Sunday, August 29, 2010



The administration of President Barack Obama has called for a substantive dialogue without pre-conditions between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Beijing on the Tibetan issue and called upon the Government of Nepal to honour its past commitment to allow the Tibetans the freedom of travel to India through Nepal.

2. Its annual report on Tibet submitted to the Congress on August 19 says inter alia: “Encouraging substantive dialogue between Beijing and the Dalai Lana is an important foreign policy objective of the United States. We continue to encourage representatives of the PRC and the Dalai Lama to hold direct and substantive discussions aimed at the resolution of difference, without precondition..... The US government believes that the Dalai Lama can be a constructive partner for China as it deals with the difficult challenge of continuing tensions in Tibetan areas. His views are widely reflected within Tibetan society, and he commands the respect of the vast majority of Tibetans. His consistent advocacy on non-violence is an important principle for making progress toward a lasting solution....China's engagement with the Dalai Lama or his representatives to resolve problems facing Tibetans is in the interests of both the Chinese government and the Tibetan people. Failure to address these problems will lead to greater tensions inside China and will be an impediment to China's social and economic development.”

3. The report has been submitted under the Tibet Policy Act 2002, enacted by the Congress during the George Bush Administration. The Act calls upon the Government to submit an annual report to the Congress on the negotiations between His Holiness and the Chinese authorities on the future of Tibet. The report should have been submitted in March last, but the Obama Administration delayed its submission, possibly because of its expectation that China would support strong action against North Korea for sinking a South Korean naval ship in March. The Obama Administration's unhappiness with Beijing's reluctance to support action against North Korea was earlier reflected in its decision to come out openly against the Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea and is now manifested in its decision to submit its delayed report on Tibet to the Congress and to use strong language in the report.

4. The report expresses Washington's disappointment with the lack of progress in the talks and adds: “We hope that another round will be scheduled soon and will include discussion that will lead to solutions to the problems that Tibet and its people face. We continue to urge both sides to engage in substantive dialogue and hope to see a tenth round of dialogue that will lead to positive movement on questions related to Tibetans’ lives and livelihood.”

5.Beijing has been consistently refusing to discuss with the emissaries of His Holiness deputed for these talks the future of Tibet and other Tibetan-inhabited regions. It has been insisting that these talks should be restricted to discussing the future of His Holiness to which His Holiness is not agreeable.

6. The Nepalese media reported on August 19 that during a meeting with the Nepalese Home Minister, Mr.Bhim Rawal, the previous day at Kathmandu, Mr.Atul Keshap, US acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, who was on a visit to Nepal, called upon the Nepal Government to honour its commitment of 1989 under an informal agreement to allow free passage for Tibetan refugees wanting to travel to India. The 1989 agreement, which was brokered by the UN, allows fleeing Tibetans free passage to Dharamsala in India through Nepal. Under Chinese pressure, the Government of Nepal has set up new security posts along the border with Tibet to prevent Tibetan refugees from crossing over into Nepal for going to Dharamsala. In June, the Nepalese border security authorities were reported to have handed over to the Chinese authorities three Tibetans who had crossed over into Nepal from Tibet. China has reportedly been funding the expenditure on the new border posts and has been pressing the Government to suppress anti-Chinese activities by the Tibetan refugees living in Nepal.

7.The Chinese have not yet reacted to these actions by the Obama Administration. During the forthcoming visit of President Obama to India in November, an exchange of views on the progress of the talks between His Holiness and Beijing should be on the agenda. The Government of India should take the initiative in proposing the inclusion of this item on the agenda. His Holiness should also be invited to any reception hosted by our President in honour of President Obama. (30-8-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: )



The Chinese Defence Ministry and government/party controlled media have played down the new friction between India and China over the reported disinclination of the Chinese Foreign Ministry to issue a regular visa to Lt.Gen.B.S Jaswal, the General Officer commanding in chief of India’s Northern Command, who was to lead an Indian military team for the fourth defence dialogue to be held in Beijing. The Chinese Foreign Office reportedly stated that he came from the "sensitive location of Jammu and Kashmir"and "people from this part of the world come with a different kind of visa" and suggested that India depute some other officer for the dialogue. The Government of India has not agreed to this and suspended two forthcoming visits by three Chinese military officers to India --- two of them for attending a training course. New Delhi has, however, clarified that the suspension of military exchanges would not apply to the periodic trans-border meetings between military officers posted on both sides of the disputed border as part of the confidence-building measures.

