Modi's India: A Paper Elephant?

"Desh ka bahut nuksaan hua hai", acknowledged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his military's recent failures against Pakistan in Balakot and Kashmir. This marked a major shift in Modi's belligerent tone that has been characterized by his boasts of "chhappan inch ki chhati" (56 inch chest) and  talk of  "munh tor jawab" (jaw-breaking response) and "boli nahin goli" (bullets, not talks) to intimidate Pakistan in the last few years.  The recent events are forcing India's western backers to reassess their strategy of boosting India as a counterweight to China.

Balakot and Kashmir:

Indian government and media have made a series of false claims about Balakot "militant casualties" and "shooting down Pakistani F16".  These claims have been scrutinized and debunked by independent journalists, experts and fact checkers. There is no dispute about the fact that Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), flying a Pakistan-made JF-17 fighter, shot down Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of Indian Air Force (IAF) flying a Russia made MiG 21. Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan and then released to India.

Western Narrative:

The widely accepted western narrative about India and Pakistan goes like this: "India is rapidly rising while Pakistan is collapsing". In a 2015 report from South Asia, Roger Cohen of New York Times summed it up as follows: "India is a democracy and a great power rising. Pakistan is a Muslim homeland that lost half its territory in 1971, bounced back and forth between military and nominally democratic rule, never quite clear of annihilation angst despite its nuclear weapons".

India-Pakistan Military Spending: Infographic Courtesy The Economist

India: A Paper Elephant?

In an article titled "Paper Elephant", the Economist magazine talked about how India has ramped up its military spending and emerged as the world's largest arms importer. "Its military doctrine envisages fighting simultaneous land wars against Pakistan and China while retaining dominance in the Indian Ocean", the article said. It summed up the situation as follows: "India spends a fortune on defense and gets poor value for money".

After the India-Pakistan aerial combat over Kashmir, New York Times published a story from its South Asia correspondent headlined: "After India Loses Dogfight to Pakistan, Questions Arise About Its Military".  Here are some excerpts of the report:

"Its (India's) loss of a plane last week to a country (Pakistan) whose military is about half the size and receives a quarter (a sixth according to SIPRI) of the funding is telling. ...India’s armed forces are in alarming shape....It was an inauspicious moment for a military the United States is banking on to help keep an expanding China in check".

Ineffective Indian Military:

Academics who have studied Indian military have found that it is ineffective by design. In "Army and Nation: The Military and Indian Democracy Since Independence",  the author Steven I. Wilkinson, Nilekani Professor of India and South Asian Studies and Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at Yale, has argued that the civil-military constraints that have helped prevent a coup have hurt Indian military effectiveness and preparedness in at least three important ways:

(1) the weakening of the army before the 1962 China war;

(2) the problems caused for defense coordination and preparation by unwieldy defense bureaucracy, duplication of functions among different branches and lack of sharing of information across branches and

(3) the general downgrading of pay and perks since independence which has left the army with huge shortage of officers that affected the force's discipline capabilities.

Summary:

India's international perception as a "great power rising" has suffered a serious setback as a result of its recent military failures against Pakistan which spends only a sixth of India's military budget and ranks 17th in the world, far below India ranking 4th by globalfirepower.com.  "Desh ka bahut nuksaan hua hai", acknowledged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his military's recent failures in Balakot and Kashmir. This marked a major shift in Modi's belligerent tone that has been characterized by his boasts of "chhappan inch ki chhati" (56 inch chest) and  talk of  "munh tor jawab" (jaw-breaking response) and "boli nahin goli" (bullets, not talks) to intimidate Pakistan in the last few years.  The recent events are forcing India's western backers to reassess their strategy of boosting India as a counterweight to China.

Here's a discussion on the subject:

https://youtu.be/tEWf-6cT0PM




Here's Indian Prime Minister Modi making excuses for his military's failures:

https://youtu.be/QIt0EAAr3PU




Comments

Riaz Haq said…
#NYTimes editorial board: "As long as #India and #Pakistan refuse to deal with their core dispute — the future of #Kashmir, India’s only #Muslim-majority state — they face unpredictable, possibly terrifying, consequences." #Balakot #PakistanStrikesBack https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/07/opinion/kashmir-india-pakistan-nuclear.html

The current focus on North Korea’s growing arsenal obscures the fact that the most likely trigger for a nuclear exchange could be the conflict between India and Pakistan.

Long among the world’s most antagonistic neighbors, the two nations clashed again last week before, fortunately, finding the good sense to de-escalate. The latest confrontation, the most serious between the two nations in more than a decade, gave way to more normal pursuits like trade at a border crossing and sporadic cross-border shelling.

But this relative calm is not a solution. As long as India and Pakistan refuse to deal with their core dispute — the future of Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state — they face unpredictable, possibly terrifying, consequences.

The current crisis dates to Feb. 14, when a Kashmiri suicide bomber killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary officers in the deadliest attack in three decades in Kashmir, a region that Pakistan has claimed since partition in 1947. The militant group Jaish-e-Muhammad, which seeks independence for Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan, took responsibility. While it is on America’s list of terrorist organizations and is formally banned in Pakistan, the group has been protected and armed by the Pakistani intelligence service.

Last week, India sent warplanes into Pakistan for the first time in five decades. Indian officials said they had struck the group’s “biggest training camp” and killed a “very large number” of militants, although those claims have been called into doubt. Pakistan counterattacked, leading to a dogfight in which at least one Indian jet was shot down and a pilot was captured by the Pakistanis.

The situation could have easily escalated, given that the two countries have fought three wars over 70 years, maintain a near constant state of military readiness along their border and have little formal government-to-government dialogue.

Adding to the volatility, India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, is waging a tough re-election campaign in which he has used anti-Pakistan talk to fuel Hindu nationalism.

With Pakistan’s army most likely shaken by the Indian raid and unwilling to slide into protracted conflict, Prime Minister Imran Khan returned the pilot to India, in what was seen as a good-will gesture, called for talks and promised an investigation into the bombing. Mr. Modi took the opportunity to back off further escalation.

The next confrontation might not end so calmly.
Riaz Haq said…
Alison Redford: For too long, #Pakistan’s actions have been unreasonably characterized as aggressive. #India’s tactics have been increasingly violent, leading to more international criticism of its conduct and occupation of #Kashmir. #Modi #Hindutva https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-this-not-the-same-old-india-pakistan-conflict/

First, in media reports, India refers to 40 years of terrorist attacks against India by Pakistan without equal mention of terror attacks perpetrated by India on Pakistani soil, as recently as three months ago in Karachi, or India’s support for independence insurgents operating in the Northwest of Pakistan over the past 10 years.

Second, although in the past there have been allegations that Jaish-e-Mohammed has been supported by Pakistan, the organization has been banned in Pakistan since 2002 and support for its operations and training activity was withdrawn. Yet, India continues to assert this position, without providing evidence to support it.

Third, it is against the fundamental principles of international law to launch a military attack on civilian targets, which can be considered an act of war. In those circumstances, one can argue that Pakistan had the right to defend itself and that its response was both measured and reasonable.

On the Kashmiri question, Pakistan has called for United Nations mediation, but India has refused, saying that it is an internal issue, while violently suppressing a growing, and younger, local insurgent movement. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights criticized India for using excessive force in 2017. More than 500 people, including 100 civilians, have been killed in 2018.

In recent months, India’s tactics have been increasingly violent, leading to more international criticism of its conduct and occupation of Kashmir, including most recently by British parliamentarians, and two resolutions at the OIC this past weekend condemning its violent actions in Indian-occupied Kashmir. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also faces criticism domestically from Indian opposition leaders such as Rahul Gandhi, for manipulating these events to bolster Mr. Modi’s political support in an election year.

There have been times when both countries have been accused of being involved in unwarranted actions against the other and the international community is quick to ignore the complicated dynamics in the region and rely on history. Instead, each incident should be assessed on its own merits to avoid dangerous rivalries from being perpetuated. With a real nuclear risk, we cannot afford to be complacent.
Riaz Haq said…
Ex #Indian Official's advice to #Modi:"Sub-conventional war with #Pakistan is the only option.The recent events, post-#Pulwamaattack, have amply demonstrated the limited utility of launching a conventional war with Pakistan." #BalakotAirStrike #Kashmir https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/blogs/et-commentary/sub-conventional-war-with-pakistan-is-the-only-option/

Covert operations by an intelligence agency are unlike the acts of terror groups, i.e., acts of mindless violence meant to terrorise the peopleand render the governments helpless against such asymmetrical acts of warfare. They are designed to create and promote disaffection against the governments and generally play up the existing fault lines and have long term devastating effects.

First and foremost, we should revive our support to the groups in Baluchistan fighting for their independence. Secondly, we should extendsupport to the Shia minority groups in Gilgit- Baltistan that have been ruthlessly suppressed by the Pakistan Army for the last 4 decades. Significantly Prime Minister Modi made a dramatic reference to their long-standing struggles in his speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15th August 2016 and much hope was raised in both quarters. That however proved to be illusory as there was no follow up action.

