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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 (Asia-Pacific), Modern Diplomacy an online journal. He is a researcher in Indian Foreign Policy. He consults on academic development and he is currently working on two books - “Discover your Talents” 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.

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South Asia

Abrogation of Article 370 and Pakistan’s Pathetic Response

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Pakistan, which is a party to Kashmir dispute could not make significant move after the Indian decision to scrap Article 370. The fragile economy, conventional military asymmetry and limited influence in international community restrict the options for Pakistan to take any strong stance against Indian illegal decision.

A month ago the government of BJP illegally dissolved the special status of Jammu and Kashmir through demolishing the Article 370. The article provides immunity to Jammu and Kashmir from Indian laws except foreign affairs, finance and communications. The decision is profoundly rejected by masses of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan. In the mean time the opposition parties in India also expressed strong dissatisfaction against decision and predicted severe repercussions for Indian state. The decision has also been challenged in the Indian Supreme Court and hearing has already been started. Yet, since the 5th August Kashmir is under siege, curfew has been imposed, communication network, medical and health facilities have been blocked. The international human rights organizations and defenders issued a genocide warning and warned India not to commit genocide.

In this critical situation which is developed by India, Pakistan took stance to stand by Kashmir. Pakistan highlighted the violent action which engulfed the rights and lives of Kashmiri people’s. Although Pakistan expressed strong resistance and proclaimed to use all the means to give Kashmiri’s their right, but there is a huge difference in words and deeds. On behest of Pakistan, China called UN Security Council meeting to discuss the issue and Chinese ambassador strongly condemned the Indian action and urged both parties to resolve the dispute through peaceful means. Yet it is important to point out that permanent members of UNSC refused to issue a post meeting joint   statement.

Here it is wise to highlight that the international politics is dominated by the self-interests of dominant powers and weak states have no say in the system. Pakistan could not compete with Indian power in international relations. After scrapping the article, India immediately sought foreign support and Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to different states. Modi visited France, Bahrain and UAE, while Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan only made phone calls to seek support against Indian action. This clearly disclosed the inefficiency of Pakistan to counter the Indian narrative.

Indian economic and investment potential is another factor behind cool response of international powers. India is trading partner of many countries and most prominent among them are USA, UK, UAE, China, European Union and Australia. The US has invested 9 million in India during the 2016 and UK has signed the commercial deals of 9.3 million recently. Australia is benefitted from Indian students and its education export is 2 billion dollars. EU a group of 27 independent states is another major investor and trade partner of India with 2.5 % international shares.

In contemporary international politics, diaspora is a backbone of any nation and same is true for India. It is observed that Indians are residing almost every influential state. More than 3.5 million Indians are working in UAE. During the 2015, Indian share was 16% in expats residing in the US, and Saudi Arabia host 1.9 million Indians. Kuwait having 1 million Indian workers and Oman 777,632 Indians. Europe also host the 1.2 million Indians.

The bilateral trade of India with US, China, EU, Japan, and Australia is impressive. In 2019, bilateral trade of India-China crossed the 100 billion, which expects to grow further. The US is second largest trading partner of India in goods, and the single largest export destination of Indian exporters. The bilateral trade has been grew at 7.59% annually from 68.4 billion in 2008 to 142.1 billion in 2018.

The 8.8 million Pakistanis are residing in western states, 4.7 million are living in EU and 1.2 in U.K. But Pakistan failed to activate its diaspora to promote national interests of the state. The Pakistani leadership never paid serious attention to engage diaspora, which resulted in poor representation of Pakistan in international community. On the other hand, Indian diaspora is much influential and have strong say in policies of US and EU. Their skills and education help them to climb the ladder of success and influence. So, it is high time for Pakistan to devise an effective strategy to lobby the national interests and engage diaspora. The diaspora is considered the defense line as they bridge the gap between their parent and host state. 

Pakistan’s economic structure is fragile with rising debt and prices of commodities. The country is dependent on international monitory institutions to repay its debt which crossed over 100 billion dollars. It is on 150thposition in poverty index among 189 countries according to UN Human Development Indicators. The value of rupee is decreased to lowest level and government is losing its credibility. Pakistan is spending its 20% budget on Army which is higher than education, health and social development allocation. The fragile economy, poor coordination in policy making and influence of military in foreign policy making has reduced the role of other state institutions. Although, current civilian government claims that civilian and military leadership is on same page, but the poor and ill-coordinated response exposed the fault lines. The top hierarchy of civilian and political leadership did not bother itself to convey Pakistani position on Kashmir, except making statements.

If Pakistan really want to influence the international community, then it needs to fix its poor economy, to improve its human and social system, engage diaspora, make effective and inclusive foreign and security policy. The economic, political and military power can guarantee the national interests of the country. So Pakistan work tirelessly on all the fronts to achieve the status of major power.

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Pakistan’s peace-loving gestures are considered its weakness, unfortunately

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Pakistan is a peace-loving nation and a responsible state. The leadership, civil and military. Both are visionary and rational very much. Pakistan was the hub of western tourists in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, due to its natural beauty, friendly and hospitable environment, and affordable living. Economic growth was one of the highest in this part of the world. But suffered a lot since the 1980s, due to the situation in Afghanistan. It was not our war, but unfortunately, we were pushed into this war. As a result, Pakistan offered 80,000 precious lives of Pakistani nationals, an economic loss of estimated up to 250 billion US dollars. In addition to it, extremism, terrorism, trafficking, smuggling, ethnicity, intolerance, gun, and drug culture, etc. were a gift. Due to the war-like situations during the last 4 decades, nations spared all resources, including human resources, financial resources etc on imposed war-front. As a result, industrial agriculture, infrastructure development, education, SW&T, R&D, Innovation, Commercialization, Health Sector, etc all walks of life suffered a lot and as result, today facing the worst economic crisis with over 100 billion foreign debt.

