Showing posts with label India. Show all posts
Showing posts with label India. Show all posts

16 December 2019

Infrastructure in Tibet gets a big boost as China stepped up focus after Doklam face-off

COL. VINAYAK BHAT (RETD)
New Delhi: China has been constructing new infrastructure in Tibet for more than two decades, and although Beijing claims the purpose is civilian, there could be military implications for India as well.

The construction of roads, railways and bridges was hastened after the Doklam stand-off in 2017; the roads around Doklam near the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction were upgraded along with other structures.

ThePrint had reported China’s big focus on rail and road infrastructure in areas bordering India in October last year, and now takes another look at satellite imagery to analyse the progress since.

Lhasa-Shigatse expressway

15 December 2019

New Strategy to Tackle Floods and Erosion in India’s Disaster Prone Northeast

By Rajeev Bhattacharyya

The Indian government has decided to implement a “consolidated strategy” to tackle floods and erosion in the frontier zone of the northeast, which is one of the most disaster-prone regions in Asia.

Topping the list in the new policy is a plan to set up the North East Water Management Authority (NEWMA) to facilitate a coordinated approach to check the twin dangers in the eight states of the region. The new agency will replace the Brahmaputra Board, which was set up in 1982 for the same purpose.

Giving details of the new plan, Assam Water Resources Minister Keshav Mahanta informed the state assembly that there were four attempts earlier to form a new agency in the northeast since the past several years, but they failed due to the opposition from other states in the region. He added that the entire process has been fast-tracked following an intervention by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Assam has been the worst hit by flooding and erosion among all the states in the country. The Brahmaputra, the biggest river in the region, flows through the state with a total of forty-three tributaries on the north and south banks.

14 December 2019

Reprogramming the World: Political Places

P.J. BLOUNT

In the novel Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie interweaves his signature magical realism into the political geography of India surrounding the specific time, 12:00am 15 August 1947, that India came into existence as a nation state.[1] Rushdie identifies this moment of national political identity as inseparably linked to individual identity. In one of the many turns of the novel, the reader is presented with the sale of Methwold’s Estate. In the story, William Methwold sells his estate to an Indian family with the contractual stipulation that the family must continue to live exactly as the English inhabitants before them had until the moment of Indian independence, at which point the family could again live as Indians. The fictional contract imposes an English (read colonial/imperial/Western) geography over the estate being sold. The contract extends a political identity as well by defining the identity of the inhabitants concurrently with the state’s political borders. The family lacked the possibility to live as and be Indian until the stroke of midnight, because until that point there was no such place to bound such an identity. Borders are what Kamal Sadiq, borrowing Rushdie’s phrase, calls “midnight’s children.” Decolonization led to “[n]ew borders,” and “paths that were legal and customary became illegal overnight” forcing, through both inclusion and exclusion, new identities on the local inhabitants as the result of international geopolitical shifts.[2] In Rushdie’s tale law enforces political identity congruent with state geography. At midnight, though, everything changes.

In this example, we can see that the law (i.e. the contract) is the expression of political identity across a territory, rendering a condition in which “[l]ocation equals identity.”[3] Rushdie illustrates that an individual’s location is a construct that can change without physical movement. In other words, “space changes … meaning.”[4] Political space is the space in which negotiations about how social rights and obligations will be allocated among the governed and the government. This negotiation itself gives identity to the participants in terms of membership, which legitimates their role in such negotiations. International borders, therefore, are expressions of legal geography mapped onto spatial geography through an expression of a political geography bounded by common community.[5] As a result, legal arguments “presuppose spatial knowledge,” and human rights actions are “struggles for spatial normativity.”[6] These values structure public space in which discourse and deliberation take place. Of course, such uniform identification of individuals with political values compartmentalized by borders is a mythical construction, but it is the construction that underlies international space.[7]

How India and Japan Zoomed in on Northeast India

By Rupakjyoti Borah
Over the past few years, northeast India has emerged as a new area of cooperation between Japan and India. In the wake of this trend, it is worth understanding the context for this as well as the underlying reasons for why this is occurring.

