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Kashmir: Do USA and China misuse India and Pakistan?

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At the outset, USA and China are big economic powers enjoying UN veto status while India and Pakistan are third world countries with a conflict over an alien Kashmir and seeking the support of veto members to justify their individual positions over Kashmir. As they try ot influence USA and China, the South Asian nuclear powers are obviously being misused by the veto powers for their own advantages.

India remains the major threat to Pakistan, an ally of NATO to target Muslims and insult Islam. Having lost the support of USA which now tries to oblige India to get its Asia Pivot agenda to contain China, Pakistan has long shifted its focus on China, seeking long-term strategic framework agreement between them as long as possible for enhancing defence and security cooperation.

The division of South Asia into a Muslim Pakistan and a Hindu India has served as a mechanism for maintaining US imperialist domination of the whole region. India has suppressed and attacked Muslims, even denying their legitimate rights, the way it wants and incite communalism and nationalism so as to deflect social anger over the failure of criminalized capitalism. Of course the rich thrives in both Pakistan and India as elsewhere in the region. Now this explosive conflict is becoming ever more inextricably intertwined with the confrontation between US and China, adding to each a massive new incendiary charge.

USA has converted Pakistan into an unstable of client state to serve only exclusive US interests.

Balochistan is critical to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a massive infrastructure connectivity project, which Beijing is supporting with $46 billion in investments. At the heart of the CPEC is the building of a network of pipeline, rail, and road links connecting Balochistan’s Arabian Sea port of Gwadar with western China.

When Modi assumed office in May 2014, he made a show of seeking closer ties with Pakistan and relaunching the long-stalled India-Pakistan “comprehensive peace dialogue.” Modi said was intent on changing the “rules of the game” with Pakistan. But it quickly emerged that as part of his government’s more assertive pursuit of India’s great power ambitions to showcase to the west its hold over the region, including Pakistan and Bangladesh. Pakistan saw through Indian new game as Modi instructed Indian military commanders to take a more aggressive stance in cross-border firing incidents along the disputed Line of Control (LOC) in Kashmir, leading in 2015 to the most serious military clashes in a decade.

India’s increased aggressiveness towards Islamabad is being fuelled by the military-strategic boost it is receiving from USA which has elevated India to the status of “Major Defense Partner,” and has begun co-developing weapons-systems with India, is actively supporting India in increasing economic and strategic ties with East Asia and Africa, and is trying – at least as a mere show – to gain it admittance to the Nuclear Suppliers Group in defiance of the current rules. Both USA and India failed badly and is angry with China. And all shuttle diplomatic encounters Modi made across the globe also failed, wasting Indian tax money. India considers everything at par cricket where batboys get 100s and 50s as per game rule conventions.

Even though “cooperation’ has not worked in its favor, India still does not want to lose its image of being a US strategic ally though meant only for some little benefits. Without US companionship India might feel depressed as it loses advantages with Pakistan. But Washington is harnessing India to its predatory global agenda and transforming it into a “frontline state” in its confrontation with China. Last month, New Delhi signed an India-US Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) that gives US combat planes and warships and their personnel routine access to Indian military bases for resupply, repairs and rest.

The USA has in recent months curtailed both economic and military aid to Pakistan. The US Congress also scuttled a deal to sell Pakistan F-16 fighter jets. Further heightening Islamabad’s strategic anxiety is the relentless pressure from Washington for Pakistan to bear still more of the burden in the Afghan War, although large parts of the country have already been transformed into killing fields.

All of this has made Indian government more confident in pursuing a hard line against Islamabad. By using the US tone, the Modi government asked PM Sharif to do more on “cross border terrorism”- a usual Indian fun to mock at Pakistan.

For decades, Pakistan was Washington’s principal partner in South Asia, playing a significant role in the US’s Cold War intrigues against the Soviet Union, and in return receiving substantial military aid. Now, Washington cavalierly dismisses Islamabad’s warnings that American patronage of India has destabilized South Asia and is fuelling a nuclear-arms race. Pakistan is certainly concerned about Indian interference with US-Pakistan relations and alarmed at the dramatic downgrading of its strategic partnership with US led NATO imperialism.

