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The Expanded Missile Drive of India

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To be worried about the consequences, to think of the prevailing systems, the flight test of a surface to surface, intercontinental ballistic missile “Agni-5” developed by India added more element of confusion in missile proliferation in South Asia. It will also add more ability to the Indian military muscle flexes giving it a long strike range of 6,000 kilometers.

India’s growing thirst for achieving the maximum in both nuclear and missile developments is creating a more reformed form of instability paradigm in the region. It’s deep and intense , poised to grow even more concentrated. The developments are mounting and vulnerabilities are increasing.

Besides, rapid increasing missile range,   the additional incremental stockpile growth will cause perturbations in Asia, where India has ratchet upwards the advent of MIRVs with a specific focus on the cascading effect of strategic modernization in Asia. Where, MIRV is a type of intercontinental nuclear missile carrying several independent warheads capable of being aimed at independent targets from a group of multiple targets.

Subsequently, Modis government’s intent for this specific missile is to counter Chinese threat that doesn’t really exist. Modi’s keenness is to fulfill his pledge of overhauling the hegemonic designs, where he is missing that the country is almost jockeying for influence in Asia , their relationship is coloured by territorial disputes at both ends of Himalayas.

Now interestingly, India is downplaying by joining the Hague code of Conduct (HCoC) against Ballistic Missile proliferation in Vienna. This is an agreement under which legally non-binding confidence building and transparency measures are taken that seek to stop the proliferation of ballistic missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.

The Indian controversial position is lacking in reaffirming its commitment to HCoC, because as a signatory India has to provide a pre-launching notifications for its missile testing. Moreover, under this agreement, it also requires a pre-launch notification of space launched vehicles and tests flight.

The overt nuclearisation has been growing since 1974 Smiling Buddha. The only uniqueness for India is its increased number of missile and nuclear proliferation in the region which if seem through this lens of development is also a clear cornerstone of New Delhi’s foreign policy.

The basic decision to weaponise the region with Agni started in 1996-97, where the technical demonstration was taken three times with a range of 25,00Km testing it for three times in May 1998. Importantly, China is also referring to Resolution 1172 passed by United Nation Security Council. Where Paragraph 7 of the resolution says the UNSC

“Calls upon India and Pakistan immediately to stop their nuclear weapon development programmes, to refrain from weaponisation or from the deployment of nuclear weapons, to cease development of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons and any further production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, to confirm their policies not to export equipment, materials or technology that could contribute to weapons of mass destruction or missiles capable of delivering them and to undertake appropriate commitments in that regard;”

There exists no room for any doubt that India being a regional hegemon has always acted as a novice in creating linkages between its civilian nuclear and space advances, and its nuclear weapon and missile programs. Similarly, there is a need to stop the dual-use technology mentioned under the Indo-U.S. defense framework and joint statement that has the potential to further assist India in strengthening its regional competitiveness and boost its scientific and international prestige with its ongoing pursuit of advances in nuclear weapons technology, longer range ballistic missiles, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

Finally, it is need of the hour to stop pitting India against China. Because, in doing this the United States unknowingly may set up India to, instead, serve as a future strategic counterweight to U.S. interests in Asia and abroad keeping in mind the extended version of Agni V tested at the year end.

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Defense

NATO’s expanded presence in Latvia is myth

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In November NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia was strengthened by Iceland. This information was disseminated across Europe. But what is behind this fact?

November 3, at Ādaži base, Minister of Defense Artis Pabriks and Commander of the National Armed Forces Lieutenant General Leonīds Kalniņš marked Iceland’s accession to the NATO Battlegroup in Latvia.

It is reported that as part of NATO’s expanded presence in Latvia, Iceland will make a contribution in the field of strategic communication. Communication experts from Iceland have also joined NATO’s expanded presence battlegroups in Lithuania and Estonia.

This event shows nothing more but NATO’s tools of manipulating public opinion. In this particular case, NATO tries to give weight to a very minor event in order to simulate its activity in the Baltic States. Taking into account the fact that Latvia as well as Lithuania and Estonia are increasing their defence spending at NATO request, the Alliance has to do something to show its commitment to maintain the security in the Baltic region. In reality NATO authorities are sick and tired of the Baltic States constantly asking for help.

It’s hard to imagine how Iceland could strengthen NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in the Baltic countries. Though it is known that Iceland is a NATO member since the alliance’s foundation on April 4, 1949, few people know that Iceland does not even have a standing army, and its defence forces consist of a militarized coastguard and a paramilitary force. The more so, Iceland’s strong pacifist history has led to considerable opposition to NATO membership in Iceland.

