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Kayani, a man for many seasons

PKKH

Shuja Nawaz

In a timely though perhaps overly dramatic move, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani of Pakistan announced recently on national television the extension of army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani for another three years beyond November this year, when his first term was to end. Timely, since any further delay in announcing it would have led to further speculation and confusion about what was to happen. Dramatic, since the normal manner would have been a press release from the Inter Services Relations Directorate.

But then this is Pakistan and anything to do with the army chief makes headlines. And this announcement further strengthens the view that the army continues to be a key player even as democracy struggles to establish itself in a country that has been ruled for more than half its life by the military.

This is the first time a civilian government has extended an army chief for a full term. In the past, extensions have been either short, given by military rulers to themselves or, in the case of the first military ruler, Ayub Khan, to an ineffectual army chief with no independent power base. Benazir Bhutto sought to break with tradition when she offered an extension to General Abdul Waheed in 1996 but he refused it. Kayani took pains to convey the impression that he would not seek an extension nor negotiate for one. It appears that the government made him an offer he could not refuse.

Kayani is widely regarded as a quiet, professional soldier, who has helped transform the army in his tenure from a largely conventional force to one that is effectively fighting an irregular war inside its own borders. His new tenure gives him a rare opportunity to continue the transformation of the Pakistan into army into a professional body ready to fight insurgencies and conventional enemies equally well. He maintains a low public profile and is seen as a thinking general. Compared with his predecessor, General Pervez Musharraf, who was tempestuous and rarely had time to read, Kayani is deliberate. From the outset, he stated a policy of keeping the army out of politics, a policy that he tried to maintain even while selectively intervening in political squabbles as a referee. In recent months he has played a key role in moving the United States-Pakistan strategic dialogue onto a higher plane in terms of content and action.

While many inside and outside the country have welcomed the move as providing continuity and stability at a time of a raging insurgency and the rise of militancy inside Pakistan, others view it as a retrogressive move away from institutionalizing the selection and promotion system by linking it to personalities. Above all, it is a political move since the final decision was made by a politician. The United States has studiously avoided taking a public position but conversations with U.S. diplomats and military officials over the past few months indicated their deep interest in the future of General Kayani and a noticeable desire to see him remain at the helm of affairs in Pakistan. Yet Kayani on his part has showed no signs that he is or even is willing to be painted as “America’s choice.”

What are the implications of this extension? In the near term, it opens up the possibility of a routine promotion for the next senior most army general to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee when that position falls vacant in October 2010. There may well be an opportunity also to elevate one of the other service chiefs, from the air force or navy, to bolster inter-service cohesion. Within the army there has been some talk of a Vice Chief. This may make sense for such a large army but runs against the grain, since the Pakistan army has a steep pyramid structure. Authority rests in one man: the chief. When I suggested to my own brother, General Asif Nawaz, when he took over as Army chief in 1991 that he appoint a deputy chief to help manage the administrative details of his work, his reply was crisp: “Command is indivisible!” While not supported by historical evidence, this mantra has taken hold in Pakistan and was echoed by General Pervez Musharraf for different and perhaps political reasons, even though he appointed a Vice Chief of the Army Staff. But Musharraf made all the important decisions himself.

In the longer run, the career paths of many senior generals will be affected by this decision. Nearly a dozen operational three-stars (Lieutenant Generals) will retire before Kayani’s new term expires in November 2013. These include a number of very bright and highly trained officers whom he has promoted to three star rank in April this year. As a result, the age and service gap between Kayani and his corps commanders in another two years will be quite large, as he digs down into the ranks order to promote new commanders. The nature and quality of the exchanges between him and his commanders will necessarily be affected, as was the case for General Zia ul-Haq and General Musharraf before him. Few junior officers will be willing to challenge the views of such a senior chief. Yet, he has exhibited a certain collegiality in his exchanges with fellow officers. If he can maintain that approach it will serve him in good stead. Politically, the country will of necessity see another election during Kayani’s extended term, unless things deteriorate so dramatically internally or in relations with Pakistan’s fractious neighbors that the army, under public pressure, mounts another coup. Here, Kayani will fight against historical precedent: in the past, an extension or the dismissal of a chief and replacement by a new chief invariably led to a coup, as mutual suspicions between the civilians and the military was compounded.

