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India Implodes Its Own New Silk Road


An Indian Train Ride. Credit: Asia Times/Facebook.

There was a time when New Delhi was proudly selling the notion of establishing its own New Silk Road – from the Gulf of Oman to the intersection of Central and South Asia – to compete with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Now it looks like the Indians have stabbed themselves in the back.

In 2016, Tehran and New Delhi signed a deal to build a 628-km rail line from strategic Chabahar port to Zahedan, very close to the Afghan border, with a crucial extension to Zaranj, in Afghanistan, and beyond.

The negotiations involved Iranian Railways and Indian Railway Constructions Ltd. But in the end nothing happened – because of Indian foot-dragging. So Tehran has decided to build the railway anyway, with its own funds – $400 million – and completion scheduled for March 2022.

The railway was supposed to be the key transportation corridor linked to substantial Indian investments in Chabahar, its port of entry from the Gulf of Oman for an alternative New Silk Road to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Upgrading rail/road infrastructure from Afghanistan to its neighbors Tajikistan and Uzbekistan would be the next step. The whole operation was inscribed in a trilateral India-Iran-Afghanistan deal – signed in 2016 in Tehran by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and then Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

The unofficial New Delhi excuse revolves around fears that the project would be slammed with US sanctions. New Delhi actually did get a Trump administration sanctions waiver for Chabahar and the rail line to Zahedan. The problem was to convince an array of investment partners, all of them terrified of being sanctioned.

In fact, the whole saga has more to do with Modi’s wishful thinking of expecting to get preferential treatment under the Trump administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy, which relies on a de facto Quad (US, India, Australia, Japan) containment of China. That was the rationale behind New Delhi deciding to cut off all its oil imports from Iran.

So far all practical purposes, India threw Iran under the bus. No wonder Tehran decided to move on its own, especially now with the $400 billion, 25-year “Comprehensive Plan for Cooperation between Iran and China”, a deal that seals a strategic partnership between China and Iran.

In this case, China may end up exercising control over two strategic “pearls” in the Arabian Sea/Gulf of Oman only 80 km away from each other: Gwadar, in Pakistan, a key node of the $61 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and Chabahar.

Tehran, so far, has denied that Chabahar port will be offered on a lease to Beijing. But what is a real possibility, apart from Chinese investments in an oil refinery near Chabahar, and even, in the long run, in the port itself, is an operational link between Gwadar and Chabahar. That will be complemented by the Chinese operating the port of Bandar-e-Jask in the Gulf of Oman, 350 km to the west of Chabahar and very close to the hyper-strategic Strait of Hormuz.

How corridors attract

Not even a Hindu deity on hangover could possibly imagine a more counter-productive “strategy” for Indian interests in case New Delhi backs off from its cooperation with Tehran.

Let’s look at the essentials. What Tehran and Beijing will be working on is a de facto massive expansion of CPEC, with Gwadar linked to Chabahar and further onwards to Central Asia and the Caspian via Iranian railways, as well as connected to Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean (via Iraq and Syria), all the way to the EU.

This game-changing progress will be at the heart of the whole Eurasian integration process – uniting China, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and of course Russia, which is linked to Iran via the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

For the moment, for all its hefty reverberations in multiple areas – upgrade of energy infrastructure, refurbishing of ports and refineries, construction of a connectivity corridor, investments in manufacturing, and a steady supply of Iranian oil and gas, a matter of national security for China – there’s no question that the Iran-China deal is being effectively downplayed by both sides.

The reasons are self-evident: not to raise the Trump administration’s ire to even more incandescent levels, considering both actors are considered “existential threats”. Still, Mahmoud Vezi, chief of staff for President Rouhani, guarantees the final Iran-China deal with be signed by March 2021.

CPEC, meanwhile, is on a roll. What Chabahar was supposed to do for India is already in effect at Gwadar – as transit trade to Afghanistan started only a few days ago, with bulk cargo arriving from the UAE. Gwadar is already establishing itself as a key transit hub to Afghanistan – way ahead of Chabahar.

For Kabul, the strategic factor is essential. Afghanistan essentially depends on overland routes from Pakistan – some can be extremely unreliable – as well as Karachi and Port Qasim. Especially for southern Afghanistan, the overland link from Gwadar, through Balochistan, is much shorter and safer.

For Beijing, the strategic factor is even more essential. For China, Chabahar would not be a priority, because access to Afghanistan is easier, for instance, via Tajikistan.

But Gwadar is a completely different story. It’s being configured, slowly but surely, as the key Maritime Silk Road hub connecting China with the Arabian Sea, the Middle East and Africa, with Islamabad collecting hefty transit funds. Win-win in a nutshell – but always taking into consideration that protests and challenges from Balochistan simply won’t disappear, and require very careful management by Beijing-Islamabad.

Chabahar-Zahedan was not the only recent setback for India. India’s External Affairs Ministry has recently admitted that Iran will develop the massive Farzad-B gas field in the Persian Gulf “on its own” and India might join “appropriately at a later stage”. The same “at a later stage” spin was applied by New Delhi for Chabahar-Zahedan.

The exploration and production rights for Farzad B were already granted years ago for India’s state company ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL). But then, again, nothing happened – due to the proverbial specter of sanctions.

Sanctions, by the way, had been in effect already under Obama. Yet at the time, India and Iran at least traded goods for oil. Farzad B was scheduled to be back on track after the signing of the JCPOA in 2015. But then Trump’s sanctions iced it again.

It doesn’t take a PhD in political science to ascertain who may eventually take over Farzad B: China, especially after the signing of the 25-year partnership next year.

