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

28 May 2017

Why New Delhi has toughened its stance against Pakistan on Kashmir situation

New Delhi has come down hard on stone pelters and protestors in militancy-hit Kashmir and adopted a tough posture towards Pakistan trying to foment unrest in the region

Defence analysts are of the opinion that tough-talking is now imperative to the Kashmir narrative given the fact that Pakistan has been cashing in on this civil unrest. Photo: Hindustan Times

New Delhi: For the past many months, New Delhi has been seen as adopting a hardline stance towards the situation in Kashmir—coming down hard on stone pelters and protestors in the militancy-hit region as well as adopting a tough posture towards Pakistan trying to foment unrest in the region or push in terrorists to stoke insurgency there.

Sample this: a tough talking Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat reportedly warned in February that locals who try and disrupt anti-terror operations in Kashmir will be treated as “overground workers of terrorists” and can be fired on.

27 May 2017

** The Naxal movement burst to life 50 years ago on this day. A revolutionary remembers May 24, 1967

 Sudeep Chakravarti

There really is a place called Naxalbari. It’s a small town with its own tiny railway station and state highway, straddling the route that links northern Bihar to northern Bengal, through forest, farmland and tea gardens. But the Naxalbari of revolutionary grammar is really a cluster of villages and hamlets with quirky names from nature and history: Hatighisa, after elephants; Phansideoa, literally, hanged; Bagdogra, derived from bagh or tiger. These are places on the way to Naxalbari from Siliguri.

Abhi [Abhijit Mazumdar, Charu Mazumdar’s son] and I get on to a small bus at Hospital Mor. We’re off to a place just shy of Naxalbari. From Hospital Mor all buses lead through a slice of the region known as Dooars to Panitanki – literally, water tank – at Nepal’s eastern border. A sliver meanders on to Khoribari for a dip south towards Katihar in Bihar.

It takes an age to negotiate Siliguri’s former pride and joy, Hill Cart Road, the sedate avenue of my childhood, now a smoking, honking mayhem of pedestrians, rickshaws, auto rickshaws, buses, scooters and motorcycles, and all manner of cars, sub-compact to luxury sedan.

26 May 2017


Pravin Sawhney

Staying away from a potent regional power is not an option for India. Conflicts with Beijing need quick resolution for a productive Act East policy

India needs its Henry Kissinger who could advise US President Donald Trump that US-Sino relations need not — and should not — become a zero-sum game. In a dramatic turnaround which caught analysts by surprise, Trump moved from a confrontationist to cooperative approach with China within 100 days of assuming the presidency.

Not so with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Brushing aside the glaring national power-difference with China, and the high stakes involved in hostility, he seems to have sought refuge in perception management for political dividends. There is no other way to rationalise India’s outright rejection of Chinese invitation to him and six Cabinet Ministers to participate in the recently concluded Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in Beijing.

India is the 7th most terror affected country. Pakistan 4th

The world’s most developed countries have suffered a dramatic increase in deaths as a result of terrorism in the last year, according to the new Global Terrorism Index, despite a drop in the global number of terrorism-related deaths.

There was a 650 per cent increase in fatal terror attacks on people living in the world’s biggest economies in 2015, the Global Terrorism Index 2016 reveals.

However, the study also shows that across the world as a whole, the number of deaths from terrorism fell 10 per cent to 29,376, compared to the previous year.

Here’s a look at the 10 most dangerous countries in the world.

With 289 deaths in 2015, India ranks seventh in the world of countries most affected by terrorism.

The deaths from terrorism in India decreased to the second lowest level since 2000. However, there were four per cent more attacks, totalling 800 and representing the highest number since 2000.

For all the chest-thumping, India cannot win a war against Pakistan

Raghu Raman

In the 1983 film WarGames, a nuclear war simulation is accidentally started by a supercomputer designed to take over in the event of the Cold War spiralling out of control. After evaluating all the possibilities, the computer declares that “war is a strange game, in which the only winning move—is not to play.” That advice is possibly truest for India right now.