A positive spin-off from the extension in the eyes of some may be that a slew of Musharraf promotees will also retire between now and 2013 reducing the tension between them and others vying for the next rung. Some of these are strong professional officers but the taint of having been favored by Musharraf may remain. After all, Kayani too was a Musharraf choice. A major advantage that might accrue is that the certainty provided by the new term for the army chief will allow the civilian government to become confident in asserting itself in policy matters, knowing that the army chief will not overtly intervene in its affairs. This may help strengthen political institutions. At the same time, civilians must resist the temptation to turn to the army to lead the battle against militancy (a national endeavor not purely a military one) or to arbitrate differences on the political field.

These three years should also give Kayani time to assess the present Higher Defense Organization of Pakistan and perhaps come up with a more devolved structure for the army and a better system of command and control at the center. One possible scenario may include regional and centralized commands at four-star rank, appointed by the same authority who selects the service chiefs, and a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs with real powers to regulate all the services while acting as the main military advisor of the government. This approach has been taken by the United States and many other modern militaries, so it would hardly be unprecedented. Without having a stake in the chairman’s position in 2013, Kayani may be able to provide a dispassionate plan for the government to decide, well in advance of the next round of promotions in 2013. Any proposal that he presents as a disinterested party will have credibility and will also help override the parochial concerns of the army relative to the other services in Pakistan.

All this will be against the backdrop of Pakistan’s traditional rivalry with emerging superpower India to the east. Kayani would be key to any effort to reduce hostility and to open the eastern border to trade and traffic. He has already played a role in opening up to Afghanistan and perhaps positioning Pakistan to play a role in the reconciliation efforts of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The United States, as a key ally, must also understand that the army chief in Pakistan will think foremost about Pakistan’s interests. To the extent that they have an interlocutor who knows them well, from his extensive U.S. training and contacts, the U.S. will benefit from a clear dialogue. Removing years of mistrust will take a major and longer-term effort. Officer exchanges will help. But most important will be steady provision of the best possible equipment to the Pakistani forces in their battle against insurgents and militants, with no underlying threats or overhanging waivers accompanying those transfers. That is what trust means.

Key to this entire enterprise is the man who will continue to head the Pakistan army beyond President Barack Obama’s first term and into the term of the next elected government in Pakistan: General Kayani, truly now a man for many seasons.

Shuja Nawaz is Director of the South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council.

India Prepares To Run From Afghanistan With Tail Between Legs

March 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Dan Qayyum | PKKH

India has decided to run from Afghanistan with its tail between its legs as Pakistan increasingly takes center-stage in bringing stability to war-torn Afghanistan.

CNN-IBN Reports: India plans to ’scale down’ its operations in Afghanistan and will advice its citizens in that country to return home, sources in the government have told CNN-IBN.

The Indian government is considering paring down its presence at reconstruction projects in Afghanistan. Projects underway may be wrapped up quickly and there may be even a freeze on undertaking new projects.

Apart from the embassy in Kabul, the work of consulates in Herat, Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif and Jalalabad may also be scaled down.

CNN-IBN learns the precarious security situation in Afghanistan–highlighted by the terrorist attacks targeting Indians in Kabul on February 26, is prompting a gradual but significant rethink in New Delhi.

Pakistan Forces India Out Of Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours – Pakistan, Iran, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as the US, met earlier this year in Turkey to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and to take stock of measures for the restoration of peace in the country. The original “six-plus-two” formula also included Russia, but in the new set up Moscow representation was replaced by the United Kingdom.

Diplomatic sources said Pakistan had been lobbying for the renewal of talks among Afghanistan’s neighbours in order to foil Indian designs of gaining a foothold on Afghan soil.

Pakistan believes India is not an immediate neighbour of Afghanistan and therefore should have limited role in the country.

Turkey was asked to convene that meeting, as it enjoys the backing and trust of Pakistan and is accepted as a neutral party for promoting a common approach to the conflict. The conference urged regional players to work together in order to stabilise Afghanistan and the region.

The revival of the talks group came at a crucial juncture – two days before the London Conference attended by 50 nations to discuss the Afghan issue and deliberate on measures to help the war-ravaged nation. The organisers of the London Conference, like the US, had been trying to convince Pakistan on accepting the greater Indian role in Afghanistan.

India appears to be the biggest loser from the London conference. Not only did Pakistan succesfully manage to keep it out of key decision-making, but also offered to help train 300,000 Afghan Police and Army personnel within the next 2 years – a role that India had been whoring itself out for.

Participants of the London Conference also rejected India’s assertion that there were ‘no degrees of Talibanism – all factions must be fought and destroyed’. India often bundles the Kashmiri militant groups within this classification, in an attempt to discredit the legitimate Kashmiri freedom struggle. New Delhi has even gone to the extent of alleging the presence of Afghan Taliban in Indian occupied Kashmir – which was rejected outright by its own Armed forces, causing massive embarassment.

