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The Conclusion of the Future of India-US Strategic Romance

Rana Danish Nisar

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After the general elections of 2019 in India, Narinder Modi has again embellished the crown of Prime minister of India on his head. All the dreams, including the dream to make India greater and brawny power of the world, are concerned with the first prime minister of India Mr. Nehru. From the very first day the Indian premier leadership including Nehru is trying to make the foundation of the country strong. No doubt, the political parties of both Nehru & Modi are different as Nehru had a hefty CONGRESS while Modi has BJP (Bharti Janata Party).

But the dreams, desires, aspirations are analogous to make their beloved country “Greater India” in the entire context e.g. political, economic, social, education, and defense & security. With the inauguration of Modi administration in 2014, India commences its voyage towards exceeding progress and decided augmentation. Under the headship of Narindra Modi, India tries to make itself economically, socially and politically more strong and get sure internal sovereignty. Furthermore, due to sophisticated Indian premier, India gets eminent position on international level. Now, India is ranked in the influential as well as dominant player of world affairs in general and energetic runner in Asian political marathon race with nuclear power.

Under Modi, the contemporary India is quite different as compared to India during the days of Nehru. The eras are reasonably diverse. The immense population growth, unstructured education system, peace & stability in the region, demolish terrorism from the region, publish the soft image of India in the world newspapers and play the movie cassette titled “Soft India” on TV channels are the some intentions carried by current Indian premier. Besides internal troubles, the exterior threats including terrorism and the rising China give also red signal to fresh leading management of New Delhi. According to the political pundits of India, think tanks and analysts, the rising China is the biggest external threat to Indian security. The Chinese policies and strategies e.g. Periphery strategy, Strings of Pearls, OBOR (One Belt One Road initiative) and CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) are the ubiquitous threats for India and her acquaintance and now a days, the USA is the foremost top ranked pal of India.

In modern era, every state wants more power and besides this acquisition of power, the main national interests of states are to make more affirm their existing power. The same story is associated with the world sole superpower USA. In Asian continent, the main theme of US policies and strategies are to make American power and unilateralism insistent. After the end of Cold war and disintegration of USSR (Union of Socialist Republic), the US won the Crown of world solitary superpower and introduced “MADE IN AMERICA” Liberal world Order. After this incredible victory of the US, the popularity of the American power strokes the sky. The victory in the independence war in 16th century, W.W.I, W.W.II and in Cold War were proved that the US is exceptional power. The US wants its exceptionalism. As a specific term “American Exceptionalism” was first referenced by author Alexis de Toqueville in Democracy in America, a book published in the 1830s. Throughout the latter half of the 19th century, when America began to build its empire, the idea that the US was special and blessed by God reigned supreme. In addition, America’s victories over Japan and Germany revitalized the belief that the US is unique and a new expression for American exceptionalism was born.

On January 9, 1961, John F. Kennedy said, “Today, the eyes of the world of all people are truly upon us__ and our government, in every branch, at every level, national, state and local, must be as a city upon a hill.” Kennedy was promoting the idea that not only is the US economically and socially unique, but its political system is an example of a model government. After the Cold War, the American model became the new norm; American exceptionalism became a much more popular concept. In 1996, Bill Clinton said that “America remains the indispensable nation” and that “there are times when America and only America, can make a difference between war and peace, between freedom and repression.” This American exceptionalism term further materialized one more idea of “American Paternalism”. American paternalism refers to America’s belief that other states in the international system need the US and the American desire to interfere in the affairs of other states for the good of that state, the international system, or both. In many ways, American paternalism is derived from American pride and linked to American exceptionalism.

As the hegemonic power, the US has a tendency to treat its relations with other countries as parent-Child relationships, which is one of the reasons the US feels comfortable violating state sovereignty and interfering in the affairs of other states for moral reasons such as human rights violations, civil war, etc. The United States relationship with present international system is different from the relationships that other states have with the current system. In the aftermath of W.W.II, the world was in shambles and the US set out to construct a new international system and a new world order, one which it hoped would bring peace, development and prosperity. The US was challenged by the USSR, and because the both were interested in building inconsistent kinds of worlds. After the collapse of USSR and the end of Cold war in 1991, American vision for the world became a reality. With the establishment of the new American-led liberal world order came the emergence of American paternalism as it is now. American paternalism is also directly connected to the American desire to preserve its leadership in Asia.

The US believes that not only is American leadership in Asia in the best interests of the US, but it is also in the best interests of Asia and according to American leadership, the US sees itself as a parent for the international system and Asian region. American hegemonism is the byproduct of American exceptionalism and paternalism. According to the political specialists, the US is indeed a global hegemon. American hegemonism is the desire to promote and preserve this hegemonic status as well as protect its power at all costs, makes the US a threat to revisionist challengers including Russia, North Korea and rising China.

