Sunday, August 19, 2007


Introductory Note:

Self-determination is a politico-legal concept, which advocates the idea that a homogeneous people has the “right” to determine its own destiny as a distinct sovereign nation or the right to maintain its own national traditions within a larger political entity. Yet, ever since the establishment of China in 1523 BC as the first recorded nation in history, the meaning of the basic concept has been highly controversial. Its validity as an absolute and legitimate right to be exercised in the political process within and among nations has been frequently challenged.

Since the establishment of the UN, the principle of self-determination has been espoused with greater vigour. In the past 50 years, the political map of the world has been re-drawn and numerous sovereignty changes were witnessed: dependent areas that have received their independence; dependent areas that have received their independence; dependent areas that have been incorporated into independent entities; territorial transfers from one country to another; creation of new or changed political entities as a result of dissolution of sovereign governments. These changes, some of which have been radical and implemented by force have given impetus to terrorism, guerrilla warfare, insurgency and international conflicts.

Critics of this concept state that it is first and foremost a political weapon, inequitable in its application and unreasonable in its result. Confusion over the nature of the process, and misapplication of its meaning, have distorted self-determination in practice and weakened its potential resolutory role. The concept contributed to promoting conflicts rather than solving them.

Self-determination is often considered to be the right of a people to shape their own political, economic and cultural destinies.

According to Woodrow Wilson, self-determination is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of action, which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their own peril.

This area is one of great controversy and must be related to the alleged right of peoples fighting for self-determination to seek support from outside states.

As regards the forceful suppression of a people fighting for self-determination, one must not forget the sharp distinction between the legal right of self-determination and the political concept, which is very much wider and vastly more destabilising. States being creators of International Law, it is unlikely that they will agree to a law that allows for a break-up of established states by allowing distinct groups within them to achieve self-determination without using force to suppress them. If such were the case then the Spanish security forces would be illegally using force against the Basque Separatists and the Nigerian government would have been violating Article 2(4) by putting down the rebellion in Biafra in 1967. These are just 2 examples in the vast catalogue of ethnic groups who have sought or are seeking independence from established states. To imbue such a people with a legal right would be tantamount to encouraging civil wars rather reminiscent of the Hobbesian state of nature. Similarly there is little state practice to suggest that the right of self-determination extends to the majority within an already established state.

Origin – The origin of the principle of the phrase self-determination can be traced back to the American Declaration of Independence (1776) and the French Revolution (1789), which signalled the end of the notion that the people as subjects of a monarch were objects to be transferred, alienated, ceded or protected in accordance with the interests of the monarch. The core of the principle lies in the American and French insistence that the government be responsible to the people.

In France, self-determination was propounded as a criterion concerning the transfer of territory. Though proclaimed in 1790, it was incorporated in Article 2 of Title XIII of the Draft Constitution presented by Condorcet to the National Convention on 15th February 1793. Though the French proclaimed a lofty principle, they misapplied it in actual practice. More specifically they used this principle to justify annexation of lands of other sovereigns. As long as the results of a plebiscite held were in France’s favour, annexation was legal.

The contradictory nature of self-determination:

Internally self-determination could be used and has been used as a vehicle for enfranchisement, forever expanding circles of citizens against all manner of ancien regimes. On this score the ‘self’ of the nation has shifted: it is no longer embodied in a Monarch ruling over a state but in the citizens of the state. Self-determination is thus the reflection in international law of a movement that began with the French and American Revolutions and reached its climax in 20th century notions of universal suffrage.

Externally, self-determination has been no less of a challenge to established authority – that of the small circle of ‘civilised nations’ which constituted the international legal order. Self-determination was the vehicle through which the international ancien regime could be challenged by the admittance of new members. One of the major developments of the 20th century international law has been the expansion of the family of nations to include, sometimes after bloody conflict, states of the so-called Third World – a development in which the notion of self-determination was at the conceptual centre.

The notion of self-determination must be viewed in the light of the change in the composition of the world community that has occurred since 1945, with the vast increase in the number of states resulting from decolonisation. It was natural that this new majority would wish to see all colonies become independent, a desire that quickly became embodied in the principle that colonial peoples had the right of self-determination.