But, after having so many bitter lessons, the nation is even more mature and trained to survive under any circumstances. In fact, has emerged one of the most resilient nation. India staged the drama of “Pulwan” on 14 February this year, and without collecting evidence and investigation, just within hours, blamed Pakistan and threatened Pakistan. Pakistan offered to extend full cooperation in investigation and punish the responsible. But, India, according to pre-plan, attacked Pakistan on the 25th of February and dropped bombs in Balakot a city deep inside Pakistan. The leadership of Pakistan is very much sensible and rational and noticed that India is pushing Pakistan into full-scale war. The visionary leadership in Pakistan realized the consequences of war, especially when, both India and Pakistan, both are nuclear states, possessing enough piles of lethal weapons to destroy each other completely, and its impact on the region as well as global. Formulated a smart strategy to respond on the 27th of February, giving a message to India, that although Pakistan has capabilities and enjoys supremacy over India, it still sticks to “Love-For-Peace” and does not wish to opt for war, successfully averted to escalate to a full-fledged war. Even that, Pakistan released the captured pilot of Indian air force inside Pakistan territory, as a good-will gesture.

India revoked its own constitution on the 5th of August and imposed curfew in Kashmir. It is an act of war and violation of UN charter, Simla Agreement and all norms & practices of civilized world. Siege of Kashmir, complete black-out by suspending Internet, mobile phone services. Cutting all modes of communication, evacuating all foreigners and visitors from Kashmir. Keeping people under house arrest. Occupying forces are killing, arresting, detaining and raping on a mass scale and draconian laws imposed empowered the security forces to shot at a spot on suspicion only, with any judicial process. After 42 days of curfew, people are facing a severe shortage of food, fuel, electricity, medicines, and life is completely at a halt, stand-still status. It is the largest curfew in the known-history of human beings, as around 8 million people are under siege, and Kashmir has been turned into a big jail, people are treated as prisoners. India’s atrocities and brutalities have crossed all records of human rights violations.

UN, Human Rights Organizations, Mainstream Media, International organizations, NGOs, the whole International community have shown deep concerns on Indian atrocities. Protests, agitations, rallies, and demonstrations, all around the world as solidarity with the people of Kashmir have been witnessed. European Parliaments, UNSC, OIC, SCO, and all other international organizations are worried about the deteriorated situation of humanity in Kashmir.

Kashmir is a dispute between China, Pakistan, and India. India has illegally occupied a part of Kashmir known as Indian Occupied Kashmir. But people of Kashmir are spread all over three parts, i.e in Pakistan known as Azad or Free Kashmir and China. Kashmir is one nation and having blood relations in all three parts. They are charged at peak to enter into India Occupied Kashmir and help their brothers and sister in Indian Occupied Kashmir. They wanted to provide them food, medicines and basic necessities of life. The government of Pakistan is trying its best to stop them to march toward Indian Occupied Kashmir, as they are unarmed and simple villagers, they might have the high spirits to rescue the lives of their brothers and sisters in Indian Kashmir but might face firing by Indian Army. I am afraid, the public pressure is growing with passing each day and they might march toward Indian Occupied Kashmir, and Pakistani Security Forces may not be able to stop them, then they might come under the Indian forces firing range. It might complicate the situation. The government of Pakistan is committed to observing restrains and avert any war, with India, but if its civilians are killed, it may create an unexpected situation, difficult to predict the reaction.

On the other hand, Indian military deployment along the line of control and frequent violations of line of control, use of cluster bombs on civilian population inside Pakistan, and war-preparations are alarming. Indian Army Chief announced that The Indian Army is well prepared to Attack Pakistan and just waiting for a signal from its Government in Delhi.

Pakistan is trying its best to observe restrains and showing maximum tolerance and patience. But India considers Pakistan “Love-For-Peace” as its “weakness”, Unfortunate! Very Unfortunate!

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Webinar: Kashmir Outside the Crosshairs- Does Anyone Care about Kashmir?

MD Staff

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Join Modern Diplomacy and our Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Matthew Crosston, for a Live Intelligence briefing / Webinar, on Sunday September 29 at 18:30 (IST) to learn:

* Why does the US continue to ignore Kashmir but give loads of attention to every country around it?

* Is it necessarily a positive if the US DOES start paying attention to it? 

* What would be GOOD attention and what be BAD? Which one is the US likely to give?

* Can Kashmir ever be left alone to develop independently and not be a pawn of regional neighbors?

These and other controversial but critically important questions will be covered in an exciting intelligence briefing that will still allow for a dynamic, open discussion exchange with one the world’s most recognized, accomplished and sought after Intelligence experts, Dr. Prof. Matthew Crosston, Executive Vice Chairman of Modern Diplomacy.

Reserve your seat here

Dr. Matthew Crosston is Director over all Intelligence programs and Professor of Strategic Intelligence and Global Security in the School of Security and Global Studies at the American Military University. He is an acclaimed author and international speaker who consults with governments, media organizations, and academic institutions on a range of issues covering peace mediation, human rights conflicts, resource dilemmas, intelligence, change leadership, and education innovation. His works overall have been translated into Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian, Hebrew, Spanish, Turkish, Farsi, Greek, and Uzbek. He has a BA from Colgate University, MA from the University of London, PhD from Brown University, and completed his Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto.

Modern Diplomacy and Center for International Strategic Analyses

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