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War With China & Pakistan Will Propel India’s Rise

The barbaric clash at the Galwan Valley has put paid to the myth of “peace and tranquillity” on the Indian borders with China. It was a myth because while neither side was shooting; China was encroaching on Indian territory in strength. Though not quite itching for war, it was coming up behind innocuous but probing foot patrols, and creating infrastructure every summer. India was too intimidated to do anything about it for decades, and the governments of the day covered it up.

There is also a fifth column operative in India that favours the Chinese point of view. It is still active, but far less influential than it used to be. China has taken the trouble to put considerable monetary resources to create an ecosystem that cheers its positions, spies for it, spreads misinformation, hacks into secrets, and subverts officials and politicians. This is not just in India and the US, but in various parts of Western Europe as well.

Negotiations are on presently to restore order and a seemly disengagement from eastern Ladakh. This might happen in some measure, but there is a perception that the Chinese will not actually leave unless they are forced out of Indian territory. The perception is bolstered by the fact that satellite pictures show a considerable and growing build up of fighting men, armaments, heavy construction equipment and materials on the Chinese side of the LaC, behind the various flash points, including the Galwan River Valley.

To build Indian clarity of purpose on the LoAC, all treaties and agreements since 1962, and indeed the Panchsheel Declaration in the fifties, have to be mentally consigned to the dustbin. India must take a page out of the Red Chinese playbook, wherein it never lets its strategic interest suffer because of a signature on a piece of paper.

India clearly thinks it is a strategic necessity to take back what China has stolen over the years or surrender to Chinese hegemony. Thanks to a foolhardy Gen Shu Keling, imported from the Xinjiang theatre just days before the night of 15 June.

China has overplayed its salami-slicing hand. Thereby, it has provided the perfect opportunity for India to set things right. This, despite Chinese vainglory about claiming territory that is not, and never did, belong to it. And outright lies about who started the fight that left it humiliated.

There were clashes before this also, over the month of May, and always featured sticks, stones, clubs. For the first time, these have been brought to the match as a subversion of the intent behind not using firearms. There were no such “non-weapons” in Doklam.

In addition, alongside the US, there are new Indian moves to call for an independent Tibet. A radio service, the Tibetan World Service, has been launched from under the All India Radio (AIR) umbrella.

India is also declaring the daily weather report in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan and include the territories prominently on our maps.

The Tibetan president-in-exile is now a regular feature on Indian, and occasionally, international TV channels. He lives in India, with his government, in addition to the popular Dalai Lama and many Tibetan refugees.

The next clash with China, wherever it comes, will probably spark a limited border war, unless China decides to meekly take its licks without an attempt to retaliate. It may not be very sure anymore of winning the battle. Nor of being able to sell their side of the story internationally. The list of countries China is presently confronting on various issues is quite long. They may be too tired to rise to the challenge.

And if they lose, men, equipment and territory, it will mean an upheaval in Xi Jinping’s fortunes, and the credibility of the People’s Liberation Ar4my (PLA), as well as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

India is busy provisioning and war-gaming towards this probability that seems more or less inevitable. The choice is between retaliation and possible war, or loss of territory. India has declared it is not willing to give up territory. An all-party meeting has been called for the 19th of June to build political consensus on this position.

China has revealed its weakness in a real fight, taking 60 casualties, as per an American think-tank, to India’s 20 at Galwan. This, despite the superior numbers it brought to the premeditated clash. The PLA is not an army that has dealt with people who can fight back. The Indians were expected to run away after their CO was killed.

Galwan was fought thug fashion, hand-to-hand. The Chinese came to it with billy clubs, iron rods wrapped in barbed wire, stones. The Indians seem to have snatched away some of their weapons and ended up beating or hurling 60 Chinese to their deaths down the cliffs.

Battle-hardened Indian troops around the country, mirror the public anger at this Chinese treachery. Soldiers in the forward areas are determined to avenge their fallen brethren at the first opportunity.

India has overnight started cutting trade ties, cancelling infrastructure contracts, barring Chinese access to the Indian market, disallowing and rolling back all Chinese investments, putting stiff tariffs on imports from China. All this will decimate China’s $ 75 billion trade surplus with India.

There will be no more hand- holding summits of the leadership in the foreseeable future.

The strategic thinking in India has changed overnight. The moment is fast approaching to push back hard, not only in Ladakh and along the nearly 4,000 Km border with China. This is a matter of survival. But to make it stick India must also take back PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan and hold it. This will post a decisive blow to the two-front challenge from China and Pakistan. A more opportune time may not come again.

International support for India is growing. It has just been inducted into the UNSC with an overwhelming number of positive votes, for a two-year term, during which it will helm the UNSC in August 2021.

The support this time is not just in terms of statements from India’s Western allies, particularly the US, calling out China’s latest border intrusions in Ladakh.

The US and others have their own bone to pick with China as well. They are moving like a wall to put China under considerable pressure economically and militarily. Everyone has had enough of China’s duplicity and expansionism, except for some of its highly beholden satellites. And of course, the paid for Indian fifth column.

America has recently transferred three of its nuclear powered aircraft carrier groups to the Pacific and off the Red Chinese coast.

It has issued military warning with regard to the South China Sea, and Taiwan. It has decided to impose sanctions on the Chinese treatment of Uighurs. It has frowned on the Chinese intent to curb democratic freedoms in Hong Kong and warned of consequences.

China however seems to be pressing on regardless in Hong Kong, and with its menacing of Taiwan. It has deployed its own much smaller aircraft carrier to intimidate Taiwan. Those keeping count, say that Red Chinese fighters have flown into Taiwan’s air space, or very close to it, over a half a dozen times lately.

Japan, Australia and India have deployed their navies in support of the US effort. Choke points such as the Malacca Straits are under observation.

