Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Defexpo 2016 moves to Goa from Delhi

By Ajai Shukla
New Delhi

The defence ministry has confirmed to Business Standard that the defence trade show, Defexpo India 2016, will be held in Goa, not in Delhi, which hosted the first eight versions of the biennial show.

Defexpo India, which was last held in 2014 at the Pragati Maidan trade fair ground in Delhi, is organised by the defence ministry every alternate year, on even years. On odd years, the ministry organises the Aero India show in Bengaluru. There is no plan to shift future Aero India shows to Goa.

The 9th Land, Naval & Internal Homeland Security Systems Exhibition – 2016, which is the full name of Defexpo India 2016, will be conducted from February 17-20. The Goa government has allocated land to set up exhibition infrastructure at Betul, about 24 kilometres from Margao, in South Goa.

Ministry officials emphasize the show is not being shifted because of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s affiliations with Goa, where he was chief minister before taking over the defence portfolio.

Instead, they say the show is being shifted because the Indian Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), the Ministry of Commerce and Industry body that owns the Pragati Maidan trade complex in Delhi, had warned the defence ministry last year that Pragati Maidan would be unavailable as a new convention centre would be coming up there.

The Defence Exhibition Organisation (DEO), which organises the defence ministry trade shows, had then approached the Goa government for land and facilitation to hold the show in Goa.

With the Goa government enthusiastic, the Customs Department confirmed on Tuesday that it would set up the customs infrastructure for clearing display equipment that vendors would be bringing in for the show.

Pragati Maidan offers a 123-acre complex in the heart of Delhi, with more than 61,290 square feet of covered exhibition area in 16 display halls, as well as 10,000 square metres of open display area, according to the ITPO website. In contrast, the Goa government has only offered empty land, on which the DEO intends to set up large tented structures for the duration of the show.

Ministry officials point out that most defence exhibitions worldwide, such as ILA Berlin, operate out of temporary structures, which present a smarter, newer look than Pragati Maidan’s tired buildings that have wiring hanging loose in numerous places. The DEO has also complained frequently about a “monkey menace” at Pragati Maidan, and seepage of water into the display buildings when it rains.

DEO officials say the defence ministry has been paying as much as Rs 27-30 crore for a five-day exhibition. Over and above this, it has been paying Rs 4-5 crore each year for repairing Pragati Maidan infrastructure damaged by the movement of tanks and heavy defence equipment.

For all these reasons, in 2012, a joint committee of the defence ministry and the ministry of civil aviation had recommended Goa as an alternative exhibition site.

“The Goa infrastructure will allow relatively free movement of heavy equipment. We also intend to organise, for the first time in Defexpo India 2016, a live demonstration area, where tactical settings can be staged, such as helicopter-mounted assaults by Special Forces soldiers”, says a defence ministry official.

The DEO points out that temporary structures provide the flexibility to “grow the show”, as more exhibiters want to participate, or to structure their displays in specific ways. “The decision is evoking an enthusiastic response from exhibitors that we have spoken to already. We have already sold out 50 per cent of the display area”, says a ministry source.

Even so, vendors that Business Standard contacted worry that moving the show out of Delhi might result in fewer official visitors attending. “In Delhi, we are assured of good attendance from defence ministry, army, navy and air force officials, as well as procurement officials from the police and paramilitary forces. We will have to see how many of them make the trip from Delhi to Goa”, says a senior executive from a multinational arms corporation that will be exhibiting during Defexpo India 2016.

Global vendors also wish the dates of the show had been planned with more thought. “We will be attending the International Fleet Review that the navy is organising in Visakhapatnam from February 4-6. If the Defexpo India 2016 had been scheduled from February 8 onwards, instead of February 17, that would have been far more convenient for us”, says a vendor.

Defexpo is India’s premier land and naval systems show. It is expected to attract more than 400 defence companies, including practically every major vendor. India remains the world’s biggest importer of defence equipment and Defexpo 2016 will provide another opportunity for vendors to showcase their equipment for decision-makers. 

Terror strikes continue, bullet-proof jackets and helmets remain in short supply

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 29th July 15

Images of ill-equipped security forces battling terrorists on Monday near Gurdaspur, again reminded planners that much of the military and most policemen face serious shortfalls of basic body armour.

The problem is especially acute for the army, with lakhs of soldiers exchanging bullets everyday with Pakistan on the hostile Line of Control (LoC), and with militants in Kashmir and the northeast.