India has repeatedly stated its opposition to the CPEC, citing the fact that the corridor will pass through Pakistan-held Kashmir—territory now suddenly India claims is rightfully its. Indian PM Modi among other top leaders when they met privately with Chinese President Xi last weekend, have repeatedly told Beijing that they consider the CPEC a threat to India’s core strategic interests. China ignores Indian tricks and goes ahead with its costly project that, in the long runs, benefits Beijing more than Pakistan. India therefore got into US trap of Asia Pivot and has integrated itself ever more completely into the US strategic offensive against China.

Pakistan, by contrast, has reacted to the Indian campaign against the CPEC with bellicose threats. Army Chief General Raheel Sharif warned of “conspiracies” against Pakistan by its “enemies” and vowed “fool proof security to CPEC.” He disclosed that the military would soon form a special “security division” in Balochistan to protect the CPEC, just as it has already done in the country’s north where it helps the NATO agenda of clearing lands for oil-gas transportation. .

Meanwhile, China hopes India can be dissuaded from becoming the fourth partner in a NATO-type anti-China alliance that would be led by Washington and include its principal Asian-Pacific allies, Japan and Australia.

Pakistan no more expects its terror ally USA to help get Kashmir from Indian brute occupation so that it can add first add it to Azad Kashmir under its non-brutal control before eventually able to make it a part of Pakistani territories and its Constitution.

Pakistan must now know that India would never use its nuclear abled missiles targeting Pakistan because Pakistan would also reciprocate the same manner target India. So, nukes are just a useless shield to deny India chances of outmaneuver its neighbor. In fact no country today can afford to use nukes aiming at destroying another country simply because it could also be targeted.

Trying to outsmart one another and claim “win” situation in propaganda theatrics, relations between South Asia’s rival nuclear-armed powers India and Pakistan remain heated, accusing each other of promoting terrorism and exchanging bellicose threats.

USA has been seeking and maybe pressing India to go for a brief war with China so that it can do the “the rest” but India has not yet been willing to take the call. In fact, India has been avoiding any battle with Asian giant because it cannot win it but can only weaken itself. NEW Delhi played its card well by not militarily responding to the Chinese incursions into Arunachal Pradesh because once it does that very soon it would be pushed into a surrender situation wherein USA would certainly have the upper hand to dictate its terms to India as it would lose all advantages. .

Pakistan’s over stretch towards Beijing has made USA somewhat nervous and even depressed and is pinning its hopes on India to succeed in its Asia Pivot.

Under conditions where the US has overturned the balance of power in the region through its aggressive campaign to harness India to its anti-China “Pivot,” the danger of the India-Pakistan tensions climaxing in war, whether by design or miscalculation, is rapidly rising. A possible clash between India and Pakistan threatens to rapidly draw in the USA and China on opposed sides.USA badly wants a war in South Asia and China has been avoiding strengthening US foothold in the region.

India wants every country in the region to bend to New Delhi’s demands that they accept Indian regional dominance as new reality and work for Indian causes like entire world is working for US advancing its interests globally. Except Islamabad, all countries seem to have taken India as their regional boss and never question its state terror action in Kashmir, reducing Muslim population by perpetual fake encounters.

India has accelerated its anti-Pakistan tirade in international summits, forcefully blaming Pakistan in. the G-20 summit in China and then repeated later in the week at an ASEAN-India Summit, that “one single nation” in South Asia is spreading terrorism. For its part, Pakistan has repeatedly pointed to India’s Balochistan campaign as corroboration of its charges that Indian intelligence is providing aid and arms to the Balochi insurgency. the Pakistan Foreign Ministry issued a statement that declared: India is that “single nation”; “India is financing terrorism in Pakistan and open evidences are available on its involvement in subversive activities.”