 The trade war has intensified between China and the US. The latter has threatened the cutting off of all trade ties with China. There have been trade-related tiffs with Canada as well. Britain has been warned and threatened by China, both on trade, on the rejection of Huawei’s 5G bid in the UK, as it was in Canada and its attitude of support towards Hong Kong.

Chinese factories have started up, but there are no orders. Xi Jinping and the parts of the CCP and PLA loyal to him are grappling with rising unemployment, falling revenues, simmering public resentment.

 The Wuhan Virus and the devastation it is still causing has radically changed the mood and soured international relations with China.

Most countries are not willing to stomach Chinese belligerence and imperialism any more. China’s misguided Wolf Warrior diplomacy has back-fired. It has already consolidated the US, India, Britain, Canada, Australia, into a resistance group. Others, in Europe, such as Germany, Italy and France are following suit. Israel can be counted on, despite its lucrative trade with China. Russia may try to sit on the fence and even play both sides to its advantage.

China as hegemon will, it appears, be definitely checked. America will once again step into the resultant power vacuum, NATO allies in tow. It will be assisted by India, a key Asian player on the front lines.

India has already signed most of the protocols for a close defence partnership with the US, and this is reflected in its increased access to the best US weapons systems.

Chinese has land boundary disputes with practically all its neighbours and claims to most of the South China Sea. This is particularly irksome to the Western powers, as well as countries around it, such as Vietnam. It is also in violation of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) verdicts on international waterways.

Regardless of this, China has built artificial islands, placed missiles, communications apparatus, stationed fighters, built airfields. The Americans are now also keeping an eye also on the Chinese Naval base at Hainan which houses its nuclear submarines. A skirmish, therefore, could break out any time there.

For India, looking at the long term, the Uttar Pradesh Defence Corridor and connecting highways have not come a day too soon. India cannot be a top-level power by economic growth alone. It must make weapon systems that are world-beaters in their class and function — war or no war.

Others who have been in this position, have taken liberally from what has gone before. Nobody has wasted time and money reinventing the wheel. But after that there is need for speed and innovation. There is need for further design improvements, performance enhancement, localisation. The arms manufacturers must adapt weapons to varieties of terrain, weather, ambient conditions, altitudes, temperatures.

India, fortunately, has no shortage of meritorious personnel, products of a very good higher education system. And it has made some progress on a collaborative model.

India already makes quite a few things. Items include bullet proof vests, rifles, machine guns, howitzers, armoured vehicles, tanks, missiles of various classes, frigates, patrol boats, submarines including nuclear powered submarines, aircraft carriers, fighter planes, drones, radar systems, surveillance satellites.

It also assembles a large array of weapons and makes components in the private sector for military and civilian application. Today, when the hardware of a weapon system is accompanied by a lot of bought out items and software, India should not have an insurmountable problem playing catch-up.

Under the Modi dispensation there has been an attitudinal shift away from imported weapons wherever possible. Over the last six years, the government owned Defence Reasearch and Development Organisation (DRDO), long mocked and derided, have produced radars, howitzers, and other weapons that have been inducted into the Indian Armed Forces. 

Similarly, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), is well on its way to meet the acute shortfall in fighter aircraft. It is also producing helicopters. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is helping with satellites for the military.

India will henceforth make almost all its ammunition as well. It has created a strategic oil reserve underground. The private sector is integrating into the military manufacturing effort is a force multiplier and efficiency catalyst. The cutting edge is yet to emerge. And when it does, India will become a great power.

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World

यूएस की धमकी – नाटो के रडार पर है चीन

उत्तरी अटलांटिक संधि संगठन में यूएस की एक शीर्ष दूत ने कहा है कि चीन नाटो सेनाओं के रडार पर है और उसके हर कदम पर बारीकी से नज़र रखी जा रही है। नाटो में यूएस की स्थायी प्रतिनिधि के बैली हचिसन ने कहा कि चीन अपने आक्रामक रवैये के चलते नाटो के रडार पर आया है और इससे पहले संगठन ने कभी उसे इतना बड़ा खतरा नहीं माना था। एक प्रभावशाली अमेरिकी थिंक-टैंक ने चेतावनी दी है कि चीन का आगला निशाना भारत-यूएस के बीच संबंधों को बिगाड़ना है, इसे लेकर दोनों देशों को सतर्क रहना होगा।

बैली हचिसन ने कहा, ‘चीन एक शांतिपूर्ण साझीदार, एक अच्छा व्यापार सहयोगी हो सकता था, लेकिन वह इस समय ऐसा प्रतीत नहीं हो रहा है। मुझे लगता है कि नाटो सहयोगी इस पर नजर रख रहे हैं और इस बात का आकलन कर रहे हैं कि चीन क्या कर रहा है।’ हचिसन ने ताइवान, जापान और भारत के खिलाफ चीन के आक्रामक एवं उकसाने वाले कदमों पर कहा, ‘वह हमारी रडार पर है और मुझे लगता है कि ऐसा होना चाहिए क्योंकि हमें जोखिम का आकलन करना चाहिए। हमें सबसे अच्छा होने की उम्मीद करनी चाहिए, लेकिन सबसे खराब के लिए तैयार रहना चाहिए।’ सैन्य संघर्ष का खतरा निकट है, उन्होंने कहा, ‘मुझे लगता है कि नाटो इस मामले में अब पूर्व की ओर देख रहा है।’

हचिसन ने कहा कि नाटो इस बात को लेकर चिंतित है कि चीन का इरादा क्या है। उन्होंने कहा कि यूएस इस बात को लेकर बहुत स्पष्ट है कि वह चीन को वैश्विक व्यवस्था में साझीदार बनाना चाहता है और चीन ने बौद्धिक संपदा की चोरी की है और विश्व स्वास्थ्य संगठन एवं विश्व की अदालतों द्वारा तय शुल्कों एवं सब्सिडी का उल्लंघन किया है। उन्होंने 5 जी नेटवर्क के बारे में कहा, ‘हम हमारे संचार को सुरक्षित रखने की कोशिश कर रहे हैं और देख रहे हैं कि हमारे कुछ चीनी प्रतिद्वंद्वी संचार प्रदाताओं द्वारा तैयार किए गए संविदात्मक दायित्वों को नियंत्रित करने में सक्षम नहीं हैं।

