Bappa's Feed
May 18, 2010

Possible options for India in fight against Maoists

NEW DELHI, May 18 (Reuters) – Pressure is mounting on India’s Prime Minister Manhoman Singh to send in the military to quell a growing Maoist insurgency after a string of attacks this year.

For the main story, please click [nSGE64H05H]

Here are possible options for the Indian government to tackle the decades-long insurgency which has killed thousands of people, mostly police, and has now spread to rural pockets in 20 of India’s 28 states.

MILITARY DEVISES STRATEGY WITHOUT GETTING INVOLVED

A likely scenario is that the government asks military strategists to take over operations planning and train police and other government forces in anti-guerrilla warfare. The military is not directly involved now in tackling the insurgency, which virtually keeps the Indian state out of a large swathe of mineral-rich central and eastern regions with business potential worth billions of dollars.

This move could see operations brought under the authority of a senior military commander. It could involve the use of air force planes for non-combat operations such as casualty evacuation, use of the military intelligence apparatus and the army’s expertise in clearing land mines, which have killed more security men than gunfights. The government has previously used reconnaissance drones but use of any air power is unlikely.

The strategy will save the government the embarrassment of conceding the failure of police while also infusing the offensive against the rebels with new expertise.

The ruling Congress party is aware that failure to tackle the Maoist insurgency quickly could hurt its prospects in eight state elections lined up over the next two years.

MILITARY IS CALLED IN

This scenario is highly unlikely.

India’s ill-equipped and under-trained police, though much larger in numbers, have failed to take on the rebels who have an estimated 20,000 combatants, including up to 6,000-8,000 hardcore fighters.

But it is unlikely the government will turn exclusively to the military to fight the rebels and back the offensive with air power which could result in large-scale civilian casualties.

A purely military offensive could further alienate the poor in the region and send them deeper into the folds of the Maoists, and potentially lead to a loss of votes for the Congress.

There is support for the Maoists among a section of urban intelligentsia and leftist liberals who warn that military action could breed further violence that spins into a civil war with the rural poor on one side and the Indian state on the other.

India’s military is involved in counter-insurgency operations in the disputed northern region of Kashmir and in northeast India, and in the past, was involved in the northern state of Punjab.

In most cases, the presence of the military has been resented by locals and soldiers have been accused of human rights violations and other excesses. Some Congress allies, who face state elections over the coming year, may not back a move to involve the military for fear of upsetting voters.

GOVERNMENT PERSISTS WITH POLICE ACTION

This option is fast becoming unfeasible.

A string of deadly attacks this year has exposed the limitations of police in tackling the insurgency. In many of the deadly attacks, standard operating procedures such as changing patrol routes and backup reinforcement for patrols were not followed.

Most police deaths have occurred because of a lack of proper training and limited knowledge of the "red corridor" stretching from the southern state of Andhra Pradesh to the central state of Chhattisgarh and into West Bengal, bordering Nepal and Bhutan.

If Prime Minister Singh persists with the current police action, he runs the risk of being seen as weak in tackling violent groups and his Congress party’s prospects in upcoming state elections could be hurt. <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

For a Q&A on the Maoist threat in India [ID:nSGE6350AE]

For a Q&A on business risks posed by Maoists [ID:nSGE62N06K] ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> (Editing by Surojit Gupta)





May 17, 2010

India discusses lifting foreign defence investment

NEW DELHI, May 17 (Reuters) – India’s trade ministry has
suggested almost tripling the foreign direct investment cap on
defence equipment to 74 percent, a major policy change that
would crowd many local companies out of the lucrative sector.

The cap is currently set at 26 percent. India has the
world’s 10th largest defence budget but imports 70 percent of
its needs because state-run units cannot build advanced weapons
systems.

May 17, 2010

Monsoon reaches Andaman region early – Met office

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Monsoon rains, vital for farm output in India’s trillion-dollar economy, are running ahead of schedule and have reached the first landmark of its four-month journey across the subcontinent, a senior weather official said.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast that the June-September monsoon will hit the mainland on May 30, two days before normal, by entering the southern state of Kerala.

May 17, 2010

India monsoon reaches Andaman region early- Met office

NEW DELHI, May 17 (Reuters) – Monsoon rains, vital for farm
output in India’s trillion-dollar economy, are running ahead of
schedule and have reached the first landmark of its four-month
journey across the subcontinent, a senior weather official
said.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast that
the June-September monsoon will hit the mainland on May 30, two
days before normal, by entering the southern state of Kerala.

May 14, 2010

Q+A: What’s behind the China-India security dispute?

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s concerns that Chinese telecoms network equipment will compromise national security risks hurting ties between the world’s two fastest growing economies.

Below are some questions and answers on what the most recent spat is about and what its implications are:

May 14, 2010

India seeks more security information from ZTE

NEW DELHI, May 13 (Reuters) – India’s home secretary on Thursday asked China’s ZTE Corp <0763.HK> for more information on security, giving the telecoms gear firm an opportunity to make its case for why it should be able to provide equipment in India.

