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

13 July 2020

Interpreting the India-Nepal border dispute


On May 8, India’s defence minister virtually inaugurated a new 80 km-long road in the Himalayas, connecting to the border with China, at the Lipulekh pass. The Nepali government protested immediately, contending that the road crosses territory that it claims and accusing India of changing the status quo without diplomatic consultations.

Among the many escalatory moves since then, Nepal deployed police forces to the region, summoned the Indian ambassador in Kathmandu, and initiated a constitutional amendment to formalise and extend its territorial claims over approximately 400 sq km. India, on the other hand, has conveyed its openness to a dialogue but does not seem to share Nepal’s sense of urgency: its initial statement agreed to a dialogue, but only after the COVID-19 crisis.

Over one month later, the bilateral crisis seems to now be stuck in a stalemate, a worrisome trend in otherwise friendly India-Nepal relations. Dr. Constantino Xavier, Fellow, Brookings India, answers some of the key questions on the crisis, the possible factors that escalated the dispute, the geostrategic context, and ways to de-escalate towards a solution.

Calls for India to Play the Taiwan Card Grow Louder

By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Amid the continuing border standoff, there is increasing public antagonism toward China in India. This matches growing anger among Indian elites toward China and India’s current China policy, which I wrote about last week. This is leading to more public discussion about possible asymmetric diplomatic strategies to challenge China, such as altering India’s “one China policy” to enhance India’s relations with Taiwan. 

For example, a prominent Indian national newspaper, Indian Express, editorialized in May that India should be pragmatic in considering the question of Taiwan’s observer status in the World Health Assembly: the decision “should not be made either out of peevishness or fear.” The editorial argued that New Delhi should judge the issue on “apolitical appreciation of the specific technical issues involved.” Thus, though the paper did not call for changing India’s general policy on China and Taiwan, it was a reflection of the growing debate about the general unhappiness with India’s ultra-cautious policy when it comes to China. 

12 July 2020

Why India and Russia Are Going to Stay Friends

BY EMILY TAMKIN

In December 1971, India and Pakistan fought for 13 days—one of the shortest wars in history—over the humanitarian crisis in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. India had, for months, been trying to convince the world that West Pakistan’s subjugation of East Pakistan was an emergency. Refugees from East Pakistan were pouring into India, and the situation would only be improved with a resolution of the political predicament between West and East Pakistan.

The Soviet Union was the only country that listened. In August of that year, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi signed the India-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation. Gandhi had held off on completing the agreement for domestic political reasons; she had not wanted to give fodder to those political opponents who accused her of being too cozy with the Soviet Union. But international concerns were soon more pressing: With the signing of the treaty, the Soviet Union provided India both the diplomatic and arms support it needed for the war Gandhi knew was coming, helping India over Pakistan.

While the world in 2020 is in many ways changed from that time, 1971 looms large in the India-Russia relationship today. Moscow was a reliable partner for New Delhi when no one else was. And the United States, meanwhile, actively ignored India’s pleas to deal with the situation in East Pakistan: President Richard Nixon and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger considered Pakistan a key go-between in opening relations with China.

How Shared Distrust of China Is Fueling Closer India-Australia Relations

Ian Hall

Had Scott Morrison traveled to New Delhi as planned in January, it would have been the fourth such trip by an Australian prime minister in a decade, a testament to the considerable effort successive governments in Canberra have made to build a viable strategic partnership with India. But a bushfire crisis at home, as well as the coronavirus pandemic, forced Morrison and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, to settle for a virtual summit on June 4.

If the two leaders were disappointed by this outcome, they certainly did not show it. Both took to social media to make a show of bilateral friendship, with Morrison posting pictures on Twitter of homemade vegetarian “ScoMosas”—a play on his nickname, ScoMo, and samosas—and expressing regret that Modi could not taste one. On cue, the Indian prime minister replied that they looked “delicious.”

India’s TikTok Ban Dispels the Myth of the ‘China Bogeyman’


Mark Zuckerberg and US tech giants argue that regulation will allow China to dominate. But in reality, the global market rejects unregulated, invasive tech.

If Congress truly wishes to show leadership and protect the American national security interest, it will recognize this global movement to regulate Silicon Valley.

IN APRIL 2018, as Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress amid the Cambridge Analytica scandal, photojournalists captured a fascinating line of argument in the Facebook founder’s typed notes: “Breakup strengthens Chinese companies,” it read.

