Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Prof. Swaran Singh on BASIC and climate negotiations

Prof. Swaran Singh has a new article in livemint on the BASIC countries and climate change . . .

He argues that BASIC is taking the lead in climate negotiations, partly because of their better coordination.
Click Here to Read More..

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Prof. Mattoo reviews Nyla Ali Khan's latest book

Prof. Amitabh Mattoo has short but nice book review in the latest issue of India Today on Nyla Ali Khan's book Islam, Women and Violence in Kashmir: Between India and Pakistan . . .

Nyla Ali Khan, granddaughter of Sheikh Abdullah, teaches at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Click Here to Read More..

Prof. Mattoo on India's National Security Architecture

Prof. Mattoo has a new essay in the Telegraph about the challenges facing India's national security architecture . . .

He points out that though India faces immense opportunities, the Indian state appears incapable of exploiting them. Rising to these opportunities requires a restructuring of the Indian national security architecture, a task that the the new National Security Advisor Mr. Shiv Shankar Menon will need to address. You can read his full essay here.
Click Here to Read More..

Friday, January 29, 2010

Prof. Swaran Singh on BASIC and Climate Change

Prof. Swaran Singh has a new essay in the Global Times on the BASIC Group and global climate change negotiations . . .

He argues that the BASIC countries show strong potential in leading the climate change negotiations. As he puts it "BASIC seems to be the only group that shows the promise to sustain this momentum and the capacity to expand consensus on mitigation efforts." You can read the full essay here.
Click Here to Read More..

Friday, January 22, 2010

Prof. Mattoo for 'grand reconciliation' between India and Pakistan

Prof. Mattoo has a new essay in Thursday's Times of India about the need for a 'grand reconciliation between India and Pakistan . . .

He argues that the conflict is complex and rejects monocausal explanations for the conflict. He goes on to argue that the solution also has to be sought at multiple levels simultaneously, hence a 'grand reconciliation'. You can read his full essay by following the Times of India link above or here.
Click Here to Read More..

Dr. Ranvijay, CIPOD Alumnus, on internal conflcts in India

Dr. Ranvijay, a CIPOD alumnus, currently UPSAM Fellow at the University of Peace has written an essay about internal conflicts in India.

He divides the internal conflicts into those over Kashmir, others in Northeast and yet others in central and eastern India.

The essay was published in the Peace and Conflict Monitor. You can read his full essay here.
Click Here to Read More..

Friday, January 8, 2010

Prof. Swaran Singh on the recently concluded India-China ADD

Professor Swaran Singh has a new essay in the China Daily about the recent Annual Defence Dialogue (ADD) between China and India . . .

He suggests that "As China and India begin working together on the larger global issues such as climate change and hold the first BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) meeting this year, the third ADD could lay the foundation and make worthwhile contribution to their efforts by lowering tensions across their borders in the fragile environs of the Himalayas".

You can read his full essay here.
Click Here to Read More..

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dr. Negi at Oxford conference on 'Effective Multilateralisms'

Dr Archna Negi from CIPOD attended an International Conference on “Effective Multilateralisms: Cross-Regional Perspectives” at St Anne’s College, University of Oxford from 17-19 December 2009. The conference was organized by the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford.

Dr. Negi's brief comments:

The Conference focused on the management of global security relations in the 21st century in light of the growing gap between the ‘normative ambitions’ of the international society and the ‘lack of means to deliver them’. Discussions centered on possible forms of global governance that can effectively achieve desired global action outcomes and a ‘global order based on the principle of effective multilateralism’. Nuclear non-proliferation and climate change were the two themes identified for discussion, being areas of severe potential consequences in the event of a collective action failure. Principles, problems and prospects relating to these issue areas were discussed from a cross-regional perspective.

Dr Negi’s presentation was titled “Effective Multilateralism, Climate Change and Trade: Prospects for Conflict and Cooperation between the Trade and Environmental Governance Systems”. Although there is an established prima facie case for the need for ‘effective multilateralism’ in the realm of climate change as well as trade, no two regimes are more visibly blighted with the curse of ‘ineffective multilateralism’ than those relating to climate change and trade. The presentation dealt individually with each of these governance systems and attempted to identify possible explanations for the ‘deadlocked multilateralism’ that currently characterizes both regimes. It focused specifically on potential areas of conflict and cooperation between the trade and climate change regimes. Based on specific examples, some generalizations relating both to effective multilateralism as well as coherence across the two regimes were sought to be identified.

