Modi's Kashmir Blunder: Wider Implications For India, Pakistan and the World

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reckless decision to unilaterally abrogate Article 370 of the Indian constitution has sent shockwaves across South Asia and the rest of the world. The immediate effect of this action is on Indian Occupied Kashmir which has lost its status as a state and stands divided into union territories directly ruled from New Delhi. It has wider implications for India's federal, secular and democratic constitutional structure.  It has sent alarm bells ringing in Indian states of Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Nagaland and Mizoram. It also threatens to escalate tensions between nuclear armed rivals India and Pakistan when the Kashmiri resistance turns violent and Modi falsely blames it on "cross-border terrorism". Nuclear confrontation in South Asia could result in deaths of billions of people across Asia, Africa, Europe and America. It is time for all sane Indians and the rest of the world to wake up to the serious threats posed to peace in South Asia region and the wider world, including China, by Mr. Modi's fascist Hindutva project.

Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir:

Regardless of Article 370, the region of of Jammu and Kashmir remains a disputed territory whose status must be resolved according to the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 47 (1948) and 80 (1950). India can not unilaterally alter its status without agreement with Pakistan and the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are are parties to it.  Any unilateral action by either India or Pakistan on Kashmir also violates the Simla Agreement which requires bilateral resolution of the disputed region.

Mr. Modi's actions are not only an affront to the people of Jammu and Kashmir but also in clear violation of India's international and bilateral obligations under United Nations charter and the Simla Accord. Annexation of Ladakh is also challenge to Chinese claims to it. 

China, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, lays claim to Ladakh region. It has objected to India making it a union territory.

Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's Pledge


Domestic Opposition in India:

Mr. Karan Singh, a member of Indian Rajya Sabha (upper house) and the son of Kashmiri Maharaja Hari Singh who "acceded" Jammu and Kashmir to India in 1947, has said that Kashmir is "not an internal matter" of India. Mr. Singh has insisted on restoration of the dialogue process with Pakistan.

“J&K’s relationship with the rest of India is guided by Article 370 and the State Constitution that I signed into law. We must realize that from the very beginning, J&K, rightly or wrongly, has been given a special position. Now [after] that special position from the original three subjects, there have been a whole series of developments — some may call them positive developments of integration, others may say negative developments of reducing autonomy,” Mr. Singh was quoted as saying by The Hindu.

Strongest reactions to Mr. Modi's decision to annul article 370 have come from top leaders in Indian Punjab and Tamil Nadu. It has inspired fear that the central government in Delhi could take control of any state, strip it of its statehood and impose direct rule without the consent of its people.

Former union minister P. Chidambaram called Modi's action a "cardinal blunder" and a "fatal legal error"."What you are doing today sends a very wrong signal to every state of country", he added.

Tamil Nadu's DMK party leader MK Stalin took to Twitter to condemn Modi's decision. “This is a dark day in the history of Indian federalism. I urge the President of India to not precipitate the situation and not take any further steps in this regard until a democratically elected Government is formed there. The DMK stands with its Kashmiri brothers and sisters and will oppose any assault on federal structure,” he said in a series of tweets.

Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh of Indian Punjab has denounced the revocation of 370 as “totally unconstitutional”. He tweeted that “the Constitution of India had been rewritten without following any legal provisions. Such a historic decision should not have been taken and pushed through in this arbitrary manner...This will set a bad precedent as it would mean that the Centre could reorganize any state in the country by simply imposing President’s rule.”

India-Pakistan Escalation:

Most of Kashmir has been under an unprecedented and extended lock-down. People are imprisoned in their homes for several days in a row. There is no Internet, telephone or television.

Eventually when the restrictions are eased, there will be large street protests which the Indian security forces will try to quell by force. When such protests turn violent,  Mr. Modi will cry "terrorism" and falsely accuse Pakistan of being behind it. There will be a familiar replay of the events of the past with Mr. Modi escalating conflict with Pakistan across the Line of Control in Kashmir.

Such escalations pose the danger of spiraling out of control and leading to a nuclear confrontation.