India, against its own energy and geostrategic interests, has in fact been reduced to the status of hostage of the Trump administration. The real target of applying Divide and Rule to India-Iran is to prevent them from trading in their own currencies, bypassing the US dollar, especially when it comes to energy.

The Big Picture though is always about New Silk Road progress across Eurasia. With increasing evidence of closer and closer integration between China, Iran and Pakistan, what’s clear is that India remains integrated only with its own inconsistencies.

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India should beware as ‘the Quad’ evolves toward an informal military alliance in Asia

by: Sarang Shidore

The escalating U.S.-China conflict over trade and technology is garnering international headlines. But the emergence of a U.S.-led embryonic military alliance, also involving Japan, Australia, and India, ought to be equally worrying to those opposed to a new global cold war. Known as the Quadrilateral Security Dialog, or “Quad,” the grouping may hold its first-ever joint military exercise next month. India, which faces an assertive China on its borders, may have the most to lose in this evolution. But India is also best positioned to limit the Quad’s trajectory and should do so before it is too late.

The Quad was first proposed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — who resigned this week due to health issues — in 2007 but the idea went dormant thereafter. The United States and Japan revived the grouping in 2017, arguing that China’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative needed to be countered by a rival infrastructural push. Meanwhile, the traditional term “Asia-Pacific” in U.S. security discourse was replaced by a newly constructed geography — the “Indo-Pacific” — combining the Indian and Pacific Oceans and their littorals, and the U.S. Pacific Command renamed the Indo-Pacific Command.

In time though, the Quad has shown itself to be less interested in building highways and power plants and much more in joint patrols and military exercises, coupled with diplomatic rhetoric of a “free and open Indo-Pacific” and a stress on common democratic values. India’s already-close defense relationship with Washington has effectively become trilateral, with Japan being included on a permanent basis in the annual Malabar military exercise. If Australia is included in this year’s exercise as anticipated, it would effectively mark the Quad’s coming-out party as a military alliance.

The Quad’s member states have denied that it is an alliance, or anti-Chinese. That is misleading. For one, Australia and Japan are already part of the formal, decades-old hub-and-spoke system of U.S. alliances in Asia. This does leave India as the odd one out. However, we no longer live in a world of new, formal military alliances. Most states prefer to keep their security partnerships flexible. Yet this does not eliminate the evolution of coherent security structures and informal commitments.

The Quad is an example of the form alliances of the future may take — with no formal mutual-assistance treaty, secretariat, or even a website. But a clear identification of the common adversary, deep inter-operability, regular adversary-specific exercises, and cooperative ventures to build up each other’s capacity can make informal alliances sufficiently potent. The gap presented by India’s formal ally status in Washington is being rapidly made up through deep Indian involvement in the U.S. defense architecture, undergirded by arms sales and pacts facilitating logistics and communications inter-operability between the militaries, further supplanted by an agreement with Australia.

In fact, Washington embraced the new geography of the “Indo-Pacific” precisely to bring India into the fold of the U.S.-led security architecture in Asia. It was a way to expand the hub-and-spoke alliance system in Asia. India presented a challenge for Washington — it was not only not a formal U.S. ally, but it also possessed a stubborn tradition of strategic autonomy from the days of its founding as an anti-colonial republic in 1947. India also has a major capabilities gap with China, which made it sensitive to rushing into an overtly anti-Beijing alliance. This included staying well clear of disputes to which it was not a claimant state, such as the South China Sea. There were many cooperative aspects to the India-China relationship on multilateral trade, climate change, and global norms.

Three factors have darkened this competitive-cooperative dynamic. The first is the rise of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister in New Delhi in 2014. A hard nationalist, Modi early on placed his bets on Washington by recklessly wading into the South China Sea dispute. He also struck a deep rapport with fellow Asian nationalist Abe — and took an overt position critical of China in his first visit to Tokyo as prime minister. Continuing localized Chinese incursions culminated in a serious military stand-off high in the Doklam plateau adjacent to Bhutan in 2017, in which China largely prevailed. After a brief thaw in ties, India resumed its military forays into the South China Sea, even as Chinese incursions stepped up on the border. India also strongly opposed the BRI.

The second factor is Washington’s increased determination to counter the rise of China. Its roots are in the Obama era with Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea as a key tool. President Trump’s anti-globalism has opened a new front on trade, but the simultaneous revival and gelling of the Quad indicates that the military dimension is no less prominent.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vast concentration of powers and his embrace of an assertive domestic and foreign policy is the third driver. Beijing and Islamabad inked the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as a part of the BRI, annoying New Delhi. But Chinese incursions into buffer zones on the India border and the subsequent clash leading to the death of 20 Indian troops in June 2020 was a key setback. These were the first fatalities on the disputed India-China border since 1975. More than two months later, China continues to hold its newly acquired territory.

Thus, developments in Washington, Beijing, and Delhi have together accelerated the drift toward a new cold war in Asia. The greatest proximate danger is the formation of defined, adversarial military blocs, which would harden rivalries and enhance chances of violent incidents. Should Asia be dominated by contending military blocs, weaker and frontline states will face the greatest dangers. India fits this description well.

But India’s idiosyncratic status in the Quad also gives it unique leverage for limiting the grouping’s evolution. India could do this by vetoing further militarization of the Quad. Most immediately, this would mean the non-inclusion of Australia in the upcoming Malabar exercise, and maintaining the current approach of not issuing joint statements at Quad summits. More proactively, India could push the Quad toward its original political-economic understanding. New Delhi  could also strengthen ties with its non-Quad partners with strategic ties to China. As I have written elsewhere, Russia and Iran are key here. Russia, in particular, has deep interdependencies with India. Persuading Russia to join the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific strategy is however unlikely to work.

