India-Iran-Afghanistan Axis Against Pakistan?

A JIT (Joint Investigation Team) report recently released by Sindh government in Pakistan has revealed that the infamous Karachi gangster Uzair Baloch worked for Iranian intelligence. Apparently, Uzair Baloch was also in contact with Indian intelligence agents working in Iran, according to Indian media reports. Baloch's interrogation led to the discovery and arrest of Indian undercover agent Kulbhushan Jadhav in Balochistan shortly after Baloch's arrest. Kulbhushan Jadhav has confessed to orchestrating deadly terror attacks in Balochistan and Karachi.

He has said that India's RAW funneled money through Indian consulates in Jalalabad, Kandhar (Afghanistan) and  Zahidan (Iran) to BLA and TTP for terror attacks in Balochistan and Karachi. Targets of terror attacks included people, mosques, roads, port and Balochistan's Hazara Shia community. 

L to R: Indian Prime Minister Modi, Iranian President Rouhani and Afghan President Ghani

Chabahar vs Gwadar:

Chabahar is a port being constructed by Indians in Iran. The stated goal of this project is to bypass Pakistan for India's trade with Afghanistan and Central Asia via Iran. Indian media have promoted Chabahar as a competitor to Gwadar Port which is a part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).  Indian government is openly hostile to CPEC and declared support for Baloch insurgents.  The leaders of Afghanistan, India and Iran have held regular summit meetings to promote Chabahar port project.

4,000 Indians in Chabahar:

There are 4,000 Indians working in Chabahar, Iran, according to Indian journalist Karan Thapar. Some of them, like Kulbhushan Jadhav, work undercover for Indian intelligence agency RAW.  It is hard to believe that the Iranian intelligence is not aware of the presence of undercover Indian agents among the 4,000 Indians working in Chabahar. After all, Jadhav had two passports, one in his own name and another in the name of Hussein Mubarak Patel. The Indian Express and Asian Age, both Indian publications, suggest that Jadhav had links with Uzair Baloch who has been convicted by for working for the Iranian intelligence in Pakistan.  Kulbhushan Jadhav has confessed to orchestrating deadly terror attacks in Balochistan and Karachi. He has said that India's RAW funneled money through Indian consulates in Jalalabad, Kandhar (Afghanistan) and  Zahidan (Iran) to BLA and TTP for terror attacks in Balochistan and Karachi. Targets of terror attacks included people, mosques, roads, port and Balochistan's Hazara Shia community. 

Pakistan's Complaint to Iran:

Paskistan has complained to Iran about allowing Baloch insurgents to use Iranian territory to launch terrorist attacks in Pakistan after an attack  killed 14 people along Pakistan’s coast in 2019, according to Reuters.

“The training camps and logistical camps of this new alliance...are inside the Iranian border region,” Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters in Islamabad. Qureshi said he has spoken to his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and conveyed to him the “anger of Pakistani nation”.

Karachi Stock Market Attack:

Four terrorists belonging to Baloch Liberation Army attacked the Pakistani stock exchange in Karachi on June 29, 2020, killing two guards and a policeman and wounding seven others before being shot dead. Pakistan believes that the attackers came from southeastern Afghanistan where they enjoy safe havens with the support of intelligence agencies like Afghan NDS and Indian RAW.

Qasem Soleimani:

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) commander General Qasem Soleimani who was assassinated by the United States in drone strike was particularly hostile toward Pakistan. In February, 2019, Soleimani threatened Pakistan. He boasted about Iran's "independent power and honor". Soleimani, known to be close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khanenai, reportedly had serious policy disagreement with the Rouhani government.  He said:

"I warn you not to test Iran and anyone who has tested Iran has received firm response. We are speaking to Pakistan with a friendly tone and we are telling that country not to allow their borders to become a source of insecurity for the neighboring countries..... Iran enjoys independent power and honor. Some countries have wealth, but no prowess. Trump tells the Al-Saud that if it hadn't been for the US support, Saudi Arabia would not have survived and Saudi Arabia's coalitions in the region have all ended in failure."

Soleimani's tone in this message to Pakistan is anything but "friendly".

