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Archive for August, 2012

AN WEST BENGALI HINDU’S LAMENT: A lesson in Karma: As you sow, so shall you reap

If Manmohan Singh Being Pakistani Refugee Can Become PM Why Not East Bengal Hindu Refugee?


If Manmohan Singh being Pakistani refugee can become PM why not East Bengal Hindu refugee?
The national seminar on the problems and plight of Bengali Partition Victim Hindu refugees eventually opted for Hindutva identity. I have been warning that this lot of marginalised Indian Citizens have no survival kit left in the light of amended laws of the country to displace and deport them in corporate interest.

I have been highlighting the problem since 2001, just after my late father Pulin Kumar Biswas, the President of All India Udvastu Committee succumbed to cancer fighting for refugees, minorities, peasants, excluded and excommmunicated communities.I had excellent relationship with Marxist leaders in Bengal who did support us while then Uttarakhand BJP Government branded us, the resettled rehabilitated Bengali refugees in Udhamsingh ngar since 1952 by governemnt of India as illegal migrants in 2001. But the Marxists did betray us once again while they supported NDA BJP presented Citizenship amendment Act, 2003 as they betrayed the refugees of Dandkaranya and masscred them in Marichjhanpi after inviting thme getting back home to create a favourable vote bank in 1979. Mraxists succeeded to get a sustainable Vote Bank of 27 percent Muslims, 17 percent scheduled caste and seven percent tribals and they needed not refugee vote bank any more.
I had been focusing the problem specifically since citizenship mendment act passed and UID illegal project passed as the progressive and democratic forces never cared to hear our case. I had been writing consistantly that the religious, ethnic and linguistic communities are so much so segeregated that they have no other option but to be a hostage mobile votebank of the ruling hegemony. This is the root of the problem of communalisation.Indian Politics Centrist, right and Left and even the Ambedkarites use religion and caste identities to frame up favourable equations to ensure their share in Vote Politice. It has been a curous case why government of India chose to subject our people for indefinite persecution who have been already degenerated.


We are discriminated as we are never treated Indian citizens despite the arrangement agreed in accordance with the partition plan and population transfer. I had been working with the Ambedkarites who also used us and did nothing. I had already talked to Udit Raj who in return never did care to raise the issue.It is queer that the people still crossing from the western border are treated otherwise with welcome gesture, but who crossed the border right after the partition just because the 26 percent land of undivided India given to the new nation, Pakistan was meant for only Muslims and overnight our people were ejected out of their home as population transfer was the principle reigning. How these Partition victims should be treated as illegal foreigners as the refugees from west Pakistan not only are the legitimate bonafied Indian citizens, but the refugees like Dr Manmohan Singh and LK Adwani head the government and opposition respectively.


Bengali Hindu Paying for his Anti-United Pakistan Activites

The Bengali Hindus still stranded in Bangladesh are subjected to persecution and the refugee influx has to continue. Why the government do not distinguish between the persecuted and illegal migrants. It is the root cause of Assam Violence. The national media blacked out the news of attacks on Hindu Bengali refugees in  recent Assam violence. What does it mean? Personally, I am against religious or ethnic or caste identity. But our people have no option but to stress on their religious identity to focus their tragic plight.


I am attaching some news clippings about Hindu Bengali refugees attacked in Assam and also including human rights report on Bangladesh along with the works of Taslima Nasrin and Salam Azaad.Muntasir Mamun, Salam Azad, Shariar Kabir, Taslima Nasrin, all the writers from Bangladesh have been advocating the rights of minorities there ! But ironically, the Hindu Bengali refugees have no support or sympathy from the civil society, forget politicians!