During the last three years alone, 17 Indian jawans were killed on the LoC in 357 gun-battles with Pakistan, the defence ministry told parliament on March 13. Yet the army, paramilitary and police forces continue going into harm’s way with out-dated bulletproof jackets (BPJs), and helmets designed for motorcycle riding, not for the impact of a 9-millimetre bullet.

The difficulties of buying multi-role fighters and ultralight howitzers --- such as astronomic prices, and negotiating technology transfer to build in India --- do not hold back the purchase of BPJs and helmets, which are currently manufactured in India for discerning users like the German Army.

Yet the defence ministry told parliament on July 21 that just two purchases are in the pipeline for the 12 lakh-strong army. One lot of 1,86,138 BPJs is under trials, while the purchase of another 50,000 BPJs is before a “technical evaluation committee”.

A visit to MKU, a medium scale company in Kanpur, illustrates quality options that the goverment does not avail of. MKU supplies North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) militaries, and can build 5,000 BPJs and 25,000 helmets per month --- one of the world’s largest installed capacities. It is building 42,000 sets of body armour for Ecuador, 8,000 for Egypt and 16,000 for another West Asian country. It is supplying protective plates for the German Navy’s F-125 frigate, and ballistic panels to protect fast interceptor craft (FICs) that a Sri Lankan shipyard, Solas Marine, is building for the Indian Navy.

But MKU and its rivals in this field, companies like Tata Advanced Systems and SM Pulp, have received only token orders from the army, mostly from the Northern Command under local financial powers.

MKU, despite its modest annual turnover of Rs 250 crore, is a multinational company. To obtain a world-class research & development (R&D) facility where live ammunition could be fired to test protection levels (Indian rules make this well-nigh impossible for a private company), MKU acquired a German company near Hamburg that is now MKU GmbH. Last year, MKU established a production facility in Ras-al-Khaimah, UAE. While manufacture is cheapest in its Kanpur facility, MKU supplies European customers from Germany and West Asian customers from Ras-al-Khaimah.

Says Manoj Gupta, the MKU chairman: “We are a medium-scale enterprise, but we spend 6-8 per cent of our annual turnover on R&D.”

This has provided MKU a major price advantage. While many rivals offer ready built products in response to tenders, MKU develops mix-and-match protection solutions, precisely meeting the tender requirement. This allows crucial savings in raw material --- synthetic fibre produced in bulk by a handful of global giants --- that constitutes 70 per cent of production cost. Newly developed products then undergo ballistic testing in Germany with live bullets.

With all this, MKU’s first substantial army order is impending: a Rs 300 crore contract for 1,58,000 helmets. In trials concluded last year, MKU’s helmet was the only one to pass every test, says Gupta.

A key problem that MKU faces is that Indian government buyers do not frame requirements precisely. Tenders usually demand either Level III protection (against 9 millimetre bullets) or Level IV protection (against a 7.62 millimetre armour piercing rifle bullet). However the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory, Chandigarh finds that the same Ordnance Factory ammunition has a velocity varying from 345 metres per second, to 790 metres per second.

“With such a divergence, how can we offer a tailored product? The army would get the product it wants if it specifies precisely the velocity of the bullet it wants to protect against”, says Gupta.

In the absence of domestic orders, MKU flourishes on export orders, which constitute 90 per cent of its revenues. This has protected the company against the sharp business cycles that have buffeted rivals more dependent on Indian orders.

MKU executives suggest the defence and home ministries should place small orders, in a staggered manner, with multiple vendors, rather than a giant order with one company that would take years to deliver.

“Technology advances rapidly in this field. Specifications framed in 2015 would be outdated by 2017-18. So there should be small orders, placed annually, with improved specifications each year”, suggests Gupta. 

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Corruption in defence procurement: “Blacklisting” must remain an option

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 28th July 15

The debate over whether it is wise to blacklist global arms corporations found guilty of bribery and corruption is gathering steam as the defence ministry finalises its forthcoming defence procurement policy of 2015 (DPP-2015).

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has always believed that the blacklisting of arms vendors who violated the DPP has become a stumbling block in defence procurement. Fifteen companies are already blacklisted and another 23 are under defence ministry scrutiny; the government cannot procure equipment of spares from them, narrowing its procurement options.

On August 23, 2014 former defence minister, Arun Jaitley, said corporate wrongdoing should be punished without blocking acquisitions and the flow of spares.

