Archive for June, 2010


June 24, 2010


India has since the collapse of the Soviet Union been emerging as an important great power. Center for Research on Geopolitics (CRG) has in a paper treated Indian geopolitics in connection with the views of the founder of geopolitics, Swedish Professor Rudolf Kjellén 1) and interest in geopolitics in India, for instance the Indian Society for the Study of Geopolitics.

After independence in 1947 India mainly followed the inward-looking decentralized policy of Gandhi. It was, also under successor Jawaharlal Nehru, important that India had strong armed forces to protect India’s interests at home.

In this report it is argued that it is important for America to recognice India’s present need to defend itself against terrorist attacks especially after the assult on the parliament in New Delhi on December 13, 2001 but also after the Mumbai attack. But there are wider interests. In 2000 CRG argued 2) that a coalition of PRC led countries was emerging (including Pakistan) that was a challenge to America on both a regional and global basis.

At the December 13, 2001, attack five terrorists and eight police and security personnel where among the dead. All the attackers were Pakistani nationals. It has been possible for Indian authorities to trace cell phone calls of the attackers and accomplices. Seized computers of the involved held pictures of Parliament House and how security was organized around parliament. All points to a highly professional training of the assassins.

India further indicated it had intercepted LT and JEM (Kashmiri terrorist organizations (see section 3 below) radio transmissions, on which can be heard congratulations for ”accomplishing the mission”. Among the arrested as accomplishes is reported to have been Mohammed Afzal, a JEM leader, and an academic, A.A. Gelani, who provided logistical support. A Delhi-based support group for Islamic independence of Kashmir in India provided aid for family members of the arrested men.

India’s Geopolitical Importance

Not only is it important to seek the friendship of India in view of PRC politics in Asia but it is important to stress that the subcontinent has a vital geostrategic importance between the EU, the Middle East and Asia.It is a crucial geopolitical factor and houses a large portion of the world’s population.

There is a continuing basis for territorial dispute in relation to Tibet, over the Aksai Chin area of Ladakh and the Northeast Frontier, where tests of strength in the 1960s and also the war of 1962, which must be seen as a defeat for India.

PRC also regards India as a continuing threat to lines of communication through Tibet to Sinkiang. With simmering opposition in Sinkiang this has been a reality during a number of years. The nuclear forces of PRC are built to challenge the United States so a nuclear India to the south must be especially disturbing for the leaders in Peking. If Chinese control in Tibet or in Sinkiang was to break down, this would certainly be of interest to India.

Concerning Pakistan it is important to note initially that there are a number of cultural similarities which should enhance the possibilities of peaceful contacts with India, especially in the field of language, literature, and music. There are also economic and psychological ties.

Strategically Pakistan has always been vulnerable to India. Several of its larger cities and key rail and road links in a north-south direction are close to the Indian border. Thus it was both in 1964, 1965 and 1971 necessary for Pakistan to strike first in combined armor-air assaults to delay Indian strikes at vital targets in the country. Because the Indian part of Kashmir is militarily vulnerable India is forced to keep large military contingents in the area. It is most likely that one of the reasons for Pakistani support of Muslim terrorists is of a strategic nature, as they combine to weaken India’s abilities to strike at Pakistan further south. Important from a military perspective is also the Indian superiority in the air.

Economically the importance of India is growing. It has the fifth largest economy in the world. Since 1991 reforms have been introduced. Until that year business was highly regulated in a socialist fashion with a damaging license system and high tariff barriers. During 1992 to 1997 the economic growth was 6,8 percent per year.

The Indian defense forces are strong but India is highly dependent on Russia. This goes back to the close links between India and the Soviet Union since 1950. These links were renewed in a Treaty of Cooperation and Mutual Friendship in 1971. When the Soviet Union collapsed the treaty was renewed with Russia. The low cost of Russian weapons make it likely that Russian arms deliveries will continue for a long time.


The State of Jammu and Kashmir before 1947 had an area of around 220,000 sq km and the population was just over four million. In October 1947, when British India was separated into India and Pakistan, the Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir joined India. As a result the area was invaded by Pakistan the population being a majority of Muslims. The war ended with India occupying the eastern part of the region including the capital, Srinagar. A ceasefire in 1949 (the Karachi Agreement) established a line between India and Pakistan. During the 1950s tension continued. There was fighting between the two countries between 1964 and 1966 but following a new ceasfire another agreement was reached, the Tashkent Declaration, which resulted in military withdrawals behind both sides of the line. During the 1971 war, when Pakistan was divided into two countries, new hostilities broke out. In the Simla Agreement a new line of control was established in 1972.

