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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

India’s Unclear Neighbourhood Policy: How to Overcome ?

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India has witnessed multiple trends with regards to its relations with its neighbours at a time vaccine diplomacy is gaining prominence and Beijing increasing the pace towards becoming an Asian superpower, whereby making these reasons valid for New Delhi to have a clear foreign policy with respect to its neighbourhood.

Introduction

The Covid Pandemic has led to increased uncertainty in the global order where it comes to power dynamics, role of international organisations. New Delhi has tried to leave no stone unturned when it comes to dealing with its immediate neighbours.  It has distributed medical aid and vaccines to smaller countries to enhance its image abroad at a time it has witnessed conflicts with China and a change in government in Myanmar. These developments make it imperative for New Delhi to increase its focus on regionalism and further international engagement where this opportunity could be used tactically amidst a pandemic by using economic and healthcare aid.

According to Dr. Arvind Gupta, New Delhi has to deal with threats coming from multiple fronts and different tactics where it is essential for New Delhi to save energy using soft means rather than coercive measures.. India under Vaccine Maitri has supplied many of COVAXIN doses to Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka where many have appreciated this move. The urgency of ensuring humanitarian aid during these periods of unprecedented uncertainty are essential in PM Modi’s Security and Growth For All ( SAGAR) initiative, which focusses on initiating inclusive growth as well as cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region.

This pandemic witnessed various threats coming in India’s neighbourhood through multiple dimensions which include maritime, land, cyber as well as air threats where adversaries are using these to put pressure on New Delhi to settle land as well as marine disputes as per their terms.  These encirclement strategies have made it necessary for India to open up various options such as holding maritime joint exercises with like-minded countries, developing partnerships, providing economic as well as healthcare support to weaker countries plus having a clear insight about changing global dynamics and acting as per them.

This piece will discuss about various changing tactics, pros and cons which India has with respect to developing its national security vis-à-vis its neighbourhood, why should it prioritise its neighbourhood at the first place?

Background

India’s Neighbourhood is filled with many complexities and a lot of suspicion amongst countries, some viewing India because of its size and geography plus economic clout as a bully where it is wanting to dominate in the region putting others aside. This led to New Delhi play an increased role in nudging ties first with its neighbours with whom it had multiple conflicts as well as misunderstandings leading to the latter viewing Beijing as a good alternative in order to keep India under check.

Ever since PM Modi has taken charge at 7 RCR, India’s Neighbourhood First Policy has been followed increasingly to develop relations, to enhance understandings and ensure mutual cooperation as well as benefit with its neighbours. The relations with Islamabad have not seen so much improvement as compared to other leaders in the past. Even though former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was invited for PM Modi’s 1st Swearing In ceremony in 2014, terrorist activities have never stopped which could be seen through Pathankot, Uri and Pulwama terror attacks which killed many of the Indian soldiers. Even though surgical strikes were conducted on terror camps in retaliation to these bombardments, Islamabad has not changed its heart at all about its security or regional demands. New strategies and friendships are being developed where Beijing has played a major role in controlling power dynamics.

The Belt and Road initiative, first time mentioned during President Xi’s 2013 speech in Kazakhstan, then officially in 2015,  lays emphasis of achieving a Chinese Dream of bringing countries under one umbrella, ensuring their security, providing them with infrastructure projects such as ports, railways, pipelines, highways etc. The main bottleneck is the China Pakistan Economic Corridor when it comes to India’s security threats, passing through disputed boundaries of Gilgit and Baltistan in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir till Gwadar. Other projects have been initiated in Chittagong, Hambantota, Gwadar , Kyapkyou. These projects form a String Of Pearls in the Indo Pacific where New Delhi is being balanced against through economic plus development incentives being given to the member countries under the project. That’s why in the recent past, New Delhi is asserting its influence in the region, looking at new dimensional threats where Beijing’s threats in the maritime domain in the islands in East as well as South China seas are not being seen favourably in many countries such as ASEAN, US, Australia and Japan which is giving India an opportunity to look towards countries with a common threat. Amidst this great power struggle between Washington and Beijing, New Delhi is stuck between a rock and hard place i.e., having a clear and strong foreign policy with its neighbours.

In this region, India has a sole threat which is mainly Beijing where the latter has achieved prowess technologically and militarily where New Delhi lags behind the latter twenty fold. So, there is a need for improvising military technology, increase economic activities with countries, reduce dependence on foreign aid, ensure self-reliance.