Click Here to Read More..

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

CIPOD Alumnus Dr. C. Raja Mohan Named as Foreign Policy's Top 100 Global Thinkers

Dr. C. Raja Mohan, a CIPOD alumnus, has been named as one of Foreign Policy magazine's Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2009 "for his forceful advocacy of India's rise to great-power status". . .

According to Foreign Policy:

"With India on the verge of achieving its potential as a regional power, Mohan is one of the leading theorists pushing the world's largest democracy to abandon its traditional aloofness and seek full integration with the West. A strong U.S.-India partnership, Mohan argues in his influential columns for the Indian Express and The Hindu, will assist India in its continued economic rise -- and give the United States an ally in Asia that could provide vital assistance in halting the rise of radical Islam and checking China's rising power. Mohan praised George W. Bush's administration for its outreach to India, but urges the United States to husband its power more carefully and realize that it 'cannot play God by resolving every single problem in the world'."

Dr. C. Raja Mohan is currently the Henry Alfred Kissinger Scholar at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C
Click Here to Read More..

Monday, December 28, 2009

Happymon Jacob on the Kashmir conflict

Happymon Jacob has an essay on the Kashmir insurgency, 20 years on . . .

He argues that there have been fundamental changes in the conflict and that the perspectives all actors have become more nuanced and complex. But all sides "must show more determination and enthusiasm to engage each other and discover a solution". The essay was published in the Hindu.
Click Here to Read More..

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Prof. Swaran Singh on India, China and COP-15

Prof. Swaran Singh has another essay in Global Times. Against the grain of conventional wisdom, he argues that COP-15 was actually not such a big a failure.

He argues also that India and China worked together which has "catapulted their bilateral relations out of the quagmire of multiple irritants and polemics that had previously marred the two countries' relationship."

You can read his full essay here.

Click Here to Read More..

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rajagopalan's (co-authored) chapter in William Tow's Security Politics in the Asia-Pacific

Cross-posted from Rajesh Rajagopalan's blog The Real World.

Bill Tow's new edited book Security Politics in the Asia-Pacific: A Regional-Global Nexus? has just been published by Cambridge University Press. I co-authored a chapter in the book with Marianne Hanson.

The book is the outcome of a conference at the Australian National University in August 2006. I had written a paper on WMD modernization in South Asia and Hanson had presented a similar paper on North Korea. The two papers were brought together to frame this chapter. But on the larger theme of the conference and the book, I think both of us remained somewhat uncertain about the implications with regard to South Asia and the Korean peninsula. After a few conferences now on the 'regional' and the 'regional-global' relationship, I am increasingly doubtful that this is a fruitful way to go, though there is an intuitive attractiveness to the idea of 'regional' security.

The book has excellent contributions from, among others, Michael Mastanduno, Hugh White, Brendan Taylor, Evelyn Goh, Michael Wesley, and Amitav Acharya.
Click Here to Read More..

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Rajagopalan at the NIDS Conference on Major Powers' Nuclear Policies

Cross-posted from Rajesh Rajagopalan blog, The Real World.

I attended a conference on "Major Powers' Nuclear Policies and International Order in the 21st Century", organized by the National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS), Tokyo, on November 18, 2009.

It was an enjoyable and very informative couple of days. The conference included two excellent key note presentation. Morton Halperin ("The Role of Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century") had a somewhat optimistic presentation about where we are headed while Ambassador Yukio Satoh ("Nuclear Disarmament and Japan's Security"), gave a blunt lecture about the troubles facing Japan, especially the consequences of radical nuclear arms control/disarmament on extended deterrence, though his audience seemed to be the new government in Tokyo much more than the outside world. We had presentations about the nuclear policies of each of the N-5, plus India: Elaine Bunn (who, I realised belatedly, has been on all Nuclear Posture Reviews, including the current one!) on the U.S. , Yuri Fedorov on Russia, Xia Liping on China, John Simpson on Britain and Bruno Tertrais on France (and me on India).

I could not get over the sense that Japan is much more worried about the direction of US policy and the general international trends than we realise. In addition to Ambassador Satoh's keynote address, we also had discussions with a couple of senior bureaucrats from MOFA and MOD, and they more or less echoed Amb. Sato's tone too. Maybe it is that I have only passing familiarity with Japan; moreover, alliance angst among American allies is hardly news. Am I over-reading this? Maybe, but it is also possible that others are taking Japan a bit too much for granted too.
Click Here to Read More..