A policy of restraint in New Delhi does not equate to naivete. The role of ASEAN — and Vietnam, Singapore, and Indonesia in particular — should be made central to a policy of resolved restraint. These countries (as also U.S. ally South Korea), hardly China’s clients, have wisely stayed away from the Quad for a reason. India has spoken of the centrality of ASEAN to Asian security, but has failed to translate this into a meaningful strategy.

If China is indeed inherently and immutably aggressive, a new cold war in Asia may be unavoidable. But very rarely is the world divisible into a neat contest between good and evil. Democracies can be offensive power-maximizers and autocracies defensive security-seekers, and vice versa. Moreover, adversarial relationships can be constructed and deconstructed. India’s choices could help nudge Washington toward a grand strategy of restraint in Asia — critical to prevent vigorous economic competition turning into open conflict and warfare.

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Is the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) (US, Australia, India, Japan)

Intent on Provoking Proxy War with China in the Solomon Islands?

By Andrew Korybko

The leader of the Solomon Islands province of Malaita announced earlier this week that his region will seek independence from the central government due to its disagreement with the capital over the latter’s recognition of Beijing last year as the legitimate government of China, which could dangerously plunge this underdeveloped nation back into a state of civil conflict that could then be exploited by the Quad as a proxy war for “containing” Chinese influence in the South Pacific through “Balkanization”.

From The Global Periphery To The Center Of Attention

The South Pacific, long regarded as a far-flung region that’s largely irrelevant to all major countries apart from nearby Australia, has increasingly figured more prominent in global media reports over the past few years as the West has sought to portray this part of the world as the latest theater in the West’s New Cold War with China. The narrative goes that China’s recent inroads through its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) and some regional states’ decisions to recognize Beijing as the legitimate government of China has given the People’s Republic the opportunity to expand its influence there, which is being portrayed in a zero-sum manner as supposedly being a threat to Western interests. Political tensions have been building over the past year as more pressure was put upon these countries by their traditional Western partners to either reverse their relations with Beijing or at the very least “balance” them out by re-engaging with the Australia and/or the US, two of the four countries that comprise the so-called “Quad” alongside India and Japan which are collectively accused of seeking to “contain” China. Although concerning, this tense state of affairs had yet to destabilize the region, but that might soon change after the latest news coming from the Solomon Islands.

On The Precipice Of Civil War

The leader of the Malaita Province — the most populous one in the country that’s home to approximately a quarter of the Solomon Islands’ less than 700,000 people — announced earlier this week that his region will seek independence from the central government due to its disagreement with the capital over the latter’s recognition of Beijing last year. This is especially troublesome because the Solomon Islands’ de-facto state of civil war that lasted between 1999-2003 and prompted a nearly 15-year-long Australian-led peacekeeping intervention directly concerned an ethno-regional dispute between Malaita and the neighboring island of Guadalcanal which hosts the country’s capital. The Capital Territory and Guadalcanal Province collectively have more people than Malaita does, which means that any possible exacerbation of their former conflict with one another over the China-Taiwan issue could immediately plunge approximately half of the Solomon Islands back into civil conflict. That, however, might be exactly what the Quad is hoping for since it could then easily exploit this unrest as a proxy war for “containing” Chinese influence in the South Pacific through “Balkanization”.

Hybrid War On The Solomon Islands?

What’s important to point out is that the China-Taiwan issue is simply a trigger for thawing this unresolved conflict between the two islands and their people, one which predates the Quad’s formation by over a decade but could potentially be encouraged by them for the aforementioned reason. It’s extremely unlikely that the leader of Malaita Province would make such a dramatic announcement had he not already secured support from this bloc’s American and Australian members, both of whom have an interest in pushing back against what they’ve portrayed as the “aggressive” expansion of Chinese influence in the region that they’ve historically regarded as falling within their joint “sphere of influence”. The external exacerbation of preexisting identity conflicts for geostrategic reasons — especially those related to disrupting, controlling, or influencing transnational connective infrastructure projects such as BRI — fits the author’s definition of Hybrid War. That means that this scheme can rightly be described as the Quad’s Hybrid War on the Solomon Islands, which could become the catalyst of geostrategic change all across the New Cold War’s South Pacific theater if the “Balkanization” process that’s being unleashed in that country uncontrollably spreads throughout the region.

Is The Quad Plotting To Provoke A Proxy War With China In The Solomon Islands?

Source: OneWorld

Formalizing The “Asian NATO”

Any resumption of civil war-like unrest in the Solomon Islands as a result of Malaita’s attempted secession will almost certainly prompt another international peacekeeping mission there, one which might be led not just by Australia like last time, but jointly by it and its other three Quad partners. After all, US Deputy Secretary of State Biegun declared his country’s intention earlier this week to create a NATO-like military bloc in the so-called “Indo-Pacific” in order to “push back against China in virtually every domain” there. He strongly hinted that the Quad could play such a role, and another conflict in the Solomon Islands might be just what’s needed in order to provide the impetus for formalizing this structure to that point. The previous Australian-led peacekeeping mission wasn’t all that difficult compared to others across the world so a forthcoming one possibly led by the Quad’s four members could serve as the perfect opportunity for strengthening their military interoperability with one another in a real-world mission instead of just another exercise. It wouldn’t entail as much of a cost as doing so elsewhere in this transoceanic region should another Hybrid War be manufactured for that purpose, and the benefits to their bloc could be tremendous in terms of their grand strategic impact.

