Can Washington Trust Modi's India As Key Ally in Asia?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the summit meeting of the China-Russia sponsored Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan this week. 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. Is this Indian policy shift from "non-alignment" to "all-alignment" sustainable? 

2022 SCO Summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Source: Xinhua

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO): 

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a political, economic and security organization designed to counter US dominance. It was founded by Beijing and Moscow in 2001. Currently, it has 8 members: China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iran has signed a memorandum of commitment this week signaling its intention to join the SCO, underscoring the growing alignment between the U.S.'s top adversaries. India's participation in this alliance seems strange given its simultaneous membership of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. 

Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD): 

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD) is a strategic security dialogue between Australia, India, Japan, and the United States that was initiated in 2007 by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to counter growing Chinese influence in Asia. India upset Japan recently when it joined the Russia-led Vostok-2022 military exercises held around a group of islands known as the southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan -- a territorial dispute that dates back to the end of World War II, according to Bloomberg. India scaled back its participation in the war games -- especially staying out of the naval exercises -- in response to the Japanese objections but it left a bad taste. 

Non-Alignment to All-Alignment: 

The contradictions inherent in the membership of both of these competing alliances are already being exposed by Mr. Modi's large and rapidly growing purchases of Russian energy and weapons despite western sanctions.  “India’s neutral public positioning on the invasion has raised difficult questions in Washington DC about our alignment of values and interests,” said Richard Rossow, a senior adviser on India policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Bloomberg News. “Such engagements -- especially if they trigger new or expanded areas of cooperation that benefit Russia -- will further erode interest among Washington policy makers for providing India a ‘pass’ on tough sanctions decision.”

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Comment by Riaz Haq on September 28, 2022 at 10:10pm

New Order with a Blend of Western Liberalism and Eastern Civilizational Nationalism | Institut Montaigne


By Ram Madhav Founding Member of the Governing Council of India Foundation (Hindu Nationalist RSS)

"...no one wants the present world order to continue except the US and its [Western] allies."

https://www.institutmontaigne.org/en/analysis/new-order-blend-weste...

The conflict in Ukraine has begun reshaping the global order. Ram Madhav, Former National General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Member of the Governing Council of India Foundation, questions the legitimacy of the Western leadership model for “Ukraine Shifting the World Order”. Shedding light on the increasingly heteropolar nature of our world, he advocates for a new world order based on 21st century realities: one where nationalism and liberalism can coexist and where the Global South is a primary stakeholder.



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The Western leadership model
Two important questions arise. Firstly, is a uniform world order wedded to those three principles mandatory for the world, or can there be diversity? Secondly, who is responsible for wrecking the current liberal order? The Western powers themselves or their recalcitrant challengers like Russia and China?

After the Second World War, Western leadership villainized national identity. Nationalism was blamed for the two wars and all modern nation-states were mandated to follow the same template: liberal democracy, open market capitalism and globalization. Other forms were condemned as retrograde. When India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru mobilized nations to build a non-alignment movement, the Western leadership disapprovingly dubbed him a "neutralist". The Soviet Union finally collapsed in 1991, and a wave of enthusiasm engulfed the Western world. A unipolar world order based on Western liberal principles seemed inevitable and a fait accompli.

Fukuyama's 1992 book The End of History and the Last Man argued Western liberal democracies would become "the endpoint of mankind’s socio-cultural evolution, and the final form of human government". Samuel Huntington directly challenged Fukuyama with his provocative 1996 "Clash of Civilizations" thesis, stating that far from unipolarity, the ideological world had been divided on civilizational identities, the new source of conflict in the world, with "each learning to coexist with the others". Later years proved that the collapse of the Soviet Union had not moved the world from bipolarity to unipolarity, but to multipolarity. Several nation-states, with long cultural and civilizational histories, like China, Arab countries and India, have emerged as the new poles in the world. We also witnessed the rise of non-state poles - multinational corporations, social media giants, new age religious movements, non-governmental bodies like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Oxfam and CARE, and even terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and ISIS. With influences beyond the national boundaries of the states, these created a heteropolar world.