Summary:

Recent release of Sindh government report reveals that Karachi gangster Uzair Baloch spied for Iran in Pakistan.  There are 4,000 Indians working in Chabahar, Iran, according to Indian journalist Karan Thapar. Some of them, like Kulbhushan Jadhav, work undercover for Indian intelligence agency RAW.  Chabahar is a port being constructed by Indians in Iran. The stated goal of this project is to bypass Pakistan for India's trade with Afghanistan and Central Asia via Iran. Indian media have promoted Chabahar as a competitor to Gwadar Port which is a part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The Indian Express and Asian Age, both Indian publications, suggest that Jadhav had links with Uzair Baloch.  Kulbhushan Jadhav has confessed to orchestrating deadly terror attacks in Balochistan and Karachi. He has said that India's RAW funneled money through Indian consulates in Jalalabad, Kandhar (Afghanistan) and  Zahidan (Iran) to BLA and TTP for terror attacks in Balochistan and Karachi. Targets of terror attacks included people, mosques, roads, port and Balochistan's Hazara Shia community. 

Here's Kulbhushan Jadhav's confession video:

https://youtu.be/nVp62OinTeU

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

General Soleimani's Hardline Against Pakistan

Iran-Pakistan Ties

Iran's Chabahar and Pakistan's Gwadar Ports

Indian RAW Agent Kulbhushan Jhadav Used Chabahar

Iran-Saudi Conflict

Pakistan's Nuclear Program

Iran Nuclear Deal

1971 India-Pakistan War

Chabahar vs Gwadar Ports

Did America Contribute to the Rise of ISIS?

Riaz Haq's YouTube Channel

PakAlumni Social Network

Views: 69

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 10, 2020 at 6:43pm

Jadhav: "...while crossing over into Pakistan I travelled all the way from Chahbahar in a private Taxi along with Rakesh to the Iranian-Pakistan border near Sarawan. From wherein I crossed into Pakistan along with Baloch Sub Nationals and after about an hour or so I was apprehended by the Pakistani authorities in Pakistan...........Research and Analysis Wing through Mr Anil Kumar has been abetting and financing and sponsoring a lot of activities within Balochistan and Sindh. The entire Hundi and Hawala operations are undertaken from Delhi and Mumbai via Dubai into Pakistan and during one such important transaction was the 40,000 dollars which was transferred to Baloch sub Nationals via Dubai. Also the finances which are coming into Balochistan and Sindh for various anti-national activities are coming through consulates in Jalalabad and Kandhar and the Consulate in Zahidan. These are very important consulates which are used by Research and Analysis Wing to transfer dollars into the Balochistan movement. And one such instance was where I was directly involved and I was observing the transaction was when 40,000 Dollars were recently transferred from India via Dubai to one such Baloch National operative within Pakistan. Research and Analysis Wing and Mr Anil Kumar on behalf of RAW had been sponsoring regularly the various terrorist activities within Pakistan. Especially Hazara Muslims, Shia Muslims who move around on pilgrimage between Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan were basically to be targeted and killed. They were already being done, it was being done but the level had to be raised to the very high level so that the movement completely stops. Then the targets on various workers of FWO who were conducting construction of various roads within Balochistan and the third major activity was the IED attacks which were being carried out by the Baloch sub nationals within Quetta, Turbat or various other cities of Balochistan.They were being directly sponsored by RAW. Mr Anil Kumar has been sponsoring sectarian violence across Sindh and Balochistan and also sponsoring various assassinations across this same region so that instability or some kind of fear is set into the mindsets of the people of Pakistan, and in one such process SSP Chaudhary was assassinated. This was a direct mention by Mr Anil Kumar to me. The various financing which subsequently happened for the TTP and various other Afghan anti Pakistani terrorist groups led to the attack by TTP on one of the Mehran Naval Bases in which a lot of damage was cost to the Pakistani Navy. Other sort of radar installation attack, the Sui pipeline gas attack, then attacks on civilian bus Stations where some I suppose Pakistani Nationals were being targeted by Sub Nationals and murdered and massacred so that a sort of disruption in the CPEC is done that was being funded and directly supported by Mr Anil Kumar. He wanted it to be raised to the next level so that complete disruption and complete stoppage of the Economic corridor between Gwadar and China is achieved. One of the operations which was being planned by RAW officials along with Baloch insurgents was a military style attack on Zahidan Pakistani consulate. The aim was to either attack it with a grenade or some kind of RPG or IED attack or then try to harm the consulate General or some kind of vicious attack on the Pakistani consulate in Zahidan. It was being militarily planned, the RAW officials were involved in Iran and the Baloch Sub Nationals who were supposed to carry out the attack or facilitate the entire process were being involved and I was well aware of the plan which was being conducted and how it was being planned. RAW was sponsoring the setting up of the modern website, a new website which was being already run through Nepal which the Balochistan movement was carrying on, on the Cyber world and the creation of the website, the previous maintenance of the already existing website was being handled by the Research and Analysis wing from Nepal, Kathmandu which was luring people from within Pakistan for various activities to be carried out in the future. ........... Today I genuinely after the time having spent in Pakistan I feel very ashamed and I genuinely seek pardon of the acts and sins and crimes I have committed here against the Nation and the people of Pakistan "