2. There is apparently an attempt by both capitals to keep the temperature under control and not to allow the friction to assume a self-sustaining and aggravating dimension, thereby damaging the over-all bilateral relationship.New Delhi has denied press speculation that officials of China's Ministry of Public Security had recently removed maps of India exhibited in the Indian pavilion in the Shanghai Expo showing Arunachal Pradesh as an integral part of India. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as its territory and describes it as southern Tibet.

3.The Chinese Defence Ministry has sought to give the impression that India's suspension of the forthcoming visit of three Chinese military officers to India did not amount to a suspension of the broader military exchanges between the two countries. It said in a statement: "China has not suspended defense exchanges with India and has received no word that India has stopped military exchanges between the two countries. " The Chinese Foreign Ministry, which caused the friction by its disinclination to issue the visa, has remained silent till now.

4. There is an attempt by the Chinese to treat it as a purely visa-related misunderstanding not having any strategic significance in relation to the Chinese position on Jammu & Kashmir and to create an impression that China has not changed its position to favour Pakistan and to the detriment of India. In an article carried on August 30,2010, the Party-controlled "Global Times" said: " The Muslim-majority region of Kashmir is now under control by India and Pakistan, both of which claim full rights to the area." A copy of the article is annexed. (30-8-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: )


Text of the article carried by the "Global Times"

Military exchanges intact: China

By Wang Zhaokun

China on Saturday denied reports that it had halted its military ties with India, saying it has confidence that both sides will focus on the broader picture of the bilateral relations between the two neighbors.

"China has not suspended defense exchanges with India and has received no word that India has stopped military exchanges between the two countries," a statement by China's defense ministry said.

The statement came after reports in Indian media that New Delhi had canceled defense exchanges with Beijing following a visa row between the two Asian giants.

"China takes developing military ties with India seriously, and we are confident that both sides will stay focused on the broader picture of bilateral ties, acting in a spirit of consultation and unity to promote the healthy development of military ties," the statement said.

India summoned China's ambassador Friday to protest against Beijing's refusal of a visa to B.S. Jaswal, an Indian general who had intended to visit China for a high-level defense exchange between the countries.

Indian media said the reason for turning down the visa to Jaswal is that he is responsible for Indian military operations in the disputed area of India-controlled Kashmir.

The Muslim-majority region of Kashmir is now under control by India and Pakistan, both of which claim full rights to the area.

Fu Xiaoqiang, a professor on South Asia affairs at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times that border and military issues between India and China are quite sensitive, and both sides should handle them carefully.

"I don't think the latest visa row between the two countries will have a big impact on bilateral relations," Fu said.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and India, and China is already India's biggest trade partner.

However, mistrust remains between the two large emerging economies due to issues such as territorial disputes.

"The rise of the two large countries will definitely bring some clashes. And it will take some time for China and India to establish full trust toward each other," Fu said. "But it is dialogue rather than confrontation that can improve mutual understanding."

Agencies contributed to this story




Under an operation code-named "Project Samosa", the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced on August 26,2010, the arrests of three alleged jihadi extremists--- all of them socially well-placed professionals. One of them is a doctor, the second is an x-ray technician in an Ottawa hospital and the third had studied electrical engineering

2. The police claimed that their arrests had thwarted possible terrorist attacks around Ottawa and against Canadian troops in Afghanistan. From the details given by the RCMP, it was evident that the arrested persons, who were under surveillance for about a year, were discussing and planning a conspiracy to indulge in terrorist attacks and had acquired some materials towards this objective, but were far away from being in a position to carry out these attacks. There was no apprehension of imminent terrorist attacks, but the evidence of the conspiracy in progress was strong enough to warrant the arrests before the conspiracy neared fruition.

3. Amongst the material recovered during the investigation were more than 50 circuit boards police believe were intended to remotely trigger detonators for improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and videos, drawings, instruction books and electronic components for IEDs. According to Canadian media reports, the conspiracy was initially detected by the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), which then alerted the RCMP.

4.Mr.Raymond Boisvert, an Assistant Director in the CSIS, told a press conference: “There are certain individuals in Canada who have adopted an ideology inspired by international terrorist groups who promote heinous violence to achieve their goals. This case reiterates the serious nature of this threat, which can result in tragic consequences if left unchecked.” The police did not say whether the group had any links to Al-Qaeda, but the available details indicated a link to the Af-Pak region.

5. Two of the suspects ----- Hiva Mohammad Alizadeh, 30, and Misbahuddin Ahmed, 26, both of Ottawa, were arrested on August 25. The third, 28-year-old Khurram Syed Sher, was arrested in London, Ontario, the next day. All the three are Canadian citizens. Three non-Canadians, not located in Canada, were also allegedly part of the conspiracy ---- James Lara, Rizgar Alizadeh and Zakaria Mamosta, but they have not been arrested so far. The three arrested Canadians are to be charged with terrorism under the Criminal Code, including conspiring with the three non-Canadians mentioned above and other “persons unknown,” who have been at one time or another located in Canada, Iran, Afghanistan, Dubai and Pakistan, to facilitate “terrorist activity” between February 2008 and August 24.

