Saturday, June 30, 2012
One by one, 59 witnesses, all from the Army, have told a Court of Inquiry - step one of Army's legal process-- why they believe Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit was just doing his job by fraternising with right-wing extremists.
Lt Col Purohit was arrested in November 2008 for a bomb blast on September 29, 2008 in Malegaon in Maharashtra, a communally sensitive area. He is now in a Taloja Jail, near Navi Mumbai.
When the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) asked for the officer, on the grounds that he belonged to the Abhinav Bharat, the Army hastily handed over its man, then posted in Madhya Pradesh.
But during the Court of Inquiry, which concluded last month in Mumbai, the portrait that has emerged of the officer is a flattering one.
Officers have testified that Lieutenant Colonel Purohit had, in the course of his duties, infiltrated organisations like the Students Islamic Movement of India or SIMI. This is exactly what he had been ordered to do as a military intelligence man.
Most significantly, during the course of his statements to the Court of Inquiry, Lieutenant Colonel Purohit has placed on record the inputs he provided his seniors on people like Indresh Kumar (an RSS leader) and Sunil Joshi (allegedly a conspirator in the blast on the Samjhauta Express train headed to Pakistan in 2007; Mr Joshi was murdered in December, 2007 )
Mr Purohit told the Court of Inquiry: "I must make a mention here that out of the vast int (intelligence) network development by me with great efforts I came to know about the likely involvement of some Right Wing leaders in anti-national activities. The inputs received on 12 October 2008 were immediately fwd (forwarded) to then CO (commanding Officer) SCLU (Southern Command Liaison Unit) Col Pancpore, OC A Team, Det SCLU, Maj P. Khanzode and to Maj. B. Dey of 1/6 team CCLU (Central Command Liaison Unit) on 12/13 October 2008 itself and a written report in this regard was fwd to Maj Dey on 15 Oct 2008.
Purohit goes on to say: "The report which was termed vague by Maj Dey in his statement is today proving to be right where the name of Indresh Kumar as given out by me for the first time is now figuring in almost all charge sheets relating to right wing blast cases. Name of P. Joshi as mentioned in my report which is S. Joshi (Sunil Joshi who was found dead) otherwise is now reflecting in every charge sheet related to Right Wing blast cases."
Some of the statements of Purohit's superiors in his ACRs (annual confidential reports) made during the court of inquiry suggest an officer who worked with great, if sometimes overzealous, enthusiasm and dedication. In 2005, Purohit in fact was invited to deliver a lecture on intelligence-gathering at the Mumbai headquarters of the same Anti-Terror Squad that later charged him of being one of the accused in the Malegaon blast of 2008.
Some statements accessed by NDTV from the proceedings of the Court of Inquiry:
Col. Hasmuk Patel, then Commanding Officer of Southern Command Liaison Unit wrote in Purohit's ACR in 2007: "The Officer has infiltrated the SIMI and other underground outfits in the region through his capabilities and go getter attitude."
Col. YK Singh in 2008, noted: "He (Purohit) provided valuable int on Tabliq-e-jamal and MFO (Muslim Fundamentalist Organisations)activities which were appreciated by environment. He developed on effective informant network in AOR which led to acquisition of Naxal propoganda and terrorist activities."
Col VS Tomar: "Although I have not known you on a personal level, yet by my interactions with officers of varied seniority with the Intelligence Corps, I came to know that you were a motivated, daring and good field intelligence officer. However some people did mention that at times you had a negative trait of boasting for gaining audience."
Lt. Col. SS Raikar (retd): "I do not believe that Lt. Col. Purohit has been involved in any anti-social or anti-national activity which will bring disrepute to the country in general and the Indian army in particular."
Lt. Col Purohit has said that before handing him over to the Anti-Terror Squad, the army "did not look into my performance as an Intelligence officer..(Or) my reports generated as an inteligence officer."