The erosion of the liberal democratic world order is a Western failure
The hegemonic nature of the world order is eroding with the rise of the heteropolar world. Lofty ideals that it cherished - liberal democracy, open markets, human rights and multilateralism - have been facing severe scrutiny and challenge in the last two decades. Unfortunately, the institutions created for sustaining that world order have increasingly grown weak and ineffective. The world appears to be moving inexorably in the direction of anarchy. The Ukrainian-Russian war is the latest, not the first, in the sequence of events that have catalyzed the collapse of the old world order. The West wants the world to believe that Russia and Putin were the culprits for ushering in anarchy and attempting to destroy what they had built over the last seven decades. But the West cannot escape responsibility for the failure of its hegemony.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 28, 2022 at 10:22pm
As the world lurches through the growing pains of massive geopolitical change, the US’ relationship with India will increasingly take center stage. Washington likes to see itself as providing a geopolitical center of gravity that is inherently attractive to nations like India, especially against regional competitors such as China. As the US is about to discover, however, India and China have a shared ambition about who should dominate the Pacific in the coming century, and it doesn’t include the US. Op Ed by Scott Ritter

https://www.energyintel.com/00000183-21d9-d467-adc7-21fdd54f0000

On Aug. 19, India’s minister of external affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, gave a speech at a university in Thailand where he stated that relations between India and China were going through “an extremely difficult phase” and that an “Asian Century” seemed unlikely unless the two nations found a way to “join hands” and start working together.

For many observers, Jaishankar’s speech was taken as an opportunity for the US to drive a wedge between India and China, exploiting an ongoing border dispute along the Himalayan frontier to push India further into a pro-US orbit together with other Western-leaning regional powers. What these observers overlooked, however, was that the Indian minister was seeking the exact opposite from his speech, signaling that India was, in fact, interested in working with China to develop joint policies that would seek to replace US-led Western hegemony in the Pacific.

Struggle for Leadership

More than six decades ago, then-US Senator John F. Kennedy noted that there was a “struggle between India and China for the economic and political leadership of the East, for the respect of all Asia, for the opportunity to demonstrate whose way of life is the better.” The US, Kennedy argued, needed to focus on providing India the help it needed to win that struggle — even if India wasn’t asking for that help or, indeed, seeking to “win” any geopolitical contest with China.

Today, the relationships between the US, India and China have matured, with all three wrestling with complex, and often contradictory, policies that are simultaneously cooperative and confrontational. Notwithstanding this, the US continues to err on the side of helping India achieve a geopolitical “win” over China. One need only consider the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or “Quad,” conceived in 2007, but dormant until 2017, when it was resurrected under US leadership to bring together the US, Japan, Australia and India in an effort to create a regional counterweight to China’s growing influence.

There was a time when cooler heads cautioned against such an assertive US-led posture on a regional response to an expansive, and expanding, Chinese presence in the Indo-Pacific region. This line of thinking held that strong Indian relationships with Tokyo and Canberra should be allowed to naturally progress, independent of US regional ambitions.

These same “cool heads” argued that the US needed to be realistic in its expectations on relations between India and China, avoiding the pitfalls of Cold War-era “zero-sum game” calculations. The US should appreciate that India needed to implement a foreign policy that best met Indian needs. Moreover, they argued, a US-Indian relationship that was solely focused on China would not age well, given the transitory realities of a changing global geopolitical dynamic.

The Asian Century

The key to deciphering Jaishanker’s strategic intent in his Thailand comments lay in his use of the term “Asian Century.” This echoed the words of former Chinese reformist leader Deng Xiaoping, who, in a meeting with former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988, declared that “in recent years people have been saying that the next century will be the century of Asia and the Pacific, as if that were sure to be the case. I disagree with this view.” Deng went on to explain that unless China and India focus their respective and collective energies on developing their economies, there could, in fact, be no “Asian Century.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 28, 2022 at 10:23pm
The Asian Century

The key to deciphering Jaishanker’s strategic intent in his Thailand comments lay in his use of the term “Asian Century.” This echoed the words of former Chinese reformist leader Deng Xiaoping, who, in a meeting with former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988, declared that “in recent years people have been saying that the next century will be the century of Asia and the Pacific, as if that were sure to be the case. I disagree with this view.” Deng went on to explain that unless China and India focus their respective and collective energies on developing their economies, there could, in fact, be no “Asian Century.”