Situation

South Asia is backward when it comes to economic development, human development and is a home to majority of the world’s population which lives below poverty line. The colonial rule has left a never-ending impact on divisions based on communal, linguistic and ethnic grounds. Even, in terms of infrastructure and connectivity, New Delhi lags behind Beijing significantly in the neighbourhood because the latter is at an edge when it comes to bringing countries under the same umbrella. Due to these, many initiatives have been taken up by New Delhi on developing infrastructure, providing humanitarian aid to needy countries.

There have been numerous efforts made by India with respect to reaching out to the Neighbours in 2020 through setting up of the SAARC Covid Fund where many Neighbourhood countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka gave contributions to ensure cooperation, joint scientific research, sharing information, healthcare kits where the countries contributed USD $ 18 million jointly towards this fund where New Delhi made an initial offer of USD $ 10 million.

New Delhi has even mustered ties with the Association of Southeast Asian countries during the pandemic under its Act East Policy where proper connectivity through the Northeast could be useful in easing movement of goods but currently, the infrastructure in Northeast needs more improvement where issues such as unemployment, poor connectivity are prevalent whereby disconnecting it from rest of the other states. This region could play an important role in linking Bangladesh, Myanmar to New Delhi along with the proposed India-Thailand –Myanmar Trilateral Corridor. Focus has also been laid to develop inland waterways, rail links and pipelines to ease connections between countries, making trade free and more efficient.

India is focussing on developing the Sittwe and Paletwa ports in Myanmar under the Kaladan Development Corridor, at the cost of INR 517.9 Crore in order to provide an alternative e route beneficial for the Northeast for getting shipping access

Summing Up

 These above developments and power display by a strong adversary, give good reasons for New Delhi to adopt collective security mechanisms through QUAD, SIMBEX and JIMEX with a common perception of having safe and open waters through abiding to the UNCLOS which China isn’t showing too much interest in, seen through surveillance units, artificial islands being set up on disputed territories which countries likewise India are facing in context to territorial sovereignty and integrity. These developments make it important for India to look at strategic threats by coming together with countries based on similar interest’s vis-à-vis Chinese threat.

There is a need for India to develop and harness its strength through connectivity and its self reliance initiative ( Aatmanirbharta ) so that there is no dependence on any foreign power at times of need . Proper coordination between policy makers and government officials could make decision making even easier, which is not there completely because of ideological differences, different ideas which makes it important for the political leadership to coordinate with the military jointly during times of threats on borders. Self-reliance could only come through preparedness and strategy.

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India is in big trouble as UK stands for Kashmiris

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 A London-based law firm has filed an application with British police seeking the arrest of India’s army chief and a senior Indian government official over their alleged roles in war crimes in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Law firm Stoke White said it submitted extensive evidence to the Metropolitan Police’s War Crimes Unit on Tuesday, documenting how Indian forces headed by General Manoj Mukund Naravane and Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah were responsible for the torture, kidnapping and killing of activists, journalists and civilians – particularly Muslim – in the region.

“There is strong reason to believe that Indian authorities are conducting war crimes and other violence against civilians in Jammu and Kashmir,” the report states, referring to the territory in the Himalayan region.

Based on more than 2,000 testimonies taken between 2020 and 2021, the report also accused eight unnamed senior Indian military officials of direct involvement in war crimes and torture in Kashmir.

The law firm’s investigation suggested that the abuse has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic. It also included details about the arrest of Khurram Parvez, the region’s most prominent rights activist, by India’s counterterrorism authorities last year.

“This report is dedicated to the families who have lost loved ones without a trace, and who experience daily threats when trying to attain justice,” Khalil Dewan, author of the report and head of the SWI unit, said in a statement.

“The time has now come for victims to seek justice through other avenues, via a firmer application of international law.”

The request to London police was made under the principle of “universal jurisdiction”, which gives countries the authority to prosecute individuals accused of crimes against humanity committed anywhere in the world.

The international law firm in London said it believes its application is the first time that legal action has been initiated abroad against Indian authorities over alleged war crimes in Kashmir.

Hakan Camuz, director of international law at Stoke White, said he hoped the report would convince British police to open an investigation and ultimately arrest the officials when they set foot in the UK.

Some of the Indian officials have financial assets and other links to Britain.

“We are asking the UK government to do their duty and investigate and arrest them for what they did based on the evidence we supplied to them. We want them to be held accountable,” Camuz said.

The police application was made on behalf of the family of Pakistani prisoner Zia Mustafa, who, Camuz said, was the victim of extrajudicial killing by Indian authorities in 2021, and on behalf of human rights campaigner Muhammad Ahsan Untoo, who was allegedly tortured before his arrest last week.

Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed in the past two decades in Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both in its entirety.

Muslim Kashmiris mostly support rebels who want to unite the region, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

Kashmiris and international rights groups have long accused Indian troops of carrying out systematic abuse and arrests of those who oppose rule from New Delhi.