Asking that he be exonerated ((is this correct)), he has told the army court "This is the organisation that I have loved the most... I am a true and hardcore soldier. ..I am more than confident and convinced that the uniform of the Army which I wear with so much pride and the organisation which I serve with honour shall never ever get tarnished by my behaviour and actions...However, now the onus to give me justice and to recover me out of this unfortunate situation definitely lies on the organisation."
Lt. Col Prasad Purohit, the first ever serving military officer to have been accused of being involved in a terror case (Malegaon blast, 2008), is battling on two fronts to clear his name. An NIA case is pending against him and simultaneously an Army Court of Inquiry has been on against him since 2009.
The Army Court of Inquiry concluded at the end of May. According to testimonies available with me and some other journalists, all 55 witnesses, except one, cross-examined by Purohit said they do not believe that Lt. Col Purohit is involved in any anti-national or terror activities.
Will this make any difference to the NIA case? Which way will the Army Court of Inquiry go?
More importantly, is Purohit guilty or is he innocent?
Did the Army in 2008 jump the gun in handing him over to the Maharashtra ATS even before conducting its own internal enquiry and without looking at Purohit's past record? Did a serving Military Intelligence serving colonel detain and torture Lt. Col Purohit and hand him over to the ATS illegally as the statutory complaint (appended below) suggests?
So many unanswered questions.
I raised some of them in this story I did for NDTV on Friday here:
When contacted the Army has denied any wrong doing and said in response to my queries that everything was done in accordance with law.
There is a lot of fog. Clarity is elusive.
No IC 55224A Rank Lieutenant Colonel Name Purohit Prasad Shrikant
Subject Matter : DV (AG)
Date of Complaint : August 2009
Nature of Complaint : *STATUTORY/NON-STATUTORY
Provision under which : @ ___________________________
complaint is made
* Strike out whichever is inapplicable
@ State here specifically the relevant provision of the
statute or Rules or Army Order under which complaint is made. PART I
SALIENT DETAILS OF THE COMPLAINT
No IC 55224A Rank Lieutenant Colonel Name Purohit Prasad Shrikant
1. Date posted to present unit 03 October 2007
2. Present appointment Student Officer wef 03 October 2007
(Arabic Language Course)
3. Period complaint pertains to From __________ to ____________
4. Unit complaint pertains to Integrated HQ of MoD (Army)
5. Name of the Commanding Officer Brig Sandep Kumar
(CO) during the period at Ser 3 Commandant,
AEC School & Centre
6. Circumstances in brief, leading to complaint
(a) I, IC 55224A Lieutenant Colonel Purohit Prasad Shrikant, am presently in the judicial custody of Special MCOCA Court No 56 (Mumbai Sessions) as accused No 9 in the Malegaon Bomb Blast Case. The case is sub-judice and the Court has not passed any verdict so far.
(b) I was officially arrested on 05 Nov 2008. Prior to my arrest, and illegal detention before that, I was attending Arabic Language Course (Ser No 2) at Army Education Corps, Training College and Centre, Pachmarhi, Distt Hoshangabad (MP).
(c) Colonel R K Shrivastav, Sena Medal (Director Military Intelligence - 9) arrived at Pachmarhi on 24 Oct 2008. On the same night all officers of Intelligence Corps attending various courses at Army Education Corps Training College and Centre were made to assemble at the Commandant’s Office at around 23.30 hrs. I was the last one to interact with Colonel R K Shrivastav, Sena Medal (Director Military Intelligence - 9). This interaction took place in the presence of Brigadier (now Major General) Sandeep Kumar, Commandant AEC Training College and Centre.
(d) When I entered the Commandant’s office, Colonel R K Shrivastav, Sena Medal (Director Military Intelligence - 9) asked me the first question, and I quote here – “How many terrorists have you trained in the jungles Purohit?” I was taken aback with this question and I answered that I have not done anything of this sort.