T.V. Paul speaks at CIPOD on the Pakistani State

CIPOD was privilaged to host Prof. T.V. Paul on December 2 for the last of the CIPOD seminars for this semester. Paul is the James McGill Professor of International Relations at the Department of Political Science, McGill University, Montreal. He spoke about one of his current projects, a searching examination of the state of the Pakistani State . . .

Paul is the author/editor of a number of well-recieved books. He has far too many books to list here (click on his name above, or here, to go to his McGill University webpage which has a full list) but among the more notable are: Complex Deterrence: Strategy in the Global Age (co-editor and contributor); The Tradition of Non-use of Nuclear Weapons; India-Pakistan Rivalry: An Enduring Conflict (editor/contributor); Balance of Power: Theory and Practice in the 21st Century (co-editor); Power versus Prudence: Why Nations Forgo Nuclear Weapons; and The Absolute Weapon Revisited: Nuclear Arms and the Emerging International Order (co-editor and contributor). And this is just a parial list.

Click Here to Read More..

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dr. Archana Negi on the Copenhagen Summit

Dr. Archana Negi, who recently made a presentation about the climate change negotiations and Copenhagen, at the CIPOD Wednesday seminar series, has written up her presentation. The essay, "Countdown to Copenhagen: State of Play of the Climate Change Negotiations," is to be published by Think India. You can read the early copy here . . .

‘Countdown to Copenhagen’: State of Play of

Climate Change Negotiations

Archna Negi

On the official website of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), a ticking clock marks time to the second accompanied with the words ‘Countdown to Copenhagen’. The ticking seconds convey a sense of urgency; viewed positively, they seem to suggest that as the clock stops ticking, the world will find its solution to the problem of climate change (at Copenhagen); viewed in a more pessimistic light, the clock conveys that we have only so much time left to find a solution to global warming (at Copenhagen) and that time is running out. Whatever it is that the clock is meant to convey, it is a foregone conclusion now that the clock will have to be reset.

At the 13th Conference of Parties (COP 13) of the UNFCCC held at Bali in 2007, consensus had been forged to reach an ‘agreed outcome’ by the 15th Conference of Parties (COP 15), scheduled to be held at Copenhagen, Denmark between the 7th and 18th of December this year. Representatives of over 170 governments will converge in the Danish city of Copenhagen, carrying on their shoulders the weight of the world’s expectations that they will come out with the magic solution to the single most pervasive problem of a planetary scale – climate change. They will be closely and keenly watched by thousands of representatives of the nongovernmental sector and the media present at the event, and through transmission and reporting, by the world at large. Copenhagen, after all, was the chosen birthplace of the successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the current legal device to address climate change, which will reach the end of its life in the year 2012.

It is worthwhile to recall briefly the journey till this point in time where the second phase of legal protections against climate change is being worked out. Recognition of the need for international cooperation and global action on the issue of climate change was first embodied in the UNFCCC, adopted at the mother of all summits – the Rio Earth Summit of 1992. The Framework Convention established for itself the twin goals of stabilizing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere to a safe level (mitigation) and coping with temperature rise (adaptation).

Although the gentle provisions of the mother convention (UNFCCC) proved to be widely acceptable and led to a near universal membership, which currently stands at 192, the notorious child (Kyoto Protocol) proved to be far more controversial. The Kyoto Protocol of 1997 contained specific obligations to be undertaken by parties, including binding emission reduction targets that were imposed on some (Annex I) parties. Of the 184 parties to the Protocol, 37 industrialized states and the European Communities committed to reduce GHG emissions [by an average of 5% against 1990 levels over the 5-year period (2008-2012)]. The defining feature of the Kyoto Protocol (also what makes it most controversial) is that it is based on the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibility’, i.e. it recognizes that the developed countries are principally responsible for current GHG stock in the atmosphere (emitted in 150-200 years of industrial activity) and therefore places a higher burden on them. While industrial countries are to meet their reduction targets first and foremost by taking domestic action, the Protocol allows the meeting of emission reduction commitments abroad through market based ‘Kyoto mechanisms’.