With the beginning of 21st century, the world structure has reshaped from uni-polar to multipolar and with the passage of time the friendships, relationships, rivalries and national interests of the states have been re-examined. The living example of above sentence is the romance between India and the US with the turn of 21st century. After the 50 years of estrange relations, the two democracies India and the US decide to renovate their relations in potent strategic nexus. Now, India is the top listed country in the documents of Washington as steadfast, strong and committed ally. On the contrary, Pakistan who was the active member of the US made security alliance blocs like SEATO, CENTO and fought proxy war against USSR during Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in late 1970s, is now, very far from the US kindness and considerations.

The rising China, developed Japan, Russian juxtaposition with Asian states, Chinese OBOR & CPEC projects, emergence of SCO, the economic & natural resources supremacy of Asian region, the Indian Ocean significance, natural resources of central Asia and Chinese expansion and sea lanes of communication (SLOC) from straits of Hormuz to Persian Gulf and Chinese active appearance in (SLOC) give red signal to the US hegemonism in Asian region. The US takes China as a revisionist state as like as the USSR after the World War II. The political pundits argue that this is second Cold War as well as emergence of bipolarity between the US and China and the present American leadership will repeat its history by making alliance in Asian continent same like during the Cold war era against USSR and the US will try its best to change the bipolar to unipolar system another time because the US takes rising China as USSR part II in 21th century.  The US is taking alliance making theory and give heavy aid to Asian countries, do agreements, sign nuclear deals like India, build strategic partnership to counter its present competitors and rising revisionists states and try its best to preserve its ideology of exceptionalism, paternalism and hegemony in Asian region.  Therefore the Trump’s slogan during his election campaign was “Make America great again”. From Nixon to Obama and now Trump, the foremost objective of the US is to maintain its hegemony in Asia and protect its national interests. For the acquisition of national interests, once again America is making ally in the region and India is the most favorite state in Asia generally and in South Asia specifically.

Additionally, the permanent seat in United Nations Security Council (UNSC), economically development, brawny defense, advancement in arms, soft image at international level, threat of rising China and the dream of “Greater India” are crucial factors behind the Indian juxtaposition in the arms of the US and both states ready to start polite lovely strategic romance with the identification of “strategic partnership”.

Apart from the Indian non-alignment policy, Nehru slogan of Asia for Asians, India-USSR proximity in Cold War, the paradoxical role of the US during India-Pakistan wars, ideological differences, diverse national goals and estrange relations during the Cold war, Now, after the end of the Cold War and especially with the awake of 21st century the US and India renovate their relations from estrangement to strong partnership. According to the Indian Diaspora and leadership, the rising China expansionism in Asia, Chinese involvement in Indian Ocean and OBOR project, vigorous course of actions in seaports in Asia, CPEC project in Pakistan, Chinese growth towards South East Asia, Africa, Middle East, Central Asia & Latin America regions and the energetic escalation of SCO in Asia are the threats to Indian security in contemporary era.

The beginning of strategic partnership with the US is the foremost & only solution for India to overcome this rising China threat. In addition, India has very inadequate options to counter the rising power of China. First, if India adopt the non-alignment policy, this is not suitable for this modern era.  Today, one state is dependent on another state. Second, if India adopts internal balancing in the context of Balance of power to balance China, India is not internally powerful, stable and has not numerous resources. The last and more suitable option is to do bargain with the US against their common threat (China). There are several reasons behind this Indian bargaining with the US. First, the US is superpower. Second, the US has its own hidden interests in it and takes China as emerging threat to the US hegemony in Asia. Third, India is emerging power of Asia and associated with Indian Ocean and SLOC. Forth, the US is scared that if Asian powers e.g. India, Russia, China Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Pakistan and Australia get united in coming future then American power in Asia will be ended. So, in closing remarks, India and the US have vivid future because both democracies are indispensable for each other in modern geopolitics. Apart from most fifty years estrange relations during Cold War, divergences of ideas, clash of interests, diverse in some values but the rising power of China is the crucial factor behind the foundation of strong strategic nexus between India and the US. The political analysts argue that It is again Cold War which will be between the US and China. And America is trying by leaps and bounds to win this Cold War again by any means because the US doesn’t want to lose its excpetionalism status. On the other side, India also wants to stop the rising power of China to embellish the crown of Asian power on its own head. That’s why, apart from divergences of interests, both of the democratic states and Leaders Modi and Trump have their own interests which are associated with each other and both are hopeful to their bright future trade, economic, defense and strategic relations. 