(e) Then he asked me about Malegaon Bomb Blast issue to which I answered that on 15 Oct 2009, I have already forwarded a hand written report to 1/6 Team of Central Command Liaison Unit at Jabalpur, addressed to Major Bhagirath Dey (Intelligence officer of the team at Jabalpur). I have attached this report as Appendix ‘A’ to this letter. I also informed Colonel Shrivastav that on 13 Oct 2008 I had telephonically informed Colonel Vinay S Panchpore (Commanding Officer of Southern Command Liaison Unit) and Major Praveen Khanzode (Intelligence Officer of A Team/ 3 Detachment of Southern Command Liaison Unit located at Deolali). This was done in view of the facts mentioned in Para 4 above.
(f) Later at about 0100 hrs on 25 Oct 2008 I was taken to the VIP guest room ‘SHIKSHA’ of Army Education Corps Training College and Centre’s Officers Mess and I was questioned by Colonel R K Shrivastav in presence of Brigadier (now Major General) Sandeep Kumar, Commandant, Army Education Corps Training College and Centre. However the Commandant Brigadier (now Major General) Sandeep Kumar left the location at around 0300 hrs on 25 Oct 2008. Before I was taken to this guest room I was ordered to deposit my mobile phones with Colonel Shrivastav which I did. Though this was an illegal order, I complied with it as I did not doubt his intentions at that time. This session of interrogation went on till 0800 hrs 25 Oct 2008. These complete proceeding were conducted without giving me any written order or directions by higher authorities. I presumed that these exist as the Commandant of the Army Education Corps School & Centre was present initially.
(g) After this, that is after 0800hrs on 25 Oct 2008, Colonel Shrivastav did not carry out any questioning to me other than meeting me at my residence on two occasions and in social get-together at Officers Institute. On 29 Oct 2008, I was called by Lieutenant Colonel G C Mohanta, Adjutant, Army Education Corps College and Centre to his office at around 0900 hrs and was told that I have to accompany Colonel Shrivastav to New Delhi. A movement order to this effect giving the destination as Integrated Headquarters of Army (MOD) for interaction with Military Intelligence - 20 was handed over to me in the presence of Colonel Shrivastav and two other officers namely Lt Col Mohanta and Lt Col Snajay Kumar (Attached as Appendix ‘B’). When I along with Colonel Shrivastav were about to leave for Bhopal from where we were to board the flight to New Delhi, I was told not to carry any mobile phone and was made to deposit the one which I was carrying with the adjutant Army Education Corps Training College and Centre. I was carrying my mother’s mobile then. The same was handed over to my wife on 30 Oct 2008. This illegal order of Colonel Shrivastav was obeyed by me keeping in mind previous two days events.
(h) After checking-in at the Bhopal Airport (checking in was done by Colonel Shrivastava), I was told that we were going to Mumbai instead of New Delhi. My mobile phone was already deposited with Adjutant, Army Education Corps School & Centre. I was neither allowed to inform my wife/mother about this change in destination nor allowed access to any public phone by Colonel Shrivastav. He threatened to use physical force if I tried to use public phone facility. This also amounted to illegal detention by him. We reached Mumbai Airport late at night at around 2230 or 2300hrs on 29 Oct 2008. Immediately, I was taken in a civil TATA Sumo vehicle (which purportedly was of Intelligence Bureau) which drove approximately for two hours. We arrived at an unknown place at the end of the journey. Immediately, I was taken to a room having no windows for interrogation. A team of interrogators were already present there. This team comprised of Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Maharashtra Police and Intelligence Bureau officials. Though all of them were in civil dress, I got to know the names, designation and appointments of all these officials in due course of time.
