion and the BRICS nations established $100 billion currency reserve fund. All these policy decisions have eliminated urgency for India to seek emergency aid from the IMF.

PK economy has nose-dived and foreign exchange reserves have shrunk from 2008 – 13 after elected President Zardari replaced Dictator Musharraf in 2008. PK 2013 economy is in shambles. PK negotiated a $5.6 billion IMF loan to meet IMF loan repayments due in 2013 (July 5, 2013) and one more for $6.6 billions (September 4, 2013) to stimulate economy and to bring down inflation and the fiscal deficit. Contrary to rhetoric for peace PM Nawaz Sharif actions speak louder. In a column, “Pak future linked with Afghanistan and India,” Shoaib Adil presented a picture of why PK economy is not likely to improve without peace in SA and AF*(6).

Terrorism 

To revive its economy a top priority for the PK government should be to duplicate Sri Lanka terrorism experience. A difficulty is unlike terrorist in Sri Lanka, the Taliban is the baby of closet Islamists – serving and retired ISI operatives as well as Sharif brothers and their drum beaters. It would be hard but it is doable to eliminate terrorists from PK. Taliban terrorists are equipped mostly with small arms and their activities are financed by local government and Arab Gulf States. Taliban are no match for well equipped modern PK army.

The problem for PK is aggressive military managed foreign policies born out of insecurities of PK army and civilian closet Islamists. Nuclear or not, when placed between hard place and rock the army Generals are incapable of defending PK sovereignty as was the case with the US Navy Seal team storming of the Osama bin Laden compound near Abbotabad Kakul military academy on May, 2011.

For sustained economic growth PK needs to de-emphasize proxy war machine and create an environment where all Muslim and non-Muslim sects can live in peace and prosper through economic growth. The Arab Winter has engulfed Egypt, Libya and Syria and may spread rest of Muslim nations. The Taliban insurgencies have spread within PK. In last few years tens to hundreds of thousands of Muslims died in each country due to insurgencies; killers were Taliban co-linked to al Qaeda terrorists in AF-PK and in ME armies of dictators like Asad of Syria. The US drone attacks on terrorist strongholds in AF-PK region and Yemen continue to kill select terrorist leaders. The closet Islamists have to develop a mindset that future of PK is tied to peace and not through aggressive regional and international (Syria, Bahrain and other GulfArabStates) proxy wars.

  • Proxy warriors and Arab Winter 

PK is maintaining tens of thousands of Taliban affiliated proxy worriers on the army’s pay role. Continuation of this policy requires a sustained financial support of active terrorists and their minders. It has bloated the PK defense budget. It has also deprived the PK civilian government adequate resources to allocate a much needed substantial increase in the budget for human resources (youth) development. As long as the army continues three decades old asymmetric war policies to pursue offensive regional wars as well as dispatch rentier army squads to trouble spots in ME, the security of PK will be challenged.

The Arab Springs has withered into winter*(7). With Saudi financed introduction of the ISI sponsored Sunni Taliban fighters into the Alawite (Shea sect) controlled Syria, the two year old Syrian insurgency is now a civilization clash within Muslim sects. The ravages of the anti-Sunni anti-Shea conflicts following the US invasion of 2002 are visible in 2013 Iraq. The proxy warriors of Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shea Iran are turning the Syrian conflict to a Sunni-Shea civilization clash that it may spread from Turkey to Pakistan if the threatened missile attacks on Syrian military targets are carried out by the US and European powers after the conclusion of G-20 summit in St Petersburg, Russia (September 2013).

  • Pakistan Security 

It is unthinkable for any sane international power to try to occupy PK as in addition to its nuclear deterrent PK is one of the most populous regional Muslim nations with strong jihadi proxy war forces*(8). PK policy makers need to free the mindset of insecurities and develop reliance on pragmatism like that of China foreign policy known for many decades.

Without containing terrorism PK is unlikely to meaningfully participate in normalization of economic ties with neighbors to its east and west. Potentially energy starved PK has opportunities to procure LNG supplies from NSR connected regions. For LNG supplies PK needs port facilities for docking tankers to download imported energy from the Gulf States (Qatar). The SA needs the US supports to build two pipelines – TAPI and may be, if Iran and the US make peace, the IPIC (Iran to PK, India and China). Without participation of the US, AF and India the combined strengths of China and PK are not likely to be sufficient for building required roads, railways and other transports associated with the NSR.  A Chinese contractor was authorized but recently it pulled out of project to build IP pipeline worth $500 million*(9).

