The elaborate shuttle diplomacy of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the India’s membership on the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has ended fruitlessly as the forum has decided not to consider the application of countries that are not the signatories of Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
On the eve of NSG’s plenary in Seoul, China said on June 22 that India’s entry into the bloc was not on the agenda as New Delhi was not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). “The meeting is only to deliberate on the entry application of countries that are state parties to the NPT,” the foreign ministry said, “As for the entry of non-NPT countries, the group has never put that on its agenda. Perhaps, India was complaining that its application for NSG has been blocked.
The NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) has never put the entry application of non-NPT countries on its agenda. So it makes no sense to say that discussions are blocked,” a ministry statement added. Obviously, those countries that declined to sign the NPT may have hidden agendas regarding the proliferation of the nuclear material and without signing the NPT their eagerness to serve the nuclear communities is not trustworthy.
China opposes Indian’s entry into the 48-nation NSG saying it is not a signatory to the NPT. The NSG, which regulate global nuclear commerce, works on the principle of consensus and it generally lets in a new member only if all existing members agree.
The Chinese statement came as Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar flew to Seoul on instruction from PM Modi who made strenuous efforts internationally to obtain NSG entry. Modi met US president Obama at White House, among other leaders, to pursue the NSG case.
Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar had earlier made a quiet visit to Beijing, apparently to seek support for New Delhi’s membership.
China announced the decision even while Indian Prime Minister Modi is expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at Tashkent during a two-day summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to discuss issues, including the NSG case.
Noting that the upcoming Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) Plenary Meeting on June 23 in Seoul is only to deliberate on the entry application of countries that are state parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), China said that it hopes to further discuss the issue and added that it will play a constructive role in the discussions. “Deliberation on the entry of specific countries is on the agenda of the Seoul Plenary Meeting. However, it is worth noting that the meeting is only to deliberate on the entry application of countries that are state parties to the NPT,” the office of the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.
China, till now, has been playing the role of a dampener on the issue of clearing the way for India’s admission to the NSG by repeatedly stating that it is not on the agenda of the grouping, which began its plenary session in Seoul.
Earlier, even as Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar was visiting Beijing to pursue the NSG case, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj insisted that China is not blocking India’s entry to the NSG, but is talking about the criteria and procedures.
With India leaving no stone unturned to ensure its entry into the group, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan capital Tashkent on June 23 in an attempt to somehow win Beijing’s support for India’s membership.
The diplomacy of Modi, Jaishankar and Sushma has limitations as the Indian application for NSG entry for controlling nuclear proliferation moves is not valid. Highly placed sources inform that the meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping could be, as desired by PM Modi, an exclusive one-on-one discussion, where the top agenda would be to seek China’s support for India’s membership in the NSG.
On the other hand, the United States has called on the participating governments of the NSG to support India’s application for membership. The plenary discussion on the matter will be held in Seoul and the final meeting in which India and Pakistan’s fate in the NSG would be decided will take place on June 23.
India’s efforts have ended for now without success but India would continue its efforts to somehow push through its agenda. India knows USA cannot help India but PM Modi made the issue to come closer to President Obama to get media coverage for his BJP and Hindutva agenda. India should not have wasted resources on self-promotion and falsehoods.
As of October 2013, 189 recognized states are party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Montenegro is the most recent signatory from June 2006.
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.
Opened for signature in 1968, the Treaty entered into force in 1970. On 11 May 1995, the Treaty was extended indefinitely. More countries have adhered to the NPT than any other arms limitation and disarmament agreement, a testament to the Treaty’s significance. A total of 191 states have joined the Treaty, though North Korea, which acceded to the NPT in 1985 but never came into compliance, announced its withdrawal in 2003. Four UN member states have never joined the NPT: India, Israel, Pakistan and South Sudan.
The treaty recognizes only five UN veto states as nuclear-weapon states: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China. Five other states are known or believed to possess nuclear weapons: India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea have openly tested and declared that they possess nuclear weapons, while Israel which has not informed the UN or IAEA about its nuclear position – because of US backing for secret Israeli nuclear program – has had a nasty policy of opacity regarding its nuclear weapons program. Israel does not even mention about its nukes numbering 60-80 WMD.
It is argued that the non-signatories of NPT cannot be taken seriously or trusted for their genuine interest in and concern for nuclear disarmament which looks illusory as nuclear powers refuse to dismantle their own arsenals and more countries wanting to go nuclear.