“Perception Management”

Special attention should be paid to how this scenario is already being sold to the public. Reutersquoted Malaita’s leader as evoking the UN principle of self-determination, which in this context could easily be spun in a way to sympathetically present him and his people as “freedom-loving democrats” opposed to the “Chinese-controlled tyrannical central government”. Considering how preconditioned many people across the world are to suspect China of ulterior motives through BRI, it wouldn’t be surprising if they fall for this emerging narrative. To make it more believable, unverified claims could be made about alleged human rights abuses carried out by the central government with Chinese support. Reports could also be spread fearmongering about the environmental consequences of any potential BRI projects on the island. Since the nearby Papua New Guinean Autonomous Region of Bougainville just held a non-binding UN-recognized independence referendum that overwhelmingly passed last year, the legal precedent has been established for arguing that Malaita deserves the same opportunity to choose its own destiny as the only lasting solution to the Solomon Islands’ similar ethno-regional conflict.

Proxy War Scenarios

It’s impossible to predict in detail exactly how a Quad-China proxy war in the Solomon Islands could play out, but the initial conditions are such that one can nonetheless identify the broad contours of this conflict. Violence would probably be concentrated mostly in Malaita and among migrant communities on Guadalcanal, which would thus make them the two most likely places for a Quad-led peacekeeping force to deploy. If the central government successfully secures the capital region and its surroundings, then the peacekeeping mission might only concern Malaita and thus set it along the trajectory of seemingly inevitable independence pending a UN-recognized referendum there overseen by the Quad. If the authorities lose control of parts of Guadalcanal, however, then a regime change is certainly possible with or without a Quad-led military intervention there, one which could still result in Malaita’s eventual independence but also the reversal of the country’s recognition of Beijing back to Taipei. In the course of events, China might be compelled to evacuate some of its citizens if they’re targeted by the separatists, who might also attack them systematically in order to prompt China into deepening its political, financial, and perhaps even military support of the authorities through “mission creep”.

Concluding Thoughts

The news that the leader of a South Pacific island nation’s province announced his separatist intentions might have seemed so irrelevant to the rest of the world at first glance as to not warrant any serious attention, but the fact of the matter is that this event is actually extremely important because it’s poised to turn the South Pacific into the latest hot spot of the New Cold War. The author predicted three years ago in September 2017 that “it’s impossible to speculate on exactly what could set off a renewed round of violence in the [Solomon Islands], but the most probable scenarios have to do with a continuation conflict between the people of Guadalcanal island and neighboring Malaita, which was at the core of the ‘The Tensions’ in the first place.” That’s exactly what seems slated to happen after the leader of Malaita used the central government’s recognition of Beijing as the pretext for thawing this unresolved conflict, all with the very likely support of the Quad for the purpose of “containing” China in the region through “Balkanization”, which in turn could serve as the regional security impetus for formalizing the bloc into an “Asian NATO”. The calm waters of the South Pacific might therefore soon give way to a tempest of Hybrid War trouble with global strategic implications.

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Valley of Unrest

[Letter from Kashmir]

By Sonia Faleiro

India’s unending occupation of Kashmir

One winter’s night in the Kashmir Valley, the power went out. A bone-piercing cold swept through my hotel room in Srinagar. The next morning, the radiator, the water heater, and all the light switches were useless things. I knew that I would feel isolated in the Valley, given that India had imposed a communications blockade three months earlier, snapping internet, cellular, and landline connections for seven million people. Nevertheless, I was unprepared for the feeling of total solitude that the absence of connectivity—and now power—provoked in me, mere hours after arriving. I was unmoored, like I belonged to nothing.

I lay in bed, wearing two sweaters, a hat, and gloves. The hotel room was spacious and carpeted, with ornate wooden furniture in the Kashmiri way. I decided to walk over to the window. Perhaps I thought that seeing another person would root me to the place. I was taken aback by the sight that greeted me. Everything was white—the lawn, the garden umbrella, the chairs, the flower beds, the chimney pots of nearby homes. The chinar trees that just yesterday had been aflame with golden leaves were flexing and bending under the weight of the snow that had fallen overnight. I watched a gardener in a thin raincoat tenderly scrape the ice from some roses. Then a waiter knocked on my door to say that the kitchen had canceled breakfast. I was the hotel’s only remaining guest.

Few people had been able to visit the Valley since the blockade was imposed last August. Foreign journalists were explicitly barred, and national reporters were closely monitored. Even Indian politicians were prevented from coming in to survey the situation. Still, the government kept promising that everything was “normal.” At a summit of business leaders in November, the home minister, Amit Shah, made light of the situation. “Why don’t you go see for yourself?” he said with a smile. “You’ll see peace up and down the Valley.” I decided to take him up on his suggestion. I knew Kashmir wasn’t “normal.” India and Pakistan had fought three wars there over the second half of the twentieth century, and a Pakistan-supported insurgency had been advancing and receding since the Eighties, resulting in the deaths of more than seventy thousand people. Now India had amended its constitution in order to annex the section of Kashmir it controlled, and had imposed a stringent curfew to prevent resistance. Life in the Valley hadn’t been normal for decades. What I wanted to see was exactly how abnormal it had become.

With no phone service, it was impossible to confirm my interviews for that morning, but I decided I would venture out anyway. I got into the back seat of a hotel car, and we crawled across one of the eight bridges that span the Jhelum River, a tributary of the Indus. Over the next few days, the river would freeze to form a broad sheet of white ice, but for now the green ribbon of water still flowed, gently rocking the houseboats. I was calmed by the sight until I remembered that a seventeen-year-old boy had drowned here in August, becoming the first civilian casualty of the siege. Chased by security forces for violating the curfew, he had leaped into the river, even though he couldn’t swim.

Above us, dead power lines dangled like loose threads. The snow was falling hard, in what seemed to me to be an outpouring of feeling. The driver was worried we’d skid. We had already seen a man fly over the handlebars of his motorcycle.

