Connect with us

South Asia

Kashmir: Pakistan and India mutually expel diplomats

Published

on

As it is known, Kashmir is the chief cause of tensions between heavily armed and nuclearized South Asian nations India and Pakistan, joint occupiers, along with veto power China, of Jammu Kashmir.

China has taken a part of Azad Kashmir from Pakistani possession most probably on payment basis and does not ask for more lands from India which is eager to mend ways with Asian superpower so that Pakistan stands isolated internationally without any big supporter to question Indian action against Pakistan.

Since the world powers and UNSC have refused to end genocides in Kashmir perpetrated by Indian forces that enjoy special military powers gifted by the fanatic regime, Kashmir Muslim continue to die, falling victim to modern colonialism religiously promoted by India with blessing form USA and Russia. That is indeed Himalayan shame.

It looks the South Asian nuclear giants are bent upon showcasing their prowess by engaging themselves in regular mutual clashes in order only to terrorize the Kashmiris besieged between them and find vital space in international media and forums. They have been successful.

Interestingly, both sides typically refute the other’s version of events. New Delhi protested against the alleged mutilation of the body of an Indian soldier by an attacker who escaped across the Line of Control after “committing this heinous crime”. The press wing of the Pakistani military said India had committed 178 cease-fire violations this year, killing 19 civilians and injuring 80 more.

India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads since a group of gunmen killed 19 Indian soldiers in September at an army camp in Kashmir, an attack India blamed on Pakistan-based militants. India said it had sent special commandos into Pakistan-controlled Kashmir to kill militants in a retaliatory operation that sharply soured relations between the neighbors. Pakistan says the operation never happened and accuses India of inventing it to distract attention from its crackdown on protests in the part of Kashmir it controls.

Cross fires, meant to make Kashmiris feel vulnerable, followed by cease-fire violations have been dominating the bilateral relations for years now with very little cross border trade taking place between them.

The countries’ heavily militarized frontier has been tense since, as their armed forces have frequently exchanged cross-border fire. Artillery duels and skirmishing along the disputed frontier that runs through Kashmir have escalated in recent days, leading India to summon the Pakistani deputy high commissioner to express its “grave concern and strong protest”. In a statement, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs accused Pakistan of violations of a 2003 ceasefire that have caused several fatalities and injuries among its civilians and security forces.

After initial overtures between the two prime ministers, Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan and Narendra Modi of India, relations continued to sour as ceasefire violations along the Kashmir border increased. But the two nuclear-armed neighbours have a long history of diplomatic spats but rarely have they publicly disclosed the identity of each other’s mission officials in the past.

India called off normalization talks with Pakistan in August 2014 just because the Pakistani high commissioner in Delhi feted pro-Pakistan freedom leaders from India occupied Jammu Kashmir. A year later, Pakistan called off a meeting of the two national security advisers in Delhi as war of words broke out between them. Soon afterwards, Pakistan replaced its civilian national security adviser with a retired army officer.

Diplomatic and military relations between India and Pakistan have deteriorated for weeks after a militant attack on an Indian army base in September that New Delhi blamed on Islamabad. In response to last month’s assault on an army base, in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed, the Indian army launched what it called surgical strikes on militants in territory controlled by Pakistan. Islamabad rejected India’s claims, saying Indian troops didn’t cross over to its side. India said it had carried out “surgical strikes” inside Pakistan as retribution, but Islamabad denied they even took place and accused New Delhi of fabrication to distract attention from its crackdown on the protests in the part of Kashmir it controls.

Diplomatic personnel and ambassadors have immunity to do whatever they want in foreign countries as their “right and privilege” but occasionally when one country wants to showcase its “specialty” to the world, it expels some diplomats on the famous espionage charges as if they are not supposed to do them.

Occasionally mutual expulsion of diplomats characterizes the level of their anger at a given point. Recently India and Pakistan announced they would each expel one of the other’s diplomats amid growing tension between the nuclear-armed arch-foes over the disputed region of Kashmir.

