US-Pakistan F-16 Deal: Indian EAM Jaishankar Throws a Tantrum

“You’re not fooling anybody by saying these things," said Indian External Affairs Minister Subramanian Jaishankar to his American hosts in Washington. He was lashing out at the United States for the State Department's explanation for the $450 million F-16 "sustainment" package sale to Pakistan. Earlier,  the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in an announcement: 

“This proposed sale ($450 million F-16 package) will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by allowing Pakistan to retain interoperability with US and partner forces in ongoing counter-terrorism efforts and in preparation for future contingency operations.” The US State Department spokesman Ned Price talked about "shared values" and "shared interests" of his country with both India and Pakistan. He also recommended that "these two neighbors have relations with one another that are as constructive as can be possible".   

US Secretary of State Tony Blinken (L), Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar

Responding to Jaishankar's outburst, the US State Department spokesman Ned Price said, “We don’t view our relationship with Pakistan, and … our relationship with India as in relation to one another. These are both partners of ours with different points of emphasis in each. We look at both as partners, because we do have in many cases shared values. We do have in many cases shared interests. And the relationship we have with India stands on its own. The relationship we have with Pakistan stands on its own. We also want to do everything we can to see to it that these neighbors have relations with one another that are as constructive as can be possible. And so that’s another point of emphasis.”

President Joe Biden & First Lady Jill with Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif at the UN HQ

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently attended a summit meeting of the China-Russia sponsored Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. India is a full member of this alliance which has been created to counter the US dominance in Asia. At the same time, New Delhi has also joined QUAD, a group of 4 nations (Australia, India, Japan and US) formed by the United States  to counter China's rise. Simultaneous membership of these two competing alliances is raising serious questions about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's real intentions and trustworthiness. It appears that there is an Indian policy shift from "non-alignment" to "all-alignment".

Writing an Op Ed for The Indian Express about Jaishankar's fit of anger, Indian journalist Nirupama Subramanian put it in the following words: “As Delhi demonstrates “strategic autonomy” to engage with every side — Quad one week, and Russia and China the next at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Samarkand — and work around Western sanctions to buy oil from Russia, and keep friends in all camps, it may have to come to terms that others in world play the same game.”

US Visa Appointment Wait Time. Source: US State Department

Jaishankar also raised the issue of long appointment wait times for Indians seeking visas to come to the United States. "In India, there are families unable to meet; students waiting for a long time. So it is a serious problem. But, I'm confident that, with the sincerity Secretary Blinken showed, they would address this, and with any support that we can provide, we hope things will improve," he said.  Secretary Anthony Blinken said in response, "We had constraints from COVID about the number of people we could have in our embassies at any one time etc. We are now building back very determined really from that surging resources. We have a plan when it comes to India to address the backlog of visas that have built up. I think you'll see that play out in the coming months."

US Visa Appointment Wait Time. Source: US State Department

Currently, the waiting period for Indian applicants in  New Delhi is 444 calendar days for student/exchange visitor visas, 758 calendar days for visitor visas and 354 calendar days for all other non-immigrant visas. 
 
The appointment waiting period for Pakistani applicants in Islamabad is one calendar day for student/exchange visitor visas, 450 calendar days for visitor and one calendar day for all other non-immigrant visas.  For the Chinese applicants in Beijing it is two calendar days for student/exchange visitor and students visas and three calendar days for all other non-immigrant visas. 
 

Views: 298

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 13, 2022 at 10:49am

Book Review | Book of Reckoning
October 12, 2022 forceindia 0 Comment
A tour de force of South Asia’s military, tech and strategic dynamics
Andrew Korybko


https://forceindia.net/book-of-reckoning/

Pravin Sawhney’s The Last War: How AI Will Shape India’s Final Showdown With China is the most detailed and up-to-date work about South Asia’s military, technological, and strategic dynamics. The author compellingly argues that India is far behind China as a result of mistakenly prioritizing Pakistan as its top security threat. By disproportionately focusing on the western vector of its national security interests, including countering related unconventional threats, Delhi is unprepared to adequately address newfound challenges along the northern one that are much more conventional in nature.

The summer 2020 clashes over the Galwan river valley should have served as a belated wake-up call, but they failed to be interpreted properly according to Sawhney, who provides evidence proving that decisionmakers continue to misperceive everything connected to China. He’s particularly concerned that his homeland might not be able to catch up with the cutting-edge challenges posed by China’s unprecedented military modernisation, which comprises the bulk of his book. It’s here where the author showcases his unparalleled expertise on military, technological, and strategic dynamics.