Gateways for New Silk Routes 

PK has yet to reconcile to the fact that it is one of several gateways to the NSR. Available gateways for energy transports are Gulf of Arabia, Strait of Hormuz, sea lanes from Turkey and Iran to China and India.

India has built several ports for receiving LNG tankers from Qatar and Israel. PK is working on building three LNG tankers receiving facilities at Port Qasim marine channel, Karachi*(10).

PK is energy starved and like other SA nations plagued with frequent blackouts. Without adequate supplies of energy PK economy is unlikely to grow to make PK an emerging economy as are BRIC nations. PK needs NSR more than other SA nations as others have access to sea lane transported energy supplies. In addition to energy supplies the NSR will also generate hundreds of millions per year in transit fees for PK.

No peace, no sustained economic development, no human resources development programs to acquire skilled workforce needed to support infrastructure for sustain economic development. Participation is necessary in vital global supply-chains and infrastructure building projects including the New Silk Routes and energy transporting tankers through sea lanes connecting ME from Turkey, Iran and Gulf of Arabia and Strait of Hormuz.

References and notes

  1. Kishan Bhatia, “Caliphate Mania”,  @ http://www.indiacause.com/blog/2013/04/20/caliphate-mania/
  2. Kishan Bhatia, “Harnessing Renewable Energy 0807 0816 2013; Using Electrolyser and Hydrogen Production Technology” (3,690 words). Unpublished. A copy available upon request.
  1. Wikipedia, “Line of Control: Indian Line of Control fencing,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line_of_Control
  • The Indian Line of Control fencing is a 550 km (340 mi) barrier along the 740 km (460 mi) disputed 1972 Line of Control (or ceasefire line). The fence, constructed by India, generally remains about 150 yards on the Indian-controlled side. Its stated purpose is to exclude arms smuggling and infiltration by Pakistani-based separatist militants.
  • The barrier itself consists of double-row of fencing and concertina wire eight to twelve feet (2.4–3.7 m) in height, and is electrified and connected to a network of motion sensors, thermal imaging devices, lighting systems and alarms. They act as “fast alert signals” to the Indian troops who can be alerted and ambush the infiltrators trying to sneak in. The small stretch of land between the rows of fencing is mined with thousands of landmines.
  1. Nadeem F. Paracha, “Sudden awakenings,”  http://dawn.com/news/1039825/sudden-awakenings
  • The Punjab chief minister (younger brother of Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of PK), almost pleaded to the extremists to spare Punjab because ‘they (the Punjab government) believed in the same things as the extremists did.
  • The PK budget has allocated millions of dollars to support Taliban affiliated terrorist groups.
  1. Wary of Pakistan, US has stepped up surveillance: Report”, http://tribune.com.pk/story/599105/wary-of-pakistan-us-has-stepped-up-surveillance-report/
  2. Shoaib Adil, “Pak future linked with Afghanistan and India”,      @ http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20139\10\story_10-9-2013_pg3_4
  3. Talmiz Ahmad, “The Arab Spring withers into winter,” @ http://www.rediff.com/news/column/the-arab-spring-withers-into-winter/20130830.htm
  • David Brooks, “One great big war,” @ http://www.chron.com/opinion/outlook/article/Brooks-One-great-big-war-4776296.php
  1. Irfan Hussain, “Life’s great lottery,” @ http://dawn.com/news/1039595/lifes-great-lottery
  • Status of education in PK is discussed.
  1. Zafar Butta, “Fall of another contractor: Chinese firm pulls out of IP pipeline project,”  @  http://tribune.com.pk/story/599897/fall-of-another-contractor-chinese-firm-pulls-out-of-ip-pipeline-project/
  • Now PK will ask Iran to bear full cost of $1.5 billion to build the entire IP.
  1. Khalid Mustafa, “Ministry seeks exemption from PPRA rules for LNG project,”  @ http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-24223-Ministry-seeks-exemption-from-PPRA-rules-for-LNG-project

 

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