India tells Tillerson plans to retain North Korea embassy
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s foreign minister told U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday that New Delhi wanted to retain its small embassy in North Korea despite Washington’s efforts to isolate Pyongyang over its nuclear and ballistic missile tests.
Sushma Swaraj made the statement after meeting Tillerson in New Delhi. Tillerson is due to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi later in the day. Swaraj said New Delhi believed a diplomatic presence in North Korea was necessary to keep the lines of communication open.
India and North Korea maintain diplomatic offices in each other's capitals, though New Delhi recently banned trade of most goods with the country, except in food or medicine. (bit.ly/2gIPuQj)
[India NK] [Resistance]
This is one of the few places where a communist can still dream
By Greg Jaffe and Vidhi Doshi October 27 at 7:00 AM
Lenin's image is reflected in a mirror in Pinarayi. (Vivek Singh/For The Washington Post)
ALAPPUZHA, India — On a recent morning in southern India, one of the world’s last true-believing communists rose to speak in a place where communists can still whip up the masses and win elections.
Thomas Isaac, the finance minister for the state of Kerala, gazed out at a crowd of hundreds who had gathered to honor the founding father of Kerala’s Communist Party, a man killed by a snakebite while organizing farmworkers whose dying words were reputed to have been: “Comrades, forward!”
A row of hammer and sickle flags fluttered in the wind. People raised clenched fists in a “red salute” and chanted “Long live the revolution!”
“We are trying to build our dream state in this fascist India!” Isaac began, and in so many ways it was still true.
A century after Bolsheviks swarmed the Winter Palace in Petrograd, Russia (now St. Petersburg), the Indian state of Kerala, home to 35 million people, remains one of the few places on earth where a communist can still dream.
[Kerala] [Communist Party]
A new front opens in Asia’s water wars
China drags India and other neighbors into high-stakes geopolitical poker game over freshwater access
By Brahma Chellaney October 11, 2017
China has long regarded freshwater as a strategic weapon – one that the country’s leaders have no compunction about wielding to advance their foreign-policy goals. After years of using its chokehold on almost every major transnational river system in Asia to manipulate water flows themselves, China is now withholding data on upstream flows to put pressure on downstream countries, particularly India.
For decades, China has been dragging its neighbors into high-stakes games of geopolitical poker over water-related issues. Thanks to its forcible annexation of Tibet and other non-Han Chinese ethnic homelands – territories that comprise some 60% of its landmass – China is the world’s unrivaled hydro-hegemon. It is the source of cross-border riparian flows to more countries than any other state.
[China confrontation] [Water wars] [India]
US-India defense ties:
setting the table for Secretary Mattis’ visit to New Delhi
by Sourabh Gupta
Sourabh Gupta (email@example.com) is a senior fellow at the Institute for China-America Studies.
“We should discourage Indian hegemonic aspirations over the other states in South Asia and on the Indian Ocean,” a draft version of the Pentagon’s post-Cold War Defense Planning Guide intoned in 1992. Twenty-five year later, US-India strategic and defense ties stand transformed. New Delhi is embraced as a ‘net security provider’ in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and the foundation of a lasting partnership in the Indian Ocean, and perhaps down-the-line in the Asia-Pacific region, has been established. With Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visiting New Delhi this week, it is worthwhile to take stock of the progress in bilateral defense ties – especially over the past decade-and-a-half under a Republican and a Democratic president alike.
[US India] [Counterbalance] [China confrontation]
Pakistani bank shuts down US operations after hefty fine
Source: Xinhua Published: 2017/8/28 20:24:10
Pakistan's largest bank Habib Bank Limited (HBL) shut down its operations in the United States on Monday after the New York State Department of Financial Service (DFS) slapped a hefty civil penalty worth 66 billion Pakistani rupees (629.6 million US dollars).
The HBL announced in a statement to contest the hefty fine in the court of law in the US It further decided to close its operations in New York and the DFS has allowed the bank to submit an application of withdrawal which is expected to commence shortly.
"Despite HBL's sincere and extensive remediation measures, DFS is still not appreciating or recognizing the significant progress that HBL has made at its branch in New York and HBL has received a notice from DFS in terms of which DFS seeks to impose and outrageous civil monetary penalty of up to 629.62 million US dollars," the statement said.