At present there are at least 10 Islamic terror groups operating in Kashmir. ISI (Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence) in 1994 combined a large number of groups and factions into the United Jihad Council. ISI has been very active in supporting Muslims terrorists in Pakistan.

Army of Mohammed (JEM) was formed in February 2000. It fights to hand over Indian-controlled Kashmir to Pakistan and is close to al Qaeda.
It has since its foundation expanded and is headed by Maulana Masood Azhar. A linkage this year was established through documents found in terrorist training camps in Afghanistan that related to a December 1999 hijacking of and Indian Airlines jet. It was flown to Kandahar in Afghanistan. The negotiations resulted in Azhar being relased from jail.

He was formerly then head of the Movement of Islamic Fighters (HUM) but after the release formed his own, even more fanatic group, JEM. The bases of JEM are in Peshawar and other cities in Pakistan.

Army of the Pure (LT) is one of the largest Kashmiri terrorist groups with international links. It is based in Muradki, Pakistan. The leader is Abu Bakar Bhai. LT began operating in Kashmir in 1995 but began attracting headlines in 1999, when it started suicide attacks

Fighting Terrorism

After the attack on the Indian parliament no group has taken responsibility but India focuses on JEM and LT. Both are supported by Pakistan’s ISI, which before 2001 also was active in supporting Osama bin Laden. Most probably the attackers in New Delhi were trained in Pakistan or in al Qaida camps in Afghanistan.

There was a similar attack conducted on October 1 by the JEM in Srinagar. The target then was the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly building. One terrorist blew himself up while the others stormed the complex firing automatic weapons and hurling grenades. In that attack, 38 people died. The JEM at that time immediately claimed responsibility.

The provocative attack against New Delhi and the parliament in 2001 should be of grave concern to the United States. In the ongoing war against terrorism action against terrorists in Pakistan would have to be considered, unless Islamabad acts on its own to close down the terrorists with offices and training camps. Such action would in the long run lessen the tense situation in Kashmir and make moves toward peace between India and Pakistan possible

The Maoist Terrorists in Nepal

The small mountain kingdom of Nepal is of strategic interest between India and PRC. A Maoist insurgency, no doubt supported by PRC, started in 1996 with attacks on army posts. So far the conflict, which heated up during 2001, has resulted in the loss of 1,800 lives. Leading the insurgency is the Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist (CPN). The CPN has connections to the sc. Revolutionary International Movement (which includes the American Revolutionary Communist Party). There are also striking similarities between CPN and the Shining Path in Peru.

It is argued that the communist guerrillas now operate in 35 of Nepal’s 75 districts with almost full control of four of these. Most likely CPN has established links with Maoist insurgents in northeast India.

Leader of CPN was ’Comrade Prachanda’ and the goal of the guerrilla terrorists is to remove the king and establish a communist republic.
A victory of the CPN in Nepal would no doubt strengthen the PRC and be a grave threat to northeast India.


The change of nature in the relations between Russia and the United States/NATO after September 11 has had an impact with geostrategical consequences. Earlier there was no doubt a risk that Russia would attempt to draw India into a strategic cooperation with PRC to form a block opposed to the United States and NATO allies.

The recent changes now make it more possible that India would be willing to work closer with the United States, its NATO partners and Russia, which will initiate cooperation with NATO in 2002. Also India’s relations to Peking, which is working with Pakistan, must be considered in a situation when the terrorist war is heating up.

A cooperation between India, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea in defense of the Asian rimland against Chinese expansion in an era when PRC strength is growing would be of benefit for the United States and the West, but also for Taiwan as Peking’s attitude against Taipeh is so aggressive.

It is not illogical to argue that India has the same right as the United States and Israel to go after terrorist organizations in a neighbouring country. Before such operations, however, in light of the fact that both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers, Pakistan ought to be persuaded to act against Kashmiri terrorist camps, offices and networks on its own. Should Pakistan, however, in time show reluctance to act on its own, limited action by India to stop the terrorists from attacking in Kashmir and India should should be considered. If not successful these attacks could be repeated to root out the network of Kashmiri terrorists in Pakistan.