Thirdly, we should support other disaffected groups such as the Mohajirs in Sindh, the Saraikinationalist movement in Punjab, and the non-Taliban Pakthuns in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that have suffered untold misery in the hands of the majoritarian Punjabi army and the ISI who haveruthlessly murdered or caused disappearances of its leaders.

It is noteworthy that we don’t even have to waste time in creating well -trained and highly motivated terror groups or ‘fidayeens’. They are all there in Pakistan and in plenty. A cursory count indicates that there are over 65 terrorist organizations in Pakistan that have been banned from August 2001 to mid -2017 and are in diverse states of disarray and at least over 50 must be totally starved for funds. All we need is to pick up a handful of them, province wise and start funding. They will certainly work for anyone if the money is right and if channeled through the right sources, say a Saudi billionaire. Tehrik e- Taliban comes right on top of the list because of its excellent track record in targeting Pakistan’s military and air-force installations and security agencies including the ISI.

And surely, this entire effort will cost less than one Rafale aircraft and the damage it will do, could equal the efforts of a squadron.

Cyber operations

The most effective low–cost, high- impact tool of modern warfare is offensive cyber warfare and this is one area that needs immediate and utmost attention. The fact that a handful of computers in the hands of highly skilled hackers could cause untold havoc to the critical infrastructure of the target country is, by now well understood by our policy makers. Unfortunately, the existing set-up the NTRO created for this task is woefully inadequate for the challenges. It is therefore urgent that we involve the huge IT and IT enabled services of the private sector, on a selective basis, to outsource the jobs that the NTRO is unable to do.

In most countries in the West, not every security related job is done by government agencies but by private firms that have core competence in the required field. Outsourcing jobs to them after vetting their security clearances and embedding them with government agencies is the utmost need of the hour. Since we are already handing over defence contracts to private entrepreneurs, there should be no problem in involving them in Cyber operations, as long as the choice of targets, nature of attacks and the timing and location of it are cleared at the highest levels of government so that the responsibility for the impact and possible retaliation rests with them.
Riaz Haq said…
Praveen Sawhney: Little Cause to Cheer the Balakot Airstrike and its Aftermath

https://www.thekashmirmonitor.net/little-cause-to-cheer-the-balakot-airstrike-and-its-aftermath/


The Modi government might still win the war of perception within India, but India’s conventional deterrence has been compromised. Its war-fighting capabilities – pivoted on air power – have been blunted without a fight. This will have implications for the on-going proxy war by Pakistan. Meanwhile, Pakistan maintained credibility of both its first combined civil-military government and its air power.

" It was evident that the operation was meant for publicity. A case in point, unsubstantiated media reports claimed that 300 to 350 Jaish terrorists in Balakot were eliminated by IAF strikes, a claim that has since been questioned by the international media, which was allowed by Pakistan to visit the target site. Subsequently, other media reports have emerged claiming that the IAF fighters did not actually cross the Line of Control. Instead, Balakot was attacked using stand-off weapons. Hence, deliberate confusion continues."

"Since the war was neither on, nor imminent, it would have taken any professional air force (PAF is no exception) minimum 10 minutes from detection to reaction and interception. Moreover, the PAF did not have its airborne early warning aircraft in the air (AWACS cannot stay more than 24 hours in air), and the time was such that observers manning the Ground Based Air Defence System (GBADS) could not have been vigilant (it is not possible to remain on high alert 24×7 in peacetime)."

" Pakistan was faced with the dilemma of how to avenge India’s unprecedented action: to use or not to use the PAF. It was decided that the PAF too would breach Indian airspace while calling it a non-military strike. Unlike the IAF, the PAF strike would be done with menacing force in broad daylight ensuring that Indian military installations close to the Line of Control were not damaged enough to compel India to raise the ante."


https://youtu.be/YX4qXrR34PI
Riaz Haq said…
Nadir in the valley: #India’s #Modi government is intensifying a failed strategy in #Kashmir. The conflict has claimed 50,000 lives since the 1980s. https://www.economist.com/asia/2019/03/09/indias-government-is-intensifying-a-failed-strategy-in-kashmir?frsc=dg%7Ce via @TheEconomist

Guns have slipped back into holsters and diplomats behind their desks; the Samjhauta or “Concord” Express has resumed its reassuring bi-weekly chug connecting Lahore Junction and Old Delhi Station. Relations between India and Pakistan are returning to the normal huffy disdain after a week of military brinkmanship. For the divided and disputed border region of Kashmir, there is relief. Yet in the Kashmir Valley, a fertile and densely populated part of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir, this comes tempered with weariness. For its 7m inhabitants, most of them Muslim, a return to normal means a large and growing pile of frustrations. Some, such as bad government services and a deepening shortage of jobs, are familiar to all Indians. Others are unique to the valley.

Pakistan views the valley’s Muslims as sundered citizens; its constitution prescribes what should happen not if, but “when”, Kashmiris vote to join Pakistan. And since independence in 1947, Pakistan has never ceased trying to hasten this moment by sending guerrillas over the border to stir up jihad—although this week it claimed to rounding up such militants. India, for its part, says that Kashmir was lucky to fall to a secular, democratic country at partition and not to its violent, narrow-minded neighbour. But Indian governments turn deaf the moment people in the valley speak of greater autonomy, let alone azadi (independence). Their efforts at counter-insurgency have been disturbingly bloody. The conflict has claimed 50,000 lives since the 1980s.
Riaz Haq said…
Are #India’s Think Tanks filled with retired armchair generals Cheered on by #Indian media, Promoting Conflict With #Pakistan ? #Modi #Hindutva - Bloomberg

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-03-07/are-india-s-think-tanks-promoting-conflict-with-pakistan

Peace appears to have been given a chance in South Asia. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, striving to play the statesman, has not only released a captured Indian pilot but also detained several alleged Pakistani militants. Still, there’s good reason to worry that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi might once again ratchet up tensions against a nuclear-armed neighbor as he approaches the most crucial election of his political life.



Modi’s militant nationalism, loudly amplified by Indian television anchors, isn’t the only flammable element in a volatile situation. India’s burgeoning military-intellectual complex also deserves the world’s close and skeptical scrutiny.

One wing of this community consists of superannuated and clearly bored generals, titillating hyper-patriotic television anchors and themselves with visions of do-or-die wars and glorious victories. Their jingoism far exceeds the capacity of the Indian military, which, an internal report recently revealed, is encumbered with “vintage” equipment.

Perhaps more worrying, though, are the credentialed members of what a recent report by Brookings India identified as India’s “strategic community.” Though much more sober than the fire-breathing talking heads on cable TV, they seem equally attracted to the “temptation,” as U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower put it in his classic warning against the military-industrial complex, of “some spectacular and costly” military action.

Perched in privately funded think tanks, many of these connoisseurs of “surgical strikes” did not seem in the least shocked or disturbed that an Indian leader who has, as the Economist put it last week, “made a career of playing with fire” was now playing with Armageddon by launching airstrikes into Pakistan. Rather, they echoed the Hindu nationalist consensus that India was now finally dictating the terms of engagement with its rival — a triumphalism shattered the very next day when Pakistan raised its own threshold for conflict with India by striking within Indian territory and bringing down an Indian warplane.

Eisenhower’s fear in 1961 of vested interests acquiring “unwarranted influence” is freshly pertinent in today’s New Delhi. With hopes rising that India would soon be a superpower closely allied to the U.S., as well as a strategic counterweight to China, much Indian and foreign money has gone into creating a luxurious ecosystem for strategic experts and foreign-policy analysts.
Riaz Haq said…
Are #India’s Think Tanks filled with retired armchair generals Cheered on by #Indian media, Promoting Conflict With #Pakistan ? #Modi #Hindutva - Bloomberg

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-03-07/are-india-s-think-tanks-promoting-conflict-with-pakistan

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There’s ample reason to fear that such an often murkily funded and influential security establishment outside government won’t serve the cause of democracy and peace in the Indian subcontinent. In the U.S., a series of reports by the New York Times in 2016 alleged that on all kinds of issues, including military sales to foreign countries, think tanks were “pushing agendas important to corporate donors, at times blurring the line between researchers and lobbyists.” If intellectual dishonesty mars analysis in Washington, it can be expected to be more pervasive in New Delhi, where the line between paid service for corporate donors and research work is even fuzzier.

It may seem melodramatic to fear that a few well-connected intellectual racketeers might endanger democracy and social stability. But America under President Donald Trump confirms that Eisenhower was right to worry that an axis of government, corporations and intellectuals-on-hire might skew national priorities, or that, pathologically obsessed with an enemy, his country might degenerate into “a community of dreadful fear and hate.”

Already by 1984, George F. Kennan, arguably America’s finest diplomat, was lamenting that the “habit” of constantly preparing for “an imagined war” with the Soviet Union had “risen to the status of a vast addiction of American society.” This habit, Kennan presciently warned, “would be difficult to eradicate in the future,” long after the U.S.S.R. had disappeared.