[Banking] [Surveillance] [Islamophobia]
India, China agree to pull back troops to resolve tense border dispute
By Simon Denyer and Annie Gowen August 28 at 10:07 AM
BEIJING — India and China have withdrawn troops from a disputed Himalayan region on the border with China, foreign ministries from the two countries announced Monday, defusing a tense standoff that had threatened to provoke armed conflict between the nuclear-armed Asian rivals.
For the past two months, Indian and Chinese troops had faced off on a plateau in the Doklam area in the Himalayas, after Indian troops moved in to prevent the Chinese military from building a road into territory claimed by India’s close ally, Bhutan.
China had repeatedly and furiously denounced the Indian move as a direct infringement of its sovereignty, demanded an immediate and unconditional withdrawal, and warned that conflict was a real possibility if that didn’t happen.
[China and India are dangerously close to military conflict in the Himalayas]
On Monday, the two sides announced they had reached an agreement, with India saying its troops were disengaging, and China saying it would redeploy forces in response. By the evening, India said both sides had almost completed their withdrawal.
But it was not clear from both sides’ public statements if Beijing had offered any concessions in return for the Indian withdrawal, such as agreeing to halt the construction of the road.
[China India] [Territorial disputes]
India removes troops from China's territory in Doklam
By Yang Sheng Source: Global Times Published: 2017/8/28 19:13:40
China to continue exercising sovereignty based on historical conventions
China confirmed Monday that India has removed its trespassing troops from the Chinese territory of Doklam, and China will continue to exercise its sovereignty in the area.
"On the afternoon of August 28, the Indian side had pulled back all the trespassing personnel and equipment to the Indian side of the boundary and the Chinese personnel on the ground have verified this. China will continue exercising sovereignty and uphold territorial integrity in accordance with historical conventions," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a press conference on Monday. Chinese border troops will remain stationed in Doklam and keep patrolling the area, she said.
One June 18, Indian troops illegally crossed the border and trespassed into Chinese territory in Doklam.
[China India] [Territorial disputes]
Is Trump driving Pakistan deeper into China’s orbit?
As the US president sends an ultimatum to Islamabad over its support for terrorist groups, experts say Pakistan is no longer so vulnerable to American pressure
By Tom Hussain
26 Aug 2017
President Donald Trump’s televised ultimatum to Pakistan to abandon its support for terror is unlikely to yield any fruitful result, except perhaps alienate the Pakistanis further and strengthen China’s hand in the region.
In the first foreign policy announcement of his presidency to be announced on live television, Trump this week abandoned his earlier plans for a withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and warned Pakistan that failure to meet his demands could turn its alliance with the United States into enmity.
“We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorists, the Taliban and other groups that pose a threat to the region,” Trump said in a speech at Fort Myer, a US army base next to the Arlington cemetery where thousands of America’s war dead are buried.
Highway to sell: How $55b trade corridor rekindled China-Pakistan romance
The American president provided no details of US plans to reinforce the 8,400 troops it has deployed in Afghanistan or what steps he would order to force Pakistan to capitulate. But his options include the cessation of US military aid for Pakistan’s massive ongoing counterterrorism campaign against Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), al-Qaeda and Islamic State militants, which involves some 200,000 security personnel or nearly a third of its standing military.
Pakistanis read reports on Trump’s accusations that their country harbours militants. Photo: AFP
Arif Rafiq, a fellow at the Centre for Global Policy and the Middle East Institute, two Washington think tanks, said the Pakistan Army did not see itself as facing a “you’re either with us or against us” moment, as it did in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda attacks on the US. The attacks were planned by terrorists based in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden was subsequently killed by US special forces in May 2011. Nor is Pakistan as vulnerable to US pressure as it was in 2009, when TTP insurgents overran much of northwest Pakistan, he said.
It took 200,000 troops until 2015 to quell the insurgency, although TTP insurgents continue to launch terrorist attacks from new havens in eastern Afghanistan.
China in the middle: Pakistan trade corridor under spotlight after Indian ‘spy’ gets death sentence
“The Pakistan of today is not the Pakistan of 2009. It is far more secure, its economy is much healthier, and the relationship with China is more robust and multidimensional,” Rafiq said. “Since the bin Laden raid, Pakistan has diversified its relations with other countries, bolstering ties with Qatar, Russia, and Turkey. It has weaned itself off a dependence on the US and added layers of insulation from American pressure. The Pakistan of today has options and it is likely to strengthen its alliance with China in response to US pressure.”