Too late to Lament Bro! You wanted Bangladesh, now bear the consequences

Being a Pakistani refugee, if Manmohan Singh & I K Gujral can become Prime Minister of India, Sri L K Advani can become Deputy Prime Minister, how can the Bangladeshi Hindu refugees be denied of their citizenship was a question of Prof Bhim Singh, the senior advocate of Supreme Court of India and Chairman of J&K National Panthers Party. Sri Bhim Singh was addressing the all India delegates of Bengali refugees at Mavalankar Auditorium, Vittal Bhai Patel House at New Delhi on 29th August, 2012. What is their mistake that they have been denied their constitutional rights? Refugees are human being and thus they do have the human rights.  He promised that he would insist the Prime Minister of India to convene a meeting on national integration.

Bengali Hindu refugees of India-Subversion Against Pak Army Does not Pay

A convention of Bengali Hindu refugees of India was organized wherein hundreds of delegates from 14 states participated. The convention was inaugurated by Sri Chandan Mitra, MP in the presence of Sri Debabrata Biswas of General Secretary of Forward Block along with MPs like Sri Tapan Sen, Pradeep Majhi, Shyamal Chakraborty, Jharna Das Baidya and other dignitaries on the dais like Nimai Sarkar, Udit Raj, Manas Banerjee and Kumar Sen Bouddha. The convention was presided over by Dr Subodh Biswas, the national president of Nikhil Bharata Bangali Udbastu Samanway Samiti. Sri Paramananda Gharami, the General Secretary welcome the dignitaries while Dr Biswas put his keynote address.
In his keynote address, Dr Biswas drawn the attentions of the delegates about 4 major humanitarian issues faced by the refugees of East Bengal, who are basically son of the soil. Making necessary amendment to the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2003, Land rights to the refugees, caste reservation and mother tongue education.

Bengali Hindus: As You Sow, So Shall You Reap

In his inaugural address, Sri Chandan Mitra opined that there cannot be any cut off year for crossing over the border in case of refugees of East Bengal when there is no such cut off year for refugees of West Pakistan. Because, these teaming millions had to cross the border to protect their religion, prestige and lives. It is a matter of shame that they are being treated as criminals instead of as victims of historical circumstance, fleeing Bangladesh because of persecution, they have come to their country of origin, India, for refuge, but here too, thousands face fresh persecution because they are termed illegal migrants, locked up, and deported like cattle only to face the same cycle of persecution. They are living here for decades and their children have born in India but yet they are not recognized as Indian citizens. How long will this injustice continue? What happened to the promises of Pandit Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi & Sardar Vallababhai Patel? He promised that he would be with this mission till it reaches the goal.

No Place for West Bengali Hindus in Bangladesh

Sri Debabrata Biswas brought to the notice of the floor that the rehabilitation of Bengali refugees was on Government of India initiative and the rehabilitated population had no choice in selecting the place of their abode; though they wanted to stay in West Bengal but had to reluctantly get along the rehabilitation policy of Government. Majority of this section of the society belong to Namasudra, Pod/Poundra and Rajbanshi communities which are considered as SC in West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Mizoram, Orissa and Tripura (Eastern part of the country) but not in other states.

Caste System is Alive and Well in India

Caste reservation is a central subject and is considered for inclusion in the schedule based on the socio-ethnic condition of a social group; but the same cannot hold good for a displaced community like this as they have no relevance in their place of rehabilitation. They are SC as per the ethnicity of Eastern part of the India which does not hold good for other parts. As a consequence, the siblings of same parents, who are rehabilitated in Eastern states, are enjoying the constitutional rights while the one, who is rehabilitated in other states of the country are deprived off the same reservation benefits due to them; at whose fault? Had they been rehabilitated in Eastern states, they would have enjoyed the benefits at par with our siblings/relatives residing there.
Sri Tapan Sen felt that it is shame on the part of India that even 65 years after the partition, we hear the term ‘refugee’. He also felt that, though after 65 years but is still good that the Nikhil Bharat Bangali Udbastu Samanvay Samiti has brought the displaced Bengalis under a common umbrella and should march ahead with its humanitarian goal and he would be with it.