There are many reasons for this. One of them is the strategic location of this part of the country, which shares borders with Nepal, Bhutan, China, Myanmar, and Bangladesh. This region is important not only for Tokyo’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision, which aims to ensure that the sea lanes of communication in the region remain open and secure and countries stick to a rules-based order, but also New Delhi’s “Act-East Policy,” which aims to reinvigorate its ties with Southeast and East Asia.

Second, Japan already has close ties and huge investments in the ASEAN region, including in Myanmar, which shares a long border with the Northeastern states of India.

India: Maoists’ Explosive Assertions – Analysis

By Deepak Kumar Nayak*

On December 8, 2019, two personnel of the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), a specialised unit of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) proficient in guerrilla tactics and jungle warfare, were injured in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosion triggered by cadres of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) near the Piyakuli Hills of Tamar town in Ranchi District, Jharkhand.

On December 2, 2019, a CRPF trooper was injured while defusing one of five IEDs planted by cadres of the CPI-Maoist in the Bijapur District of Chhattisgarh. While the SFs successfully defused four IEDs planted between Sarkeguda and Tarrem villages, the fifth IED planted in the nearby Sagmetta village exploded while being defused, injuring the trooper. 

On November 30, 2019, cadres of the CPI-Maoist triggered an IED explosion, blowing up a bridge, in Bishnupur town, Gumla District, Jharkhand. No casualty was reported.

On November 22, 2019, a CRPF trooper sustained injuries in an IED explosion carried out by CPI-Maoist cadres near Tarrem village under Basaguda Police Station limits in Bijapur District, Chhattisgarh. The incident took place when a patrolling team of the CRPF’s 168 Battalion was out on an area domination operation.

According to partial data collated by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), Maoists have already carried out at least 47 IED explosions killing 35 persons, including 11 civilians, 22 SF personnel, and two Naxalites (Left Wing Extremists), while injuring another 97 persons, including 47 civilians and 50 SF personnel, in the current year (data till December 8, 2019).

13 December 2019

Failed Agni III Test May Dent India’s Credible Deterrence

By Pranav R. Satyanath

India conducted the first night test of its Agni III surface-to-surface ballistic missile off the coast of the state of Odisha on Saturday, December 1. The test used a missile selected randomly from the production set. The test, however, ended in an alleged failure, as one report suggested that the missile tumbled into the sea during stage separation.

The intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), pressed into service in 2011, services as a critical component of India’s nuclear deterrent. If the report, which quotes a highly placed source, is indeed true, then this is not only an acute concern for India’s Strategic Forces Command, but also sends mixed signals about India’s credible deterrent.

Development of the Agni III, a two-stage solid propellant missile, began as early as 2001 with the goal to build a highly mobile and survivable missile. Inducted into the Strategic Forces Command (SFC), the missile — designed and developed by the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) — is said to have a range between 3,000 and 5,000 kilometers, with the ability to carry warheads of up to two tons and possibly reach targets in China.

12 December 2019

DIFFICULT MEGACITY FIGHT SEEN IN MUMBAI

MAJ. JOHN W. SPENCER, U.S. ARMY RETIRED, COL. LIAM COLLINS

Over 100 years ago, during the summer of 1919, dozens of members of that year’s West Point graduating class were sent to Europe to tour World War I battlefields. They walked on ground left deeply scarred by the conflict that had ended just months before, and met people left equally scarred by the war’s massive and bitter toll. They traveled across the Atlantic because no amount of classroom study can replicate the experience of such firsthand study of a recent conflict.

In the same spirit, the Modern War Institute at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, conducts research trips each summer during which cadets and faculty study recent conflict. This past summer, we led a trip to India to study the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai and its counterinsurgency in Kashmir. Like those future Army leaders in Europe a century ago, we walked through the sites of those attacks and spoke to people who directly experienced them. What we learned can help shape how the Army thinks about modern conflict.

