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Unrest in Kashmir: Why is India in no mood to resolve the explosive issue?

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] I [/yt_dropcap]ndia suffers from an illogical superiority complex and situation has become very serious under the Hindutva nationalist BJP rule. India government, irrespective of which party or coalition rules the country, does not change its policy for Jammu Kashmir which it sees through its policy for Pakistan.

India possibly thinks if it ends criminal operations in Kashmir and let Kashmiris win freedom and sovereignty from New Delhi that would be misunderstood by the world as India’s weakness.

Having been robbed off their sovereignty, Kashmiris are placed in a precarious position under a powerful military of India and they do not have support of veto powers to make any difference to Indian military yoke in Kashmir and they do not have high precision weapons that Israel has in order to defend themselves from military attacks on them; India very cleverly exploits the weaknesses of Kashmiris. State government being elected by Kashmiris does not think they have a duty to protect the life and property of Kashmiris in Kashmir.

The Kashmiri parties like National Conference (NC) and PDP use the Hindutva parties like BJP and Congress to threaten the Muslims in Kashmir with action if they continue to demand freedom and sovereignty from Indi, the big power of South Asia. While they and their intelligence-media target Muslims in Kashmir aided by military, India and BJP in JK government do all possible things to make Hindus very happy.

Knowing the weak predicament of Kashmiris, Indian federal government is in no mood for talks with Kashmir “separatists” despite JK state chief minister Mehbooba Mufti pushing for discussion with all stakeholders, especially the freedom fighting groups or the so-called separatists. Even the British government eventfully had understood the need to talk to Indian freedom fighters, especially with Mahatma Gandhi to find credible ways to end the struggle. But India continues to evade that proper, legal route and hit the Muslims in Kashmir with terror goods, including imported Zionist arms.

Already over 100,000 Kashmir shave laid their valuable lives to see a soverign Jammu Kashmir.

Now New Delhi, armed with huge arsenals of nuclear and conventional terror goods, does not think the time is ripe go for a talk with Syed Geelani and other Hurriyet leaders who are spearheading the freedom struggle. As India keeps killing the Kashmiri Muslims, their leaders look to Pakistan for help mainly because they can’t approach the UNSC directly for safety and sovereignty.

India has money and arms in plenty and it keeps bribing foreign lobbyists and buying terror goods from big powers with an understating that they won’t interfere with Indian colonialist operation in Kashmir which according to New delhi is apart of modern democracy.

In order to divert the global attention on the state crimes in occupied Kashmir, Indian terror specialists say the Kashmiri freedom fighters are separatists, terrorists and they should be dealt with sternly and Indian government should be supported in its regular massacre operations in Kashmir, leading to creation of secret graveyards in the valley.

While the federal government in New Delhi is unwilling to find solutions to the problems being faced by Kashmiris, Jammu Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi with a message that the government should restart talks with Hurriyat separatists for normalcy to return in the Valley. However, India appears to be in no mood for discussion with Hurriyat leaders whom Indian government calls the Pakistani agents, worse than Indian agents in Kashmir and Pakistan. Sources said the government is not in favour of talks with “pro-Pakistan lobby” in the Valley despite such demands from various quarters, including from foreign powers.

Heavily nuclearized India says entire Kashmir belongs to it and Pakistan should not dream of getting more Kashmir lands. India is ready for any number of terror wars with Pakistan.

India threatens the Kashmir freedom fighting groups to be silent about sovereignty and Indian government believes that talks with separatists even on its terms would yield no result as all such attempts have failed in the past. Pointing to the need to hold talks with all stakeholders, Mehbooba Mufti said that talks with the separatist Hurriyat (Conference) had taken place during the tenure of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. She said talks were the only way forward.

As situation in the Valley remains tense and incidents of stone pelting continues unabated, the government has decided to go ahead after the top aggressive leaders of Kashmir. Indian agencies have been directed to break the backbone of “terror infrastructure” in Jammu Kashmir.

In recent times Kashmiri agitations have embarrassed New Delhi who claims everything is calm and cool in Kashmir. The continued agitations of Kashmiris, authorities of JK government have also been asked by New Delhi to continue the crack down on social media inciting violence in the region. Nearly 300 WhatsApp groups were being used to mobilize stone-pelters in Kashmir to disrupt security forces’ operations at encounter sites. Most of these groups – at least 90 per cent of them – have been successfully shut down in the last three weeks.

