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Raytheon, Tata Advanced Systems to Co-produce Stinger Missile Components । Indian Navy Concludes First Contract under Buy and Make (Indian) Category । Contract signed between Nova Integrated Systems Ltd (NISL), a TASL subsidiary, and Indian Navy for procurement of Surface Surveillance Radars (SSRs) । NISL to indigenously manufacture these state-of-the-art radars in collaboration with Terma, Denmark । ISRO creates history; launches 104 satellites in one go । President, Vice President and Prime Minister congratulated ISRO and its scientists for the historic mission । Indian Navy to decommission aircraft carrier INS Viraat on March 6 । India to spend Rs 2,74,114 crore on Defence । Rs 85,737.31 crore will be spent on equipment acquisition । Russia formally enters IAF’s second round of MMRCA competition । Moscow offers a new MiG-35 variant under Make in India । Alexander M Kadakin, who served as the Russian Ambassador to India for over a dozen years, passed away after a brief illness in New Delhi on Thursday, January 26, 2017. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled Kadakin’s death calling him a “great friend of India.” । India Strategic wishes everyone Happy Republic Day । President Pranab Mukherjee takes salute at the beautiful Republic Day Parade in New Delhi । UAE Crown Prince Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed is the Chief Guest at India’s R-Day celebrations । A highlight of the Parade is also the participation of a UAE armed forces contingent । Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti to pay tributes to martyrs । The impressive Parade began with a 21-gun salute to the President, the Supreme Commander of the Indian armed forces । India’s anti-terror force, National Security Guard (NSG) made its debut in the Parade । Dressed in their patent black, NSG commandos jogged passed the saluting base with their faces covered । US President Donald Trump called Prime Minister Narendra Modi late on January 24 । The telephone call is indicative of the vital nature of the India-US strategic partnership between the two countries । Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan arrives in New Delhi । Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, was received by PM Modi । Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed is the Chief Guest of Republic Day 2017 । Government extends Foreign Secretary Dr S Jaishankar’s tenure by one year । The extension to be effective between Jan 29, 2017 and Jan 28, 2018 । Pravind Kumar Jugnauth takes over as Mauritius Prime Minister । Prime Minister Modi congratulated the newly-appointed Mauritian PM । Donald Trump takes over as US President । Promises transfer of power to people । Turkish Boeing 747 cargo plane crashes in Kyrgyzstan with 37 onboard; all killed । Astronaut Gene Cernan, 82, the last man to walk on moon, passes away । India marks Army Day । President, Prime Minister and Defence Minister greet the Army । Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat takes salute at the impressive Army Day Parade । Gen Rawat says India wants peace but if attempts are made to disrupt it, then “we will display our power” । He says emphasis is on newer technology weapons and systems for the Army । Space connectivity is also high on Army’s agenda । This is the 69th Army Day, marking the time when an Indian Chief, Gen KM Cariappa took over the command after Independence । Indian Navy launches its second Kalvari class submarine INS Khanderi in Mumbai । India Strategic wishes all its readers and viewers a very Happy New Year । India successfully test fires Agni 5 long range missile | IAF gets Government approval for one more C 17 strategic Lift aircraft | IAF has got 10 C 17s, but had initially planned for more than 20 | Lack of timely approval made IAF slash figure to three but by then Boeing closed factory | IAF will get the last one in production | Syrian government of President Assad takes full control of Aleppo | Lt Gen Bipin Rawat appointed the next Army Chief and Air Marshal BS Dhanoa the Air Chief | The appointments are effective December 31 afternoon | Both are Vice Chiefs of Staff at present in their respective Services | 48 killed in a PIA ATR-42 aircraft crash in Pakistan | The twin-engine propellor aircraft was on way from Chitral to Islamabad | India marks Navy Day | Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets all Navy personnel, and salutes their bravery on Indian Navy annual day | PM Modi, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani jointly inaugurate Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference at Amritsar (India) Dec 4 | Need of the hour is to identify terrorism and bring stability in the region, says PM Modi | India’s commitment to Afghan is absolute, Mr Modi said addressing 6th HoA Ministerial Conf | Afgan Prez accused Pakistan of sheltering terror, and thanked India of financial aid | HoA Conf began at Amritsar Dec 3 | INS Vikrant likely to be operational in 2018 | Vikrant to operate both Russian MiG-29K and Western origin Aircraft | Indian Navy to mark 2017 as the year of submarine: Adm Lanba | Gujarat-cadre officer Rakesh Asthana to take over as CBI Director after Anil Sinha, who retires Dec 2 | Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa is Pakistan’s new army chief | Gen Bajwa took over from Gen Raheel Sharif Nov 29 | The outgoing chief stressed all should work together “against external and internathreats” | Plane carrying Brazilian football team crashes in Colombia | Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro dies. He was 90. | Castro had challenged the US might and invited Soviet presence next door to the US | US-Cuban relations have normalized now after half a century | Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Commissions INS Chennai into Indian Navy Nov 21 | INS Chennai is a Project 15A Guided Missile Destroyer | This is the 3rd and last ‘Kolkata’ class destroyer indigenously designed by DND and constructed by MDL, Mumbai | India successfully tests nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile in Odisha | India becomes associate member of European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Geneva | Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar inducts four Indigenous Naval Systems | The 4 Indigenous Naval Systems – ABHAY, HUMSA UG, NACS and AIDSS – were indigenously developed by DRDO | These Indigenous Naval Systems will boost underwater surveillance capability of the Indian Navy | India, Japan sign Civil Nuclear Deal | The Deal signed during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan Nov 10-11 | With this Deal, Japan is able to export N-technology to India for peaceful uses | PM Modi calls the Deal “a historic step to build a clean energy partnership between India, Japan” |
February 25, 2017
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Blunders of intervention: Policies the world is paying for