Poor Baby, Don’t Cry, Worst is Yet to Come: When Pakistanis and their Bengladeshi brothers crush India

One group of victims of partition has been given the citizenship while other is not; why this discrimination?Cool
Sri Pradeep Majhi advised to continue the fight outside the parliament while he will initiate it in the parliament. He shared that the Amendment Bill is already being prepared but due to adjournment of the parliament it has not come for the discussion. It would be brought to the floor shortly and the victims of partition must be given their due respect and status in the country. He also announced that he is with the democratic fight till the end.

Time to CryCry
Sri Nimai Sarkar (XMLA) asked when there cannot be any person without citizenship, how come we? Even if a baby take birth in an aircraft, the baby becomes citizen of that country; why this discrimination with us? The 3.5 crores Bengalis of 18 states must come together under the umbrella of Nikhil Bharat Bangali Udbastu Smanvay Samiti to obtain our constitutional rights. We don’t have our own people in the State Assembly or in Parliament but in the days to we will have to elect our own MLA & MP to voice our cause at appropriate forum.
Sri Shyamal Chakraborty recalled that when the NDA government placed The Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2003 on 3rd December 2003, which did not differentiate between different sections of the society which would be affected by the Bill. The then Leader of Opposition Dr. Manmohan Singh stated that, “… with regard to treatment of refugees after partition of our country, the minorities in countries like Bangladesh, have faced persecution, and it is our moral obligation, that if circumstance force these unfortunate people to seek refuge in our country, approach to granting citizenship to these unfortunate persons must be most liberal. I sincerely hope that the Hon’ble Deputy Prime Minister bears this in mind in charting out the future course of action…” In response to his appeal, the then Deputy Prime Minister Sri L K Advani had said, “what the leader of the opposition has said, I am fully agreement with the views expressed…”  As you are aware, this should have been followed with a suitable amendment to Clause 2(i) (b) of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2003 in relation to the minority community refugees from Pakistan/Bangladesh. However, in spite of the consensus on the floor of the House, this was not done. For nearly a decade the matter has been pending. Meanwhile the insecurity felt by these teaming millions has been heightened as they are considered as illegal migrants facing the constant threat of deportation. May I ask when it was Sri Manmohan Singh himself was to raise this issue, why has he not taken any initiative even resuming the PMO for 2 consecutive terms?

Three options for Bangla Hindus

Salam Azad-the 38 year old Bangladeshi writer and an eminent human rights activist predicted that there were “three options for Bangla Hindus. They can embrace Islam, leave the country or commit suicide”. He made the predictions on February 9, 2002 while releasing the Hindi version of his Bengali book “Hindu Sampraday Keno Bangladesh Tyag Korcche” (why the Hindu community is leaving Bangladesh) in the last Kolkata Book Fair. His predictions came in the wake of unprecedented atrocities that were committed on the hapless Hindus by the armed cadres of BNP and its electoral allies before and after the October 1st parliamentary elections last year in Bangladesh. Since then persecution of Hindus has been continuing with occasional respite.

Sub-Human Bangla Hindus
Salam Azad’s book was first published in Kolkata towards the end of 1998. It has graphically described the reasons for the continuous exodus of Hindus from former East Pakistan now Bangladesh. He has been deeply shocked on seeing the sub-human conditions in which many well-to-do Hindu families of Bangladesh were now living in Kolkata and other parts of West Bengal. Azad has also lamented that had the Hindus not been driven out, their numbers would have been 32.5 million and they would have contributed much to the progress and prosperity of Bangladesh.

 Chickens Coming to Roost : Mukhti Bahini 

Bangla Hindus begin to face the consequences of their mistakes and bad deeds in destroying Pakistan’s Unity.

“Many believed that the agony of the Hindus would be over and they would regain their lost honour with the liberation of Bangladesh in December 1971.” Tongue out It was entirely a mistaken notion.