In India, Hindu nationalist politicians and their sympathizers in the media have similarly turned an imagined punitive war on Pakistan into another vast addiction, and the military-intellectual complex increasingly aggravates this national habit. Focused on Islamabad’s backing for the militant insurgency in Kashmir, they’ve successfully externalized a problem that is primarily domestic: the Modi government’s resolve to suppress, rather than address, Kashmiri demands for democracy and civil liberties.

Ajai Shukla was one of the very few mainstream Indian writers on security issues to point out that “the wider story in a crisis with such potential devastation is that the Modi government has launched a nationwide anti-Muslim agenda that regards Muslims as unpatriotic, Pakistan as a cunning and implacable foe and Kashmiri separatists as its willing tools.” Thus, Shukla argues, Kashmiris protesting against Indian brutality have come to be widely seen as “Muslim traitors, rather than the manifestation of a political problem that has to be discussed and resolved, not militarily crushed.”

Zealously pushing a military solution to a political problem, India’s political, media and security establishment suffered a debacle last month. They ought to “learn,” as Eisenhower exhorted, “how to compose differences not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose” — above all in Kashmir, which is the key, now more than ever, to the health of civil society in both India and Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
#India, #Pakistan threatened to unleash #missiles at each other. #India threatened to fire at least six missiles at Pakistan, and Islamabad said it would respond with its own missile strikes “three times over”. #Balakot #Kashmir #Modi https://reut.rs/2HzpotM

The way in which tensions suddenly worsened and threatened to trigger a war between the nuclear-armed nations shows how the Kashmir region, which both claim and is at the core of their enmity, remains one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints.

The exchanges did not get beyond threats, and there was no suggestion that the missiles involved were anything more than conventional weapons, but they created consternation in official circles in Washington, Beijing and London.

Reuters has pieced together the events that led to the most serious military crisis in South Asia since 2008, as well as the concerted diplomatic efforts to get both sides to back down.

The simmering dispute erupted into conflict late last month when Indian and Pakistani warplanes engaged in a dogfight over Kashmir on Feb 27, a day after a raid by Indian jet fighters on what it said was a militant camp in Pakistan. Islamabad denied any militant camp exists in the area and said the Indian bombs exploded on an empty hillside.

In their first such clash since the last war between the two nations in 1971, Pakistan downed an Indian plane and captured its pilot after he ejected in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

Hours later, videos of the bloodied Indian pilot, handcuffed and blindfolded, appeared on social media, identifying himself to Pakistani interrogators, deepening anger in New Delhi.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi facing a general election in April-May, the government was under pressure to respond.


That evening, Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval spoke over a secure line to the head of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Asim Munir, to tell him India was not going to back off its new campaign of “counter terrorism” even after the pilot’s capture, an Indian government source and a Western diplomat with knowledge of the conversations told Reuters in New Delhi.

Doval told Munir that India’s fight was with the militant groups that freely operated from Pakistani soil and it was prepared to escalate, said the government source.

A Pakistani government minister and a Western diplomat in Islamabad separately confirmed a specific Indian threat to use six missiles on targets inside Pakistan. They did not specify who delivered the threat or who received it, but the minister said Indian and Pakistani intelligence agencies “were communicating with each other during the fight, and even now they are communicating with each other”.

Pakistan said it would counter any Indian missile attacks with many more launches of its own, the minister told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“We said if you will fire one missile, we will fire three. Whatever India will do, we will respond three times to that,” the Pakistani minister said.

Doval’s office did not respond to a request for comment. India was not aware of any missile threat issued to Pakistan, a government official said in reply to a Reuters request for comment.

Pakistan’s military declined to comment and Munir could not be reached for comment. Pakistan’s foreign ministry did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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U.S. security advisor Bolton was on the phone with Doval on the night of Feb 27 itself, and into the early hours of Feb 28, the second day of the Trump-Kim talks, in an attempt to defuse the situation, the Western diplomat in New Delhi and the Indian official said.

Later, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was also in Hanoi, also called both sides to seek a way out of the crisis.

“Secretary Pompeo led diplomatic engagement directly, and that played an essential role in de-escalating the tensions between the two sides,” State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a briefing in Washington on March 5.
Riaz Haq said…
#Islamabad should not anticipate #Modi’s hostility towards Pakistan to abate after #India's elections. To the contrary, any #BJP win will reinforce their conviction that aggression against #Pakistan and the #Kashmiris is a winning formula. #Balakot https://www.dawn.com/news/1470123

Any belief in India that its military adventurism has ‘worked’ could erode the stability of mutual deterrence which Pakistan’s military response of Feb 27 re-established. If New Delhi is convinced that Pakistan can be cowed by a combination of military and diplomatic pressure, it may feel emboldened in the next crisis to conduct military strikes at a ‘higher’ level.


Pakistan must, therefore, take steps to expose India’s falsehoods before, during, and after the military exchanges of Feb 26-28. It should advertise that India’s bombs destroyed trees and killed a crow. It must reveal to the world, including the people of India, how Pakistan could have destroyed Indian military targets but chose not to do so. It should point out that India’s captured pilot could have been humiliated and India could have had its nose rubbed in the dirt by requiring a minister or its air chief to come and retrieve him. Finally, it should be made clear that Pakistan’s actions against militant organisations are designed to implement its own National Action Plan, not in response to Indian or other external pressure.

Islamabad should not anticipate that Modi’s hostility towards Pakistan will abate after the Indian national elections. Apart from their ideological animus, if Modi and the Hindu alliance succeed in the forthcoming elections, it will reinforce their conviction that aggression against Pakistan and the Kashmiris is a winning formula.

Unfortunately, India’s aggressive posture is being actively encouraged by the US which is now firmly aligned with New Delhi in its global rivalry with China. Pakistan enjoys some leverage in the context of Afghanistan; but this does not seem to have prevented Washington’s one-sided pressure on Pakistan during and after India’s military incursion.

Yet, this does not imply that the Kashmir issue will fade away. Despite all odds — massive Indian oppression, over 100,000 killed, Pakistan’s frequent indifference — the Kashmiris have persisted in their struggle for freedom from Indian rule for over 70 years.

The current uprising in occupied Kashmir is led by the third generation of Kashmiris. It is entirely indigenous. It has continued for four years without external support and is likely to be sustained. Like Afghanistan, Kashmir is mountainous, and India is a large and fractured country where active insurgencies are under way in 119 districts (according to former prime minister Manmohan Singh) and can find succour from various internal sources.

The BJP’s plan to ‘resolve’ the Kashmir ‘problem’ is to colonise it and transform it into a Hindu-majority state. A first step in this plan would be to eliminate Jammu & Kashmir’s ‘special’ and autonomous status under the Indian constitution. If Modi and the BJP proceed with this plan, the Kashmiri resistance will obviously intensify. The Hindu fundamentalists may then be tempted to resort to the outright genocide of the Kashmiri Muslims.

As the blood flows, the Kashmiri diaspora, and sympathetic Pakistanis, will seek to join the freedom struggle, including from Pakistan’s territory. The Pakistan government will then face a binary choice: facilitate the freedom fighters or fight them as ‘terrorists’.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan: No links found in probe of #India's #Pulwama dossier. At least 54 individuals had been arrested, 22 locations investigated and a number of phone numbers tracked as part of the investigation@AJENews https://aje.io/bzmy8

Pakistan says it has conducted initial investigations into a dossier provided by neighbouring India on the Pulwama suicide attack in Kashmir, concluding that so far no links can be drawn between Pakistan and the bombing, the foreign office said.

At least 54 individuals had been arrested, 22 locations investigated and a number of phone numbers tracked as part of the investigation, said a Pakistani foreign office statement released on Thursday.

Pakistan said it had shared its findings with India a day earlier, while also briefing top diplomats in the capital Islamabad.

Tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours spiked last month after a suicide bombing in the Indian-administered Kashmir town of Pulwama killed at least 40 Indian security forces personnel.

India blamed Pakistan for "controlling" the attack and launched punitive air raids on what it termed "a training camp" on Pakistani soil shortly thereafter.

Pakistan said the air attacks hit an uninhabited forest, and launched its own air attacks adjacent to Indian military targets, causing no casualties.

Both sides deployed fighter jets and in an aerial dogfight, an Indian aircraft was shot down, resulting in the capture of its pilot.

With his return two days later, tensions began to subside, although both countries' militaries remain on high alert.

On Wednesday, Pakistan fully reopened its airspace for flights originating or departing from the country for the first time in a month. Transit flights over Pakistani airspace remain suspended.

Shortly after the attack, a video emerged of alleged suicide bomber Adil Dar, a native of Indian-administered Kashmir, claiming responsibility for the attack and swearing allegiance to Pakistan-based armed group Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM).

Riaz Haq said…
When They Want #War, #India and #Pakistan Will Always Have #Kashmir. This year, it was Pakistan, rather than India, that came out looking like the adult on this occasion. #Balakot #PulwamaAttack https://www.thedailybeast.com/when-they-want-war-india-and-pakistan-will-always-have-kashmir?ref=scroll

The essentially violent nature of Hindu nationalism, or Hindutva, has now been laid bare by events. Countless Kashmiris in other parts of India spent most of late February avoiding lynch mobs—many of them helped by activists like Shehla Rashid, who you will hear from later in this series. Many gruesome scenes that recalled the 2002 Gujarat riots, which left countless people, mostly Muslims, dead.