Published: September 2016
 
Perilous Interventions: The Security Council and the Politics of Chaos (HarperCollins) by Hardeep Singh Puri; Pg 263; Price: Rs 599.
As modern civilisation continues to reel under a battery of murderous attacks from Islamic extremists, many of who now claim to owe allegiance to the contemporary quasi-state terror entity called the Islamic State (IS), the world looks increasingly vulnerable to ordinary citizens who wonder at the impunity with which militarised attackers are able to operate freely and spread mayhem, penetrating security shields of cities and countries that have spent billions of dollars to fortify themselves.

Highly motivated extremists professing faith in a perverted brand of Islam go around snuffing out innocent lives and destroying families almost at will, putting fear into the hearts of people as to where and when they could strike next. This has led many around the world to ask, legitimately perhaps, how these thugs came to be created in the first place and how the powerful western world, armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons and conventional weaponry, appears so powerless against these death merchants.

There are conflicting explanations to the ISIS phenomenon, and reasons for their emergence on the global scene are as varied as can be expected from a divided world order that seems more intent on downsizing each other than joining forces against a common global enemy.

Throwing some light and plenty of fresh insight into a tangled web of misjudged decisions by the West is Hardeep Singh Puri, acknowledgedly one of India’s outstanding plenipotentiaries in important global capitals, who as India’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations 2009-2013, coinciding with the period 2011-12 when India was non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, was witness and often participant in the select club of diplomatic parleying at the horseshoe-shaped table of global negotiations.

In a book he has penned within two years of his retirement, Puri rips the veil of guarded gentility from these “high-end decision-making, often over $80 per head lunch” and talks of how a small group of the world’s most powerful diplomats represented on the Security Council discuss, in Machiavellian fashion, the use of force on other nations to effect regime change and how this “ill-thought out itch” to intervene results in disastrous consequence for the country, the region and the world.

“Perilous Interventions: The Security Council and the politics of chaos” is an insider’s account and interpretation of the West’s “desire for geopolitical domination” which has often resulted in recent years – in theatres from Afghanistan to Syria – in policy decisions that have set in motion a “vicious cycle of terrorism and chaos” that shows no signs of ebbing or being tamed.

The West’s penchant to be self-righteous and assume the high moral ground in the pursuit of “Western values” has led to decisions being taken by people with little knowledge of the social dynamics of the region, with unforeseen and tragic consequences.

It has, as Puri says in the book based on meticulous notes he maintained during his years at the UN, his last diplomatic posting in an illustrious career with the Indian Foreign Service, “invariably led to the rise of terrorists and non-state military actors…” like the ISIS phenomenon.

Puri dubs ISIS “the unwanted child of failed interventions” and traces its genesis to “costly policy mistakes” which often get repeated when policymakers ignore the lessons of history.

The migration crisis, which is a humanitarian disaster and is leading to unpredictable economic, political and social conflicts in Western societies, was never considered by the Western decision-makers, and has, as Puri suggests, “upset delicate social, ethnic, tribal and sectarian balances and the secular ethos often maintained by authoritarian regimes”. Iraq, Libya and Syria are prime examples of this.

Puri’s conclusions are devastating in their forthrightness and he says categorically that ill-advised military interventions — which are even now being propounded for a fractured Syria by Western leaders, academics and think tankers — are not the answer to poor governance whose ideological underpinnings may not be in sync with Western value systems.

What is more worrying and reinforces the argument of non-Security Council countries on the need for urgent UN reforms is the Security Council, the highest decision-making body that has been mandated by a global order to preserve world peace and stability and protect citizens from state-sponsored atrocities, has been manipulated by a clutch of countries and is often unable to perform its expected role.

A must-read book for those interested in global affairs and in understanding the complex dynamics of international forces that goes into making critical decisions that have consequences for the world for years and decades to come. Puri has done a signal service to diplomats, experts and laypersons alike.

(Tarun Basu is a veteran journalist and analyst. He can be contacted at tarun.basu@spsindia.in)

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