This defense, which the company’s executives have wielded repeatedly in the past two years, argues that concerns over Facebook’s monopoly power voiced by US senators Lindsey Graham and Elizabeth Warren and others are misplaced. If Congress broke up or regulated Facebook, or another US tech giant, then regulation-free Chinese companies would come to dominate the world. Chinese monoliths could continue to exploit digital markets through privacy invasion, algorithmic processing, and participation in industrial policy with China’s government with impunity. Regulation would also supposedly allow US companies to be bludgeoned into oblivion, because they’d lose the ability to personalize social feeds and manipulate the media experience to maximize user engagement. Eric Schmidt has also suggested that breaking up Big Tech will only help China. Indeed, this argument has resonated even in Congress, given the concerns over American economic security it implicitly raises.

11 July 2020

India and Pakistan Could Start a Nuclear War (And Billions Would Die)

by Sebastien Roblin
Source Link

Here's What You Need to Remember: Even a “limited” India-Pakistan nuclear war would significantly affect every person on the globe, be they a school teacher in Nebraska, a factory-worker in Shaanxi province or a fisherman in Mombasa.

Between February 26 and 27 in 2019, Indian and Pakistani warplanes launched strikes on each other’s territory and engaged in aerial combat for the first time since 1971. Pakistan ominously hinted it was convening its National Command Authority, the institution which can authorize a nuclear strike.

The two states, which have retained an adversarial relationship since their founding in 1947, between them deploy nuclear warheads that can be delivered by land, air and sea.

However, those weapons are inferior in number and yield to the thousands of nuclear weapons possessed by Russia and the United States, which include megaton-class weapons that can wipe out a metropolis in a single blast.

Some commenters have callously suggested that means a “limited regional nuclear war” would remain an Indian and Pakistani problem. People find it difficult to assess the risk of rare but catastrophic events; after all, a full-scale nuclear war has never occurred before, though it has come close to happening.

Indian, Chinese Soldiers Move Away from Site of Deadly Clash

Aijaz Hussain, Emily Schmall and Sam McNeil

Indian and Chinese soldiers have backed away from the site of a deadly clash last month in the Galwan Valley along the undemarcated border, Indian security officials said, a sign of the countries’ progress in disengaging from a months-long standoff.

The two sides also appeared to have dismantled recent construction along the river valley high in the Karakoram mountains, satellite images showed.

Three Indian security officials familiar with the developments said soldiers on both sides have moved back about a kilometer (0.6 mile) from the site of their clash on June 15, when military personnel fought with rocks, clubs and their fists in hand-to-hand combat that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter and in keeping with government regulations. 

9 July 2020

The Crisis India Needed

DEVESH KAPUR

WASHINGTON, DC – The ongoing standoff between Chinese and Indian forces along the two countries’ disputed Himalayan border recently resulted in the first troop casualties there in decades, with some Indian soldiers killed in particularly brutal fashion. Moreover, the intensity of China’s multiple cross-border incursions suggests approval from the highest levels of the Chinese government.

Satellite pictures confirm that Chinese forces have occupied at least 60 square kilometers (23.2 square miles) of territory that India claims as its own. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has downplayed this uncomfortable reality, perhaps out of concern that publicly acknowledging the truth would inflame domestic public opinion and fuel a highly undesirable escalation of tensions. A less benign interpretation, however, is that the government is embarrassed, because its claim to be more muscular than its predecessor in confronting external aggression has been proven hollow.

But China’s recent saber-rattling may paradoxically benefit India by jolting it out of one of its periodic stupors. After its disastrous 1962 war with China, for example, India undertook a sweeping modernization of its military and subsequently won a decisive victory in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War.

8 July 2020

Making Sense of the Recent China-India Clashes

 Harsh V. Pant and Kriti M. Shah
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The original article charted changes in South Asia’s geopolitical landscape since the end of the Cold War, and particularly how other major powers, including the United States, Russia, and China, have adapted to the rise of India and how this has impacted the relationship between India and Pakistan. In June 2020, the deadliest clashes between India and China on parts of their disputed borders since a brief conflict in 1962 erupted. Orbis editor Nikolas Gvosdev turned to Professor Harsh V. Pant, director of studies at Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi and Professor of International Relations at King’s College London, for his thoughts on recent developments and how these events fit into the overall geopolitical analysis he and his co-author, Kriti M. Shah, presented last year.

Can you give us a thumbnail sketch of the recent clashes between India and China?