The Last War opens dramatically with the scenario of a Chinese sneak attack on India that includes cyberattacks, robot invasions, and swarms of miniature assassination drones, among other aspects. This captivates the reader’s imagination since they’re immediately intrigued to learn more about how Sawhney arrived at this particular vision of the future. He then proceeds to describe these two Great Powers’ polar opposite security paradigms, military modernisation programmes, and points of friction. Plenty of insight is shared about Pakistan and the US too, which helps complete the picture.

------------------

Upon learning how far India is behind China, it becomes clear to the reader that the former is at risk of sleepwalking into a disaster of epic proportions unless it urgently changes course to correct the trajectory that it’s on. Fundamental to the author’s scenario forecast is his concern that Delhi is too distracted by Pakistan to appreciate the full-spectrum paradigm-changing challenges posed by China. Furthermore, he argues that its armed forces don’t coordinate at the level required to effectively address this, nor does its political leadership have a proper understanding of technological trends.

Sawhney is also suspicious of the US’ influence over India, which he very strongly suggests is aimed at exploiting it as a proxy against China, one that Washington will inevitably hang out to dry once the going gets tough for Delhi in the event of a serious conflict with Beijing. It’s this patriotic motivation that drove him to elaborate on everything as extensively as he did, which includes very sharp critiques of India’s institutions. Readers should always remember this so as not to be put off by some of what he wrote, which for as ‘politically inconvenient’ as it might be for some, is fully cited and thus credible.


Comment by Riaz Haq on October 13, 2022 at 4:27pm

New Zealand's relationship with India is not in good health.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/on-the-inside/476543/opinion-new-zealand...

That's the underlying message from a rare visit to New Zealand by India's external affairs minister, Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

Jaishankar met with his New Zealand counterpart, Nanaia Mahuta, last Thursday - but only for an hour.

At a press conference with Mahuta in Auckland, Jaishankar was publicly critical of New Zealand's unwillingness to renew visas for Indian students who had left New Zealand during the Covid-19 pandemic and called for 'fairer and more sympathetic treatment'.

Mahuta's response to the criticism was to pass the buck to Michael Wood, New Zealand's immigration minister, who was conveniently not present, and to point to hardships suffered by New Zealand students themselves.

Jaishankar reiterated his criticism at other engagements during his trip and on Twitter, and the comments dominated Indian media coverage of his five-day visit to Auckland and Wellington.

Despite the usual pleasantries, there was a sense that India had lost patience with New Zealand - a sentiment that was underlined by Jaishankar's later observation in Wellington of 'there is a larger world out there'.

Even more troubling from New Zealand's perspective was the extraordinary admission by Mahuta that a free trade agreement was 'not a priority for New Zealand or India'.

Instead, Mahuta could only point to potential economic cooperation in 'niche areas' such as digital services and 'green business' - a seemingly underwhelming approach that was endorsed by Jaishankar.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 13, 2022 at 4:30pm

Trading Scotch for migrants: India takes offence

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-63194942


Post-Brexit, one of the big prizes in UK trade talks would be a deal with India, and Scotch whisky could benefit most. A deal has been getting close.

It is now in doubt because of comments by new Home Secretary Suella Braverman. Saying that Indians are over-staying their work permits strikes at the biggest gain that Delhi wants to see, and has caused offence.

Suella Braverman, (is the) newly installed as home secretary. In charge of immigration policy, she told The Spectator magazine that she is concerned about Indians who come to the UK to work and then fail to return when their visas run out. She said Indian nationals are the most numerous offenders.

"I have concerns about having an open borders migration policy with India because I don't think that's what people voted for with Brexit… The largest group of people who overstay are Indian migrants. We even reached an agreement with the Indian government last year to encourage and facilitate better cooperation in this regard. It has not necessarily worked very well."

The comments have gone down very badly in India. The country's press is expressing its indignation that the home secretary should insult Indians that way.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 13, 2022 at 5:36pm
Gen Bajwa in DC, US envoy, German FM statements on Kashmir, show why Pakistan can’t be isolated.

