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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

How the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal affects India

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Authors: Tridivesh Singh Maini & Sandeep Sachdeva*

While India was guarded in it’s response to the withdrawal of US from the Iran Nuclear Deal, it surely realizes the implications of the US withdrawal. Iran is India’s third largest source of crude oil (after Iraq and Saudi Arabia) . Between April 2017 and January 2018, New Delhi imported well over 18 million tonnes of crude oil.

New Delhi has also invested in the development of the Chabahar Port Project, which will provide India, access to Afghanistan and Central Asia. This project is extremely important for India, since it will help in bypassing Pakistan, which has continuously kept India out of the Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA). During Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s Iran visit in May 2016, India had signed an agreement, committing 500 Million USD for the development of Chabahar. During Modi’s visit,  a trilateral transport and transit partnership was also signed between India, Afghanistan and Iran.

In February 2018, during Iranian President Rouhani’s visit  to India, a lease agreement was signed between India and Iran. The lease agreement gave operational control of Phase 1 of Chabahar Port (Shahid Beheshti port) to India. The Modi, Hassan Rouhani Joint statement mentioned the need for making Chabahar part of INSTC project and PM Modi further emphasised that “We will support the construction of the Chabahar-Zahedan rail link, so that Chabahar gateway’s potential could be fully utilised.”

Here it would be pertinent to point out, that to enhance connectivity with Afghanistan, India has also set up an India Afghan Air Corridor, two flights are currently operational; one connecting Mumbai with Kabul, and another which connects Delhi with Kabul.

Indian hopes

For the time being, New Delhi has rested its hopes on the fact, that European countries are trying to keep the deal intact, and US will also not impose sanctions on allies, including India, for engaging with Iran. Defence Secretary James Mattis in a Congressional hearing held by the Senate Armed Services Committee, had categorically stated,  that the US should be careful with regard to imposing sanctions against allies, under Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

Mattis said, that allies like India should be provided a national security waiver, against imposition of sanctions for the purchase of S-400 air defence missile system from Russia.

A number of US Congressmen and Senators too have echoed Mattis’ views saying that India is valuable ally and should be exempted from sanctions

What India needs to be cautious about

While India does have time to react to the sanctions re-imposed, and the fact that European countries are keen to keep the deal alive are important. Recent statements by the US National Security Advisor, John Bolton saying that Europe will not be immune from sanctions, and would ultimately fall in line needs to be closely watched.

Said Bolton in an interview with ABC’sThis Week:“Europeans are going to face the effective US sanctions — already are, really — because much of what they would like to sell to Iran involves US technology, for which the licenses will not be available.”

Bolton also stated, that these countries will ultimately realise that it is in their interest to go along with the US.

Earlier US Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell advised Germany to re-consider business ties with Iran:‘German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately”.

New Delhi needs to strike a balancing act between Iran and US, but it also needs to have a clear plan of action to deal with US sanctions against Iran. In the past few years, India has successfully managed to balance relations between Iran and US, and Iran and Israel. Given the recent sanctions and the hawkish approach of the Trump Administration, it may be tough.

China factor

In the meanwhile, New Delhi would be well advised to follow closely China’s reaction to the withdrawal of US from JCPOA. Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited three important countries Russia, China and Europe to save the JCPOA. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said “it was hard-earned  deal, and China will take an objective, fair and responsible attitude, keep communication and cooperation with all parties concerned, and continue to work to maintain the deal”.

The China factor doesn’t end here for India. Off late, ties between India and China have witnessed an improvement, during PM Modi’s recent China visit, it was decided. that both countries will undertake a joint project in Afghanistan. In recent months, there seem to be some indicators of lowering of tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad as well.  Could, Beijing get New Delhi and Islamabad to discuss the issue of  transit trade to Afghanistan?  An opinion piece, ‘Pakistan’s military reaches out to India’, published in RUSI (Royal United Services Institute) discusses the willingness of Pakistan to discuss this issue, but India had turned down the offer in October 2017. Maybe New Delhi, could explore this option, and Beijing could support such an effort.

Conclusion

In conclusion, New Delhi will need to handle the current situation with great dexterity, while US is an important strategic partner, India has also got an opportunity to send an unequivocal message to Washington, that its own interests are paramount, and it will not blindly follow any one camp. In spite of all the challenges and upheavals likely to result from Trump’s decision, this also provides a golden opportunity for re-shaping the narrative within South Asia.