India expelled a Pakistani diplomat based in New Delhi who allegedly ran a spy ring that collected sensitive information about Indian security operations along its border. Soon Pakistan’s foreign ministry said it had declared an Indian diplomat, Surjeet Singh, persona non grata and given him 48 hours to leave the country. That is in response to Indian action insulting its Pakistani “guests”. Police in New Delhi said the Pakistani diplomat was detained on Wednesday outside the gates to Delhi Zoo, where he had met two Indian associates whom police believe he had recruited to spy for him. That is well written usual story. Police accused the Pakistani official, Mahmood Akhtar, of illegally collecting information about India’s security operations on the countries’ tense border.

India accused a Pakistani diplomat of spying and ordered him to leave the country, prompting Islamabad to expel an Indian official in retaliation, as relations between the nuclear-armed neighbors continued to sour. Police in New Delhi accused the Pakistani official, Mahmood Akhtar, of illegally collecting information about India’s security operations on the countries’ tense border. He was declared persona non grata for alleged “espionage activities,” India’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said Akhtar must leave India by next day, authorities said. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the allegations were “false and unsubstantiated” and condemned what it called “the detention and manhandling” of the official.

Later as expected, Pakistan’s foreign ministry announced it had declared Singh persona non grata and informed the Indian High Commission he had until Saturday to leave the country. The statement said Singh was accused of activities “that were in violation of the Vienna Convention and the established diplomatic norms” but did not elaborate.

An aide to India’s prime minister in New Delhi said the government was looking into the matter. India’s external affairs ministry spokesman was not immediately available for comment. Pakistan’s High Commission in New Delhi rejected the allegations, saying in a statement it “never engages in any activity that is incompatible with its diplomatic status”. Its Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Surjeet Singh was involved in activities that violated diplomatic norms, but didn’t provide any further details of his alleged missteps.

In an apparent tit-for-tat move, Pakistan announced the expulsion of an official at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. Its Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Surjeet Singh was involved in activities that violated diplomatic norms, but didn’t provide any further details of his alleged missteps. Indian police said that Akhtar, who worked as an assistant to Pakistan’s trade counselor in the embassy in New Delhi, had been recruiting Indian informants for 18 months and obtained from them details about the deployment of security forces on the border, including maps and staffing lists.

As planned, Akhtar was detained on October 26 at a New Delhi zoo where he was collecting sensitive documents pertaining to national security from two of his Indian associates, said India’s Foreign Ministry. Akhtar—a former Pakistani soldier who reported to the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, police said—was taken to a police station for questioning and later released after he invoked diplomatic immunity. Police said they arrested the two Indian men, who they claimed were part of Akhtar’s network. One is a teacher in the border state of Rajasthan and the other is a businessman, said a senior Indian police official, who declined to provide details on how these men allegedly obtained sensitive documents and information.

The latest diplomatic incident has further strained ties that have grown increasingly fraught over national-security issues. India accuses Pakistan of providing training and logistical support to militants who cross the border into India to carry out attacks. Islamabad denies the allegations.

When Pakistan decided to expel two alleged Indian RAW agents from the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, in the guise of diplomats are running a terror unit in Pakistan. They include Rajesh Kumar Agnihotri and Baleer Singh. They are working as Commercial Counselor and Press Information Secretary respectively. The diplomats have been found to be involved in activities to destabilize Pakistan by facilitating and funding terrorism,” sources revealed to the media outlet. According to sources, Indian diplomatic official Surjeet Singh who was recently expelled by Pakistan was also part of the network.

In response to last month’s assault on an army base in Uri in occupied Kashmir, in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed, the Indian army launched what it called surgical strikes on militants in Kashmir territory controlled by Pakistan. Islamabad rejected India’s claims, saying Indian troops didn’t cross over to its side. The countries’ heavily militarized frontier has been tense since, as their armed forces have frequently exchanged cross-border fire.

Akhtar—a former Pakistani soldier who reported to the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, police said—was taken to a police station for questioning and later released after he invoked diplomatic immunity. Indian police said that Akhtar, who worked as an assistant to Pakistan’s trade counselor in the embassy in New Delhi, had been recruiting Indian informants for 18 months and obtained from them details about the deployment of security forces on the border, including maps and staffing lists.