For all the xenophobic war mongering touted in every medium, India cannot “win” a war against Pakistan and the sooner we appreciate this politico-military reality, the more coherent and serious we will sound to our adversaries and the world community. The demands for a “once and for all” resolution of Kashmir/Pakistan emanating from several quarters, which surprisingly includes some veterans—equating India’s non-retaliation with impotence—perhaps don’t factor the larger picture and the stark truth of modern military warfare.

Matter of fact, short of total genocide, no country regardless of its war-withal can hope to achieve a decisive victory with a “short war” in today’s world. As the US is discovering eight years, trillion dollars, and over 25,000 casualties later—in Afghanistan. That era of “decisive” short wars, especially in the Indo-Pak context, is largely over because of several reasons. That era of “decisive” short wars, especially in the Indo-Pak context, is largely over. 

India Objects to China's Belt and Road Initiative—and It Has a Point

by Alyssa Ayres

Journalists take pictures outside the venue of a summit at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China, May 15, 2017. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

The grandiose Belt and Road Forum—a symbol of China’s foreign policy stepping-out as a global connectivity visionary—kicked off on May 14 with a notable absentee: India.

On May 13, India’s Ministry of External Affairs released its formal response to a question about Indian representation at the Belt and Road Forum, attended by “nearly three dozen” heads of state and dozens of senior officials from around the world. It’s worth reading in full.

The statement abandons the typical language Indian officialdom crafts to be as inoffensive as possible to the greatest number of countries. Citing India’s commitment to physical connectivity “in an equitable and balanced manner,” the statement itemizes a series of principles for infrastructure projects that sound like a World Bank investment monitoring report: “must be based on universally recognized international norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency and equality” “must follow principles of financial responsibility to avoid projects that would create unsustainable debt burden for communities”“balanced ecological and environmental protection and preservation standards” “transparent assessment of project costs” “skill and technology transfer to help long term running and maintenance of the assets created by local communities” “must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity” India obviously believes that Belt and Road projects do not meet the above criteria.

The Daily Fix: Without a political strategy, punitive assaults on the LoC mean little

Rohan Venkataramakrishnan

 The Indian Army on Tuesday announced that it had carried out punitive assaults on the Line of Control to deal with the infiltration attempts supported by Pakistani firing. In an unusually public briefing, Major General Ashok Narula spoke to the press and said that the Army was attempting to dominate the line of control as part of its counter-terrorism efforts, especially ahead of the summer when it is easier for militants to cross the LoC. Narula even released a video which, he claimed, showed a Pakistani post beyond destroyed by Indian firing, proof of the Army’s ‘punitive assault’ approach.

The decision to make a public briefing is rather unusual, since the Army tends to either speak directly to the opposing army or respond in kind to any provocation. Although Narula didn’t mention it, the timing of the video – which the Army dates to May 10 – seems to suggest that it is in some measure retaliation for what the Indian government said was the mutilation of two soldiers by Pakistani troops earlier in May. Though the Army insists it is currently attempting to dominate the LoC ahead of the summer infilitration season, it is hard not to draw connections to the earlier fracas.

Water pincer against India

Brahma Chellaney, 

China steps up its challenge to India by signing an accord with Pakistan to fund and build two mega-dams in Gilgit-Baltistan, which the United Nations recognizes as a disputed region and part of Jammu and Kashmir.

China, which is working to re-engineer the trans-boundary flows of rivers originating in Tibet, has taken its dam-building frenzy to Pakistan-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan, which is part of Jammu and Kashmir. In a new challenge to India, which claims Gilgit-Baltistan as its own territory, China will fund and build two Indus mega-dams at a total cost of $27 billion, according to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in Beijing during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit. The MoU came the same day India announced its boycott of China’s “one belt, one road” (OBOR) summit, saying no country “can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

Such is the mammoth size of the planned 7,100-megawatt Bunji Dam and the 4,500-megawatt Bhasha Dam that India does not have a single dam measuring even one-third of Bunji in power-generating-capacity terms. In fact, the total installed hydropower generating capacity in India’s part of J&K currently does not equal the size of even the smaller of the two planned dams in Gilgit. Still, Pakistan disingenuously rails against India’s modest hydropower projects in J&K and has sought fresh international arbitral tribunal proceedings against India over two projects, including the tiny 330-megawatt Kishenganga.