The Kyoto mechanisms – Emissions Trading, Joint Implementation and Clean Development Mechanism – allow for flexibility in meeting emission reduction commitments if they cannot be met purely by domestic action. As part of the ‘carbon market’ set up under the Emissions Trading mechanism (Article 17), parties with emission reduction commitments are assigned targets for the 2008-2012 commitment period and if countries have spare emission units, they can sell their excess units to other committed countries that are likely to cross their target. A country with emission reduction targets may earn emission reduction units by implementing emission-reduction projects in other countries – it can do so in another Annex I country [Joint Implementation (Article 6)] or in a developing country [Clean Development Mechanism (Article 12)].

The entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol was not smooth because the emission reductions that it mandated were viewed as a curtailment of development activities. The biggest carbon emitter remained notably absent from the Kyoto regime, refusing to be bound by the commitments imposed by the Protocol. The US administration made it clear that it would not be signatory to any protocol that (i) did not include binding targets and timetables for developing countries as well or (ii) that would result in ‘serious harm’ to the American economy. Despite the non-participation of the largest emitter, the Kyoto Protocol entered into force in 2005 when Russia ratified it, fulfilling the legal requirements for entry into force. While Australia – the other major long-time non-member – came on board in December 2007 (ratification of the Kyoto Protocol was the first official act of the new Kevin Rudd government), the US continues to remain outside the sphere of operation of the Protocol.

In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) brought out its Fourth Assessment Report, stressing the anthropogenic contribution to climate change and indicating firmly that the world could not afford climate change of more than 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era. The renewed sense of urgency imparted by this report coupled with the natural progression of the Kyoto Protocol towards its demise, led to the adoption of the Bali Action Plan during COP 13 held in Bali in December 2007. The Action Plan set out a framework for negotiating a second phase of Kyoto, focusing on four main issues – mitigation; adaptation; technology development and transfer; and financial resources and investment. More importantly, countries agreed to reach an ‘agreed outcome’ – in all likelihood a legally binding treaty to be christened ‘Copenhagen Protocol’ to replace the Kyoto Protocol – by the end of 2009 at Copenhagen.

Although climate change negotiators have been working continuously at achieving this outcome, it has proved to be no mean task. Some symbolic progress was made at Poznan, Poland during COP 14 in 2008 when parties agreed to shift into full negotiating mode in 2009 and to draft a concrete negotiating text. Indeed, a negotiating text was available by the time of the Bonn meeting in June 2009. But there were many sticking points: By how much were the industrialized countries willing to reduce their emissions by 2020 (mid-term commitments)? What steps were the developing countries (in particular, the large emerging economies like India and China) willing to take to limit growth of their emissions? To what amount and mode of financing for adaptation and mitigation were the developed countries willing to commit? What commitments relating to technology development and transfer were achievable? Although a range of options was thrown up for discussion in relation to these questions, divergences remained both on broad principle as well as on specific detail.

At the Bangkok meeting in October 2009, the controversial ‘Australian proposal’ attracted substantial reaction as well as media attention. The proposal, backed by the EU and US, floats the idea of a single listing of all countries and similar commitments though of varying degrees and does not carry a contingent guarantee of technology or finance. Termed the “murder of the Kyoto Protocol” by India, the proposal was criticized for running counter to the very spirit of the Kyoto Protocol by putting the knife of ‘single listing’ through the heart of the principle of common but differentiated responsibility. This principle is at the core of India’s negotiating position on climate change.

India has ratified the UNFCCC (1 November 1993) as well as the Kyoto Protocol (26 August 2002). Its prominence in the climate change negotiations increased after the US made its subscription to the Kyoto regime contingent upon binding emission reduction commitments by countries like India. India’s negotiating position in the climate regime has largely been defined by its response to this argument of the US. The central feature of India’s position has been an absolute refusal to be bound by legally binding emission reduction commitments for at least two reasons. As a first justification, India invokes the ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ principle that is central to the architecture of the current climate regime. A second defense of its stand comes from a stress on convergence of ‘per capita emissions’ of developing and developed countries. With the US at roughly 19 and India at only 1.3 (US Department of Energy) in terms of per capita emissions, the Indian Prime Minister could assert confidently, as he did at the G8 Summit at Heiligendamm, Germany in 2007 that India’s per capita emission would never exceed that of the developed countries.

At Bangkok, India stressed that a continuation of the Kyoto Protocol along with deep cuts by the developed countries was non-negotiable. It further stressed that immediate and deep cuts in GHG emissions to be undertaken by the developed countries should be accompanied with specific mid-term targets. On its part, India proposed country-specific ‘nationally appropriate mitigation actions’ that could be supported with finance and technology and verified. However, it was made clear that India would not agree to any international review (measurement, reporting and verification) of its unilateral and unsupported domestic actions. Another issue argued by the developing countries is that of technology transfer and financing as a repayment of the carbon debt by the developed countries.