Police said they arrested the two Indians, who they claimed were part of Akhtar’s network. One is a teacher in a mosque in the border state of Rajasthan and the other is a struggling businessman, said a senior Indian police official, who declined to provide details on how these men allegedly obtained sensitive documents and information.

The expulsion of Akhtar takes place as New Delhi seeks consular access to an Indian man, Kulbhushan Yadav, whom Pakistan arrested seven months ago, claiming he is an Indian naval officer and a spy trying to destabilize parts of the country. New Delhi has denied that Yadav was working for the Indian government. India’s Foreign Ministry said he had retired from the Navy and ran a business in Iran, from where he may have been abducted. Pakistan has denied Indian requests for consular access to Yadav, who hasn’t been charged.

Without questioning the logic of allowing special immunity guarantees to foreign embassy personnel, India just accused a Pakistani diplomat of spying and ordered him to leave the country, prompting Islamabad to expel an Indian official in retaliation, as relations between the nuclear-armed neighbors continued to sour. Also without criticizing the rule of immunity harming national interests, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the allegations were “false and unsubstantiated” and condemned what it called “the detention and manhandling” of the official. In an apparent tit-for-tat move, Pakistan announced the expulsion of an official at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

India accuses Pakistan of providing training and logistical support to militants who cross the border into India to carry out attacks. Islamabad denies the allegations. India says that there was high probability that the information passed on by these “anti-national elements” to PIO (Pakistan intelligence operative) is being used against the national interests and could be highly detrimental for national security, adding they had been trying to break the spy ring for six months.

Observation and solution

One is not sure Indian action followed refusal by the Pakistani official to give visa to any anti-Pakistani persons. That action would have offended New Delhi had its agents were denied Pakistani visa. The Pakistani diplomat, who reportedly worked in Pakistan High Commission’s visa section, and his alleged Indian accomplices were found with forged documents, defense-related maps, deployment charts and lists of officers working along India’s border with Pakistan, Indian police said in a statement.

One is not sure Indian action followed refusal by the Pakistani official to give visa to any ant–Pakistani persons. That action would have offended New Delhi had its agents were denied Pakistani visa. The Pakistani diplomat, who reportedly worked in Pakistan High Commission’s visa section, and his alleged Indian accomplices were found with forged documents, defense-related maps, deployment charts and lists of officers working along India’s border with Pakistan, Indian police said in a statement.

In response to last month’s assault on an army base, in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed, the Indian army launched what it called surgical strikes on militants in territory controlled by Pakistan. Islamabad rejected India’s claims, saying Indian troops didn’t cross over to its side. The countries’ heavily militarized frontier has been tense since, as their armed forces have frequently exchanged cross-border fire.

The diplomatic spat over suspicion of espionage comes after months of sharply deteriorating relations that began with civil unrest in Indian-controlled Kashmir and Pakistan’s global lobbying against New Delhi’s crackdown on the Kashmiri activists.

Indian and Pakistani troops face off against each other along the de facto border in divided Kashmir – a region they both claim in full but control in part – and have exchanged fire several times this week in cross-border shelling. Vikas Swarup, spokesman of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, said six Pakistani diplomats have already left the Indian capital but said they had not been expelled. Pakistan declined to comment on the matter ahead of a planned news conference, while India said the identity of eight of its diplomats had been revealed by Pakistani media. Pakistan has expelled six Indian diplomats for espionage and has revealed their names, local media said on Wednesday, a move sure to exacerbate a rift between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours that has been widening for months.

As a usual profitable strategy, India accuses Pakistan of providing training and logistical support to militants who cross the border into India to carry out attacks. Islamabad denies the allegations. India accused a Pakistani diplomat of spying and ordered him to leave the country, prompting Islamabad to expel an Indian official in retaliation, as relations between the nuclear-armed neighbors continued to sour. The latest diplomatic incident has further strained ties that have grown increasingly fraught over national-security issues.