The Indian media, up to and including ostensibly liberal journalists like Barkha Dutt, devolved in the wake of the Pulwama attack into an unthinking, bloodthirsty rabble. Bollywood actors, who have only ever played at war, became all-too-willing mongers for it.

Hindutva Twitter—which has long made MAGA Twitter look quaint—seethed with denunciations of “traitors” and “Pakapologists” and writhed with demands for ever greater violence. The extent to which Modi’s anti-Muslim rhetoric has entered the Indian mainstream—its bloodstream—seemed scarily absolute.


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On February 14, an Indian-born Kashmiri named Adil Ahmad Dar drove 300 kilograms of explosives into a convoy of Indian military vehicles in Pulwama, a district of Indian-administered Kashmir. In addition to himself, Dar killed 40 Indian soldiers, rendering the attack the deadliest in decades. A Pakistan-based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammed, claimed responsibility for his actions, and the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was quick to allege Pakistani involvement. Pakistan denied the charge.

A quickly escalating game of tit-for-tat followed. Indian jets crossed the infamous Line of Control and, according to official statements, bombed a terrorist training camp on Pakistani soil. Pakistan denied this, too, saying the planes hadn’t destroyed much of anything and certainly hadn’t killed any terrorists.

Meanwhile, Pakistan sent its own planes across the LoC in response. For the first time since the 1971 war that led to the creation of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan engaged in dogfights over Kashmir. When an Indian plane was shot down on the Pakistani side of the LoC, its pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman, was captured. He was returned to India on the first day of March in a move that Pakistan described as a “gesture of peace.” The stand-off has largely been limited to cross-border shooting and shelling since. A number of Kashmiris on both sides of the LoC have been killed.

Bill Clinton once described Kashmir as “the most dangerous place in the world.” Christopher Hitchens once described the LoC—from a vantage point on the Pakistani side—as “the near-certain flash point of a coming war that could well become an Asian Armageddon.”

For the moment, that war appears to have been averted. Cross-border shelling is business as usual in this part of the world.

But Hitchens would have been surprised to learn that it was Pakistan, rather than India, that came out looking like the adult on this occasion. Then again, Hitchens, who wrote his dispatch in 2007, had long been convinced that the U.S. alliance with Pakistan was a form of geopolitical self-harm, and Hitchens died before Modi came to power in India in 2014. He did not foresee the rise of an Islamophobic nationalist government in Delhi and couldn’t have guessed at the manner in which that government would wind up radicalizing a whole generation of Indian Kashmiris through its militarization of the region and the brutality it would inflict on its citizens there.
Riaz Haq said…
LESSONS FROM THE BRINK
Ejaz Haider Updated March 10, 2019

https://www.dawn.com/news/1468744


India thought — and many experts agreed — that there was a band in which India could act militarily and punitively. That, if India were to play within that band, it would make it extremely difficult for Pakistan to escalate to the nuclear level because such escalation would be considered highly disproportionate and would draw international opprobrium and consequences. The argument was that the certainty of international diplomatic and economic isolation would force Pakistan to stay its hand and not escalate to the nuclear level.

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The banal equivalent of such a situation would be someone punching another person in a crowded bazaar and the victim, instead of keeping the fight to fisticuffs, chooses to draw and fire a pistol. Not only would such a person lose the sympathy of the crowd, he would also invite the full coercive and normative weight of the law.

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The interesting assumption in all this, and one that should not be missed is this: the first-round result. Every subsequent assumption flows from what India could achieve militarily in the opening hand.


------------------------

It is precisely for this reason that the opening round is so crucial for the aggressor, in this case India. To recap, as noted above in the list of assumptions, every subsequent assumption flows from the success of the opening round.

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what is important is not whether Indian planes came into Pakistan (original claim), whether they struck in a stand-off mode (i.e. when aerial platforms are used from a safe distance, away from defensive weapons, and use precision munitions such as glide bombs to attack a distant target without actually coming upon the target and swooping down for a bombing run) or even whether they could or could not make a hit. The important and crucial point was that India had challenged Pakistan and Pakistan needed to put an end to the “new normal” talk. Pakistan chose its targets, struck to show resolve and capability and then also won the dogfight.

Later, we are told that India had thought of using missiles to hit nine targets in Pakistan. But Pakistan readied its missiles and informed India that it will hit back. That forced India to back off. If this is true — and it comes to us from a briefing by Prime Minister Imran Khan — then it seems that Modi had nursed the idea of playing a very dangerous hand, which he couldn’t because that would have meant exchange of missiles between a nuclear dyad — a development which has remarkable escalation potential. Missilery between nuclear powers is a big no. There’s no known technology in the world that can determine whether the incoming missile has a tactical or a strategic (nuclear) warhead and that can lead to response miscalculation.

The two sides are back to the ‘old normal’ — artillery and small-arms duelling across the LoC. The attempt by an Indian submarine to enter Pakistan’s territorial waters was also deftly picked up by Pakistan Navy, with the sub forced to return. It could have been sunk but Pakistan, in keeping with its policy of not escalating, chose not to make a hit.

From here on, there’s nothing more for India but to understand the imperative of positive engagement through a sustained dialogue. The framework for such engagement is already in place. There is no alternative to talking and walking that talk. But that will not happen until we see the electoral contest in India and its results.

-------------------

At the same time, Pakistan must not underestimate India based on these limited rounds. While India could not coerce Pakistan militarily at this moment, if the growth differential between Pakistan and India continues to grow, the technological asymmetry will increase to the point where strategies of coercion could kick into play. That scenario could see very different results on the ground. For instance, India will possess the anti-access, area-denial (A2/AD) S-400 system by 2020.
Riaz Haq said…
"Despite official figures #India’s economy slowed sharply due to #Modi's mis-steps while promised #jobs and #investments have not materialized...India has gone backwards under him. He is lying about the #GDP numbers....#Indian MBAs are working as waiters" https://www.ft.com/content/14baecba-56c5-11e9-91f9-b6515a54c5b1

Mr Modi swept to power in New Delhi in 2014, pledging to bring acche din, or good times, for India, with accelerated economic growth and millions of new jobs. But his record of delivery on these promises is highly contentious.

The prime minister insists India’s economy has grown faster under his leadership than ever before, with an average annual GDP growth of 7.3 per cent, compared with an annual average of 6.7 per cent under the previous Congress-led government. But many economists have questioned the credibility of official data, amid perceptions of unprecedented political interference. Even by New Delhi’s own numbers, India’s GDP growth slowed to 6.6 per cent in the three months ending December 31, its slowest pace in five quarters.

New Delhi has also suppressed a major report which apparently indicated rising joblessness among youth. In a Pew Research Center survey of 2,521 Indians last summer, 76 per cent cited lack of employment opportunities as a major concern. “The gap between the hype and the promises was clearly wide and clearly visible,” Mr Varshney says.

Farmers have been squeezed hard as part of the effort to curb once rampant inflation, their anger displayed in a series of large-scale protests. “We are very unhappy”, says Lakshman Ram, a 61-year-old farmer at the Jodhpur spice market, where he was selling a mound of fragrant cumin seeds to traders. “He has killed us farmers. He has finished us. I’m just waiting for Congress — they think about us.”

---------------

The Zomato and Swiggy delivery boys, however, brim with enthusiasm for Mr Modi, especially his recent authorisation of a missile strike on an alleged terrorist training camp in neighbouring Pakistan. Their excitement is mirrored by Akshay Bhati, 25, whose father supplies milk to the shop.

“The power of the nation has gone up,” the younger Mr Bhati says. “Before, any enemy country would come and attack India and just get away with it — India would not do anything. Now, we will enter your house and kill you.”

The divergent views among the evening crowd at Pokar’s reflects the deep faultlines among India’s 900m eligible voters, as they gear up for what has become an unusually personality-driven general election contest. The voting will serve as a national assessment of how well the charismatic populist Mr Modi has lived up to the high expectations he raised of a “New India”, when he took power in 2014 after 10 years of disappointing rule by the Congress party.

----
The premier’s Bharatiya Janata party, with its deep pockets and sophisticated political machinery, is urging India’s voters to give Mr Modi another five years in power to continue his efforts to remake India.

Fragmented opposition parties — including the BJP’s arch-rival Congress, led by Rahul Gandhi, and a diverse array of smaller regional parties — are trying to counter by accusing Mr Modi of failing to live up to expectations, and inflicting unnecessary misery on the population, while simultaneously taking potshots at one another. Results will be known only on May 23, as voting is spread over six weeks.

“It is undoubtedly a referendum on Mr Modi,” says Ashutosh Varshney, director of the Center for Contemporary South Asia at Brown University, of the contest. “It’s a very presidential style election.”