Generally the term self-determination is associated with independence and it is assumed that the UN Charter provides for self-determination, when in fact, it does not. The Charter contains very few references to self-determination. The first reference is in Article 1(2), which provides that one of the purposes of the UN is ‘to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples’. The second reference is in Article 55 - to promote higher standards of living, solutions to health and cultural problems, and universal respect for human rights in order to create conditions necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations ‘based on equal rights and self-determination’.
In recent times, existing states, in Eastern Europe under Communist rule broke up. The component units of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia claimed independence as separate states.

Who exactly is entitled to the right of self-determination? The question can be answered only after understanding the relationship between self-determination and national unity. The evolving norms on self-determination contained—undeniably and consistently---an anxious refrain whereby self-determination is to be harnessed to, and not the enemy of, territorial integrity. Both GAR 1514 (XV) on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Peoples and GAR 2625 (XXV), the Declaration of Principles on Friendly Relations which place emphasise on self-determination caution against the violation of territorial integrity. Resolution 1514 provides that any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and the territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the UN. Resolution 2625 provides: ‘Nothing in the foregoing paragraphs shall be construed as authorising or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign or independent states….’
The Canadian Supreme Court in the Reference Re Secession of Quebec case declared that international law expects that the right to self determination will be exercised by peoples within the framework of existing sovereign states and consistently with the maintenance of territorial integrity of those states and that the right to unilateral secession arises only in the most extreme of cases and even then under carefully defined circumstances. The only arguable exception to this rule that the right to external self determination applies only to colonial situations might be where the group in question is subject to ‘extreme and unremitting persecution’ coupled with the ‘lack of any reasonable prospect for reasonable challenge’ but even this is controversial not least in view of definitional difficulties.

Kashmiris’ right to self-determination:

In March 1995, a Geneva-based international human rights organisation, the International Commission of Jurists had stated that the right to self determination acquired by the people of Jammu & Kashmir at the time of partition of India had neither been exercised nor abandoned and therefore was capable of being exercised. The views of the Commission was reported by Mr Subhash Kirpekar in the Times of India (Mumbai Edition) dated March 4, 1995.

Following are excerpts of the report and the views of the members of the ICJ mission which was published by the above-mentioned daily.

The report said, “The state of J & K comprises a number of different units which should be allowed to exercise the right of self-determination separately. Full or limited independence for Kashmir is a possible option.” The members of the ICJ mission concluded that because of the extent of support for independence within Kashmir, a single plebiscite of the whole state offering a choice between accession to India or to Pakistan would be disastrous. The state contained a number of different units which should be allowed to exercise the right to self-determination separately, if possible, by a referendum approving a previously negotiated solution.

Sir William Goodhart, QC (UK) who headed the mission, while replying to questions posed, stated that the governments of India, Pakistan and the Kashmiri community should negotiate a solution, which should then be put up for approval to the peoples of the state through a referendum. When asked specifically as to who represented the Kashmiri community, Sir William replied that they were an extremely divided lot and had a capacity for dividing into very small units.

Reacting to the Indian government’s criticism of bias Sir William claimed that the report was equally critical of India, Pakistan and the militants, and maintained that if the people of Kashmir had a right of self-determination, “it follows that the insurgency is legitimate. It does not however follow that Pakistan had a right to provide support to militants, as such action would be in breach of the provisions of the Simla agreement.”

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Recognition of Insurgency and Belligerency

When insurrection or civil war breaks out in any State, third States generally will not interfere in the domestic affairs.

The recognition of belligerency is merely an assertion of the fact that the rebels are in a position to exercise authority over the territory in their possession. The recognition does not give cause for any offence to the State concerned. And according this recognition is not a violation of neutrality either.

What is the meaning of the term ‘insurgency’? Insurgency means rebellion, revolt, or mutiny by a section of the citizenry of a State against the established government. It denotes a sustained armed struggle carried out by dissident forces in a State against the established order. It is an internal situation wherein dissident forces resort to the use of violence for the replacement of an existing socio-political order or in order to assert their political rights or overthrowing an existing government. This struggle is carried out for the purpose of obtaining power or self-rule.

