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

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
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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.

2 July 2020

Modi Versus Xi: The Battle Of The Nationalist Strongmen

KEVIN BROWN
Source Link

With the world consumed by the coronavirus pandemic and backlash over the murder of George Floyd that has spread beyond American borders, a very significant altercation just occurred in the Himalayas between China and India. 

The two nuclear-armed countries came to blows in the high altitude climate of hotly contested Galwan Valley in Kashmir. Preliminary reports from news sources estimate that roughly 20 Indian Army troops and potentially 43 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army died in the clash. The event holds the title for the most significant incident between Delhi and Beijing since the 1967 Nathu La and Cho La skirmishes

The dispute comes at a highly sensitive time in world affairs ongoing COVID-19 pandemic carries geopolitical implications that are significant but still unclear. The battle with Chinese forces along the Kashmiri Line of Control (LAC) could not have come at the worst time for Modi’s government. The coronavirus infection numbers are swelling throughout India despite strict lockdowns, damaging the country’s once-booming economy while posing a threat to Prime Minister’ Modi’s once secure tenure. 

After Galwan Valley Standoff, Does the Russia-India-China Trilateral Still Matter?

By Aleksei Zakharov

The China-India standoff at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Himalayas emerged as a serious test for Russia’s policy in Asia. Nurturing hopes for stability and prosperity in Eurasia, Russia’s diplomacy found itself in an intricate situation and forced to strike a balance.

Despite Moscow’s close proximity to Beijing, the Russia-China connection is still far from an alliance relationship, as both sides, even while deepening their military and political cooperation, often disagree when it comes to specifics. Still, it is hard to deny that overall Russia’s “pivot to Asia” has been overly dependent on its China policy. Unlike the glory days of Indo-Soviet friendship, today there is more room for doubt in New Delhi as to whether Russia can qualify as a shoulder to lean on.

Since India and China are both strategic partners, Moscow quite expectedly has been following a very cautious approach toward their border crisis. Until the beginning of June, Russian officials did not comment on the standoff at all, apparently trying to clarify the situation – since neither New Delhi nor Beijing had officially elaborated on the developments at the LAC.

What Does the China-India Standoff in Ladakh Mean for Pakistan?

By Muhammad Akbar Notezai

Understandably, due to its evolving ties with China and rivalry with India, Pakistan has been viewing the Ladakh standoff through a Chinese lens. The episode has gained substantial space in mainstream Pakistani media. As expected, there are India-bashing commentaries, analysis, and coverage on TV channels, along with official backing. The reason is obvious: Pakistan, like China, has its own long-standing territorial dispute with India. That has led to wars between the two countries, as well as frequent clashes along the Line of Control, dividing the disputed Kashmir between India and Pakistan. Civilians have lost their lives on both sides of de facto border.

During a violent face-off in Ladakh on the night of June 15 to 16, the Indian Army claimed to have lost 20 of its soldiers in the biggest clash between India and China in nearly 50 years. China’s Defense Ministry confirmed there had been casualties, without giving a number. There has not been independent reporting from either side. Instead, media in the two countries are largely reporting state propaganda, as usually happens with such border run-ins, calling the other side the aggressor.

In this context, it is interesting to note that India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has alienated more than one of its neighbors. Besides China and Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan also have recent complaints over their borders with India.

1 July 2020

The EU, India and Russia do not want to pick sides in a US-China contest, but they may have to

BYJEREMY CLIFFE
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What do the EU, India and Russia have in common? Very little, at first glance. But they do share one highly important thing. Brussels, New Delhi and Moscow would all like to tread a middle path between the US and China. And all are starting to realise that doing so may not be possible. As tensions between the two superpowers grow and their relationship becomes more zero-sum, the EU, India and Russia are confronted with the possibility of eventually having to pick a side.

Traditionally a US ally, the EU has also been a fairly pliant partner to China. The union’s 27 members have varying instincts and interests, so Beijing has mostly dealt with them bilaterally. It has nurtured close export relations with Germany, acquired major assets in weaker states such as Greece and Portugal, and boosted populist leaders such as Hungary’s Viktor Orbán. China’s growing influence and a weakening transatlantic relationship have prompted talk in recent years of a middle way: of European “strategic autonomy” and even “equidistance” between the two giants.

30 June 2020

After Galwan Valley Standoff, Does the Russia-India-China Trilateral Still Matter?

By Aleksei Zakharov
Source Link

The Russia-India-China trilateral meeting between (from left) Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of G-20 Summit 2019 in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019.

The China-India standoff at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Himalayas emerged as a serious test for Russia’s policy in Asia. Nurturing hopes for stability and prosperity in Eurasia, Russia’s diplomacy found itself in an intricate situation and forced to strike a balance.

Despite Moscow’s close proximity to Beijing, the Russia-China connection is still far from an alliance relationship, as both sides, even while deepening their military and political cooperation, often disagree when it comes to specifics. Still, it is hard to deny that overall Russia’s “pivot to Asia” has been overly dependent on its China policy. Unlike the glory days of Indo-Soviet friendship, today there is more room for doubt in New Delhi as to whether Russia can qualify as a shoulder to lean on.

Chinese Navy Submarines Could Become A Reality In Indian Ocean

H I Sutton

The Chinese Navy is rapidly pursuing global capabilities. A key area of future operations may be the Indian Ocean. Chinese submarines in particular could have a strategic impact if they were roaming those waters. From China’s standpoint this would protect vital sea lanes that will be vulnerable in any war. Naturally many of the world’s navies would be concerned if this were the case. Chief among them is the Indian Navy, which currently has the largest submarine fleet in the South Asia region.

For Chinese submarines, the relevant routes into the Indian Ocean are the Malacca Strait, Sunda ... [+] H I SUTTON

Concern about China’s naval expansion is a hot topic on the world stage. The U.S. Navy is increasingly pivoting towards Asia. Speaking at the Brussels Forum virtual conference on June 25, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo referenced the Chinese Communist Party’s “threats to India” and other countries in Asia. “We are going to make sure that we are postured appropriately to counter the PLA.” (People’s Liberation Army, which includes the Chinese Navy.)

China’s Indian Ocean ambitions

Joshua T. White

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.