Monday, September 19, 2016

If India has to hit terror factories in Pakistan, be ready for a war with China!

It is about 32 hours since the attack on Uri army camp in India, by Pakistani terrorists. There is tremendous amount of anger in India, specifically in the sections of society which I normally don't see overreact on social media.

This was the front page of paper at my home - "We have had enough!"
Front page of New Indian Xpress, the day after Uri Attack

The overwhelming majority are screaming - Dear Prime Minister.. do something. do quickly..

  • That "do" can be full fledged war. 
  • It can be economic blockade.
  • It can be water stoppage for Sindhu and five rivers of Punjab going into Pakistan.
  • It can be surgical strikes inside Pakistan like India did inside Myanmar last year.
  • It can be as many as there are opinions on social media, papers and TV.

But the big question is.. Can India attack Pakistan this week?
  1. I am sure there is military will power. 
  2. I am sure there would be enough political will power. 
  3. I am sure India has plenty of financial cushion to do this. (Pakistan's GDP is smaller than just one state's in India - Maharashtra)
  4. I am sure internally there won't be much opposition to India for a small scale surgical strike. 

But still.. 69 years of handling of Jammu and Kashmir by India is something we have to look at right now. Can India afford to hit Pakistan where it hurts the most, for Pakistan's obsession with Jihadi terror export all these decades?

While I was looking for some pragmatic answers, amidst very loud war cries that I see in press, TV and social media, I happened to see this tweet set. A very thoughtful set of tweets by the user @vadakkus. From here onward, I am merely reproducing the fantastic probing analysis done by @vadakkus, with very little info from my side. Read it fully and then comment on what Indian government can do, should do, and most importantly, when to do. Vadakkus starts off a tweet storm on the entire Pakistan - India fiasco. There is more than what meets the eye here. And issue is NOT Kashmir. It also does not look like anything to do with Islam, Separatism, Human Rights, Army, AFSPA, Track 2 negotiation and many other things we hear on TV.

It is must deeper than that.. Geo politics!

Why is Pakistan obsessed with Kashmir? I have always wondered what makes Kashmir so attractive to Pakistan, that they are willing to keep the issue burning forever. What IS there?
{Prem Shekhar, a well known Kannada columnist informed a few weeks that Pakistan  had even offered to give up East Pakistan in 1950s, in return for Jammu and Kashmir on the sidelines of official discussions with India! So definitely it is not religion or Kashmiris.. it is much deeper than that. It was water sources then, but now much more deeper...}

Why is India so reluctant to hit back at Pakistan? Also why does India always seem to be unable to retaliate to Pakistan in kind (it should, totally) and pussyfoots around Pakistan, despite all the atrocities it commits in India from daily incursions in Kashmir to the Mumbai attacks. They spend too much money on all this and the country, despite no visible revenue-generating industry (terrorism no revenue) has managed to survive until today, develop nukes and has so much international clout? Where does it get its money from? Why?? Why is India reluctant to strike? There must be reasons.

Yes, water is an issue. The Indus and its tributaries. But where do they get money to keep the issue alive? There is more to this than water. Today, someone told me about this thing and I was stumped about how bloody obvious this is, and even then, NOBODY in India talks about this!

It is China... stupid.. It is China and CPEC: The "thing" is the CPEC: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. If you look at it closely suddenly everything falls into place. Kashmir, Balochistan, India's unwillingness to strike, silence of international community, everything else. Pakistan is just a front.  

The real sponsor is hiding behind.

Maybe it is because Indian method of viewing everything in black & white. Pakistan sponsors terrorism to get Kashmir. It is not that simple. Pakistan kept the Kashmir flame burning until the 1990s to meet their ends, when China conceived the CPEC and decided to take over. A bit on the CPEC as no one seems to have heard about it. China has a huge geographic handicap: no access to southern world oceans.

So Chinese shipments from Europe, Middle East, Africa have to travel all the way around India, Malacca and ASEAN. China has serious problems with most countries in that region due to its aggressive military posture.