In 2019 while during a visit by the Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg to Iceland, the Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir spoke of her support for withdrawing Iceland from NATO. Her party, the Left-Green Movement, is the senior partner of the Icelandic government also supports withdrawing!

So, NATO and Iceland have found a way how to actively demonstrate their help without doing anything in reality.

The purpose of establishing and deploying NATO’s enhanced presence battlegroups in the Baltic States is to enhance NATO’s deterrence and strengthen the Alliance’s defense by demonstrating solidarity against all forms of aggression. The only thing Island could do in this situation is to demonstrate solidarity with Latvia. But Latvia needs much more and hopes for real aid. Does Latvia need such military contingent on its territory which could not really defend it in case of aggression? Should Latvia pay for such unreliable defence? Does NATO deliberately weaken its enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia?

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The Danger of NATO Platitudes: What a Biden Presidency Means

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Absent the specific context of American politics in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, President-elect Joe Biden has proudly served a lifetime in politics as very much a member of the traditional establishment. This means, in foreign policy circles, most of his positions are pinned to what have always been formal American positions, some of which go back literally decades in time. Now add to the fact that Biden has just won an election where the defeated incumbent actually grew to believe in the vitriol with which his most ardent followers sent him to Washington in 2016, ie, Trump’s job more than anything else while in the White House was to undermine the power of the DC Beltway crowd and ‘drain the swamp’ with all of its requisite institutions. One of those institutions for Trump was NATO. While it is true Trump slowly dialed back some of his highly critical rhetoric against the organization over the last four years, it was clear the outgoing president did not see the organization as valuable and would be unlikely to call upon it to serve any vital role in his vision of foreign policy.

Thus, when considering the incoming presidency of Joe Biden, combining together his long history of traditional support for long-existing foreign policy institutions and his understandable desire to stand in direct opposition to previous Trump positions, the future of NATO looks bright if also uninspired. Indeed, as far back as 2016 before Trump actually won the presidency, Biden went on record to declare how remaining a part of NATO and honoring all of its obligations and responsibilities was a “sacred honor” and questioned whether Trump even understood what some of those duties (like protecting Article 5 dealing with the Baltics) actually meant. It would be difficult for Biden to more dramatically express support for NATO as he did here, going beyond diplomatic alliance and discussing it in far more emotional, personal terms. Jump forward to today and there really isn’t anything new indicating a change in Biden’s take on the organization.

In his lead-up to victory this month, out on the campaign trail in 2019, Biden slightly shifted tactics to reinforce the importance of NATO in the face of Trump’s quasi-isolationist, go-it-alone positions across most foreign policy issues. In this take, Biden moves beyond sacred duties and historical obligations and emphasizes how it would simply be “disastrous” for the United States to think it could continue to be seen as the world’s global policeman or try to perform such a role without relying on international alliances of like-minded organizations. NATO, for Biden, stood out as one of the ideal organizations meant to help the United States move forward. He even came out with tired Cold War melodrama to scare the American public, unequivocally stating that a second term for Donald Trump would likely not just mean the end of NATO as a functioning organization but the de facto acquiescence by the United States to “bad actors” in the greater European region like President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation.

It is this formulation that is the most significant in terms of Biden support for NATO. His traditionalism means there is no push or desire to see any mission evolution or adaptation for the organization. The NATO of 1965 is perfectly fine for a Biden presidency in 2020. In short, its need is to function as a bulwark alliance against any and all Russian initiatives and maneuvers. If Biden wants to lean on alliance partnerships for a sharing of responsibilities, then it is clear the NATO version of this is to treat the Russian Federation exactly as the organization treated the Soviet Union fifty years before. This is where traditionalism can become problematic. While it would be naïve to see the Russian Federation in 2020 as a willing ally to the United States or Western Europe, it is still an overstatement and hyperbolic political melodrama to purposely position Russian interests as being a perfect mirror to the danger and tension felt by the world during the height of the Cold War with the ideological battle between the United States and Soviet Union. It is this failure to be innovative in new policy and to be willing to consider new relationship positions, instead maintaining traditional strategic alliances and adversarial dualities, that means a Biden presidency will see a reinvestment in NATO relevance while maintaining depressingly familiar political rhetoric that will miss opportunities for new engagement.