Questioning the Novelty of India’s New Normal
In recent years Indian notions of Pre-emption and so-called surgical strikes have been referred to as the ‘new normal’ by many in India. These have contributed to further affecting the security, stability and strategic equilibrium in the South Asian region. This is evident in how the top-brass within the Indian military has repeatedly asserted that India reserves the right to punish Pakistan with such notions of preemptive strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) under its limited war doctrines, which themselves belie a desire to wage a low-intensity conflict across the border. At the doctrinal level, India has been planning for this for quite some time as evident from its 2004 Cold Start Doctrine (CSD)as well as its more recently released doctrines such as the 2017 Joint Doctrine of the Indian Armed Forces (JDIAF) and the 2018 Land Warfare Doctrine (LWD). These doctrines are all based upon proactive strategies and indirect threats of preemptive strikes against Pakistan. Based on the current patterns of Indian aggression these ideas hold immense significance when considering the latest rounds of tensions over the disputed territory of Kashmir as witnessed in the short-lived military engagement between the two countries in February 2019.
Inspired by such notions and in typical fashion, the new Army Chief of India Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane wasted little time in blaming Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism in India. The same day he took charge of his new appointment he claimed that India reserves the right to respond in the same way it had previously done through its so-called ‘surgical strikes.’ Moreover, he openly asserted to physically taking control of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) if his government ordered him to do so.
However, such assertions from the Indian political and military leadership are simply repetitions of the same statements that have been made by Prime Minister Modi, Mr. Rajnath Singh, and former Army Chief Gen. (R) Bipin Rawat in the recent past. Representing the same aggressive and jingoistic posturing, there is not much novelty in these statements. In fact, even in this so-called ‘new normal’ which these leaders have repeatedly described over the last few years, there is nothing new at all.
Even the oft-quoted notion of a preemptive ‘splendid first strike‘ is not new for Pakistan as it had already formed a key part of the discourse surrounding the Indian and international strategic community since the years 2016-2017. According to this, if in India’s assessment, Pakistan was found to be deploying nuclear weapons, as a contingency, India would likely resort to such a splendid first strike which it has always hinted as being a nuclear strike. As such all this does is prove Pakistan’s pre-existing doubts over India’s long-debated ‘No First Use’ (NFU) Policy. Yet, what’s worth noting here is that this overt shift towards declaring a more offensive doctrinal posture from India represents a more focused attempt at undermining the deterrent value of Pakistan’s own nuclear posture, thus ultimately destabilizing the South Asian region.
Instead, the only thing new to come out from all these assertions from Indian leaders is the prevailing fascist mindset within India that is being fueled by a false sense of racial superiority and hatred against Muslims. This was clearly stated by Prime Minister Imran Khan in his tweet when he attributed the cause of such provocations to the RSS’s extremist ideology. Hence, Pakistan perceives the recent statements from India’s top military brass as also being wholly politically inspired and as a routine attempt to divert attention away from the rampant domestic socio-economic issues currently plaguing India. The fact remains that Pakistan’s response to this Indian self-proclaimed ‘new normal’ which was on full display during the Balakot crisis itself set a clear example of its full spectrum deterrence. Contrary to the notion that a conventional asymmetry of sorts exists between the two countries, Pakistan had responded conventionally and more befittingly while holding its own toe to toe. In other words, Pakistan proved that it can also restore deterrence via conventional means despite the quantitative edge of India’s conventional forces and military hardware.
It is also worth noting that while India is spending billions of dollars on its military modernization program both in terms of its conventional and unconventional acquisitions; allocating billions for defence spending does not necessarily guarantee military supremacy. Especially if the adversary is determined to thwart any such attempts right from the outset. India’s actual capabilities still differentiate widely from what its political and military leadership inspires and projects itself to be. In fact, there is a huge gap between the Indian leadership’s expectations and what its military can actually deliver. As apparent not only in the absurdity of Gen. Naravane’s statement but also in Prime Minister Modi’s and others, the credibility of such threats already remains highly questionable.
Hence at the present, it seems that India is more keen on simply projecting military supremacy vis-à-vis Pakistan as opposed to actually attaining it, as reflected in the statements of its political and military top brass. Its favored notions of preemption at the doctrinal and strategic levels are evidence of such aspirations. As such the increasingly provocative posturing against Pakistan in the form of this so-called ‘new normal’ seems to represent simply a jingoistic approach to manipulate Indian public sentiment in the ruling government’s favor. However, the fact remains that Pakistan has already nullified such notions of preemption in the recent past and has proved it time and again. As such India’s aggressive posturing seems to be collapsing on itself with its self-proclaimed ‘new normal’ unlikely to pose any serious challenges to Pakistan’s strategic posture at least for the time being.
From Scapegoat Back to Key Ally: Pakistan and the Perils of US Maximalism
In the two years since President Trump accused Pakistan of giving nothing but deceit and lies, relations between both countries seem to have undergone a dramatic turnaround. This is evident not only in the official narrative being put forth by both countries with respect to one another, but also in how this growing sense of cordiality has culminated into a series of high-level visits and meetings between key representatives. For instance, the icy indifference with which US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was greeted with in Islamabad back in September 2018 now stands in stark contrast to the frank more amicable meetings that have been held between Prime Minister Khan and President Trump thrice since then. Not to mention the back to back visits from Alice Wells, the current US government’s focal representative for South Asia, that have further accompanied a steady yet gradual thawing of tensions.