International law treats insurgencies and civil wars as internal matters falling within the domestic jurisdiction of the state concerned and it is up to the municipal law to deal with it. Generally, as a rule, States do not interfere in the internal affairs of other States, and especially so when civil strife or condition of insurgency exists within a State. However, when rebels or insurgents come to occupy and effectively control a substantial part of the State territory, it may become necessary for the recognizing States to take cognizance of the state of insurgency. A civil war may not reach a stage to call for the recognition of a formal condition of belligerency by outside powers. The rebel forces may not be acting under an organized command structure and may not be following the laws of war. In such circumstances, outside States may grant the rebels only a form of recognition, viz. as insurgents and refrain from treating them as law-breakers and recognize their de facto authority in the territory under their occupation. They maintain such relations with the insurgents as may be necessary for the protection of their nationals, commerce and for such other purposes connected with hostilities. Belligerency is a formal status involving rights and duties.

Some of the conditions essential for the recognition of insurgency may be enumerated as under:
a) The insurgents must have control over a considerable part of the territory;
b) A majority of the people inhabiting the territory must lend support to the rebels out of their own free will and not as a result of coercive measures adopted by the insurgents;
c) The insurgents must be capable and willing to carry out international obligations imposed upon them.

If the rebels are accorded the status of belligerents, they become subjects of international law and can be held responsible for their acts. Further, the rules governing hostilities become applicable to both the sides.
The concepts of insurgency and belligerency are quite vague and are extremely subjective in that a state or states for political considerations may choose to accord recognition to a rebel group. The issue has gained considerable importance in the years following the Second World War for the colonies resorted to struggle for liberation and independence, many a times by armed means.

International Law - Use of Force - A Historical Analysis

Historical Analysis:
International Law to a great extent was influenced by the jurists during the Medieval Age, when modern nation-states began emerging after the collapse of religious empires. The mid-seventeenth century was a watershed in international law for, state practice replaced writings of jurists as a major source of international law. In the period preceding the Roman Empire there was some evidence to suggest the existence of rules regulating the conditions in which groups could resort to the use of force against each other. The concept of just war (bellum justum) emerged as an enduring legal concept during the Roman era and it gained acceptance among Christian theorists like St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. According to St. Augustine, “just war was that which God Himself Ordained”, thereby imbuing it with substantive moral conduct. St. Aquinas, in the thirteenth century, wrote that a war was just only if the other the party was at fault, and the attacking sovereign intended ‘advancement of good’ or ‘avoidance of evil’. This principle put forth by St. Aquinas did not lay down any clear rules as to the use of force. However, Thomas Aquinas, who wrote in Summa Theologia in the thirteen century about war stated the three basic elements for the presence of a just war: These three elements were (1) lawful authority, (2) just cause, (3) right intention[1]. Some attributed the lawful authority to wage war only to an emperor or in some cases to the Pope. Some like William of Rennes widened it so as to include all feudal lords who have no superior inside the feudal hierarchy. Some like Pope Innocent IV also concluded that the right belongs to the authorities who have no superior to them[2].

There seems to have been a link between the ready acceptance of this doctrine and the religious wars that were fought quite regularly during the medieval period; a strong link seems apparent between the religious dominance in societies in the 16th and 17th centuries and the just war theory. The emergence of the modern nation-states after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 led to a significant change in the laws of warfare.

Nicolo Machiavelli, wrote in the early 16th century that the sovereign had the absolute right to wage war whenever it was felt necessary and this revolutionary philosophy became strongly embedded for nearly four hundred years. However, other writers like Grotious in 1625 following the just war concept attempted to compile a list of just and unjust causes. Others adopted the Machiavellian view that war was permitted in cases of necessity and expediency as well as in self-defense.

The theory of absolute sovereign power of a state swept away any vestige of control over the use of force in international relations. According to Ian Brownlie, state practice in the period between the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and the advent of the League of Nations in 1919 reflected an unlimited right to go to war. The only limitation or a pre-condition for parties to go to war was that they had to first attempt to settle disputes through negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration etc. and these pacific means of settlement should have failed. The limitation on the right to resort to war was embedded in such treaties as the Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes of 1907, and was reflected to a certain extent in state practice. The machinery for the pacific settlement of disputes also proliferated in this period with, for example, the setting up of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 1899.