While Washington may not have heard the subtle implications of Jainshankar’s words, Beijing appears to have done so. Almost immediately after the text of the Indian minister’s comments was made public, the spokesperson for China’s foreign minister declared that both India and China “have the wisdom and capability to help each other succeed rather than undercutting each other.” The takeaway from this exchange is that while both China and India view their ongoing territorial disputes as problematic, they are able and willing to keep their eye on the bigger picture — the ascendancy of the so-called “Asian Century”.

The fact is that India and China have been working toward this goal for some time now. Both are critical participants in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which envisions the growth and empowerment of a trans-Eurasian economic zone that can compete with the economies of the US and Europe on a global scale. Likewise, India and China are actively cooperating within the framework of the Brics economic forum, which is emerging as a direct competitor to the Western-dominated G7.

While it is possible for India to navigate a policy path balancing the US and China in the short term, eventually it will need to go all in on China if its aspirations for an “Asian Century” are ever to be met. This narrative is overlooked by those in the US pursuing zero-sum policies with India when it comes to China.

Given the destiny inherent in the collective embrace of an “Asian Century” by India and China, the US could well find itself on the outside looking in when it comes to those wielding influence in the Pacific going forward. One thing is for certain — the “American Pacific Century” which encompasses the period between the Spanish-American War and the post-Cold War era, where US military, political, and economic power reigned supreme, has run its course. Whether or not India and China will be able to supplant it with an “Asian Century” is yet to be seen. But one thing is for certain — the strategic intent is certainly there.

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer whose service over a 20-plus-year career included tours of duty in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control agreements, serving on the staff of US Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf during the Gulf War and later as a chief weapons inspector with the UN in Iraq from 1991-98. The views expressed in this article are those of the author.
Comment by Riaz Haq on September 29, 2022 at 9:24am

For US Visa, Over 2-Year Wait For New Delhi, Just 2 Days For Beijing
There's an appointment wait-time of 833 days for applications from Delhi and 848 days from Mumbai for visitor visas.

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/us-visa-appointment-wait-time-the-s...

Indian visa applicants require a wait-time of over two years just for getting an appointment, a US government website showed, while the timeframe is only two days for countries like China.

There's an appointment wait-time of 833 days for applications from Delhi and 848 days from Mumbai for visitor visas, shows the US State Department's website. In contrast, the wait-time is only two days for Beijing and 450 days for Islamabad

For student visas, the wait time is 430 days for Delhi and Mumbai. Surprisingly, it's only one day for Islamabad, and two for Beijing.

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, who is in the US, yesterday raised the issue of visa applications backlog with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The top US diplomat said he's "extremely sensitive" to the issue and that they are facing a similar situation around the world, a challenge arising due to Covid.

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-informatio...

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 1, 2022 at 9:42pm

Suhasini Haidar
@suhasinih
#MustRead
@SushantSin
on Line of Actual Control two and a half years since PLA transgressions set off the military standoff and the Galwan killings,incl the change of returning to Status Quo Ante, and the utter failure of the leaders Summits to prevent it.

https://twitter.com/suhasinih/status/1576413875981127681?s=20&t...


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FOR THE FIRST TIME in forty-five years, on 15 June 2020, India and China recorded the death of Indian soldiers on the Line of Actual Control—the contested border between the two countries, which stretches from the Karakoram Pass in the west to Myanmar in the east. The deaths occurred in the Galwan Valley, in Ladakh, and these were the first military casualties in the territory since the 1962 Sino-India War. The full details of the incident are shrouded in ambiguity, but it involved Chinese soldiers pitching tents around the Galwan Valley and their forceful eviction by the Indian Army—there is little clarity on whether China’s People’s Liberation Army had agreed to abandon these positions. This led to a clash which claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers and at least four PLA soldiers. More than seventy Indian soldiers were injured while nearly a hundred more, including some officers, were taken captive by the Chinese. No Chinese soldier was in Indian captivity. “We were taken by surprise by how well prepared they were for the clash,” a top officer at the army headquarters in Delhi, who was part of the decision-making in the Ladakh crisis, told me.