Signs of this turnaround are further evident in how last month’s resumption of military education and training programs for Pakistani Officers marks one of the first steps towards renewed strategic cooperation. This represents an important milestone since President Trump had announced the cancellation of all forms of US military aid to Pakistan in early 2018. Similarly, acknowledgments of the progress made as per the requirements of the FATF review, as well as the ‘concern’ expressed over India’s recent actions in Kashmir are all signs aimed at placating some of Pakistan’s most pressing interests. Thus, hinting at what more cordial relations with the US could look like for Pakistan, while just stopping short of making any concrete commitments.
Yet, to say that Pak-US ties have begun to ‘normalize’ or ‘revert’ towards a mutually beneficial status quo would be ignoring the age-old complexity that has characterized relations between both countries. Especially for a relationship that has been long described as blowing hot and cold, on and off, as a rollercoaster ride, or simply a love-hate one. History has borne witness to the fact that US foreign policy towards Pakistan has more than often been based on a ruthless pragmatism and maximalism. This all or nothing approach has brought immense amounts of aid and funds for Pakistan which have been always cut off just as abruptly as they were initiated. Often without any long-term assessment or appreciation of what such actions are likely to lead to beyond the US’s more immediate goals.
None of this has been more evident than in US expectations from Pakistan regarding Afghanistan and the Taliban. It’s no secret that the very inception of the Taliban came from US funds and training during the waning stages of the Cold War for which Pakistan played the role of an indispensable intermediary. Yet following the 9/11 attacks, US policy towards the Taliban changed overnight when the US in lumping the Taliban together with Al-Qaeda brought down its military might on the entire Afghan State. What’s more it forced Pakistan to join its War on Terror almost at gunpoint. The infamous statement attributed to then US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage where he allegedly threated ‘to bomb Pakistan back to the stone age’ stands as a stark reminder of how even labeling this relationship as ‘complex’ is simply an understatement.
This aspect is further reinforced in the damning revelations of the Afghanistan Papers that were released just last month. Representing a cache of candid interviews of key officials responsible for formulating and implementing the US’s Afghanistan policy, these interviews have been used to piece together crucial mistakes at the strategic and policy levels made by successive US governments over the last two decades. One of these mistakes has been highlighted as ‘trusting Pakistan as a friend’ where Pakistan has been repeatedly accused of providing sanctuary and support to certain militant groups. Hence, accusations of Pakistan playing a double game, as well as the confusing distinctions between good and bad Taliban all contributed to a narrative that Pakistan was doing more to upend US progress than support it. This had caused much of the resentment and mutual distrust specifically during the Obama years which starting from calls to ‘do more’ resulted in the US unilaterally and covertly taking out Osama Bin Laden deep inside Pakistani territory. As ties worsened, the advent of the Trump presidency brought with them an overt sense of finality in the form of his new year tweet that was referred to in the beginning of this article.
Yet, even now as both countries come full circle with the US asking for help in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table, one fears that the US may still not have learnt anything from its adventurist debacles. As the Afghanistan Papers themselves testify, Pakistani officials have remained quite candid in their desire to hedge their bets against the US by maintaining limited ties with the Taliban. This was made clear to Ambassador Ryan Crocker who had served as the US ambassador in Islamabad from 2004-2007. In one of his interviews in the Afghanistan Papers, the former ambassador directly quotes a conversation he had with Gen Ashfaq Kayani who was then the DG ISI.As Mr. Crocker himself recounts, the general had quite explicitly made clear his reservations against an abrupt US withdrawal that would force Pakistan to once again pick up the pieces while having made the Taliban a mortal enemy. Hence justifying the reasons behind Pakistan’s so-called duplicity.
But considering how it is in fact the US now that is pressing Pakistan to use those same ties to help extricate itself out of the Afghan quagmire, Pakistan’s strategy against the Taliban seems to have stood wholly vindicated. In fact, it appears downright visionary considering how in hindsight, Pakistan had repeatedly called on the US to consider negotiating with the Taliban – especially when the US had the upper hand following its initial successes back in the early 2000s.However,the US after squandering its own reputation and credibility and already having missed multiple chances to engage with the Taliban are now ironically banking on Pakistan to help secure an exit. A kind of exit that not only allows the US to perhaps save face at the international level, but also offer something palatable to the American people during an election year. Thus, once again reeking of the reactionary maximalism that has so often brought into question the US’s reliability and trustworthiness as an ally. Not to mention President Trump’s own ‘America First’ policy, which already risks squandering whatever little credibility the US has been left with in the first place.
