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India and UAE Relations

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India has coherently considered West Asia (WA) as its near neighborhood additionally shared brotherly affinity. The historic conventional bonds go back to 3000 years in the form of commerce, culture, religion and kinship, which endures. Since the invention of Oil ‘black gold’ – the gulf region became of strategic important. Hence, the relations among India and the United Arab Emeritus (UAE) adhere become great significance.

A large Indian expatriate citizenry populates as well as scuffles in the UAE in reasonably resourceful enterprises along with embraces played a significant role in the evolution of the UAE. According to a 2014 report of the Khaleejtimes says that about 1.2 million Indian expatriate in UAE send between $12.5 billion and $15 billion annually to India’s foreign exchange. The UAE provides job opportunity which acknowledges their families across different parts of India. India has reason to cheer, while the Arab Spring rocks the WA and North Africa (NA) – however the UAE had been out of its reach. Otherwise, India should have been in a boiling spot in evacuating her expatriates from the turmoil. India considers UAE as its closest business fortune for India’s exports.

The erstwhile record shows that India’s relation with the UAE caused friction due to UAE’s stance on Kashmir with Pakistan. However, India’s emerging global power status convinces the UAE to quantify for a transfer in policy change towards its stance on Kashmir. The expansion of economic links between India and the UAE impacts on their foreign policy, which is perceived the eminence of India as its converge neighbour – stance strong with their policy change towards India. The best example would be the tactical shift of UAE on Kashmir has been changed since 2014. Previously the UAE stance close flank with Pakistan as a Muslim nation now has changed a real blow to Pakistan. Pakistan usually tries to gather the support of the Gulf countries has now gradually declined except from Saudi Arabia. The Dawn report states that, “Pakistan’s arrant handling brings UAE and India closer”. It shows that India has achieved a concrete furtherance in convincing the Muslim neighbours towards the view of India on Kashmir. It’s seen as increasing India’s power status beyond the South Asian region. Now the UAE stance looks like the policy of the US. It states that, “Kashmir is an internal matter. It is up to both India and Pakistan to resolve it.”

The expanding ties between India and the UAE make them look at one another to move forward for farther cooperation. The GDP of Indian economy growing at the rate of 7.3 per cent has demand for more energy. Further, to continue its growth, it requires uninterrupted supply of crude oil from the Gulf region. At the moment Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and the UAE are the top five energy exporters to India according to the (Congressional Research Service/ 2013).

At the same time, India’s exports looking UAE for its market opportunity. According to the Ministry of External Affairs of India, the “UAE was the second largest export destination of India with an amount of over US$ 33 billion for the year 2014-15. For UAE, India was the largest trading partner for the year 2013 with an amount of over US$ 36 billion (non-oil trade)”.

However, strategically the UAE will look toward India in future for vital reasons. Both sides have mutual stance of containing the ISIS and in expanding the two way bargain. Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the UAE during August 2015 was atmospherically prised by the media in India. After Indira Gandhi, he becomes the first head of the state to visit the UAE after more than 30 years. Modi’s international travel always posture with inviting infrastructural investment. The UAE agreed to invest $75 billion in India’s infrastructural projects as a boost to their relationship. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces visit India in February 2016 has offered his ambitious option to expand the India-UAE relationship. Though the nuclear deal between India and the UAE was not on their table but the newly announced strategic partnership addressing the cooperation on terror was a major highlight. Further, Adnoc the UAE national oil company’s decision to store crude oil in India’s maiden strategic storage and give two-thirds of the oil to it for free has showed this kind of advances are the new initiative would really rewrite the relationship between India and the UAE.

The Hindu pointed out from the joint statement issued by the prime minister and the visiting crown prince says “co-ordinate efforts to fight radicalisation and misuse of religion by groups and countries for inciting hatred, perpetrating and justifying terrorism or pursuing political aims.” Though this targets Pakistan but both the leaders uncomfortable in quoting out Pakistan name openly describes that Pakistan as a neighbour cannot be completely isolated. It postures the change in the Modi’s Pakistan policy in contract with what he articulated during his 2014 election campaign. On the stance of the UAE – though they have the long term alliance with the Pakistan the growing transformation in the international relations of the Middle East and Asia influence them to take a shift from their previous stance with Pakistan. However, it can be perceived that the perception would be though the UAE shift from their previous stance with Pakistan on Kashmir but it can be viewed that they will continue as a hinge between India and Pakistan.

However, it is true that the upgraded bilateral relationship between India and the UAE hurt Pakistan than many other country in the region. Both countries now perceived that this is not the choice but an opportunity to expand their relationship. The National media from the UAE report added that both sides the India and UAE, “They looked forward to the early signing of the comprehensive strategic partnership agreement, and resolved to build on the momentum by pursuing the following areas of collaboration: trade, investment and economic development”. Further, India’s negotiation with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) under way since 2007. This also now approaching in a finalising according to The External Affairs Minister Ms Sushma Swaraj for an early operational of the agreement would serve more for India and the UAE to farther strengthens their strategic partnership.