Riaz Haq said…
#Indian defense analyst Pravin Sawhney: Fighting tactical battles for one-upmanship. #Rafale and #S400 would certainly help Indian Air Force, but would not tilt the operational level balance in #India’s favor in conflict with #Pakistan https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/comment/fighting-tactical-battles-for-one-upmanship/760082.html via @thetribunechd

The issue, thus, is about tactics and operational level of war. The Pakistan military, learning from the Soviet Union, has always given importance to the operational level. This is why in the 1965 and 1971 wars, despite being more in bean-counting of assets, India never won in the western sector. Proof of this are the ceasefire line and the Line of Control, which otherwise would have been converted into international borders.

The situation, regrettably, remains the same today. Separate doctrines of the Army and the Air Force, and with each service doing its own training is evidence that no amount of modernisation would help if the focus of service chiefs remains on tactics. For example, after the Balakot operation, a senior Air Force officer told me that the PAF would not last more than six days. He believed in tactical linear success. What about the other kinetic and non-kinetic forces which impact at the operational level?

This is not all. Retired senior Air Force officers started chest-thumping about the Balakot airstrike having set the new normal. Some argued that air power need not be escalatory, while others made the case for the use of air power in counter-terror operations like the Army. Clearly, they all were talking tactics, not war. Had India retaliated to the PAF’s counter-strike, what it called an act of war, an escalation was assured. It is another matter that PM Narendra Modi had only bargained for the use of the IAF for electoral gains.

Talking of tactics, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa spoke about relative technological superiority. Perhaps, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman would not have strayed into Pakistani airspace if his MiG-21 Bison had Software Defined Radio (SDR) and Operational Data Link (ODL). The SDR operates in the VHF, UHF, Ku and L bandwidths and is meant to remove voice clutter. The ODL provides the pilot with data or text, in this case from the ground controller. The officer, separated from his wing-man, and without necessary voice and data instructions, unwittingly breached the airspace and was captured by the Pakistan army. There are known critical shortages of force multipliers in addition to force levels in the IAF. Surely, the IAF Chief can’t do much except keep asking the government to fill the operational voids. But, he could avoid making exaggerated claims since his words would only feed the ultra-nationalists, and support the Modi government’s spurious argument of having paid special attention to national security.

The same is the case with Rafale and S-400. These would certainly help, but would not tilt the operational level balance in India’s favour. For example, the IAF intends to use S-400 in the ‘offensive air defence’ role rather than its designed role of protecting high-value targets like Delhi, for which it was originally proposed. For the protection of high-value targets, the Air Headquarters has made a strong case to purchase the United States’ National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS). This is ironic, because while S-400 can destroy hostile ballistic missiles, NASAMS can’t do so. It can only kill cruise missiles and other aerial platforms. The thinking at the Air Headquarters is that since there is no understanding on the use of ballistic missiles — especially with Pakistan — both sides are likely to avoid the use of ballistic missiles with conventional warheads lest they are misread and lead to a nuclear accident. So, NASAMS may probably never be called upon to take on ballistic missiles.

Given the direction of the relationship between the India and Pakistan, this assumption may not be the best to make when procuring prohibitively expensive high-value assets.

Riaz Haq said…
#Modi threatens #Pakistan: We have not kept our nuclear arsenal for Diwali: PM Narendra Modi warns Pakistan. #India #BJP #nukes https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/news/we-have-not-kept-our-nuclear-arsenal-for-diwali-pm-narendra-modi-warns-pakistan/videoshow/68978935.cms

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today issued a stern warning to Pakistan and said that India no longer fears Pakistan's nuclear threats. PM Modi further said that India's nuclear arsenal are not saved for Diwali. The BJP leader's comment came during a rally at Rajasthan's Barmer. PM Narendra Modi said, "India has stopped the policy of getting scared of Pakistan's threats ... Every other day, they would say 'we have nuclear button'. Our media used to write that Pakistan too has nuclear weapons ... What do we have then? Have we kept ours (nuclear arsenal) for Diwali?"
Riaz Haq said…
Ex CM of #India Occupied #Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti hits back at PM #Modi , says #Pakistan #nuclear bombs not kept for Eid either

https://scroll.in/latest/920944/pakistans-nuclear-bombs-are-not-kept-for-eid-either-mehbooba-mufti-hits-back-at-pm-modi

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister’s statement came after the prime minister had bragged about India’s nuclear capability.

Peoples Democratic Party chief and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bragging about India’s nuclear capability. She accused Modi of “stooping low” and lowering the country’s political discourse.

On Sunday, Modi had said that his government had refused to be intimidated by Pakistan’s nuclear threats and that with the Balakot air strike, India had given Pakistan a “fitting reply”. “What do we have then? Have we kept our nuclear bomb for Diwali?” Modi had said at a rally in Barmer district of Rajasthan. Modi had said that his government had made the terrorists afraid from across the border and the results of it were visible as there were no blasts anywhere in the country in the last five years.

On Monday, Mufti said, “If India hasn’t kept nuclear bomb for Diwali, it’s obvious Pakistan’s not kept theirs for Eid either. Don’t know why PM Modi must stoop so low & reduce political discourse to this.”

Addressing reporters in Kulgam, Mufti once again criticised Modi for his remark. “What Pakistan [nuclear bombs] possesses would not be saved for Eid either. We are evenly placed in this matter,” she said.
Riaz Haq said…
Author Ashutosh in"Hindu Rashtra" talks about call to arms for #Gandhi’s #Hindus . “#Hindutva has an infinite appetite to quarrel with the past” under #Muslim rule. #Modi wants “masculine and martial nationalism” aimed at “#Kashmir, #Pakistan and #Islam” https://www.asianage.com/books/210419/a-call-to-arms-for-gandhis-hindus.html

As time moves forward, Hindu Rashtra will take its rightful place as a well-researched attempt to explain the unfolding of the Modi years. Review by Mani Shankar Aiyar

Ashutosh takes the reader by the hand, as it were, through the beginnings of Hindutva: the invention of this hitherto unknown word by V.D. Savarkar, its elaboration by M.S. Golwalkar, and its being put into political practice by the current icon of “masculine and martial nationalism”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Hindutva,” the author observes, “has an infinite appetite to quarrel with the past”. The past is seen, in Savarkar’s words, as “millions of Muslim invaders from all over Asia (falling) over India century after century with all the ferocity at their command to destroy the Hindu religion, the lifeblood of the nation”. Savarkar held that in this the Muslim invaders succeeded only because the Hindus had become “weak and cowardly” by upholding the “perverted virtues” of “compassion, tolerance, non-violence and truth”. The answer lay in recasting the Hindu as “masculine and martial”, the very qualities that Mr Modi seeks to embody. Ashutosh continues: “Modi epitomises Hindutva nationalism, which is founded on an adversarial attitude towards Muslims and believes that India’s history is one of Hindus being tortured in their own homeland for thousands of years because of the ruthlessness of Muslim rulers”.

But why continue this quarrel with the past even unto the 21st century, well after India, albeit a partitioned India, gained her Independence? M.K. Gandhi laid down the fundamental parameter of our contemporary nationhood in the following terms: “The assumption that India has now become the land of the Hindus is erroneous. India belongs to all who live here”.

Golwalkar held in direct contrast that the coming into being of Pakistan “is a clear case of continued Muslim aggression”. This led Nathuram Godse to justify assassinating Gandhi as, “Gandhiji was himself the greatest supporter and advocate of Pakistan… In these circumstances, the only effective remedy to relieve the Hindus from the Muslim atrocities was, to my mind, to remove Gandhiji from this world.”

This meshes seamlessly, as cited by Ashutosh, with Vinay Katiyar, several times BJP MP from Faizabad, asserting in an NDTV interview on February 7, 2018: “Muslims should not stay in this country. They have partitioned the country. So why are they here? They should go to Bangladesh or Pakistan. They have no business being here in India”. And that explains the conflation of “Kashmir, Pakistan and Islam” which Hindutva enjoins as “the duty of every Indian to fight”.

It is from such beliefs, argues Ashutosh, that have arisen the horrors of lynching and murder in the name of gau raksha and “love jihad”, assault and assassination of “anti-nationals”, the undermining of the institutions of democracy, and the nurturing of a new breed of “right-wing television channels that have become platforms for the propagation of Hindutva ideology: muscular nationalism; warmongering; militarism; bashing of Islam, Kashmir and Pakistan; and ridiculing and condemning liberal and secular values”.

The writer goes into each of these, and more, linking them to the ideology that inspires such hate and prejudice. The basic dream of Hindutvavadis, he shows, is “to make Hindus ruthless and masculine as they assume Islam did to its followers” by “effectively us(ing) state power to spread religion”.
Riaz Haq said…
International Civil Aviation Organization (#ICAO) data shows #Pakistani closed #airspace was affecting as many as 350 flights daily after #India #Pakistan air skirmishes over #Kashmir #Balakot. #Pakistan lies in the middle of a vital #aviation corridor. https://graphics.reuters.com/INDIA-KASHMIR-AIRLINES/010091M92G7/index.html

Pakistan continues to restrict its airspace after an air strike in late February by the Indian military in northern Pakistan. The disruption is forcing international airlines to take costly and time-consuming detours to the north and south, adding flight time for passengers and fuel costs for airlines.