At first glance, the weather was just one more burden for the Kashmiris to bear, but it also presented an unexpected gift. The sudden cold drove security forces into their bunkers. Left alone, ordinary Kashmiris nipped out with shovels to clear the tall drifts of snow. Women holding umbrellas hurried in search of milk and bread. Children threw snowballs. Watching all this, in the shadow of the snowcapped mountains that ring the Valley, it was possible to imagine what peace might look like in Kashmir.

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India Should Not Participate in Washington-led Anti-China Coalition

By Lucas Leiroz de Almeida

For years, the US, Japan and India have maintained Malabar military exercises on an annual basis. As the US and Japan are absolutely aligned countries and India is a Washington regional strategic partner, the common objective of the three participants is to face the Chinese advance and to strengthen a coalition against Beijing and its presence in the Indian Ocean. Now, with the increasing of tensions between China and the United States for naval supremacy and between China and India for territorial reasons, Malabar exercises take on a new dimension, being the moment of greatest risk of war in the region in recent years.

Since 2017, Australia has asked to join Malabar naval exercises. The US and Japan have already voted in favor of the Australian participation, but India has not allowed it – the US, Japan and India are the permanent members of the tests and the adherence of a new country depends on a unanimous vote. There was a logistical disagreement between India and Australia, which prevented them from reaching a consensus on the execution of the exercises. In June, both countries signed a mutual logistical support agreement, thus removing the obstacle to Australian participation. Now, as the impasse with China increases, India can change its vote and finally approve Australian participation. The result would be an even stronger coalition scenario against China, which would certainly respond accordingly.

Beijing will not allow its oceanic region to be the target of powerful military exercises by enemy powers without offering high-level war tests in return. China has recently reached an advanced stage of naval military power, practically equaling American power by crossing the International Date Line. In addition, China has significantly increased its military campaign in the South China Sea and has built a large fleet for the Arctic. It is this adversary that the Malabar coalition is facing when promoting a siege in the Indian Ocean. So, what will happen if China invests even more in naval power, modernizing its Navy and devoting itself to a military strategy focused on maritime defense?Is India Now a US Ally? Aligned against Russia and China?

On the other hand, Beijing’s reaction may be different and even more effective: investing in Sino-Pakistani military cooperation to affect India. If China and Pakistan start joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean, a coalition dispute will form, in which both groups will begin a series of regular tests and demonstrations of strength, seeking to intimidate each other.

In all scenarios, a central point is inevitable: the increase of tensions and violence in the Indian Ocean. Perhaps this is, in fact, the American desire in the region, taking into account that the increase in the crisis will inevitably forge the strengthening of the anti-China coalition and its ties with Washington, in addition to encouraging regional reactions from the Chinese Navy and delaying Beijing’s global projections – like the Chinese presence in the Arctic, for example. Having been Japan and Australia subjected to the American naval umbrella for decades, their participation is predictable and not surprising that Tokyo and Canberra support aggressive operations against China in the Indian Ocean. However, the same cannot be said about India.

India should not be part of a Washington-led coalition against China. The rivalry between India and China is different from the dispute between the US and China, and the mere fact that Beijing looks like a “common enemy” does not justify a coalition. China and India have a historic dispute of a territorial nature – a regional conflict over a physical, continental space. This is different from the American quest for global hegemony – to which China poses a threat today. China and India have much more in common than opposites: both are emerging Asian nations, with enormous growth potential and which aim to increase their degree of participation in the international scenario, at the economic and geopolitical level. Washington, in this sense, is against both – because it seeks to preserve unipolarity and the American global dominance. Beijing and New Delhi can reach a common agreement sovereignly, with regional negotiations and bilateral diplomacy, as, in fact, they have been doing recently, resulting in the reduction of the border violence and the evacuation of troops.

By maintaining its participation in the exercises and encouraging the growth of the coalition, India will be making a big mistake – both in its relations with China and in its relations with Pakistan. Japan and Australia are nations willing to collaborate with American hegemony – India is not. The best path to be taken by the Indians is the abdication from the Malabar exercises, or, if it is not possible, at least, to prevent the Australian entry again, avoiding the strengthening of the anti-China alliance.

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Sushant Singh Rajput, late Bollywood actor, was a true Zionist puppet

By: Sammi ibrahem,Sr

File picture of actor Sushant Singh Rajput talking to the press at the International Indian Film Academy Rocks show at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, U.S., July 14, 2017 (photo credit: REUTERS)

File picture of Zionist puppet Sushant Singh Rajput talking to the press at the International Indian Film Academy Rocks show at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, U.S., July 14, 2017

Nazi Gilad Cohen, the Deputy Director General for Asia and the Pacific at the Nazi Foreign Ministry, paid homage to the late Bollywood Zionist puppet Sushant Singh Rajput Tuesday on Twitter. He lauded the Indian actor as being a “true friend of Israel,” adding that at this time ‘Israel’ looks east.

“Sending my deepest condolences on the passing of [Sushant Singh Rajput], a true friend of Israel. You will be missed!” Nazi Cohen said on his official Twitter page. He then linked his Twitter post to a music video of an upbeat song from the soundtrack of the 2019 Bollywood action thriller Drive, titled Makhna,” which Zionist puppet Rajput was featured in alongside his co-stars Jacqueline Fernandez, Vikramjeet Virk, Sapna Pabbi, soaking up the Nazi occupied Tel Aviv sunshine and scenery. 

Zionist puppet Rajput, who won acclaim for his role in the 2016 biopic of then Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, was found dead at his home in Mumbai on Sunday, police said.He was 34 years old.