Sudden Attack

11 December 2019

India faces unrestricted warfare. It isn’t prepared | Analysis

Ajai Sahni

The nuclear umbrella, we would like to believe, has secured India against the threat of conventional war. We just have to contend with the irritants of terrorism and proxy warfare, and the trajectory of these patterns of violence suggests improving capacities of containment, if not resolution. A few planes, warships and submarines, some tanks, artillery and missiles, and a smattering of other military hardware — discarded generations that the great powers hive off at exorbitant prices to what is still substantially a backward country — will not only ensure our security, but put us well on our way to emerging as a global power. All we need is a healthy growth rate, and all will fall into place. Meanwhile, our internal “enemies” can simply be crushed by sheer majoritarian force.

This is the fantasy that fuels the nationalist juggernaut today.

The world, however, is being transformed at a pace few in India’s policy establishment appear to comprehend. At the heart of this transformation are new ways of warfare that obliterate the distinction between domestic and external, between professional soldiers and non-professional “warriors”; battlespaces overlap with the civilian realm. We have moved into an era of what Chinese strategists describe as “unrestricted warfare” that “transcends all boundaries and limits”.

The Prospect of ‘Chindia’ as a World Power

JONATHAN D. JAMES

A significant global development in the first decade of the 21st Century has been the rise of several nations hitherto not considered key players in the international scene. The following up and coming nations have recently been grouped respectively as BRIC and BASIC: Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC); and Brazil, South Africa, India, and China (BASIC) (Wilson & Purushothaman, 2003). Noticeably, the two nations featured in both these groupings are China and India. China’s and India’s meteoric rise to the global arena, and the sheer magnitude of their populations, has led some scholars to assert that there is an ‘irresistible’ shift of global power toward Asia, dubbing this as the ‘Asian Century’ (Mahbubani, 2008, p. 43). And some scholars have gone so far as to coin the portmanteau ‘Chindia’ to signify the ascendency of these two Asian giants (Ramesh, 2005; Sheth, 2008). In this article, I begin by examining Ramesh’s (2005) and Sheth’s (2008) definitions of the term Chindia. I then proceed to situate Chindia according to classical international relations theory of how global peace and prosperity have been historically attributed to a few strong nations in the world. I then undertake an historical overview of China-India relations, followed by a brief summary of the commonalities and differences between the two nations. Finally, I make an assessment whether Chindia is a dream or a possibility.

Chindia and hegemony in international relations

Sheth (2008) contended that with the rise of China and India, a fusion may take place between these nations. Hence Chindia may usher in a new world order, replacing the USA:

10 December 2019

What Does the New Counterterrorism Exercise Mean for the Quad?

By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (“Quad”) between the U.S., Japan, India and Australia has often been questioned about its purpose and capacity. For critics, other than occasionally irritating Beijing, the Quad did not appear to have much purpose. And, at times, even these expressions of occasional irritation from China had been sufficient to send one or the other Quad countries into a funk.

But in the last two years, the Quad has slowly become somewhat sturdier, with the level of interaction between the countries improving, and the members themselves becoming less skittish when Beijing criticizes the venture. Now, the Quad countries have taken a new step, holding a table-top counter-terrorism exercise together. What can we make of this?

Details are skimpy. India has hosted the first counter-terrorism table-top exercise (CT-TTX) among the Quad countries in New Delhi on November 21-22. India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA), which hosted the TTX, is reported to have said the exercise is meant to assess and validate counter-terror mechanisms against a range of existing and emerging terrorist threats at both the regional and global levels.

The Trump Administration's Indo-Pacific Strategy Needs Proof of Life

by Julianne Smith Garima Mohan
Source Link

No single word better describes today’s international system than “competition.” China and Russia are competing with the United States for power, influence, and access to markets across multiple continents. With its Belt and Road investments and targeted diplomacy, China is creating new partnerships across Asia, Africa, and Europe. Russia has been busy establishing new strategic links across the Middle East with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Syria. Occasionally, when their strategic interests collide, China and Russia work together, as they did on the margins of the G20 earlier this year when their heads of state met with the prime minister of India.