Since the start of May, Indian and Chinese forces have been squaring off in the tough terrain of the Line of Actual Control, the un-demarcated border known as LAC—more than 3,000 kilometers for India and 2,000 for China. Reflecting heightened nationalism from both Asian powers, the conflict took a dramatic turn on June 16 when clashes in Ladakh led to the deaths of at least 20 Indian troops and an unconfirmed number of Chinese troops. The confrontation emerges as the biggest and most serious border crisis since the 73-day Doklam standoff in 2017 when Indian soldiers detected construction activity on what is considered disputed territory on the Doklam Plateau and had to cross into Bhutan to restore status quo ante.

7 July 2020

Darkening Mood in Delhi Over China

By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

The Sino-Indian border confrontation may fundamentally alter Sino-Indian relations, if the darkening mood in New Delhi is any indication. Diplomatic and military negotiations have been ongoing since the June 15 clash at the Galwan River, but they do not appear to be yielding much progress. Not only has there been no troop disengagement on the border, both India and China appear to be sending more troops to the border.

China is also reported to be building up forces opposite the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, hundreds of kilometers to the east of the current confrontation. Adding to an already complex situation, Pakistan is sending almost 20,000 troops to territories it controls on India’s western flank opposite Ladakh, confronting India with a possible two-front problem. Pakistani radars are also reported to be active. Citing military sources, reports say that the Skardu air base in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) has been active as well. China is reportedly in talks with cadres of terrorist groups such as Al Badr to possibly stir-up violence in Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian Air Force and the Navy are also reportedly on high alert. 

6 July 2020

India Shows the World How to Use ‘Cyberspace Sovereignty’ Against China

By Chauncey Jung

On Monday, the government of India announced its decision to ban 59 Chinese mobile applications within its borders. In a statement from the country’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, governing authorities from India accuse these Chinese mobile applications, including TikTok, WeChat, and Weibo, of mining user data and transferring data to servers outside of the country.

The ban on Chinese mobile applications was not appreciated by the Chinese government. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed concerns over the decisions and urged India to “uphold the legitimate rights of international investors.”

Despite showing concerns about another country restricting the use of certain mobile applications within its domestic network, China has consistently blocked foreign apps, websites, and other internet services using its “Great Firewall,” which stops internet users in China from accessing websites such as Google, the New York Times, and The Diplomat. Smartphone users are also not allowed to use mobile applications such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

The Chinese regime also has strict restrictions on the distribution of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), which can be used to get around the restrictions. In 2018, a software engineer faced criminal charges and received a suspended prison sentence for selling software that helped internet users to bypass the Chinese government’s Great Firewall to visit prohibited websites.

5 July 2020

India’s Great Firewall Against China Could Backfire

By Mohamed Zeeshan

In an unprecedented move this week, India banned 59 Chinese smartphone apps, including popular applications such as TikTok and CamScanner. The government justified the decision on the basis of “data security” and “privacy” concerns which, the Ministry of Information Technology said, also pose a threat to India’s “sovereignty and security.”

Privacy concerns have been buzzing around India’s digital economy for years, but the timing of the move suggests that its impetus lies elsewhere. The Modi government hopes that this decision will serve as retaliation against Beijing for the long-running border tensions between the two countries.

During the course of the ongoing standoff, many Indians have repeatedly called for economic boycott measures against China. The problem is that India’s share in Chinese trade is far too small to make much of a dent (by some estimates, Vietnam is statistically more influential on this count).

But the internet is a different battlefield. Chinese apps have proven increasingly popular in India’s massive market in recent years: According to one report, they accounted for over 60 percent of the Indian market in 2019, after having been only a fraction of that in 2015. Last year, TikTok clocked over 300 million downloads in India – nearly 80 million more than the second-placed WhatsApp. And six out of the top ten most popular apps in India were Chinese.

Why a Trade War With China Is a Bad Idea for India

BY JAMES CRABTREE
Source Link

Relations between the United States and China have sunk to such lows in recent years that it is now easy enough to imagine the two nations eventually going to war. Yet this month’s deadly Himalayan skirmishes suggest China is far likelier to usher in a new era of military conflict with its neighbor India.

Both nations now face dilemmas as they seek to avoid that prospect, after their monthlong standoff degenerated into a bloody fracas in mid-June, leaving 20 Indian soldiers dead alongside an unknown number of Chinese. Deescalating the crisis will be hard enough. More important will be how each side rethinks the countries’ long-term relationship as strategic competitors. Of the two, India faces tougher challenges: With limited military options, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing growing pressure to boycott Chinese goods as part of a more general turn toward self-reliance and protectionism—a strategy that would be precisely the wrong way to tackle the long-term threat of a rising China.