The West, particularly the United States and Canada, are geographically far removed from South Asia. This distance makes many think that any nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan would not have a significant impact on life in America and Europe. Dr. Owen Brian Toon and Professor Alan Robock dispute this thinking. They believe the nuclear winter following an India-Pakistan nuclear exchange will kill crops as far as the United States and cause a global famine. Another study by Nobel Peace Prize- winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and Physicians for Social Responsibility reached the same conclusion.

Professors Robock and Toon have calculated that the smoke from just 100-200 Hiroshima sized atomic bombs exploding in South Asia would cover the entire globe within two weeks. This smoke would hang 30-50 miles above the surface of the earth where it never rains. This thick layer of smoke would block the sun causing farmers to lose their crops for years to come. The resulting famine would kill billions of people around the globe.

It seems that the American leadership recognizes the devastating global impact of possible India-Pakistan nuclear war.  In "Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments U.S. Crisis Management in S...", Pakistani-American analyst Dr. Moeed Yusuf talks about the US efforts to prevent India-Pakistan war that could escalate into a full-scale nuclear exchange. He analyzes American diplomacy in three critical periods: Kargil conflict in 1999; the stand-off after the Indian Parliament attack in 2001 and the terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008.

Yusuf argues that the US-Soviet Cold War deterrence model does not apply to the India-Pakistan conflict and offers his theory of "brokered bargaining". In chapters that detail the US role during three India-Pakistan crises, it is clear that the US rejected India's insistence on bilateralism in resolving India-Pakistan disputes.  The author says that "in each episode, the concern about the escalation forced the United States to engage, largely unsolicited, and use a mix of rewards (or promises of) and punishments (or threats of) with the regional rivals to achieve de-escalation--ahead of its broader regional or policy interests."

Summary:

Indian Hindu Nationalist government of Prime Minister Modi's abrogation of Article 370 is in clear violation of the Indian constitution and international rules governing resolution of disputes between countries. It has wider implications for India's federal, secular and democratic constitutional structure. It has sent alarm bells ringing in Indian states of Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Nagaland and Mizoram. It also threatens to escalate tensions between nuclear armed rivals India and Pakistan when the Kashmiri resistance turns violent and Modi falsely blames it on "cross-border terrorism". Nuclear confrontation in South Asia could result in deaths of billions of people across Asia, Africa, Europe and America. It is time for all sane Indians and the rest of the world to wake up to the serious threats posed to peace in South Asia region and the wider world by Mr. Modi's fascist Hindutva project.

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Views: 455

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 6, 2019 at 7:12pm

#Nagaland leader Muivah wary of #India after #Kashmir status scrapped, says #NewDelhi's abrupt decision to revoke #Article370 'unacceptable'. Wants Nagalim to include all Naga-majority parts of #Manipur, #Assam, #ArunachalPradesh #Modi #Hindutva @AJENews https://aje.io/8pxhz

'Divisions among rebel ranks'
Alex Waterman, a research fellow at the University of Leeds, said that bilateral talks have suited New Delhi's interests.

"This meant the [Naga] parties were divided and couldn't bring combined clout to the negotiating table," he told Al Jazeera referring to divisions among rebel ranks.

"It also suited the NSCN-IM, as it has needed to be able to stake the claim that its peace process is the only legitimate one to fend off rival factions and consolidate its 'government' in its areas of influence."

But now, Muivah alleges, the government has gone back on its commitment.

Despite repeated requests, government interlocutor and current Nagaland Governor RN Ravi declined to give a comment to Al Jazeera.

On the face of it, NSCN-IM demand for an integrated Nagalim goes head to head with Modi's vision of "one nation one constitution".

Soon after independence from Britain in 1947, India integrated about 500 provinces and princely states but some of them joined on the condition that they would be accorded special rights. Hence India's constitution guaranteed limited autonomy to some northeast states as well as disputed Kashmir region.

Senior journalist Bharat Bhushan says the Modi government is "keen on forging India as a unitary state".