(j) I was interrogated by this combined team for almost two hours on the night of 29/30 Oct 2008. Till then all the members of interrogating team was talking to me with a respect deserved by an army officer. After initial two hours of questioning, it was Colonel Shrivastav (Director Military Intelligence - 9) who suddenly sprung from his chair and initiated a brutal physical assault on me. He slapped me on my face at will and continued slapping me and started kicking me all over the body with his shoes on. Colonel R K Shrivastav then started pulling my hair on head and chest as well. At this stage the other interrogators, including the Indian Police Service cadre officers of Anti Terrorism Squad and Intelligence Bureau officers, joined him in physically assaulting me. My face was totally swollen then. Colonel R K Shrivastav’s actions of physical assault on me made the Police and Intelligence Bureau officers shed their inhibition of carrying out physical torture of mine, a serving army officer. Colonel R K Shrivastav then stood on my feet and legs as I was tied to a chair and inhumanly started twisting my nipples and my private parts (genitals) with all his strength. Colonel Shrivastav once again started hitting me on my face and even boxing me with tight fists on my back. Colonel Shrivastav was holding and pulling my hair on head while the other Indian Police Service officers tortured me. I was in absolute state of shock and totally shattered by this physical assault carried out by Colonel R K Shrivastav,Sena Medal, (Director Military Intelligence - 9).
(k) This nightmare of physical assaults hitting, slapping, twisting of private parts, tying me to a chair, standing on my legs, feet coupled with dirtiest possible abuses on my mother, wife and sister continued till unabated. After four days of continuous beating and torture, on 02 Nov 2008, Colonel Shrivastav ordered the Police to handcuff me. This was breach of privilege for the serving army officer and it was not police officers but insistence of Col Srivastav which caused the same. I was handcuffed and remained in that condition till 04 Nov 2008.
(l) The sequence of beating and brutal torture was intermittently on with Colonel Shrivastav abusing me about my mother, wife and sister. He kept on threatening me that if I don’t own up my involvement in the Malegaon Bomb Blast, he (Colonel Shrivastav) would strip my mother, wife and sister and make them parade naked in front of me. Police officially arrested me on 05 Nov 2008 and the legal process commenced.
(m) From 29 Oct 2008 to 04 Nov 2008, I was not allowed to talk to my family members even once over the telephone. I was confined to the same unknown location with round the clock Police guard guarding me while I was in handcuffed condition. I was totally broken down and traumatized, both physically and mentally. It was not any state police but Col Srivastav, who led me into the trap of illegal detention and torture.
(n) Colonel R K Shrivastav kept on insisting that I should own up my involvement in the Malegaon Bomb Blast and should give it in writing, to which I asked him how I could own up something which I am not even aware of. The only possible explanation I could assign to his malafied actions is his efforts to boost his career prospects in the most un-officer like manner.
(o) Once I was arrested and lodged in the Police Custody, on 14 Nov 2008 my father in law and my advocate had come to meet me at the said Police Station. Colonel Shrivastav was present there. Colonel Shrivastav said that it is his promise that my sons would live in an orphanage henceforth as he would ensure my entire family would be arrested and imprisoned.
(p) On 15 Nov 2008, during the court hearing at Nashik, I mentioned about the torture and happenings from 29 Oct to 04 Nov 2008 to my wife. Subsequently my wife had written letter to COAS on 16 Nov 2008 ( copy of the letter is attached as Appendix ‘D’) to which no acknowledgment or reply received so far.
(q) I was in police custody for approximately for a month and thereafter in judicial custody. I was not given any access to correspond or communicate with my wife or relatives in police custody. Even in judicial custody, my first thought was to overcome physical pain resulted because of torture. I requested the Court for my medical inspection at military hospital. It was conducted at INHS Asvini I Mid December 2008. This report is attached as Appendix ‘C’. The assessment given in the medical report corroborates the injuries suffered by me were of recent past.
(r) As I understand the legal procedure, if at all I am involved in any criminal activity. The police will seek permission of army authorities for my custody. Probably it was sought and granted but I was not informed of the same initially or subsequently. An army officer can not be absconding like any normal civilian. Hence the secrecy surrounding the actions leading to my arrest can not be understood. Thus, I can safely presume that it was handiwork of Col Srivastav to keep everything under wraps and expose a brother officer to torture and inhuman treatment.