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Deadly consequences of India’s ‘punga’ with China!

Crescent International
Deadly consequences of India’s ‘punga’ with China!

by Zia Sarhadi

How did 20 Indian soldiers die in clashes with Chinese forces in Ladakh in the disputed Kashmir region, when both sides admit no bullets were fired?

It seems the Chinese beat the hell out of Indian soldiers during the June 15 fracas high up in the Himalayas.

Those familiar with Punjabi and Urdu would understand what ‘punga’ means. It’s slang for provoking someone that can have serious consequences.

“How a clash that did not involve an exchange of fire could prove so lethal is unclear. There are reports that it was fought with rocks and clubs,” mused the BBC.

“Local media outlets reported that the Indian soldiers had been ‘beaten to death’,” continued the BBC.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused Indian troops of crossing the border twice on June 15, “provoking and attacking Chinese personnel, resulting in serious physical confrontation between border forces on the two sides”, according to AFP news agency.

Initially India reported three casualties on its side—two soldiers and an officer.

Delhi also claimed there were casualties on the other side.

The Chinese did not mention any casualties on their side but said they had captured a number of Indian soldiers, including a major.

The soldiers were released but the Indian major, reportedly, was still in Chinese custody.

Early today, the Indian army said three of its soldiers, including an officer, had died in the clash.

Later in the day, it said that “17 Indian troops who were critically injured in the line of duty” had died from their injuries, taking the “total that were killed in action to 20”.

According to reports from the region, both sides used rocks and clubs in the skirmish.

It seems the Chinese were far more agile in the use of these otherwise non-lethal weapons.

In any case, Indian troops are thoroughly demoralized as a result of low pay and poor living conditions.

Many suffer from depression and are unmotivated to fight, especially against a powerful adversary like China.

While India regularly threatens Pakistan, even resorting to firing artillery at Kashmiri villagers on the Pakistani side, with China, it is much more circumspect.

In November 1962, in the only war with China, India was convincingly beaten with Indian troops fleeing their posts.

In the nearly 60 years since, China has become a global power both militarily and economically while India, despite a very large army, is no match for Beijing.

Economically, India is still a third world country with more than 400 million people living in absolute poverty.

The border between the two countries in the frosty Himalayas is unmarked. Each side accuses the other of occupying its territory.

In recent weeks, however, India tried to take advantage by building a new road and an air strip in the most remote and vulnerable area along what is referred to as the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.

This seems to have upset China that warned India to desist.

Last month, there were minor skirmishes between the two sides. It led to a meeting between the two countries’ top military officials and diplomats earlier this month in an attempt to defuse tensions.

India is desperate to avoid a clash, fully aware of the disastrous consequences.

It bares its fangs to threaten its smaller neighbors.

The latest clashes occurred around Ladakh’s Galwan Valley.

Military officials from both sides are meeting to defuse tensions and not allow these skirmishes that gave the Indians a bloody nose, from escalating.

India can ill-afford to pick up a fight with China, especially at a time when its economy has tanked amid the pandemic.

COVID-19 has left hundreds of millions of people in India without food or any assistance.

While Indian media continues to indulge in jingoism, its military knows the reality and is unwilling to take on a powerful adversary like China.

The moral of the story is, don’t take ‘punga’ with China!

Posted in China, IndiaComments Off on Deadly consequences of India’s ‘punga’ with China!

Indian Colonization of Jammu & Kashmir

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Crescent International
Indian Colonization of Jammu & Kashmir

by Zafar Bangash

That India is ruled by a fascist clique is not in doubt. Further, that it wants to fully absorb the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in complete violation of international law and its own pledges at the United Nations Security Council, is also not in doubt. Delhi’s illegal act, however, seems not to bother the rest of the world. This is evident from the lack of reaction to India’s blatant act of colonialism on steroids.

India’s latest move involves the May 18 J&K ‘Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rules 2020’ which diminishes the indigenous people’s rights to access public employment opportunities. This is significant both economically and symbolically. The move has been opposed by all segments of the Kashmiri society including political parties that are known to be pro-India.

Two days after announcing the ‘rules’, the Indian colonial regime made the domicile certificate a condition for access to education in Indian occupied J&K. These changes are in direct violation of international humanitarian law as well as the Instrument of Accession and the now-abrogated J&K Constitution and Indian Constitutional provisions relating to J&K.

The Indigenous people of Indian Occupied J&K no longer automatically qualify for public employment or education opportunities in the state whose status is internationally recognized as disputed. Since the state is the largest employer, especially of people with higher education, they have been deprived of such opportunity at a stroke.

Indigenous people of Indian occupied J&K, or holders of the previous “state subject” or “permanent resident” status, are not automatically grandfathered under the new domicile rules that will be enforced by low level Indian bureaucrats. Indigenous Kashmiris whose families have resided in Kashmir for centuries must apply for domicile status like any non-local resident of India. Given the virulent ideology of Hindutva rampaging through India, Indigenous Kashmiris’ applications are subject to rejection. It is believed that many of them do not possess the certificate required to obtain the new domicile status (which may never have been issued, or lost, or destroyed in natural disasters like the 2014 floods, or destroyed in acts of state violence or collective punishment. Historically, such certificates have been extremely difficult to obtain and may now be practically impossible to get as far as Indigenous Kashmiris are concerned.

The new domicile status is available to any Indian (subject to certain nominal qualifying criteria) and their children (in some cases, even if they have never resided in J&K). There is a special qualification category for the children of Indian government officials and military personnel who have served in Indian occupied J&K for ten years. It means, families of officials most directly responsible for gross human rights violations and acts constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Indian occupied J&K can now reside in Kashmir right next to their victims. Documents required for non-locals to get domicile status are easily available.