इसे भी पढ़े: Modi takes Trump’s call; India invited to G7 Summit

लद्दाख में भारतीय क्षेत्र में चीनी घुसपैठ के बीच एक प्रभावशाली अमेरिकी थिंक-टैंक ने कहा है कि चीन का ‘तत्काल लक्ष्य’ दक्षिण एशिया में भारत की हर प्रकार की ‘चुनौती’ को सीमित करना और यूएस के साथ उसके तेजी से मजबूत होते संबंधों को बाधित करना है। हडसन इंस्टीट्यूट की ‘कोरोनावायरस काल में यूएस और चीन के बीच प्रतिद्वंद्विता का वैश्विक सर्वेक्षण’ शीर्षक वाली रिपोर्ट में कहा गया है कि चीन की पाकिस्तान के साथ मजबूत साझीदारी और श्रीलंका के साथ मजबूत संबंध क्षेत्र में प्रभुत्व की चीन की योजनाओं के लिए अहम है।

‘भारत परम्परागत रूप से चीन को अपने से उच्च समझने के बजाए समान समझता है और वह बीजिंग के लक्ष्यों को लेकर सचेत है एवं अपने क्षेत्र में चीन के घुसने की कोशिशों को संदेह से देखता है। चीन के साथ क्षेत्र को लेकर विवाद के कारण संबंधों में तनाव पैदा हुआ है। इससे सहयोगात्मक माहौल के बजाए प्रतिद्वंद्वी माहौल पैदा होता है।’ भारत को अमेरिका और जापान जैसे सहयोगियों की मदद की आवश्यकता है। इसमें कहा गया है कि यदि यूएस चाहता है कि भारत क्षेत्रीय सुरक्षा प्रदाता के तौर पर भूमिका निभाए और यदि वह चीन पर निर्भरता कम करना चाहता है, तो भारत की आर्थिक एवं सैन्य क्षमताएं विकसित करना अहम होगा।

इसे भी पढ़े: Trump declares ties with WHO snapped, measures against China

जापान और भारत के खिलाफ चीन के आक्रामक व्यवहार और उकसावे वाली हरकतों पर कहा, “यह हमारे रडार पर बहुत अधिक है और मुझे लगता है कि हमें जोखिम का आंकलन करना चाहिए. सबसे अच्छे के लिए उम्मीद करनी चाहिए लेकिन सबसे बुरे के लिए तैयार भी रहना चाहिए।” क्या वास्तविक सैन्य टकराव का खतरा आगे दिख रहा है, इस पर हचिसन ने कहा, “मुझे लगता है कि नाटो अब पूर्व की ओर देख रहा है।”

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Health

AstraZeneca appears leading the vaccine race amid claims from multiple labs

The potential coronavirus vaccine from British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca is likely to provide protection against contracting the disease (COVID) for about a year, the company’s CEO Pascal Soriot told a Belgian radio station today. The company has begun human trials of the vaccine that the University of Oxford has developed.

The Phase I trial of the vaccine in Britain will end soon. Phase III trial has already begun, Soriot told broadcaster Bel RTL. “We think that it will protect for about a year,” Soriot said.

AstraZeneca had said on 13 June that it had signed contracts with France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands to supply the European Union with up to 400 million doses of the potential vaccine. The firm has also entered deals with the UK and the US. “If all goes well, we will have the results of the clinical trials in August/September. We are manufacturing in parallel. We will be ready to deliver from October if all goes well,” Soriot said.

Meanwhile, the University of Illinois at Chicago has said it will begin testing a potential vaccine for COVID-19 in July. It is expecting to enrol at least 1,000 local participants in the clinical trial. Biotech company Moderna has developed the vaccine. It is conducting the trial in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

The Phase 3 clinical trial will include 30,000 participants spread across 90 sites in the US, Dr Richard Novak, lead investigator of the clinical trial at the university, said.

Phase 3 is the final phase of testing before a vaccine gains approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The trial, expected to begin at the UIC on 9 July, is scheduled to last two years. However, the FDA could approve the vaccine sooner if it is clearly effective, Novak said.

Elsewhere, while China National Biotec Group (CNBG) said today that its experimental coronavirus vaccine has triggered antibodies in clinical trials and that the company was planning late-stage human trials in foreign countries, the country‘s antecedents of suppressing data, the virus’s strains, alleged nexus with the WHO and the worst allegation that it created the biological agent to devastate the world on purpose threaten to affect its market badly.

Developers of vaccines for COVID have so far not been able to prove beyond doubt their products can effectively protect people from the virus that has killed more than 4,00,000 people. This, even though multiple candidates are in various stages of development globally.

Amid this uncertainty, claims about the Chinese vaccine, which a Wuhan-based research institute affiliated to CNBG’s parent company Sinopharm has developed, fails to inspire public confidence — more so because of its origin. Releasing preliminary data from a clinical trial initiated in April involving 1,120 healthy participants aged between 18 and 59, Sinopharm is but claiming that the vaccine has induced high-level antibodies in all inoculated people without serious side effects.

Back in the US, when President Donald Trump announced Operation Warp Speed in mid-May, the American administration defined it as a national objective to finish developing, manufacturing and distributing a proven coronavirus vaccine “as fast as possible”. At a facility of Emergent BioSolutions in Baltimore, the scientists are conducting a part of the operation now.

One of 10 similar facilities throughout the US, Baltimore appears ahead in productivity, as this facility is specifically meant to create and manufacture vaccines.

Emergent announced this week it had partnered with the biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to make that company’s coronavirus vaccine.