PDP chief and Jammu Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti has reminded New Delhi once again of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee doctrine on Kashmir when she said only dialogue similar to the ones held during the former prime minister’s era more than a decade ago could save the Valley. “There was dialogue when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister and LK Advani his deputy. They even held dialogue with the Hurriyat and others,” Mufti told reporters after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his 7, Lok Kalyan Marg residence in New Delhi. Vajpayee ruled between 1998 and 2004. His approach towards addressing the Kashmir issue came to be called Vajpayee Doctrine. It also included improving relations with neighbouring Pakistan.

The Vajpayee doctrine on Kashmir called for peace, progress and prosperity in the Valley by imbibing the spirit of Insaniyat (Humanity), Jamhuriyat (Democracy) and Kashmiriyat (Identity of the people of Kashmir). The doctrine was universally acclaimed by all segments across of political spectrum in the state, including the extremist elements in the Valley. Vajpayee’s mantra included resolving all outstanding issues with Pakistan, including that of Jammu and Kashmir issue in a peaceful manner through bilateral dialogue without any third party intervention. He carried his message of peace to Pakistan during a bus journey to Lahore on February 19, 1999. Vajpayee made it a point to visit to Minar-e-Pakistan where he re-affirmed India’s commitment to the existence of Pakistan. He reached out to the people of Pakistan in a passionate speech at the governor’s house in Lahore telecast live both in Pakistan & India.

Vajpayee signed a Lahore Declaration with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on February 21, 1999 in the form of roadmap for peace. As part of the declaration, Pakistan agreed to resolve all bilateral issues between the two countries, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir in a peaceful manner and through dialogue and to promote people to people contact. The Delhi-Lahore Bus Service Sada-e-Sarhad (Call of the Frontier) was launched as a symbol of the efforts of the Vajpayee government to promote peaceful and friendly relations with Pakistan on the basis of reciprocity.

Seeking to let diplomacy win, Vajpayee did allow the bus service to be terminated even when Pakistan army chief President Parvez Musharraf launched an attack in Kargil between May and July, 1999, which the Indian armed forces successfully repulsed forcing the Pakistani army to vacate the occupied hills in the region.

However, the bus service had to be suspended during the heightened tension between the two neighbours in the aftermath of what New Delhi specialists say “the Pakistan-ISI sponsored terrorist attack” on the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001. Later, it came out that the parliament attack was planned by Indian sources to terrorize Indian Muslims and to launch scathing rhetoric against Pakistan. But service was restored on July 16, 2003 when Pakistan assured the Indian government that Islamabad would not allow its territory to be used for terrorists’ activities. But later it allowed US led NATO terrorist militaries to use Pakistan to launch terror attack on neighboring Afghanistan and leading to attack Pakistani themselves.

Though it sought strategic partnership with USA refused USA and NATO its territories to be sued by them to attack Afghanistan.

Vajpayee on whom the BJP government bestowed nation’s highest civilian honor for his contribution to social work and politics, extended a hand of friendship on the basis of reciprocity and mutual trust and called for collective fight against poverty in the Indian subcontinent devoid of terrorism and drug-trafficking. His emotional speech made Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to say: “Vajpayee Saheb, ab to aap Pakistan mein bhi election jeet sakte haein (Vajpayee now you can win elections even in Pakistan).”

All the setbacks to his dialogue initiatives, including Kargil conflict, hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane to Kandhar and terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament, notwithstanding, Vajpayee did not allow the peace process to derail despite serious provocations by the Pakistan army and the ISI.

Perhaps, Mehbooba Mufti wants PM Modi to follow the Vajpayee doctrine to normalize the situation in the Kashmir Valley and lower the tension with Pakistan.

“We must start from where Vajpayee ji left… Modi ji has repeatedly said that he would follow the footsteps of Vajpayee ji, whose policy was of reconciliation, not confrontation,” Mufti said. “There is no option but to talk,” she asserted.

Mufti’s meeting with Modi came in the backdrop of the worsening security situation in the state that has also rattled the ruling PDP-BJP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir. The government headed by Mehbooba Mufti is under mounting attack in the face of fresh spurt in violence in the state.