CPEC Need. Source - Twitter. Please excuse since J&K map is not as per India's standards.
Why Pakistan is so important for Chinese economy? What if China could get a route through Pakistan to access the Arabian Sea? That line in blue. Look at it, so much distance, money saved! That, is the CPEC. A corridor of highways and railways will run from Kashgar in China to Gwadar in Pakistan (Baluchistan) on the Arabian sea near Iran border. And ALL the infrastructure and associated stuff for CPEC will be constructed for Pakistan by China, free or cost or for negligible loans.

What is CPEC?Four Six-lane Expressways from north to south Pakistan, four different routes. All main railway lines being upgraded to 160 kph double. A six to eight lane super expressway Karachi to Gwadar and Hyderabad Innumerable coal, thermal, solar and hydro power plants all across Pakistan. All of Gwadar, including a mega international airport! Then Hospitals, schools, colleges, tech institutes, even a Metro line in Lahore!

And of course, the capstone: reconstruction of the Karakoram highway to six to four lanes. All projects listed here. Click, zoom and read.
CPEC Map. Source Twitter. Please excuse since J&K map is not as per India's standards.
But why is Jammu and Kashmir involved here?  Now, on the Karakoram highway, this is where it matters most for India. It connects China and Pakistan, though India! Through Jammu and Kashmir, which legally acceded to India in 1947 October.  This is a route map of the Karakoram highway (grey). Look at the top, inside the red circle. It is Gilgit Baltistan area of Jammu and Kashmir state, which legally belongs to India, but illegally occupied by Pakistan. Keep in mind, China also occupies illegally the eastern and northern part of Jammu and Kashmir - Shaksgam valley (gifted by Pakistan in 1960s) and Aksai Chin (occupied by China in 1950s when it annexed Tibet).

Karakoram highway location. Map from Wiki. Not per India's J&K map standards.
The highway passes through Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. The red line is the LOC. Pakistan and China are connected through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK for short). Pakistan calls this Gilgit-Baltistan area of Jammu and Kashmir, as Northern Territories sometimes. 

More on Karakoram highway: Soon to be a 4/6 lane highway through some of the world's toughest terrain. A high-capacity highway across the Himalayas!

Now, though the CPEC is a recent thing, the idea had taken birth long back. The Karakoram highway started building in 1959, opened in 1979! Possibly Pakistan had refused China access to Gwadar then as they could. But now they have no other choice but hand over to China.

Why CPEC? OIL: Gwadar is just 400 km away from Muscat and 500 from the Strait of Hormuz through which all Gulf oil passes. 12 hours at sea! Proximity to Africa: China virtually owns much of Africa today. Billions in investment, buys natural resources. Nothing better than this. Pakistan as a market: China will flood Pakistan and Gulf with its cheap products and make a windfall there too. Proximity to new friend Sri Lanka.If USA/UK (control Malacca strait - Singapore) or India in Indian ocean decide to choke it, China will have no problem as it has CPEC. 

But, all of CPEC and China's ambitions bearing fruit depends on the Karakoram highway. That depends on PoK continued to be occupied by Pakistan. 

Money Involved: With the CPEC, China has sunk close to 50 BILLION Dollars in Pakistan. Of course, China gets free access to all this infrastructure in Pakistan. With this, 20% of Pakistan's GDP is now Chinese. China has Pakistan now firmly by the b***s, so much so that Pakistan can now be China's 24th province. With so much invested and at stake, China wouldn't even think twice about ruthlessly suppressing any attack on Pakistan, because they own it now. 

Doesn't India know all this? Of course India knows all this. If we were to attack Pakistan, we would have to deal with China. Pakistan is small fry. China is not. 

Who would side with India? Mostly nobody. Why? Because China is involved. How international geopolitics work, most don't get that either. USA wants to support us because China makes it nervous. But US corporations are over invested in China, so Uncle Sam will look the other way. Russia - Don't even think about it. Putin has enough troubles at home, and India's pandering to Obama hasn't got him amused. Europe will sit just and watch (because China), and all of the Middle East will (clandestinely) support Pakistan for obvious reasons (Islam).

People think alliances between countries are forget like high school friendships - on emotional grounds of some sort - No. Not at all. International friendships are always based on "how can I benefit by allying", "what terrible can this guy do to me if I don't ally".