By and large, the successive Governments in liberated Bangladesh have followed the same policy as was pursued and practised by Pakistan towards her Hindu and other minorities. The Hindus, however, lived in relative peace and safety during the Mujib and Hasina regimes compared to the military and BNP regimes. Nevertheless, the Hindu property was grabbed even when Mujib and Hasina ruled Bangladesh.After the creation of Bangladesh, many Hindus and the liberal Muslims and intellectuals of Bangladesh thought and hoped that this black act would be repealed. Their hope was belied instead of repealing the act, it was reenacted under the new nomenclature of Vested Property Act (VPA) by the Mujibur Rahman Government in 1972. Under EPA/VPA, 1.64 million acres of land belonging to the Hindus have been grabbed-the market value of 60,000 crore (Taka) in Bangladesh currency.

A recent US State Department report on human rights in Bangladesh has put the quantum of grabbed land of the Hindus at about 2.5 million acres and it further added that this has almost affected the present Hindu population of Bangladesh.
Although the EPA/VPA was repealed by the Hasina Government in April 2001, it is yet to be implemented by the present Khaleda Zia Government by restoring the grabbed property to the owners of the Hindus. It needs to be mentioned here that a large number of the land grabbers are leaders of most of the political parties including the Awami League of Bangladesh. It is, therefore, doubtful whether the Hindus would get back their grabbed properties at all.
Bangladesh has been quite successful in achieving three objectives. Firstly, Bangladesh has been gradually denuded of its Hindu population. At the time of country’s partition, the Hindu population in East Pakistan was 11.4 million or 29.17 percent of the total population. It has decreased alarmingly over the last few years and stood at 15.6 million in 2001. In other words it has come down to 12 per cent of Bangladesh’s total population of 130 million. The Hindu population however, should have been 44.4 million in Bangladesh in 2001 as per the normal annual growth rate of 2.5 per cent and had been no migration of Hindus. In this connection, relevant Part is quoted here from a report titled “The Missing Population” dated January 7, 1994 from Holiday-a prestigious weekly of Dhaka:
“The Missing population was about 1.22 million during the period of 1974-81, about 1.73 million during the last inter-censal period of 1981-1991. As many as 475 Hindus are disappearing every day from the soil of Bangladesh on an average since 1974”.
Further, the report on “State of Human Rights 1994 Bangladesh” edited by Father R.W. Timm said: “The Hindu population in Bangladesh stood at 1.25 crore in 1991…. The number of Hindus has been reduced by two crore in the last 50 years (till 1991). The most likely explanation is that they have left the country”.
Secondly, Bangladesh has been sending lakhs and lakhs of Muslim infiltrators to India with the sinister design of carving out an Islamic state comprising of north-cast India, the bordering districts of West Bengal and three districts of Bihar viz Kishengunj, Katihar and Purnea.
The redeeming feature in an otherwise gloomy situation is that most of the major newspapers of Bangladesh have published the woeful tales of atrocities on the Hindus, have condemned the barbaric acts on them and blatantly criticised the Government for its deliberate failure to protect the helpless Hindus in Bangladesh. Likewise, the leading intellectuals and human rights activists of Bangladesh have brought the ghastly acts on the Hindus to the notice of international fora. Consequently, some of’ thorn have suffered much for upholding the cause of the Hindus. The ordeal of Sahariar Kabir, the Dhaka-based celebrated film-maker, writer and human rights activist has come to my mind instantly. He was subjected to inhuman torture by the Bangladesh Government because of his exposure of “the atrocities (unprecedented since 1970-71) perpetrated against the Hindu community in Bangladesh during and after the elections held on October 1st, 2001”.
Unless there is a radical change of policies on the part of the present Bangladesh Government towards its Hindu minority, their future is indeed bleak and uncertain. They will, therefore, have to opt one of the options out of the three as rightly predicted by Salam Azad in the Kolkata Book Fair in February 2002