The United States is also competing but too often it is competing alone. As the global strategic center of gravity shifts to Asia, the Trump administration has used its Indo-Pacific strategy as an attempt to reassure allies and partners of the United States’ continued interest in the region. But putting these strategies on paper isn’t enough. Just this month, the United States sent the lowest level delegation to the East Asia Summit (EAS)—a forum seen by many in the region as the leading Indo-Pacific platform. This was followed by a very public spat with leaders of ASEAN, which the United States can ill-afford right now given China’s increasing clout in Southeast Asia. If the United States wants to keep pace with the dizzying array of new partnerships, trilaterals and quadrilaterals unfolding around the world, then it will have to not only show up but also get a lot more creative in its approach. One way to do that is to create a new trilateral partnership between the leaders of the United States, Europe and India.

9 December 2019

PORTS AND PARTNERSHIPS: DELHI INVESTS IN INDIAN OCEAN LEADERSHIP


India has begun to invest heavily, albeit quietly, in expanding its naval and air power across the Indian Ocean. The effort is driven by two factors: a desire to improve maritime domain awareness and maritime security throughout the vast region, and New Delhi’s growing anxieties about Chinese inroads in its strategic backyard. As Chinese naval forces operate more frequently in the Indian Ocean, military planners in New Delhi increasingly worry about a day when China could present a security threat not only on its Himalayan frontier but also from the sea. Meanwhile piracy, illegal fishing, and other maritime crimes remain serious concerns and potential sources of instability around the entire Indian Ocean rim. India is tackling these concerns along four tracks.

The Indian military is upgrading its naval, coast guard, and air capabilities in order to better monitor and project power farther from shore. Much of this work has been focused on the Lakshadweep archipelago off India’s west coast and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the east. India has also constructed a listening post in Madagascar to monitor traffic in the southwest Indian Ocean. Explore the map below for more details on these facilities along with India’s other efforts to expand its capabilities in the region.

A second line of effort is focused on boosting regional maritime domain awareness and creating a common operating picture through the work of the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre for the Indian Ocean Region, or IFC-IOR. The center, which was launched in 2018, processes radar and sensor data from participating countries and offers the data to partners, including all members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association. India is helping smaller neighbors upgrade their radar arrays and feed them into the IFC-IOR. France recently became the first partner nation to post a liaison officer to the center.

India’s New Attack Subs to Be Fitted With Imported Air Independent Propulsion System

By Franz-Stefan Gady

The Indian Navy’s second batch of six diesel-electric attack submarines (SSK) under the Ministry of Defense’s (MoD) Project-75 India (Project-75 I) program will not be fitted with an indigenous air-independent propulsion (AIP) system, according to local media reports. Instead, the service will import ready-made AIP technology from a foreign vendor.

India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has been working on the development of an indigenous AIP system at its Naval Materials Research Laboratory at Ambernath with its partners Larsen & Toubro (as lead system integrator), Thermax, and the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing for a number of years.

This system, envisioned to be full developed and ready by 2024, will be installed on the Navy’s fleet of six Scorpene-class (Kalvari-class) SSKs, built under a $4.16 billion contract by French submarine maker Naval Group in cooperation with Indian shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL).

8 December 2019

Should India be bolder with China?

Suyash Desai

India could strengthen its diplomatic leverages against China by issuing statements on Xinjiang, Tibet, the South China Sea and Hong Kong.

In my opinion, India’s response to China’s diplomatic offensive of recent years has been inconsistent and sporadic. Using diplomatic tools in an institutionalised way to highlight China’s vulnerabilities is something India refrains from. This, despite China’s increased diplomatic activism against India. For instance, China raised the dilution of Article 370 in the United Nations Security Council on behalf of Pakistan. It has repeatedly blocked India’s entry into the 48-member Nuclear Supplier Group. It also took over 10 years to sponsor the blacklisting of Masood Azhar as a UN-designated global terrorist.