In fact, the regional nations take full economic advantages out of Indian leadership crisis from India and since these weak countries get economic support from New Delhi they have no reasons to criticize Indian brutalities in Kashmir. In fact, media in South and West Asia have long stopped criticizing New Delhi’s regular genocides in Kashmir. .Instead, they try and find reasons to praise New Delhi and its economy.

Knowing well the US mindset against Islam and Muslims, India now does not fear any opposition from world powers to its crimes in Kashmiris. In fact both India and its military-intelligence ally Israel enjoy the courtship of the western imperialist powers.

Even while pushing for its regional dominance as an economic power of South Asia, India can do nothing against China or USA in diluting their intentions in the region. So it turns its sward toward Pakistan destabilized by its NATO allies led by USA. In r order to counter Pakistani criticism of Indian state terror violence in Kashmir, killing Muslims in a sustained manner, .New Delhi has ratcheted up tensions with repeated denunciations of Islamabad for “human rights abuses” in Balochistan, where Pakistan’s military is fighting a “dirty war” against an “insurgency”, thereby launching an unprecedented intervention into Pakistan’s internal affairs. They were widely understood in both India and Pakistan as constituting an implicit threat that New Delhi will press for the dismemberment of Pakistan if Islamabad does not curb its support for the freedom struggle of Kashmiris in Indian-held Kashmir.

Today, Jammu Kashmir has been divided among India, Pakistan and China. These three occupier nations do not want to surrender the stolen lands from Kashmiris on their military strength. .

India has a simple message to Pakistan: it wants Pakistan to mind its “business” and enjoy its part of Azad Kashmir and stop meddling in “Indian” Kashmir which lies at the top Indian map and therefore it does not want to lose it to Pakistan and lose the physiologic war being waged for decades. Without Kashmir, New Delhi’s strategic community thinks, Indian map looks like a man without head. India, therefore, does not want to lose its head annexed from neighbor.

Significantly, Pakistan responded to last month’s agreement opening Indian bases to the US military by expressing concern that the Indian action would contribute to “polarising the region by disturbing the strategic balance in South Asia and escalating the arms build-up.” The term “polarizing the region” perhaps was clearly a reference to the hardening of a US-Indian alliance on the one side and a China-Pakistan alliance on the other. One has no clues as to the real reasons for the emerging -US alliance and China-Pakistan alliance

Apparently, the logic of its relentless US campaign to isolate, strategically encircle, and prepare for war against China and of its push to make India its own main strategic partner in South Asia and a frontline state in its anti-China offensive is a well knit plan of veto members to push Islamabad and Beijing into each other’s strategic embrace.

That is a major strategy of all maneuvers of veto members (and possibly Israel) that jointly control the world and its regional resources.

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South Asia

Pakistan can maximize the benefits of CPEC by involving China experts

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Mr. Yao Jing, who has been to Pakistan three times at various diplomatic postings – very junior, mid-career, and senior-most position as Ambassador, a perfect expert on Pakistan. He was in touch with Pakistan for almost 25 years, and have deep interaction with various segments of the society, seen several Governments and virtually all political and regional leaders in Pakistan. He has also served in India and Afghanistan and understands well Pak-India, Pak-Afghan relations in a comprehensive manner. Being an Ambassador, he had interaction with the highest level official, military and civil bureaucracy, and leadership. His understanding of Pakistan is unmatched. At the end of his tenure as Ambassador to Pakistan, before departing, in one of his farewell, he expressed that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would be better served if Pakistan would have appointed officials who are experts on the functioning of the Chinese government and its market. He was happy at the progress that had been made between the two countries, and that CPEC was on the right track. Pakistan can maximize the benefits of CPEC by involving China experts.

There exist around 20,000 China-graduates in Pakistan in various fields and various age groups, with various lengths of experience to fresh graduates. The first badge of Pakistani students traveled to China for higher education in 1977-78. Initially, there were very few students, but a sharp increase was witnessed since year-2000 and onward. Currently, there are around 30,000 Pakistani students studying in China, almost all majors field of emerging specializations, in leading Chinese Universities. They are at various levels – Undergrads, Masters, PhDs, and Post.Docs, etc.

