India has given Internet telephony pioneer Skype and the makers of BlackBerry handsets a deadline to fall into line with strict security-monitoring regulations or be blocked, a report said Thursday.
India’s intelligence officials have long complained that they are unable to decipher encrypted data sent on Blackberry handsets, made by Canadian firm Research In Motion, or intercept calls on Skype.
The government has threatened to ban or block BlackBerry and Skype services if the companies fail to adhere to a 15-day deadline to make data available in formats that can be monitored, The Economic Times newspaper said. More:
This article by Pervez Hoodbhoy was published simultaneously today in Pakistan (Dawn) and India (The Hindu):
So, how can India protect itself from invaders across its western border and grave injury? Just as importantly, how can we in Pakistan assure that the fight against fanatics is not lost?
Let me make an apparently outrageous proposition: in the coming years, India’s best protection is likely to come from its traditional enemy, the Pakistan Army. Therefore, India ought to help now, not fight against it.
This may sound preposterous. After all, the two countries have fought three-and-a-half wars over six decades. During periods of excessive tension, they have growled at each other while meaningfully pointing towards their respective nuclear arsenals. Most recently, after heightened tensions following the Mumbai massacre, Pakistani troops were moved out of North West Frontier Province towards the eastern border. Baitullah Mehsud’s offer to jointly fight India was welcomed by the Pakistan Army. More:
During military checks, modesty is a casualty. Emily Wax in The Washington Post:
The passengers quietly exited the bus and stood behind the razor wire, identification cards in hand. The men split off into one line. A far smaller number of women went into a separate row, some cradling sleeping babies.
But it was the women’s line that took twice as long to navigate. That’s because female officers rummaged through women’s purses and bags before moving on to their breasts, even feeling the insides of their bras for explosives.
They didn’t stop there. They patted down their groins and occasionally looked inside their underwear. Pregnant women routinely had their swollen bellies squeezed or prodded, just to make sure.
Pervez Hoodbhoy on the tenth anniversary of Pakistan’s testing of the nuclear bomb in Dawn [via 3QuarksDaily]
IT’S May 1998 and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulates wildly cheering citizens as the Chagai mountain trembles and goes white from multiple nuclear explosions. He declares that Pakistan is now safe and sound forever.
Bomb makers become national heroes. Schoolchildren are handed free badges with mushroom clouds. Bomb and missile replicas are planted in cities up and down the land. Welcome to nuclear Pakistan.
Fast-forward the video 10 years. Pakistan turns into a different country, deeply insecure and afraid for its future. Grim-faced citizens see machine-gun bunkers, soldiers crouched behind sandbags, barbed wire and barricaded streets. In Balochistan and Fata, helicopter gunships and fighter jets swarm the skies.
Today, we are at war on multiple fronts. But the bomb provides no defence. Rather, it has helped bring us to this grievously troubled situation and offers no way out. On this awful anniversary, it is important that we relate the present to the past.
Bernard Gwertzman interviews Ashley J. Tellis, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, on CFR.org:
Ashley J. Tellis, a leading expert on South Asia who has served in the National Security Council and State Department as a senior adviser, expects a coalition government of the late Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) party, which backs President Musharraf, to emerge from the February 18 elections. He also says Pakistan has a mixed record on anti-terrorism and still tolerates Taliban elements that operate from Pakistani territory into Afghanistan.
Pervez Hoodbhoy in International Herald Tribune
A cacophony of protests in Pakistan greeted a recent statement by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammad ElBaradei. “I fear that chaos, or an extremist regime, could take root in that country, which has 30 to 40 warheads,” he said. He also expressed fear that “nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of extremist groups in Pakistan or Afghanistan.”
But in Pakistan, few worry. The Strategic Plans Division, which is the Pakistani agency responsible for handling nuclear weapons, exudes confidence that it can safely protect the country’s “crown jewels.” The SPD is a key beneficiary of the recently disclosed secret $100 million grant by the Bush administration, the purpose of which is to make Pakistan’s nuclear weapons safer.