I believe India should not refrain from developing diplomatic leverages and using them against China, whenever required. It should issue statements on China’s “re-education camps” in Xinjiang, its activities in the South China Sea which impact India, and Hong Kong protests. It could also occasionally use Tibet as an irritant like China uses Kashmir. All of these with the presumption that India has improved its border infrastructure to at least maintain status quo in case of escalation of tensions.

Diplomatic Strategy

7 December 2019

Ten steps to $5 trillion: Lesson from RCEP fiasco is that India must execute bold reforms to become competitive

Gurcharan Das 

November 4, 2019 was a sad day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to walk out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations at the eleventh-hour, admitting that India couldn’t compete with Asia, especially China. It was a big and painful decision as this is no ordinary trade agreement. Had India joined, RCEP would have become the world’s largest free trade area comprising 16 countries, half the world’s population, 40% of global trade and 35% of world’s wealth in the fastest growing area of the world.

India should have joined RCEP. The deal on offer was a reasonably good one and many of our fears had been allayed. Our farmers had been given protection from imports of agricultural products and milk (say from New Zealand). A quarter of Chinese products had been excluded, and for the rest a long period of tariffs was allowed from 5 to 25 years. The deal offered a unique safeguard from a sudden surge of imports from China to India for 60 of the most sensitive products.

If much smaller countries in Asia – Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos, Myanmar – can compete and have joined RCEP, why can’t India? Why does it need tariff protection, normally meant for infant industries? Why are India’s companies still infants after 72 years of Independence? No nation has become prosperous without exports; open economies have consistently outperformed closed ones. The $5 trillion target cannot be achieved without exports. The lesson from this fiasco is that India must act single-mindedly and execute bold reforms to become competitive. We can still join RCEP by March 2020. Consider this period a pause to get our house in order. It’s never too late to do the right thing. Here are ten ways to make the nation competitive.

The US H-1B Visa: A Boon for High-Skilled Immigrants from India

Jacob Funk Kirkegaard 

The Trump administration’s preference for a “merit-based” immigration system over one that welcomes migrants fleeing poverty and persecution became clear in May 2019. It was then that the administration unveiled an immigration reform proposal favoring English-speaking professionals with skills to fill jobs in such fields as medicine and computer programming.

An outcry erupted after these preferences were disclosed, many critics citing the famous poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty declaring: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.” But the most recent US data available suggest that the policy has already been implemented for H-1B visas, a category that allows US employers to hire foreign nationals in certain job categories when it can be demonstrated that their skills cannot be found among US citizens. In an even more striking trend, the dominance of this important visa category by nationals from India has become pronounced.

Tracking this trend is complicated by an administration cutback in the available data. The annual Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers, which is prepared by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the US Department of Homeland Security, has not been published for the fiscal year of 2018. Instead a much less detailed USCIS Statistical Annual Report was published in early 2019, which indicates that the number of H-1B petitions processed in FY2018 fell by 2 percent from FY2017. Data on H-1B visa issuance from the US State Department support the trend. The USCIS data suggest a tightening of H-1B administrative processing procedures by the Trump administration, as the rejection rate of H-1B petitions rose to 15 percent in FY2018 from around 6 percent in 2014–17. Due to this tightening, the total number of H-1B petitions approved in FY2018 declined to 335,000, which is roughly 10 percent lower than the number of H-1B petitions approved in 2016–17 but more than the number approved in 2014–15.[1] So even if sustained, this higher level of H-1B rejections would imply only a relatively limited tightening of H-1B administrative processing procedures during the Trump administration in FY2018.

6 December 2019

4 Lessons for India From China’s October 2019 Military Parade

By Suyash Desai

With the People’s Republic of China (PRC) marking its 70th founding anniversary on October 1, the grand military parade at Tiananmen Square was the highlight of the celebrations. It showcased China’s newer arms, ammunition, and technology. Over 15,000 personnel, 160 aircraft, and 580 pieces of military equipment participated in the military parade, including sophisticated weaponry such as hypersonic missiles, intercontinental-range land and submarine-launched ballistic missiles, stealth combat and high-speed reconnaissance drones, and fifth-generation fighter jets.