So, India will left out cold if it were to as much as touch Pakistan. We will mostly have to take on BOTH Pakistan and China. Mostly. Can India take on both Pakistan and China alone? From two (or three) flanks? We are surrounded by China's friends. What do we do? Dunno.

A bit more on the Karakoram highway: 1962, remember? What if the Chinese were testing the Indian waters before building the highway? China could've walked through India. Still, they withdrew. They were only testing India's resolve to defend PoK if it came to that. We have all but written off PoK. All Wikipedia articles tell all of PoK as "Pakistan". Not Pakistan administered", but Pakistan. Hurts :(

Here is the Khunjerab Pass (PoK): the "top" of India, the border between India and China, but now Pakistan. 

A sign in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir - Source Twitter
Here is the Karakoram highway near Gilgit in India (PoK) and under construction somewhere in the mountains. It should be obvious by now that China does NOT want India to reclaim its land lost to Pakistan in 1947 and 1948 - the strategic Karakoram ranges in Gilgit-Baltistan area of Jammu and Kashmir. It is as simply as that!
Karakoram Highway in PoK part of Jammu and Kashmir state. Pics - Twitter

Here is the entire map of the Karakoram Highway from Kashgar to Rawalpindi. Look where all it passes through. 
Karakoram highway map. Source - Twitter
China owns Pakistan for most part today: CPEC and all associated stuff are called "China-Pakistan Friendship" something or the other. No friendship there. Just Chinese business. China is not doing business with Pakistan. It is running its business in Pakistan. It is running Pakistan. China pays for protection. If things get push to shove, China can tell US: "We will nationalize your businesses if you don't tell India to withdraw". What will we do? 

What we should first realize is that there is no Pakistan. There is only China. Pakistan is just a front. We should deal accordingly. It is in China's interest to keep Kashmir burning. If there is peace in the valley, India MIGHT set its eyes on PoK. Chinese know that India has a strong Prime Minister today who can think of that. China does not want India to even think of getting PoK back. Of course, China did not light the Kashmir fire, but it certainly looks like it is them who keeps it burning that no consensus is reached. So, in addition to water, religion, ego, demographics and so on there is one more reason behind the Kashmir unrest: China and CPEC. 

Is dialogue with Pakistan sensible? It is utter foolishness to think that in such a case we can resolve this through dialogue! We talk one thing while issue is another! Issue is NOT what we think is the issue! We and our govt should first understand this. I am sure they have. Hopefully they aren't helpless. China is waging a proxy-proxy-deceptive war which we cannot understand or prove or blame. We need to mobilize some other way.

War with Pakistan? Vadakkus said at the end - I am not generally not a warmonger, but this has gone too far. We should strike. Do something. I only wish something be done about those 17 Indian soldiers who were killed without any provocation. They didn't have to die. Take on both China and Pakistan. Maybe. Can we? I don't know what we should do. Hopefully our hands aren't tied and someone is coming up with a plan to hit them. Hopefully. 

Baluchistan's role: Why Pakistan got all worked up when India raised Balochistan? Gwadar is in Balochistan. Much of CPEC infra passes through Balochistan. The CPEC is China's hope at lifting its sagging economy and securing its strategic position in the region. Its future maybe depends on it. Karakoram- Hindukush- Pamir region since ancient times been strategically sensitive. The Silk Road. China wants control of the new Silk Road. If India were to take PoK we would squeeze the Karakoram Highway shut. No more CPEC, Silk Road. China done for. That is the whole game. Highways are primary military conduits rather than civilian. Whoever controls the highway controls the region. 

Ultimately.. Pakistan's ultimate aim is to establish an Islamic caliphate. Apart from this China helps them through CPEC.  You might disagree with Modi et al but please support the govt right now in whatever action it takes. Politicking can wait. Wait two more months before taking any harsh decisions. Things might change post November.