"Our federalism is asymmetric as there are special constitutional provisions for different states. However, keen on forging India as a unitary state, the present political dispensation in Delhi seeks uniformity in dealing with all the states of the union in the same manner," he told Al Jazeera.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 27, 2019 at 9:48am

Aakarvani : World is taking note that new India is not living up to its image. #Modi wants to screw #minorities with the entire #Indian polity from #government to #judiciary playing along but still wants to retain #India's image as tolerant and peaceful. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/aakarvani/world-is-taking...
Happenings in America expose a fundamental hypocrisy about this new India of ours. We want to screw over our minorities but also want to retain our image as tolerant and peaceful. This is not going to be possible unfortunately, given the transparency and viciousness with which we are going about our atrocities. With the entire Indian polity from government to judiciary playing along, it is only natural that the world will observe and object.

India’s response after the shellacking we received in the US Congress on the issues of Assam and Kashmir was predictably defensive and petty. In pushing back against the accusation that we were manhandling our own people, the foreign ministry moaned about cross border terrorism and whined about Pakistan not getting criticised sufficiently. And then we strut about the world pretending to be a great power.

It was excruciating to watch the studied clarity with which the American legislators arrived at an understanding of what India was doing to Muslims in Assam. The national register of citizens (NRC) was aimed at identifying who was not Indian? Correct. The absolute requirement was a full set of documents? Correct. The burden of proof for this was on the individual and not the state? Correct. Those who were suspected to be without them were locked up by India in concentration camps? Correct. There was a law that specifically excluded all but Muslims from these jails? Correct. Was it a “crackpot” idea or a serious legislation? It was a serious legislation.

Even the bureaucrats of the Trump administration, wheeled out to defend India against this reckless slander from the liberals, found it impossible to. This is how the Citizenship Amendment Bill — which excludes only South Asia’s Muslims from getting Indian citizenship while offering it by default to Hindus, Sikhs and others — was discussed in a report. The co-chair of the India caucus (India’s friend) Brad Sherman commented that “human rights abuse doesn’t cease to be human rights abuse just because it is consistent with law”.

He then sought a clarification whether there was a Bill in the Indian Parliament that seeks to discriminate against Muslims on the issue of citizenship.

Assistant secretary Robert Destro acknowledged that the Bill gave a presumption of citizenship to all religious groups but leaves Muslims out. “Is this a serious legislative proposal or just a crackpot idea going nowhere?” an astonished Sherman asked. Destro said that it was indeed “a serious legislative proposal”, but “thankfully, it is not going through the Upper House”.

Sherman demanded to know whether the US had condemned the concept of defining someone’s legal rights obligations based on their religion. To this Destro replied that “we are doing it right here. This is a good opportunity to do it.”

Destro commented that most religious groups are not discriminated against, but there was pressure to make special rules for Muslims for which US administration was “calling them out”. “India’s Constitution provides for secularism and we want the same to continue,” he added. And there were other equally damaging revelations about what we were doing to Kashmiris.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 2, 2019 at 10:37pm

Narendra Modi’s India
The Prime Minister’s Hindu-nationalist government has cast two hundred million Muslims as internal enemies.
By Dexter Filkins

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/12/09/blood-and-soil-in-nar...


When (Rana) Ayyub and the photographer were detained at the hospital in Srinagar, I found a hiding place across the street, screened by a wall and a fruit vender; Ayyub would have faced serious repercussions if she was found to have snuck in a foreigner. After about an hour, they emerged. Ayyub said that an intelligence officer had questioned them intently, then released them with an admonition: “Don’t come back.”

The next morning, we drove to the village of Parigam, near the site of the suicide attack that prompted Modi’s air strikes against Pakistan. We’d heard that Indian security forces had swept through the town and detained several men. The insurgency has broad support in the villages outside the capital, and the road to Parigam was marked by the sandbags and razor wire of Indian Army checkpoints. For most of the way, the roads were otherwise deserted.