A vast pool of around 20,000 China-graduates in Engineering, Agriculture, Health Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Economics, Management Sciences, Social and Natural Sciences are available in Pakistan readily.

China graduates are the human resource required for CPEC, as they understand China in addition to their professional qualification. While studying in China, they interact with the Chinese teachers, students, and society and learns Chinese culture, Traditions, History, Philosophy, Thinking, Ethics, Values, and Psyche, Politics, Governance, etc. Based on their understandings of Chinese systems, they can negotiate with Chinese and work with them in harmony and successfully. The involvement of China-Graduates in the CPEC is key to success and may maximize benefits for Pakistan.

Chinese Ambassador further said,“CPEC is now well connected, much to the satisfaction of both sides,” furthermore. “The biggest concern, if there is one, is that Pakistani officials lack expertise on China, and do not know how the Chinese government works, and also how Chinese companies operate.” Due to a lack of understanding, some time faces misunderstandings and misinterpretations.“In China, for example, we have some experts that advise us on Pakistan’s governance model. There is a lot more to be done for Pakistani authorities to learn the functioning of Chinese markets and governance model,” he added. While considering CPEC as Oxygen to Pakistan’s economy and catalyst for economic take-off the country, there is no single interpreter of the Chinese language in the Government of Pakistan. In the private sector, there are few Chinese language experts, with 50% interpretation capability only. Communication and understanding may be a hurdle, which can be resolved by involving China-graduates simply. Pakistan needs to change its mindset from the Western approach toward understanding China, which may benefit in the smooth execution of CPEC.

Currently, those who are handing CPEC has little knowledge about China and sometimes face an embarrassing situation. It is not an individual’s  fault, but if China experts are given this task, they can perform much better. CPEC is handled by Western-educated or trained personnel, having little or no understandings of China can not achieve the desired results or optimal outcomes. Often, they compare China with the Western World, which is the wrong approach and may lead to a total disaster sometimes. China is a unique civilization, and having its own traditions and values, much different from the West. It will be highly productive, if the Government of Pakistan, utilize the China-graduates and China-trained human resource, to maximize the outcomes of CPEC.

Ambassador Yao Jing is a sincere friend of Pakistan; his advice carries high-value and may be taken seriously. Especially while we are entering into the Second-Phase of CPEC, where the private sector may be involved in Industrialization, Agricultural Sector, and Services Sector, China experts can play an instrumental role and maximize benefits for Pakistan.

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South Asia

Interpreting Sheikh Hasina’s Foreign Policy

Shariful Islam

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September 28, 2020 marks the 74th birthday of Sheikh Hasina, the Honourable Prime Minister of Bangladesh. On the occasion of her birthday, it becomes important to examine the foreign policy of Sheikh Hasina and the policy imperatives for Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina brought dynamism in Bangladesh foreign policy. In fact, the peace-centric foreign policy of Hasina becomes pertinent for world peace, stability, and prosperity. To make Bangladesh a developed country by 2041, the constructive, cooperative and peace-centric foreign policy of Hasina can play leading role. Thus, in this birthday, this article attempts to analyse Sheikh Hasina’s foreign policy for a peaceful and better world.

Sheikh Hasina came to power in 2009, and took oath for the third time as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh in 2019. This long period provided political stability in Bangladesh except some incidences of political violence at the beginning of 2014. This has also helped Bangladesh to maintain a consistency in foreign policy pattern/priorities. It is argued that political leaders play important role in the field of international relations and foreign policy formulations and executions. The personal characteristics of the leader, i.e. beliefs, motives, decision style, and interpersonal style become critical in understanding the foreign policy behavior of a state (Hermann 2011).

In fact, in the context of Bangladesh where the Prime Minister play vital role in the foreign policy formulations, the beliefs, ideologies, personal characteristics, norms, values, and the bold and visionary leadership of Sheikh Hasina play crucial role in the formulation and execution of an independent foreign policy of Bangladesh based on norms, values and enlightened interest. One can identify the following key parameters of Sheikh Hasina’s foreign policy.

First, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh, laid down the foreign policy principle of Bangladesh, i.e. ‘Friendship to all and malice to none’. This policy helped Bangladesh to achieve Bangladesh’s recognition from states around the world and building cooperative partnership. However, except Awami League, this policy is not followed by other political parties in Bangladesh. After coming to power for the second time in 2009, Sheikh Hasina made a strategic shift in the foreign policy formulations of Bangladesh prioritising both India and China in the development trajectory of Bangladesh. Hasina government strongly followed the foreign policy principle, i.e. ‘Friendship to all and malice to none’ in the case of Bangladesh’s relations with both India and China. In fact, Bangladesh has been able to maintain the good relations with all countries including India and China due to the ‘friendship to all, malice to none’ foreign policy principle of Sheikh Hasina. According to Sheikh Hasina, ‘[W]hat’s the problem with it (maintaining ties with both China and India)? We have ties with all our neighbours. Bangladesh has no animosity with anyone because we are following the lesson taught by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’ (bdnews24.com, July 4, 2019).If the world would follow such peace-centric foreign policy of Sheikh Hasina, the world would be a better place to live in, one can argue.

Second,Sheikh Hasina follows a peace-centric foreign policy. As the earlier section notes, the foreign policy dictum developed by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is strongly followed by Sheikh Hasina. For instance, while the major powers in the region and beyond closed their doors to the Rohingya refugees, Bangladesh opened the door for them. As a result, more than 1.1 million Rohingyas received shelter in Bangladesh. Bangladesh with limited resources is providing food, shelter, medicare and other facilities/services to this huge number of Rohingya refugees since 2017. To resolve the crisis, Bangladesh strongly believes in peaceful resolution through mutual understanding and dialogue.

Third,under the Sheikh Hasina government, Bangladesh prioritises economy over security or strategic issues in its foreign policy formulations. At Bangladeshi envoys conference, held in July 2019 at London, Sheikh Hasina has asked Bangladeshi envoys based in European countries to pursue economy diplomacy as top most priority to sustain the ongoing development in Bangladesh. At the World Economic Forum Economic Summit in New Delhi in October 2019, Sheikh Hasina presented Bangladesh as the economic hub in the sub-region and thus asked the global investors to invest in Bangladesh. Under the leadership of Hasina, Bangladesh is setting up 100 special economic zones, with one-stop service across the country to attract foreign direct investments.

The agreements on economic cooperation between Bangladesh and different countries shows the importance Bangladesh attaches to economic diplomacy in its foreign policy formulations and executions. Due to the prioritisation of economy diplomacy, the GDP of Bangladesh has grown from US$102 billion in 2009 to US$302 billion in 2019 (Hasina 2019). In addition, foreign direct investment has also increased from US$ 700 million in 2009 to US$ 3613 million in 2018 (Table 1). In 2018, Bangladesh was the second recipient of FDI in South Asia. In addition, Table 2 demonstrates that the volume of trade has increased between 2009 and 2018 which underscores the priority of economic diplomacy in the foreign policy formulations of Bangladesh under Hasina regime. According to UNCTAD, there is 9.5 per cent merchandise exports growth rate in 2018. Among the export products, 95 per cent covers manufactured goods. According to the UNCTAD statistics, among the top five export destinations of Bangladesh in 2018 included USA (US$ 5672 million), Germany (US$ 5626 million), United Kingdom (US$ 3460 million), Spain (US$ 2709 million), and France (US$ 2288 million).

Table 1: Foreign direct investment flow in Bangladesh (Millions of dollars)

Year2009201020112012201320142015201620172018
Value70091311361293159915512235233321523613

Source: UNCTAD (2015: A5; 2019:214).

Table 2: International merchandise trade: Total merchandise trade (millions of US$)

Sector2005201020152018
Merchandise exports9297191943237939252
Merchandise imports13889278214204760495
Merchandise balance-4 592-8 627-9 669               -21243

Source: UNCTADstat (https://unctadstat.unctad.org/CountryProfile/GeneralProfile/en-GB/050/index.html).       