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TARGET ISLAM: Blasphemy Law and American Funding to Pakistani Mullahs, $36,607 to Sunni Ittehad Council

 A cleric who handed over a young Christian girl to police on blasphemy charges after she burned papers containing Quranic verses said Friday what she did was a “conspiracy” to insult Muslims. Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti, the imam of the mosque in the Islamabad suburb of Mehrabad, insisted he had saved the girl, Rimsha, from mob violence by handing her to police but said the incident arose because Muslims had not stopped local Christians’ “anti-Islam activities” earlier. Rimsha was arrested and remanded in custody for a fortnight last Thursday after being accused of burning pages from a children’s religious instruction book, which were inscribed with verses from the Muslim holy text. The youngster reportedly has Down’s Syndrome and her treatment has prompted outrage from rights groups and concern from Western governments, but Chishti insisted she was fully aware of what she was doing. “The girl who burnt the Holy Quran has no mental illness and is a normal girl,” Chishti told AFP. “She did it knowingly, this is a conspiracy and not a mistake. She confessed what she did.” Chishti claimed the local Christian community had previously caused antagonism by playing music in services at their makeshift church during Muslim prayer time and said burning the pages was deliberate. “They committed this crime to insult us further. This happened because we did not stop their anti-Islam activities before,” he said. “Last Christmas, they played musical instruments and there was vulgarity in the streets during our prayers time. I warned them but they did not stop.” During his sermon at Friday prayers Chishti told worshippers it was “time for Muslims to wake up” and protect the Holy Quran. Mehrabad is home to around 500 Christian families but many fled after the page-burning, fearing a repeat of a 2009 incident in Gojra, in which young Muslim radicals burned Christian houses, killing seven, after a rumour that a page from the Holy Quran had been desecrated during a wedding. REFERENCE: Imam accuses Christian girl of ‘conspiracy’ By AFP Published: August 24, 2012 http://tribune.com.pk/story/425690/imam-claims-he-saved-blasphemy-accused-christian-girl-from-violence/

Sunni Tehreek demolishes Masjid & Commit Blasphemy

2012 US government website Usaspending.gov shows the Sunni Ittehad Council receiving $36,607 from Washington in 2009. US aided Pakistan group which supported Extremists  ISLAMABAD: The US gave money to a Pakistani Muslim group that organised anti-Taliban rallies, but which later demonstrated in support of an extremist who killed a leading liberal politician, the US Embassy in Pakistan said Wednesday. US government website Usaspending.gov shows that the group, the Sunni Ittehad Council, received $36,607 from Washington in 2009. A US diplomat said that the embassy had given money to the group to organise the rallies, but that it had since changed direction and leadership. He said it was a one-off grant, and wouldn’t be repeated. He didn’t give his name because he wasn’t authorised to speak about the issue on the record. The grant was first reported by the Council of Foreign Relations on its website. The Ittehad council was formed in 2009 to counter extremism. It groups politicians and clerics from Pakistan’s traditionalist Barelvi Muslim movement, often referred to as theological moderates in the Pakistani context. The American money was used to organise nationwide rallies against militants and suicide bombings, the embassy official said. The demonstrations received widespread media coverage, and were some of the first against extremism in the country. The rhetoric at the rallies was mostly focused on opposing militant attacks on shrines, which Barelvis frequent but are opposed by Deobandi Muslims, Pakistan’s other main Muslim sect. In 2011 and also this month, however, the council led demonstrations in support of the killer of Salman Taseer, a governor who was killed a year ago for his criticism of anti-blasphemy laws. The displays have appalled Pakistani liberals and stoked international fears that the country is buckling under the weight of extremism. Taseer’s assassin, Mumtaz Qadri, is a Barelvi. He claimed he acted to defend the honour of Prophet Mohammed. At its rallies, the group maintains its criticism of the Taliban even as it supports Qadri — a seemingly contradictory stance that suggests its leaders may be more interested in harnessing the political support and street power of Barelvis than in genuinely countering militancy. Two leading members of the council who have been with the group from the beginning of its existence denied receiving any American funds. The apparent discrepancy could be explained by lack of transparency within the organisation. However, given the current anti-American climate, owning up to receiving funds from the United States would invite criticism. “This propaganda is being unleashed against us because we are strongly opposed to Western democracy and American policies in the region and in the world,” said Sahibzada Fazal Karim, the head of the council, before reiterating the group’s support for Qadri. “We are against extremism, but we support Qadri because he did a right thing,” he said. REFERENCE: US aided Pakistan group which supported extremists AP | 11th January, 2012 http://dawn.com/2012/01/11/us-aided-pakistan-group-which-supported-extremists/