India has been proactively involved in the climate negotiations at various fora. At the Major Economies Forum (G8 + G5 + Australia + EU + Indonesia + South Korea), when India endorsed the “… scientific view that increase in global average temperature above pre-industrial levels ought not to exceed 2 degrees Celsius”, there was widespread media criticism as this was seen as an admission on an emissions cap. But according to Indian negotiators, this was only a ‘political statement of intent’ and not an ‘arithmetical binding target’. India has shown a keenness to be seen as a proactive participant of the climate regime, not an excessively defensive ‘deal-breaker’. As evidence of its increased commitment to the cause of climate change, it has accelerated domestic action viz. by finalizing the National Action Plan on Climate Change in June 2008, which envisages voluntary mitigation measures by 2020. The Plan includes eight national missions: solar; enhanced energy efficiency; sustainable habitat; water; sustaining the Himalayan ecosystem; ‘Green India’; sustainable agriculture and strategic knowledge for climate change.

The theme of India’s keenness to be accommodative was captured in a controversial letter by the Indian Minister for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh, to the Prime Minister dated 13 October 2009, in which the minister seems to reverse India’s negotiating stance. As per the version made public by the media, the letter expresses concern about India being seen as a ‘deal-breaker’. It dilutes India’s stance demanding finance and technology as compensation from developed countries and underscores that “… we need to mitigate in self-interest”. It suggests that India allow scrutiny of even those emissions control steps that it takes under its own legislation and at its cost (like IMF surveillance and WTO TPRM). The letter also asserts that the Australian proposal will cause no harm to India as long as it recognizes differences in obligations. Needless to say, the Minister’s letter stirred up a hornet’s nest, although he later claimed that his communication had been totally distorted and the Prime Minister’s Office also clarified that there was to be no shift in the Indian negotiating stance. However, the letter did raise widespread concern over whether the Indian government was clear about what remains non-negotiable at Copenhagen.

Many differences remain to be sorted out at Copenhagen. As far as setting a threshold for maximum temperature rise is concerned, the 2 degree Celsius objective adopted at the MEF will probably constitute the agreed threshold, although in terms of carbon content, there are several figures in consideration. The issue of mitigation remains the farthest from agreement, with the developed countries refusing to put down hard numbers for mid-term reductions under the second phase of Kyoto and the developing countries refusing to be bound by emission reduction commitments. On adaptation, the contentious point relates to the amount of financing the rich countries are willing to commit to for the developing countries to adapt. In principle, there is agreement over the need for the developed countries to provide financing and technology, but wide divergences remain over amounts in figures. Also under consideration will be the issue of how the Kyoto mechanisms can be strengthened and expanded. There is also a move to make the developing countries upgrade their individual domestic commitments relating to climate change and make them part of international commitments. As the American Special Envoy on climate change, Todd Stern put it at the Major Economies Forum meet in London in October 2009, “What we need to have happen is for China and India and Brazil and South Africa and others to be willing to take what they’re doing in terms of emission cuts, boost it up some, and then be willing to put it into an international agreement”.

It is highly unlikely that countries like India will allow international monitoring of their domestic commitments, considering their clearly stated objection to binding commitments. Can the deadlock facing Copenhagen, especially in relation to mitigation commitments be broken, so that there is a chance for the negotiations to move forward? Some alternative views have been offered outside the formal negotiating fora, which merit attention. Noted economist, Jagdish Bhagwati, draws attention to the fact that while the ‘stock problem’ (80% of carbon accumulated in the atmosphere has come from the West) has been the point of reference in the climate negotiations, we cannot ignore the ‘flow problem’ (more than half the current carbon discharge into atmosphere is from the developing countries). He suggests that countries such as China and India should assume flow obligations although these would depend on the fulfillment of stock obligations by the developed countries. He also suggests that acceptance of current obligations would be contingent upon payment for past damages. Acceptance of flow obligations on the part of developing countries is impossible to imagine in the current state of negotiations but if it did come about at some point in time, it would represent a huge turning point in the climate change negotiations.
Another alternative to help break the deadlock by modifying the negotiating position of India is provided by Raghunandan, Purkayastha and Jayaraman, who suggest that India should announce non-binding but self-declared targets to restrict emissions to 25% below projected emissions by 2030 (rather than an absolute cut in emissions) conditional upon: (i) Annex I parties meeting binding targets of reducing emissions by 50% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 90% by 2050 (deep cuts through actual reductions not offset through trade measures); (ii) Annex I countries pay into a climate fund a sum equivalent to deficit in target achievement (iii) emission reduction technologies to be placed in public domain. This suggested solution also seeks to acknowledge current responsibility and to include action on the part of developing countries. But the inclusion of developing countries would be contingent on a continued stress on historical responsibility and meaningful action in that direction by the developed countries.