The security situation in Jammu and Kashmir regions has been fragile in the last few months, and the worst Army-civilian relationship has been in the news for all reasons unsavory. Further, the rise in stone-pelting incidents to thwart counter-insurgency operations in the state has been a cause of worry for the security forces.

New Delhi systematically denying fundamental rights of Kashmiri youth global connectivity and refuses them to use mobile and internet so that world does not know what is happening in Kashmir. Nearly 300 WhatsApp groups were being used to mobilize stone-pelters in Kashmir to disrupt security forces’ operations at encounter sites.

Nearly 300 WhatsApp groups were being used to mobilize stone-pelters in Kashmir to disrupt security forces’ operations at encounter sites. However, most of these groups–at least 90 per cent of them–have been successfully shut down in the last three weeks. “We identified the groups and the group administrators, who were called in by police for counseling.

Indian atrocities include the following:

  1. Each of these 300 WhatsApp groups had around 250 members; the police official explained how determined attempts were being made to disrupt the operations of the occupation forces by mobilising stone-pelting mobs at the encounter sites.
  2. The government’s policy of suspending internet services appeared to be showing positive results in curbing stone-pelting during encounters and cited the case of the encounter in Budgam district on Saturday. Just a few youth gathered to hurl stones after two militants were gunned down in the encounter.
  3. This was in sharp contrast to an encounter in Durbugh village in the same area on March 28, when a large number of stone-pelters had assembled and three of them were killed in firing by security forces. “With no internet services, the mobilization of mobs has almost become impossible. Earlier, we would see youth from as far as 10 kilometres from the encounter sites joining the protesters to pelt stones at security forces to disrupt the anti-militancy operations,” the official said. “That did not happen on Saturday during or after the encounter in the absence of internet on mobiles”.
  4. Some of the youth listed personal issues like alleged harassment by security forces as reasons for taking to stone-pelting. “Most of them get carried away momentarily,” authorities are also looking at further sensitizing the personnel on the need to adopt a humane approach while dealing with the youth.
  5. Stone-pelting on security forces near the encounter sites has been causing major operational problems for the law enforcing agencies over the past one year. More than half a dozen youth have been killed in such incidents in the first quarter of this year. “With the internet facility withdrawn, the activity on these social networking groups and other sites like Facebook has come down drastically”.
  6. However, people especially those from the business community say they are facing hardships, because of the inability to stay connected online. “Today, the business depends on internet for communication. I am into stock markets and I have had no business since the mobile internet services were withdrawn last week,” Mudasir Bhat said. He said most of the people had done away with landlines and broadband internet services as mobile internet facility gave them more freedom and were also cheaper.
  7. Ishfaq Ahmad, a contractor by profession, said life, without internet, had come to a standstill. “I had to submit a tender document two days after the internet facility was withdrawn. As the document was to be submitted online, we had to request the concerned department to extend the date till we make arrangements for e-filing,” Ahmad said. He said he has applied for landline connection but the service provider, BSNL, has informed him that it will take time. “BSNL is the only landline services provider here in Kashmir. I hope the government takes steps to ensure that businesses do not suffer because of this internet ban,” he added.

The government in JK is defunct but the BJP, the ruling partner of PDP, said there were no differences between coalition partners in Jammu and Kashmir and the state government was “working well”. The PDP-BJP government is working well. Everyone is performing his or her task,” state BJP unit Chief Sat Sharma told reporters.

The PDP had earlier accused the BJP of betraying it in the council elections, in which an associate member of the PDP voted in favour of the BJP candidate on assurance of a post.

BJP pursues the RSS Hindutva agenda in Kashmir valley with help from Congress, PDP, NC, etc. BJP knows it is rather easy to fool the Kashmiri politicians with some money and NOC for foreign trips.

Observation

Jammu Kashmir is reeling under tension also because the PDP lost the seat to National Conference in the April 9 bypoll, in about 3 years after the 2014 General elections. The election to the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency was marred by violence and witnessed the lowest voter turnout. Mufti is, hence, expected to review working of PDP-BJP coalition government in the state and discuss with Modi the roadmap to restore peace in the Valley.