(s) Military Intelligence is not the investigating agency but the intelligence agency and in any case a single member investigation is not desirable in any case for inherent flaws of personal biases and fancies. Col Srivastav assumed the charge of proceeding single handedly and overstepped his mandate (if at all any was specified) in mistreating and torturing me.
(t) I do not have any relation whatsoever with Malegaon bomb blast case. In any case, till such time I am declared guilty by the court of law, I am innocent and hence deserve the privileges of a serving army officer and also as a normal human being.
(u) Maharashtra police can arrest an individual from Madhya Pradesh only after informing local police. This would not have been possible because Madhya Pradesh police would have asked for warrant or incriminatory evidence to allow Maharashtra police to do so. Maharashtra police took safe way in forcing army authorities completing their not so easy job. Whenever an accused is transported from one state to other a transit remand is required and Maharashtra police were sure of scrutiny by MP police. It was quite evident from the proceedings of the case that no such evidence or foolproof case was with Maharashtra. I am claiming so because even while under army law, I am enjoying the status of citizen of India and protected by laws of the land.
7. Main points of the complaint I have the following complaints against Colonel R K Shrivastav, Sena Medal (Director Military Intelligence - 9) that during the period from 29 Oct 2008 to 05 Nov 2008 he has
(a) He cheated brother officer (me) by not informing about the orders of arrest available with him.
(b) He willfully misguided me by getting movement order for New Delhi prepared and forcefully diverting me to Mumbai.
(c) He took upon himself the job of Maharashtra police which was not mandated to him (presuming that he was given responsibility to hand me over to Maharashtra police) in detaining, torturing and mistreating me.
(d) He wrongly confined me and illegally detained me, initially at Panchmarhi and later on at unknown place in Maharashtra.
(e) He did not allow me to contact my wife or mother or any other relative.
(f) He physically assaulted me even after knowing fully well that I am a serving officer.
(g) He forcefully tried to extract a false statement and forced me to give a statement for the actions and acts not done by me.
(h) He tried inhuman methods to extract false confession.
(j) He kept on slapping false allegations and accusations against me during my interrogation and thereafter during Court of Inquiry.
(k) He used unparliamentarily, abusive and extremely derogatory language, abuses and remarks against the women members of my family.
(l) He violated the human rights of brother officer by his actions over the said period.
8. Redress Sought
(a) I request the contents of my statutory complaint may kindly be investigated at the earliest stage and suitable action be taken against Col R K Srivastav, SM, (Dir MI 9) and other delinquent officers in the chain of command. Your decision may be communicated at the early date.
(b) Col R K Srivastav, SM (Dir MI 9) may be directed to pay the damages to me for the mental and physical agonies caused by him.
9. Supporting Documents attached (if any) :
|Letter/Signal No||Date||Subject||Purpose for which attached|
|Copy of my letter to Maj Bhagirath Dey |
|15 Oct 2008||Source Input||To show that I was reporting the matter in official channel and had no religious/fundamentalist feelings while performing the duty.|
|AEC School and Centre Movement Order No 01247/5/Arabic/A|
|28 Oct 2008||Movement Order||To present the facts, which were misrepresented by Col R K Srivastav, SM|
|Copy of Medical Report|
|11 Dec 2008||Medical Report||To show that my injuries are new and were attributable to Col R K Srivastav’s physical assault on me.|
|Mrs Aparna Purohit’s letter to COAS|
dated 16 Nov 2008 (two pages)
|16 Nov 2008||Personal Letter||My wife earnest request to COAS. COAS or Army HQ has taken adequate precautions but Col R K Srivastav not only overstepped his mandate by disobeying orders given to him but also treated brother officer in inhuman manner.|
10. Certificates :
(a) I undertake that any false statement or false accusation made by me in this complaint will render me liable for disciplinary action.
(b) I hereby certify that I have not forwarded any other complaint on this issue earlier.