The LAC has neither been delineated on the map nor demarcated on the ground by either side. The last attempt to do so failed nearly two decades ago. The difference in the two sides’ understanding of it is so vast that New Delhi claims the border between the two countries is 3,488 kilometres long while China says it is only around two thousand. It is the world’s longest disputed border. As the two countries do not agree on where the “actual control” exercised by either side ends, both are engaged in an uncompromising contest of asserting control over small parcels of land in a desolate Himalayan wasteland. The demonstration of territorial claims can take several forms, including soldiers patrolling up to certain points, building infrastructure along the border and controlling the limits to which people in border villages are allowed to graze their animals. The unforgiving terrain and harsh weather have not dissuaded India and China from deploying around fifty thousand additional soldiers each on the 832-kilometre LAC in Ladakh since the summer of 2020.

The deadly Galwan clash occurred at patrolling point PP14—an area that was not until then disputed, and which the Indian Army patrolled regularly. Days after it, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared in Delhi that the Chinese had not “intruded into our border, nor has any post been taken over by them”—an attempt at saving face that China gleefully seized upon as proof that it had not encroached upon Indian territory. The clamour around the deaths and the release of captive Indian soldiers, however, had blown the lid off the government’s attempts to play down the crisis in Ladakh. The situation had already come to public notice in India a month earlier because of massive physical clashes on the north bank of Pangong Lake, also in Ladakh. There were severe injuries on both sides, but no deaths. These major episodes marked the border crisis of the summer of 2020, even though tension had been building for months before that.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 3, 2022 at 11:08am

How China and Pakistan Forged Close Ties
Though ties between China and Pakistan began in the wake of the 1962 Sino-Indian clash, China did not embrace the relationship. By the mid-2000s, the shift in U.S.-India relations and China's own global ambitions made Pakistan a critical partner for China.

Article by Manjari Chatterjee Miller

https://www.cfr.org/article/how-china-and-pakistan-forged-close-ties

On a visit to China almost a decade ago, I had a conversation with a Beijing-based Chinese foreign policy analyst. The subject of China’s relationship with Pakistan came up and the analyst laughed ruefully. Although he acknowledged Pakistan saw the bilateral relationship as a valuable friendship, he implied that was not how China saw it. China was in some ways reluctant, I gathered, even to be seen as cultivating a friendship with Pakistan. At the time, the idea of taoguang yanghui (hide your strength and bide your time) still held sway in China, and the Chinese government was not only wary of being seen as an international spoiler state but also siding with one. China saw no need to trumpet the relationship, and Pakistan needed China more than the other way around.

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Pakistan is now an important partner for China. The relationship raises the specter that India may, in the future, face a two-front war, a scenario that would have been implausible a decade ago. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and embassies in South Asia often tweet sympathetically about the relationship—including on topics such as Pakistan’s welcome of the Chinese-sponsored Global Security Initiative, China-Pakistan football matches, China’s flood aid, and pandemic cooperation. At an MFA press conference earlier this year, the spokesperson gushed that, “the bond of friendship and mutual assistance between the Chinese and Pakistani people is stronger than gold, and the two countries’ iron-clad friendship is deeply rooted in the people and boasts strong vitality.”

This is not to say the relationship is problem-free. China’s wariness about Islamist militants in Xinjiang and their links to Pakistani militants, its concern about Chinese citizens working in Pakistan who have been the targets of terror attacks, the sporadic opposition in Pakistan to CPEC projects, and China’s caution about weighing in on Kashmir (despite its recent condemnation of India’s abrogation of Article 370 and Wang Yi’s reference to the territory at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation meeting) all continue to be sticking points. Yet this is no longer just a relationship, but a genuine partnership. India should take note.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 3, 2022 at 7:23pm

#India’s words are anti-war, but #NewDelhi’s actions are propping up #Putin’s regime. Rather than cutting economic ties with #Kremlin, #Modi is undermining Western sanctions by increasing purchases of #Russian #oil, #coal and #fertilizer. #US #Ukraine
https://www.cnn.com/2022/10/03/india/india-russia-war-putin-modi-in...

This apparent contradiction exemplifies India’s unique position on the war: verbally distancing itself from Russia, while continuing to maintain pivotal ties with Moscow.

Modi’s “stronger language to Putin” should be seen in the context of rising food, fuel and fertilizer prices, and the “hardships that was creating for other countries,” said Deepa Ollapally, research professor and director of the Rising Powers Initiative at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University.