[Pakistan] [China] [Afghanistan]
Made-in-India products likely to catch up with Chinese goods in the next 10 years
By Hu Weijia Source: Global Times Published: 2017/8/10 22:58:40
India has become a rising star in the world's manufacturing arena, largely thanks to its cheap labor and potential new consumers, but it should be noted that Indian goods — specifically daily necessities and household appliances — are still about 10 years behind Chinese products.
In recent weeks, right-wing organizations in India have called for a boycott of Chinese goods amid an ongoing military standoff between the two countries in the Doklam region. However, the Hindustan Times quoted an online survey by Local Circles, India's leading citizen engagement platform, as saying recently that 83 percent of the 8,689 respondents said they would "prefer a Chinese product over its Indian version as they believe it will be cheaper."
There are complex explanations for the cost advantages of made-in-China products, such as complete domestic industrial chains, which can help cut production costs. India has long wanted to replace China as a global manufacturing hub but that goal cannot be achieved overnight, as the Local Circles' survey results indicate. Given this situation, absorbing foreign investment could be a shortcut for India to realize its dream.
[China India competition]
The Partition: The British game of 'divide and rule'
Before leaving India, the British made sure a united India would not be possible.
Shashi Tharoor is an elected member of India's parliament and chairs its Foreign Affairs Committee.
On August 15, 1947, India won independence: a moment of birth that was also an abortion, since freedom came with the horrors of the partition, when East and West Pakistan were hacked off the stooped shoulders of India by the departing British.
Seventy years later, it is hard to look back without horror at the savagery of the country's vivisection, when rioting, rape and murder scarred the land, millions were uprooted from their homes, and billions of rupees worth of property were damaged and destroyed. Within months, India and Pakistan were embroiled in a war over Kashmir, the consequences of which still affect us today.
There was an intangible partition, too. Friendships were destroyed, families ruined, geography hacked, history misread, tradition denied, minds and hearts torn apart. The creation and perpetuation of Hindu-Muslim antagonism was the most significant accomplishment of British imperial policy: the colonial project of "divide et impera" (divide and rule) fomented religious antagonisms to facilitate continued imperial rule and reached its tragic culmination in 1947.
[Partition] [India] [DAR] [British raj]
For Pakistan, China’s huge energy investments may have political costs
Mega-projects create unnecessary tension as poor local people are displaced and endangered by development
By Amiera Sawas and Nausheen H. Anwar August 8, 2017
In Pakistan, there’s no topic hotter than the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a multi-billion-dollar bilateral development project that will, officials promised in 2015, “usher in an era of unprecedented progress and prosperity”.
The CPEC is not only Pakistan’s first big injection of foreign direct investment in a while, its focus on energy development is also desperately needed in a country that has suffered worsening energy shortages for two decades.
With renewables constituting much of the US$33 billion earmarked for energy, the CPEC is also set to make Pakistan a global player in meeting its Paris agreement commitments to fight climate change. And for its bulging, skilled youth population, development promises something truly critical: jobs, jobs, jobs.
To mitigate possible hostility from local residents, the government set up a public consultation in Sindh, July 13, 2017. Photo: Vikram Ghamwani
The land and the losers
At least, that’s the theory. Not everyone sees the changes wrought by the CPEC so positively.
China raps India over Doklam standoff, but dogs are on leash
While New Delhi has remained silent, Beijing has put itself on the front foot, throwing down the gauntlet over India's ties with Bhutan and leaving the Indian side guessing as to the state of play in China-Bhutan dialogue
By M.K. Bhadrakumar August 3, 2017
The Chinese Foreign Ministry released a position paper on Wednesday laying out the “facts” in relation to the six week-old standoff with India in the Sikkim border region.
In a nutshell, the document – supported by maps and photographs – recounts that, on June 18, 270 Indian troops, driving two bulldozers, crossed the international border with China at the Doka La mountain pass to obstruct road-building on the Chinese side.
[Territorial disputes] [China India] [Bhutan]
Questions after the judgement
OUT of necessary respect for the Supreme Court and abundant caution in a matter where a hasty or premature assessment could trigger controversy, the initial response by sensible and responsible quarters to the Panama Papers judgement was to emphasise the need for immediate political and legal acceptance of the court’s orders.
Now that the short but final judgement has been analysed by the legal community, the political class and the citizenry in detail, the implications of it for politics in Pakistan need to be forthrightly addressed.