Fourth, after came to power in 2009, Sheikh Hasina resolved the long-standing maritime boundary delimitation dispute with India and Myanmar peacefully through the help of international regimes. Bangladesh now has sovereign rights on all living, and non-living resources of over 200 nautical miles of Exclusive Economic Zone and up to 354 nautical miles of the continental shelf of the country. Thus, blue economy has become a key area of Sheikh Hasina’s foreign policy. Though India and China are rivals in many aspects, Bangladesh has signed Blue Economy agreement with both of them.

Fifth, resolving Rohingya crsis through internationalisation of the issue became a key foreign policy priority for Sheikh Hasina government. Thus, at bilateral, regional and international forums, Bangladesh advocated Rohingya issues strongly.

Sixth, under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh strongly advocates rules-based international order. Thus, Bangladesh promotes the agency of rules-based international order, i.e. regional and international institutions. The country respects the norms of the international institutions like the United Nations. In fact, the constitution of the United Nations is also reflected in the drafting of foreign policy principles of Bangladesh.

Seventh, conventionally, Bangladesh does not participate in power politics whether at regional or international level. Instead, regional and international cooperation based on rules and norms has been the guiding principles of Sheikh Hasina’s foreign policy. In fact, cooperation and partnership at bilateral, regional, and global level are key defining features of Bangladesh foreign policy under Sheikh Hasina regime. Bangladesh is a strong advocate of regional and international cooperation. For instance, Bangladesh strongly supports South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral and Technical Cooperation (BIMSTEC), Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor, Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and the United Nations. The country strongly promotes sub-regional cooperation. The country has already allowed India to use its land, water, and ports to access its Northeastern states. For instance, Bangladesh has asked Nepal and Bhutan to use its Saidpur airport, and Chittagong and Mongla ports which demonstrates the importance of constructive engagement with the neighbours and beyond.

Finally,South-South Cooperation is another defining feature of Sheikh Hasina’s foreign policy. Bangladesh sees South-South Cooperation as an effective mechanism for development cooperation among the Southern countries. For instance, Bangladesh has included South-South Cooperation in its National Policy for Development Cooperation. Bangladesh has been awarded ‘South-South Award’ in 2013 to make a remarkable progress in the poverty alleviation. In addition, in September 2018, Bangladesh has received a special award in Bangkok from the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and UNESCAP in recognition of its outstanding contributions to South-South Cooperation.

This article also focuses on some policy imperatives. First, the above identified eight defining features of Sheikh Hasina’s foreign policy need to be promoted in the days to come especially economic diplomacy. Second, the dearth of scholarship on Bangladesh foreign policy studies implies that it becomes important to promote foreign policy studies in the country. In this regard, the role of the state, and scholars becomes important. Bangladesh is a rising power which requires both knowledge production and dissemination. Consequently, Sheikh Hasina government needs to promote foreign policy scholarship both in the country and beyond.

Third, it becomes also important to promote the soft power diplomacy of Bangladesh. In this context, nation branding (a peaceful country, an emerging economic power, a strong promoter of regional and international cooperation) to the world community becomes crucial. Bangladesh’s contributions to the world peace and stability needs to be highlighted by writing op-eds, making presentations, publishing research articles and so forth by both the policy and academic community.

Fourth, internationalising the Rohingya issue will be another key issue area of Sheikh Hasina’s foreign policy in the days to come. In this context, the role of active diplomacy at both Track I and Track II level becomes crucial. There are more than 10, 000 University teachers in Bangladesh who can write a piece on the Rohingya issue and publish it at regional and international media. This will be imperative to internationalise the issue and thus resolve the crisis.

Fifth, deepening economic cooperation, attracting foreign direct investment, promoting trade and commerce, sustaining the development partnership with major and emerging powers will become serious challenge for Sheikh Hasina government in the post-COVID-19 era. Thus, it becomes important to rethink Bangladesh foreign policy and diplomacy based on economic diplomacy in the post-COVID-19 era.