I have forwarded following complaint earlier. This complaint has been necessitated due to new facts coming to light. My previous compliant on the subject was forwarded on ___________ to ________.
Date : (Signature of the complainant)
Friday, June 29, 2012
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Madeleine Albright, first woman to become Secretary of State in the United States, is a major international figure in strategic circles and also heads the consulting firm Albright-Stonebridge that works across the globe in furthering American business and strategic interests. As Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton between 1997-2001, she had played a major role in South Asia. Currently on a whirlwind tour of India, she took time off to meet NDTV's Security & Strategic Affairs Editor Nitin Gokhale and spoke on a range of issues.
(Video available at: http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/ndtv-special-ndtv-24x7/india-growth-story-was-oversold-says-former-us-secretary-of-state-to-ndtv/237315?hp)
Nitin: First of all, what brings you to India?
Albright: Well I'm very glad to be with you, thank you. I enjoy visiting India but I have come because my company, the Albright-Stonebridge Group, works here. We have excellent people working with us here. We're a global consulting firm, global strategic consulting and we try to help multi-national corporations operate in a very useful way in India. So I'm here to look at that and then talk to a few groups about elections, democracy, US-Indian relationship.
Nitin: So where do you think the US-India relationship is going?
Allbright: I think it's going in an excellent direction. I have been around long enough to see the evolution of the US-Indian relationship and I'm very proud to have been part of the Clinton administration, where I think we began to put the relationship on a good footing. I was here with President Clinton, which was one of the truly amazing visits, and then I was very pleased to see that the Bush administration really built on what President Clinton had started. And now President Obama with Secretary Clinton, I think, have taken it to a new level and I think it's a very important relationship for both our countries.
Nitin: But there is some kind of an apprehension that it is sort of an 'on and off' kind of a relationship. It is not going the way it should go, specially after the civil nuclear deal that President Bush had signed with India, and India has not really been on board with the US. Do you agree with that prognosis?
Albright: Well, I understand that there are kind of bumps in the road on a number of issues but, in many ways, I've been in the diplomacy business for a long time, I think that is to be expected. We are two great democracies and our processes take a while to work. But I do think that on the whole it's a very good relationship for both countries. And that we are operating as friends, we agree on more and more things. We disagree on some, but I think that's natural for a relationship of friendship.
Nitin: Right, but you also mentioned that you advise, strategic advice you give to various companies trying to operate in India. Do you think the Indian economic story has gone bust? Is it over?
Albright: I definitely don't think that it's over. I think that, again, it is going through a period where the growth is not everything that the Indians expected, I have to say in comparison to the growth of most countries, where 7% is a pretty good growth record. But I think that one of the things that happened was that the growth of India was maybe oversold to a certain point, which also happens, and then when it goes through a small period when things shift a little bit, there is undue doom and gloom. I have great confidence in the Indian economy and in the Indian people and their capability of working through what are some slowdowns in certain areas.
Nitin: Okay. You were the Secretary of State at a very crucial period in India's history, 1997-2001, when India conducted the nuclear tests, we also had the Kargil skirmish with Pakistan. How do you assess the India-Pakistan relationship, looking at it from the American eyes?
Albright: Well, I think that we have had a lot of ups and downs with Pakistan. I think that many times America is accused of being kind of a fairweather friend to Pakistan. I think that, in looking at it from the side of both countries, that there are some very, very serious problems. And the relationship is obviously an important one to both countries, but the United States has been very troubled by some of the ways that Pakistan has not been as helpful as it could be, on dealing with some of the terrorist issues, on providing safe havens, on the way that some of the aspects of the war with Afghanistan has gone. But it's a complicated country, I think in terms of the issues out there, they are, they have a weak government, they have issues in terms of how they are dealing with extremists, the questions of corruption and they are in a very difficult location. I think, from the perspective of the United States, it is important for us to have a functional relationship with Pakistan. Which I'm sure that Indians would agree with, is that, I think that it is both important for India to have a working relationship with Pakistan, but certainly it's important for the United States also.