The US has created a new unit in Pakistan that aims to leverage such grassroots efforts by working with local moderates to counter violent extremism the first of its kind set up by an American embassy anywhere in the world, according to US officials here. The existence of the unit has never before been reported.

Rehman and other clerics attempting to challenge extremism in Pakistan recently met with US Ambassador Cameron Munter in Islamabad, though the 50-year-old Rehman says he has not yet received support from the Americans.

Okara has special significance because it is near the village of Ajmal Kasab, home of the only surviving gunman from the 2008 attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai that killed over 160 people.

The US chose Pakistan as the site for its new venture because it is home to a vast network of Islamist militants who have been fighting US-led troops in neighboring Afghanistan for over a decade and have even organized attacks on American soil.

The three-person unit in the US Embassy public affairs section was established in July. It plans to work with local partners, including moderate religious leaders, to project their counter-extremist messages and push back against the militants’ extensive propaganda machine, said US officials.

ST (Sunni Tehrik – Sunni Movement) ———————————- 9. (S) ST is a small religious/political group with a presence in small pockets of Karachi. The group has only managed to win a handful of council seats in local elections but militarily it is disproportionably powerful because of the influx of MQM-H gunmen after the government crack-down on MQM-H (see above). ST has organized the party and its gunmen along the lines of MQM by dividing its areas of influence into sectors and units, with sector and unit commanders. ST and MQM have allegedly been killing each other’s leadership since the April 2006 Nishtar Park bombing that killed most of ST’s leadership. ST blames MQM for the attack. There appears to have been a reduction in these targeted killings since 2008. REFERENCE: 2009: US assessment of Karachi violence

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Cutting the fat: Pakistani police endorse a different kind of ‘regime’

A Pakistani police commander has ordered personnel not to allow their waistlines to exceed 38 inches. (Al Arabiya)

It may appear that these exercise drills are a compulsory part of a police training routine for these officers in Pakistan. 

But this session has been set up for a particular group of policemen: those who have been told they need to lose weight, if they want to keep their jobs.

In what local newspapers have dubbed “the battle of the bulge,” a Pakistani police commander has ordered tens of thousands of pot-bellied officers to diet or quit frontline duties.

“I think these new rules are right. I work out every day and so far I have lost 10 kilograms. This is better for our health and our appearance,” says one Pakistani officer. 

At least 50 percent of Punjab police are overweight, officials have said. The commander has ordered 175,000 personnel not to allow their waistlines to exceed 38 inches.

“Our approach is to reform them, to provide them [with] opportunities because their environment was like that; they were not answerable to all these things. There was no standard. But now we have set the standard; we have to reform them, provide them [with] the opportunity and the facilities,” a senior police official told Al Arabiya, while overseeing his team’s workout drills. 

The campaign has cracked down on all officers, even senior police officials have been encouraged to lose the belly.

“Before we didn’t have time to exercise, but now we do. Two weeks ago my waist measured 40 inches, and now it is 37,” another proud police officer said. 

The hope is that overweight police officers will now become more active, shed those extra pounds and be able to get stuck into intensive daily police duties.