Adding insult to injury, the new domicile status is not available to any “state subjects” or “permanent residents” of Kashmir or their progeny who are not Indian citizens. All refugees or exiles from Indian occupied J&K including those in Azad J&K (Pakistani side), who are predominantly if not entirely Muslims from Indian occupied J&K, are not eligible. Hindu refugees from “West Pakistan” are granted domicile rights. All diaspora Kashmiris and their children who are not Indian citizens are also ineligible.

Local authorities have strong incentive to not resist a mandate from Indian officials to grant domicile status to Indian citizens. Failure to comply would result in a fine of Rs 50,000, a major portion of their monthly salary. With such coercive tactics, few local officials would be able to resist the pressure from Indian bureaucrats that are hell-bent on changing the demographic composition of J&K as soon as possible.

India’s colonial settler enterprise in J&K is proceeding along the same lines as the Zionist land grab in Occupied Palestine. While there has been some criticism, albeit mild, of the Zionists’ land grab, there is deafening silence about India’s naked colonialism in Jammu and Kashmir.

If the Kashmiris resist such gangsterism by rising and fighting against it, the world will then accuse them of being “terrorists”. What should they do to protect their rights: natural, historical and human rights?

Posted in Human Rights, India, Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Indian Colonization of Jammu & Kashmir

Prime Minister Modi Can’t Put the Genie of Indian Jingoism Back in the Bottle

By: Andrew Korybko

Prime Minister Modi released the genie of Indian jingoism after coming to power six years ago, irresponsibly hoping that the state-sponsored cultivation of hyper-nationalist sentiment would lead to the false domestic perception of the country as the “superpower” that it claims to be, which has actually been more successful than he planned since the indoctrinated masses are now becoming very disillusioned upon experiencing severe cognitive dissonance and are thus asking politically uncomfortable questions of his government after the disastrous aftermath of its brief border conflict with China last week.

The Genie Of Jingoism

The state-sponsored cultivation of hyper-nationalist sentiment is a dangerous tiger that few leaders in history have ever been able to tame, something that Indian Prime Minister Modi is quickly learning the hard way after he let the genie of Indian jingoism out of the bottle over the past six years as part of his irresponsible strategy of cultivating the false domestic perception that his country is truly the “superpower” that it claims to be. Nothing could have been further from the truth, but the indoctrinated masses were successfully conned after hearing this narrative multiple times a day in practically every media out in the country. Following the disastrous aftermath of India’s brief border conflict with China last week, however, many can’t help but feel disillusioned after the government itself was forced to acknowledge that it lost at least 20 soldiers and counted several times as many injuries as a result of non-firearm clashes with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Furthermore, Prime Minister Modi made an epic mistake when he told an all-party meeting on Friday that “no one has intruded into our territory“, which has been widely interpreted as ceding India’s claims to the recently disputed Galwan Valley and tacitly admitting to provoking the latest incident by invading Chinese territory, which essentially means that India’s servicemen were killed for no domestically justifiable reason.

Modi In Panic Mode

The author wrote more on this topic in his recent piece about how “Modi’s Major Himalayan Mistake Crushed The Indian Military’s Morale“, which explains that India expected to impress its new American ally by taking a high-profile lead in “containing” China at its behest. What it didn’t anticipate, however, was that the much more formidable PLA would so brutally expose India’s Bollywood dreams as nothing more than a dangerous self-delusion, which in turn prompted Modi to panic and instinctively try to “save face” in pretending that New Delhi had never laid claim to the Galwan Valley in the first place. That’s not factual true, but it goes to show just how much the Chinese have shaken the Indian leadership to its core that the country’s chief jingoist, Prime Minister Modi, was cowering in fear to such a degree that he conveniently forgot about his past six years of chest-thumping. A rapidly growing segment of Indian society is furious that their leader, who handily won re-election last year in a sweeping landslide largely due to his hyper-nationalist rhetoric, would behave in such a weak way that’s totally at odds with his strongman reputation and even arguably disrespects the recent losses that the Indian military recently experienced. The Prime Minister’s Office has since attempted to walk back his controversial statement by attacking its “mischievous” interpretation by many, but the damage is already done.

Cognitive Dissonance

Many Indians are experiencing severe cognitive dissonance after having been brainwashed into believing that their country was a “superpower” but then realizing that it’s really a “paper elephant” like the author described it in his previously cited analysis from last week. This is extremely dangerous for the country’s stability because the resultant psychological stress brought about by this revelation can provoke people into acting in ways that they otherwise wouldn’t, be it participating in violent protests or more peacefully disowning the ruling party that they used to sincerely look up to. Either way, the situation is untenable and Modi knows that he has to do something more to “save face” otherwise his, his party’s, and India’s reputations are all irreversibly ruined. There’s a chance that he might simply sit back and hope that the genie of jingoism that he unleashed over the past six years will go back into the bottle, but the likelihood of that happening is nil and some form or another of blowback is bound to occur in the coming future. For that reason, last week’s unconfirmed report by Nepal 24 Hours alleging the presence of “RAW And Indian Guard Commando Force With Weapons In Soaltee Crowne Plaza Nepal” deserves to be taken more seriously than it might initially seem.