By Shekhar Gupta

https://youtu.be/NuXd4d_clf4

The US ambassador visits Pakistan occupied Kashmir & refers to it as ‘Azad Jammu & Kashmir’, German foreign minister says UN could play a role in Kashmir & Pakistan’s Army Chief spends nearly a week in Washington. In episode 1093 of Cut The Clutter Shekhar Gupta explains why Pakistan cannot be isolated or ignored and where it stands right now.
-----------------
Pakistan is our most important neighbor
We must focus on Pakistan
We can not ignore Pakistan in India because the world can not ignore Pakistan
The Western world has an intrinsic relationship with Pakistan which doesn't go away
The West does not see Pakistan as so useful to them today and yet Pakistan can not be isolated
You can see all the indications that Pakistan is not isolated
A lot of (Indian) TV channels say Pakistan is isolated but the evidence doesn;t support it
Pakistan FM has visited Washington and met his counterpart Tony Blinken
Pakistan Army Chief has received a warm welcome at the US Defense Dept and met US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Bajwa matters more than the Pakistan Defense Minister. Nobody knows his name.
US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome, a career diplomat has visited Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and called it Azad Kashmir...Azad means free. 
When the chips are down in the region Pakistan is the ally Americans reach out to
The US does not want Pakistan to drift to China
German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock has spoken about Kashmir...the K word. She has asked for the UN to help solve the Kashmir issue. 
Bajwa is not a warmonger. He wants to normalize ties with India. He wants to trade with India. He doesn't want Faiz Hameed to succeed him. He used to be the ISI chief and took credit for the Taliban victory in Afghanistan. Do the Americans have leverage here? 
Where does Pakistan's unique power come from? Why can't Pakistan be ignored? Why can't Pakistan be isolated?
The Indian public needs to understand it.
Pakistan is too big in terms of population, too powerful militarily, too Muslim, too nuclear and too well located to be isolated. 
Pakistan has the 5th largest population and its population is growing fast.  It could soon exceed Indonesia to become the largest Muslim nation in the world. 
Pakistan has the 5th strongest military in the world.
In terms of nuclear weapons, Pakistan has the 4th largest nuclear arsenal in the world. 
Pakistan is too well located to be isolated. It has geo-strategic location. Pakistan is the western gateway to China. Pakistan opened China's ties with US. And then helped the US defeat the Soviet Union. 
The factors that made Pakistan such a strong ally to US still exist. Don't blame the Pakistanis for it. 
India is not willing to be commit to an alliance with the US. 
Imran Khan tried to change Pakistan's foreign policy to be more like India's but he failed. 
Comment by Riaz Haq on October 14, 2022 at 6:51am

Biden is ignoring Pakistan. Here’s why that’s a mistake
BY HUSAIN HAQQANI,


https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/3685418-biden-is-igno...

American officials are beginning to realize that ignoring or trying to isolate Pakistan is not a smart policy option. The U.S. maintains relations with a host of countries with which it disagrees. Why should Pakistan be different?

After a hiatus of a few years, Pakistan and the United States have started to re-engage, though Pakistan no longer features critically in U.S. global plans, as the Biden administration’s national security strategy makes clear. Over the past few weeks, Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa met with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

These meetings reflect recognition that Pakistan, with all its complexities, cannot be wished away. It is the world’s fifth most populous country and is the only majority Muslim nation armed with nuclear weapons.

Moreover, the U.S. has walked away from Pakistan before, in the 1990s over Pakistan’s nuclear program. That did not work out well for American interests as it only strengthened the most radical elements in Pakistani society.

But it is equally true that the Cold War-era considerations that brought Pakistan and the U.S. together are no longer applicable. The two countries have very different views on India (which Pakistanis see as an enemy and Americans view as an essential partner), China (which is considered an “iron brother” by Pakistan but deemed a threat by the U.S.) and Afghanistan (where Pakistan has consistently favored fundamentalist groups such as the Taliban against secularists preferred by Americans).

As the Pakistan Study Group report points out, the U.S. and Pakistan have parallel narratives of their shared experience. They were preoccupied with confronting different enemies and pinning different expectations on their partnership. Instead of behaving like a quarrelsome married couple, it is time for the two countries to try to be friends who work together where they can and disagree honestly where they cannot.

The close China-Pakistan relationship at a time of deepening U.S.-China rivalry should be a reason for greater, not less, American attention to Pakistan. In fact, even India, which wants Pakistan to stop supporting Muslim militants in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region, should join the U.S to ensure Pakistan maintains a degree of sovereign autonomy over its actions and does not become a Chinese proxy.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 15, 2022 at 8:39am

Pakistan summons US envoy over Biden’s nuclear remarks
US president said Pakistan is one of the ‘most dangerous’ nations which has ‘nuclear weapons without any cohesion’.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/10/15/imran-khan-slams-bidens-p...

Speaking in the context of China and his relationship with President Xi Jinping, Biden said, “This is a guy [Xi Jinping] who understands what he wants but has an enormous, enormous array of problems. How do we handle that? How do we handle that relative to what’s going on in Russia? And what I think is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion.”

Pakistan’s foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on Saturday during a news conference in the southern port city of Karachi he was “surprised” by Biden’s statement. “I believe this is exactly the sort of misunderstanding that is created when there is a lack of engagement,” he added.


