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India’s Diplomacy and Strategic Policy: Between the Two Roofs

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India’s strategic policy and diplomacy, which has been defensive till now, is gradually becoming aggressive with the tenure of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. While Pakistan is on one side of India and China on the other side, its position is between the two roofs. While another tries to hurt India, on the other hand, China has also been carrying out strategic, diplomatic, economic and political attacks on India’s interests. It is important to analyze what are the advantages of being defensive and being aggressive. When the attacks in Pulwama and Pathankot happened and the army soldiers were martyred, India took immediate action and destroyed the terrorist bases of Pakistan across the border. First in a commando operation and then in an air strike. Similarly, when China presented a challenge to the Indian Army in the Galvan Valley in Ladakh for the last one year, India responded very aggressively.

In the last 70 years, the tactical and diplomatic defenses in which the style of no first attack was adopted were retained but the attack style was adopted in the event of an attack. After the attacks in Pulwama, the terror bases were destroyed. India sent a message to the world that it was not among those who kept quiet. In the one year long stand-off with China, India was defeated from nowhere and gave a befitting reply to China. At the same time, it also gained the support from the world fraternity at the diplomatic level, that mistake was that of China and India only defended its borders. Along with being a strategic victory of India, it was a diplomatic victory. Later, when India destroyed the terrorist bases across the border, it was able to convince that Pakistan is a country of terrorists and that action was necessary to prevent harm to India.

The long stand-off with China lasted for about 11 to 12 rounds of talks, which included Foreign Minister Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart. In September 2020, when the Chinese Foreign Minister met the Foreign Minister of India on the Shanghai Corporation Organization’s side line, there was a very long conversation between the two, in which the Chinese Foreign Minister said that there can be differences of views for China and India. But both are very big countries and neighbors together so both should go together. Both the countries are moving ahead very fast and in such a situation, when the situation is tense, then it is necessary that both countries keep stability in their relationship, maintain mutual trust. India-China relationship was at a crossroads and as long as both keep moving in the right direction, we will overcome these difficult situations,he further added.

Tensions in the situation between China and India began when violent clashes erupted in Galvan Valley and 20 Indian soldiers were killed. Later, China told its state media that 4 of its soldiers have also been killed. However, according to the Russian news agency Tass, 45 Chinese soldiers were killed. Now that both the armies, especially the Chinese army, have gone backwards the border lines by destroying all their permanent and temporary constructions, it can be seen as a strategic and diplomatic victory of India. During the Coona period, Foreign Minster Dr S Jaishankar was praised for bringing back all Indian  safe to home, but now that the vaccine has arrived, they are providing vaccines to the whole world under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. In China case also Dr S Jaishankar won the diplomatic victory. It is important to note here that when Ms. Sushma Swaraj was the External Affairs Minister, our External Affairs Minister was her subordinate. He is a selected, senior and highly capable officer of the Indian Foreign Service and as Foreign Minister, he has put India’s side very strongly and has given India a diplomatic victory in international fora. A terrorist organization Jais-ul-Hind had threatened to kill all the sarpanches of Jammu and Kashmir and after that a jeep laden with explosives was found in front of the house of Mukesh Ambani, the biggest businessman of India, which also has Jais-ul- Hind’s hand in all these terrorist activities that thrive in Pakistan and is being controlled by the same terrorist organizations. Jaish-ul-Hind has issued a letter which was tweeted by the same ABP News correspondent with her Twitter handle to whom I met in Ayodhya and whose name is Aastha Kaushik.

This letter once again makes me think whether India and Indians are at the forefront of any possible threat because it is certain that cyber attack takes place everyday on our security system, security agencies, defense establishment  and government offices. At the same time, physical attack preparations are also going on from that side of the borders and the sleeper cells operating in the country help them from inside the country. Sleeper cells are those whose members have contact with their handlers sitting outside the country. They are mostly like us, are in our society, can be our friends and can also be our neighbors, they can be us. We also meet with them in the market, they meet us in shops, they meet us on crowded streets and intersections, but we do not recognize them. They come into action when their handlers order them that now the path is clear, the security system is a bit loose, now you do your work. The letter that Aastha Kaushik has posted from her Twitter handle testifies to this about me.

This letter written in English is titled “Terror at Abani’s House”.

The letter further says, “With grace of Allah the brother who placed the SUV in front of Ambani’s house has reached the safe house. It was a trailer and the big picture is yet to come. You must be thinking who are we? We are the same Akhlaq That you have slaughtered for a cow. We are the same people you killed in Delhi. We are the ones you raped in Gujarat. We are your most dangerous nightmare. We can be your neighbors, We are working in the office, we go out like you on the streets like a normal man, and you do not recognize us. We can be the beggar you passed while I was begging, we are all over the place. We hate business brokers and prostitutes who have been sold to the BJP and RSS. We challenge agencies if they have the strength to stop us. You cannot do anything to us. When we attacked you in Delhi under your nose Terror spread, you could not do anything to us. You compromised with the Israeli Intelligence Department but you still could not do anything to us. We will chew you again and make you lick the dust, because this is what Allah wish. Nita Ambani and Mukesh Ambani Bhaiya Bhabhi. Next time you do not listen to our demands, our SUV can crush your fat boy’s car. “

This letter proves the fact that I suspect that there are still hundreds of sleeper cells working in India and that at the behest of their handlers, they are capable of doing anything. Of late it is also tracked that terror plat at Ambans house is linked with bomb blast near Israeli Embassy. There is an arrest made in this connection proving my point about which I had expressed to Editor & Owner of a National Daily,Pahal Today in India where I report & write that there is something fishy in etire Ambani Terror Plot. Now I say that the current security agencies working in the workforce, equipment, weapons, computer systems, our paramilitary forces should be updated if needed. Their morale should be boosted, and they should be equipped. We have to be ready now to fight every battle whose challenge these letters are posing, because if we are safe till today, it is a testimony to our political will which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his organs of the government, their officials and the decision-making elements at the top have kept us safe, and we should thank them for this. But if we are safe till today, this should not be construed as such. That we should not increase our security, we should not chalk it up, it should not be updated. All these things are urgently needed. From cybersecurity to our satellite monitoring system, our physical security, our paramilitary force, our police force, our military, all the staff, officers and decision-making officers from the lower ranks to the top will have to be updated, Will have to take training and find every weak link which can be the source of any lapse. Only then, the security that has been ensured till date will be ensured further. Also the need is to break the network in which the sleeper cell is connected to the handler. And the members of the sleeper cell should be identified who are members of our society. Each part is seated exactly as described above. And at the same time, if the terror handlers need it be taught a lesson, then further action should be taken in the same manner as the earlier action was taken. Only then India and the people of India will be able to sleep peacefully and emerge as a strong country.

Also, what India has adopted from defensive to aggressive policy in its diplomacy and strategic policy, it is necessary to maintain it in the same order under the leadership of Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, Foreign Minister Dr. Jaishankar, Home Minister Amit Shah and above all, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. It is and only then that there is no threat to India’s security system and India should answer every challenge as strongly as it is doing.

Prof (Dr) Ratnesh Dwivedi Award-winning Academic/NASA Certified Educator/Interdisciplinary Scientist/Awarded Sec,Intel & Def Expert/Peace Prize Winner

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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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