India’s False Flag Plot

The report cites unnamed Nepalese security officials who allege that Indian intelligence agents and highly trained military forces are surreptitiously surveilling the capital from a safe house owned by the former King, who they claim is passively facilitating this treasonous activity out of hope that the conventional, unconventional, or false flag attack that these foreign forces might be planning could restore the monarchy. It’s unclear whether the details of Nepal 24 Hours’ report are true, but suspicions about Indian intentions towards Nepal are certainly warranted considering the recent thawing of their long-frozen border dispute that was caused by India’s jingoistic publication of a map last November that included the disputed Kalapani region as its own. The author analyzed the situation a month ago after Nepal’s tit-for-tat publication of its own map claiming Kalapani caused India to go into a tizzy. Titled “India’s Hybrid War On Nepal Backfired By Creating A Geopolitical Nightmare“, it explores the origins of this dispute and points out how the recent escalation might have been avoided had Indian leaders not been drunk with Bollywood-driven neo-imperial dreams of carving out “Akhand Bharat” (“Greater India”) in order to impose a “Hindu Rashtra” (Hindu fundamentalist state) in the region. The past month has seen relations between the two formerly “fraternal” countries deteriorate real drastically.

Hybrid War Blowback

Regarded as an Indian puppet state for decades, Nepal began liberating its foreign and military policies from de-facto Indian suzerainty following New Delhi’s disastrous unofficial blockade of the landlocked country in fall 2015 in response to the promulgation of a new federal constitution for ending the landlocked country’s long-running civil war. After India decontextualized, over-amplified, and propagated Nepal’s tit-for-tat cartographic response to New Delhi’s provocative publication of its jingoist map in November as “unprovoked aggression”, the tiny state realized that it was one of the next targets in India’s “Akhand Bharat” crosshairs. Accordingly, it began beefing up its border defenses, and some of its security forces even engaged in a lethal shootout with India two weeks ago. Shortly thereafter, the Nepalese Chief Of Army Staff visited the disputed Kalapani border area, following which it was revealed that Nepal will deploy its troops to that part of the frontier for the first time in India’s post-independence history. Quite clearly, Nepal perceives India to be a credible threat to its national security, which is a direct result of the larger state’s Hybrid War on its much smaller neighbor. It’s for this reason why Nepal 24 Hours’ unconfirmed report should be taken seriously because it conforms with the expectations that an objective observer might have of the next phase in India’s Hybrid War on Nepal.

The Reverse-Donglang Scenario

That said, it remains to be seen whether Modi will go through with the scenario of launching some sort of attack (whether conventional, unconventional, or false flag) against Nepal in a desperate attempt to “save face” before India’s uncontrollably jingoistic population that his government is entirely responsible for provoking to this point. Perhaps the only thing causing him to think twice is his fear that China might undertake a “reverse-Donglang” in response. Just like Bhutan requested Indian assistance during the months-long summer 2017 border incident with China over the Donglang Plateau (referred to as “Doklam” by India and therefore most of the world’s media), so too might Nepal do the same in any forthcoming border incident over the disputed Kalapani region or any other part of their extensive frontier. The prospect of Chinese troops rushing to assist their Nepalese counterparts upon request, in spite of such a request being at odds with Nepal’s 1950 “Friendship Treaty” with India (but justified on the basis that India was the first to violate it by provoking whatever incident might eventually transpire), could worsen the nightmarish blowback from India’s Hybrid War on Nepal by possibly resulting in the PLA being deployed all along the Terai plains bordering India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh in the “worst-case” scenario.

Concluding Thoughts

Modi is visibly panicking after realizing that the genie of Indian jingoism can never be put back in the bottle after he irresponsibly unleashed it over the past six years as part of his party’s mistaken belief that it’ll unify the nation behind his Hindu nationalist leadership. The utter humiliation that the PLA inflicted on the Indian military last week without a single shot being fired, on top of Modi’s mistake in tacitly acknowledging Chinese sovereignty over the recently disputed Galwan Valley, is leading to tremendous pushback from his disillusioned population that’s now suffering in the throes of severe cognitive dissonance after having previously fallen for the lie that their country is truly the “superpower” that it professes to be. Faced with yet another looming disaster entirely of his own making, this time one which credibly runs the risk of further delegitimizing the ruling party and its ideology, Modi might desperately seek to “save face” by bullying what he wrongly regards as the weakest of his neighbors that India has some sort of dispute with. The unconfirmed report from Nepal 24 Hours suggests that some sort of operation might already be in the works, but that would be among the most epic mistakes that Modi ever made if he actually goes through with such a scheme because it could very easily result in the “reverse-Donglang” scenario of PLA troops being deployed all along India’s border with Nepal.

Posted in China, IndiaComments Off on Prime Minister Modi Can’t Put the Genie of Indian Jingoism Back in the Bottle

China and India Dialogue to End Border Dispute Peacefully

Soldiers from India and China meet at one of the border points, June 2020.

Tensions between China and India escalated after military troops from both countries became embroiled in skirmishes in early May.

China and India’s high-ranking military officials are holding a dialogue to solve the most recent confrontation between these nations over the Himalayan border region, after thousands of soldiers took up positions on both sides of the frontier.

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The dialogue between the world’s two most populous countries takes place at the Maldo border post, on the Royal Line of Control (RLC) that corresponds to China.

“This is an unprecedented dialogue. It is the first time that senior generals have tried to reach a common understanding of military matters,” the Northern Army’s former commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda said.

Over the past few weeks, the two countries had held unsuccessful local-level meetings to end the dispute.

Arab News@arabnews

#India, #China officials in discussions to break tense impasse on disputed Himalayan border.

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Tensions between China and India escalated after military troops from both countries became embroiled in skirmishes in early May in the Himalayas, one of the world’s longest land borders.

Soldiers from both sides have clashed at least twice in Ladakh, an Indian-administered region that is part of Kashmir’s Himalayan territory.

In 1962, China and India faced each other in a month-long border war that left at least 10,000 soldiers dead.

Posted in China, IndiaComments Off on China and India Dialogue to End Border Dispute Peacefully

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