The role of the United States will be crucial is determining the future of the climate regimes. A recent poll showed that the American public is not convinced of the reality of the threat of global warming. US has resisted mandatory carbon emission limits previously and draft US legislation on climate change is still not ready for approval. Adoption of new US legislation will have direct implications for the adoption of a global agreement on climate change.

Regarding Copenhagen, the key question till recently was, “Will they ‘seal the deal’ at Copenhagen? Optimism on this front has waned steadily. The negotiating draft has been described as “long, confusing and contradictory” with a “…feast of alternative options” and “…a forest of square brackets”. The United Nations has officially lowered expectations for reaching a legally binding agreement at Copenhagen, with the UN Secretary General already planning “post-Copenhagen talks”, indicating that the talking will not be over in Copenhagen as was previously expected. Janos Pasztoe, the climate advisor to the UN Secretary General stated recently, “Climate Change is not going to be resolved in Copenhagen ….Copenhagen has to be a milestone”. So the most one can expect from Copenhagen is a non-binding political declaration. Although in the Barcelona meeting in the first week of November, the UNFCCC Executive Secretary spoke of the importance of achieving verifiable commitments at Copenhagen, he also referred to Copenhagen as the “turning point”, indicating thus that the negotiations would need to go on post Copenhagen.

The state of play of the climate change negotiations clearly indicates that Copenhagen will not achieve the results that were expected from it. The time has already run out to reach a detailed international agreement (i.e. to “seal the deal”). But according to some, that should not constitute a cause for worry. Jeffrey Sachs asserts that “… failure to reach an agreement need not be a cataclysm”. He points to the magnitude and complexity of the climate problem and asserts that a continued progress in taking small, practical steps would turn out to be much more meaningful than arriving hastily at a toothless agreement. According to Sachs, an “interim agreement on general principles” coupled with a “series of practical steps to tilt the trajectory on emissions” would be a good enough outcome of Copenhagen.

Climate change is but one manifestation of the deadlocked multilateralism that is evident in several other issue areas such as forests, trade, disarmament, etc. There are several reasons that make the climate negotiations more difficult than others. One reason can be drawn from the comment of Nobel Prize winning economist Elinor Olstrom, “…we do not have clear predictions for beating the tragedy of the commons at a global level”. Because the climate represents the ‘global commons’, and because taking action to control climate change, i.e. reducing GHG emissions, has different implications across countries, agreement on meaningful global action remains elusive. The commercial implications of action taken for climate control, i.e. the impact of emission reductions on development, is another aspect that comes in the way of agreement. The mismatch between the global nature of the problem of climate change and the state-centric negotiating strategies of states at the international level is a key factor in the lack of progress is the negotiations.

For now, it is certain that the ‘countdown’ must be reset to go beyond Copenhagen. There will be no legally binding agreement at Copenhagen and the focus of negotiation-watchers has to move to the road ahead of Copenhagen. Till the time that an internationally negotiated solution is agreed upon, it can only be hoped that action taken at the domestic level by individual states continues to add up to serve the cause of climate change control.

- November 2009

Click Here to Read More..

Happymon Jacob to be Visiting Fellow at Hokkaido University

Happymon Jacob will be Visiting Fellow at Hokkaido University from December 10. He explains:

I will be on leave from JNU from 10 December to 28 March and will be in residence at the Slavic Research Center of the Hokkaido University, Japan as a Visiting Fellow. As a Visiting Fellow I will conduct research on: "India’s Search for Great Power Status: Structural Incentives and Domestic Constraints". I will be part of a project on “Comparative Research on Major Regional Powers in Eurasia” funded by the by the Japanese Ministry of Education and Science.