It may have been because of these procedural limitations on the right to resort to war, combined with the odium of waging increasingly destructive, less localized conflicts, that states began to make a self-serving distinction between war, on the one hand, and other uses of force, on the other. The same factors may have led to ‘war’ taking on a conceptual, juridical status, often divorced from the factual analysis of the state of hostilities. Thus a full-scale armed conflict could have occurred without either state being at ‘war’ with the other. On the other hand, states could be at ‘war’ without even firing a shot. Whether there was a ‘state of war’ depended on the subjective considerations of the governments concerned. Not to declare ‘war’ had the added advantage for states engaged in hostilities of enabling them to avoid those accepted laws, which regulated the conduct of warfare- the jus in bello such as the laws of neutrality. In the period prior to the establishment of the League of Nations, states concentrated on developing a doctrine of lesser uses of force, which seemingly escaped any requirement that methods of pacific settlement be exhausted and also any of the jus in bello. The principal method was the use of the reprisal, which was designed to punish a previous breach of international law by a state or its nationals. In the Naulilaa Case, Germany carried out an armed reprisal from its colony in South-West Africa against the Portuguese Colony of Angola in October 1914. These hostilities were not formally part of the First World War because Portugal was, at the time, a neutral power. The initial injury to Germany arose out of an incident on the Angolan/ South West African border, which resulted in the killing of three German soldiers. The German army responded by mounting a military expedition into Angola, which caused considerable damage and loss of life. The arbitral tribunal accepted that reprisals could be lawful in response to a prior act contrary to international law. However, Germany had not acted lawfully, on this occasion, in that it had not first made an unsatisfied demand that Portugal remedy its unlawful actions and also because the reprisal was out of all proportion to the wrong that had provoked it. The requirement that a demand be made before any force was used in a procedural limitation of sorts, but it is not as onerous as the requirement that all pacific methods of dispute settlement be exhausted.

The constraints on armed force were not sufficient to prevent the devastation of the First World War. The total nature of the 1914-18 hostilities had profound effects on public and governmental thinking. According to Philip Noel Baker, the League of Nations was the first attempt in history to furnish the international society of nations with a permanent and organic system of International Political Institution. This attempt was an outcome of the World War. The League of Nations thus is often referred to as ‘A Child of War’. Although the desire for the establishment of an effective international organisation had been expressed long before the First World War and the earlier Concert of Europe served as a model for the world body, the League of Nations was given a concrete shape only after the adoption of the Covenant by the Inter-Allied Conference on April 28, 1919. The League of Nations represented the first of two attempts to establish an international body ‘to achieve international peace and security’ by making collective interests of nations paramount over national interests. In the case of the League this was to be achieved, in part, by making states accept an obligation ‘not to resort to war’ in the preamble of the Covenant.

However, as is consonant with the world’s first attempt at constructing such an organisation, the detailed obligations imposed and rights granted in the body of the Covenant were unclear and contradictory. By art.10 of the Covenant, members of the League undertook ‘to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League’. When combined with the obligation in the preamble, this provision could not have been constructed so as to constitute an obligation not to resort to war. Indeed art.11 (1) seemed to complement a ban on war by supporting the idea of collective security in stating that ‘ any war or threat of war.... is hereby declared a matter of concern to the whole League, and the League shall take any action that may be deemed wise and effectual to safeguard the peace of nations’.

Unfortunately, subsequent provisions effectively undermined any purported ban on war by allowing for the lawful resort to war in certain circumstances. The Covenant at the first instance provided that members were under an obligation to settle their international disputes through arbitration, judicial settlement or inquiry by Council. Art. 12(1) obliged members to submit their disputes to arbitration or to the Council and not ‘ to resort to war until 3 months after the award by the arbitrators or the report by the Council’. Art 13 (4) obliged members to carry out arbitral awards and not to ‘ resort to war against a member of the League which complies with’ such an award. Art 15 obliged states to submit all disputes to the Council, which, by para 4, was empowered to make recommendations for the settlement of the dispute. Art 15 (6) ‘... the Members of the League agree that they will not go to war with any party to the dispute, which complies with the recommendations of the Council’s report’. However, if this report was not unanimous, then art 15 (7) reserved the right of member states ‘to take such action as they consider necessary for the maintenance of right and justice’.