JK CM Mehbooba Mufti wants PM Modi to follow the Vajpayee doctrine to normalize the situation in the Kashmir Valley and lower the tension with Pakistan.

The deteriorating security situation in JK state and reports of strains in the PDP-BJP coalition indicate negative functioning of the BJP – PDP government. Mufti, who attended the Niti Aayog meeting in Delhi, discussed the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir with Modi and seeks a solution from the Centre to address the issues of the people of the Valley; especially after the increase in the incidents of stone-pelting. The rise in these incidents also led to a friction between the PDP and the BJP, which are running the coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir.

India wants to continue with its terror programs by using terror goods manufactured in India and abroad to terrorize Kashmiris who still think Pakistan would make them free from colonialist occupational crimes of India and help them make a home for themselves. However, going by the rhetoric and action of Pakistan, it is clear that Pakistanis fight for Kashmir to be added to Azad Kashmir which then be made an integral part of a destabilized Pakistan – and they are indeed not fighting with India for the sake of unfortunate Kashmiris.

Both India and Pakistan are fighting for Kashmir. Naturally, India is in no mood to resolve the explosive Kashmir issue as it has the upper hand. And world powers like UNSC and NATO have not putting any pressure on India to vacate Jammu Kashmir.

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South Asia

India’s North East: A cauldron of resentment

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The writer is of the view that the recent clash between police force of Mizoram and Assam is not an isolated event. Similar incidents have happened in the past. They reflect that it is not hunky dory in India’s north east as BJP’s government would have us believe. New states in India were created willy-nilly pacify agitation. Yet the boundaries of the new states do not satisfy the people of the new states fully. They are a simmering cauldron of resentment against India’s central government. They love their traditions more than monolithic Hindutva. s

On July 10, 2021, five Assamese policemen were killed while proceeding towards Varengate (outsider gate). Amid fiery statements of chief ministers of Assam and Mizoram, police officials and politicians, it appeared that the two states would launch a full-fledged war against one another. This was not the first incident of its kind. There had been similar clashes in the past (1979, 1985 at Mirapani where 42 persons were burnt alive and 2014 clash).

Crux of the problem

Hasty creation of states to deal with separatism

When India came into being, many of it states were in grip of insurgencies. To pacify the separatist movements India hastily bowed to demand for creation of new states by reorganising the existing territories of bigger states. Many northeastern states were carved out of the state of Assam. Under the Indian constitution, secession is an offence but a new state could be created through reorganistion of the bigger state. Mizoram and Nagaland were created in haste to meet insurgents’ demand for greater self-representation.

Northeastern frontier Agency was converted into Arunachal Pradesh after the fall of Dacca. Indira Gandhi hoped that China would remain a silent spectator to her initiative as it did while East Pakistan was seceded through intervention in East Pakistan.

Linguistic states of Maharashtra and Gujarat were created mainly owing to agitation by Marathi and Gujarati speaking populations of Bombay.

In 1960, the Indian government accepted the Naga tribes’ demand for a separate state. Three districts of the state of Assam were detached from Assam to create Nagaland. It had no railway station or airport. So Dmapur also was truncated from Assam and included in Nagaland. The Dima Kachhari tribe that mostly inhabited Dimapur resented this decision. Any how the city is now a throbbing commercial centre.

In 1966, the state of Punjab was divided to create the hind-speaking state of Haryana. In 1971 Himachal Pradesh was created. Then in early 1970s, three new states were created: Jharkhand out of Bihar, Chhattisgarh out of Madhya Pradesh, and Uttaranchal out of Utter Pradesh. In 2014, Talangana was created out of Andhra Pradesh.

Nagaling (Naga homeland)

The Naga consider that the demarcation of their state is repugnant to demarcation done in 1875 by the British government. Their concept of Nagaland extends up to Nepal.

Citizenship Amendment Act and the national Register of Citizenship

These two laws are abhorred in many states of the North East.

Concluding remarks

The pitched battle between the Mizo and Assamese policemen exposed India’s “myth of unity in diversity”. Like the British rulers, India is holding together its union of states by use of brutal force and draconian laws. However sub-surface against the Indian government persists. Obviously people cherish their tradition culture and religions more than monolithic Hindutva. The BJP has set up a north East Democratic Alliance to forestall disputes between the northeastern states. This body utterly failed to predict or prevent the recent Mizo-Assam clash.