On the other hand, it is Pakistan that seems to have come out of this conference with its head held high. Not only does the world accept the need for bringing Afghan Taliban into the political frame – a long-standing demand of the Pakistan Army – Pakistan has also been requested to assist in brokering the deal which the US and NATO believe will allow them a safe exit.

General Kayani reportedly told US and NATO commanders in the recent meeting in Brussels that Pakistan intends to take a hands on approach and play a central role in bringing stability to Afghanistan. He also demanded the US and its allies curb Indian influence in Afghanistan as the latter has been supporting terrorism in Pakistan from its many bases on Afghan soil.

The tough, matter-of-fact line on India was in stark contrast to that of the current ‘democratic’ rulers of Pakistan, who have bent over backwards in their attempts to appease both the Indians and the Americans.

In a recent presentation to Pakistani media, Gen Kayani also reiterated his widely reported comments on the Pakistan Army’s view of the situation in Afghanistan and the way forward there – and made it clear that his institution’s “frame of reference” for addressing the problems in that country included certain concerns that are India specific.

History, unresolved issues, India’s military capability and its ‘Cold Start’ doctrine meant that Pakistan could not afford to let its guard down.

“We plan on adversaries’ capabilities, not intentions”, General Kayani said.

Pakistan warns India against hegemonic mindset

January 14, 2010 Leave a comment

DAWN

A view of the National Command Authority (NCA) meeting held under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani. — APP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan warned India on Wednesday against its relentless pursuit of military preponderance and said it would have severe consequences for peace and security in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region.

The National Command Authority, which met here under Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, took serious note of recent Indian statements about conducting conventional military strikes under a nuclear umbrella and said such irresponsible statements reflected a hegemonic mindset, oblivious of dangerous implications of adventurism in a nuclearised context.

The NCA also took note of the developments detrimental to the objectives of strategic stability in the region. It observed that instead of responding positively to Pakistan’s proposal for a strategic restraint regime in South Asia, India continued to pursue an ambitious militarisation programme and offensive military doctrines.

“Massive inductions of advanced weapon systems, including installation of ABMs (anti-ballistic missiles), build-up of nuclear arsenal and delivery systems through ongoing and new programmes, assisted by some external quarters, offensive doctrines like ‘Cold Start’ and similar accumulations in the conventional realm, tend to destabilise the regional balance,” the meeting noted.

A statement issued by the PM House said: “Pakistan cannot be oblivious to these developments.” It was the first meeting of the NCA after President Asif Ali Zardari promulgated the National Command Authority Ordinance and divested himself of the powers of its chairman in November last year.

The meeting expressed satisfaction over the safety and security of Pakistan’s strategic assets and effectiveness of its strategic deterrence. It emphasised the importance of Pakistan’s policy of credible minimum deterrence and maintaining strategic stability in South Asia.

The authority reaffirmed Pakistan’s policy of restraint and responsibility and its resolve to continue efforts to promote peace and stability in South Asia. It underscored the need for preventing conflict and avoiding nuclear and conventional arms race in the region.

The NCA noted that the India-specific exemption made by the Nuclear Suppliers Group and subsequent nuclear fuel supply agreements with several countries would enable New Delhi to produce substantial quantities of fissile material for nuclear weapons by freeing up its domestic resources.

It reiterated that while continuing to act with responsibility and avoiding an arms race, Pakistan would not compromise on its security interests and the imperative of maintaining a credible minimum deterrence.

The meeting reviewed plans for generation of nuclear power under IAEA safeguards as part of national energy security strategy to ensure sustained economic growth and welcomed the renewed international interest in nuclear power generation to meet the challenge of climate change.

As a country with advanced fuel cycle capability, it said, Pakistan was in a position to provide nuclear fuel cycle services under IAEA safeguards, and participate in any non-discriminatory nuclear fuel supply assurance mechanism.
The NCA expressed satisfaction at steps taken by Pakistan at the national level for nuclear safety and security, which would continue to be important considerations in the context of national nuclear power development plans.

N-disarmament

It reaffirmed that as a nuclear weapon state Pakistan was committed to working as an equal partner in international efforts for general and complete nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. In this regard, the NCA stressed the need for non-discriminatory policies and accommodation of the reality of Pakistan’s nuclear weapon status for promoting global non-proliferation goals.

The meeting emphasised that promotion of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament objectives in South Asia were linked with regional security dynamics and the need to address existing asymmetries and resolution of outstanding disputes.