In the village, Ayyub stopped the car to chat with locals. Within a few minutes, she’d figured out whom we should talk to first: Shabbir Ahmed, the proprietor of a local bakery. We found him sitting cross-legged on his porch, shelling almonds into a huge pile. In interviews, Ayyub slows down from her usual debate-team pace; she took a spot on the porch as if she had dropped by for a visit. Ahmed, who is fifty-five, told her that, during the sweeps, an armored vehicle rumbled up to his home just past midnight one night. A dozen soldiers from the Rashtriya Rifles, an élite counter-insurgency unit of the Indian Army, rushed out and began smashing his windows. When Ahmed and his two sons came outside, he said, the soldiers hauled the young men into the street and began beating them. “I was screaming for help, but nobody came out,” Ahmed said. “Everyone was too afraid.”

Ahmed’s sons joined us on the porch. One of them, Muzaffar, said that the soldiers had been enraged by young people who throw rocks at their patrols. They dragged Muzaffar down the street toward a mosque. “Throw stones at the mosque like you throw stones at us,” one of the soldiers commanded him.

Muzaffar said that he and his brother, Ali, were taken to a local base, where the soldiers shackled them to chairs and beat them with bamboo rods. “They kept asking me, ‘Do you know any stone throwers?’—and I kept saying I don’t know any, but they kept beating me,” he said. When Muzaffar fainted, he said, a soldier attached electrodes to his legs and stomach and jolted him with an electrical current. Muzaffar rolled up his pants to reveal patches of burned skin on the back of his leg. It went on like that for some time, he said: he would pass out, and when he regained consciousness the beating started again. “My body was going into spasms,” he said, and began to cry.

After Muzaffar and Ali were released, their father took them to the local hospital. “They have broken my bones,” Muzaffar said. “I can no longer prostrate myself before God.”

It was impossible to verify the brothers’ tale, but, as with many accounts that Ayyub and I heard in the valley, the anguish was persuasive. “I am a slightly more civilized version of these people,” Ayyub told me. “I see what’s happening—with the propaganda, with the lies, what the government is doing to people. Their issues are way more extensive—their lives. But I have everything in common with these people. I feel their pain.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 26, 2020 at 7:49am

#Pakistan factor behind #India-#China stand-off in #Ladakh. “There appears to have been a strategic shift in Chinese thinking after India abrogated Sections of Article 370 last year... Pakistan has become exceptionally important to China.." #CPEC The Hindu https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pakistan-factor-behind-india...


China’s heightened concerns over Aksai Chin and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is routed, in part, through Gilgit-Baltistan, may have set the backdrop for the ongoing stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh.

“There appears to have been a strategic shift in Chinese thinking after India abrogated Sections of Article 370 last year and created the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. India has always claimed Aksai Chin, but the issue appears to have been re-interpreted in China after the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was revoked,” says P. Stobdan, former ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, who specialises in trans-Himalayan studies.

Mr. Stobdan added that the CPEC — China’s strategic pathway to the Indian Ocean — which passes through Gilgit-Baltistan — has emerged as an entirely new factor, reinforcing and clubbing the already strong security relationship between China and Pakistan. “Pakistan has become exceptionally important to China as CPEC — which gives access to Gwadar port and helps Beijing reduce its vulnerability on the Americans who dominate Malacca Strait — is the gateway governing China’s international trade. The CPEC has imparted game-changing strategic ballast to the Sino-Pak relationship.”

The CPEC is “too big to fail,” as China has already staked its prestige in the enterprise, which has been showcased as the flagship of the Beijing-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The CPEC plan was robustly challenged in the aftermath of the August 5 change in the status quo in Jammu and Kashmir, which covers Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), including Gilgit-Baltistan, on the corridor’s route. Speaking in the Lok Sabha on August 6 last year, Home Minister Amit Shah unambiguously nailed India’s claims over PoK and Aksai Chin.

“Kashmir is an integral part of India, there is no doubt over it. When I talk about Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin are included in it,” he said. For the record, Mr. Shah was echoing a February 1994 unanimous Parliament resolution that categorically stated that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India, and that Pakistan must vacate parts of the State under its occupation. Besides, a Parliament resolution passed on November 14, 1962, commits India to recover Aksai Chin and other areas of J&K occupied/annexed by China.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 10, 2020 at 11:02am

#Trump’s embrace of #Modi stokes India-China stand-off in #Ladakh. #India-#American analyst Ashley Tellis: "They #Chinese) think India is uppity, they think India is punching above its weight and they want to bring it down a notch or 2" https://www.ft.com/content/dd253671-ee10-4e51-b9c0-c3fa9c2134e4 via @financialtimes

The flare-up comes at a time of growing Chinese assertiveness, with Beijing stamping its dominance over Hong Kong and the South China Sea. Analysts said the confrontation in Ladakh reflected Beijing’s growing sense of grievance towards India, and its desire to reinforce New Delhi’s subordinate status.