The increasing conflicts and civil war in the Gulf region witnesses anymore the US cannot be alone maintain the order requires multi-polar cooperation gave a path for India to do more role in maintain security. Hence, Gulf countries diversely looking forward to India’s more active role by finding resolution for the stability in the region. Moreover, an ambitious India hopefully uses this opportunity to demonstrate its diplomacy with the expectation of the Gulf. If India fails to do so that would extremely benefit China.

Antony Clement is a Senior Editor (Indo-Pacific), Modern Diplomacy, an online journal. He is a researcher in Indian Foreign Policy. He is currently working on two books - “The Best Teacher” and “Diplomacy in Tough Times”. His research centres on India’s diplomacy & foreign policy and extends to domestic politics, economic policy, security issues, and international security matters, including India’s relations with the US, the BRICS nations, the EU and Australia. His recent book is “Discover your talents.”

South Asia

When Politics turns Personal; The Toxic Allegations & Accusations become a Norm

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Image source: timeofpakistan.com

There is something happening beneath this political turmoil which is NOT looking good!!

Whenever Political landscape turns into a Personal battleground, defeats become unacceptable. These past few days are a perfect case study to see that how Political elite in Pakistan has done whatever it took it to stay in power. In this power grab scenario, there could be numerous losses including the integrity of institutions. We have unfortunately entered into a very dangerous phase, where some political stakeholders have put all stakes at risk, where they have stretched their limits beyond a constitutional limit, all to gather mass support, all to stay in power and avoid defeat. Is it a threat of losing power? Is it a double game? Is it a practical hybrid war we are fighting?  Whatever it is, it doesn’t seem to be good. All is at stake, all is at risk and all is toxic.

As if the political temperature was not noxious enough, Shireen Mazari Saga took place. Once again, accusations, allegations and assumptions started pouring in against the state institutions. Soon after her arrest, her daughter, a lawyer herself Imaan Zainab Mazari alleged that her mother was beaten by male police officers during the arrest. But few minutes later, a video clip surfaced that showed clearly that her mother was arrested by Female Police officers in broad daylight and as per the law. Lie number 1 of the daughter stood exposed. Within moments, without any cogent evidence the lady, known for many controversies in the past targeted state institution for such an act, although the anti-corruption already had taken responsibility of her arrest.

Abuse of power can never be tolerated, regardless of who it targets or from where it emanates. This mantra is true and everyone has an equal belief on it but let’s take a deep dive to see that how politics turned dirty in this case, how blame game took place and how this entire episode was used as a tool to churn propaganda against Army leadership and Armed Forces.

1. The anti-corruption police had arrested Shireen Mazari and she herself accepted that Prime Minister and Interior minister were responsible for my arrest. But the mother daughter nexus brazenly started blaming institutions without any solid evidence. Shouldn’t there be an inquiry on this too?

2. PTI was always of the opinion that why courts were opened mid night to send IK packing while he wasn’t listening to anyone however when same court gave a verdict in favor of PTI ex minister, late night, it was celebrated and much appreciated by Shireen Mazari & IK who have been spearheading anti judicial tirade until recently. Isn’t it blatant hypocrisy? Judicial inquiry has been ordered by the Court which is a positive sign, but the serious allegations which Mazari nexus have raised must also be inquired during this newly formed judicial inquiry. Should the Judiciary not question them on hurling these baseless allegations?

3. The present government, whose Police itself arrested Shireen Mazari disowned this attempt. Attorney General displayed his ignorance about the matter in front of the court. So, somehow the government created this impression in the public eye that they are not to be blamed for the arrest of Shireen Mazari. Was it a double game? Or a deliberate effort to discredit institutions?

Pakistan is already facing serious economic downfall, political uncertainty and civil strife. PTI has also announced Long March to Islamabad on 25th May which is likely to further exacerbate already fragile political and economic instability. It has become quite evident now for achieving petty political ends, our political elite has no serious resolve to address the crisis confronting the country. Country is being deliberately pushed to limits of economic and political dead end. The political immaturity and lack of vision to handle the crisis situation is also hurting the repute of institutions amidst internal political wrangling. If political leadership doesn’t come to grips of the critical situation prevailing which is likely to aggravate further in coming days, people of Pakistan in particular and the country in general are likely to suffer unprecedented damage. Political elite must put its acts together and steer the country out of prevalent political and economic crisis by showing sagacity and political wisdom until it’s too late.

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South Asia

Accusations to Acknowledgement: The Battle of Article 63 A

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The weather is heating up. As the May is ending, Political temperatures are soaring. The fate regarding the country’s political and economic stability will be measured in the upcoming days. Earlier, PDM built momentum by taking on institutions. Maryam Nawaz raised the temperature by targeting key personalities and institutions. Allegations were bursting against the institutions in all dimensions. Today, we witness reversal of roles. Accusations have been outflowing in every Jalsa by PTI. But now suddenly, the “accusations” turned into “acknowledgment”. “Complaints” started transforming into “Compliments”. Is it the change of narrative? Is it another U-turn? Or is it the restoration of confidence in the institutions? Where will this chaos end?