China’s dilemma is simpler: namely, whether it is wise to antagonize all of its competitors at once. That Beijing is riling its neighborhood is obvious. Australia complains about Chinese cyberattacks, albeit without directly naming China. Japan is alarmed about Chinese patrols near the disputed Senkaku or Diaoyu islands. And now China is clashing with India, a country whose security establishment increasingly views its northern neighbor as a threat, and is currently puzzling through how to respond.

Why Russia’s relations with India and China will survive Galwan border clash

Danil Bochkov

The rise in tensions along the China-India border in the Himalayas began in early May and resulted in bloodshed earlier this month with violence in the Galwan valley. This border stand-off bears similarities to the skirmish in 2017, with the only exception being a lack of fatalities three years ago.

The intensification of this dispute has spurred concern among Nepal, Japan and other regional players who have to balance their foreign policy between China and India. It has also drawn the attention of larger powers such as the United States and Russia, with the former offering mediation but to no avail.

China and India’s current impasse poses a huge political challenge for Russia, which has established long-term strategic ties with both countries.

Russia-India relations are officially described as a “special and privileged strategic partnership”, a formula that was originally promulgated during President Vladimir Putin’s official visit to India in 2010. The special nature of their bilateral relations has been underscored several times in recent years, such as Putin’s 2018 state visit to India and a 2019 meeting between Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. The two sides adopted “India-Russia: an Enduring Partnership in a Changing World”, a 2018 joint statement in which they recognised the importance of adjusting relations in a new global reality.

China’s Indian Ocean ambitions Investment, influence, and military advantage

Joshua T. White
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China has significantly expanded its engagements in the Indian Ocean region over the past three decades, raising fears among American and Indian strategists that its growing naval presence, together with its use of so-called “debt-trap diplomacy,” might provide it with meaningful military advantages far from its shores.

Although China’s ultimate aims in the Indian Ocean remain somewhat ambiguous, it is clear that the Chinese leadership is actively pursuing capabilities that would allow it to undertake a range of military missions in the region. This paper explores five such mission objectives — ranging from relatively “benign” activities to those that would be more alarming to U.S. and Indian policy planners — and describes the kinds of defense and economic investments that China would require to carry them out. These objectives are: 1) conduct non-combat activities focused on protecting Chinese citizens and investments, and bolstering China’s soft power influence; 2) undertake counterterrorism activities, unilaterally or with partners, against organizations that threaten China; 3) collect intelligence in support of operational requirements, and against key adversaries; 4) support efforts aimed at coercive diplomacy toward small countries in the region; and 5) enable effective operations in a conflict environment, namely the ability to deter, mitigate, or terminate a state-sponsored interdiction of trade bound for China, and to meaningfully hold at risk U.S. or Indian assets in the event of a wider conflict.

4 July 2020

India’s Chinese App Ban Is Just the Beginning

By Pallavi Shahi

While the jury is still out on whether there has been a Chinese incursion in the Galwan Valley or which country rightfully lays claim to the disputed stretch of land along the Sino-India border, within India, digital and real borders are being hurriedly drawn. On June 29, the Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps including WeChat and TikTok citing the “threat to sovereignty and integrity” that these apps pose through the misuse and transmission of user data to servers outside India. As an immediate reaction, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that the Chinese government was “strongly concerned” about the ban and that it is India’s responsibility to “uphold the legitimate rights of international investors.” On the telecommunications front, the Indian government is reportedly mulling barring Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE from providing equipment to state-run telcos in their 5G upgrade, an action that could eventually include private players too.

Even prior to this official intimation, many Indians were ready and roaring to boycott anything Chinese. What began as a call to boycott Chinese apps such as TikTok immediately, and all Chinese products eventually, quickly engulfed various sectors. On June 25, the Delhi Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association announced that Chinese nationals were no longer welcome in over 3,000 hotels and guesthouses across the capital city. This came close on the heels of the Confederation of All India Traders’ (CAIT) decision to boycott Chinese products. On June 17, CAIT released a list of over 450 Chinese categories of products that were to be boycotted over “continued border skirmishes.”

India’s Great Firewall Against China Could Backfire

By Mohamed Zeeshan

In an unprecedented move this week, India banned 59 Chinese smartphone apps, including popular applications such as TikTok and CamScanner. The government justified the decision on the basis of “data security” and “privacy” concerns which, the Ministry of Information Technology said, also pose a threat to India’s “sovereignty and security.”

Privacy concerns have been buzzing around India’s digital economy for years, but the timing of the move suggests that its impetus lies elsewhere. The Modi government hopes that this decision will serve as retaliation against Beijing for the long-running border tensions between the two countries.