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 10, 2020 at 6:54pm

#KulbhushanJadhav: #India's #RAW funneled money through #Indian consulates in #Jalalabad, #Kandhar & in Zahidan to #BLA & #TTP for #terror attacks in #Balochistan & #Karachi. Targets included people, mosques, roads, port & #Quetta's #Hazara #Shia community https://youtu.be/nVp62OinTeU

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 13, 2020 at 4:14pm

#China-#Iran Deal: #India is a big loser. Chabahar port is India’s counter to the #Gwadar port in #Pakistan that is part of China’s Belt and Road initiative(BRI), if China invests heavily in Iran the Chabahar port could lose its relevance. #CPEC https://www.wionews.com/india-news/as-china-eyes-multi-billion-doll... @wionews

Indian View:

China has struck a deal with America's enemy - Iran. It's a $400 billion economic and security strategic partnership deal.

As always, China is using its chequebook to have its way. It has bought Iran over for $400 billion dollars. It is a 25-year strategic accord with an 18-page agreement that weds Iran to China for a quarter of a century.

Once it is signed, Iran will open its doors for Chinese investment not just in one or two sectors but across the Iranian economy. The Chinese presence in Iran would expand in banking, telecommunications, ports and railways, also more than a dozen projects will go to Chinese companies.

Beijing hopes to get cheap oil in return. China will walk away with a steady supply of Iranian oil at a heavily discounted rate for 25 years and this is just one side of the story of the economic aspect.

The deal also has a military dimension. There will be reportedly joint training and exercises, joint research and weapons development, even intelligence sharing as part of the agreement.

The deal will fundamentally change Iran’s relationship with China. It will put Tehran in Beijing’s corner and India could see its influence diminish overtime.

The biggest threat is to the Chabahar port. It was seen as India’s counter to the Gwadar port in Pakistan that is part of China’s Belt and Road initiative(BRI), if China invests heavily in Iran the Chabahar port could lose its relevance.

However, it is hypothetical as of today. The Iran-China agreement reportedly has not been submitted for Parliament’s approval yet and hasn’t been made public. China hasn’t shared the details of the deal yet as well. The ministry of foreign affairs in Beijing was asked about it today and it didn’t share any information.

It is not yet clear if the top brass of the Communist Party has signed off on it but the details of the deal that have leaked are reportedly part of the “final version”. Iran is not hiding the fact that it is negotiating the agreement with China. On July 5, Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif indicated that the deal will happen and it will be presented before Iran's Parliament for approval.

The potential agreement is a big threat to India. Historically, India and Iran have enjoyed a close relationship. India was one of the biggest buyers of Iranian oil but New Delhi stopped buying oil from Iran in 2019 after the United States slapped sanctions against Iran and refused to grant any waivers to India.