Hence, articles 12, 13 & 15 preserved the rights of states to go to war; all that was imposed were certain procedural requirements which were more elaborate, perhaps, but no less ineffectual than the Roman concept of the just war.

The obligation in article 10 not to resort to aggression, albeit ambiguous in itself, was totally undermined.

It may be argued that although the Covenant did not totally prohibit war, the loopholes were actually reasonably well defined and relatively quite limited. However, the loopholes in the Covenant did suggest that embarking on a war was simply a question of procedural formalities, and that, despite the vague wording of art 10, there was no substantive prohibition in the Covenant outlawing war. States like Italy, Japan and eventually Germany were not inhibited by a set of procedures. The point is that the loopholes created an inherently unstable edifice. States did not exploit the loopholes; instead they simply knocked down the structure of the League. The events that hampered the functioning of the League and eventually led to its dissolution are summarised below:
(1) In 1923, Italy attacked the island of Corfu, which was under Greek sovereignty. Greece brought this violation to the notice of the League, which instead of providing assistance to Greece to resist the Italian invasion gave advice in favour of Italy.
(2) The League Council watched helplessly as Japan, in 1931 attacked and conquered Manchuria and planned the conquest of China.
(3) In December 1934, Italian and Ethiopian troops clashed at Wal Wal, about fifty miles inside Ethiopian territory. Both sides appealed to the League. But the Council took cognizance of the dispute only in September 1935. Sanctions against Italy were approved by votes of fifty-one states but its effectiveness depended upon the full support of Britain and France, which were not forthcoming.

Nevertheless, the absence of a general clear prohibitory norm appeared to have been remedied by the Treaty Providing for the Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy. (Pact of Paris) of 1928.
Art 1 - declaration by the parties that they condemned recourse to war for the solution of international controversies and renounced war as an instrument of national policy.
Art 2 obligated parties to treaty to settle their disputes by pacific means.
Both the Pact of Paris and the League Covenant had a serious defect. Neither of them mentioned a prohibition on the so-called armed measures short of war. Neither covered a situation in which full-scale hostilities were occurring but technically there was no ‘war’ because neither party recognised a state of war to exist. This meant that neither reprisals, which could escalate into warfare, nor warfare itself, in the absence of a formal declaration, were covered by the Covenant or the Pact, and that both could be viewed as lawful.

[1] Lawrence T. Farley, Plebiscites and Sovereignty: The Crisis of Political Illegitimacy, (London: Westview Press, 1986), p.141

[2] Frederich H. Russel, The Just War in the Middle Ages, (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1975) pp. 298-9

International Law -The Use of Force by States

Ever since the emergence of States in the medieval period, military force has been used to attain economic and political objectives. Grotious, in the 15th century had opined that, nations limited the use of force to three justifiable causes: ‘defence, recovery of property and punishment’. The Industrial Revolution forced the European states to search for markets for the finished products as well as for the easy availability of raw material. The ambit of Grotian ‘justness’ and the Machiavellian ‘necessity’ was widened to encompass the use of force for securing markets in America, Asia and Africa for the finished goods.

The foundation for the edifice of the United Nations was being laid even before the war in the Pacific had ended; it arose rather indirectly from the ‘Declaration by the United Nations’ of January 1, 1942. This Declaration did not envisage the creation of a world body on the lines of the League or an improvised version of it. Instead, the Declaration concerned the allied campaign against the Axis Powers. However, the Big Four (US, USSR, Britain and China), in the Moscow Declaration of 1943 outlined a world body, the United Nations, to be set up at the end of the war to maintain international peace and security in a new world order.

With Allied victory only a few months away, the Big Four agreed on the structure, composition and powers of the new world body at Dumbarton Oaks in October 1944. The aim of the drafters was to provide a more complete, effective and most importantly, a collective security system than that provided by the League. This was sought to be achieved by entrusting the primary responsibility of maintaining peace and international security in the Security Council and endowing it with extensive powers to carry out this onerous responsibility. The Council could not only recommend pacific settlement of a dispute within the ambit of Chapter VI of the Charter but also authorise collective action by land, air or sea under Chapter VII. An attempt was thus made to give the new organisation the collective ‘teeth’, which the League lacked.