What do you think India should do now, after reading this fully?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Kaveri: Current Situation in Karnataka's Dams

Background: It is the second week of September 2016. A very bad week in south India. Lot of disturbance, violence, animosity etc. It is that season of the year where Supreme Court gets involved and Kaveri is a big topic. This year, it went way worse than the previous few years due to many reasons. 
  1. In 2012, I had written a comprehensive writeup on what is the Kaveri issue, what are the issues from Karnataka's side, what are the issues from Tamil Nadu's side, and how this can be solved in the long run - Kaveri River Water Sharing : What Are The Solutions? I had listed 10 solutions, based on what I read from experts. Now more solutions have come up too, like desalination. 
  2. In 2016, The same has been used in this better articulated Quora answer. - How can the Cauvery (Kaveri) river issue be solved?

For those who want long term solutions, and points of view from both states, please spend time in those links, and also check out references from each. You will learn a lot about actionable steps!

This analysis is Not for YOU: And those who are busy distributing violence videos, sarcastic or insulting memes, chest beating that Kaveri is only "ours", please continue doing that. Don't read this any further. Because my intention is not to discuss any point that is fruitless when it comes to final water sharing details. I am more focused on actual figures, statistics and actionable steps.

What is the water situation in Karnataka in September 2016? Now the rest of this writeup would be purely showing the water situation in Karnataka's Kaveri basin as of September 13th, 2016. This is fully using a fantastic analysis done by a Twitter user named V Vinay - @ainvvy . He calls himself a curious academic entrepreneur. Again, all the information provided from this point on wards, is only from Karnataka's dams, as I did not see any qualitative analysis or data from Tamil Nadu's dams. If you know, please share in the comments and I will update here.

Names of Dams: Mr. Vinay managed to download the daily inflow and reservoir levels at the 4 Karnataka dams: Harangi, Hemavati, KRS, and Kabini.

Water Measurements: Before getting into the data, we need to understand TMC and cusecs. For historical reasons, the measurement is in terms of cubic feet. 1 cubic feet is roughly 28.3 litres of water. cusec stands for cubic feet/second. Or as @sheksis joked, 28 Bisleri bottles/second... More relatable :)

What did Supreme Court say on 12th September 2016 in the modified order? 
The current SC order for example asks Karnataka (KA) to release 12,000 cubic feet of water every second. TMC is a thousand million cubic feet, which is a billion cubic feet of water. This is 1,000,000,000 = 109 = 1 billion cubic feet. Also, important to note that this has NO component of time involved here. It is just a measure of water. 

So if 10,000 cusecs of water is released for a day, it amounts to 0.86 TMC of water. 15K cusecs amounts to 1.3 TMC a day.

In Human usage terms: To get a sense for these numbers, how much of water is used for drinking, washing cloths, bathing etc. In other words how much water is needed for human in Indian terms, per day? It is usually taken to be about 100 Litres per person per day. This translates to a little over 3.5 cubic feet of water. Do not compare with other countries where more water is available per capita. @abhicrux said, 135 liters/person/day is used for standard hydraulic calculations. All uses included. Rural south India gets less than 100 liters today. So we will go with 100 liters on the average side per person, in a water starved south India. 

Drinking Water Needs of Karnataka's Kaveri basin: The estimated number of people in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mandya and other Kaveri basin areas is about 1.6 to 1.8 crores. This amounts to about 0.063 TMC of water a day. Let's call it drinking water, even though it is for other daily use purposes too. Essentially anything that is not related to irrigation which is the primary user of Kaveri water. Note that not all parts of Bengaluru get Kaveri water. This computation is only for the areas getting Kaveri today.

Taken over a year, it amounts to about 24 TMC of water. This is the water that the state needs to have to take care of drinking water needs. Of course, there will be losses of all sorts, so the figure is likely to be more like 35-40 TMC. Losses are usually in the form of evaporation loss, distribution loss and leakage from dams and pipes.

Water in Dams of Karnataka: Now let us get back to the 4 dams. Harangi has a storage capacity of 8 TMC, KRS in Mandya district has 45 TMC. This is the biggest and the most important reservoir in south Karnataka. Hemavati has 35 and Kabini has 16. That totals to about 104 TMC that can be stored MAX by Karnataka at any given point of time. With around 750 TMC of water estimated for Kaveri river as a whole in a good monsoon year, this is about 14% of Kaveri water that can be stored by Karnataka, at any point in dams.