India understood that if the erstwhile East Pakistan supported the insurgencies in the North east, it will be impossible for India to keep them within Indian fold. As such, India aided and abetted insurgency in East Pakistan.

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Pakistani PM’s Interview with PBS News Hours on Afghanistan Issues

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In an interview with PBS News Hour, host Judy Woodruff asked PM Imran Khan multiple questions about Pakistan’s point of view for Afghanistan and its relationship with the United States.

When she asked the PM about his assessment of the situation in Afghanistan, he said that Washington had really messed up the situation in Afghanistan. The US military failure is causing mess-ups in Afghanistan. “First of all, they tried to look for a military solution in Afghanistan when there was never one. And people like me, who know the history of Afghanistan and kept saying there isn’t a military solution, were called anti-American. I was called Taliban Khan,” said PM Imran. But now the US, after spending trillions of Dollars, sacrificing thousands of servicemen, and killing millions of innocent Afghans, destroying Afghanistan infrastructure, and damaging the whole country, realized that it is un-win able and withdrawing its troops in hap-hazard, causing a huge mess-up.

PM Imran also shared that despite the US being in Afghanistan for 20 years and 46 nations’ strong allied forces up to 150,000 troops, he does not know what the US objective was in the country. Only the destruction of a country, killing human beings, is beyond understanding.

“I don’t know what the objective was in Afghanistan, whether there was to have some nation-building, democracy, or liberate the women. Whatever the cause was, the way they went about it was never going to be the solution,” said PM Imran.

While the US is facing tremendous unrest and the civil war-like situation at home and yet wanted to interfere in other domestic issues. Beyond understanding!

He also lamented the way the US dealt with this solution. The PM explained that when the NATO forces had decided that there was no military solution, the bargaining power they had was gone.

“When they finally decided there is no military solution, unfortunately, the bargaining power of the American or NATO forces had gone,” said PM Imran. He added that the US should have gone for a political solution when 150,000 NATO troops were in Afghanistan.

“Once they had reduced the troops to barely 10,000, and when they gave the exit date, Taliban thought they had won,” said PM Imran. He added that it is difficult right now to ask the group to compromise or “force them” to take a political solution. “It’s tough to force them into a political solution because they [Taliban] think that they won,” said PM Imran.

PM rejects claims of Taliban sanctuaries.

The anchor also asked PM Imran about claims of Taliban sanctuaries being present in Pakistan and a report about 10,000 fighters crossing the border to help the group in Afghanistan.

“Judy, for a start, this 10,000 Taliban, or as the Afghan govt. Says, Jihadi fighters have crossed over, is absolute nonsense. Why don’t they give us evidence of this?” he said in response.

As a matter of fact, the Afghan Government is confused and helpless. After the foreign troop’s withdrawal, they are left at the mercy of the Taliban. The US has admitted its defeat, Afghan Government as a puppet Government has also been defeated. Taliban is the winner and in a position to dictate.

To the question about the safe-havens, PM Imran wondered where the sanctuaries are located in Pakistan. In fact, Pakistan is a victim of terrorism, and the recent terrorist attack in Pakistan is planned, managed, and originated from Afghanistan. Pakistan has provided irrefutable evidence on several occasions.

The premier explained that Pakistan is hosting three million refugees, Pashtuns, the same ethnic group as the Taliban. He added that there are camps of 500,000 and 100,000 people or more. “Taliban are not some military outfit. They are normal civilians. If there are some civilians in these camps, how is Pakistan supposed to hunt these people down? How can you call them sanctuaries?” asked PM Imran.

The host had thrown this question to a follow-up on Washington and other organizations’ claims that Pakistan has helped the Afghan Taliban. The PM had told the host that the allegations were unfair and told her the history of the conflict. He explained that Pakistan had nothing to do with the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York. The premier said that Al Qaeda was based in Afghanistan, and no Pakistani was involved in the attack. “There were no militant Taliban in Pakistan, and no Pakistani was involved,” said PM Imran. He added that when Pakistan decided to join the US war on terror, the country was devastated as it lost 70,000 of its citizens, and $150 billion was lost in the economy.