After the cataclysmic events of the Second World War, the Allied Powers thought it was necessary to specifically provide in the U N Charter that force would not be resorted to, by individual states, except in self-defense; the other exception being collective enforcement action with the sanction of the Security Council.

Article 2(4) of the UN Charter prohibits the use of force by states. States may resort to force only in exercise of their inherent right of individual or collective self-defense as provided under Article 51 of the Charter or as part of military sanctions authorized by the Security Council. [International humanitarian law applies with equal force to all the parties in an armed conflict irrespective of which party was responsible for starting that conflict. It comprises the whole of established law serving the protection of man in armed conflict.]

Charter prohibition on Use of Force – Article 2(4) states: All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
By prohibiting the use of force, rather than war, this provision of the Charter skirts the question whether a particular conflict constitutes war. Although some writers have endeavoured to read Article 2(4) narrowly, arguing that there are instances in which use of force may occur without it being directed against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state or being in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the UN, the prevailing view is that any use of force by one state against another will contravene provisions of Article 2(4) unless it can be justified by reference to any of the specific exceptions to that provision.

Right of self-defense: Article 51 states: Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in anyway affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.Term ‘armed attack’ is not defined. In its decision in Nicaragua v US, the International Court of Justice held that armed attacks included ‘not merely action by regular armed forces across an international border’, but also ‘the sending by or on behalf of a state by armed bands, groups, irregulars or mercenaries, which carry out acts of armed force against another state by such gravity as to amount to [inter alia] an actual armed attack conducted by regular forces….. or its substantial involvement therein. On this basis, systematic terrorist attacks organized, or perhaps sponsored by a state could constitute an armed attack to which the victim state could respond in self-defense. However, the Court went on t set a threshold by ruling that terrorist/irregular operations would constitute an armed attack only of the scale and effects of such an operation were such that it would have been classified as an armed attack rather than as a mere frontier incident had it been carried out by regular armed forces.

A Brief Overview of the Modern History of Conflict:

The period between the end of the Franco- Prussian War in 1871 and the start of the First World War in 1914 was the longest in recent history, covering approximately forty-three and half years without an unlimited war between major powers being fought, and on 6 February 1989 history was created, as 15982 days had elapsed since the end of the Second World War without a similar conflict between major powers having taken place. However it would be erroneous to infer that these four and half decades were peaceful and conflict-free.

The dropping of the atom bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki had ushered in not only the atomic age but also a bipolar world and the Cold War. The northern hemisphere was divided on the basis of political ideologies and the world witnessed uneasy peace and rising tensions. Though no major armed conflict took place in Europe itself, there were many conflicts around the world which were subsidiary to the ideological confrontation between the Superpowers.

Since August 1945, there were conflicts in Korea, Suez and Vietnam, clashes as a result of boundary dispute between China and USSR, China and India and between India and Pakistan. There were conflicts between Iran and Iraq which lasted nearly a decade as well as the Gulf War in 1990-91. These conflicts were few of the inter-state conflicts (with the possible exception of Korea which may be argued as a conflict between two factions and moreover Korea was not a state at that time), which probably could have triggered off a direct military confrontation between the US and the Soviet Union. But the myriad conflicts which occurred during this period were internal in nature involving rival communities, as in the case of Lebanon or wars of liberation from colonial rule or between political factions seeking to gain political power with support and aid of groups and agencies from both within and outside, which had the backing of the Superpowers or their allies.

After nearly four and half decades of intense Superpower rivalry, the Cold War came to an end in 1989-90, thereby reducing the chances of an outbreak of a nuclear conflict and a holocaust. Hopes of international peace which seemed to dawn at the end of the Cold War receded with the eruption of ‘internal’ conflicts with international ramifications in various parts of the world. These conflicts had their roots in nationalism, ethnic and racial differences and some had histories dating back to pre- World War I period.The classic case was the violent dissolution of Yugoslavia. This erstwhile Balkan state broke up into units which had their roots in the confrontation between the Russian, Holy Roman (later Austro-Hungarian) and Ottoman Empires. At the same time, non- international armed conflicts erupted in Somalia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Sri Lanka and in certain other parts of the world with varying levels of intensity.

