Archive for the ‘ Mumbai ’ Category

Pakistan and China increase military spending and cooperation as India shows concern

Beijing, China- A senior Chinese defense official has justified Chinese sales of warships and submarines to Pakistan on the grounds that Russia and the United States were selling similar systems to India.

The defense official also indicated that China was aware of the fact that India may not be happy with its deal with Pakistan. “The initiative may invite concerns from its neighboring countries. But the doubts are unnecessary,” Zhai Dequan, deputy director of China Arms Control and Disarmament Association , was quoted as saying by the official media.

Pakistan’s chief of naval staff, Norman Bashir, also made a push to persuade China to sell higher capacity ships compared to the F22P frigates that China began delivering in June.  Chinese official Zhai said that Pakistan’s   desire for higher capacity ships is normal for an independent nation seeking to bolster its security. “India has also entered into deals for military hardware from the Unites States and Russia. India’s aircraft carrier has already cost it billions of dollars”, said Zhai.

Bashir also met with the Chinese defense minister, Liang Guanglie, and discussed with him Pakistan’s needs in terms of modernizing their armed forces to try and keep up with the torrid pace of rival India’s defense spending. “The Chinese armed forces would like to improve friendly and cooperative relations with the Pakistani armed forces,” defense minister Liang Guangile said, according to China’s state-run Xinhua press agency.” China attached great importance to its traditional friendship with Pakistan, Liang said, adding that the two countries had conducted comprehensive and multi-level military exchanges and cooperation in various areas.”

“The Pakistani armed forces and people cherished their friendship with the Chinese armed forces and people”, Noman Bashir said, noting that “Pakistan would like to work with China to promote the comprehensive and cooperative partnership.” Bashir also stated that Pakistan was keen on buying bigger ships and more JF-17 fighter planes from China in addition to submarines and that Pakistan will be buying more weapons from China, including missiles. 

“These growing military ties between China and Pakistan are a serious concern to India,” stated Defense Minister A K Antony. India worries about China’s rising influence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region, a neighborhood traditionally considered as its sphere of influence.

India’s relations with Pakistan, never easy after three wars since 1947, went downhill fast after last November’s Mumbai attacks blamed on Pakistani originated militants. Meanwhile, Chinese and Pakistani cooperation on military and economic projects has increased in the last few years. “The increasing nexus between China and Pakistan in military sphere remains an area of serious concern,” Antony said in a speech. “We have to carry out continuous appraisals of Chinese military capabilities and shape our responses accordingly. At the same time, we need to be vigilant at all times.” Tensions between India and China, who fought a brief war in 1962, flared again in recent months, especially with the re-emergence of a long-standing border dispute made worse by a visit by the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, to Indian territory claimed by Beijing.

India increased defense spending by 24% for this year’s budget to $28.4 billion a year dwarfing Pakistan’s budget of $4.2 billion for the same period. Meanwhile, China and India are together set to make Asia the highest regional spender on defense in the next seven years replacing North America as their economies continue to fund their weapons appetite.

Pakistan cannot compete with the likes of India and China militarily. Just as Taiwan could not compete with China militarily, but went on to become an economic powerhouse and used its influence economically,  so too must Pakistan focus on growing its economy rather than growing militarily. Even though Pakistan possesses the nuclear bomb, and that very well may end up being a strong deterrent against India in the likelihood of a war, it still is loathe to use it, for the consequences from India would be similar and far worse due to their increased warheads and military might.

Also, although Pakistan’s military and previous leadership have articulated the right to a preemptive nuclear strike or a nuclear first use option in the event of hostilities with India, this choice is often seen as a losing option by the military due to the aftermath of a nuclear exchange between the two countries. India’s budget and its technological advancements make it impossible for Pakistan to ever win a conventional war with India. And a nuclear exchange between these two neighbors will leave neither side feeling as the winner.  

Pakistan’s most beneficial strategy must consist of directing its full armed forces against the Taliban and militant groups within its territory and re-engaging India back to the peace table in hopes of resolving the long disputed Kashmir region because war with India will certainly not leave Pakistan the victor. However a peace treaty can open the long border between India and Pakistan for trade, goods, ideas, money and people to move freely across the border and allowing much needed investments and flow of technology to Pakistan that will go a long ways in helping the country and its people catch up with the rest of the world.

Reported by Manzer Munir for www.PakistanisforPeace.com

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Chicago Man Is Charged in 2008 Attack on Mumbai

December 7, 2009 WASHINGTON — The Chicago man with roots in Pakistan who was arrested two months ago for planning to attack a Danish newspaper now faces the much more serious charge that he was deeply involved in planning the 2008 massacre in India that killed more than 150 people, according to court documents filed by the Justice Department.  