“There’s a certain level of impatience (for India) with the intensification of the war,” she said. “There’s a feeling that Putin is pushing India’s limits because in some ways, it’s put itself out on a limb. And it’s not a comfortable position for India to be in.”

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When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Vladimir Putin “today’s era is not of war” last month, the West welcomed his comments as a sign the world’s largest democracy was finally coming off the fence about Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

French President Emmanuel Macron praised Modi and the White House lauded what it called a “statement of principle.”

But the reality, analysts say, is less straightforward.

Rather than cutting economic ties with the Kremlin, India has undermined Western sanctions by increasing its purchases of Russian oil, coal and fertilizer – giving Putin a vital financial lifeline.

New Delhi has repeatedly abstained from votes condemning Russia at the United Nations – providing Moscow with a veneer of international legitimacy. And in August, India participated in Russia’s large-scale Vostok military exercises alongside China, Belarus, Mongolia and Tajikistan – where Moscow paraded its vast arsenal.

Last week, India abstained from another UN draft resolution condemning Russia over its sham referendums in four regions of Ukraine, which have been used as a pretext by Moscow to illegally annex Ukrainian territory – significantly upping the stakes in the war.

India is “deeply disturbed” by the developments in Ukraine, said Ruchira Kamboj, New Delhi’s permanent representative to the UN, but stopped short of attributing blame and urged an “immediate ceasefire and resolution of the conflict.”

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‘A tale of two Indias’
As Russian troops massed on Ukraine’s border in December last year, Modi welcomed Putin in New Delhi during the 21st India-Russia Annual Summit.

“My dear friend, President Vladimir Putin,” Modi said, “your attachment with India and your personal commitment symbolize the importance of India-Russia relations and I am very grateful to you for that.”

New Delhi has strong ties with Moscow dating back to the Cold War, and India remains heavily reliant on the Kremlin for military equipment – a vital link given India’s ongoing tensions at its shared Himalayan border with an increasingly assertive China.

But according to analysts, India is concerned that Putin’s increasing isolation could draw Moscow closer to Beijing – and that requires India to tread carefully.

New Delhi’s contorted maneuvering in its stance on Russia’s aggression in Ukraine was on show when, alongside China, it took part in Russia’s Vostok military exercises – a move attacked by its Western partners.

“This can be seen as a tale of two Indias,” said Ollapally. “On the one hand, they are pushing back against China and then exercising along with China and Russia, giving Russia a certain amount of legitimacy.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 4, 2022 at 12:09pm

Christopher Clary
@clary_co
Shishir Gupta: "It is quite evident that the rise of India will not be benign and will be contested both by the West as much as by the East. India should be prepared to go solo." https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/from-f-16-upgrades-to-ajk...

https://twitter.com/clary_co/status/1577288930810028032?s=20&t=...

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From F-16 upgrades to AJK, have US-Pak relations rekindled again?
By Shishir Gupta

It is quite evident from the chain of events that the US wants to shore up the Shehbaz Sharif regime and Pakistan economically so that an opportunistic Imran Khan, who weaponised a diplomatic cipher into an anti-US campaign before his government was ousted, never comes back to power. The so-called diplomatic cipher has apparently gone missing from the prime minister’s office in Islamabad and perhaps is in the custody of the Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qamar Jawed Bajwa in Rawalpindi.

New Delhi has taken note of all these events and senior officials believe that the transactional relationship between US and major non-NATO ally has been kick-started again. And Pakistan’s proven ability to do a strategic U-turn, produce and expose a top terrorist from its tactical locker be it Ayman Al Zawahiri and its ability to play both China and US to its short-term advantage remains quite unmatched.

Unlike Pakistan, India under Narendra Modi with its civilization, culture, and history, stands up for its national interest be it on Ukraine war and global good like Climate Change. It is quite clear that Pakistan will use the F-16 upgrades including air-to-air missiles against India and not against any third country.

Fact is that the US transactional relationship with Pakistan pays off in the long run as it can sell top of the line weapons and life-cycle maintenance to Rawalpindi unlike India which wants full transfer of technology for any acquired hardware platform from America.