*Sandeep Sachdeva, Independent Foreign Policy Analyst

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Ex-Pakistani Prime Minister puts Pakistani military and China on the spot

Dr. James M. Dorsey

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Ousted Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif kicked up a storm when he earlier this month seemingly admitted that Pakistan had supported militants who attacked multiple targets in Mumbai in 2008, killing 166 people.

Mr. Sharif’s admission, which he has since tried to walk back, put a finger on Pakistan’s controversial policy of selective support of militant groups at a sensitive time. Pakistan is gearing up for elections that would secure its third consecutive handover of civilian political power.

Mr. Sharif’s remarks, moreover, stirred up a hornet’s nest because Pakistan is likely to next month be put on a watch list by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global financial watchdog that monitors the funding of political violence and money laundering worldwide.

The remarks also put China in a difficult position. China has been pressuring Pakistan to crack down on militants, particularly in the troubled province of Balochistan, the crown jewel in its Belt and Road-related $50 billion plus infrastructure investment in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Yet, at the same time, China has at Pakistan’s behest prevented the United Nations Security Council from declaring Masood Azhar, believed to have been responsible for an attack in 2016 on India’s Pathankot Air Force Station, as a globally designated terrorist.

The militants, dressed in Indian military uniforms fought a 14-hour battle against Indian security forces that only ended when the last attacker was killed. Mr. Azhar was briefly detained after the attack and has since gone underground.

Mr. Sharif’s made his remarks as China was building up its military infrastructure in Pakistan. The build-up is occurring against the backdrop of Pakistan risking being involuntarily sucked into potential attempts to destabilize Iran if Saudi Arabia/and or the United States were to use Balochistan as a staging ground.

In line with a standard practice in Pakistan that has repeatedly seen groups that are outlawed resurrecting themselves under new names, Lashkar-e-Taibe (LeT), the banned group believed to be responsible for the Mumbai attacks, and Jamaat-ud-Dawa, widely believed to be an LeT front, are  rebranding under a new name and as a political party, Milli Muslim League, that would compete in the forthcoming election.

The League is headed by Hafez Saaed, a former LeT leader, who was last year released from house arrest despite having been declared a designated global terrorist by the Security Council and the US Treasury, which put a $10 billion bounty on his head. China vetoed Mr. Saeed’s designation by the UN prior to the Mumbai attacks.

Activists, even though the party was last month designated by the US Treasury, are likely to run as independents in the election if the government maintains its rejection of the party’s registration.

So are operatives of Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat, a front for Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, a banned, virulently anti-Shiite group that long enjoyed support from Saudi Arabia and operates multiple militant madrassas or religious seminaries in Balochistan that have witnessed an injection of funds from the kingdom in the last two years.

“Militant organisations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial? It’s absolutely unacceptable. This is exactly what we are struggling for. President Putin has said it. President Xi has said it. We could have already been at seven per cent growth (in GDP), but we are not,” Mr. Sharif said, referring to stalled Mumbai attacks-related trials in a Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court.

Taking Mr. Sharif’s comments a step further, prominent journalist and author Ahmed Rashid asserted that “the deep state of Pakistan is supporting the banned outfits as it has done in the past. This game should be stopped, and the government should show its commitment and sincerity in disarming these groups and not to allow them to enter into politics.”

Former Pakistani strongman General Pervez Musharraf, in an apparent manifestation of links between the circles close to the military and hardliners, said prior to the designation by the US announced that he was discussing an alliance with Mr. Saeed’s league.

Speaking on Pakistani television, Mr. Musharraf pronounced himself “the greatest supporter of LeT… Because I have always been in favour of action in Kashmir and I have always been in favour of pressuring the Indian army in Kashmir,” Mr. Musharraf said.

Pakistan’s military and intelligence service are believed to favour integration of militants into the political process as a way of reducing violence and militancy in a country in which religious ultra-conservatism and intolerance has been woven into the fabric of branches of the state and significant segments of society.