25 May 2017

A Realist Explanation for India’s Rejection to the US Offer of Mediation

There are many recent events that suggest that Indian-Pakistani ties are returning to a hazardous level of mutual hostility. Despite some attempts to create diplomatic dialogues, both countries still see themselves as rivals. Recently, a Pakistani military court had sentenced an Indian to death for espionage and New Delhi accused Pakistani officials of killing and mutilating two Indian officials in Kashmir. Moreover, non-state actors’ actions make this context more complicated. Terrorist attacks against Indian military units and riots in Kashmir against security forces repression hamper bilateral solutions. For those reasons, the United States ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, member of Indian-American community, stated that Trump’s administration considers to assist India and Pakistan to de-escalate their historical conflictual relationship. It is not the first time that an external international actor offered to mediate this question; but, as usual, Indian government readily refused any direct third-party role in resolving it.

During the presidential campaign, Trump attended to a Hindu-American rally in New Jersey and praised Narendra Modi. Not only Trump’s willingness to lure the Indian-American community, but also his similarities with Modi’s political strategy induced analysts to try to interpret what would represent a concomitant government of two nationalists for their countries’ ties. Indeed, their campaign were very similar: they both ran a national campaign against a “corrupt establishment”, faced a member of a traditional political family, criticized the government for being “too soft” on fighting terrorism, heavily used social media, and spoke as the ordinary people’s representative. Moreover, Trump’s proclaimed acquiescence with Indian concerns over terrorism in Asia expressed in a phone call with Modi, which the American president considered the Asiatic country a “truly friend”, provided arguments for those who affirmed that two heads of State could boost Indian-American relations due to their closeness in terms of ideology.

Is Indian Air Force prepared to fight a two-front war, mount an effective defence?

Prakash Nanda

Last week, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa sent a personal letter to nearly 12,000 officers of the Indian Air Force (IAF), asking them to be prepared for operations "at a very short notice". The 'personal' letter is believed to be the first of its kind written by an Indian air chief – though it is known that two army chiefs, Field Marshal KM Cariappa in May 1950 and General K Sundarji in February 1986, had sent similar letters to the Indian Army officers.

Of course, in his personal letter, the air chief has written on a plethora of issues, all intended to boost the morale of his officers, but the timing of his letter seems to be influenced by the deteriorating relations with Pakistan and heightening of insurgency in Jammu & Kashmir.

In fact, the air chief’s letter assumes further significance amidst reports that India may be forced to fight a two-front war in the future, given China’s increasing bellicosity. Reports suggest that faced with a two-front war scenario against Pakistan and China, the IAF will deploy its latest Rafale combat aircraft – 36 of them are to be procured from France – at Ambala in Haryana (keeping in mind Pakistan) and Hasimara in West Bengal (to meet the Chinese challenge).

One Belt One Road: How India Can More Than Match China’s Grand Design

Jay Srinivasan

A market-driven, conservative capital-spending, and more cautious India has distinct advantages that China does not.

China strode big and tall in its “coming out” ceremony, its biggest and grandest demonstration of emerging big power status, at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on Sunday. The event and the importance the country attaches to it were not lost on most countries, especially India, which chose to not participate and did not send a delegation.

The monumental strategic project that China has referred to under various names over the years – “One Belt One Road” (OBOR), “Belt Road Initiative”, etc - is basically envisaged as a modern-day equivalent of the Silk Road that traversed Eurasia in mediaeval times. In its modern avatar, China has re-envisioned it as an economic corridor connecting landmass and sea stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea on the one hand and from South China Sea to the Indian Ocean on the other.


Obviously, the idea of ​​a new Silk Road is the basis for the PRC's foreign policy in the Eurasian space. Cheap labor, combined with huge financial resources and the completion of the renovation of almost all major infrastructure projects inside China, force Beijing to actively and accurately work in the countries of Central Asia.

In this respect, cooperation with Pakistan is quite indicative, where, because of the Chinese investments, the country goes through a political, social and economic transformation. The countries of the former Soviet space in Asia are also necessary for the expansion of Chinese capabilities and transport routes towards Europe.