China intended to address both domestic and international audiences through this parade. At home, the leadership hoped that the parade would stir up feelings of nationalism. Internationally, the display of force was intended as a warning to the United States and China’s neighbors. Further, the parade reflected the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) progress toward becoming a “world-class military” by 2050.

Although policymakers and military leaders across the world were keeping a close eye on China’s military display, perhaps those in India should have been paying the most attention. The parade was not directed at India, but New Delhi can learn a lot from China’s use of military modernization and its ongoing defense reforms. Here are four key lessons New Delhi can take from China’s 2019 military parade.

Improve Electronic and Cyber Warfare Capabilities

5 December 2019

New civil-military tensions in Pakistan aren't necessarily good news for India; New Delhi must be vigilant

Praveen Swami 

Everything had been planned with military precision, down to the last detail — bar one: Someone had forgotten that Lieutenant-General Khwaja Ziauddin would need a fourth star on his uniform when he took his place as Pakistan's next army chief. Then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, though, wasn't about to let a pip undo his plans. The prime minister's military secretary, Brigadier Javed Malik, gallantly tore a star off his own uniform, and handed it over to the newly-appointed army chief.

Late that evening, though, General Pervez Musharraf flew back to Pakistan and staged a coup. Ziauddin was relieved of his new rank at gunpoint. Malik never got his pip back. Nawaz went to prison, and then exile.

From his hospital bed in London, the former prime minister will be watching television with some satisfaction. Tuesday's extraordinary orders by Pakistan's Supreme Court, suspending now-army chief General Qamar Bajwa's three-year term until it can hear the case, mark an historic challenge to military supremacy in Pakistan — one that could open the way for prime ministers to pin pips on whom they wish.

Behind the courtroom drama, though, there is a larger struggle playing out. Evicted from office by Bajwa, and then imprisoned, to enable the rise of Prime Minister Imran Khan's proxy-for-the-generals government, Nawaz is once again being seen as a credible partner by actors in the military opposed to Bajwa.

4 December 2019

Neil Basu, UK top cop who killed London Bridge attack suspect, was a victim of racism too

NAYANIMA BASU

New Delhi: Anil Kanti “Neil” Basu, the top British counter-terror cop, who has risen to international limelight once again after the London Bridge incident in which he and his team nabbed and shot dead the British terror convict Usman Khan Friday, has ties to India.

The assistant commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police, also known as Scotland Yard or the Yard, Basu’s roots can be traced back to Calcutta, now Kolkata, from where his father – Pankaj Kumar Basu – hailed. His father relocated to the UK in 1961 and was married to his mother, a nurse in Wales.

Basu’s father was a surgeon with the UK police for 40 years. Thus, taking up policing as his career came naturally to him although his father wanted him to be a banker or lawyer.

Basu’s first job was with Barclays Bank, which he took up immediately after graduating from Nottingham University with a major in Economics. But he eventually joined the Metropolitan Police at the age of 24 and was quickly promoted to being a sergeant in Brixton area.

HTLS 2019: The China-Pak nexus is a threat. India is countering it well | Opinion

Jayadev Ranade
Source Link

The government’s move has been timely, and comes just before the China-Pakistan nexus begins to more directly threaten Kashmir. India has now begun to mainstream Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the country, further consolidating its sovereignty(Bloomberg)

There is a churn in international politics. In Asia, this decade has witnessed the rise of countries such as India and Vietnam. Japan is seeking to regain its lost influence in the region. But the most dynamic of all these nations is China, which poses a challenge to the existing world order and the primacy of the United States (US).

China’s President Xi Jinping declared as much at the 19th Party Congress in 2017, when he advocated a concept of “community of common destiny of shared values”. In this backdrop, countries are exploring the possibility of new relationships, while assessing the impact of potential changes on their societies, security and values. The US and western nations are apprehensive of China’s challenge. So are China’s neighbours.