Nitin: Going forward, we know that a draw back would begin in Afghanistan 2014. NATO and ISAF will come away from Afghanistan, the US will disengage from Afghanistan. What is your assessment of the situation post 2014 in that region?
Albright: Well, I think that what has been made clearer and clearer, is that there will continue to be work after 2014. I was in Chicago for the NATO Summit, and I think, from what I can tell, the US administration feels that the NATO Summit was very important in kind of making sure that everybody would do what they're supposed to do until 2014, and then also looking at how to help in non-combat ways after that, in order to try to make sure that there is a safe and stable government in Afghanistan. And here also, the role of India is very important in the post-military part of this, and there is going to be a series of civilian duties and a continued training of the Pakis ... of the Afghan forces. Working with Pakistan also with all of this, and then trying to figure out how to make sure that civil society infrastructure is in place, so that Afghanistan is not a threat to anybody in the region.
Nitin: Right, talking about Afghanistan again, what is your assessment on the role of the Chinese in Afghanistan? Because they are also a big player in the region and they would be interested in what's happening to Afghanistan post-2014.
Albright: Well, I think everybody is interested in it. The Russians are, and the neighbours from the various stands are interested, because it has been an area that has been unsettled for so long, for such a very long time. I think the Chinese are interested, there is no question, in terms of some of the mineral deposits that are there, and I think it would be unexpected if they weren't interested. But, from the perspective of the United States, I have heard lots of conversations about the importance of having India play a constructive role in Afghanistan.
Nitin: And also would India play a constructive role in Iran, you think? Mediating between US and Iran?
Allbright: Well I think, I'm interested and glad that you asked that question, because for the United States and for what is going on in the Middle East, and for an issue that is so important to all of us, nuclear proliferation, I think that India can play a huge role. India has been, I think, very much a leading force in making sure that there is not a proliferation of nuclear weapons, and everybody is very concerned about what is going on in Iran. We don't know what is going on and what their motivations and capabilites are. And I do think that if India wanted to, it could play an important role in terms of trying to figure out what is going on, and diffusing the problems, and making sure that Iran is not trying to have a weapons capability. It is of extreme concern, I think, to everybody about what's going on in Iran, and I think that it would be a step in the right direction if India took a very positive step, in supporting the International efforts, to get inspections in Iran and to try to determine what the Iranians are upto.
Nitin: You said, very interestingly, that if India wanted to. You think India wants to mediate or wants to remain aloof from this problem in Iran?
Albright: Well, I think that India has different kinds of relationships with Iran, and there are lot of Indians in the region, and I think also there have obviously been issues in terms of India needing oil from Iran. What has happened is that India now has an exclusion from the sanctions regime and is, as I read it, is buying oil from Iraq. And I really hope that India, that really has, even though not a signatory of the non-proliferation treaty, it has been very important in talking about the dangers of proliferation. But the question is which of the various needs of India are paramount? And so I can understand why there has been a desire to have a relationship with Iran, but also that it would be important for India to be with the rest of the International community, in terms of trying to figure out what Iran is doing, and being a part of International pressure on the Iranian leadership.
Nitin: Secretary, going forward, since you have also been a long time watcher of China, what do you think is going to be the Chinese role in terms of stimulating the world economy, as well as stabilizing Asia in the next 20-25 years?