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Forget SCO, Indians have sabotaged it successfully



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Moscow: Russia’s sudden anouncement of its full support to India’s candidature for the permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) [1] comes after Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Moscow in an effort to further isolate and encircle China. To make matters more complicated, Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev has officially decalred in a joint statement with his Indian counter part that Russia welcomes India’s intention to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and calls on member states to speed up the accession process. [2]

Analysts say that Russia’s prime minister should not have forgotten the fact that SCO member states cannot have disputes with each otherThis was the argument Russians gave while the proposal of Pakistan’s inclusion arose[3] “Or was Medvedev well aware of this basic condition for the inclusion of any entity into the SCO while demanding India’s inclusion?” “Did he want to intentionally give entry to a country that has been keeping a major portion of Chinese land under its military occupation and constantly threatens to nuke China every now and then?” asks one of the analysts.

“It was the success of India’s shrewed diplomacy” says one analyst. “It reflects how cunning the Indians are and how effective diplomatic steps they take in advance,” he continues saying, “even before one could realize what the Indians were up to.” Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the analyst also opined that China’s diplomatic leaders should attend classes in geo-politics and geo-strategy before going to their respective offices. “It is evident that the Indians have been succesfully sabotaging all the startegic alliances China built except that of between China and Pakistan” he added.

Recently India has been busy doing aggressive diplomacy to contain China’s peaceful rise. The recent Indian military aggression in the South China Sea against Chinese vessels and deployment of nuclear capable missiles targetting major Chinese cities are seen as provocative moves by many analysts. [4] [5] [6]

A visit to India by Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith this month has resulted in initial moves to strengthen military cooperation and boost trade. These steps follow the lifting of a ban on the uranium sales to India by the Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the announcement in November that northern Australia will become a key staging base for US military operations in the Indian Ocean.

Closer ties between Australia and India are inseparable from the escalating US agenda of containing China’s influence throughout the Asia-Pacific regionThe US perspective is a “trilateral arrangement” that would see greater coordination and joint operations by the US, Indian and Australian navies in the eastern Indian Ocean. Australia’s refusal to sell uranium to India on the grounds it was not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was an obstacle that had to go.

Defence Minister Smith arrived in New Delhi on December 7 to begin forging the type of partnership demanded by the US. Smith met with Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and the heads of the Indian armed forces. At a subsequent press conference, Smith, using the words of the US ambassador, said the Australian government had removed the “impediment” to relations by ending the ban on uranium sales.

Smith announced that Australia and India had agreed to expand “practical cooperation” on military issues. He stressed that “maritime security and cooperation, the South and East China Sea were part of the conversation.” Against China’s claims of sovereignty over the South China Sea, Smith and Indian officials echoed the US position that “freedom of navigation” had to be upheld across what is a strategically sensitive region for China. Indian oil companies are already openly challenging China’s assertions of sovereignty in the South China Sea by entering into contracts to explore for oil in areas claimed by Vietnam.

Australia holds 40 percent of the world’s available reserves of high grade uranium and can now sell unlimited quantities to Indian energy companies. India’s own limited reserves of uranium can therefore be dedicated to expanding the country’s stockpile of nuclear weapons. While ostensibly aimed against Pakistan, India’s nuclear arsenal is ever more openly intended to match China’s and to assert Indian aspirations for geopolitical prominence in Asia. The most recent nuclear-capable Indian rocket, the Agni V, was provocatively nicknamed the “China Killer by the country’s press because, with a range of 5,000 kilometres, it could hit targets in every part of China.

The US has a clear military strategy against China, which hinges on being able to impose a naval blockade on key sea lanes between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The aim would be to cripple China’s economy by cutting access to critical energy resources and raw materials from the Middle East, Africa and Australia. India and Australia, which have the largest and second largest navies respectively among Indian Ocean countries, are crucial to US planning. Increasingly, Indian naval activity, including joint exercises with US forces, is focussed on the waters near India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which are located close to the Straits of Malacca. Most Chinese imports and exports pass through the Straits of Malacca.