PhD Student of the School of Politics and International Studies, Central China Normal University 152, Luoyu Road, Wuhan, Hubei, People’s Republic of China 430079

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South Asia

Remapping Indian Occupied Kashmir: A Multipronged Travesty

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The second Presidential Order on the Reorganization of Jammu & Kashmir by India in 2019 is yet another outlandish decision to challenge the objectives of a peaceful coexistence. It is a call for altering an International Order more conversant to breach the democratic political norms, history and fundamental rights. Kashmiris are once again rebuffed of their demand for self-determination while being locked in an unprecedented brutal curfew entering into more than one hundred days. The desecration is obviously offensive.

Including the areas of Gilgit, Gilgit Wazarat, Chilhas and Tribal Territory of 1947, a part from the remaining areas of Leh and Ladakh districts of 1947 into the Indian Union is a violation of several United Nations Security Council resolutions passed decades ago. The Kargil District was already carved out.

Historically, there were 14 Districts of Jammu & Kashmir at the time of partition, which included Kathua. Jammu. Udhanpur, Reasi,  Anantnag, Baramullah, Poonch, Mirpur, Muzaffarabad, Leh and Ladakh, Gigit, GilgitWazarat, Chilas and Tribal Territory. The new districts included were Kupwara, Bandipur, Ganderbal, Srinagar, Budgam, Pulwama, Shupian, Kulgam, Rajori, Ramban, Doda, Kishtiwar, Samba and Kargil. The illustrative declaration of Muzaffarabad and MirpurKhas areas of Azad Kashmir which are under the administrative rule of Pakistan is an untenable denial of the history of the region.

To refresh their memories India needs to remember that at the time when Maharaja Hari Singh signed the controversial Instrument of Accession with India in October 1947, Gilgit was already inflamed with the passions of rebellion against Hindus and Sikhs living in Gilgit. While representing the will of his people, Muzzaffar, the raja orderly in Chilas said:

“The whole of Gilgit Agency is pro-Pakistan … we could never swear allegiance to Hindustan. Apart from religion, the Gilgit Agency is really a part of the NWFP and is therefore a part of Pakistan. If Kashmir remains independent, well and good … .But if the Maharaja through pig headedness and bad advice, political pressure or attractive remunerations accedes to Hindustan, then there will be trouble here!”

This was sensed by the British Administrator William Brown as well and decided to overthrow the then Governor Ghansara Singh in a bloodless coup d’etat in November 1947 and a provisional government was established by the locals of Gilgit. Raja Shah Rais was appointed as the president and Mirza Hassan Khan as the Commander-in-Chief. Pakistani political agent took over the region, once Khan Abdul Qayyum received a telegraph from Brown on November 16, 1947.

By May1948, the Gilgit Scouts had already taken over Baltistan, Ladakh and Skardu as well. Indian reinforcements were blocked at Dras and Kargil which helped them cut off Indian communications to Leh in Ladakh. However, Kargil was recaptured by them in autumn 1948 but Baltistan remained in control of Pakistan, after which India itself took the issue to the UN.

The current remapping of the region of Jammu & Kashmir is nonetheless not only a snubof facts but also adding into already destabilising factors in the region.The Pakistani parts of Kashmir to the north and west of the cease-fire line established at the end of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, or the Line of Control as it later came to be called, were divided into the Northern Areas in the north and the Pakistani state of Azad Kashmir in the south. The name “Northern Areas” was first used by the United Nations to refer to the northern areas of Kashmir. Pakistan has declared that “no step by India could change the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir as recognised by the United Nations”, and has pledged time and again that it will continue to support the just struggle of the Kashmiris.

In an attempt to rewind the India of antiquity or revitalize the Indian Civilization lost in the international order of nation-states in the post WWI era, Narendra Modi’s arrogant Hindutva regime is non-realistic. The current attempt is a follow up of the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill (GIRB) passed by the Indian ministry of Home Affairs on May4, 2016, during his earlier tenure of rule on India. The Bill was meant to regulate the acquisition, dissemination, publication and distribution of geospatial information of India. It restricted the addition or creation of any information related to geospatial imagery, data acquisition through space or aerial platforms such as satellites, aircrafts, airships, balloons or unmanned aerial vehicles without the permission of the government of India. The Bill also made its violation indictable in contravention of the section 4 with a fine ranging from Rs. 1 crore to 100 crores or imprisonment for a period of up to seven years. The draft resolution had also decided to set up an Apex Committee, A Security Vetting Authority and an Enforcement and Appellant authority to only allow the distribution of maps considered right by the Indian government. It was deceptively declared to ensure the security, sovereignty and integrity of the state of India with impact on all who may or may not agree with the Bill defining the geographical boundaries of India. The spokesman of the Indian External Affairs Ministry Vikas Swarup once reiterated that the state of Jammu & Kashmir was an “integral part of India” and the GIRB was an “entirely internal legislative matter of India.”