Now, Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy against Tehran has failed. China went under the nose of the Americans and managed to negotiate a deal with Tehran that could create more flashpoints in West Asia and even cost India its relationship with Iran.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 13, 2020 at 6:23pm

Iran drops India from Chabahar rail project, cites funding delay


Four years after India's IRCON and Iran railway signed an MoU to build the Chabahar - Zahedan railway, Iran starts project on its own, cites funding delays from India. The development comes as China finalises a massive 25-year, $400 billion strategic partnership deal with Iran, which could cloud India’s plans.


https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/iran-drops-india-from-chabah...

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 14, 2020 at 7:30am

Why is India losing Iran? Death of #IRGC’s General Qassem Suleimani, who frequently criticized #Pakistan and fostered #India’s interests in #Afghanistan and #Iran's #Chabahar port, has altered the Iran-India equation. #China #CPEC #BRI https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/why-india-is-distancin...

A month after his (Soleimani's) death at Baghdad airport, Iran’s Ambassador to Islamabad, Syyed Muhammad Husseini, revived an old proposal to build an association of five nations to resolve problems of this region. Termed as the “ golden ring”, the proposed alliance, besides Iran also included Pakistan, Turkey, Russia and China.

------
Long before Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif criticised India for the “massacres of Muslims” during the Delhi riots, an act that attracted sharp rebuke from India’s foreign ministry, there were plenty of signs that the two countries had begun to move away from each other in different directions that were prompted by their respective foreign and domestic policy compulsions and now the coronavirus pandemic.

---


All these reasons and more are raising severe doubts about even the recent Indian foreign policy investments in Iran including on the Chabahar port. The big question is: Will India’s attempts to have an enduring land route to Afghanistan and Central Asia, by sidestepping Pakistan, through Chabahar survive the vicissitudes of recent times? In the past few months though, the Commerce Ministry has eased rules to speed up the project, but it continues at its own pace.

The Chabahar port
India’s existential anxieties about its creative foreign policy to side step Pakistan and rebuild ties with Iran through investing in Chabahar port have deepened ever since US signed an agreement with Islamic Republic of Afghanistan — as Taliban is called. The agreement will allow Washington to withdraw its troops that have been locked in a war for 19 years. Agreement with Taliban does not factor Indian interests and the shifting ground realities. It has been crafted by a desperate US to get out of Afghanistan before the US elections so that President Donald Trump could safely say that he fulfilled most of the electoral promises.

India has justifiable fears that the Taliban — a proxy of Pakistan — would not respect Indian interests or investments. After the agreement in Doha was signed, Taliban is expanding rapidly. Like it happened in the past, city after city may start falling. They may also unleash violence against Indian interests — the recent massacre of 25 Afghan Sikhs in a gurdwara is a case in point.

Taliban’s rise also could see the stifling of Chabahar port’s growth and the transit route to Afghanistan’s route 606 or Zaranj-Delaram road (built by India), which allows India’s ingress to garland highway and connects further to Central Asia. This could fit well with Pakistan’s plans that has been lobbying hard to prevent Chabahar from acquiring any commercial or strategic meaning.

There is a belief that the agreement with Taliban may not have taken place so soon if Iran’s Quds Force chief, Qassem Suleimani, had not been assassinated at the turn to the new year.

Islamabad has been resentful of General Suleimani and his visible proximity to India, which saw his frequent criticism of Pakistan’s use of terror as state policy. “We are telling that country (Pakistani) not to allow their borders to become a source of insecurity for the neighbouring countries; anyone who has made this plot for Pakistan is seeking to disintegrate that country,” Suleimani told an Iranian news agency. There was expectedly, great joy in Pakistani military establishment when Suleimani was killed.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 15, 2020 at 10:22pm

Ex #Indian Official @NavtejSarna:"China’s influence will facilitate better relations between Iran and Pakistan, already evident in the conciliatory attitude shown by Pakistan to militant attacks from across the border in Balochistan" #Iran #Pakistan #China https://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/neither-east-nor-west-only-...

Chinese investment in ports and railways can hamper India’s plans to get access to Central Asia and beyond through Iran. The report that India will no longer be part of the Chabahar-Zahidan railway project foreshadows this scenario. Iran’s ambassador in Islamabad has spoken of a “golden ring” of China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey and of a western arm to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)+ that would link Gwadar and Chabahar to China by rail through Pakistan. Further, our own economic limitations and the shadow of US sanctions will make it difficult for Indian companies to compete in Iran, particularly if the hundred proposed projects are aligned to a Chinese economic paradigm.

is only cold comfort to India. China’s increased political and economic influence on Tehran can squeeze us on several fronts.