----------

“If there is any question as to nuclear safety, then they should be directed to our neighbour India, who very recently accidentally fired a missile into Pakistani territory,” Bhutto-Zardari said, citing the firing of a supersonic missile into Pakistan on March 9.

The 34-year-old asserted that he did not think the decision to summon Ambassador Donald Blome will negatively affect Islamabad’s relations with the Americans.

“We will continue on the positive trajectory of engagements we are having so far,” he said.

The controversy came just more than a week after Pakistan’s military chief, General Qamar Bajwa, made a trip to the US and held high-level meetings with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

------------

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday condemned Biden’s remarks, saying the US president had reached an “unwarranted conclusion”.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 16, 2022 at 7:18am

Pakistan hits back at Biden's 'dangerous nation' comment


https://news.yahoo.com/pakistan-hits-back-bidens-dangerous-15413940...

President Joe Biden in which he called the South Asian country “one of the most dangerous nations in the world.”

Biden was at an informal fundraising dinner at a private residence in Los Angeles on Thursday sponsored by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee when he made the comment. Speaking about China and its leader Xi Jinping, he pondered the U.S.'s role in relation to China as it grapples with its positions on Russia, India and Pakistan.

“How do we handle that?” he said, according to a transcript on the White House web page. "How do we handle that relative to what’s going on in Russia? And what I think is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion.”

Pakistan's current prime minister and two former prime ministers rejected the statement as baseless, and the country's acting foreign secretary summoned the U.S. ambassador on Saturday for an explanation of Biden's remarks.

-----------

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif in a statement rejected Biden's remarks calling them factually incorrect and misleading. He said Pakistan over the years has proved itself to be a responsible nuclear state, and its nuclear program is managed through a technically sound command and control system. He pointed to Pakistan's commitment to global standards including those of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Sharif said Pakistan and the U.S. have a long history of friendly and mutually beneficial relations. “It is our sincere desire to cooperate with the U.S. to promote regional peace and security," he said.

Zardari, speaking to reporters, said if there is any question about nuclear weapons security in the region, it should be raised with Pakistan's nuclear-armed neighbor, India. He said India recently fired a missile that landed accidentally in Pakistan.

Pakistan and India have been arch-rivals since their independence from British rule in 1947. They have bitter relations over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, which is divided between them and claimed by both in its entirety. They fought two of their three wars over Kashmir.

Two former prime minsters took to Twitter to respond to Biden's comments.

Former premier Nawaz Sharif, the current prime minister's brother, said Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state that is perfectly capable of safeguarding its national interests while respecting international law and practices. Pakistan became a nuclear state in 1998 when Sharif was in power for the second time.

"Our nuclear program is in no way a threat to any country. Like all independent states, Pakistan reserves the right to protect its autonomy, sovereign statehood and territorial integrity,” he said.

Former premier Imran Khan tweeted that Biden is wrong about the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons, saying he knows for a fact that they are secure. “Unlike US which has been involved in wars across the world, when has Pakistan shown aggression especially post-nuclearization ?”

Khan was ousted in April in a no-confidence vote in parliament and has put forward, without giving evidence, a claim that he was ousted as the result of a U.S.-led plot involving Sharif. The U.S. and Sharif deny the accusation.

Zardari noted that Biden’s statement was not made at any formal platform like a news conference but at an informal fundraising dinner. “I don’t believe it negatively impacts the relations between Pakistan and the U.S.," he said.

Pakistan and the U.S. have been traditional allies but their relations have been bumpy at times. Pakistan served as a front-line state in the U.S.-led war on terror following the 9/11 attacks. But relations soured after U.S. Navy Seals killed al-Qaeda leader and 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden at a compound in the garrison city of Abbottabad, not far from Pakistan's military academy in May 2011.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 16, 2022 at 7:27am

The Countries Holding The World's Nuclear Arsenal

ARMS & DEFENSE

Oct 7, 2022

Back in January, in what was a rare showing of consensus on a global security topic, the United States, Russia, China, the UK and France jointly agreed that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”. The pledge, the result of months of talks, was summarized by a senior U.S. state department official at the time as: “an acknowledgement that it is something that we want to avoid”.