The Supreme Court’s “decision” or as they say “opinion” or “binding” on Article 63 A has raised some pertinent questions on the status of CM Punjab election? In the interpretation of Article 63 A of the constitution, the Supreme court categorically condemns the practice of horse trading by calling it “a cancer afflicting the body politic”. Supreme Court in its decision of 3-2 rejected the vote count of these dissident members against the party directives. So the future of the Chief Executive of Punjab is now under threat because it is contrary to what happened in National Assembly. The political instability continues and the situation is messy.

In light of this verdict, Hamza has a support of 172 MPAs in Punjab assembly but at the same time, he also has 4 dissenting members which draws the figure to 168. Now further moving ahead, PTI and alliance also has a collective figure of 168 votes minus 21 dissenting members. The situation here in Punjab is way too complex now. A support of 186 members is required for a clear majority in Punjab assembly to formulate a government. This current Punjab government can either fall through a governor led vote of no confidence or a Supreme court order. The governor even has a right to dissolve the assembly with his discretionary powers according to Article 112 (2) of the constitution. Supreme Court has already made its decision on cross voting against Party fiat.  Now legal experts are interpreting the decision in their own dictionaries. What will happen in Punjab? What will happen on the federal level? Will there be an election call? If so, what will be the care taker setup? Will there be a fresh mandate? Who will make the hard economic decisions?  Lot needs to be answered in these crucial times.

From “My judges disappointed me” to “Thankyou Supreme Court”, a lot has happened and a lot is ready to take place. Islamabad is full of gossips, interpretations, whispers and predictions these days. There is something seething under this political turmoil. The Red zone is under a lot of pressure whether politically or economically. Pre – Elections, Elections and then Post elections, we have a lot of consequences of a lot of hard decisions. But hard decisions need to be taken. Question is who is ready to make the hard choices? Be Afraid!!

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South Asia

The sizzling “Political Matrix”; What will happen now?

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Politics in Pakistan is unfortunately leaving scars that will fade away not that easily. Islamabad today is wrapped in thick political clouds since past few weeks. These last few weeks have altered all assumptions and calculations in the national political matrix.  While the political landscape today is sizzling with intensity, aggression and strain the economy is shattering every day.  Who is to blame for? What will happen now? And will sanity prevail?

The entire edifice of the “conspiracy mantra” which even made PTI commit violation of the constitution stands demolished today. It was one of the worst advices Imran khan could ever get from his party among the list of many others. Sadly he made his entire politics captive to this conspiracy myth.  But today no one questions them on the impact it had on our foreign policy. US today feels betrayed, Saudis not ready to give aid, Chinese worried about their stakes and it continues.  So diplomatically this conspiracy mantra has damaged Pakistan like anything.

Imran Khan’s followers see nothing wrong in what he says and what he does. They absolutely reject all the facts, all the logics and embrace the rhetoric which is fuelling more today with a greater intensity. Imran khan is leading this campaign more aggressively. Khan very well knows that bringing large crowds to Islamabad will have an impact only if there is some kind of aggression.  The leaders on different occasions already hinted towards an aggressive March. He very well realizes that the figure of 2.5 Million is unrealistic but keeping in view the size of Islamabad, 0.1 Million crowd will even be perceived as a bigger crowd. So can he force the early elections at this stage? How will the government react to it? For instance let’s accept this narrative that the pressure of crowd aids PTI in getting an early election call and PTI wins it. So now what next? How will you deal with the mighty US? The economy is already sinking. You need aid to feed it but no one is providing you that. Then how will you stop dollar from going above 200? How will you provide relief from the soaring fuel prices when you won’t have money for a subsidy even? Forget about one lakh jobs and 50 lakh houses.

From the past few weeks we haven’t heard any PTI leader telling any economic plan or any diplomatic plan to revive relations. How will you deal with the IFI’s, World Bank & IMF when they’re all US controlled and as per your narrative you won’t accept “Amreeka ki Ghulami” or USA’s dictatorship.

So now what options the present regime has? The government would of course like to stop this building dangerous momentum of “Azadi March”. They would not like any big clash in Islamabad which results in bigger mess and chaos. The PDM government also has a much bigger fish to deal with, the same sinking economy. They came into power with this narrative to fix economy as former Premiere was unable to do it.  The key cabinet members made more than two different official visits.  The instructions are coming from London today as a decisive power so who will run the government? Who will run the system? Will the IMF aid? What will be the upcoming budget about? This upcoming budget is a bigger risk for this government along with an already announced to Long march call. Khan has already played a dangerous narrative especially with the blame of another conspiracy being made about his Life.   

The stakes, the narrative and the politics of every party is at risk today.  But above that, Pakistan is at risk. The dread is in the air. The end of May will be heated ferociously in Islamabad, whether politically or meteorologically.

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