“We have to balance between two competing public interests. One public interest is that contracts are meant to be abided with and not violated, even by our suppliers. The other competing interest is the larger public interest in terms of our national security and defence preparedness. It is an issue that we are fully seized of and we are in the process of finding an answer to this, and you will hear about this from us very soon”, he promised.

Jaitley was referring to the Italian defence conglomerate, Finmeccanica, which the defence ministry had banned since February 2013, along with its subsidiaries, many of which are key defence suppliers to India. These include marine systems vendor, Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquel (WASS); radar and communications specialist Selex Electronics Systems (ES); aerospace giant, Alenia Aeromacchi; armaments major, Otomelara; and helicopter maker, AgustaWestland. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) defence minister, AK Antony proscribed Finmeccanica after its chairman was arrested in Italy on charges of bribing Indian officials to win a contract for twelve AgustaWestland AW-101 helicopters to ferry Indian VVIPs. The Italian court has since dismissed the case, but a Central Bureau of Investigation probe continues.

On August 26, Jaitley diluted the ban on Finmeccanica, allowing India’s military to go ahead with contracts already signed with its subsidiaries and to buy spares and upgrades for equipment earlier procured. However, Finmeccanica group companies remained proscribed from new tenders, and those where it was participating, but a winner had not been announced.

Manohar Parrikar, who succeeded Jaitley as as defence minister last November, shared Jaitley’s distaste for blacklisting. On December 12, Parrikar declared that companies that violated procurement norms should face “heavy financial penalties”, not blacklisting. Citing Finmeccanica, Parrikar asked: “Should we rule ourselves out of dealing with all of its 39 subsidiaries? There has to be a clear policy on that.”

Voicing his own views, Parrikar proposed: “How much you (the vendor) violated, pay the Indian government 4-5 times that, only then will you be permitted to participate in defence tenders.”

Calling this just “loud thinking”, Parrikar promised a formal policy on representatives and blacklisting by January 2015. The wait for this continues, with government legal experts and bureaucrats unwilling to renounce a key lever in their enforcement toolbox.

With the ministry publicly advocating out-of-court settlements rather than prosecuting of defaulters, the private industry has pressed home the advantage. On Wednesday, the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), which represents big private sector corporations, issued a briefing paper that proposed the adoption of US-style “deferred prosecution agreements” (DPAs). In a DPA, the government grants amnesty to a defaulting company in exchange for its cooperation in investigating violations, hefty cash fines and an explicit or implicit acceptance of guilt.

Enumerating the disadvantages of blacklisting, the CII says it could result in vendors deciding “the risk of conducting business in India is too high”; dilution of competition in defence procurement that is already a field with limited players; and, in some cases, denying the military equipment that might be available only from a blacklisted company.

The CII paper also warns against the “Arthur Andersen effect” of blacklisting and vigorously prosecuting an erring vendor. This refers to the collapse of the American accounting firm in 2002 after its prosecution for falsifying the accounts of Enron. That led to the loss of about 28,000 jobs, many of them of innocents.

“[Blacklisting] has usually not served its desired purpose. The inquiry is often delayed and moves in circles… (and) the matter is stuck in the Indian legal system. On the other hand, the automatic blacklisting of companies limits the government’s options of negotiating a better deal from multiple supplier sources”, argues the CII paper.

It is true that none of the companies that the defence ministry has blacklisted over the years have been successfully prosecuted and penalised for wrongdoing. However, defence industry experts overwhelmingly agree that this is not for lack of guilt, but rather because of the weaknesses and complexity of India’s criminal prosecution system.

The DPA that the CII recommends traces its roots back to 1992, when the US Department of Justice (DoJ) agreed not to prosecute investment banker, Salomon Brothers in view of its “unprecedented cooperation” with an on-going investigation. Later, the US formalised guidelines for DPAs in the US Attorney’s Manual and other official procedures.

Legal expert, Percival Billimoria, says the US DoJ offers a DPA when it believes the benefits of voluntary disclosure and large restitution payments outweigh the benefits and uncertainties of prosecuting the offending company. A DPA usually includes an acknowledgment by the offending company of the offences it has committed; an obligation to cooperate fully with the prosecuting/investigating agency; details of the consequences of breaching the DPA; an acknowledgment that a repeat offence would lead to prosecution; an agreement to institute internal compliance mechanisms to prevent further breaches of law and ethics; and an enumeration of penalties/fines imposed.

The CII states that $24.8 billion in fines were imposed in the US during 2010-2014, of which $3.87 billion were for violations of anti-corruption laws.