Now though, with increasingly threatening rhetoric from Russia, U.S. President Biden has said that Putin is “not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons", warning: “I don’t think there’s any such thing as the ability to easily (use) a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon”. Adding historical context, Biden said: “We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

Currently, there is estimated to be almost 13,000 nuclear warheads in the hands of nine countries. At the top of the list, as compiled by the Federation Of American Scientists (FAS), are of course Russia and the U.S. with a combined arsenal of over 11,000. The FAS warned in late 2021 that “instead of planning for nuclear disarmament, the nuclear-armed states appear to plan to retain large arsenals for the indefinite future. All continue to modernize their remaining nuclear forces…and all appear committed to retaining nuclear weapons for the indefinite future.”

https://www.statista.com/chart/8301/the-countries-holding-the-world...

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 18, 2022 at 10:34am

Derek J. Grossman
@DerekJGrossman
HUGE walk-back today by State Dept of Biden’s previous statement of concern over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program: “The United States is confident of Pakistan's commitment and its ability to secure its nuclear assets.”

https://twitter.com/DerekJGrossman/status/1582153269735849984?s=20&...

-----------------

"Confident Of Pak's Ability To Secure Its Nukes": US After Biden's Remark
"The US has always viewed a secure and prosperous Pakistan as critical to US interests and, more broadly, the US values our long-standing cooperation with Pakistan," he said.

https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/confident-of-paks-ability-us-after-...

The United States said Monday that it had confidence in Pakistan's ability to control its nuclear arsenal after President Joe Biden expressed alarm, leading Islamabad to summon the US ambassador.
"The United States is confident of Pakistan's commitment and its ability to secure its nuclear assets," State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.

"The US has always viewed a secure and prosperous Pakistan as critical to US interests and, more broadly, the US values our long-standing cooperation with Pakistan," he said.


Biden made the off-the-cuff remarks on Pakistan's nuclear program Thursday while at a private Democratic Party fundraiser in California where he began to discuss challenges facing President Xi Jinping of China, a close ally of Pakistan.

"And what I think is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion," Biden said, according to a White House transcript.

Pakistan -- proud to be the only declared nuclear power in the Islamic world -- summoned US Ambassador Donald Blome to lodge a protest.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif tweeted that Pakistan was a "responsible nuclear state" and that it takes safety measures "with the utmost seriousness."

US officials have long privately voiced alarm about nuclear safety if the political situation changes in Pakistan, whose military and intelligence apparatus has assisted Afghanistan's Taliban.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that Biden's remarks should not hurt relations, noting that the president was not speaking at an official function.

But Bhutto Zardari, who recently visited Washington, called for more interaction, with Biden showing little interest in personally engaging his Pakistani counterparts.

Patel noted, however, that USAID chief Samantha Power and State Department Counselor Derek Chollet have both visited since devastating floods hit Pakistan.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 18, 2022 at 10:35am

#Pakistan likely to exit #FATF ‘grey list’ this week. In June this year, FATF had found Pakistan “compliant or largely compliant” on all the 34 points. #moneylaundering #terrorism https://www.dawn.com/news/1715433


Pakistan is expected to finally exit the ‘increased monitoring list’ — commonly known as grey list — of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Oct 21, after languishing in the infamous category for almost 52 months.

“The first FATF Plenary under the two-year Singapore Presidency of T. Raja Kumar will take place on October 20-21, 2022,” said the Paris-based global watchdog on dirty money. Delegates representing 206 members of the Global Network and observer organisations, including the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, the World Bank, Interpol and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, will participate in the Working Group and Plenary meetings in Paris, it added.

On the conclusion of the two-day deliberations, decisions of the plenary would be announced.

The plenary will also focus on jurisdictions identified as presenting a risk to the international financial system, with an update to public statements that identify jurisdictions as high risk or being subject to increased monitoring besides other key issues, including guidance on improving beneficial ownership transparency to prevent shell companies and other opaque structures from being used to launder illicit funds.

Pakistan was included among jurisdictions under increased monitoring list in June 2018 for deficiencies in its legal, financial, regulatory, investigations, prosecution, judicial and non-government sector to fight money laundering and combat terror financing considered serious threat to global financial system.

-----------------

In terms of technical compliance with FATF standards, Pakistan has been rated by APG as “compliant or largely compliant” in 38 out of 40 FATF recommendations in August this year, which placed the country among the top compliant countries in the world.

The completion of FATF/APG action plan for effectiveness of AML/CFT was also structural benchmark of the IMF for end-March 2022 and was achieved in June with a minor delay. The government had given a commitment to the IMF to review by end-June 2022 the implementation of AML/CFT controls by financial institutions with respect to the tax amnesty programme for the construction sector and promised to “meet the timelines for the implementation of APG’s 2021 Action Plan, including on the mutual legal assistance framework, AML/CFT supervision, transparency of beneficial ownership information, and compliance with targeted financial sanctions for proliferation financing”.

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