Albright: Well, what is so interesting about China is that obviously it has had a huge growth spurt and it's making more and more of an appearance on the global scene. And some people wonder what its motivations are on being part of the global scene. Some of it has to do with the fact that they are resource hungry, they need to have energy for their growth. In many ways, in my following of China, they have been reluctant to play a global role. Very interestingly, when I was part of the UN, they didn't like to participate in any of the discussions, except for those that involved the interference of the domestic affairs of other countries. They didn't want to have anything to do with that. So slowly they became more interested in the regional issues and now more and more globally. So, it's interesting to watch their evolution in terms of what their global role is. Also what is interesting to see, is that they are in the Fall, going to have a generation of change in their leadership, which in their case is going to be very important in terms of what that leadership sees, what its global responsibilities are. I think that there always mixed feelings in the United States, and I know in India, in terms of how China is viewed. Is it a threat or benign? In the United States, there are discussions of, are they friends or enemies? And somebody made up a really silly word called 'frenemies', and I think that there is a little bit of both. I think people are concerned about what it is they are doing in the South China Sea, people are concerned about their development of a blue water navy generally. On the other hand, they have been co-operative in protecting certain navel passages and dealing with piracy, which are issues that are important to India and to the United States. I think that they clearly are a rising power that the United States has to deal with, that India has to deal with. And what is interesting is that the United States, under President Obama, has decided that it is important to sort of rebalance some of our strategies to recognise that we are a Pacific as well as an Atlantic power. And so there is going to be a lot more attention paid to the Asia Pacific.
Nitin: You interestingly used the term 'frenemies'. In India we have this term that is used increasingly with respect to China: 'Co-operation with Competition'. That is something that has been happening between these two Asian nations. Do you think going forward, that India and China can co-exist and live with each other despite the tensions that they have carried forward from the 1960s?
Albright: I hope so. Because I think that there are an awful lot of issues that can be dealt with diplomatically. Certain issues that there is agreement on, certain disagreement, but I think that it's very important that they be worked out in a diplomatic way, because where that statement always said, "when two elephants fight, a lot of smaller animals get hurt". So I think that it is to, if one cares about international stability, which I think most of us do, then I think that it's important for the Chinese and the Indians to sort out whatever their issues are, whether they are boundary issues or just regional hegemon issues.
Nitin: But trade has played a major part as far as India-China relations are concerned. You think the same applies to US-India relationship as well as China-US relationship?
Albright: Well, I think trade is very important. I mean, we are living in an increasingly economically interdependent world, and from the perspective of the United States, we would like to see an increased trade with India and are looking forward to having more trade, more investments by Americans in India and Indians in America. And I also think that our trade with China is also very important. We are all dependent on each other. And trade in many ways is one of the most people-oriented aspects of the relationships. Not only does it have to do with the goods but the people that are involved in it, and developing people to people relations. But from the perspective of the US, we would like to see more trade with India.
Nitin: Great, one last question about the Euro-zone crisis. Do you think it's solvable? Do you think there is a solution to what we are seeing right now in the economic crisis in Europe?
Albright: Well, I'm an optimist, who worries a lot. But I do think it is solvable. The European Union itself is kind of an outgrowth of trying to never have the same problems that had created World War I and World War II. When an attempt for many small nations in Europe to be able to get along, and that Nationalist feelings don't rise, and that people can cross borders freely and there can be investments back and forth, so there was a real reason for the European Union and the Euro zone. So what is happening now is that different countries in Europe, even though they got together, did not have, the European Union and the Euro-zone do not have a common fiscal policy. And so there are lot of discussions about fiscal sovereignity and a variety of issues, but I do think that if one follows the debate, that slowly and very slowly there are attempts for the political figures to try to work it out, and the central bankers to find some kind of common purpose. So I am an optimist on this.
Nitin: You think you are an optimist, so is the world safe and stable, you think? One last word from you
Albright: No, things are complicated. We are in the middle of a change in the international system. I don't think there is a, and I say this generally, you don't really feel that there is a lot of confidence in the institutions. It's true nationally, it's true in the United States, in terms of confidence in our Congress and a variety of institutions. There's not a lot of confidence in the regional institutions and the European Union is just one of them. And there is some question about the role of international institutions, the United Nations, and so I think we are going through a major shift, where there are questions about the role of the Nations states, how we relate to each other and how inter-dependent we are, without having the institutional structure to work out problems. So, we all want stability, but I think that there are certain areas which make us all pretty nervous.