The response of the United Nations, the organisation through which the international community responded to these inter-state and non-international armed conflicts was to a great extent hampered by the rivalry of the Superpowers and the Cold War politics. The Security Council which shouldered the responsibility of maintaining international peace and security and which was empowered to take suitable action in furtherance of these objectives was prevented by the extensive use of veto by the US and Soviet Union.Notwithstanding, the power politics of the Cold War era, the UN to its credit played an effective role in controlling the numerous armed conflicts which occurred during that time. The international community had expected the UN to play a more positive and effective role in the post-Cold War era but this hope seems to have been belied. The main difficulty facing the UN in the discharge of its primary responsibility seems to be the change in the nature of international conflict and the problems at international law in formulating a proper response.

Can China be trusted?

There have been several rounds of talks on the border row between India and China and a JWG was also set up in the 80s. However, there has been hardly any progress and a solution seems to be nowhere in sight. China itself does not believe that a solution is possible. Yes, there have been certain CBMs which have reduced tensions between the two countries. On the eve of the visit of the Chinese President to India, the Chinese envoy's statement that Arunachal Pradesh belonged to China and the cession of Tawang would be a pre-condition to solving the border dispute dampened the spirits in the South Bloc. Again, these types of statements by Chinese envoys are not new. The reiteration of border claims has been made prior to visits by Chinese dignitaries. What is even more intriguing is the muted response of the government and the main political parties. Except for the BJP which stated that UPA's foreign policy had failed, no other party has commented on this very important issue. Of course one does not expect the left parties to make any public pronouncements on this issue. Secondly, we cannot afford to ignore the fact that China has consistently followed a policy of containment vis-à-vis India. China has supported, assisted and abetted Pakistan's quest for nuclear weapons and missile technology. Besides, China continues to be one of the major suppliers of conventional arms to Pakistan. China has also come out openly against the Indo-US nuclear deal.China is also responsible for proliferation of nuclear technology. China supported and continues to covertly support insurgency movements in India's North East as well as extreme left wing groups. China's interference in Nepal, its growing ties with Myanmar have to be viewed as being not so India-friendly. China resents India's growing ties with the West, particularly the US.China fears India's rapid economic growth. No doubt we must make all out efforts to improve ties with China. But it has to be with certain amount of caution.

Playing Politics with National Security

Troop relocation in J&K: An irrational move

The Indian government seems to be out of touch with the ground reality in Jammu & Kashmir. In its bid to cling on to power in the militancy-ravaged state, the Centre had no qualms about relocating the Indian Army which has been in the forefront of counter-insurgency operations in the valley for more than a decade. Over the past few weeks there has been a spurt in the attacks by militants on security forces as well as pilgrims going to the Amarnath caves. In a recently conducted operation by the Indian Army near Uri, the Army successfully foiled another infiltration attempt by the Pak-backed LET. In the operation, the Army lost a brave colonel, Col. Vasanth and Lance Naik Bachav Shahkant Ganapat. At the end of the operation 8 intruders were killed. This only shows that Pakistan is neither interested in dismantling the terrorist infrastructure nor preventing infiltration from across the border. Given the situation it is foolhardy on the Government’s part to even think of sending the army back to the barracks.

The coalition partner of the Congress in the state the PDP has been demanding troop relocation (troop pull out) for some time now. This is seen as a populist measure by political observers. The situation on the ground does not certainly warrant troop reduction or relocation. Any troop redeployment will have to be done on the basis of assessment and advice of the field commanders and security experts rather than on the basis of political equations. Troop cut in Kashmir will only embolden Pakistan to carry out infiltration into the Kashmir valley. Troop cut if carried out will most certainly compromise India’s security.

Mufti has undermined the country’s national security once too often. Starting with the release of detained terrorists from Indian jails for securing the release of his daughter Rubaiyya and playing politics with the state’s security, this man is guilty of compromising India’s national security.