During the course of the ongoing standoff, many Indians have repeatedly called for economic boycott measures against China. The problem is that India’s share in Chinese trade is far too small to make much of a dent (by some estimates, Vietnam is statistically more influential on this count).

But the internet is a different battlefield. Chinese apps have proven increasingly popular in India’s massive market in recent years: According to one report, they accounted for over 60 percent of the Indian market in 2019, after having been only a fraction of that in 2015. Last year, TikTok clocked over 300 million downloads in India – nearly 80 million more than the second-placed WhatsApp. And six out of the top ten most popular apps in India were Chinese.

India in the Indo-Pacific: New Delhi’s Theater of Opportunity

DARSHANA M. BARUAH

Throughout history, the maritime domain has been a crucial space in establishing new and emerging powers shaping regional dynamics and the larger security architecture. The great power competition today is no different. As India and Australia recently recognized, “many of the future challenges are likely to occur in, and emanate from, the maritime domain” underlining the reemergence of the maritime space as the theater for geopolitical competition.1 The rise of China across the Indian and Pacific Oceans challenges the security umbrella established at the end of Second World War and strengthened after the end of the Cold War. The emergence of the Indo-Pacific as a new geographic space—bringing together the Indian and the Pacific Oceans—represents the new strategic reality of the twenty-first century.

India’s role in the Indo-Pacific is considered crucial by countries such as Australia, Japan, and the United States. However, despite New Delhi’s presence in the Indian Ocean, maritime security has actually remained outside of India’s strategic interests, concerns, and thinking, due to its continental threats. The Indo-Pacific therefore is a new domain in India’s foreign policy engagements, representing a shift in New Delhi’s strategic environment—expanding its threats solely from its continental borders to its maritime space. As Canberra, Paris, Tokyo, and Washington, DC continue to support and promote a stronger Indian role in the Indo-Pacific, this paper highlights New Delhi’s perceptions, challenges, and opportunities in the region.

Smartphone Apps Are Now a Weapon in International Disputes


IN THE IPHONE age, your smartphone home screen can be a geopolitical battleground. Earlier this month, 20 Indian soldiers died in a skirmish with Chinese troops on the countries’ contested Himalayan border. Monday, India struck a blow in the digital realm of its own citizens’ mobile devices.

The country’s Ministry of Information Technology banned 59 mobile apps, all Chinese, for allegedly endangering data security and privacy. They include China’s dominant messaging app WeChat and the wildly popular video-sharing service TikTok, owned by Bytedance, which has been downloaded more than 600 million times in India, according to app tracker Sensor Tower.

By banning the apps, India adds to a swelling global pushback on China’s technology sector in a way that brings consumers more directly into the conflict.

The Trump administration has imposed trade restrictions on Chinese technology firms and investments, citing abuses of human rights and US intellectual property by China’s government. It has helped convince allies such as Australia and Japan to block China’s Huawei from providing equipment for future 5G mobile networks over security concerns. US lawmakers have accused TikTok of being too close to China’s government; regulators are also probing TikTok’s acquisition of US social app Musical.ly.

3 July 2020

Will the India–China Border Conflict Lead to a Naval War?

By Abhijit Singh

The recent developments in Ladakh on the disputed border between India and China were shocking and tragic. The clash in Galwan Valley last week has opened up a deep fissure in India–China ties, spawning tensions that could even escalate into an all-out-war. The latest reports suggest the Indian armed forces have begun a rapid mobilisation and the Chinese military has been shoring up its positions, even as political efforts are on to defuse the crisis.

With a spiral of escalation building, a conflict so far limited to the Line of Actual Control with China could see other theatres open up, including one in the Indian Ocean. Unlike on the land border, where China has a relative advantage of terrain, military infrastructure and troop strength, India is better placed at sea. In the Eastern Indian Ocean through which most of China’s cargo and energy shipments pass, the Indian Navy is the dominant force.

In recent years, the Indian Navy has sought to consolidate strength in India’s near seas through its mission-based deployments. Since 2017, Indian warships have patrolled Indian Ocean sea lanes and choke points, including the approaches to the Malacca Strait. In its bid to keep track of Chinese submarines in the Eastern Indian Ocean, the Indian Navy has also been operating P-8I maritime patrol aircraft from the Andaman Islands. A chain of radar stations along the Indian coast has helped in providing better information about maritime movements, and a fusion centre in Gurgaon near New Delhi is helping manage tactical information in the near seas.