The consensus in expert and independent circles is twofold and clear: Nawaz Sharif has been stripped of the prime ministership on troublingly narrow legal grounds and the judgement has the undesirable potential to upend the democratic process in the country.
In the circumstances, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar ought to consider, following an appropriate petition, convening the full court to review the five-member bench’s final judgement in the Panama Papers case.
India rejects China's mediation offer on Kashmir
New Delhi says its position to address issues with Islamabad in a bilateral framework has not changed.
More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the Kashmir region since 1989 [AFP]
India has rejected China's offer to mediate and help resolve the Kashmir issue, insisting talks will only take place with Pakistan without the intervention of another nation.
China had said it was willing to play a "constructive role" in improving relations between India and Pakistan, especially after the increased hostility along the Line of Control, a de facto border that divides the disputed Kashmir valley between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
However, talking to reporters on Thursday, a spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs turned down China's offer.
"We are ready to talk Kashmir with Pakistan, but no third party mediation," Gopal Baglay said.
[Kashmir] [Chinese peace proposal]
What’s Behind the China-India Standoff Near the Sikkim Border?
by Gerry Brown
The flare-up at Donglang (or Dokalam or Doklam to Bhutan) in recent weeks came as a nasty surprise to Beijing. Located smack in the triangular junction between China, India (Sikkim) and Bhutan, Donglang currently under Chinese control is claimed by both China and Bhutan. More than 10 rounds of negotiations between the two claimants in past decades have not resolved the issue. But peace had prevailed in the disputed area since the Sino-India War in 1962.
So why the sudden face-off now, and what caused the rupture?
Both Bhutan and India alleged that China had built roads on Bhutan territory in violation of a bilateral agreement. Last week, China gave photographic evidence showing that Indian troops and army vehicles had crossed into Chinese territory, which is clearly separated by the crest of the plateau. Beijing has also made public this week a copy of a diplomatic note from the then Indian ambassador to Beijing affirming agreement with the borders between China, Sikkim and Bhutan.
The timing of the Indian incursion into Chinese territory gives India’s game away. Indian troops and vehicles crossed into Chinese territory on June 4. That was less than 3 weeks from the Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting in Bern, Switzerland from 22 to 24 June. The incursion sought to exert pressure on China to stop blocking India’s inclusion in NSG. And when China again objected to India’s inclusion, Modi’s petulance turned the border skirmish into a potential war.
But why the tri-junction, of all places along the more than 1,000 km border with China?
Over the past two years, China’s relations with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal have improved markedly after China’s multibillion- dollar loans and investments in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. An 8-billion dollar rail line, to be built and funded by Beijing, is at an advanced stage of discussion between China and Nepal. India sees red in China chipping away at Delhi’s sphere of influence. More so since Modi came into power with his Hindutva foreign policies that regard India as the Big Brother in South Asia. Modi must be up at night worrying about Bhutan, the most submissive of its brethren in South Asia, could be the next pivoting to Beijing. Hence, India’s trouble-making at the tri-junction, demonstrating to Bhutan that only India can protect Bhutan’s interest.
[China India] [Modi]
Clash between Chinese and Indian border troops sparks calls for tough response online
By Huang Jingjing Source: Global Times Published: 2017/7/3 18:54:39
India's border intrusion seen as scheme to curry favor with US
? Instead of withdrawing its forces as demanded by the Chinese government, India has reportedly dispatched 3,000 troops to confront Chinese soldiers in a border area
? India's recent intervention in the Doklam area has angered many Chinese, who have called for a counterattack
? Scholars say New Delhi lacks trust in Beijing, which will undermine bilateral ties
A recent confrontation between Chinese and Indian troops in the Sikkim section of the China-India boundary which was sparked when India moved into the Doklam area of Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, has generated calls for a tough response in China.
Last month, Indian troops crossed into the area with bulldozers in an attempt to prevent Chinese troops from constructing a road in Yadong county.
Photos of the mid-June incident released by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on June 29 show Chinese soldiers trying to halt the Indian forces which had crossed a crest which China says defines the boundary between the two nuclear powers.
[China India] [Territorial dispute] [Border war]
Trump meets Modi: Budding romance or one-night stand?
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is shown during a visit to Lisbon on June 24. (Patricia De Melo Moreira/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
By Josh Rogin Global Opinions June 25 at 7:10 PM
President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would seem to be kindred spirits. But despite a lot of sweet talk as Modi arrived in Washington for a White House meeting Monday, the question remains whether his dalliance with Trump will be a one-night stand or will blossom into a full-on romance.