While there are clear advantages to offering a DPA in certain cases, a growing school of thought warns against allowing companies to buy their way out of trouble as a matter of course. The DPA model, in fact, is facing growing criticism within the US, since it makes adjudicating guilt the preserve of prosecutors, not courts of law.

Legal experts like Sherbir Panag, who heads the criminal compliance practice of MzM Legal, point out that the multi-million dollar fines imposed by the US DoJ and Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) --- Siemens alone paid $800 million in one case --- in no way indicate that criminal misconduct has reduced or compliance has become more robust. Reduction in the commission of offences and behaviour alteration requires strong deterrence induced by prosecution of individuals and companies. That is not achieved if liability reduction paperwork replaces prosecution substantially.

“The corporations that bear the fines start accepting them as an opportunity cost of doing business, unless sanctions and penalties proportionate to the offences committed are imposed”, says Panag.

Furthermore, a DPA only becomes attractive to a company if it is backed by a strong investigative and prosecuting mechanism, which India clearly lacks.

“The US has a focused and centralised agencies, centred on the DoJ and the SEC. In contrast, India has a plethora of agencies, mostly working at cross-purposes: the defence ministry that orders investigation and imposes the administrative sanctions; the Central Bureau of Investigation; and numerous agencies investigating economic offences. Besides having to coordinate these, major substantive and procedural law reforms would be needed to allow DPAs”, points out Panag.

As the defence ministry grapples with these shortcomings, it is evident that the airy imposition of monetary fines cannot credibly replace criminal investigation and prosecution. Blacklisting must remain in the sanctions/penal toolbox of the defence ministry, along with the possibility of negotiated resolutions through DPAs. To be credible, both must be backed up with vigorous investigation/prosecution mechanisms and a tailored legislative framework.

As agencies investigate Lashkar links, Khalistani role not ruled out

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 28th July 15

Details are still emerging about the daylong attack on Monday by three terrorists in the Gurdaspur district of Punjab, which borders both Pakistan and the state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). 

Intelligence agencies are searching for linkages to Pakistani groups like the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) or Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). Simultaneously, they are trying to establish whether Pakistan-based Khalistani militants also played a role, direct or indirect.

Most intelligence insiders suspect the same Sialkot-based Islamist militant groups that have made a modus operandi in recent years of infiltrating and staging fidayeen (fight-to-the-death) attacks in the Samba-Kathua belt that borders Punjab. Having progressively discovered, including during a recent attack on March 21, that targets in Samba-Kathua are now heavily defended, the jihadis may have switched their attention 20-30 kilometres further south to Dinanagar, inside Punjab, where they struck on Monday, killing nine Indians.

Even so, experts like Ajai Sahni of the Institute of Conflict Management, are not ruling out a role by Khalistani militants who have conducted a low-intensity Sikh-separatist campaign from Pakistan since the end of the Punjab insurgency in the early 1990s.

Just a fortnight ago, a photograph appeared on social media showing Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) general secretary, Gopal Singh Chawla, and PSGPC office bearers meeting Jamaat-ud-Daawa (JuD) chief, Hafiz Saeed. The JuD is widely known to be a front of the LeT.

“While Khalistani and Kashmir-focused groups have not so far cooperated in staging attacks, we know Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has been pressuring the Khalistanis to earn their keep in Pakistan. The ISI has been propagating the concept of K-2 --- Kashmir and Khalistan --- to keep India under pressure on two fronts”, says Sahni.

Noted Pakistan expert, C Christine Fair from Georgetown University, Washington DC, adds that there is credible information that Khalistani separatists in Canada, which has long been a hothouse of separatist activity, recently met ISI representatives there. There is little clarity about what this might mean for the K-2 project, or whether this could portend the revival of urban militancy in Punjab.

Either way, the Punjab Policy needs to prepare itself, both for a revival of Khalistani activism and for the spill-over of terrorism from the Kathua-Samba belt in J&K. Certainly, in the current operation, the Punjab Police has not acquitted itself with credit. It is worrying that they allowed three terrorists to kill nine Indians, including a superintendent of police, and to have taken over a police station well inside Indian territory, from where they fought off much larger numbers for over 12 hours.