The project that I will be part of will conduct a comprehensive and systematic comparison of major regional powers in Eurasia, including Russia, China and India, and analyze the sustainability of these countries as regional powers. In addition, the comparative analysis will take into account the historical background of these powers as Empires. The objective of the research project is to explore and identify pressing issues in contemporary Eurasia and beyond, such as security, ethnic conflict, religious confrontations, environmental problems and poverty, by paying special attention to the role of these regional powers in the world order.

Click Here to Read More..

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Seymour Hersh on the safety of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal

Cross-posted from Rajesh Rajagopalan's blog The Real World.

Seymour Hersh has been writing about the safety of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal for some time now. His latest account can be found here.

His earlier essay about the safety of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, immediately after 9/11, caused a sensation in both India and Pakistan. The latest story has been rejected by Pakistani officials (actually by no less than General Tariq Majid, Chairman of Pakistan's Joint Chief's of Staff!). For the record, I do think that Seymour Hersh, all investigative journalism awards notwithstanding, is seriously off-track here. There are threats to Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, no doubt, but the Pakistani Army has sufficient incentive to keep strict control over those weapons. And the idea of the U.S. having the capacity to take them out in case of an emergency should be consigned to Hollywood movies like The Peacemaker.

In an interview yesterday (December 6, 2009) with Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN's Devil's Advocate, Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for External Affairs, seemed confident that there was only limited danger, saying that at this stage, the concern is low. "Pakistan, for all its limitations, does have a strong military establishment. As of now, in any case, they appeared (sic) to be in control of their own weapons." These comments were echoes of comments made by the U.S. National Security Advisor General Jim Jones a few days earlier on CNN's Situation Room. General Jones says that the US has plenty of assurances from Pakistan on the issue but that they still worry, even though the prospects of terrorists getting control of nukes is more remote now.

Click Here to Read More..

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Happymon Jacob at Griffith University Conference on Pakistan

Happymon Jacob recenty participated in an international conference on Pakistan's chronic instability, organized by the Griffith Asia Institute of the Griffith University, in Brisbane, Australia, 25-26 November, 2009.

Happymon presented a paper on the India-Pakistan peace process (such as it is).
Click Here to Read More..

A.Q. Khan on Pakistan-China nuclear links

This is cross-posted from Rajesh Rajagopalan's blog, The Real World. Actually, this has been in the draft folder for some time. Apologies for the late post.

The Washington Post has an important story about A.Q. Khan, the nuclear blackmarketeer, and his dealings with China. But what is most critical is not what A.Q. Khan and the Pakistanis did, but what China did, and their motivations. As Hans Kristensen notes in the article, this is the only known case where a nuclear weapon state has transferred HEU to a non nuclear-weapon state for the explicit purpose of building nuclear weapons.

A.Q.Khan claims that the quid pro quo was the centrifuge technology for uranium enrichment that A.Q.Khan had stolen earlier from the URENCO facility in the Netherlands.

In 1994, Seymour Hersh had written about another deal: why the US bought at face value the absurd Pakistani government claim that the A.Q. Khan episode was a 'rogue operation' not sanctioned by the Pakistani government. Hersh had then reported that the deal was that in return for accepting the nonsensical story about A.Q. Khan, Pakistan would help the US in capturing Osama bin Laden. That sure worked out well.

Click Here to Read More..

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Prof. Mattoo argues the need for a new nuclear architecture

Prof. Amitabh Mattoo has a new opinion piece on the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) in the Telegraph.

Prof. Mattoo notes that all three legs of the current NPT structure -- non-proliferation, civil nuclear energy cooperation, and nuclear disarmament -- are at the point of collapsing. He argues that India must help set up a new nuclear architecture. You can read his complete essay here.
Click Here to Read More..

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Prof. Mattoo reviews B. Raman's Mumbai 26/11: A Day of Infamy

Prof. Mattoo has reviewed Mr. B. Raman's latest book, Mumbai 26/11: A Day of Infamy for India Today.

Mr. B. Raman retired as a senior officer of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) of the Cabinet Secretariat, India's external intelligence agency. Prior to retirement, Mr. Raman worked as the head of R&AW's counter-terrorist section. B. Raman's blog with his prodigious writings can be found here.
Click Here to Read More..

Prof. Swaran Singh on the three Ps of US-India elations

Its the season for alphabet soup! After Prof. Mattoo's three S's, Prof. Swaran Singh writes about the three P's of US-India relations . . .

Prof. Singh argues that PM Manmohan Singh's recent visit was high on platitudes, promises and parties but lacked the substance of the recent US-China summit. You can read his full essay in the Global Times here.
Click Here to Read More..