“They think India is uppity, they think India is punching above its weight and they want to bring it down a notch or two,” said Ashley Tellis, an expert on Asian strategic competition at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. “They decided that they are going to punch India in the nose.”

New Delhi recently imposed blunt restrictions on Chinese investment in the country, and has been drawing ever closer to countries that Beijing considers hostile. Mr Trump’s invitation to India to participate in the upcoming G7 meeting drew scathing comment from the Global Times, a nationalistic Chinese tabloid.

“India has been active in many of US plans that target China,” Liu Zongyi, a South Asia expert at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told the newspaper. “If India hastily joins a small circle that perceives China as an imaginary enemy, China-India relations will deteriorate.”

The border crisis has generated plenty of angst in New Delhi. According to independent Indian security analysts, India’s cancellation of its spring military training exercises in Ladakh due to coronavirus gave People’s Liberation Army troops the ideal opportunity to seize several positions long claimed and patrolled by India.


Indian army trucks near Pangong Lake. New Delhi has been trying to upgrade roads and military infrastructure on its side of the border © Manish Swarup/AP
Turf now held by Chinese soldiers includes positions in the Galwan Valley that overlook a new Indian highway built to supply New Delhi’s most forward military base at Daulat Beg Oldi.

“The Chinese have presented a fait accompli to India, and they are deeply entrenched and sitting pretty in vantage locations overlooking the highway, which is now in easy artillery range of the PLA,” said Brahma Chellaney, a professor of strategic studies at New Delhi’s Centre for Policy Research.

China has not elaborated on the nature of the conflict, but last week Beijing permitted violent imagery from the Himalayas to pulse through the country’s highly censored social media networks. Posts labelled China-India border conflict have been viewed tens of millions of times.

The Global Times recently listed Beijing’s military hardware in the disputed region, including tanks, helicopters and drones, and quoted Chinese analysts who said the equipment “should give China the advantage in high-altitude conflicts should they arise”.

Anxious about a domestic backlash, New Delhi has publicly denied that Chinese troops have encroached on Indian-claimed territory. But a government official told the Financial Times that Chinese troops were “closer to our side of the line of actual control than they were two months ago”.





New Delhi is braced for a long stand-off. “There is a change in the status quo — the Chinese have changed their position and they have to go back,” the official said. But analysts are sceptical about New Delhi’s prospects of dislodging the Chinese troops without big concessions.

India has been working steadily to upgrade the roads and military infrastructure on its side of the border, which was traditionally far less developed than what China had built in its territory.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 10, 2020 at 3:37pm

Here's Why All's Not Well for India on the Ladakh Front
The Chinese have created new facts on the ground and pushed the Indian political leadership to react in ways that will further disadvantage the Indian military.

https://thewire.in/diplomacy/heres-why-alls-not-well-for-india-on-t...

Held in August and September (close to border with north Ladakh), the month-long Shaheen-VIII (China-Pakistan) joint exercise was reportedly most advanced. According to PLA commander, Xin Xin,

“The Shaheen series joint exercises started as one-on-one dog fight, but now it has evolved into systematic mock battles featuring more war planes, multiple military branches which include ground forces that deploy missiles and electronic counter-measures.”

Another commentary on this exercise noted that there were two opposing teams: Red team comprising the PLA Air Force, and Blue team constituted of PLAAF and Pakistan Air Force. The scope of such exercise does not require elaboration.

What could be the strategic, political, military and diplomatic objectives of the likely joint combat?