Obviously, the special privileges like immunity have been exploited by countries through their respective embassies to conduct espionage and divisive operations against the host country. Though such activities re immoral and illegal, the immunity the personnel possess enable them to undertake such heinous acts of treason. Counties like USA, UK and Russia do this more than the rest but their veto on UN saves them from any punitive measures by the affected nations that are helpless and vulnerable. Therefore, if countries wish to have genuine diplomatic work in other countries must seek to do away with immunity right and push for ending the veto status for some countries against the weak one.

Otherwise there is no point in complaining and expelling diplomatic personnel for doing what they are expected by their governments to do abroad, expecting retaliatory explosion from the affected ones. India and Pakistan also must join hands to do away with immunity and veto system on UN.

It is a fact, that Pakistani sad preachment has been caused directly by its neighbor India wanting a free say in controlling Jammu Kashmir, committing genocides as freely as jungle beasts. In fact, Pakistan got panic when India manufactured nukes with Russian help and would certainly bullied Islamabad posing itself as the boss of the region, even if would not have used them against Pakistan. As Pakistani regime spent most of its resources for military apparatus in order to defend itself from any possible Indian attacks it has little resources left for spending on poor and sports. That is exactly what Indian stalwarts wanted so that India could advance it interest, both legal and illegal, to make itself strong. It has achieved that while Pakistan has become an empty nation, bullied by every third rate nation – eventually getting nuclear facility to equate Indian threat. Indian fanatics keep pushing the government to attack Pakistani and force it to sub-serve Indian interests. Anti-Islamic forces, led by USA and India, conspired to destabilize Pakistan in order to promote Indian interests.

Nukes are as good as dead as they could only be the deterrents and cannot be eaten or used but most of its resources Pakistan has wasted on them. Apart from nukes Pakistan has developed very little. Now China is developing parts of Pakistan as part of One Road, One belt theme to showcase its economic military power. USA and China alternatively exploit Pakistan.

Now Pakistan must forget about paper tiger called India and begin planning for the overall development of the nation as a truly Islamic country to make the youth strong enough to face the challenges of the modern world in all domains, including sports- forget about the bogus sport known as cricket which does not let Pakistan focus n real sports and economy. In sports Pakistani players must shed the usual hesitation, unwillingness and fear and face the opponents with focus as Indians face Muslims in any sport but also dedication.

In view of the crude fact that UN is impotent, the best solution to the mutual hatred and tensions between these neighbors is to surrender Jammu Kashmir to Kashmiris and pay for the loss of lives and destruction of property in Kashmir.

Continue Reading
Comments

South Asia

Russia expanding influence in India and Sri Lanka

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

South Asia

Is Pakistan the next Yemen?

Nageen Ashraf

Published

on

The long going Shia-Sunni conflict became more turbulent after the Iranian revolution of 1979. Shia-Sunni divide had never been more severe. And then the Arab spring of 2011 had its own repercussions on this divide. This sectarian divide is a major bone of contention between Iran and Saudi Arabia and has affected other states in the Middle-Eastern region too. Syria and Yemen are the states where Arab Spring became an “Arab disaster” and the uprisings failed to remove the authorities. Instead, the mutiny turned into a civil war which is still going on in both the states. What made these civil wars worst was the involvement of various foreign actors in the conflict. In Syria, the two major oppositions are supported by a set of different actors. The Bashar Al Assad regime, which is Shia, is backed by Iran and Russia. And the Sunni rebels are backed by Saudi Arabia and USA. The involvement of Saudi Arabia and Iran is to gain sectarian dominance. Iran wants the Shia regime to stay in power; however KSA wants the Sunni rebels to gain control in Syria. Similarly, in case of Yemen, the regime is Sunni and is again backed by Saudi Arabia and USA; and the Houthi rebels who belong to the Shia branch are strongly backed by Iran. Here again, the aim is to get the dominance of the region as well as respective branches of Islam. Saudi Arabia considers itself the leader of Sunni branch and Iran considers itself the leader of Shia branch and both want to increase their influence in other Islamic states.