When we look at some of the issues that could fall under the concerns of NATO during a Biden Presidency and involve Russia, they can be extensive but also tend to be described in media and diplomatic circles in purposefully hostile terms that are often overstated. For example, Russian interests in the Arctic Circle are plans to dominate and exclude all others; engagement with Belarus is an effort to forcefully absorb the country into the Russian Federation; reinvestment and modernization of Russia’s nuclear arsenal is an attempt to make NATO’s deterrence posture impotent; countering NATO’s attempts to place air defense batteries closer to the Russian border is an example of ‘Russian provocation.’ As one might expect, Russia has its own perspective on the necessity of these interests and maneuvers but does not describe them in the same intensive adversarial manner. In other words, Russia accepts the natural tension that exists on an issue-by-issue basis but isn’t looking to return to a Cold War-style rhetoric that makes almost any positive engagement between East and West impossible. This is the real problem to be faced with an incoming Biden Presidency: reinvesting in the relevance of NATO and wanting it to share in some of the diplomatic and/or military responsibilities that might arise on the European continent is fine, even wise. But reinvesting in NATO with political rhetoric that shoves the continent back into 1965 simply to avoid the burden of policy/relationship innovation is a horrible step backward.

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India is posing a threat to SCO

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The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a competent intergovernmental international organization, the creation of which was declared on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China) by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the   Five mechanism preceded it. The SCO’s primary goals are as follows: strengthening mutual trust and neighborliness among the member states; promoting their practical cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology, and culture, education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, and other domains; creating joint efforts to maintain and guarantee peace, security, and stability in the region; and stirring towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new geopolitical political and economic order. Later on, India and Pakistan joined as full members in 2018. The SCO counts four observer states: the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Belarus, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Republic of Mongolia. And six dialogue partners: namely the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the Republic of Turkey, and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Observer states and Dialogue partners are expected to join SCO in the near future. Proceeding from the Shanghai Spirit, the SCO pursues its internal policy based on mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, mutual consultations, respect for cultural diversity, and a desire for joint development. In contrast, its external policy is conducted under the principles of non-alignment, non-targeting any third country, and openness.

To date, SCO has achieved success in maintaining peace, security, and cooperation among member states. However, in recent developments, since the extremists hijacked India and causing a lot of disturbance domestically, as well as with its neighbors. Sino-Indian tension has increased to an unacceptable level, where India has Occupied almost 20 peaks in the disputed territory of Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Indian Claims over Tibet and parts of Xinjiang, and banning Chinese Apps, Chinese Investments, imposing Trade restrictions on China are totally against Shanghai Spirit.

On the other hand, Indian Occupation of Kashmir, violation of Line of Control (LoC), Continued Occupation of Junagarh, and other princely states, uninterrupted state-sponsored terrorism in Pakistan, Trade sanctions on Pakistan, refusal to UNSC resolutions on Kashmir, Refusal to dialogue with Pakistan to address the differences and amicably solving the issues, etc., all are totally against the Shanghai Spirit.

In fact, India hijacked SAARC – The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, or SAARC, is an economic and geopolitical organization established in 1985 to encourage socio-economic development, stability, and welfare economics, and collective self-reliance within its member nations, and turned it into absolutely dysfunctional. The Indian role in BRICS was also similar. India is opposing BRI, while all members of SCO are beneficiary of BRI.

India, aligning itself with the US, has become the most beneficiary country of US assistance and aid just after the State of Israel. India focuses on green paster in the US. India joined the Indo-Pacific Alliance with Japan, Australia, and the US. India, by choice, has opted to be in the US camp. After singing a series of defense and strategic agreements with the US, especially BECA, India is totally in the laps of the US. India kept a distance from all neighboring and regional countries and created disputes with all of them. With Nepal, territorial and trade disputes, with Bangladesh, border, ethnic, and trade disputes, with Myanmar, trade, border and refugees disputes, with Pakistan, Kashmir, princely states, trade disputes, Bhutan, political, territorial, trade and ethnic disputes, even with Sri Lanka and the Maldives have differences.

Indian extremist policies and the domestic divide have made the situation even worst. India faces internal insurgencies and civil war due to its discriminatory policies toward minorities and low caste Hindus. Indian censorship on Media is another example of its extremism. India is leading toward a new Nazism threat to the region and globally.

It is absolutely Indian right to be in an American camp, but while staying in SCO, it might serve the role of spy for the US. Although, SCO has no secret agenda against any country but wants to keep its sensitive information limited to its members only. Whatsoever is India’s plan, but SCO may face a threat from Indian presence.

Russia and China are big powers in SCO; it is time to judge Indian intentions and take appropriate measures. However, It is desired that SCO may achieve its aims and goals and set-up an example for other nations to form regional alliances in the rest of the world.

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