The Pakistan Army’s strategic objective for a localised war in north Ladakh could be to provide depth to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC);
The political objective could be to make India’s hold over the Kashmir Valley more tenuous;
The military objective could be to force the Indian Army out of the Siachen Glacier; and
The diplomatic objective could be to draw the international community’s attention to the possibility of a full-scale war between adversaries with nuclear weapons.
China is likely to endorse the above war objectives, as well as its participation with a caveat: the PLA will not use its kinetic war capabilities until attacked by the Indian military.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 12, 2020 at 10:37am

#China Government Think Tank CICIR Scholar: #India's revocation of Article 370 "has posed a challenge to the sovereignty of Pakistan and China and made the India-Pakistan relations and China-India relations more complex" #Kashmir #Pakistan #Ladakh #Beijing http://en.ce.cn/main/latest/202006/11/t20200611_35104226.shtml

On August 5, 2019, the Indian government announced the abolition of Article 370 of the Constitution which granted special status to Indian-administered Kashmir, the former state of Jammu and Kashmir, and the establishment of two union territories, "Jammu and Kashmir" and "Ladakh." India's unilateral move to change the status quo of Kashmir constitutes a serious threat to regional peace and stability.

First, this has posed a challenge to the sovereignty of Pakistan and China and made the India-Pakistan relations and China-India relations more complex.

For Pakistan, the ownership of Kashmir is a matter of the very foundation for building Pakistan. Pakistan was founded as "the home of Muslims in South Asia" and Kashmir is an area with a majority Muslim population, so the Pakistan side believes Kashmir is supposed to be one part of its territory. The whole of Pakistan was seething with anger over India's unilateral move to change the status quo of Indian-administered Kashmir. The Indian and Pakistani troops made separate platoon deployment near the Kashmir Line of Control, with the high-intensity confrontation lasting until now.

The Pakistani authorities, meanwhile, made frequent requests for the international community to keep a close watch and intervene on the Kashmir issue. More specifically, it accused the Indian authorities of massive human-rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir, which seriously affected India's image globally.

On the Chinese side, India "opened up new territory on the map," incorporated part of the areas under the local jurisdiction of Xinjiang and Tibet into its Ladakh union territory, and placed Pakistani-administered Kashmir within its so-called union territories of Jammu and Kashmir. This forced China into the Kashmir dispute, stimulated China and Pakistan to take counter-actions on the Kashmir issue, and dramatically increased the difficulty in resolving the border issue between China and India.

Just as what Mr. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister, mentioned in his meeting with Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India's moves challenged China's sovereign rights and interests and violated the agreement on maintaining peace and tranquility in the border areas between the two countries. The Chinese side was seriously concerned about this. India's moves will have no effect on the Chinese side, nor will they change the fact that China exercises sovereignty over relevant territories and the status quo that China exercises effective jurisdiction.

Secondly, India used domestic legislation to deny the U.N.'s designation of Kashmir as a disputed region. The U.N. initiated active mediation over the war between India and Pakistan due to the ownership of Kashmir in 1947 and adopted resolutions 38, 39, 47 and 51 in the year 1948 alone, followed by several other resolutions.

The above resolutions suggest that the U.N. recognizes Kashmir as a region with undetermined status and that Kashmir is a disputed territory recognized by the international community. India substantially changed the status of Indian-administered Kashmir with domestic legislation and treated it as a general domestic provincial state unit. Such a unilateral move obviously violated the U.N. resolutions, but also altered Kashmir's status quo.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 3, 2020 at 9:57am

#India’s poor politico-strategic choices. #Modi is in a bind after major blunders in #Kashmir. #Ladakh #Galwan #China #Pakistan https://www.thefridaytimes.com/indias-poor-politico-strategic-choices/

Recently, some in the Indian commentariat have begun talking about India facing a two-and-half front conflict situation. Strictly speaking, this is not new. We first heard the phrase in June 2017, just days before the Doklam standoff between India and China.

It was a comment by then-Indian army chief, now Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat. Rawat was speaking to the media. “The Indian Army is fully ready for a two-and-a-half front (China, Pakistan and internal security requirements simultaneously) war,” he was quoted as saying. He also talked about the 17 Mountain Strike Corps being raised from the scratch, as he put it. This Corps is meant specifically for offensive operations against China.