With increasing tensions between both the Islamic branches in Pakistan, the situation seems much familiar to the states of Middle-East. The current rioting against the Shia community which overlapped with the Holy month of Muharram, where “#ShiaGenocide” trended on Twitter and rallies have been carried out on streets enchanting anti-Shia slogans, made Shia community more fierce and boisterous. A data shows that from 2001 to 2008, more than 4000 Shias have been killed on the basis of their sect. Shias have been continuously harassed, bullied, and even killed just because they belong to a different sect. This is an alarming situation because these actions are only radicalizing the Shia community and doing no good to the state. There have been dozens of cases of discrimination, public hate speeches, and biased killings of Shias which can lead to a proper divide and even uprising of Shias against the government, making it another Yemen. And Iran, being a very neighbour of Pakistan would definitely not hesitate to support the Shia community, which can make the situation worse. Even if Pakistan gets the support from Saudi Arabia (which is also very likely to intervene in the conflict to counter Iran), the risk of getting involved in a conflict with its neighbour seems a really bad idea. Pakistan’s rival, India is already looking for opportunities to make this divide deeper. Indian politician Subramanian Swamy also mentioned in his tweet a few days ago, that India must get ready to protect Shias in India, and mentioned that Pakistani Sunnis have made an agenda to massacre them. No wonders India’s ready to not miss this opportunity. We need to rethink our policies and our attitudes towards this minority; a minority which can make Pakistan the next Yemen if things are not looked upon on time.

Continue Reading

South Asia

How China Continues To Undermine India’s interests In The Brahmaputra

Published

on

Geopolitics in India China relations is not only limited to land disputes or competition in the oceans but also river disputes such as the one associated with the Brahmaputra basin. The water dispute between the two countries traces its origin to many decades, with China intending to start projects in the Tibetan Plateau surrounding the river since 1958 when Chairman Mao giving ideas regarding the Three Gorges Dam project on Yangtse river which after many years of difficulty, was finally constructed in2006.Following the construction of this dam, the Chinese government turned its focus to the Yarlung Tsangpo river projects, likely driven by challenges of water shortage it faced.

In contemporary times, the divergence between India and China over Brahmaputra is primarily driven by construction of hydropower power projects by China as well as the lack of transparency over hydrological data by the country. As a lower riparian state, India is at a disadvantaged position vis-à-vis China, which possesses the capability constructs dams as well as change the course of the river. These possibilities have direct implications for India’s North East region, where economic opportunities are already scarce. An alteration in the course of the river that feeds large swathes of land in the region could severely impact the residents of these states. Moreover, opaque data practices by China pose additional threats to India’s North East region that is home to many flood prone areas along the Brahmaputra basin.

China at many instances, has undermined India’s interests by not sharing the hydrological data regarding its hydropower projects, where the latter has requested for it numerous times since 2002 with water sharing agreements being signed between the Water resources ministries from both sides in 2013[i] and 2018[ii] for the riparian countries to further strengthen mutual understanding regarding natural resources in the rivers, which have not yet been implemented because of geopolitical differences from both sides. The sharing of hydrological data is necessary for India for keeping a close watch on the levels of floods in vulnerable areas.

It has been observed in an IDSA report[iii] that, China basically undermines India’s reservations on various dam projects being initiated by the former in the western route of the Grand Western Water Diversion Plan. Without consulting India, it has planned to construct dams near the river. It has done so with the construction of the Zangmu dam in 2014.China has also remained non-transparent regarding construction of three dam projects- Dagu, Jiaga and Jiexu, also situated on Yarlung Tsangpo basin.

China’s Leverage In The Brahmaputra

In 2017, when the Doklam crisis took place, China didn’t share any hydrological data at that time for its own political leveraging citing reasons such as floods wiping out one of the hydrological sharing areas.

A water sharing agreement[iv] was signed between India and China in Qingdao in 2018 for the latter to share hydrological data during flood season for the Brahmaputra basin between the months of May and October. Dam construction has led to change in colours of the Siang riverwhich turned blackish grey the same year, where this portion of the river became contaminated and unsafe for consumption, therefore impacting water supplies in the region.

Always it seemed that there has been a slight positive developments in sharing hydrological data with the Indian government from the Chinese side which the latter agreed but these agreements never came into full force. A noted Indian newspaper, New Indian Express highlighted that, the three areas have agreed to share hydrological data on May 15th this year from hydrological stations- Nugesha, Yangchun and Nuxia which are located in Tibet.[v]There have been instances when China has agreed to share details about its hydrological details but for its own security and strategic interests, it has chosen to not declare any crucial details of the same.