While this is the first cross-border terror attack in Gurdaspur, that district has historical and emotional resonance for Pakistani, which has linked it with the J&K dispute since the time of partition. Pakistan had expected that Gurdaspur, which was a 51 per cent Muslim-majority district, would be allocated to Pakistan by the Radcliffe Commission. However, the Radcliffe boundary awards transferred only Shakargarh tehsil to Pakistan, leaving the rest of Gurdaspur with India.

Pakistani historians still fume that this was done at the instance of Lord Louis Mountbatten, who allegedly conspired with Nehru to ensure that the crucial highway to J&K, which passes through Gurdaspur district, remains with India.

It is this highway, running along the Indo-Pakistan border from Pathankote to Jammu, via Kathua and Samba, which has been frequently attacked by infiltrated fidayeen groups. Monday’s attack was only the latest. 

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Defence watch: MoD's answers to questions in parliament on July 24th

Measures to promote indigisation of defence equipment, the Government has:

(a) Accorded preference to acquisition under “Buy (Indian)”, “Buy and Make (Indian)” and “Make” categories, over “Buy (Global)” and “Buy and Make (Global)” categories;

(b) Raised FDI limit in defence to 49 per cent through FIPB route, and beyond 49 with the approval of Cabinet Committee on Security, where it could bring in state-of-the-art technology;

(c) Removed restrictions on FII holdings in the defence JVs, and the need for single largest Indian shareholder to hold at least 51 per cent equity;

(d) Formulated “Outsourcing and Vendor Development Guidelines” for DPSUs/OFs to gradually outsource from private sector, including SMEs; (e) Removed anomalies in excise/custom duties, levying it uniformly on public and private sector.


Industrial licenses for defence production. There are 60 applications for defence industrial licenses pending with the government. A total of 287 industrial licences have been issued till date, with 70 having been issued since June 2014.

The government has pruned down the list of items for which industrial licences are needed under the IDR Act, reducing entry barriers for private industry. The initial validity of a licence has been increased from three to seven years, extendable by another three years. Restrictions on annual production capacity have been removed.

Recognising the need to promote defence exports, a Defence Exports Strategy has been promulgated.


Export of defence equipment.  Over the last one year, defence equipment has been exported to 22 countries, including Afghanistan (helicopters, trucks), Oman (Jaguar fighter spares), Russia (MiG and Sukhoi-30 spares and services, avionics), Malaysia (Sukhoi-30 and MiG avionics and spares), Nepal (helicopters, ammunition, bulletproof vests), Singapore (naval vessel), Germany (light mechanical parts, detonating fuzes) and USA (work packages/forgings, electronics).

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has a negative list of countries for defence exports. The MEA’s views are taken before granting NOC for export.


FDI inflows into defence. Foreign direct investment worth $1.31 million has flown into defence during the last three years and the current year. A total of 34 proposals involving foreign investment have been approved so far.


Crashes of fighter aircraft. During the last three years and the current year up to July 20, a total of 20 fighter aircraft have crashed. These include three Sukhoi-30MKI, 12 MiGs and five Jaguars. Four of these aircraft crashed in 2012-13; six in 2013-14; seven in 2014-15; and three this year so far.

Two air force personnel and two civilians were killed in these accidents. The loss to the government is estimated at Rs 386 crore.


Shortage of soldiers, sailors and airmen. The personnel shortfalls in the military is as follows:

(a)        Army:             9,642 officers and 23,909 other ranks

(b)       Navy:              1,779 officers and 11,653 sailors

(c)        Air Force:        Nil officers and 6,654 airmen


Coastal security. The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has a total strength of 11,474 personnel. Based on inputs from national and state intelligence agencies, the ICG conducted 120 operations from January 1, 2012 till now.

Based on a “vulnerability/gap analysis” along the coast, a Coastal Security Scheme (CSS) has been formulated to strengthen security. Under Phase-1 of the CSS, 73 coastal police stations, 97 checkposts, 58 outposts, and 30 barracks have been established. Under Phase-II, another 131 coastal police stations, 60 jetties and 10 marine operation centres have been sanctioned.


One rank one pension. The policy to address pension disparities has been adopted by the Government in the budget 2014-15. It will be implemented once the Government approves the modalities.

Friday, 24 July 2015

“Lashkar-e-Toiba and Pak army recruit from same pool of educated youth”: Christine Fair

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 23rd July 15

You thought Pakistani support for terrorism was buoyed by that country’s poverty, with poor, unemployed youths joining terrorist groups? Wrong! Pakistan’s poor people oppose terrorism far more forcefully than the country’s growing middle class.