Assaulting the international political system, human dignity, basic liberties and perpetual boundary disputes by the Indian offensive posture have added to the stressed political environment of the region. In case of the failure of the domestic proceedings to address human concerns, it becomes mandatory for the world community to ensure the respect of the world peace. History records that after the WWII, there had been 14 out of 21 major inter-state wars on territorial conflicts. Global history of cartography has always been closely linked. Situating the “geobody,” along with altering the archival documents by the nationalist regime of Modi largely emboldened by the Western powers for their own strategic and economic preferences, is a teasing question on the UN partiality. The history of border violations or failed negotiations over an issue increases the likelihood of armed conflict and nonbinding management.

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Kartarpur Corridor: A message of Peace and Prosperity

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Kartarpur corridor was opened on 9 November 2019 (Saturday). It paved the way for the Sikh community to visit one of the most important religious shrines without a visa. There are approximately 150 million Sikhs around the world, out of which around 120 million are living in India. The other countries having the Sikh community are Afghanistan, Pakistan, UK, Canada, and USA.  However, the origin of the Sikh religion in Punjab, which was divided into Indian Punjab and Pakistani Punjab in 1947 at the time of independence of the sub-continent from British rule. The partition of Punjab has divided many Sikh families between Pakistan and India.  Due to political rivalry, among Pakistan and India, has adversely affected the Sikh Community. Some of the family members have never met in the last 72 years and few of them have already expired already.

While Sikh, Muslims and other religions lived together for centuries, especially in Punjab, and enjoyed complete harmony as the language and cultures are identical. But after partition, in 1947, the rivalry between Pakistan and India kept them separated for 72 years. With the opening of this Corridor, the Sikhs community in India becomes the most beneficiary and they are grateful for the gesture of goodwill by Pakistan.

The Kartarpur Corridor connects between Pakistan and India, the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib (located in Punjab, India) and GurdwaraDarbar Sahib (in Punjab, Pakistan). The corridor is intended to allow religious devotees from India to visit the Gurdwara in Kartarpur, 4.7 kilometers from the Pakistan-India border, without a visa.

The Corridor was first proposed in early 1999 by the prime ministers of India and Pakistan, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif, respectively, as part of the Delhi–Lahore Bus diplomacy. On 26 November 2018, the foundation stone was laid down on the Indian side and after two days, on 28 November 2018, the foundation stone on the Pakistani side was laid down by Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan. The corridor along with all its allied services and amenities was completed in a record time frame. The corridor was completed for the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev on 12 November 2019. As a special to mark the 550th birth anniversary, the Government of Pakistan has waved the fee amounting to US Dollars 20 for three days. It has created a huge good-will.

The corridor has not only connected the Sikh community on both sides of the border but also opened a new chapter of religious tourism in Pakistan. There are many other religious sites in Pakistan, which belongs to Hindus or Sikhs religion and may attract devotees and visitors in thousands of thousands in number. Kartarpur corridor is just a beginning, if it goes smoothly, many new sites will be open to Hindus and Sikhs as well.

This will also generate an opportunity for economic activities and enhance people to people contact. Promote harmony and understanding between the two hostile nations. In fact, Kartarpur Corridor is a message of Peace and Prosperity.

Pakistan is a peace-loving nation and a very responsible state. Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan is well matured, visionary leader. He said on this occasion “Pakistan believes that the road to the prosperity of the region and bright future of our coming generation lies in peace”, adding that “Pakistan is not only opening the border but also their hearts for the Sikh community”. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, compared the decision to go ahead with the corridor by the two countries to the fall of the Berlin Wall, saying that the project may help in easing tensions between the two countries.

Previously, pilgrims from India had to take a bus to Lahore to get to Kartarpur, which is 125 km journey although people on the Indian side of the border could physically see GurdwaraDarbar Sahib Kartarpur on the Pakistani side. An elevated observation platform had also been constructed on the Indian side, where people use binoculars to get a good view.

Indian Prime Minister Modi has thanked PM Imran Khan for his good-will gesture. It is hoped that India will reciprocate in the same manner and provide an opportunity to the People of Pakistan and Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan to thanks Indian Prime Minister Modi.