To conclude, in this troubled world where narrowly defined interest defines the foreign policy actions of states, arms races, and competition for influence, power and position becomes rampant, the foreign policy of Sheikh Hasina based on peace, friendship, and cooperation becomes important for the welfare and benefits of the people in the world. The foreign policy of Bangladesh under the Sheikh Hasina regime is improving Bangladesh’s relations with the major development partners of the country including with both India and China especially in the areas of economic and development partnership which has resulted in economic growth and socio-economic development in the country. And this has impacted the lives and livelihoods of tens of thousands of people in the country. Thus, the continuation of Sheikh Hasina’s foreign policy becomes important for Bangladesh and the beyond. This article concludes that there is no alternative to Sheikh Hasina and her peace-centric foreign policy for the 170 million people in Bangladesh and beyond.

In this great day, I wish, Happy Birthday to our Honourable Prime Minister. Long live Bangladesh, long live the Honourable Prime Minister.

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South Asia

Russia expanding influence in India and Sri Lanka

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Authors: Srimal Fernando and Vedangshi Roy Choudhuri*

In the post-World War II era the diplomatic influence of former Soviet Union on newly  Independent India and its southern neighbour, Sri Lanka redefined a new foreign policy order based on Non Aligned principles. The changes  following the cold war marked the beginning of a new era of  diplomacy  between   Moscow with  New Delhi and Colombo

  Russia is a global superpower and a permanent member of the United Nations which paves a path to withhold a  significant influence on the global south. India is a  rising regional power being a  UN Security Council member and its southern neighbour Sri Lanka is geostrategically positioned in the Indian ocean which results in being vital nations for  Modern-day Russia’s Foreign policymaking. This Trilateral diplomacy needs greater assessment to reframe a new foreign policy doctrine to enhance economic diplomacy and for greater defence cooperation.

 Soviet  Union (USSR) and India

The USSR diplomatic collaboration helped  India on achieving its self-sufficiency in food production and to become an industrialised nation. The same period saw specific defence cooperation between  New Delhi and Moscow due to the changing security dynamics in the global security arena. In mid-1991, India accelerated the process of liberalizing the economy by removing controls as it was trying to adjust to the post-Soviet reality. The first phase of the post cold war diplomacy was marked by a Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, and after a year they lined it up with a Military-Technical Cooperation agreement.

Russia – India

Historically India and Russia have had stable and cordial political relations and elevated the diplomacy to a ”Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership”. The Bilateral relationship between the two nations is robust, with a wide agenda for cooperation. There are regular excessive-degree visits between the two nations. Moreover, for  Russia, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) continues to be an instrument for establishing better relations with India and with other South Asian neighbours

On an international level, Russia, and India are the predominant members of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) organization of rising powers set to reshape the world economy. At present, India and Russia continue to share a common strategic rationale for their relationship: aside from bilateral collaborations, the two are members of various multilateral associations including BRICS, RIC, G20, East Asia Summit and SCO—where roads for cooperation on issues of common significance exist.

Trade Relations

 The agreement on trade and economic and scientific-technological cooperation until 2010 was signed in New Delhi in December 1998 which sought to boost bilateral trade and economic interaction in a qualitative sense between the two nations. Hence Economic interaction and trade are key focus points. On the trade front, India and Russia have called for enhancing and developing economic ties in priority areas to meet the bilateral trade target of $30 billion by 2025. Eurasian Economic Union (EEU)–India trade pact is a proposed platform which is to be used by the two countries to have a free flow of trade and eliminate trade barriers as currently, they have no bilateral free trade deals in place.

 Defence Cooperation

 In the post-cold war era, the diplomatic process of one of the most critical factors of the Indo-Russian strategic partnership is defence. The 1994 Moscow Declaration is a charter for Russian–Indian cooperation in their national and international security. However, Since the early 1960s, India purchased over 40 billion dollars’ worth of defence equipment from Moscow. The key partnership among India and Russia was marked in the year 2000 and the two nations plan to extend their strategic partnership, particularly in the areas of defence, nuclear energy and trade and investment.