Pakistan’s good and bad outcomes for Afghanistan

The host had also asked the PM about Pakistan’s good and bad outcomes for the Afghanistan conflict. PM Imran told the host that the good outcome for Islamabad would be if an inclusive government with all factions, including the Taliban, is formed in Afghanistan. He added that the worst situation for Pakistan would be a “protracted civil war” in Afghanistan.

In such a scenario, the PM said Islamabad would face two problems, firstly, of refugees, and secondly, the country fears that Pashtuns within Pakistan would be drawn to the conflict.

“What we fear is that a protracted civil war would bring more refugees, and you know our economic situation is not such that we can have another influx,” said the PM.

“Secondly, the worry is that the civil war will flow into Pakistan because Taliban are ethnic Pashtuns. Now there are more Pashtuns on our side of the border than in Afghanistan. And so the worry is if this goes on, the Pashtuns on our side will be drawn into it, and that is also the last thing we want,” said PM Imran.

US bases will make Pakistan a target: PM.

The PM also shared that having a US military presence in Pakistan would make the country a target. He told Woodruff that when Pakistan joined the war on terror, it lost 70,000 people and was on the verge of bankruptcy. “We do not have the capacity to have any more fighting within our border or any terrorism within our country,” said the PM. He reminded that at the height of the war on terror, there were suicide bombings taking place all over the country, and businesses and tourism had collapsed.

“If there is a conflict going on in Afghanistan and there are bases in Pakistan, we then become targets, and we will then become part of a conflict,” said PM Imran. The premier said that Pakistan wants to partner with the US in peace but not in conflict. He added that the last relationship between Islamabad and Washington was transactional. “Pakistan was more like a hired gun. The US says we gave you aid, and that’s why you were fighting this so-called war on terror,” said PM Imran. He added that the aid given by the US was “minuscule” compared to the cost of Pakistan’s participation in the conflict.

‘Afghanistan in this situation because of US military failure.’

PM Imran told the host that Pakistan could not do much if the Taliban take over Afghanistan as the military solution has already failed. “What are we supposed to do about it? Here was the US for two decades in Afghanistan trying to force a military solution. The reason why we are in this position now is that the military solution failed,” said PM Imran.

The premier repeated that the best choice that everyone has is that somehow a political settlement emerges in Afghanistan. He added that the Taliban sitting down with the Ashraf Ghani government to form an inclusive government was the best choice.

“Absolutely, there is nothing more we can do except push them as much as we can for a political settlement – that’s all,” the PM said when asked if Pakistan was willing to accept a Taliban government in Afghanistan. However, he said that all Pakistan could pray that the people of Afghanistan decide what Government they wish to have, “As far as Pakistan is concerned, we have done what we can,” said PM Imran.

It is well understood that the Taliban have won the war, and it is time to rule the country. The US has negotiated with the Taliban and recognized them as the actual power of pillar and real owner of Afghanistan. It is a practice that the winner will dictate the defeated ones. It is proved that the unholy and biased media projecting Taliban as terrorists, insurgents, and illegal outfits were right people and were freedom fighters and opposed their homeland’s foreign occupation. Suppose the Taliban were so bad, how the US negotiated with them and signed a peace agreement with them. It is indirectly recognition of the Taliban as legitimate rulers of the country.

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The Indo-US bonhomie: A challenge to China in the IOR

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The oceans have long been recognized as one of the world’s valuable natural resources, and our well-being is tied to the oceans. From providing minerals and food to coastal nations to serve as highways for seaborne trade, Oceans are highly-regarded in the geopolitics and geo-economics. In 2010, the global ocean economy was valued at $1.5 trillion, and by 2030, it is likely to surpass $3 trillion. Such a growing geostrategic and economic significance pit authoritative nations into the race. 

Bounded by Africa on the west, the Indian subcontinent on the North, Australia on the East, and the Antarctic Ocean on the South, the Indian Ocean is the third largest water body. Over the years, it has become an area of competition among Washington, Beijing, and New Delhi. China, the world’s second-largest economy, imports energy via sea lanes in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), while India, an influential regional actor and competitor of China, has also significant reliance on the IOR for its trade. Therefore, the reliance of both countries on the safe transportation of resources is inevitable, and they seek dominance in this water body. The growing global leadership of China, and the Indian economic rise have heightened the strategic value of the IOR and both powers have locked horns in it.