This is the capacity. Current levels as of September 13th 2016 are at about 5 in Harangi and about 10 in the remaining three. They add up to 35 TMC in total across ALL dams in Karnataka on Kaveri basin. All these are computed with live storage of water without getting into dead storage analysis (which amounts to water that can't be released from dam at the bottom). An additional discharge at the current levels of 12000 cusecs to TN over the next 8 days will mean 8.3 TMC of water. Since some of the water will surely be released for other purposes, and with some inflow, the likely level in 8 days is 25 TMC. Again 25 TMC in total across ALL dams in Karnataka on Kaveri basin. This 25TMC is what we will have to survive with until June-July of 2017 when you will see south west monsoon filling in dams again. That is at least 9 full months with 25 TMC of water, if no further rains happen :(

What about farmers in Karnataka? Forget irrigation using above mentioned water levels. Farmers are screwed in Karnataka for this year! You need 100 to 150 TMC of water for irrigation for rest of the year in Karnataka. Not sure if they could even get one full crop this year, while Tamil Nadu is planning for the second crop now, and might get a third crop also early next year. This is the fundamental reason why Karnataka was burning for days in September 2016.

Dynamics of Dams and Inflow Analysis: Let’s look at the dynamics of the dams. Vinay's data starts from 2011. So we have about 5.5 years of data. Here is a table of the total inflow into various dams. Kabini has small capacity but matches Hemavati in inflow.
As you can see, Harangi and Hemavati sit behind KRS, while Kabini is ‘independent’ and joins later.

Keep in mind that some outflow from Hemavati can be inflow to KRS, etc. Vinay focuses on KRS and Kabini to look at the data more closely.

Here is Kabini. Most of the water in the months of June to September.
And then the inflow dies down. Look at September. This time we are done through about 10 days. And the inflow has been a mere 1.5 TMC!
Likewise, KRS dam near Mysuru, has got an inflow of 3.3 TMC for the first 10 days of this month. Will it hit 10 for the month?

Then Vinay plotted the reservoir level and inflow for KRS. This graph is revealing. Notice how the reservoir level shoot up at monsoon (where the inflow is heavy) and how it progressively decreases until the next. There are small inflows in between, but noting compared to what happens during the monsoon.
And notice the 2016 inflows and reservoir levels. It is quite pathetic. So the usual inflow after monsoon will also be limited this year. Usually, post September of any year, the inflows are about 25-30 TMC. We don’t see it happening this time. But we don’t have enough data to predict.

What's for Karnataka for rest of 2016 and first half of 2017? It is going to be a very tough year at this side of Karnataka. Farmers are already ditched for 2016. Drinking water might be barely sustained at the current storage levels, for the next 9 months. See above graphs and inflow analysis.

Vinay says that Tamil Nadu gets two monsoons and has better groundwater than Karnataka. Some people are disputing this two monsoon theory, but what Vinay means is that Tamil Nadu gets both South West and North East monsoons. Remember Chennai floods in 2015? That was the North East Monsoon season.

After reading this analysis, it became very clear why Karnataka farmers and Kaveri delta drinking water users, are absolutely outraged at the current situation of draining the remaining precious water from dams. Every TV channel in Karnataka is saying the same thing - We have no drinking water.. why are we being forced to leave the remaining water for growing 2nd crop in Tamil Nadu? Drinking water takes precedence over everything else when it comes to human needs. 

Any Suggestion for Politicians of TN and KA? The two states need to demonstrate better sense than landing in court every time there is a distress. Lack of sagacity is the problem. For those who say the Supreme Court would have ‘looked’ at the data and come to the conclusion, Vinay says, he does not know. These graphs don’t seem to suggest so…

There is more in the data, but Vinay says that he will take it up on some other day.  Vinay got all these data using a simple python program… shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes for a programmer to write.

Let's stop here, hoping wisdom prevails all around. I don't think a blog or set of tweets can change politics, courts or tribunal happenings, but this is only meant for common people like you and me, to understand the dire situation in Karnataka today.

Source of Data for Karnataka's dams and water levels:

I wish I could find similar data on Tamil Nadu's dams starting with Mettur for September 2016, to see how good or bad the situation is for Tamil Nadu farmers. Again, if you have similar data from TN, please do share.

Thanks again, Mr. Vinay for a classic analysis.