Given that Pakistan needs US help to secure a multi-billion IMF loan to repay Chinese debt incurred on white elephant projects at exorbitant interest rates, the US-Pak relationship will deepen in future with Islamabad asking no questions. The US defence assistance to Pakistan came at a time when Islamabad needed money for providing flood relief.

While India knows that US needs New Delhi and vice versa on Indo-Pacific to counter a belligerent China, it is also aware that America continues to look the other way when it comes to proscribed Khalistani SFJ organisation and its leader who spews venom against India just as Pakistanis continue to send terrorists to India to cause mayhem.

The same is the situation with US allies Canada and UK with the latter being the principal advisor to Washington on Af-Pak region with strong bias towards Pakistan. One must not forget that disastrous role played by UK Chief of Defence Staff Nick Carter in getting the Taliban regime installed and US forces unceremoniously kicked out of Kabul.

Although India and the US share a robust bilateral relationship with deep sharing of intelligence and mutually beneficial information and high end technology, the Indian diaspora is now wondering whether citizens of a friendly power must wait for over 800 days to get a US visa.

It is quite evident that the rise of India will not be benign and will be contested both by the West as much as by the East. India should be prepared to go solo.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 25, 2022 at 5:03pm

China Border Resolution Leaves Some in India Unhappy

https://www.voanews.com/a/china-border-resolution-leaves-some-in-in...


The resolution of a two-year border standoff between China and India has eased tensions between the Asian giants but left Indian critics saying their government gave up too much, local herders complaining of lost pastureland and analysts warning another escalation could come at any time.

The two nations’ militaries have disengaged from a border point in the Gogra-Hot Springs region in eastern Ladakh in accordance with an agreement reached in September, resolving one of several simmering border disputes that have kept the two countries on edge.

The Chinese withdrawal was confirmed in recent satellite imagery shared on Twitter by open-source intelligence analyst, Damien Symon, who tweeted, “imagery of Chinese side confirms what used to be a border camp, has now been removed, depth deployments, however, remain.”

But Pravin Sawhney, a former Indian army officer and widely published defense analyst, argued in an interview that China’s People’s Liberation Army “are not going back an inch” from the land they occupied more than two years ago. “The disengagements that have happened and the buffer zone that has been created are about 6 kilometers inside Indian territory,” he said.

Sawhney also pointed out that Chinese troops remain on land claimed by India in other critical areas of the Himalayan border region, including the Depsang Plains adjoining the Siachen Glacier, a militarily sensitive region bordered by India, China and Pakistan.

“In case of war, the Depsang Plains would be critical as it could facilitate one-front reinforced war with China and Pakistan,” Sawhney said.

Indian National Congress member Rahul Gandhi, a former leader of the opposition Congress Party, has also complained about the deal in a tweet.

“China has refused to accept India’s demand of restoring status quo of April 2020. [Prime Minister Narendra Modi] has given 1000 [square kilometers] of territory to China without a fight. Can [the government of India] explain how this territory will be retrieved?”

Sajjad Kargili, a political activist from the Ladakh region in Indian-administered Kashmir, told VOA that while the easing of tensions has been welcomed in the region, local herders are resentful at being shut out of their former grazing land in what is now part of the buffer zone.

“We have witnessed and lost access to our traditional grazing area, and now nomads have to move around over 15 kilometers to feed their livestock,” said Konchok Stanzin, who represents a border constituency on a local council. “The government should provide compensation to keep alive nomads’ culture and tradition in eastern Ladakh.”

He and others say the loss of the grazing land threatens the Pashmina wool business, which has been in operation for over 600 years and provides livelihoods for over a quarter of a million people.

Aparna Pande, research fellow and director at the Hudson Institute’s Initiative on the Future of India and South Asia, sees the Gogra-Hot Springs dispute as part of what some have described as Chinese “salami-slicing,” a strategy that “entails taking over territory and then claiming it as Chinese and asking the other to just accept reality and move on.”

“Between 2012 and 2020, there were four different occasions when the PLA came in and took over Indian territory along the border and each time while India disengaged and withdrew its troops, China did not reciprocate,” she said. “This time, India has disengaged but the extra troops will only be withdrawn if, and when, China does the same.”

Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia program at the Wilson Center, a Washington-based research group, noted that China remains unhappy with India for several reasons, including its participation with Japan, Australia and the United States in a security dialogue known as “the Quad.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 5, 2022 at 7:26am

Another $13bn incoming from China, S. Arabia

https://www.dawn.com/news/1719075


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday said to have secured about $13 billion in additional financial support from two traditional friends — about $9bn from China and over $4bn from Saudi Arabia — on top of assurances for about $20bn investments.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar told journalists that during Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s recent visit to Beijing, the Chinese leadership promised to roll over $4bn in sovereign loans, refinance $3.3bn commercial bank loans and increase currency swap by about $1.45bn — from 30bn yuan to 40bn yuan. The total worked out at $8.75bn.

“They promised the security of financial support,” Mr Dar said and quoted Chinese President Xi Jinping as telling Mr Sharif to “don’t worry, we will not let you down”.

Mr Dar said the Pakistani delegation had four major engagements, including meeting with the Chinese president and the prime minister, and the chairman of the National People’s Congress, the country’s legislature.


These would be rolled over whenever they reach maturity, the minister said, adding that about $200 million worth of commercial loans had already flowed in a few days back.

Responding to a question, Mr Dar said the Chinese side had also agreed to fast-track the processing for a $9.8bn high-speed rail project (Main Line-1) from Karachi to Peshawar and both sides would immediately trigger their respective teams.

Another official said the two sides were hoping to arrange bidding for the project by December and negotiations for financing terms and conditions could follow once a bidder is selected.

Mr Dar said the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) and Hyderabad-Karachi motorway projects were also taken up and the KCR would soon be in the implementation phase. The minister said he had also suggested a part of outstanding dues of Chinese power producers to be converted into overall debt stock and had already cleared about Rs160bn in recent months.

Responding to a question, he said Saudi Arabia had also “given a positive response” to Pakistan’s request for increasing its financing by another $3bn to $6bn and doubling its deferred oil facility of $1.2bn.

The two heads worked out at $4.2bn and the finance minister said there was no delay except a month or so of processing time.

Mr Dar said Saudi Arabia had also agreed to revive the $10-12bn petrochemical refining project at Gwadar, for which he had been assigned by the prime minister to coordinate with respective ministries for finalisation.

On top of that, the minister said Pakistan was engaging Saudi Arabia in privatisation transactions like in LNG power projects and shares in other entities to ensure non-debt creating foreign inflows.

Moreover, the minister said another $1.4bn worth of inflows were almost mature, including $500m from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and two World Bank loans of $900m under the national harmonisation of general sales tax.

He said he had a positive meeting with the Sindh chief minister to harmonise GST and the financing envelope could be settled amicably. He noted that harmonising GST was important for World Bank inflows to arrive in the country.

On the exchange rate, the minister insisted that the rupee’s real effective exchange rate (REER) was around Rs194 per dollar, even lower than Rs200. He expected the stakeholders to also keep in mind the national interest instead of “just outrageous profitmaking”.

Pakistan had been engaging with China and Saudi Arabia for financial support, including rolling over maturing loans as part of arrangements for about $35bn putouts against debt and liabilities during the current fiscal year. The minister parried a question relating to the extension in debt repayments of Chinese independent power producers (IPPs).

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    Karachi Defense Expo 2022: Pakistan Military's Focus on AI, Connectivity and Drone Warfare

    Pakistan displayed its latest drones at IDEAS 2022 (International Defence Exhibition and Seminar) Defense Expo held in November in Karachi. It also presented sessions on artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and connectivity. The event attracted more than 50 countries, including large pavilions set up by Pakistan's closest friends China and Turkey.  The four-day IDEAS 2022 opened on November 15, 2022 at Karachi Expo Centre, bringing together 300 leading national and…

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    Posted by Riaz Haq on November 29, 2022 at 7:00pm — 4 Comments

    US Brackets India's Modi With Murderous Dictators: Aristide, Kabila, Mugabe and MBS

    Speaking about the US decision to grant immunity to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said that it was “not the first time” that the US government has designated immunity to foreign leaders and listed four cases. “Some examples: President Aristide in Haiti in 1993; President Mugabe in Zimbabwe in 2001; Prime Minister Modi in India in 2014; and President Kabila in the DRC in 2018. This is a consistent practice that we have afforded to heads of…

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    Posted by Riaz Haq on November 26, 2022 at 9:00am — 6 Comments

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