China’s Geopolitical Strategy With The Water Flow

China through river diplomacy could put pressure on India to focus more on its national security by deterring its role in territorial claims.  It could also be seen as a passive assessing tool of checking India’s strategy which means that China will play its cards when a weaker country is unprepared and the latter losing all any territory or water body. China’s selfish geopolitical ambition to claim South Tibet where the tributary –Siang flows, is another reason behind which it is highly prioritising hydrological river projects.

This policy is being given strategic importance by the Chinese government authorities under the New Foreign Policy initiated by Xi Jinping which lays emphasis on prosperity and security being important for economic development[vi] where the Grand Western Water Diversion Plan[vii] is being used as a way by China to address its water problems giving it a good reason to divert the courses of Yarlung Tsangpo, impacting India, making it difficult to address its concerns. 

Concluding Points

The water resource strategy is a good example of explaining the silent strategy which China could use for coercing India regarding sharing of waters and territories instead of using armed conflicts. China seems to benefit through this river initiative in terms of economic development and also defence. The MoU signing is process where China is trying to buy time to increase its presence and henceforth, being the main beneficiary while putting India under a period of uncertainty.


[i]“Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Water Resources, the Republic of India and the Ministry of Water Resources, the People’s Republic of China on Strengthening Cooperation on Trans-border Rivers””, Ministry Of External Affairs, October 23,2013, https://mea.gov.in/bilateral-documents.htm?dtl/22368

[ii]“India China sign Bilateral Agreements In Qingdao”, Ministry Of External Affairs , June 09,2018, https://www.mea.gov.in/bilateral-documents.htm?dtl/29966/IndiaChina_Bilateral_Agreements_signed_in_Qingdao_China

[iii]Shreya Bhattacharya,” China’s Hydropower Ambitions And The Brahmaputra”, IDSA Backgrounder,, July 23,2018, pp 2-8

[iv] MEA ,2018

[v]PTI,” Amid Border Tensions With India ,China starts sharing Hydrological Data For Brahmaputra River”,New Indian Express, May 16, 2020,https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2020/may/16/amid-border-tensions-with-india-china-starts-sharing-hydrological-data-for-brahmaputra-river-2143909.html

[vi] Nilanjan Ghosh ,Jayanta Bandopadhyay and Sayangshu Modak , “China India Data Sharing For Early Flood Warning In The Brahmaputra: A Critique”, ORF Issue Brief,Issue 328, December 2019,p. 2

[vii]Ibid

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Urban Development41 mins ago

Rebuilding Cities to Generate 117 Million Jobs and $3 Trillion in Business Opportunity

COVID-19 recovery packages that include infrastructure development will influence the relationship between cities, humans and nature for the next 30...

South Asia3 hours ago

Russia expanding influence in India and Sri Lanka

Authors: Srimal Fernando and Vedangshi Roy Choudhuri* In the post-World War II era the diplomatic influence of former Soviet Union...

Europe5 hours ago

From Intellectual Powerhouse to Playing Second Fiddle

A multi-ethnic, multi-religious culture built Spain into an intellectual powerhouse so much so that after the reconquesta scholars from various parts of...

Environment7 hours ago

How environmental policy can drive gender equality

Environmental degradation has gendered impacts which need to be properly assessed and monitored to understand and adopt gender-responsive strategies and...

Economy9 hours ago

Long trends and disruption: the anatomy of the “post world” of the COVID-19 crisis

What will be the economic architecture of the world after the COVID-19 crisis? This question involves understanding the major trends...

Newsdesk11 hours ago

Business World Now Able to ‘Walk the Talk’ on Stakeholder Capitalism

The World Economic Forum today launched a set of metrics to measure stakeholder capitalism at the Sustainable Development Impact Summit....

Newsdesk13 hours ago

Countries urged to act against COVID-19 ‘infodemic’

The UN and partners have urged countries to take urgent action to address what they have described as the “infodemic”...

Trending