India’s growing geopolitical importance will be recognised in the forthcoming book by Robert D. Kaplan, Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power, Random House, October 2010.

Much has happened since the CRG report in 1994 in West and South Asia but the general geopolitical arguments still hold.


1) ”Geopolitics in India” (1994), Research Paper No. 17. See the article ”Rudolf Kjellen and Modern Swedish Geopolitics”, journal Geopolitics, London, Volume 3, No. 2, Autumn 1998, for more on the Swedish founder of geopolitics.

2) ”The Global Challenge – A PRC–Islamic Coalition – A Few Notes” (2000), Research Paper No. 26.


June 9, 2010

As far as I know there are no extensive publications on Chinese geopolitics. It seems as if geopolitics in China and geopolitical views by Chinese authors are lacking. One book on geopolitics (Patrick O’Sullivan, Geopolitics, London 1986) has actually been published by the PLA Publishing House in 1992. O´Sullivan has been a professor of geography at Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida.

The book describes how geography affects international power relation investigating the whole subject of geopolitics and how important the science of geopolitics is in international policy-making and action. It considers various elements within international power politics such as ideologies, territorial competition and spheres of influence, and shows how geographical considerations are crucial in each element. The book considers the effect of distance on international power politics. It explores how the geography of international communication and contact as well as the geography of economic and social patterns change over time and how they affect international power balances. It discusses regional as well as global power struggle. O’ Sullivan draws on many examples, and on particular thinkers and leaders from all around the world, to illustrate the points made.

Geopolitics was written during the Cold War and published in the PRC after the fall of the Soviet empire. Thus the book lacks important post-Cold War perspectives. One wonders also if there is any geopolitical publishing activity on Taiwan?

There seems to be an interest in PRC in the concept developed by geopolitical author Ray Cline in the United States on ”national power equations’ to analyze the international balance of power. PRC scholars seem to have created their own models and formulas for weighing and contrasting the overall power of different countries. PRC also uses something called ’Comprehensive National Power’(CNP) and the establishment of a CNP dynamic equation model aimed at comparative analysis of the CNP of major countries. This started already in 1984.


June 6, 2010

This weblog will remain online, but no more contributions will be provided.

It has been a very inspiring experience to provide information on the most important strategic questions in the world. At the same time it has given this author some visibility. A new weblog has been created, Here all contributions will be in English. The old posts on will be available in the archive of A thank you to all who have taken time to read the articles on this blog and a warm welcome to visit the new blog.


June 1, 2010

1. Gazas kust blockeras helt lagligt av Israel. Det är krigets lagar som gäller eftersom Israel är i väpnad konflikt med Hamas, som regerar i området. Syftet är främst att förhindra att vapen smugglas till Gaza sjövägen.

2. Blockader är lagliga vid krigstillstånd enligt folkrätten.

3. Amerikansk och engelsk speciallitteratur på området ger Israel rätt då det gäller blockad av Gazatyp. I Sverige saknas nödvändig speciallitteratur på svenska språket om blockader i krigstid.

4. Israel har officiellt meddelat att blockad är i kraft längs Gazas kust på det sätt som föreskrives enligt folkrätten. Den blockadbrytande flottiljen informerades via högtalare i samband med försöket att bryta blockaden. Regeringar i världen har delgivits blockadbeslutet. Även vid det delvis svenskorganiserade försöket att bryta blockaden den 31 maj 2010 hade information lämnats om blockaden av Israel i förväg.

5. Genom delgivning av underrättelse om blockaden får organisatörerna anses känna till att en laglig blockad är på plats.

6. Vid en blockad få varken civila eller militära fartyg passera.

7. Israel har rätt att tvångsvis upprätthålla blockaden. Fartyg som bryter mot blockaden får omhändertas och även angripas. Ett av de ledande verken på området är USA:s Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations. Här fastslås att ett fartyg bryter mot blockaden när det lämnar en hamn på väg mot det blockerade området.

8. De presumptiva blockadbrytarna hade blivit delgivna Israels beslut att stoppa fartygen och borde ha återvänt till ursprungshamnarna.

9. Det var Israels syfte att beslagta de kränkande fartygen med fredliga medel. Då detta omöjliggjordes av blockadbrytarnas våldsmetoder tvingades de israeliska soldaterna att försvara sig.

10. Den israeliska skyddsstyrkan tvingades använda självförsvar när de angreps av beväpnade blockadbrytare.