First, Tehran has watched our growing proximity to the US and Israel with a resentful sullenness. The cutting of oil imports and delays in project implementation have further shown the limits of the bilateral relationship; “civilisational links” can only take us only so far and no more. Iran’s pact with China will strengthen the perception that we are in “the other camp”. Given our energy dependence and large diaspora, great power rivalry would not be our preferred game in West Asia.

Second, China’s influence will facilitate better relations between Iran and Pakistan, already evident in the conciliatory attitude shown by Pakistan to militant attacks from across the border in Balochistan. The two could also narrow their differences on Afghanistan, with a direct impact on India’s interests.

Third, Chinese investment in ports and railways can hamper India’s plans to get access to Central Asia and beyond through Iran. The report that India will no longer be part of the Chabahar-Zahidan railway project foreshadows this scenario. Iran’s ambassador in Islamabad has spoken of a “golden ring” of China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey and of a western arm to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)+ that would link Gwadar and Chabahar to China by rail through Pakistan. Further, our own economic limitations and the shadow of US sanctions will make it difficult for Indian companies to compete in Iran, particularly if the hundred proposed projects are aligned to a Chinese economic paradigm.

Fourth, even if the Chinese do not get a major slice of Chabahar, they are keen to participate in the development of Bandar-e-Jask, the port outside the Straits of Hormuz. Iran envisages Jask as its main oil-loading point in the near future; it can then close the Straits without harming its own exports. In a worst-case scenario, Jask could become another Chinese dual-use port and with Gwadar and Djibouti threaten India’s energy and maritime security in the Arabian Sea.

All of this may not happen, but we cannot afford to wait for the Majlis to kill this deal, or for Joe Biden to become US president and wean Iran away from China. Our interests are immediate: A strong outreach to Iran with expedited work on Chabahar and its integration into the North-South Transport Corridor as well as a vigorous follow-up on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s successful 2015 Central Asian visit would be timely initiatives to consider.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 16, 2020 at 6:42pm

Indian subversion in Pakistan a lost cause
Indian support to proxies in Pakistan’s neighborhood stands exposed and the world is well aware of that

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2254705/indian-subversion-in-pakistan-...


The below-mentioned statements of Indian political leaders substantiate Pakistan’s apprehensions about India’s involvement in terrorism in Pakistan. They also confirm that India plans and initiates subversive propaganda apart from state sponsored terrorism:

= Modi in his Independence Day address of 15 Aug 2016 has boasted that people of Balochistan, Gilgit and Azad Kashmir had thanked him a lot in past few days.

= Late Manohar Parrikar, then Indian Defence Minister, had said that India will use terrorism to counter terrorism from other countries pointing towards Pakistan.

= More recently, the Republic TV mouthpiece, Major Gaurav Arya, talked of his links to the BLA and other terrorist organisations operating in Balochistan.

Nowadays, the Indian media is giving a lot of space to so-called Pakistani dissidents to advance its agenda of subversion against Pakistan.

Why we call it a lost cause? There are three major factors: Afghanistan’s changing situation; Indian periphery waking up to Indian state-sponsored terrorism and political interference; and more recent, the Ladakh blunder.

Taking help from our previously published articles in newspapers, we would like to elaborate these three factors:

After 9/11, India found an expanding space in Pakistan’s neighborhood to apply all strands of Chankaya’s Mandala theory through a sophisticated hybrid war. The South Block head-honchos thought that a nuclear Pakistan could be finally eroded by their proxies in Afghanistan and the game started in earnest through expanding operations of RAW in collaboration with hostile intelligence agencies operating from Afghan soil. The target was simple: keep Durand Line on fire by sowing seeds of hate and animosity between Afghanistan and Pakistan and strategically suffocate Pakistan to an extent that it becomes an unviable state. No wonder India recently unleashed the ethno fascists or fake sub-nationalists to create an illusion of instability in FATA.