The NCA stressed that as the sole disarmament negotiating forum the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva should play its due role in global nuclear disarmament. As far as a Fissile Material Treaty at the CD was concerned, Pakistan’s position would be determined by its national security interests and the objectives of strategic stability in South Asia, it said.
“Selective and discriminatory measures that perpetuate regional instability, in any form and manner, derogate from the objectives of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and, therefore, cannot be accepted or endorsed. Pakistan will not support any approach or measure that is prejudicial to its legitimate national security interests.”

An official told Dawn after the meeting that India’s ‘Cold Start’ strategy was a threat to strategic stability of South Asia. India’s growing military prowess, capabilities and aggressive designs implied war-provoking intent by practical manifestation of the ‘Cold Start’ doctrine.

He said the hit and mobilise concept would further squeeze space for diplomacy and political manoeuvres for avoiding a conflict. This strategy was likely to increase the threat in an unpredictable manner at various rungs of the escalation ladder, he added.

He said it was inherently flawed to further engage nuclear South Asia in an arms race rather than diverting efforts and resources to alleviate social needs of poor segments of society. Strategic equilibrium prevalent in the subcontinent would be impacted with negative repercussions, he said.

Explaining the concept of the ‘Cold Start’ doctrine, a defence analyst said it envisaged applying linear ground forces for multiple thrusts, backed by massive fire power well before Pakistan completed its mobilisation and international community could intervene.

He said the doctrine laid stress on offensive strike, but without giving battle indicators of mobilisation to maintain chances of strategic surprise while remaining below nuclear threshold. Political decision for war would be taken at the outset.

Talking about the broad contours, he said traditional operational art of maintaining distinction between strike and defensive formations would be done away with. The war was planned to be fought by integrated battle roups (IBGs) synergised and supported by Indian Air Force and Navy.

Since the IBGs would be pre-positioned closer to international border and the Line of control, these would commence operations with least build-up and preparation and would thus achieve surprise under the doctrine, he added.

Shaping the battlefield through new concept of war, incorporating all available technical-driven assets and fire power platforms would remain the hallmark of an Indian offensive.

Analysts observed that in Indian military planners’ view there was space available for a short notice, short-duration war with curtailed objectives despite the nuclear factor. Nuclear capability has added to Pakistan’s security by impinging upon India’s liberty of action under the nuclear overhang.

As the efficacy of all-out conventional war within the nuclear environment became questionable, India started studying the possibility of a limited conflict with curtailed application of military instrument and objectives.

Kayani takes McChrystal to task: Why ISAF abandoned from border posts

November 3, 2009 1 comment

By: RupeeNews | Moin Ansari

Bang in the middle of the operation in South Waziristan, it was expected that Indian and Afghan and other terrorists would run to Afghanistan. In a tightly coordinated operation, it was imperative that the US continued to seal the Afghan border so that the terrorists would be trapped in South Waziristain. However when the Pakistani Army was conducting its operation the ISAF forces abandoned their positions which allowed some of the terrorists to escape into safe havens in Afghanistan (where the Taliban control 80% of the territory).

Pakistani General Kiyani has taken up the matter of the abandonment of the broder posts by ISAF with General McChrystal

Kayani raises ISAF border posts issue with McChrystal

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Uzbeks Tajiks surrounded in South Waziristan FATA flag

Uzbeks Tajiks surrounded in South Waziristan FATA

Staff Report RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Kayani on Monday took up the vacation of border posts by International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops with ISAF Commander General Stanley McChrystal.

Indian Consulates. Indian Bases. Bharati bases in Tajikistan. Qandhar, Kandhar, RAW. Central Asia tajikistan Pakistan with raw trail of terror RAW logos and in India

Central Asia Tajikistan Pakistan: RAW trail of terror from Tajik bases to Indian Consulates in Afghanistan to targets in Pakistan. “They (the Indians) have to justify their interest. They do not share a border with Afghanistan, whereas we do. So the level of engagement has to be commensurate with that,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in an extensive interview with The Los Angeles Times, when asked about India’s building up its commercial and political presence in Afghanistan.

A source privy to the meeting said the two officials exchanged views on the law and order situation in Afghanistan and the recent military offensive in South Waziristan. General Kayani briefed McChrystal on the operation. According to an Inter-Services Public Relations statement, the US general remained with General Kayani for some time and discussed matters of mutual interest.

Separately, Britain’s Chief of General Staff David Richard visited Gen Kayani at the military’s General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and discussed professional, bilateral and regional issues. General Richard also laid a floral wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhada. A Pakistan Army contingent presented a guard of honour.

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