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Article

China Warrants A Definitive International Response

The popular wisdom goes that large militarised nations can no longer afford a conflict. Particularly so if they are nuclear-armed. This old chestnut has been regaining currency recently, as the world comes to terms with China’s perfidy in the context of the Wuhan virus transmission. At the face of it, it is certainly true. There is nothing to be gained in the world by a full-scale nuclear confrontation resulting in global annihilation. However, it’s equally true that nuclear-armed countries have indeed been in a state of active conflict (US and Russia, in Vietnam and Afghanistan) and even limited war (India and Pakistan in Kargil and PoK) despite the nuclear overhang being real. Further, China does continue to use military action against India, which is nuclear, and against east Asian countries that have their security underwritten by the nuclear-armed US. Therefore, clearly, the scenario is not as simple as going to war or not going to war. The situation calls for a nuanced exploration of various factors and looking for space and role of hard power in the emergent circumstances.

To be clear, the spectre of strife is not something that has happened only because of the pandemic. This is something that had been building up over the years, as China dropped its mask of ‘peaceful rise’ and replaced it with ‘wolf warrior’. The transition from Deng Xiaoping’s carefully cultivated façade of interdependence was gradually replaced by the Han supremacist reality of Chinese culture by succeeding Chinese Premiers, till Xi Jinping dispensed even with the pretence of such. After the changing economic dynamics in Obama era, where the US economy took a severe hit coupled with rise in Chinese strengths, the new Chinese leadership did not feel the need to maintain appearances, leading to a Chinese international policy more in line with the deeply held beliefs of the Communist Party of China (CCP).

However, this gradually evolving dynamics have come to a head due to the current events. It’s no longer even possible for Chinese apologists in the free countries to propagandise the friendly image of gentle panda-like Chinese that they had been peddling for last many years.

It is now clear that there is an intense conflict that’s currently underway between China and most of the rest of the world, a handful of Chinese lackey countries being holdouts. This friction encompasses all dimensions of international relations. The Chinese hegemon is contesting social, trade, economy, military, diplomatic and geographical boundaries in different theatres with different countries. It is no longer possible to hope that these contentions will resolve themselves naturally with an evolution in the Chinese mindset as the country’s trade integrates with the world. As the roster of these issues is long enough to merit a separate piece on its own, for readers looking to validate the same may refer to an excellent piece on Sirf News outlining many of them.

Now that we know China, what next?

The only question that then remains is what we the world are going to do about it. It is here that discussions on whether war is a possibility begins to be of import, clearly suggesting that the situation is dire enough to consider extreme possibilities. However, most of the discussions that raise this topic do so with the view of explaining why war is either not possible or not a good idea. In current times, the suggested response range from “US needs to be nicer to China and all will be well” and “There is no problem but for war-mongering Trump and Co” [I]China-US war unlikely despite rising hostility [II]A Cold War With China Would Be a Mistake [III]The United States Can’t Ditch China Yet to “We may have a cold war but it’s a bad idea” [IV]Is a US-China Cold War already underway? [V]The US-China ‘cold war’ is here — and Beijing may start targeting Washington’s allies, analysts say [VI]US and China: edging towards a new type of cold war?, only a few calls for a complete revisiting of global order have been made so far[VII]The Wuhan Virus Pandemic has cleaned the slate for a new world order, one where India plays a crucial role.

An examination of the current set of responses shows a clear pattern in the range of opinions. Born from the Chinese propaganda from either Chinese publications or their mouthpieces outside, come the view of the world would be a nice place if everyone was nicer to China and people accepted that Chinese are doing the nicest things possible in the interest of the world at large, and while there may be a few hiccups, but certainly the best way of addressing them is in seeing Chinese point of view. However even the more supposedly “independent” voices seem to think that even a minor tussle would be a bad idea, and in their conception don’t see it going beyond restricted trade and diplomatic measures.

Such views, which talk of limited response are very amiss. For one, most them gloss over the scope of the problems, in both their breadth across the world, and depth of each where they are. They appear based more on hope of “things will somehow work out” to fear of “conflict is always bad”. These are more based in a belief system born of naivety or lack of courage than real world understanding of the problems.

The fact remains, that without being pressured, the Chinese state has no incentive whatsoever to change their ways. After all, what exactly does China stand to lose by not pursuing more of the same otherwise? It can steamroll Hong Kong into being another Chinese province under repressive state laws. It can take over the Spratly islands, push out Filipino and Vietnamese fishermen from Indo-China sea. It can continue currency manipulation and send out yet another coronavirus. Why would they stop? To have them pursue a different path, deterrence to current actions is, therefore, a must.

So, what would the face of deterrence be to shape CPC to be open to the world? Would a “Cold War”, where the world restraints China through economic actions and diplomatic sanctions work?

Selection of response vectors

Before we go too far, the fact that China needs to be held accountable at many basic criteria is certainly true. From there it does flow that various trade practices and even domestic economic management especially vis a vis international commerce needs to be called into question. Further, there can be no disagreement that the free world takes a stand against the totalitarian repressive state that China is. We need to support the pro-democracy and free speech movements within the country through positive discrimination of persecuted individuals as well as sanctions against China for indulging in these practices. The challenge here is to know whether that would be enough. To this we know the answer unequivocally, it would not be. There are two main reasons for the same.

Firstly, China is in the middle of a push for dominance across the complete spectrum of statecraft. It seeks to modify opinions using paid propaganda in other countries while tightly controlling the media at home. It seeks free trade outside while following extremely restrictive systems at home. It seeks to dominate Tibet and Hong Kong with police action while expecting protection for Chinese in Africa. It physically attacks fishing of competing nations using a combination of military and civilian vessels. It threatens Taiwan militarily. It routinely sends its army to Indian borders for probing missions.