India took a lot of pain and effort to develop and invest in building a terror network along with some hostile intelligence agencies in Afghanistan and the Iran. Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav (the top RAW gun and the Bluebird) used both Afghan and Iranian soils to foment terror in Pakistan. Indian support to defunct terror entities like the BLA and the BRA and chaos generators like fake sub-nationalists of FATA are no more hidden from the eyes of the world.

A retired Indian Major General Harsha Kakar while writing in The Statesman with the title, “Who is responsible for Afghanistan Mess” talked of growing anxiety in the Indian Establishment, where he criticize President Trump for the decision to pull out of Afghanistan and urged the military hawks in Washington to continue the war, just because it favours Indian nefarious designs. The General was almost comic when he compared Afghan withdrawal with the Vietnam war and tried to arouse the ghost of Saigon. The reality, of course, is different: the Indian Miltablishment and RAW, after playing a long and dirty game in Afghanistan, feels its investment in drowning in Kabul River.

Indeed there are geopolitical consequences for India: It sees the threat of busting of the terror network of RAW in a number of consulates used to keep destabilising Pakistan; something similar to what happened in Sri Lanka, when LTTE Generalissimo Prabharkaran was killed and a trove of RAW’s terror network to support LTTE was discovered from the Mulailtivu Forests and Jaffna Peninsula. The façade of Indian investment and development in Afghanistan has started crumbling as more stories about how Indian military and RAW directly took part in military operations against Taliban fighters are emerging. No wonder Indian CDS, Bipin Rawat pointed out the need for talking to the Taliban during Raisina Dialogue held in New Delhi.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 20, 2020 at 9:23pm

#India’s #Iran romance endures despite the huge gap between hype & reality in ties but costs of neglecting #Arabian business are far higher than a lost railway contract in Iran. #Chabahar #GCC #Arabs #SaudiArabia #UAE #Modi #Pakistan https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/chabahar-rail-pro... via @IndianExpress

The theory of the case in Delhi for an extra-special relationship with Iran rests on a number of claims — historical connections, civilisational bonds, energy supplies and regional security. All these factors are of far greater import in India’s engagement with the Arabian peninsula. Millions of Indian immigrants in the Arab nations, massive hard currency remittances from them, and the density of commercial engagement with the Arab Gulf outweigh the relationship with Iran. The UAE and Saudi Arabia have, in recent years, extended invaluable support in countering terrorism and blocked attempts to condemn India in the Muslim world.

The sources of this curious inversion in India’s intellectual imagination are many. But first to the latest anxiety in Delhi about the loss of a railway contract in Iran. Large countries with major foreign investments and projects win some and lose some. That is part of doing business in other countries. Then there is no escaping the political risk associated with foreign projects. And politics — both domestic and international — is all-consuming in Iran.

The sanctions regime imposed by the US has crippled the Iranian economy. It also targets third countries that do business with certain Iranian entities. India is careful not to attract the US sanctions. India did gain an exemption from the US sanctions regime for its participation in the Chabahar port project in Iran. But they don’t apply to some of the partners suggested by Iran in the railway project. Iran would like India to break the US sanctions regime. A prudent Delhi is resisting that temptation. It would rather lose the railway contract than get into the raging crossfire between the US and Iran.

Sections of the foreign policy elite, however, see India’s Iran policy as a continuous purity test for Delhi’s “strategic autonomy”. They expect Delhi to conduct its relationship with Iran without a reference to either a cost-benefit calculus or Iran’s troubled relationship with others with whom India has important partnerships. For the romantics, it is about proving Delhi’s friendship with Tehran by defying the US.

No government in Delhi can buy into that proposition. The criticism of the NDA government today is similar to that directed at the UPA government in 2005 over its stance on Iran’s covert nuclear programme. As the US mounted pressure on Iran to come clean 15 years ago, there was a strong view in Delhi that India should cast its lot with Tehran. But pragmatists pointed to one of the preconditions for the India-US nuclear deal — Delhi’s strong commitment to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Backing Iran in its nuclear confrontation with the non-proliferation treaty (NPT), they warned, would mean killing support in the US Congress for the historic civil nuclear initiative signed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President George W Bush in July 2005.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 22, 2020 at 10:04am

#Iran's purported $400 Billion #China "secret deal" is in fact #Teheran floating a trial ballon: "This is something that has been stirred up by the Iranians and turned into a political problem," Mr Hua told The Straits Times. #UnitedStates #Geopolitics https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/irans-purported-us400-b...