Trump and Modi are alike in many ways. They both came to power on populist, nationalist waves with promises to confront Islamist terrorism and stand up to China. Both rule large democracies with a clear interest in increasing their security and economic and diplomatic cooperation. Their social media followings currently rank first and second , respectively, among world leaders.
“Under a Trump administration .?.?. we are going to be best friends,” Trump told the Republican Hindu Coalition a month before the election. “There won’t be any relationship that will be more important to us.”
Yet that close relationship has yet to materialize, due to a mix of transition dysfunction, the distractions of the urgent and a shortage of senior Trump administration officials with India experience. The Modi government, unlike some other Asian powers, has not pushed itself in front of the Trump team, instead pursuing a dual-track policy of cautious engagement mitigated by hedging.
[Modi] [Trump] [India US]
South Korean arrested in Pakistan on suspicion of illegal missionary activity
Posted on : Jun.19,2017 17:12 KST Modified on : Jun.19,2017 17:12 KST
Two Chinese nationals reportedly killed after being abducted by the Islamic State (from Weibo)
Pakistani police say South Korean family was illegally training Chinese nationals to do missionary work
The South Korean founder of a language school in Quetta, southern Pakistan, where two Chinese nationals in their 20s were abducted and slain by the Sunni fundamentalist militant group Islamic State (IS) has reportedly been arrested, along with family members, by Pakistani authorities for investigation.
The Pakistani daily DAWN reported on June 18 that the South Korean founder had lived in Quetta since 2011, and that police arrested him and family members on June 12 after concluding that the business ARK Infotech and language school he founded locally on a business visa were in fact being used to conceal Christian missionary activities.
Pakistan authorities reported that the South Korean language school director had taught Urdu and a local language to 13 Chinese nationals - including victims Li Zingyang, 24, and Meng Lisi, 26 - after bringing them to Pakistan between Nov. 2016 and Jan. 2017.
“The Korean family was training the Chinese nationals in missionary work” said Quetta police official Abdul Razzaque Cheema.
India: Losing traction in the great game
Posted by By ink at 3 June , at 22 : 50 PM
The Korean crisis makes China indispensable to US efforts to defuse the situation. As a result of that and its opposition to OBOR, India is playing an increasingly lone hand in South Asia’s Great Game.
BY SAROJ KUMAR RATH
Sandwiched between regional rivals like South Korea and Japan and facing military encirclement by the United States, North Korea is the only country that challenges the US global agenda. But Pyongyang’s brazen military muscle flexing is disturbing the diplomatic calculations of Asia on an unprecedented scale. Its recent long-range missile tests (one was an embarrassing failure) and threats to reduce South Korea’s capital Seoul to ashes in a storm of steel and fire in case of a US attack have got everyone scrambling for a coherent response. Even China, its closest ally, is unable to get a word in. Tensions between the two are high as Pyongyang considers Chinese mediation a betrayal of mutual interests. Normally, the US would give a situation this serious top billing but the Trump presidency’s habit of shooting itself in the foot has pushed it under the radar.
[India] [US NK policy]
The Trump Administration’s India Opportunity
- Marshall M. Bouton
The U.S. strategic partnership with India provides an opportunity to advance many of the key foreign policy objectives of the Donald Trump administration. The convergence of U.S. and Indian security interests and policies, together with parallel “America First” and “India First” economic policies, holds potential benefits for both nations. President Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, both highly nationalist and pro-business in their orientation, are likely to find common ground. Both leaders pride themselves on making deals, even when those deals are not entirely aligned with their parties’ interests. Strong bipartisan support in Congress for U.S.-India ties and official optimism in India about relations with the United States under the Trump administration argue for seizing the opportunity decisively.
This paper (full text below and downloadable pdf here) urges the Trump administration to consider moving rapidly on several fronts to realize the benefits of closer cooperation with India.
First, develop with Prime Minister Modi a common strategic view of the U.S.-India relationship, especially as it relates to shared interests in China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
Second, make India a clear strategic and diplomatic priority.
Third, demonstrate American commitment to India’s expanding role in Asia.
Fourth, develop new avenues for U.S.-India cooperation on defense and security.
Fifth, manage economic relations, especially on trade and immigration issues, positively while looking for ways to expand ties.