When faced with an implacable contender playing across the board, it will have to be countered in each dimension. Leaving any avenue unchecked would allow it to build pressure through flanking moves. This means that Chinese use of force, must be countered where applied on a local basis and cannot be glossed over.

At this point of time, we should remind ourselves, that the cold war was cold only in as much that large-scale military confrontations did not happen in European continent. There were several hot wars, fought either through proxies, or even with direct involvement in some theaters. This is the second key point. While planning for a cold war, it is important to remember that a military aspect is always critical to success of the match. The whole game may not be predicated on violence, but often enough ground level changes must be affected and there is no other instrument than force to make those.

It stands to reason that use of military options will be an integral part of the strategy which would go towards checkmating China along with other instruments of state policy.

Options for power projection

Based on what we have so far there emerges a need to explore the use of force, but to a level that stays short of crossing the threshold towards full-fledged war. As it turns out, unlike widely believed there are several options on the table, and all they need essentially is political will to make them happen.

To begin with, a key aspect of the framework will be for the many affected countries to work in unison. This is critical for two reasons; one the geography of the region is politically fragmented with many small countries ringing the beast. By itself, most of these countries are ill-equipped to take a strong stance. China utilizes this to keep the region off balance and push for territorial gains and influence peddling where it can’t have direct control. Secondly, there is always a moral imperative needed prior to the use of force, and an alliance builds the just cause for necessary steps.

In practical terms, what we need to see are military alliances in the South-East Asia and East Asian regions. These military alliances need to be more than lip services though. Deployment of manpower and equipment, such as ships etc. in partner countries on an ongoing and reciprocal basis, is the need of the hour. This also means that the partner countries put aside their differences of geopolitical at least for some short to mid-term timeframes. Extending the same, there is need for the countries to purchase and supply military equipment to each other. India for example can supply Brahmos to Vietnam along with training for Vietnamese officers.

At this juncture, it is important to note, that the naval aspect of the framework under consideration is possibly the most crucial part of it. As we know, a large part of confrontation is likely to happen over waters of the Indian Ocean, Pacific and Indo-China Sea. Over these lie the critical trade routes, for the world, for the region and for China. About 25% of global trade passes through the Indo-China sea, with 40% of Chinese trade and 30% of Indian trade. Securing and controlling these would be crucial for commerce but is also important for other maritime economic activities such as fishing which are essential for countries in that region. It is imperative to have these corridors secured for an open international order where no one country may dictate terms.

We have already seen multi-lateral exercises in the region, along with freedom of navigation missions [VIII]India joins US, Japan, and Philippines for naval drills in South China Sea [IX]US Navy Ship Replenishes Indian Navy Ship in South China Sea and the need of the hour is to step up the same. These need to be expanded in a number of missions, as well as in the number of countries and vessels participating them.

However, effective as naval operations are, its not possible to have a permanent presence of ships over a vast oceanic area. There is a critical need to supplement the same with land bases supporting these operations. An option increasingly coming to the fore is to ring-fence the region with guard posts, often multi-lateral, acting as control points. An example of such could be US troops stationed in Taiwan and Japan, along with their hardware assets. Electronic intelligence posts, anti-shipping missile batteries, coastal defence crafts would all be housed there provided oversight and means of control. In addition, these could provide berthing stations for larger ships in their freedom of navigation movement.

Already the US is moving towards basing long-range land-based missiles in Taiwan, a powerful counterforce instrument. [X]Special Report: US rearms to nullify China’s missile supremacy This is in line with US identification of China as the number one threat to the world order, with their defence secretary calling it out explicitly just a while back [XI]US Defence Secretary Mark Esper says China a ‘rising threat’ to world order. The US is pirouetting NATO’s focus to China [XII]Time to stand up to China, says NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and it is expected that the US and NATO will look at moving assets from European theatre to the Pacific rim region.

Calibrating the level of response

Important as the above measures are, they still are within the ambit of deterrence, i.e. the premise here is that presence of military alliances and patrolling in force will constraint Chinese from pursuing a more hostile strategy. The problem here though is, that China has already demonstrated willingness to disregard many existing red lines and play chicken with existing disincentives. Also, deterrence by its very nature in defensive, and cedes the initiative with the actor willing to play offence. It follows that a measure of coercion is needed in the mix. There again exist a possible range of steps for a willing collective to take.

There has so far been no real effort to reach out to the people under CCP’s heavy hand to provide them succour. At the least, modern advances in information technology should be used to make sure they have breathing space in terms of availability of information. The currently hermetically sealed Chinese internet space needs to be systematically breached so that the Chinese people can access the world outside closed space. In parallel, the secrecy maintained by the Junta needs to be broken for the rest of the world. White Hat hackers need to access information from a range of Chinese information caches and make it available across the world often and in full. It should no longer be possible for Xi’s henchmen to hide their crimes from the comity of nations. There is nothing more dangerous to a closed culture than a free flow of information, and this itself will be debilitating to the communist apparatus. Information warfare is something that can easily be carried out below the “hot” threshold and are expected to be pushed aggressively. The measures listed below can be extended to active degradation of Chinese technology infrastructure on a regular basis, hampering operations of their economic and military assets as well.

There is one more dynamic measure that needs to be applied in the short term though, and probably the one likely to cause maximum frisson. It is now time, that countries directly impacted by Chinese physical aggression, respond in kind. While we have had India do that repeatedly, even right now on an ongoing basis, the other countries have not. Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines amongst others have had their marine vessels damaged or sunk, their fisheries devastated, deliberate destruction of sensitive ecological zones and so on. These countries have not been able to even extract minor retribution for the damages suffered. Its part lack of military prowess and part being beholden to China economically. It is important that the multi-lateral initiatives enable these countries with enough confidence to react against attacks on them independently or in participation with an international force. The sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat must result in capture or destruction of the Chinese militia vessel responsible. If immediate retaliation can not be mounted, this should cause of Vietnamese navy to stop and seize multiple Chinese cargo vessels transiting near their country even if in high seas. The law of seas allows for military navies to seize merchantmen on “valid” suspicion of criminal activity, and this law can be engaged to target civilian Chinese shipping in a quid pro quo manner. Costs must be bought to bear on China every time it breaks international law, or a humanitarian convention. It must be swift and proportionate. These must on a sustained basis across all dimensions of international engagements. And when these extend to the domain of arms, it must be addressed in the same language. The only way the international order can survive if the world is willing to put in the hard work to protect and support the values it is based on. Otherwise the devolution into a patchwork of “liberated zones” is soon to follow.