24 May 2017

How Blue Ocean Diplomacy Can Help India Do More Than Just Counter China’s OBOR

Jay Srinivasan

Ambrose Bierce, American Civil War soldier, writer, wit and someone who was considered as one of the country’s foremost satirists of his century, once described diplomacy as “the patriotic art of lying for one’s country”. China’s grand inauguration of its gigantic ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) project fits neatly into Bierce’s definition. They lied. OBOR is nothing short of war at a global scale, without a single shot having to be fired.

AIIB Makes Its First Loan to India, the Bank's Second-Largest Shareholder

By Ankit Panda

Earlier this month, the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) approved its first-ever loan for a project in India. The AIIB will lend $160 million to back a power project in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. India is a founding member of the AIIB, where it is the second-largest shareholder, behind China.

The AIIB is a development bank first announced by China in October 2013, at the same time Chinese President Xi Jinping introduced the Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road initiatives — the two pillars of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The bank began operations in January 2016.

According to a release by the AIIB, the $160 million loan will go toward the 24×7 Power for All initiative “with the objective to strengthen the power transmission and distribution system in the State of Andhra Pradesh.” The Power for All initiative was launched in 2014 by the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make the establishment of power supply infrastructure across the country a priority.

23 May 2017

For Kashmir, CPEC Highlights Divisions

By Fahad Shah

The disputed Kashmir region is now at the center of the ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, as the route passes through the region of Gilgit-Baltistan, part of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. India’s opposition to the CPEC is based primarily on its claim to Gilgit-Baltistan. China’s position has, however, been neutral on the matter to date; it has asked India to join CPEC and solve the Kashmir issue with Pakistan through dialogue.

CPEC, worth $56 billion, is a network of motorways, railways, hydropower, and other developmental projects that is going to give a new dimension to Pakistan’s economy and development in the coming years. The China-Pakistan relationship goes back decades, with Beijing having long helped Islamabad enrich its defense and nuclear capabilities. Between the three nuclear powers, Kashmir has been a long-standing conflict; around half-a-million Indian troops currently control the Indian side against the majority’s will.

The debate over Kashmir in relation to the CPEC started after India raised concerns that China and Pakistan were using a territory that is an “integral part” of India. However, Gilgit-Baltistan has been part of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir with minor opposition from locals. In Indian-controlled Kashmir, the view of the pro-independence leaders and the pro-India regional government is that Kashmir could become a gateway to Central Asia. The question, however, is whether the political dispute over Kashmir will be affected by the rift over CPEC continuing between India and the so-called “iron brothers,” China and Pakistan.

Guns At Last: Indian Army Is Finally Getting New Artillery Guns It Desperately Needs

Prakhar Gupta

With over thee different type of guns ordered and indigenous initiatives taken up, India seems well on its way to plug the critical gaps in the Army’s firepower.

The Indian Army on Thursday received the first two of the 145 M777 Ultra-Light Howitzers (ULH) ordered from the United States, the first batch of new artillery units that the country has bought after it imported Bofors guns from Sweden starting 1986. The delivery of these guns, first addition to the Indian artillery strength in over 30 years, brings an end to what is termed as the ‘Bofors jinx’.

Manufactured by BAE Systems, the guns were bought by India in a $737 million deal inked in November 2016. Of the 145 guns sold to India under the Foreign Military Sales programme of the US government, 25 will be imported and the remaining assembled in India in partnership with the Mahindra group.

The purchase of these guns was a part of the Army’s wider strategy, drawn in the Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan of 1999, aimed at acquisition of 3,000 modern artillery systems of various types, to equip its 220 artillery regiments by 2027.

Over a decade and a half later, the plan has finally begun to materialise. But what delayed the acquisition of new artillery guns for over 30 years?

22 May 2017

** WannaCry cyber attack: It's bad India is crying, but even more scary is govt response

If you haven’t noticed, the world wide web is under attack. Experts, and not just the experts with private cyber security firms but also the ones employed by the likes of Interpol, call it probably the single biggest and most serious cyber attack ever. Yes, this is WannaCry we are talking about. Starting from Saturday, lakhs of computers connected to the web has been attacked and taken over by WannaCry worm, which is a ransomware. Many services and companies have been affected as the people behind the WannaCry have taken over the computers and have demanded ransom in bit coins.

