Night Watch

India: Update: On Saturday, 16 November, Defence Minister Antony commissioned the fully refurbished aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov as India's second aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, in Severodvinsk, Russia.

Comment: India is at a decision point involving its sense of identity. The two aircraft carrier fleet is one of several metaphors for a great power vision of India's role in international affairs. Other metaphors also are military connected, including acquisition of intercontinental supersonic bombers and intercontinental ballistic missile forces. India has not yet made the decision about its leadership role past 2025.

India does not yet have the economy to support the role of a great power, but it is achievable with political and economic will. The need for a strategic decision is not yet pressing, but the discussion continues. The Indian Navy does not yet have two carrier task groups, but expects to have them after 2018 when the first Indian-built 45,000 ton carrier is in service.

Pakistan: Pakistan's Supreme Court said the government formally started the process to try former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf for treason. The court said the government sent a letter Monday asking Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to choose three high court judges to try Musharraf.

According to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, "the government had asked the Supreme Court to establish a special panel to try General Musharraf on accusations that he subverted the Constitution in late 2007 when he imposed emergency rule and fired much of the judiciary."

Comment: In a separate court proceeding, Musharraf has requested permission to travel to Dubai to visit his ailing mother. He might be allowed to go. This would create conditions potentially for Musharraf to be tried in absentia.

As mentioned in previous editions, Prime Minister Sharif and Chief Justice Chaudhry have personal reasons for bringing Musharraf to trial. Musharraf is the constitutional usurper who ousted Prime Minister Sharif in his 1999 coup d'etat.

Musharraf in 2007 declared an emergency on his own authority during which he suspended the constitution and had Chief Justice Chaudhry arrested, shortly after Chaudhry and the Supreme Court declared Musharraf's actions unconstitutional. Musharraf is prima facie a constitutional criminal.

Night Watch

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