[US India] [Counterbalance]
Recalibrating US-India ties towards a coherent Indo-Pacific strategy
by Puneet Ahluwalia and Prateek Joshi
Puneet Ahluwalia is a consultant at The Livingston Group and a member of the Virginia Republican Party’s State Central Committee. Prateek Joshi (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a researcher specializing on Asia’s geostrategic issues. His writings have appeared in The National Interest, The Diplomat, CSIS and Stimson Center’s South Asian Voices.
Since 2004, Indian Maritime Doctrine has mentioned “the shift in global maritime focus from the Atlantic-Paci?c combine to the Paci?c-Indian.” While this perspective predates China’s maritime muscle flexing, there is no missing the competition with Beijing. The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to re-energize India’s engagement with ASEAN nations, Indian Ocean and Pacific Islands, a shift encompassed by the decision to modify New Delhi’s strategy from “Look East” to “Act East.”
Strategist C Rajamohan argues that “the term Indo-Pacific allows the recognition of two important changes in the regional structures around us. One is the fact that Chinese economic interests and naval presence in the Indian Ocean have grown over the last decade. The other is the slow but certain rise in India’s economic and security profile in the Pacific. The idea that the Indian and Pacific Oceans are two different worlds has become increasingly unsustainable.”
[US India] [Counterbalance] [China confrontation]
Turkey’s President Erdogan calls for ‘multilateral dialogue’ to resolve Kashmir issue
The remarks, made during an interview with WION news channel, are expected to ruffle feathers in New Delhi, which has consistently said Kashmir is a bilateral issue that must be settled through talks with Pakistan.
Updated: May 01, 2017 01:25 IST
Rezaul H Laskar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine Erdogan upon their arrival at AFS Palam in New Delhi on Sunday. (PTI)
Hours before arriving in India for an official visit, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a “multilateral dialogue” with Turkey’s involvement to resolve the Kashmir issue.
The remarks, made during an interview with WION news channel, are expected to ruffle feathers in New Delhi, which has consistently said Kashmir is a bilateral issue that must be settled through talks with Pakistan.
Expressing concern at the stand-off between India and Pakistan on Kashmir, Erdogan offered to get involved in settling the issue.
“We should not allow more casualties to occur and by strengthening multilateral dialogue, we can be involved, and through multilateral dialogue, I think we have to seek out ways to settle this question once and for all, which will benefit both countries,” he said.
[Turkey] [Kashmir] [Neo-Ottomanism]
China has Pakistan over a barrel on ‘One Belt One Road’
Tax concessions for Chinese firms, mounting security costs, crippling debt... The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is beginning to look like a disaster for its host nation
By F.M. Shakil April 28, 2017
The US$56 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – a part of China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ vision – has yet to translate into the ‘game changer’ envisioned by its sponsors. Worse than that, the unparalleled tax breaks and mounting security costs involved have already saddled Islamabad’s exchequer with a hole in its finances of over US$2.5 billion.
Pakistan’s lower house was informed last month that the government had issued a statutory regulatory order (SRO) giving a series of tax exemptions to Chinese firms as an incentive for working in what is considered a highly dangerous zone. These concessions – extensive tax breaks from customs duty, income tax, sales tax, federal excise duty and withholding taxes – have been granted to Chinese companies for the whole of the CPEC operation, including road, mass transit, and Gwadar port projects.
[China bashing] [B&R] [CPEC]
China opposes India's invitation of Dalai Lama to visit disputed areas
Xinhua, April 1, 2017
China is firmly opposed to any visit by the Dalai Lama to the disputed border region between China and India, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Friday.
Spokesperson Lu Kang made the comment when asked if China has protested to India about the Dalai Lama's scheduled visit next week to a disputed zone in the eastern part of the China-India border area.
"China is gravely concerned about this. Our stance on the eastern part of the China-India border is clear and consistent," Lu said at a routine press briefing.
[Dalai Lama] [India China] [Territorial disputes]
Veteran held in India for 54 years allowed to return
China Daily, February 11, 2017
After being held in India for 54 years, Chinese veteran Wang Qi was ready to make his long-awaited trip back home on Saturday.
According to the Chinese embassy in India, 77-year-old Wang had left his home in central India's Madhya Pradesh and arrived in New Delhi on Friday afternoon.
He was eager to return to hometown in Shaanxi province and would start the journey as early as Saturday, said the embassy.
In 1963, Wang, a Chinese army surveyor, got lost, crossed the border and was captured by Indian authorities. He was moved from one jail to another for nearly seven years.