Hundreds of commercial and cargo flights are affected each day. Reuters counted 311 such flights between four airports in Europe and four in Southeast Asia.

Pakistan lies in the middle of a vital aviation corridor. In the week before the air space was closed, almost all the flights analysed passed directly over Pakistan, some coming extremely close the Kashmir region - the epicentre of tensions with India - including aircraft operated by Singapore Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa and Thai Airways, according to flight tracking service FlightRadar24. Routes that run through Pakistan on a north-south axis are not affected.

OPSGROUP, which monitors international flight operations, used International Civil Aviation Organization data to calculate that the closed airspace was affecting as many as 350 flights daily. Most rerouted as far south as Oman’s airspace, the group said.

Flight information regions (FIR) are how airspace is divided up for control. Pakistan has two: Karachi and Lahore. They, and the Kabul FIR, have seen a notable drop in air traffic since the conflict. Muscat, however, has seen an increase.

Flights between Europe and Southeast Asia are still suffering from the disruption. The group of 311 flights that Reuters analysed has taken different routes to avoid Pakistan, according to FlightRadar24.

OPSGROUP calculates that routing south to Oman, passing through the Muscat flight information region, adds about 280 miles (451 kilometres) to a flight from London to Singapore and 410 miles from Paris to Bangkok.

Lengthy delays
Reuters analysed flight time data from FlightRadar24 for several routes from Europe to Southeast Asia. For each individual route, 14 flights prior to Feb. 27, the day air space was closed, were compared to 14 recent flights prior to April 9.

Some flights are consistently delayed. KLM, Lufthansa and Thai Airways flights are taking up to two hours longer than before the conflict

Riaz Haq said…
#India's Air Force making excuses for failures against #Pakistan Air Force. Claims #tech failures in aerial battles with Pakistan. #IAF says Pakistan “has been consistently enhancing its air defense and offensive capabilities.” #Balakot #Kashmir – https://www.rt.com/news/457701-iaf-report-admits-failures-pakistan/

Airstrikes against ‘terrorist’ targets in Pakistan and subsequent aerial battles with Islamabad’s warplanes would have been more successful if India had better technology, a service report cited by local media admits.
The Indian Air Force’s ‘lessons learnt’ assessment primarily covered February’s retaliatory airstrike on a suspected jihadist training camp in Balakot, Pakistan, resulting in a military flare-up with its neighbor. It found that IAF warplanes would have been able to do serious damage to their Pakistani adversaries – if they had access to weapons capable of doing so in the first place.

The wording of the report was somewhat careful about admitting this fact openly, suggesting that they would have been able to compete with their opponents more effectively if they had possessed “technological asymmetry.”

A litany of technical issues was found to have hampered the IAF’s combat prowess. On top of problems integrating new weapons with the available hardware, one of the fighter jet’s missiles apparently failed to deploy from the aircraft altogether due to issues with its navigation system. The same issue had featured in an earlier embarrassing report which suggested that India had likely shot down its own helicopter with a malfunctioning missile while attempting to target encroaching enemy craft.

The latest review also noted that since 1999’s Kargil War, Pakistan “has been consistently enhancing its air defense and offensive capabilities,” demonstrated in the recent clashes by their use of F-16 fighter jets, giving Islamabad an edge. India’s hardware, meanwhile, has become increasingly outdated.


“We felt we could not punish the adversaries appropriately. So we need to bolster technological asymmetry so that the enemy does not even dare to come close to the border,” one source told India’s Economic Times. While things didn’t go exactly as expected, the report reminds readers that “no battle plan ever survives the first contact with the enemy.”

India also maintained that it carried out the assault into Pakistani airspace in order to strike a training facility used by the terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which had carried out an attack in Pulwama, killing 40 Indian troops. However, Pakistan has consistently denied the existence of such camps, and said that the raid had merely destroyed some trees.
Riaz Haq said…
Military expenditure in Asia and Oceania has risen every year since 1988. At $507 billion, military spending in the region accounted for 28 per cent of the global total in 2018, compared with just 9.0 per cent in 1988.

In 2018 India increased its military spending by 3.1 per cent to $66.5 billion. Military expenditure by Pakistan grew by 11 per cent (the same level of growth as in 2017), to reach $11.4 billion in 2018. South Korean military expenditure was $43.1 billion in 2018—an increase of 5.1 per cent compared with 2017 and the highest annual increase since 2005.

‘The tensions between countries in Asia as well as between China and the USA are major drivers for the continuing growth of military spending in the region,’ says Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher with the SIPRI AMEX programme.

https://sipri.org/media/press-release/2019/world-military-expenditure-grows-18-trillion-2018

https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/Data%20for%20all%20countries%20from%201988%E2%80%932018%20in%20constant%20%282017%29%20USD%20%28pdf%29.pdf

https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/Data%20for%20all%20countries%20from%201988%E2%80%932018%20as%20a%20share%20of%20GDP%20%28pdf%29.pdf
Riaz Haq said…
"#Modi is campaigning as a strongman with the character to stand up to #Pakistan .. sending warplanes to bomb #India’s nuclear neighbor earlier this year was not so much an act of strength as recklessness that could have ended in disaster"https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/05/04/under-narendra-modi-indias-ruling-party-poses-a-threat-to-democracy via @TheEconomist

When the Bharatiya Janata Party (bjp) won a landslide victory in India’s general election in 2014, its leader, Narendra Modi, was something of a mystery. Would his government initiate an economic lift-off, as businessfolk hoped, or spark a sectarian conflagration, as secularists feared? In his five years as prime minister, Mr Modi has been neither as good for India as his cheerleaders foretold, nor as bad as his critics, including this newspaper, imagined. But today the risks still outweigh the rewards. Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election (see article), would be better off with a different leader.

Mr Modi is campaigning as a strongman with the character to stand up to Pakistan for having abetted terrorism. In fact, sending warplanes to bomb India’s nuclear neighbour earlier this year was not so much an act of strength as recklessness that could have ended in disaster. Mr Modi’s tough-guy approach has indeed been a disaster in the disputed state of Jammu & Kashmir, where he has inflamed a separatist insurgency rather than quelling it, while at the same time alienating moderate Kashmiris by brutally repressing protests.
Riaz Haq said…
#Indian Navy forgot to close the hatch on $3 billion #submarine #Arihant, caused extensive damage that almost sunk it. #India #IndianNavy

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/india-did-major-damage-new-3-billion-submarine-leaving-hatch-open-52292

The modern submarine is not a simple machine. A loss of propulsion, unexpected flooding, or trouble with reactors or weapons can doom a sub crew to a watery grave.

Also, it’s a good idea to, like, close the hatches before you dive.

Call it a lesson learned for the Indian navy, which managed to put the country’s first nuclear-missile submarine, the $2.9 billion INS Arihant, out of commission in the most boneheaded way possible.

The Hindu reported yesterday that the Arihant has been out of commission since suffering “major damage” some 10 months ago, due to what a navy source characterized as a “human error” — to wit: allowing water to flood to sub’s propulsion compartment after failing to secure one of the vessel’s external hatches.

Water “rushed in as a hatch on the rear side was left open by mistake while [the Arihant] was at harbor” in February 2017, shortly after the submarine’s launch, The Hindu reports. Since then, the sub “has been undergoing repairs and clean up,” according to the paper: “Besides other repair work, many pipes had to be cut open and replaced.”

It’s hard to articulate how major a foul-up this is, but Kyle Mizokami does a good job at Popular Mechanics: Indian authorities ordered the pipe replacement because they “likely felt that pipes exposed to corrosive seawater couldn't be trusted again, particularly pipes that carry pressurized water coolant to and from the ship’s 83 megawatt nuclear reactor.” For context, a submarine assigned to Britain’s Royal Navy narrowly avoided a complete reactor meltdown in 2012 after the power sources for its coolant system failed.

The incident is also quite an embarrassment — and strategic concern — for the Indian Armed Forces. A Russian Akula-class attack sub modified to accommodate a variety of ballistic missiles, the Arihant represented a major advance in India’s nuclear triad after its completion in October 2016. (India in 1974 became the 6th country to conduct a successful nuclear test.) Indeed, the Arihant’s ability to deliver K-15 short-range and K-4 intermediate-range nuclear missiles was envisioned as a powerful deterrent against India’s uneasy nuclear state neighbor, Pakistan.

“Arihant is the most important platform within India’s nuclear triad covering land-air-sea modes,” the Hindu reports. Well, it’s important if it works — and it probably helps to make your submarine watertight.

This is just some sloppy, dangerous seamanship, and the Indian Navy better get its act together fast. Either that, or perhaps follow the Royal Navy’s lead and install the 2001-era Windows XP as an operating system on all your most vital vessels. That way, you can blame the blue screen of death instead of “human error” for the next critical foul-up. Although even outdated software probably knows enough to dog down on all the hatches.

Riaz Haq said…
#India’s Only #AircraftCarrier Recently Caught On #Fire And #China Says It’s Due to incompetence of #IndianNavy men | The National Interest

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/india%E2%80%99s-only-aircraft-carrier-caught-fire-and-china-thinks-it-knows-why%C2%A0-56272

ndia’s only aircraft carrier suffered a fire that left one sailor dead.