References   [ + ]

Categories
India

Alice Wells assures US stands with India in pushing China back

Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (PDAS) Alice G Wells on 12 June said that the US stood with India in pushing back against constant Chinese probing of Indian sovereignty.

“External rebalancing is critical. At the end of the day, it will be the US that stands with India in pushing back against constant Chinese probing of Indian sovereignty. #USindia dosti (friendship) #india,” Alice Wells, who is currently the international government relations adviser at ExxonMobil, tweeted.

President Donald Trump had removed Beirut-born Alice Wells as the US ambassador to Jordan at the request of King Abdullah II in August 2017 and appointed her as the acting assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs, the tenure for which ended in May.

In her last month as a US official, Alice Wells had said that border disputes of China — be along the north-eastern borders of India from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh or the South China Sea — were a “reminder of the threat by China”. The strong statement by India’s friend Wells followed several instances of Chinese incursions by land and air, one of which led to a skirmish between Indian and Chinese troops.

China started a troops build-up along the Line of Actual Control (LoAC) in Ladakh and Sikkim at Naku pass in the first week of May where they had had a face-off with the Indian troops. Thereafter, on 27 May, US President Donald Trump said that he was “ready, willing and able to mediate” between the two Asian neighbours.

However, the two countries have held military and diplomatic talks to resolve the stand-off in Eastern Ladakh peacefully.

Also read: Army chief: People fed up with terrorism in J&K

The military commanders of India and China held talks on 6 June where 14 Corps Chief Lt Gen Harinder Singh and Chinese Maj Gen Liu Lin met at Moldo opposite Chushul.

After the first round of talks, Chinese and Indian Armies disengaged by going back by up to 2.5 km from their stand-off positions at the Galwan valley, PP-15 and Hot Springs.

On 12 June (yesterday), the major generals of Indian and Chinese armies discussed the ongoing dispute in Eastern Ladakh.

Categories
World

Rahul says India-US relations have worsened, American guest deflects

As is his wont, former INC president Rahul Gandhi today walked into yet another controversy where, talking to former US diplomat Nicholas Burns, he kept insisting things were wrong in India while his American guest kept deflecting the issue to the United States. On Friday, while the INC president continued with his series of interviews, donning the hat of a journalist, his interlocutor raised issues like the killing of George Floyd, an African-American, at the hands of a White police officer in the United States, shying away from commenting on the state of India. Burns spoke to INC leader Rahul Gandhi via video-conferencing.

Without naming Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gandhi told Burns India was getting divided along the lines of religion and caste.

Dodging the interviewer yet again, Burns said he thought US President Donald Trump was “divisive”. This was the second occasion during the interview that the American guest of Rahul Gandhi refused to comment on Indian affairs.

“Those who divide African-Americans in the US, Hindus-Muslims-Sikhs in India weaken their countries, but call themselves nationalists,” said Rahul Gandhi. He remarked that the India-US relationship “used to be a partnership earlier”, but now seems to have become “very transactional” and “episodic”.

“A relationship that used to be very broad – education, defence, healthcare and multiple fronts – has sort of focused mainly on defence,” Gandhi said, asking Burns where he saw the relationship between India and the US going.

Not comfortable with the idea of affecting the US’s defence ties with India or looking overtly pro-China, Burns said his country and the Indian government should combine forces to promote human freedom, democracy and rule of people in the world. “I think that is a powerful idea that Indians and Americans can bring together to the rest of the world. Again, you know, we are not looking for a conflict with China, but we are waging, in a way, a battle of ideas with China,” the former American diplomat said.

Gandhi held this conversation with Burns on how coronavirus crisis was reshaping the world order. The interaction between also covered a wide range of issues, including racism in the United States.

Also read: Rahul Gandhi: There was no lockdown even during the World War

“Our greatest American in the last 100 years is Martin Luther King Junior. He fought peaceful and non-violent battles. His spiritual idol was Mahatma Gandhi. King led us to become a better country. We elected an African-American President Barack Obama. And yet, you see race come back now. You see African-American mistreated,” said Burns.

“It was horrible, horrible murder of George Floyd, a young African-American man by the police in Minneapolis. There are millions of Americans protesting peacefully as is our right. And yet, the President treats them like terrorists,” he added.

Also read: Ladakh BJP MP to Rahul Gandhi: Yes, China occupied Indian territory, but……

“Countries sometimes have to go through a discussion, a political debate about who are we? At the core, what kind of nation are we? We are an immigrant nation, a tolerant nation,” said Burns.

Floyd died after a police officer pressed his knee against his neck in Minneapolis on 25 May. His last words “I can’t breathe” have been a rallying cry for the protesters who have launched demonstrations in various parts of the US.

The issue has also led to serious debate in the American society about race.

Burns is currently the Professor of Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at Harvard’s John F Kennedy School of Government. At the Harvard Kennedy School, Burns is the Director of The Future of Diplomacy Project and Faculty Chair for the programs on the Middle East, India and South Asia.

During his career in the State Department, he was United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs within the United States Department of State. He was also the chief negotiator of the India-US nuclear deal.

At the Harvard Kennedy School, Ambassador Burns is the Director of The Future of Diplomacy Project and Faculty Chair for the programs on the Middle East, India and South Asia. During his career in the State Department, he was United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs within the United States Department of State. He was also the Chief Negotiator of the India-US nuclear deal.