Friday, November 27, 2009

Prof. Mattoo on the 3Ss to complement the 3Rs

Prof. Mattoo is keeping up his campaign to improve the Indian education sector. After his much discussed essay on the problems afflicting international studies in India, he has now written about school education, asking that the 3Rs be complemented by the 3Ss . . .

Prof. Mattoo suggests the need for greater Sensitivity, Security, and Spritual and Scientific temper. His essay was published in Education World and can be found here
Click Here to Read More..

Sunday, November 8, 2009

N. Sathiyamoorthy on the current situation in Sri Lanka

Mr. N. Sathiyamoorthy, Director of the Chennai chapter of the Observer Research Foundation, author of a recent book on Sri Lanka and senior journalist based in Chennai, made a presentation at CIPOD on the current situation in Sri Lanka.

He drew out many of the complexities surrounding the situation in Sri Lanka. He seemed convinced that the Sri Lankan government was intent on integrating the Tamil population into the Sri Lankan national mainstream. The presentation was followed by a very lively discussion.
Click Here to Read More..

Dr. Ashutosh Misra on Pakistan's Permanent Instability

On 7 October 2009, Dr Ashutosh Misra, Research Fellow at Griffith University, Australia made a presentation on ‘Pakistan’s Permanent Instability: Is Democracy the Answer?’ at CIPOD. This summary was prepared by Atul Mishra, a PhD candidate at CIPOD.

Dr Misra began by highlighting the absence of democracy and continuing political instability in Pakistan. Absence of democracy and political instability have been the features of Pakistan since its very inception. He said that Mohammad Ali Jinnah envisaged a democratic Pakistan state. But other Pakistani leaders, many of whom became members of its Constituent Assembly, were not interested in promoting democracy. Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly was primarily made of landlords with inherited feudal privilege. They were not keen on creating a democratic Pakistan because it would have undermined their economic, political and social clout. The resulting delay in framing the Constitution and the lingering debate over the role of Islam in the new state set the stage for Pakistan’s instability. Foundations of democracy in Pakistan were very weak. Also, the Muslim League, which spearheaded the Pakistan movement, was in some ways stranger to Pakistan because its leadership did not come from the places where Pakistan eventually came into being.

Dr Misra argued that the centralization of power in the formative years of Pakistan left the polity susceptible to influence and dominance of military and bureaucracy. Simultaneously, Islam was used by the elite to centralize power. The result has been a constant interplay of the influence of the military, civilian leadership nominally committed to democracy and Islamic forces in running the Pakistan state. Dr Misra argued that no ruling dispensation in Pakistan has managed to have the three elements of political longevity: power, authority and legitimacy. For instance, the military has had power but little authority and legitimacy. At various points, therefore, the military leadership has sought support from Islamic forces or pretended to democratize the political system by conducting elections. Governments in Pakistan have also been affected by a constant cycle of cooption, promotion and marginalization.

Dr Misra argued that democracy was not only desirable but also the only way to stabilize Pakistan. Despite its dilution, suspension and use for instrumental purposes, democracy has staged repeated comebacks in Pakistan. This shows that if democratic forces are given an opportunity, the possibility of Pakistan becoming a stable state would increase. He emphasized the promise that the 2006 Charter of Democracy signed between the former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif offered for Pakistan’s future. The 36 point declaration could have paved the way for stable, peaceful and democratic Pakistan. But actions by individual leaders have made Pakistan suffer. Asif Ali Zardari’s quest for appropriating all channels of power and political supremacy are in line with his predecessors who have also paid lip service to democracy. His vindictive politics conducted against the Sharif brothers and autocratic style of functioning make an already fragile Pakistan even more susceptible to another military coup.

Dr Misra suggested that democracy was the answer to Pakistan’s instability. But for democracy to come about, Pakistan’s leadership would have to learn the right lessons from the country’s history and the ruling regime must have power, authority and legitimacy. Asked about India’s role in absence of democracy in Pakistan, he pointed out that India is seen as a threat to Pakistan. The sources of Pakistan’s instability, however, are domestic. Unless the role of and relations between the forces of democracy, Islam and military (and the three are not necessarily isolated from each other) are not sorted out, democracy would be difficult to sustain in Pakistan.

The post-presentation interaction with students and faculty member of CIPOD was lively, exhaustive and, as the speaker confessed, exhausting.

Click Here to Read More..