Court documents charge that David Coleman Headley, 49, an American citizen who is the son of a former Pakistani diplomat and a Philadelphia socialite, conducted extensive surveillance of targets in Mumbai, India, for more than two years prior to the attacks by the terrorist group called Lakshar-e-Taiba, which is based in Pakistan.  

Six Americans were among the dead in the attacks on a Mumbai train station, the Oberoi and Taj Mahal hotels and other sites.

He has been charged with conspiracy to murder and maim in a foreign country, and material support of terrorism. Federal officials said the most serious charges, conspiring to carry out bombings that resulted in deaths, carry possible sentences of death or life in prison.

The Justice Department said that Mr. Headley, who is cooperating with the government’s investigation, spent several years and considerable effort on behalf of the plotters, attended training by the group in Pakistan, videotaped targets and briefed the other conspirators on how to carry out the attack on India’s largest city.

 Mr. Headley took boat trips in and around Mumbai harbor in the spring of 2008, videotaping potential landing sites for the attackers, who would arrive by sea, the court documents charge. The attackers traveled from Karachi, Pakistan, hijacked an Indian fishing trawler, killed its captain, and then used a small boat to go ashore. The masked men used assault rifles and grenades in their deadly onslaught.

 Mr. Headley also scouted out other potential targets in Mumbai and elsewhere in India that were not attacked, including the National Defense College in Delhi.

 Mr. Headley, a resident of Chicago with a criminal record for smuggling drugs to the United States from Pakistan, was arrested in October with a Pakistani-born businessman, Tahawwur Rana, 45, who runs several businesses in Chicago and Toronto. Mr. Rana and Mr. Headley, who have known each other since attending an elite Pakistani military high school, were charged with plotting an attack against Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper that published a series of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

 Mr. Rana, a citizen of Canada, was not charged in the Mumbai attacks. But officials said the two men appeared to consult closely, and Mr. Headley posed as a representative of a company owned by Mr. Rana. In a bail hearing last week, Mr. Rana argued that he was duped by Mr. Headley.

 The Justice Department also announced Monday it had filed charges against Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed, a retired major in the Pakistani army, with collaborating in the plot against the Danish newspaper.

“This investigation remains active and ongoing,” said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the United States Attorney for the northern district of Illinois.

 David Kris, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, said, “This case serves as a reminder that the terrorist threat is global in nature and requires constant vigilance at home and abroad.”

Arrested on Oct. 3 at O’Hare airport in Chicago as he was boarding a plane on the first leg of a trip to Pakistan, Mr. Headley was officially charged a few weeks later with plotting to attack employees of a Danish newspaper that in 2005 published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that offended many Muslims.

Federal authorities said at the time that Mr. Headley told F.B.I. agents that he had initially targeted a building occupied by the Danish newspaper, Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten in Copenhagen, but later proposed killing the paper’s cartoonist and cultural editor instead.

Officials said they regarded the case as significant because Mr. Headley traveled to Pakistan and consulted closely with three Pakistani men who belonged to Harakat-ul Jihad Islami, a terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda. The officials said Mr. Headley reported to Ilya Kashmiri, the operational leader of the terrorist group, who is based in a tribal region of northwest Pakistan.

When he was arrested, Mr. Headley was carrying about a dozen videotapes of the Danish newspaper office and surrounding areas that he was going to deliver to other conspirators in Pakistan, federal officials said. They said he had made the videotapes during several visits to Copenhagen in 2009.

Mr. Headley (or Daood Gilani, the name he was given at birth) is a man who has been pulled in different directions almost from the moment he was born. Even his eyes — one brown, one green — seem to symbolize the contradictions in his life.

Mr. Headley was born in Washington, where his Pakistani father and American mother worked at the Pakistani Embassy, he as a diplomat and she as a secretary. Mr. Headley’s mother, Serrill, grew up in a fashionable suburb of Philadelphia, and the cultural differences between her and her husband were too vast for the marriage to survive after the family went to Pakistan.

Serrill Headley left her husband and her children and moved back to Philadelphia sometime in the early 1970s. She worked at various office jobs and borrowed enough money from a suitor to buy an old bar, which she named the Khyber Pass.

In the late 1970s, she brought her adolescent son to Philadelphia to live with her. “Daood was not immune to the pleasures of American adolescence,” a former Khyber Pass employee once recalled.

Nor, to judge from his own words, was he immune to the lure of Islamic fundamentalism. “Courage is, by and large, exclusive to the Muslim nation,” he told high school classmates in an e-mail message last February. More chilling was an e-mail message he wrote defending the beheading of a Polish engineer by the Taliban in Pakistan: “The best way for a man to die is with the sword.”

By Ginger Thompson and David Stout for The New York Times originally published Dec 7, 2009

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