And you thought promoting democracy in Pakistan was the way to snuff out terrorism since terrorism is the antithesis of democracy? Wrong! When it comes to Kashmir, democrats see the insurgency as a struggle for “azadi” or freedom, warranting armed struggle, even jihad.

Were you under the impression Pakistani jihadi groups were recruiting mainly from madrassahs (religious seminaries) that churn out radicalised youth? Wrong again! Most jihadis are reasonably educated, while less than one per cent of Pakistani youth get their education exclusively from a madrassah.

These were some of the common perceptions of Pakistan that C Christine Fair, an acclaimed Pakistan expert who teaches at Georgetown University rebutted on Thursday in Delhi. Fair was speaking at a think tank, Observer Research Foundation, on: “Violence in Pakistan: who supports it? Rebutting conventional wisdom”.

Fair is the darling of Pakistan-critics worldwide, after an acclaimed book this year --- entitled “Fighting to the end: the Pakistan Army’s way of war” --- which quoted extensively from the writing of Pakistani officers to argue they placed the army’s interests far above those of Pakistan.

Deploying meticulous quantitative research to support unconventional conclusions, Fair argued that the Lashkar-e-Toiba’s (LeT’s) rank and file consists of reasonably well-educated youth, 60 per cent of whom had passed their matriculation and even intermediate examinations.

This conclusion is based on a study of 1,000 LeT fighters who were killed, mostly fighting in Kashmir. Research associates visited the homes of each of the dead jihadis to record their qualifications and motivations (see chart).

Lashkar-e-Toiba educational profile, versus Pakistani males

Education Level

1.3 %
30.4 %
30.8 %
12.7 %
21.4 %
21.6 %
21.7 %
14.3 %
15.6 %
44.0 %
13.1 %
13.4 %
16.8 %
10.9 %
9.3 %

“More than 60 per cent of them were matriculates or above, while only about 23 per cent of Pakistani, and Punjabi, males above the age of ten have similar qualifications. And just 1.13% of the Laskhar fighters were illiterate, compared to more than 30 per cent of the broader population”, said Fair.

The reason for that, she explained, is that the LeT recruits like most regular armies, turning away the uneducated and the unintelligent. “Even after they’re recruited, these Lashkar guys have to constantly prove themselves. They have to constantly lobby to be picked up for the next round of training. So Pakistan’s better lot are being killed [by Indian security forces] while fighting in Kashmir”, says Fair.

Fair says the Pakistan Army and the LeT recruit most of their fighters from the same few districts in Punjab. The army gets the pick of the youth, while the Lashkar chooses from those remaining.

She also rebutted Pakistan’s frequent complaint that supporting the US war on terror after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 had unleashed the monster of terrorism upon the country. Fair proves that terror-related violence was entrenched before 2001.

Differentiating between terror-related violence and political violence (see chart), Fair points out that terror-related incidents rose somewhat from 2,087 in the 14-year period from 1988-2001; to 3,721 in the decade between 2002-2011. In these same periods, incidents of political violence rose from 11,340 to 12,820.

Terrorism vis-à-vis political violence

Terrorist attack incidents
Killed in terror incidents
Wounded in terror incidents
Other political violence incidents
Killed in political violence incidents
Wounded in political violence incidents


“But if you talk to Pakistanis, they would like you to believe that everything was fine before 9/11”, she says.

Her conclusions are based on a rich database on terrorist-related and political violence in Pakistan, painstakingly compiled by Fair and her associates during a 24-year period from January 1, 1988 through May 2011. These were first published online last year in a paper entitled “Measuring political violence in Pakistan: Insights from the BFSR Dataset”, co-authored by Fair.

Fair explains why Pakistan’s poor, particularly urban poor, do not support terrorism. She points out that most terrorists are from the Deobandi sect, which is responsible for practically all terror-related violence in Pakistan, including sectarian violence against Shias, Barelvis or Ahmedis, or anti-minority violence directed at Christians and Hindus.

“These target groups, and their shrines that are often hit, are located in the poorest parts of the towns and cities. These people are actually the immediate victims of terror. They are potential allies [for counter-terrorism officials]”, she says.

Fair’s extensive research on madrassahs suggests they are not the factories of jihad. What they do engender is a mind-set that supports jihad.

“Kids don’t make the decision to join a madrassah; their parents do. And parents who put their kid into a madrassah are more likely to approve of youngsters taking up jihad. While a madrassah education seldom leads to a youngster taking up jihad, there is a correlation between the two.