The freewheeling conversation between leader Gandhi and Ambassador Burns covered a wide range of issues including racism in the US and the flashpoint George Floyd’s killing created, the reshaping of the world order in the wake of the COVID19 crisis, the future of Indo-US relations and the key role played by the Indian diaspora in the US in building it, the clash of ideologies — an authoritarian China versus democratic India and the US.

In previous episodes, Gandhi has spoken to leading global economists Raghuram Rajan and Abhijit Banerjee; internationally renowned epidemiologist, Johann Giesceke; global public health expert, Ashish Jha; and Indian industrialist, Rajiv Bajaj.

Categories
Economy

Treasury Secretary of US: Can’t shut down economy again

In a statement that brings relief to businesses across the world but has health ramifications, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a business news channel on 11 June that shutting down the economy for a second time to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID) was not a viable option. It could, he said, cause even more headaches for Americans.

Mnuchin’s comments coincided with Wall Street growing concerned over the possibility of a second wave of coronavirus cases in the country.

Texas has reported three consecutive days of ever-increasing COVID hospitalisations. Nine California counties have reported a spike in new cases or hospitalisations in confirmed cases yesterday.

“We can’t shut down the economy again. I think we’ve learned that if you shut down the economy, you’re going to create more damage,” the US treasury secretary said in an interview with CNBC.

“And not just economic damage, but there are other areas and we’ve talked about this: medical problems and everything else that get put on hold,” the treasury secretary commented, “I think it was very prudent what the president did, but I think we’ve learned a lot.”

The rise in COVID cases in the midst of the efforts of the US government to reopen the economy has made investors nervous. They fear the states may have to reimpose business closures once again to lessen the spread of the viral infection. Due to this pessimism, the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s slid 800 point this morning and the S&P 500 lost 2.6%.

The reopening of the US economy is expected to benefit stocks that did badly today at the market. United Airlines was down 10%, cruise operator Carnival lost 8.8% and Gap shedded 6.6%.

The treasury secretary said he was prepared to return to Congress to request additional fiscal spending to help juice the economy if required. “We have the Fed program, we have Main Street [lending program], which is going to be now up and running, and we’re prepared to go back to Congress for more money to support the American worker,” he said, adding, “So we’re going to get everybody back to work. That’s my No. 1 job working with the president and we’re going to do that.”

House Democrats had last month passed a $ 3.5 trillion stimulus bill known as the HEROES Act that would lengthen jobless benefits through the end of 2020. It would also provide relief for cities and states that have seen a marked drop in tax revenues.

Senate Republicans have opted for a wait-and-watch approach, awaiting more data like last Friday’s better-than-expected jobs report, before voting to widen the federal deficit.

The Democrats’ bill will add to the $ 2 trillion CARES Act, which President Donald Trump signed in March.

Categories
World

Sanctions against International Criminal Court officials for indicting US personnel

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defence Secretary Mark Esper and Attorney General Willian Barr announced on 11 June that the country would authorise economic sanctions against members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) who improperly target US officials and American allies — shortly after an executive order from President Donald Trump.

Recently, the ICC had decided to allow an investigation into US personnel in Afghanistan for alleged war crimes, which prompted these US sanctions. “We cannot and will not stand by as our people are threatened by a kangaroo court,” Pompeo said.

When the ICC had announced the probe, Pompeo had promptly remarked that the court was under the influence of “misinformation”. He had right then accused the ICC officials of acting “recklessly”.

With reference to a threatened ICC investigation into Israeli actions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Pompeo warned allies that they could be next. “It’s clear the ICC is only putting Israel in its crosshairs for nakedly political purposes,” Pompeo said, stating that more than 300 members of Congress from both parties have called on him to support Israel in this matter. Absent corrective action we can expect the ICC will continue its present reckless course,” he said.

The American action may include visa restrictions against officials probing the US or allied personnel and economic sanctions against those officials. “We hold our own accountable much better than the ICC has done for the worst perpetrators of mass criminal atrocities,” Pompeo said.

Barr added to Pompeo’s announcement that the US had evidence of corruption that casts doubt on the integrity of ICC investigations. He said the ICC had become a “little more than a political tool employed by unaccountable international elites” used “to manipulate and undercut the foreign policies of democratically accountable sovereign nations.”

The US has not ratified the Rome Statute of 1998, which established the ICC. Hence, it does not recognise its jurisdiction. “Rest assured that the men and women of the United States armed forces will never appear before the ICC,” Esper pledged while explaining the need for the sanctions.

Categories
World

Defunding police is ‘batsh*t crazy’ idea fuelled by celebrity hypocrites: Piers Morgan

Broadcaster, journalist, writer, and television personality Piers Stefan Pughe-Morgan has blasted the celebrities who are fuelling the anti-racism consternation in the United States and demanding, among other things, defunding of the American police. Acknowledging that “in the past two weeks, we’ve seen the very worst of police work in America, and some of the very best” and that “the worst manifested itself in horrendous graphic detail with the slow, contemptuous murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin in 8 minutes and 46 seconds of horrific brutality”, the journalist wrote, “But in its aftermath, there have been numerous other appalling incidents across America, captured on camera phones for the whole outraged world to see.”

Published in Daily Mail, the article enlists a spate of what comes across as cases of police excesses. Morgan recalls, “In Buffalo, a 75-year-old man, Martin Gugino, was roughly shoved to the ground by two officers in riot gear and then left bleeding and unconscious on the ground. In Salt Lake City, another elderly man with a walking stick was knocked over by the police as they cleared protestors away. In Indianapolis, officers were seen beating and firing pepper spray rounds at a black woman. In Austin, a 20-year-old university student reportedly suffered brain damage and a fractured skull after police shot him with beanbag rounds. In Philadelphia, another student was beaten on the head by one officer and had his face kneed to the ground by another. In New York, two NYPD SUVs mowed down protestors standing behind a barricade, knocking many of them to the ground. In Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed, police and National Guard soldiers were seen marching through a neighbourhood shooting paint canisters at people standing on their front porch.”