Critics charge that integration is likely to fail in Pakistan. “Incorporating radical Islamist movements into formal political systems may have some benefits in theory… But the structural limitations in some Muslim countries with prominent radical groups make it unlikely that these groups will adopt such reforms, at least not anytime soon… While Islamabad wants to combat jihadist insurgents in Pakistan, it also wants to maintain influence over groups that are engaged in India and Afghanistan,” said Kamran Bokhari, a well-known scholar of violent extremism.

Citing the example of a militant Egyptian group that formed a political party to participate in elections, Mr. Bokhari argued that “though such groups remain opposed to democracy in theory, they are willing to participate in electoral politics to enhance their influence over the state. Extremist groups thus become incorporated into existing institutions and try to push radical changes from within the system.”

Chinese ambiguity about Pakistani policy goes beyond shielding Mr. Azhar from being designated. A Chinese-Pakistani draft plan last year identified as risks to CPEC “Pakistani politics, such as competing parties, religion, tribes, terrorists, and Western intervention” as well as security. “The security situation is the worst in recent years,” the plan said.

Security has since improved substantially in significant parts of Pakistan. The question, however, is whether integration of militants into the political process would stabilize Pakistani politics in the absence of a concerted effort to counter mounting ultra-conservative religious fervour in the country. It may be too early to judge, but so far the answer has to be no.

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South Asia

Analyzing CPEC Summit 2018

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China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the flagship project of China’s Belt and Road initiative, prioritized by both the Governments of China and Pakistan to build a China-Pakistan community of shared destinies. The strategic partnership under the CPEC envisages number of projects among which Energy Security, Infrastructural Development , Connectivity, Trade,  Industrial   Parks,   Agricultural Development , Poverty Alleviation and , Tourism are highly prioritized. Recently the CPEC summit 2018 was held in Karachi on April 23, 2018 to discuss the importance of CPEC and to analyze updates about the progress and development of this project. Perhaps this was the first such event of its kind in which   representative from all the provinces participated. The summit not only discussed the progress and development of the CPEC but deliberated upon the issue of regional connectivity as the key component of the CPEC. On recalling the last five years’ journey of CPEC up till now, one can infer that indeed CPEC is a chain of connectivity not only within Pakistan but across the region as well. The summit also concluded that Pakistan and China are planning to extend CPEC towards Afghanistan as CPEC is not only about economic growth, but also about community building.

Analyzing the outcome of this summit, one discovers that under CPEC, the country has completed two power projects in Sindh, while another is on its way towards completion. CPEC has resulted in the optimal utilization of two commercial ports and the opening of Keti Bunder. Along with this, the development of commercial ports is also in line with the CPEC plan. The project pledges provincial harmony and timely cooperation and facilitation in this regard.  As far as the electric power is concerned currently930 megawatts of wind energy is produced in Sindh alone for the national grid. Moreover a large chunk of electric power comes from those three Projects which are part of early-harvest program. In addition to this some 300MW is generated through wind power projects and would be part of the grid once the projects are completed in October 2018.

Following this progress rate CPEC is economically beneficial for all the provinces of Pakistan. KPK is contributing nearly 15pc of Pakistan’s natural gas output. In hydropower, KP has the potential of producing 30,000MW of energy. The two hydropower projects located at Chitral are also part of the CPEC framework.

Moreover another important aspect which was analyzed in this CPEC Summit 2018 is the idea of a separate ministry for logistic and transport so that this massive demand for the logistic and transport can be well managed.  Once this separate ministry is formed, the work will be done in the shortest possible time thus resulting in faster growth. Businessmen, stakeholders and industrialist also showed their interests in promoting business through CPEC.  Surely there is a need for joint ventures between local and Chinese companies to enhance Pakistan’s industrial base and productivity.

Eventually once the CPEC project is completed Pakistan will become a hub for transshipment trade. Most of Pakistan’s posts- through which trade is being carried out, are complaint to Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) or International Road Transports. Therefore there is no issue of compliance or connectivity under TIR. It will be easier to import goods and products in other countries thus developing more options for Trade and investment through CPEC.

The initial Phase of CPEC projects of the early harvest program are completed. Now the second phase the long term plan of the CPEC has been started that focuses on industrial activity and agriculture which would be completed by 2025.  Currently work on the Long term Plan is under way, after that in order to take its final shape in 2030 CPEC would be completed and people to people contact will develop, thus resulting in shared trade communities.

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