It’s scary to see how WannaCry has affected some of the vital service. It has apparently popped up on networks run by airports, train authorities, hospitals, police departments, municipal services and others across the world. But the sad part is that India is a country that has been affected worst. In terms of absolute number of computers affected by WannaCry, India is actually on top pf the list. Why, how and what can be done now? These are a lot of questions but the scariest part of the whole WannaCry story in India is that the government doesn’t even acknowledge the severity of the issue.

All, in good time though. Before I talk of why India has been affected so badly by WannaCry and what can be done, a quick look at how India has been affected.
WannaCry in Kolkata

“Baahubali 1”: The Beginning of Truly Indian Armaments for Indian Arms

By: Rear Admiral Sudarshan Y Shrikhande (Retd)

Part of this article’s title merely reflects the current popularity of a clash of arms thanks to Bollywood. However, should we not purposefully, pragmatically and prudently embark on indigenously enhancing the “bal” (strength) of our “baahu” (arms)? If we do not, it is possible that the outcomes of clashes of arms may not necessarily be in our favour. That would be bad news that could be significantly prevented by Indianisation of ordnance. A semantic distinction (also implied in the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) as Make Indian Indigenously Designed,

Developed and Manufactured) can be introduced here. When IDDM becomes part of the defence hardware production environment over a period, the subsequent products could genuinely be called Indian DDM instead of Indigenous DDM. That would be the essence of what this writer calls the required shift from Make in India to Made in India. This is the transformation that occurred in Imperial Japan, Communist China and even in 19th century US and Tsarist Russia. (Note: Ordnance is used here to denote every category of ammunition including all Precision Guided Munition (PGM) and guided munitions, except missiles meant for strategic nuclear deterrence.)

Lack of Blast from the Past

Our past experience of conflicts may not provide the templates for the intense (very likely) and short (questionable) conflicts that many in India assume would automatically be the case. Made in India ordnance, in short, provides us the vital fuel for waging intense wars/ preventing intense wars and fighting prolonged wars, should that be the case. How do we future-proof ourselves?

21 May 2017

An Indian Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missile Test Failed Shortly After Launch. What Happened?

By Ankit Panda

India will be looking to get to the bottom of what caused an Agni-2 MRBM to fail early in flight in user-testing. 

On Thursday, India sought to test one of its Agni-II nuclear-capable medium-range ballistic missiles. The user-trial, which took place on Abdul Kalam Island off India’s eastern coast on Thursday, failed, according to sources who spoke to the Press Trust of India. “The two-stage, solid-fueled missile was just half a kilometer into its initial flight trajectory when things went awry. The mission had to be aborted,” one source noted. The Agni-II, first tested by India’s Defense Research and Development Organisation, has been a cornerstone of India’s strategic nuclear forces since the mid-2000s.

India has seen its fair share of missile tests recently, most notably with the Nirbhay cruise missile program as my colleague Franz-Stefan Gady has explained, but an Agni-II failing a user-trial may be a source of concern. At this point, with neither the Indian Department of Defense or the Defense Research and Development Organisation having made any comment or released any further information, there’s little to go on but the anonymously sourced comment. Still, given what little we know about this test and the Agni-II, there are a few possible explanations for what went wrong.

Too many spies spoil the intelligence broth

Vinay Kaura

Following the deadly Maoist attack in Sukma last month, India’s various intelligence agencies have come under scathing criticism. The parliamentary standing committee on home affairs, in its report submitted in April, noted the increasing incidence of terror attacks which “exposed the deficiencies of our intelligence agencies” and lamented the lack of analysis of the “failure of the intelligence agencies to provide credible and actionable inputs regarding the attacks at Pathankot, Uri, Pampore, Baramulla and Nagrota”. Clearly, intelligence strategy continues to be India’s Achilles’ heel and there is an urgent need for its re-articulation.

Deficiencies in the intelligence framework have often led to the growth of India’s intelligence ‘community’.

The Kargil intrusion in 1999 convinced the government that India’s national security mechanism stood in need of comprehensive overhaul. Subsequently, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) was designated as the premier counter-terrorism agency and authorized to create a multi-agency centre (MAC) which was to be an intelligence-sharing ‘fusion centre’ in New Delhi.