The success of the Chinese Belt and Road initiative (BRI), which strives to enhance China’s economic dominance from East Asia to Europe, hinges on the IOR. The IOR provides China with critical sea trade routes to the Mideast and Africa through BRI’s flagship project: China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). China, through BRI’s connectivity and economic potential, outweighs Indian influence in the IOR. Snaking its way from China’s western province Xinjiang to Gawadar port on the Arabian Sea, CPEC is a counterfoil to India, diminishing India’s strategic weight in the IOR. Therefore, India has an aversion to the CPEC because it ends the Chinese Strait of Malacca dilemma and makes its way through Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Having access to a port like Gawadar, China is likely to gain strategic and economic leverage in the region. Not only in India, but Beijing’s grandeur BRI is not well-received in the US as well. The world’s second-largest economy, China, aims to surpass the US economy in the coming years. On the accounts of the Chinese economic growth, the unipolar world order, once dominated by the US, has swapped its position with multipolar world. In addition, the US stakes are high in the IOR. With its interests in the Mideast, Africa, and Central Asia, the US is wary of China’s growing influence in the IOR. As a result, the US and India share a broader spectrum of mutual interests in the IOR.

New Delhi and Washington are enjoying rapprochement in their ties so as to limit China’s burgeoning influence. To materialize the quest of Washington about the freedom of navigation and maintaining open sea lanes, India spearheads the US paradigms in the IOR to curb China. For this purpose, India has eyed to magnify its naval capabilities and seeks partnership with many littoral-nations in the IOR. “Activating partnerships and expanding capabilities in the Indian Ocean are central to our quest for security,” says Indian Foreign Secretary. Indian bonhomie with Japan and Australia stands as the crux of New Delhi’s disposition to share warm ties with influential global actors. Australia, India, and Japan share the same US security umbrella: Checkmating the Beijing rise. These nations have translated their partnership in the Quad as a new feature of diplomacy to establish their authority in the Indo-Pacific region. Navies of India, the US, and Japan cooperate under the aegis of the trilateral Malabar Exercises, the most recent held in early November near Visakhapatnam in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. This time, Australia was also part of the exercise. The Indian Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR), a naval information hub initiated by India, brings all Quad members under one roof to exchange vital maritime information in the IOR.  Australia and Japan recently posted liaison officers to the (IFC-IOR), where a US liaison officer has served since 2019.

India has a long aspiration to dominate the Bay of Bengal and prioritizes closer economic ties with South Asian states to balance China’s trade advantage. For its part, India is eager to visualize greater security cooperation among the littoral nations through BIMSTEC. The seven-member alliance among India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, and Nepal aims to accelerate members’ economic growth and social progress among members across multiple sectors. BIMSTEC is a platform accentuating Indian vigor and its manifests the Indian overtures against China in the IOR.

Sharing common goals in the IOR, the US perceives India as a significant ally in the region and strongly supports its maritime expansion. The rapprochement between the two sides has resulted in the significant naval build-up of Indian forces in the IOR. The construction of military bases, modernized equipment and fleets, new maritime assets, and the expansion of security ties are all part of New Delhi’s push to assert itself as the region’s leader. By acquiring ‘blue water’ capabilities, the Indian Navy aspires to undertake its traditional role, like ensuring the coastal defense of the country, providing sea-based nuclear deterrence (entailing its assured second-strike capability), projecting the nation’s soft power beyond its shores, and maximizing the sphere of influence in the region. India aims to become a 200-ship navy in the next decade. In the defense budget for the year 2015-16, 16% share has been allocated to the Navy.

The Indo-US cooperation poses a considerable challenge to China’s ingress in the IOR, and Pakistan is no exception. Moreover, their cooperation undermines the peace prospects and endangers stability in the IOR. Recently, the G7 summit concluded with an objective focusing to challenge China’s rise. Joe Biden Administration maintained a firm line against China. Therefore, in the near future, pining hopes for preemption of the competition among authoritative nations in the IOR would be the pie in the sky.

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Bangladesh-Myanmar Economic Ties: Addressing the Next Generation Challenges

Bangladesh-Myanmar relations have developed through phases of cooperation and conflict. Conflict in this case is not meant in the sense...

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