India’s training exercises near the Straits of Malacca will complement stepped-up US and Australian operations further south. Very large ships cannot pass through the shallow Straits of Malacca and have to use the deeper Sunda Straits and Lombok Straits through the Indonesian archipelago. The northern Australian city of Darwin has been selected as a US military hub due to its proximity to these straits. 

Also under study is the establishment of air bases on the Australian territories of the Cocos Islands and Christmas Island, which are even closer to the Indonesian sea passages. On thepretext of blocking refugee boats reaching the Australian mainland, the Australian military already uses surveillance bases on Christmas Island to carry out extensive monitoring of vessels across a broad sweep of the eastern Indian Ocean, including the sensitive straits. Major diplomatic exchanges are predicted to take place in 2012 to further cement ties, including a visit to India early in the year by Gillard, and a reciprocal visit to Australia by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.


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Don’t ignore India’s nukes

‘We urge all nuclear-capable states to exercise restraint regarding nuclear capabilities,” a State Department spokesman said last month after India successfully blasted its new long-range Agni 5 missile into the Bay of Bengal. But he quickly softened the admonishment: “That said, India has a solid nonproliferation record.”


Washington’s oddly relaxed approach to India’s nuclear program goes back to 2008, when Congress approved the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement. Under it, India agreed to separate its military and civil nuclear facilities and to place the latter under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards in exchange for a U.S. guarantee to work toward full civil nuclear cooperation with New Delhi. Today, India is still the only country to have been accommodated in this way since the establishment of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treatyin 1968.


In 2008, as a member of the House who sat on all of the major security committees, I was concerned about the quiet acceptance of India’s nuclear activities that the agreement represented. I was one of 59 representatives who opposed it. Four years later, India’s missile test leaves me even more troubled by Washington’s tacit acceptance of New Delhi’s nuclear program.


The timing of the launch was puzzling to say the least. It came just one week after North Korea’s failed missile test, which cost that country 240,000 metric tons of food aid that Washington had promised in February. India has an explicitly stated no-first-use policy and is widely viewed as a U.S. security allyBut that doesn’t mean we should turn a blind eye to India’s actions. It was noticed around the world that Washington reacted so strongly against one missile test in the region while essentially turning a blind eye to another. Pakistan quickly followed with its own missile test and is believed to be expanding its already large nuclear arsenal at a time when its government is fragile and U.S.-Pakistan relations are at a low point.


These tests also occurred just a month before a second round of talks scheduled to take place between Iran and the United States, China, France, Britain, Russia and Germany. Why, Iran might wonder, should it dismantle its nuclear program if India, which also once faced tough U.S. sanctions, can now get away with firing a long-range missile? A North Korean foreign minister made an uncomfortably similar point a few months after Moammar Gadhafi’s death. “The Libyan crisis is teaching the international community a grave lesson,” the foreign minister said in defense of his country’s nuclear program. North Korea’s songun ideology was the only guarantor of peace on the Korean peninsula, he said.


In other words, leaders be warned: Dismantle your nuclear program in response to international pressure and you’ll find yourself dismantled. In Tokyo last month, an Indian policymaker told me there was nothing significant about the timing of India’s missile test — that New Delhi had been planning it for a long time. It may be that India and now Pakistan think such conduct will not affect events outside of their sandbox. This myopic view is dangerous.


In recent weeks, the word “wary” appeared in many reports about New Delhi’s missile launch. “India, wary of Beijing, tests nuclear-capable missile,” one headline read. Other articles noted that “China and Pakistan reacted warily” and that the U.S. had issued a “wary” endorsement. But “wary” may not be wise. Just as the killing of Gadhafi in Libya may teach that giving up weapons of mass destruction makes you vulnerable, so these tests — without serious responses — may also spur reckless conduct. Wisdom counsels zero tolerance.


Jane Harman is CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She was a nine-term congresswoman from California.


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