India’s Modi: Messiah or Menace
When the Hindu sages developed their way of life, they divided people into four castes: Brahmins, the thinkers, scholars and priests at the top for they were the guides; Kshatriyas, the soldiers including the king second for they protected and governed society; Vaishyas the merchants third with their commerce facilitating daily living; and Shudras who were the laborers and service workers at the bottom.
Well, the world has changed as it should but perhaps they had a point as there is a Vaish — not one at the top of the class but a tea-seller from a shop that would be at the other end of the spectrum from those charming English tea shops in Devon — now running the country. Of dubious education that has been challenged and a beginning in the ultra-nationalist RSS (once outlawed by India’s founding prime minister and known also for producing Gandhi’s assassin) Narendra Modi is at India’s helm. His BJP party’s rise is linked to stoking up tensions between Hindus and minority Muslims, whose suffering has been well documented. Police powers have been increased and Muslim Kashmir is now under direct rule from Delhi, while new laws are disqualifying Muslims from citizenship. So reports The Economist in its special issue, The State of the World in 2020 (p. 53).
Better known is the pogrom of Muslims in Modi’s Gujarat when he headed the provincial government there, and his party’s role in the destruction of a 500-year old mosque built by Babur so that the fictitious birthplace of Ram would be holy to both religions. Having overthrown the Muslim Lodi dynasty and with a tenuous hold, Babur was seeking friends among Hindu Rajas who generally owed fealty to the Delhi sultans. The Mughal Emperors also started the custom of marrying Hindu royalty to cement relationships and ensure loyalty. And this Mughal openness to other religions reached its apex under Emperor Akbar who founded a new religion, Din-i-Ilahi, attempting to incorporate the best from all faiths but which, lacking roots, died with him.
After the Indian rebellion against British rule, the British saw advantage in fostering division among communities in the infamous divide-and-rule maxim, now changed by Modi into suppress-and-rule, as the left-over Muslim community is poor and weak after the emigration of many to Pakistan following partition and independence in 1947.
Gandhi and founding prime minister Nehru’s vision of a secular India is enshrined in its constitution, which Modi and the BJP’s Hindu nationalist agenda subverts. Its Hindutva, a Nazi-like ideology holding Hinduism supreme, wants India to be an exclusively Hindu nation noting that Hindu and Muslim cultures are different, without regard to the similarities. As a video demonstrating the new ideology in practice points out, it is safer to be a cow than a Muslim in Modi’s India.
It is what one can expect when an ill-educated, charismatic tea-seller takes over the world’s largest democracy offering cultural superiority and its false pride, hare brained schemes like a deadline declaring old high denomination banknotes illegal causing chaos at banks. Poorly managed plans like toilets and gas cookers for the poor are touted as successes. But the toilets are not used because the plans did not include maintenance, and gas cooker distribution is riddled with corruption. Meanwhile, the economy suffers and the country ranks 102 out 117 on the Global Hunger Index (between Sierra Leone and Niger) and far behind Bangladesh. So much for the hype.
The Breitling Navitimer B03 Chronograph Rattrapante 45
It has been more than 85 years since Breitling introduced the first modern chronograph, whose influence on watch design has been...
Digital technologies: Democracy under threat according to Kofi Annan Commission
Annan Commission calls for urgent action by governments, business and civil society to protect democracy from digital threats. The final...
Vincent van Gogh: The Other. Now we will both drown in agony, despair and ecstasy
Now he belongs to the elite. Like a photo workshop, even the trying decline of the citizenship (belonging to the...
Global Tourism Plastics Initiative Takes On One of the Worst Polluters
The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative is ground-breaking and ambitious in its goals. It aims to reduce the amount of plastic...
India’s Evolving Nuclear Posture: Implications for Pakistan
It’s been twenty one years to the emergence of India, as an explicit nuclear weapon state (NWS), yet India needs...
King of Spain Signals Strong Support For UNWTO’s Tourism Ambitions
Held to mark the 40th anniversary of FITUR, one of the world’s leading tourism trade fair and the first one...
Potential Sino-Lebanese Cooperation under the New Lebanese Government
Since ancient times, Lebanon has been a center of civilized communication between East and West; ships that carry Chinese silk...
South Asia3 days ago
India’s Modi: Messiah or Menace
Defense2 days ago
India-Pakistan: Stitched in Multilateral Interests
Tech News3 days ago
Deloitte Shares Insights on the Libra Project
South Asia2 days ago
From Scapegoat Back to Key Ally: Pakistan and the Perils of US Maximalism
South Asia2 days ago
Questioning the Novelty of India’s New Normal
Europe3 days ago
What Europe Can Do to Avoid WW III?: Say ‘No!’ Now, to Its Start
Energy News3 days ago
ADB Loan to Unlock Long-Term Financing for Solar Power in Viet Nam
Newsdesk3 days ago
Companies Commit to Hardwire Gender Parity into the Future of Work