And China, which is India’s rival, says this is because Indians aren’t competent enough to operate advanced military equipment.

The fire broke out in the engine room of the carrier Vikramaditya as it entered the Indian naval base at Karwar on April 26.

The blaze was extinguished, but not before an Indian Navy lieutenant commander, who led the firefighting effort, was overcome by fumes and later died in hospital, according to Indian media. He had gotten married just a month earlier.

The Indian Navy reported that the fire had not seriously damaged the combat capabilities of the vessel, which is India’s only operational carrier. The 45,000-ton Vikramaditya – the ex-Soviet carrier Admiral Gorshkov -- had just completed a deployment in the Arabian Sea, and was preparing to begin joint exercises with the French Navy’s only aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, off the Indian coast.

The cause of the fire has not yet been disclosed. But Chinese media quickly ran a story that suggested the fire was the result of Indian incompetence. Li Jie, a Chinese naval expert, told the state-owned Global Times newspaper “that the fire was more likely to be out of human error rather than mechanical problems. The fire and the extinguishing process suggested that they are unprofessional and unprepared to address such an emergency, he said.”

“India has been actively developing its military in recent years, but ‘its military culture is lax and it has loose regulations,’ which cannot effectively train soldiers to operate advanced military equipment, Li said.”

That criticism comes despite that fact that India has far more experience than China in operating aircraft carriers. India’s first carrier, the Vikrant, a former World War II British carrier, was commissioned in 1961. It performed combat duty in the 1971 India-Pakistan War. China’s first carrier, the Liaoning – the ex-Soviet carrier Varyag – wasn’t commissioned until 2012. It has yet to see action.

Ironically, both India and China are in the midst of ramping up their carrier fleets. India is completing a new Vikrant, which will be the nation’s first domestically-produced carrier. It has also announced plans to build a 65,000-ton carrier, which might even be based on the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class vessels.
Riaz Haq said…
PAF fighter pilot Sattar Alvi who flew a Syrian Air Force MiG 21 and shot down a much more advanced Israeli Mirage III claims that his knowledge of Mirage weakness helped him in the dogfight over Syria:

"A Mirage is good at high speeds and poor at slow speed combat. The Mirage leader made his high speed pass at me and as I forced him to overshoot he pulled up high above me. His wingman followed in the attack and I did the same with him; followed by a violent reversal and making the aircraft stand on its tail. The speed dropped to zero. The wingman should have followed his leader.

To my surprise he didn’t, and reversed getting into scissors with me at low speeds. That was suicidal and a Mirage should never do that against a Mig-21. But then, the game plan probably was for the wingman to keep me engaged while the leader turned around to sandwich and then shoot me. It was a good plan, but not easy to execute. The only difficulty in this plan was that the second Mirage had to keep me engaged long enough without becoming vulnerable himself. This is where things began to go wrong for the wingman because his leader took about 10 seconds longer than what was required."


https://tribune.com.pk/story/855837/50-years-on-memories-of-the-1973-arab-israeli-conflict/
Riaz Haq said…
#India to buy 100 more of the #Israeli bunker-buster "smart" bombs... the kind that failed to hit targets in #Balakot #Pakistan in February this year. #Modi #IAF — RT World News https://www.rt.com/news/461289-israel-india-bombs-spice-pakistan/


The Indian Air Force has inked a deal with an Israeli defense firm to restock its arsenal with an advanced version of a bunker-buster bomb it had used in an airstrike against an alleged terrorist hideout in Pakistan in February.
New Delhi will purchase 100 more SPICE-2000 bombs for an estimated $43.2 million. SPICE stands for “smart, precise-impact and cost-effective” and is manufactured by the Israeli defense technology company Rafael. The munitions are expected to be delivered to the Indian Air Force (IAF) within the next three months.

Designed to destroy bunkers and other buildings, the bombs are an advanced version of the munitions deployed when the IAF attacked the suspected terrorist compound in Balakot, Pakistan, earlier this year. Islamabad responded with strikes of its own the next day, eventually downing an Indian F-16 after a brief dogfight.

The high-tech SPICE bomb has a range of 60 km and uses real-time data to adjust its flight path according to changing factors.

Since February’s brief clash, India and Pakistan have traded hostile rhetoric, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing Pakistan in April of allowing terrorists to attack India, and threatening to hit Pakistan with“the mother of all nuclear bombs.”

That comment prompted Pakistan military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor to warn India against testing his country’s “resolve.”

India’s Air Force hasn’t always been so lucky to possess cutting-edge technology. Last month, Modi was widely mocked after suggesting that the IAF may have used clouds to evade Pakistani radar during February’s air raid.
Riaz Haq said…
After complaints from #Indian users and #Hindu Nationalist government of #India's prime minister #Modi, #Twitter in mid-June 2019 suspended several users and suppressed the #truth about #Indian-#Pakistani military conflict. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/india-trying-suppress-military-analysts-twitter-63282

The suspensions targeting the so-called “open-source intelligence,” or OSINT, community raises serious questions about Twitter’s commitment to fairness, facts and intellectual freedom. Equally troubling is the Indian government’s apparent influence on a social-media platform with millions of users all over the world.

The accounts Twitter targeted all had one thing in common. They questioned the Indian government’s claims in the aftermath of the brief but intensive aerial clash between Indian and Pakistani warplanes over Kashmir in February 2019.

The battle began when Indian planes on Feb. 26, 2019 attempted to bomb an alleged Pakistani training camp outside Balakot, near the border with Kashmir. Both India and Pakistan claim the mountainous region. Military skirmishes and militant violence are frequent in Kashmir.

At least one Indian warplane, a MiG-21, was destroyed. Pakistani troops briefly held the pilot before repatriating him. New Delhi claimed its own forces shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter, but provided no evidence.

OSINT accounts closely followed the fighting and challenged claims from Indian and Pakistani sources. Open-source intelligence practitioners usually rely on a mix of news reports, social media, commercial satellite imagery and public ship- and flight-tracking software to keep tabs on military operations.

The OSINT analyst with the Twitter handle @ELINTNews the day of the initial Indian air raid questioned India’s claim that its jets shot down an F-16. “No evidence so far to corroborate India’s claim of it downing a Pakistani plane,” ELINTNews noted. By contrast, images quickly appeared on-line confirming Pakistan’s destruction of an Indian MiG.

A count of Pakistani F-16s later confirmed that none were missing.

Months later, India retaliated against the Twitter OSINT community. Reporter Snehesh Alex Philip summarized the situation in a June 18, 2019 story in The Print. “The social media giant has told handles like the popular @ELINTNews, that they’ve been suspended for ‘violating Indian laws.’”


“Seems they're knocking off the big OSINT accounts due to Indian complaints that they're terrorists, or something,” Steffan Watkins, a prominent Canadian OSINT analyst, told The National Interest.

“The move has led to speculation that the Indian Air Force is behind it,” Philip explained. “However, sources in the IAF remained tight-lipped about this development, with some also expressing ignorance.”

A notice Twitter sent to @ELINTNews confirmed that the social-media company had received “official correspondence” that prompted the ban.

Great Game India, a journal based in Hyderabad, celebrated Twitter’s attack on OSINT. “Very welcome step,” the journal tweeted. The journal in May 2019 conducted what one reporter described as an “independent social media tracking operation” and accused OSINT analysts of being fronts for the Pakistani government.
Riaz Haq said…
One Pakistani Navy Submarine Outsmarted the Entire Indian Navy

https://propakistani.pk/2019/06/25/one-pakistani-navy-submarine-outsmarted-the-entire-indian-navy/

It’s not been long since the two nuclear states, Pakistan and India, stood at the brink of war. Soon after the Pulwama incident, the Indian Air force attacked and violated Pakistan’s airspace. But that was not the only operation the Indian military was carrying out at that time.

It has been revealed by an India publication that the Indian Navy was also in action at that time. According to the media report, the Indian Navy pulled a major part of its fleet from an exercise and deployed it close to Pakistani territorial waters.

The fleet included nuclear and conventional submarines. As the tensions between the two countries simmered, India started keeping a close eye on Pakistan Navy’s movements. It was unable to locate an advanced Pakistani Agosta-class submarines-PNS Saad.

The missing Pakistani submarine made the entire Indian Navy go on a hunt that lasted for 21 days. “All the areas where it could have gone in the given timeframe, extensive searches were carried out by the Indian Navy. P-8Is were pressed into service to locate the submarine along with the coastal areas of Gujarat followed by Maharashtra and other states,” states the media report.

The P-81s have been recently acquired by India from the US. They are the advanced maritime surveillance aircraft having potent anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

Perceived Threat
According to the Indian government sources, the PNS Saad had vanished from near Karachi, and it could reach the Gujarat coast, India, in three days and the western fleet’s headquarters of Mumbai within five days. It was deemed a major threat to the security of India.