The journalist reports instances “dreadful treatment” by police, where the cops fired at “reporters and TV crews covering the protests” with rubber bullets. He claims the police ‘attack’ has left one photo-journalist partially blind after she was hit in the eye. Morgan says, “So, police brutality is very real, and not just confined to black people.”

However, the problem is with what the protesters are demanding, according to Morgan who mentions the defunding issue here. While “there’s no doubt that black people in America suffer from it far more than white people”, he says, naming Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile and Rodney King — all African-Americans — the journalist finds a big problem with “Campaigners, led by organisers of the Black Lives Matter and Movement 4 Black Lives groups” claiming that “the only solution is to now scrap” the police system and “reallocate the billions spent annually on it to community public services prioritising mental health, education, housing, employment.”

Naming “left-wing Democrat politicians” like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Ilhan Omar, and celebrities like Lizzo, John Legend, Common, Jane Fonda and Natalie Portman, the columnist quotes an Instagram post of the last actress named and fellow actresses Ellen Pompeo who endorsed the post that asks for defunding of the police — only to vehemently challenge their notion. “I’m afraid my gut had a rather different reaction when” he read Portman’s clarion call for defunding the police, Morgan writes.

Branding the breast-beating exercise as “celebrity virtue-signalling at its most laughably hypocritical”, Morgan points out that “all these stars live in secure protected homes. Most of them employ expensive bodyguards or even full security details. It’s very easy for them to sit safely in their mansions and tell those who can’t afford such luxuries that they’ll be just fine without the police around.”

Saying that they wouldn’t, the scribe says while he shares the “disgust at what happened to George Floyd”, with the situation demanding “real action… not just yet more predictable exclamations of temporary horror,” Morgan also thinks the police must be dramatically, institutionally reformed, echoing a sentiment Sirf News columnist Prof Ramesh Rao had voiced already.

Then Morgan makes the statement, “But getting rid of the police altogether is frankly a batsh*t crazy idea.” He is alarmed at the fact that this is exactly what the Minneapolis city council is now planning to do.

While Republicans obviously and Democrats surprisingly — the opposition has resolved to reform the police otherwise when it comes to power — have ruled out defunding the police, Morgan is amazed that the majority in the council, which cannot be vetoed, declared that they planned to “dismantle” the police department and build a new system of community-focused public safety.

What’s funny, they admit the council does not have any idea how this defunding would actually work. “We recognize that we don’t have all the answers about what a police-free future looks like, but our community does,” the council members said at a community meeting, adding “We’re committed to engaging with every willing community member in the City of Minneapolis over the next year to identify what safety looks like for you.”

Morgan quips, “Power to the people then,” and adds that the idea of defunding the police is “complete madness”.

Categories
World

Attorney of cop accused of killing Floyd puts up valiant defence

The attorney for Thomas Lane, one of the four White police officers accused of killing Black custody inmate George Floyd, said in defence of his client that the latter had done everything he thought was right on the day of the arrest. “He did more than that,” attorney Earl Gray told CNN. “He went into the ambulance, and he’s the one that was doing CPR. He’s a man of compassion, he’s not a violent person.”

Lane is, however, one of the two officers seen in a video that had gone viral helping suspended officer Derek Chauvin pin Floyd to the ground for nearly 9 min. A fourth officer stood by as the act concluded.

Lane and the two other officers who assisted in the arrest of J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.

The initial charge against Chauvin was of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Last week, prosecutors added the more serious second-degree murder charge.

As Lane’s training officer Chauvin pressed his knee on the neck of Floyd during the arrest, the junior officer suggested they roll the man to his side multiple times, the attorney said. But the boss declined.

Lane’s attorney repeatedly made the point his client was a rookie to explain why he was not in a position to challenge Chauvin. Lane had joined the force barely four days ago, Gray said, while Chauvin had been an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department for almost 19 years.”Hindsight is very accurate. He thought he was doing what was right,” Gray said.

The attorney asserted on 8 June if the public saw the bodycam footage of the arrest, they would revise their opinion about his client’s actions. “Particularly if they (public) had any knowledge of what police procedure is and how they (officers) should proceed on a felony arrest,” he said, adding, “Particularly when the individual they are arresting is under the influence of some kind of drug, which was clearly evident in this situation.”

In his testimony, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said the technique that was used to pin the man’s head to the ground was against department regulations. “The technique that was used is not permitted; is not a technique that our officers get trained in on,” the mayor said following Floyd’s death. “And our chief has been very clear on that piece. There is no reason to apply that kind of pressure with a knee to someone’s neck.”

Attorney says cops ‘were struggling’ to hold Floyd

Gray said he had seen his client’s body camera footage — which the public hadn’t. The attorney said the video showed Floyd resisted getting into the police vehicle.

Maurice Lester Hall, Floyd’s friend, had earlier told the media Floyd was taken aback when the cops approached their car and he was just “trying to diffuse the situation”. Hall said Floyd had not resisted arrest.

A bystander had recorded the video that captured the last moments of Floyd. In it, several people can be heard talking to the policemen. A witness described the scene of the arrest, saying Floyd, as he lay on the pavement, was not resisting. However, there is a difference between not resisting once pinned to the ground and the scene before that, the attorney argued.

Gray said the cops struggled to control Floyd, who never violently resisted arrest but “it was not a kind of nonresistance that an individual should do when a police officer is arresting him.”

The videos of the arrest that went viral, however, are not helping change the public opinion. They don’t show Floyd resisting arrest. In one of the videos, Floyd is escorted to a sidewalk while handcuffed while another shows a cop apparently struggling with someone else inside the police car.