Rights groups have also criticized the conduct of armed groups, accusing them of carrying out human rights violations against civilians.

In 2018, the United Nations human rights chief called for an independent international investigation into reports of rights violations in Kashmir, alleging “chronic impunity for violations committed by security forces”.

India’s government has denied the alleged rights violations and maintains such claims are separatist propaganda meant to demonize Indian troops in the region. It seems, India is in big trouble and may not be able to escape this time. A tough time for Modi-led extremist government and his discriminatory policies. The world opinion about India has been changed completely, and it has been realized that there is no longer a democratic and secular India. India has been hijacked by extremist political parties and heading toward further bias policies. Minorities may suffer further, unless the world exert pressure to rectify the deteriorating human rights records in India.

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S. Jaishankar’s ‘The India Way’, Is it a new vision of foreign policy?

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S. Jaishankar has had an illustrious Foreign Service career holding some of the highest and most prestigious positions such as ambassador to China and the US and as foreign secretary of India. Since 2019 he has served as India’s foreign minister. S. Jaishankar also has a Ph.D. in international relations from JNU and his academic background is reflected in this book.

His main argument is simplistic, yet the issues involved are complex. Jaishankar argues that the world is changing fundamentally, and the international environment is experiencing major shifts in power as well as processes. China is rising and western hegemony is declining. We are moving away from a unipolar system dominated by the US to a multipolar system. Globalization is waning and nationalism and polarization is on the rise (p. 29). The old order is going away but we cannot yet glimpse what the future will look like. This is the uncertain world that Dr. Jaishankar sees.

Dr. Jaishankar also argues that India too has changed, it is more capable and more assertive. The liberalization program that began in 1991 has made the Indian economy vibrant and globally competitive and it is well on track to becoming the third biggest economy in the world, after China and the US.  The war of 1971 that liberated Bangladesh, the liberalization of the economy after 1991, the nuclear tests in 1998 and the nuclear understanding with the US in 2005, Jaishankar argues are landmarks in India’s strategic evolution (p. 4). So given that both India and the system have changed, Jaishankar concludes, so should India’s foreign policy.

But his prescription for India’s foreign policy, in the grand scheme of things, is the same as before – India should remain nonaligned and not join the US in its efforts to contain China. India will try to play with both sides it seems in order to exploit the superpowers and maximize its own interests (p. 9). But he fails to highlight how India can find common ground with China other than to say the two nations must resolve things diplomatically. He also seems to think that the US has infinite tolerance for India’s coyness. In his imagination the US will keep making concessions and India will keep playing hard to get.

Jaishankar has a profound contradiction in his thinking. He argues that the future will be determined by what happens between the US and China. In a way he is postulating a bipolar future to global politics. But he then claims that the world is becoming multipolar and this he claims will increase the contests for regional hegemony. The world cannot be both bipolar and multipolar at the same time.

There is also a blind spot in Jaishankar’s book.  He is apparently unaware of the rise of Hindu nationalism and the demand for a Hindu state that is agitating and polarizing India’s domestic politics. The systematic marginalization and oppression of Muslim minorities at home and the growing awareness overseas of the dangers of Hindutva extremism do not exist in the world that he lives in. He misses all this even as he goes on to invoke the Mahabharata and argue how Krishna’s wisdom and the not so ethical choices during the war between Pandavas and Kauravas should be a guide for how India deals with this uncertain world – by balancing ethics with realism (p. 63). Methinks his little digression in discussing the ancient Hindu epic is more to signal his ideological predilections than to add any insights to understanding the world or India’s place in it.  

One aspect of his work that I found interesting is his awareness of the importance of democracy and pluralism. He states that India’s democracy garners respect and gives India a greater opportunity to be liked and admired by other nations in the world (p. 8). Yet recently when he was asked about the decline of India’s democratic credentials, his response was very defensive, and he showed visible signs of irritation. It is possible that he realizes India is losing ground internationally but is unwilling to acknowledge that his political party is responsible for the deterioration of India’s democracy.

This is also apparent when he talks about the importance of India improving its relations with its immediate neighbors. He calls the strategy as neighborhood first approach (pp. 9-10). What he does not explain is how an Islamophobic India will maintain good relations with Muslim majority neighbors like Bangladesh, Maldives, and Pakistan.

The book is interesting, it has its limitations and both, what is addressed and what is left out, are clearly political choices and provide insights into how New Delhi thinks about foreign policy. So, coming to the question with which we started, does India have a new foreign policy vision? The answer is no. Dr. Jaishankar is right, there is indeed an India way, but it is the same old way, and it entails remaining nonaligned with some minor attitudinal adjustments.  

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