The 2001 long-term Russian  Naval Doctrine goals in the Indian Ocean was to pursue a deliberate strategy of turning the Indian Ocean into a zone of peace, stability and neighbourly relations ensuring periodic Russian naval presence in the Indian Ocean.

Over time India has developed the  BrahMos Missile System, Joint development of the 5th generation Fighter aircraft and the Multi transport aircraft, in addition to the licensed manufacturing of SU-30 aircraft and T-90 tanks. Lately, the plan is to assemble about 400 Kamov Ka-226 T twin-engined Russian helicopters in India.

 Soviet. Union (USSR) –  Sri Lanka

The predominant step towards the beginning of complete bilateral ties between the Soviet Union and Ceylon was in 1956 under the patronage of Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike. Later, in the mid-Sixties when Sirimavo Bandaranaike won the elections and became Prime Minister, many believed that the new government would share a socialist ideology. however, the world’s first woman premier’s foreign policy was guided by the ideas of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Russia and Sri Lanka have crafted a grand approach based on the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) ideas and old Soviet connections. As a result, looking back, one can declare the entire diplomatic process to be noticeably exceptional.

 In the course of this period, the Soviet Union was instrumental in reworking the agriculture-based economy into a competitive manufacturing country through her technical cooperation. Setting up Ceylon steel, Tyre and Sugar companies with the aid of the USSR created employment opportunities that significantly advanced manufacturing efficiency.

Russia- Sri Lanka

Comparing then and now, steps must be taken to make sure the free flow of foreign policy ideas to reshape external policy outreach. For a small country like Sri Lanka, it is vital to outline a new balance between external outreach and internal stability. For instance, tapping into Russian billionaires would possibly help Sri Lanka to draw foreign direct investment (FDI) opportunities. For Russia, the geographical position of Sri Lanka is a bonus for gaining access to the 1.3 billion Indian consumer market through the Indo-Lanka free trade agreement (ISFTA).

After the fall of the Soviet Union, these bilateral ties were tested, but Russia kept a close watch on the South Asian island nation until they had been revived to their old glory. In the past fifteen years, Russia has been even more steady in its foreign policy towards Sri Lanka than earlier.

Six decades of international relations among Russia and Sri Lanka have yielded strong accomplishments in retaining the long-standing partnership. it is determined that Russia’s foreign policy approach regarding Sri Lanka has played a firm role in turning a new chapter in each other’s diplomatic practices. Presently, evidence of this is substantial in the closeness between Moscow and Colombo. In most recent instances, the time-tested, deep-rooted friendship got stronger when Russian President Putin stated “Moscow remains a reliable partner of Sri Lanka” following the Easter Sunday bombings.

Conclusion

Lately, South Asia is perhaps one of the most challenging regions for Russia from the point of view of not only security in its traditional meaning but also of Russia’s prospects of emerging as an economic power. Russia attempts to pave a path between the developed  Russian constructive multilateral relations with the countries of South Asia and the further manifestation of its soft diplomacy in the region have opened the gates to its substantial regional influence.

*Vedangshi Roy Choudhuri is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts (BA hons.) in Journalism and Mass Communication at the Jindal School of Journalism & Communication (JSJC). She mainly focuses on Indo-China global media relations. She was also a recipient of the ICASQCC Gold Medal in Mauritius. Roy is member of the SGRC at Jindal Global University and a social activist in Chennai.

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What is the Capital Markets Union (CMU) and why is it important? The CMU is the EU’s plan to create...

Finance11 hours ago

Digital Finance Strategy, legislative proposals on crypto-assets and digital operational resilience

Why do we need a Digital Finance Strategy? As technology and business models develop, European consumers and businesses are increasingly...

Science & Technology13 hours ago

Modern-day threats to human rights in an era of global digitalization

Digital security is an overarching issue related to the development of information technology. More and more new opportunities are popping...

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