6. Hiva Alizadeh , who studied electrical engineering, faces a separate charge of making or having an explosive substance in his possession with the intent to endanger life or cause serious damage. According to the police, he is a member of a group with links to the conflict in Afghanistan, and had received training in building and detonating IEDs. Mr.Boisvert said in his briefing that the CSIS is still enquiring to find out whether the three arrested Canadians were self-motivated, made-through-the-internet jihadis or whether they had been subject to external motivation.

7. Sher is a doctor who graduated from the McGill University medical school in 2005. According to the police, he had visited Pakistan in 2006 to participate in quake relief work. He had also participated in a TV reality show on a Canadian TV channel. In 2007, he and some other doctors had written to Mr.Stockwell Day, Minister for Public Safety, protesting against the treatment meted out to three Muslims arrested on security grounds.

8.Misbahuddin Ahmed, the x-ray technician in an Ottawa hospital, has been described by some media reports as of Indian origin who had grown up in Canada. It is not known to which part of India he belonged and when he migrated to Canada. According to the newspaper the "Ottawa Citizen", he had taken several weeks off from work about 16 months ago. He didn't say where he was going.When he returned to work, he was sporting a full beard. The "Citizen" has reported that Misbahuddin Ahmed and Sher used to play in an Islamic charity hockey tournament in Montreal that raised money for an organisation called the RS Foundation, which claimed to be engaged in humanitarian work in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.

9. The RS Foundation, which actively raised funds in Canada for quake relief in Pakistan in 2005 and is presently collecting funds for flood relief in Pakistan, was founded by one Shujaat Wasty who is also an active member of an organisation called the South Asian Research Center (CERAS) and the United Muslims Students' Association (UMSA).

10.The Wikipedia says as follows: "The Muslim Students' Association, or Muslim Student Union, of the U.S. and Canada, also known as MSA National, is a religious organization dedicated to establishing and maintaining Islamic societies on college campuses in Canada and the United States. It serves to provide coordination and support for affiliated MSA chapters in colleges across North America. Established in 1963, the organization now has chapters in colleges across the continent, and is the precursor of the Islamic Society of North America and several other Islamic organizations.....The first MSA National chapter was formed in 1963 at the campus of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) by international students. The initial leadership came from Arabic-speaking members, with the Muslim Brotherhood help to establish the group. A Saudi Arabian charity, the Muslim World League, provided early funding for the group. Early goals for the movement included the promotion of "a self-definition [that] involves initially and fundamentally [an] Islamic identity" of its members, as well as an appropriate Islamic lifestyle while they were in the US.....Today, the organization is present in various forms on several campuses across the United States and Canada. In contrast to early membership, members are now frequently American-born Muslims....."

11.It adds: "Journalist Deborah Scroggins, in exploring how suspected al-Qaeda member Aafia Siddiqui became an Islamist extremist, wrote for Vogue that if Siddiqui "was drawn into terrorism, it may have been through the contacts and friendships she made in the early 1990s working for MIT's Muslim Students Association. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world's oldest and biggest Islamist movement, established the first MSAs in the country... and the movement's ideology continued to influence the MSA long after that. At MIT, several of the MSA's most active members had fallen under the spell of Abdullah Azzam, a Muslim Brother who was Osama bin Laden's mentor.... [Azzam] had established the Al Kifah Refugee Center to function as its worldwide recruiting post, propaganda office, and fund-raising center for the mujahideen fighting in Afghanistan... It would become the nucleus of the al-Qaeda organization."Rutgers MSA co-founder Ramzi Yousef, a cousin of Siddiqui's second husband, was convicted for helping perpetrate the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.Anwar al-Awlaki, accused of being an al-Qaeda member and who declared jihad against America in 2010, was President of the MSA at Colorado State University, from which he graduated in 1994. Ali Asad Chandia, who was president of the MSA at Montgomery College from 1998 to 1999, was convicted of providing material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani terrorist organization, and assisting the Virginia Jihad Network, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. The University of California Irvine Muslim Student Union is an affiliated chapter of MSA National, which was suspended for the 2010-2011 school year for organizing a conspiracy to disrupt Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren from speaking at a university sponsored event." ( My comment: al-Awlaki is now with Al Qaeda in Yemen)

12. Some sources allege that Wasty was known for his anti-Jewish views and used to describe the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US as a Jewish conspiracy. ( 29-8-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: )