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The efficiency of German contribution in the Afghan peace process

Ajmal Sohail

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Germany is heavily involved in the afghan affairs since 9.11.2001; the country has brought in to being the modern Afghanistan thru launching the international Bonn conference “Bonn 1” in December 2001, the said conference toke place right after the collapse of the barbaric regime of Taliban in Afghanistan. Furthermore, it paved the way to engage several rival groups to establish an interim administration under the leadership of pro-American figure “Hammed Karzai”. Albeit the conference was a turning point in the Afghan modern history, but it encompassed numerous shortcomings because Taliban, Haqani Network and Hikmatyar band, who had been the main adversaries to the acting Government, were excluded from the process, which opened Pandora’s Box. Moreover, the national interests and apprehensions of the regional countries were not taken serious, which in turn caused destabilization and gloominess in Afghanistan.

Consequently, Pakistan and Iran who have been pursuing strategic depth in Afghanistan began to regroup, fund, train and outfit the Afghan government antagonists, which unfortunately incited a proxy war in the country. 

The second Bonn conference

Germany hosted the second Bonn conference in December the 5th 2011 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first Bonn conference, in order to renew the so-called mutual commitment to a table, democratic and prosperous future for Afghanistan.

In addition, the participants of the conference ought to shed lights on some issues such as governance, security, economic developments, regional cooperation, peace process and the way forward. The participants called for a political solution to achieve peace and security in Afghanistan, in order to ensure durable stability.

Additionally, it was discussed to promote capacity building in the country to uphold   a political process, to endorse negotiation and reconciliation. Unfortunately, the conference primarily focused on economic developments and continuation of democratization in the country, so that the peace process was sidelined and the root-cause of the instability and insecurity was not identified. Which ended up with further destabilization and blood-shed in addition, sparked fears and violence in Afghanistan.

Doha conference

In July the 7th 2019 Germany and Qatar hosted a conference in Doha Qatar, which was labeled intra-afghan dialogue. The hosting countries endeavored to bring about a framework in order to support the peace process in Afghanistan. In accordance with the joint statement, that the country is at a central crossroad to snatch the chance to accomplish peace, so the shortest concord linking the afghan adversary groups could be one of the essential factors of any process leading to such an objective.

It was also expect, that the conference would contribute to confidence-building amid chief rivals to hold up peace and constancy in Afghanistan. Although the conference did not have a tangible agenda, but at the end a resolution was released calling for reducing violence, avoiding to assail public institution and bringing civilian causalities to “zero”.  Despite the efforts of the conference hosting countries, the conference comprised inadequacies; the Afghan government, which ought to be the main party, was excluded from the direct-intra-afghan-dialogue.

Not only the ceasefire, which has been the only wish of the Afghans, was not sincerely addressed, but also no-part of the outlined resolution has been implemented. Regrettably convening of the conference did not put into practice the expectations of the Afghan people, so that the security situation fundamentally deteriorated.  

The third Bonn conference

Subsequent, to the walk out of the US president from the Afghan peace deal, Germany wants to jump in exerting its leverage to bring the Afghan rivalry bodies to the negotiation table. Germany is really concerned, if the US troops withdrawal will take place Kabul government would collapse and the positive developments have so far came about would be lost. Thus Markus Potzel Germany’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, since some times endeavors to hold meetings with the representatives of both Taliban and the Afghan government, in order to initiate another round of peace talks.  

 Consequently, If Germany genuinely put forth its efforts, it will help to avoid political vacuum in Kabul, let the democratization process to flourish, women rights to thrive and the economic prosperity to boom. Germany enjoys full-scale leverage in the entire region and beyond, because Germany stationed the second largest troops in Afghanistan, the country is one of the main initiator of the NATO Resolute Support Mission for Afghanistan and it is one of the top 10 contributors to the reconstruction process and humanitarian assistance in the country.

Germany has very good diplomatic relations with almost all of the surrounding countries of Afghanistan; it has influence on all of the gulf countries including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE, which are supposed to be the major patrons of Taliban.

In addition, Germany leads the EU commission and it is the number one economy in Europe and number 4 economy in the world. If it will put in 2% of its GDP to the NATO annual budget, Germany would be the second leverage enjoyer within NATO following the United States of America. So Counter Narco-terrorism Alliance Germany (cnt-alliance) express the need for the initiation of the third Bonn conference, which should include all opponents to be brought to the negotiation table, in order to form a framework of lasting peace, continuation of the political process, stability, Good and lean governance, economic prosperity, revival of democratic norms and revamping of human and women rights as well as confidence building amongst regional countries.   

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