The Indian Navy took all the necessary steps to locate PNS Saad. The option of punitive military force was also made open, in case the submarine refused to surface. The country’s Navy committed its most potent assets to the search points. It employed satellites for the search and kept expanding its areas of search.

However, India claims that they finally located the Pakistan submarine in the country’s western territorial waters.

If the past events are recalled, Pakistan Navy had disclosed on May 5 that it had thwarted an Indian submarine from entering into Pakistani territorial waters, releasing a video as well. The claim was downplayed by the Indian side.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan #airspace denial: students, diplomats urge #India to end impasse. “Earlier we paid around Rs. 30,000 but while returning in June, I had to pay around Rs. 60,000. We are students and cannot afford such high rates that airlines are charging us" https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pakistan-airspace-students-diplomats-urge-india-to-restore-air-corridor/article28281219.ece

Denial of airspace by Pakistan is affecting Indian students and hindering the smooth conduct of diplomacy. Indian students based in Central Asia and diplomats of various countries have urged the Government of India to engage Pakistan on restoring airspace rights that were suspended after India hit targets in Pakistani territory on February 26.

“Earlier we paid around ₹30,000 but while returning in June, I had to pay around ₹60,000. We are students and cannot afford such high rates that airlines are charging us. We have reached out to former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on social media but our complaints were not addressed,” says Ashutosh Kumar Singh, a fifth year MBBS student of the Kazakh National Medical University of Almaty.

Students say that apart from the hike in ticket prices, they also have to deal with the extra long distance that Central Asian airlines are forced to fly, as Pakistan remains out of bounds for India-bound flights. “We have to spend a day or more in airports of Central Asia or the Gulf region before boarding a connecting flight that will fly the elongated route,” says a student who studies in Kazakhstan.

Students who booked tickets months in advance were inconvenienced when Air Astana, the biggest Central Asian airline suspended its flights to India after Pakistan denied airspace. It restarted flights on June 29, but it is yet to start the earlier daily flights. At present, the flights are operated only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.


Kartarpur religious corridor
Students say that despite the tense ties, India has managed to maintain dialogue with Pakistan over the construction of the Kartarpur religious corridor. “If government can hold talks for religious corridor project with Pakistan, why is it not discussing the air corridors that is the requirement of thousands of inbound and outbound air passengers,” asks Zubair, a medical student

Diplomats too are disturbed by the difficulties they are facing in travelling to India. A Russian diplomat pointed out that Moscow was waiting for the end of Pakistan’s airspace denial. “It’s a bilateral issue that is affecting a huge number of countries. All Central Asian countries are facing enormous difficulties because of this issue. We are waiting for the opening of the airspace,” he said, adding that the Delhi-Moscow travelling time now took eight hours, and often connecting flights were lost because of the long duration flights that airlines needed to fly because of Pakistan’s blockade.

A Ukrainian diplomat also pointed out that the flying time from Delhi to Kiev had become at least two hours longer, leading to cancellation of connecting flights.
Riaz Haq said…
How incompetent is the #Indian Navy? Read scathing assessment of #US Naval Officer who spent 5 days onboard the Indian Navy warship, INS #Delhi . AMA. - LessCredibleDefence

https://www.reddit.com/r/LessCredibleDefence/comments/9uwqzk/iama_us_naval_officer_who_spent_5_days_onboard/

I see a lot of disappointments/shock in your comments. Were there any positives? Did they have good food?

Actually, their food was excellent. They also made really good tea, too. I drank nothing but hot milk tea my entire 5 days there because I was afraid of drinking the water (I saw their reverse osmosis units, dear god).

How bad was it?

15+ years old and they looked like nobody had done any maintenance in the last 5+ years. Their ROs were in such poor shape that despite having a greater fresh water production capacity than my ship by several thousand gallons, they were still on water hours.

How do they runs things differently then the USN?

Their engineering practices were abysmal. No undershirts, no steel-toed boots - they wore sandals - no hearing protection in their engineering spaces. No lagging (sound dampening material) in any space. No electrical safety whatsoever. No operational risk management. No concept of safety of navigation. Absolutely did not adhere to rules of the road. They more or less did not have any hard-copy written procedures for any exercise or event, at all. They had no concept of the coded fleet tactical system that US coalition forces and allies utilize (they literally made it up as they went along, and when I tried to interject and explain to them how it worked, they ignored me). When I arrived onboard they thought I was a midshipman and treated me as such. I had to be frank and explain that I was a commissioned officer and that yes, I stood officer on the deck onboard my ship and was a qualified surface warfare officer. They don't entrust their people with any responsibility until they are very senior Lieutenants (O-3s) and junior Lieutenant Commanders (O-4s). At this point in the US Navy there are literally guys commanding ships, and these guys couldn't even be trusted to handle a radio circuit.

How knowledgeable did you find the officers to be?

Well, their captain was driving the ship when it came within 50ft of the stern of a USNS replenishment ship and at any given time there were multiple officers on the bridge screaming at each other. They were generally clueless and had almost zero seamanship skills. I found their enlisted guys to be far more competent than their officers on the bridge.

Why do you think they're so incompetent and have such crappy operations?

Well, coming within 50ft of another ship at sea is never a good sign. But, afterwards, the general consensus/excuse that they came up with during their mini-debrief was "oh well, rough seas, better luck next time" not "holy ******* ****, we parted a tensioned wire cable made of braided steel under hundreds of thousands of pounds of tension". And wearing sandals during replenishment/helo ops/boat ops/in engineering spaces pretty much says it all. They legitimately didn't understand why I was wearing steel-toed flight deck boots. Things like these aren't cultural differences, they are golden exhibitions of their sheer lack of common sense and seamanship.

1. Are you breaking any US Navy rules by telling us all this?

2. How did they do in the exercise? Did they get "sunk" five times or what?

3. Were there equivalent Indian Navy personnel on a US Navy ship and do you happen to know their assessment? Were they disappointed by the lack of slaves?

4. Let's say * * * * hits the fan. India and Pakistan (or any other country. Take your pick) are at war and the ship you were on is sent into action. Would they be an effective fighting force or are they on the bottom of the ocean before the first day of shooting? Great AMA btw!

Riaz Haq said…
#India’s ex chief economist Arvind Subramanian to produce new paper to defend his claim India’s #GDP is overestimated. Actual growth was just 4.5% from 2011 to 2017. #Modi #BJP #economy

https://theprint.in/economy/arvind-subramanian-to-produce-new-paper-to-defend-his-claim-indias-gdp-is-overestimated/261668/

Former chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian is set to produce another working paper on GDP estimation, as he looks to address criticism about his claim that India’s GDP was overestimated by 2.5 percentage points.

Subramanian’s previous paper, released last month, had pointed out that India may have only grown at an average of 4.5 per cent in the period 2011-12 and 2016-17, and not 7 per cent as suggested by official estimates.

Using various real sector indicators like exports, credit growth, freight rates and factory output, Subramanian had pointed out that these indicators declined significantly post-2011, but GDP growth rate was hardly affected.

Subramanian’s use of real indicators to measure the GDP came in for severe criticism from economists and statisticians. The Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council had pointed out that the methodology used by Subramanian overlooked tax data and didn’t have adequate services sector representation. The council said the correlation between the indicators and GDP growth could change over time.

Subramanian’s defence
Speaking at an event organised by the National Council of Applied Economic Research, Subramanian defended his GDP overestimation claims, saying his framework attempted “not to estimate but to validate GDP growth estimates”.

Discussing a yet to be released follow-up paper to his earlier study, Subramanian said: “India’s overall GDP deflator is substantially underestimated.”

The average differential between GDP deflator and Consumer Price Index (CPI) has increased considerably between the 2002-11 and 2012-16 periods, with CPI exceeding GDP deflator by 0.6 percentage points pre-2011 and by 2.9 percentage points post it, he noted. This underestimation, he said, could be seen as linked to the real GDP growth rate overestimation.

Both GDP deflator and CPI are measures of inflation, and GDP deflator is used as a divisor to estimate real GDP from its nominal counterpart.

Reacting to the arguments made in the past few weeks — that GDP could have grown as a result of government policies or a productivity surge — he went about demonstrating that none of these factors actually explain the high official GDP growth rates post-2011.

Acknowledging that some of the Modi government’s reforms like GST, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and welfare schemes like cooking gas and toilets have been truly transformative, he said that they cannot adequately explain the growth in GDP.

He also rejected the productivity surge argument. “It is unlikely that a productivity surge could have taken place under UPA-2 with its considerable policy collapse and a mini-crisis prevailing,” he said.

He identified India’s twin balance sheet problem — the NPA crisis facing its banks and the huge debt burden of its corporates — as one of the major shock events that may have impeded growth.
Riaz Haq said…
Pro-India #American analyst Christine Fair: #Pakistan came out ahead in #Balakot #Kashmir conflict in Feb 2019. #India does not have the capability to decisively defeat #Pakistan in a short war.. https://youtu.be/erbBPdAWZQg via @YouTube

In a wide-ranging interview to ThePrint, strategic scholar from Georgetown University, Christine Fair talks about her book on Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Balakot air strike, and India's ideal strategy towards Pakistan.

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