Officials from ZTE and G.K. Pillai, secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), met on Thursday after India barred telecoms operators in the country from ordering equipment from ZTE and larger Chinese rival Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL].

May 12, 2010

Protests hit power generation plants

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India will miss its power generation target by a bigger margin than previously estimated as local people are opposing new projects, Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said on Wednesday.

“As I speak to you, there are 16 plants in deep trouble as local people do not want power plants in their area,” he said.

May 12, 2010

Local protests hit India’s power generation plants

NEW DELHI, May 12 (Reuters) – India will miss its power generation target by a bigger margin than previously estimated as local people are opposing new projects, Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said on Wednesday.

"As I speak to you, there are 16 plants in deep trouble as local people do not want power plants in their area," he said.

The northern Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, western states of Gujarat and Maharashtra and southern Andhra Pradesh state are among those that have witnessed local protest against power plants, the minister said.

India had initially planned to add 78,000 megawatts of capacity in five years to March 2012, but the target was lowered to 62,000 megawatts, Chidambaram told a business conference.

Poor infrastructure, including severe power shortages, is seen as a key obstacle to faster growth in Asia’s third-largest economy, but capacity addition has been slow.

Neighbouring China was building power stations much faster than India, which added only 22,300 megawatts in the past three years, Chidambaram said.

"Contrast this to what China does: Adds 100,000 megawatts capacity every year. And we are talking about not reaching even a capacity of 62,000 megawatt in five years," he said.

Protests and controversies have dogged several projects including dams, steel plants and mines in India as local people, including tribesmen in remote regions, are reluctant to surrender their land or they demand a higher compensation.

"They do not want to give away lands…are against nuclear power plants, against thermal power plants and (hydropower) plants," Chidambaram said.

It is indicative of the trust deficit that has developed between people, industry and the government, which needs to be addressed, he said.

India wants to build up to 30 more nuclear reactors in addition to the existing 19 and aims to generate 20,000 megawatts of nuclear power by 2020, up from the current 4,560 MW. (Editing by Malini Menon)





May 11, 2010

Industry,transport drive leap in India emissions

NEW DELHI, May 11 (Reuters) – India’s greenhouse gas emissions grew 58 percent between 1994 and 2007, official figures released on Tuesday showed, underlining the country’s growing importance in the fight against climate change.

Emissions rose to 1.9 billion tonnes in 2007 versus 1.2 billion in 1994, with the industrial and transport sectors upping their share in Asia’s third largest economy and confirming India’s ranking among the world’s top five carbon polluters.

By way of comparison, between 1994 and 2007, India added more than the entire emissions produced annually by Australia.

Figures in the government report, released by Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh at a conference in New Delhi, show India is closing in on Russia, now the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter, at nearly 2.2 billion tonnes in 2007.

Russia’s emissions have been growing at a slower pace than those of India, whose energy-hungry economy has been expanding at about 8 percent a year as it tries to lift millions out of poverty.

This has propelled investment in coal-fired power stations, steel mills, cement plants and mining, as well as renewable energy.

"Interestingly, the emissions of the United States and China are almost four times that of India in 2007," Ramesh told the conference.

"It is also noteworthy that the energy intensity of India’s GDP declined by more than 30 percent during the period 1994-2007 due to the efforts and policies that we are proactively putting into place. This is a trend we intend to continue," he said.

Energy intensity refers to the amount of energy used per unit of gross domestic product.

India has also set a carbon intensity reduction target of 20 to 25 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels.

Data from 1994 was the last official report to the United Nations on India’s emissions because, as a developing country, India is not obliged to make annual emissions declarations to the world body, unlike rich nations.

The latest U.N. emissions data for industrialised nations date to 2007.

Along with China and the United States, the world’s top two greenhouse gas emitters, India is seen as crucial player in trying to agree on a broad U.N. climate pact to curb the growth of greenhouse gas emissions blamed for heating up the planet.

Emissions in developing nations, mainly from the rising consumption of coal, oil and gas, are growing quickly and are responsible for more than half of mankind’s carbon pollution.

Scientists say the world needs to try to limit average global warming to within two degrees Celsius to avoid the worst impacts of climate change but that nations need to act quickly to avoid runaway growth in carbon emissions. (Additional reporting by Krittivas Mukherjee in Singapore; Writing by David Fogarty; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)



May 11, 2010

Industry, transport drive leap in India’s CO2 emissions

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s greenhouse gas emissions grew 58 percent between 1994 and 2007, official figures released on Tuesday showed, underlining the country’s growing importance in the fight against climate change.

Emissions rose to 1.9 billion tonnes in 2007 versus 1.2 billion in 1994, with the industrial and transport sectors upping their share in Asia’s third largest economy and confirming India’s ranking among the world’s top five carbon polluters.