At the time his statement drew many comments in India. Most analysts looked at India’s previous conflicts and determined that politico-military objectives are best gained when a state can focus on a single threat and neutralise it. Two or more fronts, even for a strong state, can be problematic. Resources, both in men and war materials, get divided; logistics can become a nightmare; focus is lost in planning for more than one front at the tactical, theatre and strategic levels; diplomatic space is shrunk when a state is fighting more than one adversary and so on.

Three years from Rawat’s June 2017 statement, India thinks it faces the same situation again. The difference is that unlike the Doklam standoff, the current Sino-India face-off in Eastern Ladakh’s high-altitude barren heights and valleys has drawn blood, Indian blood, while the Chinese army sits comfortably on its gains. India is in a quandary. Despite Rawat’s boast, India doesn’t have many military options against China, not just in a land war scenario but also, as explained in detail by Pravin Sawhney, a former Indian army officer and now Editor of Force Magazine, across the full spectrum of military conflict.


At the Line of Control against Pakistan Army, ceasefire violations continue, however. That said, here too the Indian Army and more notably Indian Air Force know since February 27, 2019, that a misadventure would be costly. It would have been costlier on that morning if the Pakistan Air Force strike package, under directions from the government, had not shown restraint. PAF dominated the skies and controlled communications. Such was the confusion that the air defence unit near Srinagar shot down an Indian Air Force Mi-17 V-5 helicopter belonging to the Srinagar-based No 154 Helicopter Unit. That fratricidal action was even worse than losing a MiG to PAF.

Corollary: the China front is a militarily hopeless situation for India; the Pakistan front is a costly venture. As for Rawat’s half front, the internal security situation, people in the Occupied and now illegally annexed Jammu and Kashmir despise India to the last man and child. Despite a lockdown since August 5, 2019 and incarcerating thousands across jails in India, India has failed to break the spirit of Kashmiris. That front is already lost, unless Rawat, now at the top of the military pecking order as CDS, thinks that killing, maiming, arresting and torturing Kashmiris is a benchmark of success.


------------
India’s trade volume with China stands at USD86 billion with much greater potential. It could have a peaceful South Asia and trade relations with Pakistan and beyond if it decided to work with Pakistan and China in a cooperative rather than a conflictual framework. But no, it won’t do that. After making poor choices it would double down on them, giving Rawat his misplaced two-and-half-front conflict scenario. If that is not stupid, I don’t know what is.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 16, 2020 at 10:55am

ICRA Sees #India's Real #GDP Shrink By Almost Double Digits In FY21. Rating agency now expects FY21 GDP to contract by 9.5%, a sharp downward revision from earlier forecast of 5% decline. Why: Rising #Covid19 and local lockdowns. #Modi https://www.bloombergquint.com/business/icra-sees-india-real-gdp-co... Via @Bloombergquint

ICRA Ltd. has sharply cut its forecast for the Indian economy in FY21, citing localised lockdowns and rising Covid-19 cases. Its forecast is now the most pessimistic among major institutional forecasters.

The rating agency now expects FY21 real GDP to contract by 9.5%, a sharp downward revision of its earlier forecast of a 5% contraction. The climbing Covid-19 infections have resulted in a spate of localised lockdowns in some states and cities, arresting the nascent recovery that had set in during May-June 2020, it said in a statement on Thursday.

“The Indian economy had started to recover from the troughs experienced in April 2020, when the lockdown was at its severest, and many sectors seemed to be adjusting to a new normal. However, the unabated rise in Covid-19 infections in the unlock phase and re-imposition of localised lockdowns in several states, appear to have interrupted this recovery,” said Aditi Nayar, principal economist at ICRA.

Given the severity of the pandemic and the duration of the safety measures that need to be employed, we now expect a deeper pace of GDP contraction in Q2 FY21 relative to our earlier forecast, ICRA said. The agency said the economic impact would also be more uneven, as different regions move in and out of lockdowns and persisting labour supply mismatches affect supply chains and consumption patterns.