When he was finally released in 1969, police escorted him to the remote village of Tirodi in Madhya Pradesh and told him to start a life there. He married a local woman, and they had three children and grandchildren.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Monday that China had been "pushing India" to complete procedures to return the veteran. In 2013, the Chinese embassy in India issued him a 10-year Chinese passport and a living allowance every year since then, Lu said.
Vikas Swarup, the Indian External Affairs Ministry's spokesman, said on Thursday, "The ministry is helping Wang and his family members-including his son Vishnu Wang, daughter Anita Wankhede, daughter-in-law Neha Wang and grandson Khanak Wang-to visit China to meet his extended family."
"We are working with the Chinese embassy in Delhi and the Indian embassy in Beijing to ensure that all formalities are completed and arrangements are in place," he said.
A China Central Television report on Friday said that Wang is eager to taste noodles, a local specialty in Shaanxi, after arriving home.
Wang's plight was highlighted last month in a special report by the BBC.
On Feb 4, Luo Zhaohui, China's ambassador to India, spoke by telephone with Wang and expressed sympathy over his suffering over the years. Yan Xiaoce, a counselor at the Chinese embassy in India, visited Wang's village on the same day, according to the embassy.
Liu Shurong, another Chinese veteran, underwent the same plight as Wang and lives in the same village. But Liu said he had no intention to return to China because he no longer has family there, the embassy said.
If You Want to Punch a Real Fascist, Go to India
If by fascist, you mean “adherent of a movement determined to seize state power with the help of violence committed by a disciplined and armed auxiliary, if necessary, to reorder society to achieve extra-constitutional, self-defined racial or ethnic objectives embodied by a charismatic leader”, that is.
Narendra Modi and his BJP party, in my reading, plays the democrat for advantage in the electoral game, but acts the fascist through deniable cutouts—the RSS Hindu nationalist movement and its constellation of affiliates, known collectively as the Sangh Parivar.
The BJP has a membership of about 100 million. Members of Sangh Parivar organizations number in the tens of millions. The VHP, which does the heavy lifting for the Sangh as far as virulent Hindu nationalism goes, reportedly has a membership of almost 3 million.
So if you're eager to punch fascists in India, better bring some friends...maybe bring a chopper...well, maybe bring a gun...maybe bring a lot of guns.
Fascists play for keeps in India.
Reasonable people can disagree. But before you disagree with me, please read my piece on Modi--Is Narendra Modi the Leader of the World's Largest Democracy...Or the World's Most Successful Fascist?—and the horror of the pogrom he allegedly orchestrated in Gujarat in 2002--first.
‘Cold Start’ is too hot to manage
Have non-military solutions to resolve problems
Srinagar | Posted : Jan 26 2017 1:03AM |
Few days back, the outgoing US Vice President Joe Biden discussed the Obama administration’s achievements in addressing the dangers posed by nuclear weapons under the Prague Agenda, and highlighted the nuclear security challenges facing the next administration. He underlined that the nuclear weapons, the proliferation of this deadly knowledge to more nations, and the possibility of terrorists obtaining nuclear materials, remain among the most pressing security challenges. In his speech, her further empahsised: “Not just North Korea, but Russia, Pakistan, and others have made counterproductive moves that only increase the risk that nuclear weapons could be used in a regional conflict in Europe, South Asia, or East Asia”. The reference to Pakistan concerns us all in the region and it’s important to understand the changing nuclear dynamics in South Asia.
Nuclear weapons have nutralised India’s conventional military superiority.
[Nuclear weapons] [Asymmetry] [Levelling]
Examining India’s Demonetization:
Social Impact, US Backing and Global Implications
GR Weekend Reader:
modiIndia’s “War on Cash”: The Demonetization Blitzkrieg. The “Ice Nine” Solution
By Sridhar Chakravarthi Raman, December 11 2016
The demonetization blitzkrieg of the NDA government was served to the unsuspecting Indian public as a moral crusade to destroy the twin evils of black money and counterfeit notes. But as the days went by the stated objects of the demonetization fell apart and the government did a series of embarrassing flip flops to put forth the view that the object was to usher in a cashless society where the digitally baptized citizens would swipe their plastic cards and waft to and fro in digital wallets with consummate ease.If the overt objectives of the demonetization, i.e eradication of black money and counterfeit notes were indeed laughable, then other concerns about its covert objectives gave rise to legitimate concerns. What then is the hidden agenda of the demonetization exercise?