BEIJING - Against a backdrop of worsening bilateral relations with the United States, news emerged earlier this month of a purported secret deal between China and Iran that would offer some US$400 billion (S$555 billion) of Chinese investments in the Islamic Republic over 25 years.

While it sparked concerns that the deal could re-calibrate geopolitics and pose a potential strategic challenge to the US, analysts say this is essentially the fleshing out of a prior agreement from 2016, and needs to should be viewed as Teheran floating a trial balloon.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 25, 2020 at 6:57pm

#India to face tougher world. #Pakistan-#China nexus has only deepened with #BRI, #CPEC. Two-front threat is real possibility. Political elites in neighboring capitals are now open to undermining India. #Bangladesh #Nepal #Bhutan #SriLanka #Modi #Hindutva https://www.hindustantimes.com/columns/india-must-get-ready-for-a-t...

For close to a decade-and-a-half, broadly between 2000 and 2015, India was lucky in having a conducive international environment for its growth and ambitions. It was not just luck though. A series of Indian leaders and bureaucrats ensured that the country was able to shape this international environment, within its limited powers, in its favour.

Think back. The end of the 1990s, under the remarkably far-sighted leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, saw India conduct nuclear tests. This invited international sanctions. But it also opened the doors for substantive dialogue with the international community, particularly the United States (US), about the underlying logic of the relationship between the two countries. The Strobe Talbot-Jaswant Singh dialogue, Bill Clinton’s visit to India, Vajpayee calling India and the US natural partners, and the two countries moving ahead with the next steps in the strategic partnership, fundamentally altered the texture of the relationship. Manmohan Singh ably took the baton, signing the defence framework agreement and, of course, the nuclear deal — over which he staked his government. Narendra Modi too carried forward this legacy, letting go of the hurt that the US visa ban on him must have caused, introducing a new diplomatic style at Madison Square, getting Barack Obama as chief guest for Republic Day, and remaining invested in the relationship with Donald Trump. The US, despite its differences with India, is now a steady partner.

But while this partnership has deepened, a lot else has changed.

In the early 2000s, under Vajpayee and Singh, there was an effort to engage with China productively. There was hope that a solution to the border dispute could be found. India recognised Chinese sensitivities on Tibet; China recognised India’s claim over Sikkim. The economic linkages were deepening. The prevailing narrative was of China’s peaceful rise, and a strong view emerged that the two countries could grow together. In the neighbourhood, even thoughtful diplomats argued that India and China could cooperate on projects. There was room for cooperation on global issues — from reform of international institutions to the climate crisis. PM Modi too wished to give this framework a chance, which is what his Ahmedabad invitation to Xi Jinping represented. China, many believed, was not a friend, but it need not be an adversary either. This was a view that many revised with the rise of Xi, but others held on to it — in hindsight, unwisely so.

The neighbourhood was suddenly looking more favourable in the 2000s too. India had embraced the idea of South Asian regionalism and connectivity. It had facilitated a historic peace deal in Nepal, bringing an end to a decade-long war, ensuring the entry of the Maoists into peaceful politics. And there was enormous goodwill among both the Nepali people and the Kathmandu leadership for Delhi — which gave Indian diplomats enormous leverage. In Sri Lanka, India had, quietly, helped the government bring an end to the civil war, but here, it was through military means and an outright defeat of the Tamil Tigers — some believed that this would erode Indian leverage, but it did give points to Delhi in Colombo. Bhutan remained Delhi’s closest friend, but now within the modern framework of a new treaty, as the country turned semi-democratic. In Bangladesh, after a turbulent transition, Sheikh Hasina returned, with an explicit platform of deepening ties with India, leading to the most-friendly dispensation in Dhaka in decades.

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