India recorded nearly 32,000 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday with the total number of cases rising to 9.6 lakh.

As a result of the spreading infections, economists, who were earlier anticipating the economic recovery to begin in the second quarter and strengthen in the third quarter, are now revisiting that assumption.

The timeline for a firmer recovery out of the contractionary phase is now being pushed ahead to at least Q4 FY21 from Q3 FY21. This presumes that a vaccine will be widely available by then, which now appears necessary for discretionary consumption to recover in certain sectors such as travel, hospitality and recreation.
Aditi Nayar, Principal Economist, ICRA
Also Read: Covid-19: Shape Of India’s Economic Recovery Goes From V To W-ish

ICRA expects the Indian economy to have contracted by 25% in Q1 FY2021. It now expects a shallower recovery in subsequent quarters than estimated earlier.

GDP is estimated to contract by 12.4% in Q2 FY21 as compared to a contraction of 2.1% estimated earlier.
GDP is estimated to contract by 2.3% in Q3 FY21, compared to an earlier estimate of GDP growth at 2.1%.
GDP forecast for Q4 FY21 too has been revised to a growth rate of 1.3% from 5% as per ICRA’s previous estimates.
The agency, however, does expect the rural economy to remain a bright spot. High frequency indicators in the rural economy such as kharif acreage and tractor sales continue to strengthen. “ICRA, thus, continues to expect agricultural gross value added to rise by 3.5-4.0% in FY21, supporting rural sentiment,” it said.

Despite the revised GDP forecasts, ICRA said it doesn’t see significant fiscal support due to the revenue pressures being faced by various levels of government.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 24, 2021 at 12:02pm

From Hindustan Times:

#China reiterates support for #Pakistan in its dispute over #Kashmir with #India, saying it opposes any unilateral action which could complicate the situation. #Article370 #Modi #BJP #Hindutva #Ladakh https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/china-reiterates-support-...

China on Saturday reiterated its support to Pakistan on its dispute over Kashmir with India, saying it opposes any unilateral action which could complicate the situation in the Indian union territory at the centre of the conflict between New Delhi and Islamabad.

The situation in Kashmir was among several issues, likely topped by the death of nine Chinese personnel in a bomb blast in Dasu in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan earlier this month, discussed at a meeting between Chinese state councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi and Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held in Chengdu in southwest China on Saturday.

BONDING OVER KASHMIR

“The Pakistani side briefed the Chinese side on the deteriorating situation in Jammu & Kashmir, including its concerns, position and current urgent issues,” a China-Pakistan joint statement issued after the meeting said.

The joint statement was first posted on the Pakistan foreign ministry website.

“The Chinese side reiterated that the Kashmir issue is a dispute left over from history between India and Pakistan, which is an objective fact, and that the dispute should be resolved peacefully and properly through the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. China opposes any unilateral actions that complicate the situation,” the statement said.

China and Pakistan had voiced their strong opposition after the state of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in August, 2019.

“Both sides underscored that a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous South Asia was in the common interest of all countries. Both sides agreed on the need to settle disputes and issues in the region through dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” the statement said.

China also reiterated its “…firm support to Pakistan in safeguarding its territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence…”.

India had earlier rejected the reference to Kashmir by China and Pakistan, saying: “The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India and we expect the parties concerned not to interfere in matters that are internal affairs of India.”

REMAINS OF 9 CHINESE NATIONALS RETURN HOME

Qureshi and the head of Pakistan’s ISI chief, Faiz Hameed had rushed to China on Friday a week after the attack in Dasu.

Their visit has been linked to Islamabad’s efforts to assuage “iron brother” China that it will do more to protect Beijing’s wide-ranging interests, projects and Chinese personnel in Pakistan.

Remains of the nine Chinese personnel killed in the attack were returned to China in a chartered flight on Friday, hours after the two top Pakistani officials landed here for talks.

“The Pakistan side conveyed its profound condolences and sympathies to the bereaved families, emphasised that the sacrifices of Chinese nationals would not be in vain, and that China-Pakistan partnership would emerge stronger through this test,” the joint statement said.

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