Can Washington Trust Modi's India As Key Ally in Asia?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the summit meeting of the China-Russia sponsored Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan this week. India is a full member of this alliance which has been created to counter the US dominance in Asia. At the same time, New Delhi has also joined QUAD, a group of 4 nations (Australia, India, Japan and US) formed by the United States  to counter China's rise. Simultaneous membership of these two competing alliances is raising serious questions about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's real intentions and trustworthiness. Is this Indian policy shift from "non-alignment" to "all-alignment" sustainable? 

2022 SCO Summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Source: Xinhua


Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO): 

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a political, economic and security organization designed to counter US dominance. It was founded by Beijing and Moscow in 2001. Currently, it has 8 members: China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iran has signed a memorandum of commitment this week signaling its intention to join the SCO, underscoring the growing alignment between the U.S.'s top adversaries. India's participation in this alliance seems strange given its simultaneous membership of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. 

Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD): 

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD) is a strategic security dialogue between Australia, India, Japan, and the United States that was initiated in 2007 by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to counter growing Chinese influence in Asia. India upset Japan recently when it joined the Russia-led Vostok-2022 military exercises held around a group of islands known as the southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan -- a territorial dispute that dates back to the end of World War II, according to Bloomberg. India scaled back its participation in the war games -- especially staying out of the naval exercises -- in response to the Japanese objections but it left a bad taste. 

Non-Alignment to All-Alignment: 

The contradictions inherent in the membership of both of these competing alliances are already being exposed by Mr. Modi's large and rapidly growing purchases of Russian energy and weapons despite western sanctions.  “India’s neutral public positioning on the invasion has raised difficult questions in Washington DC about our alignment of values and interests,” said Richard Rossow, a senior adviser on India policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Bloomberg News. “Such engagements -- especially if they trigger new or expanded areas of cooperation that benefit Russia -- will further erode interest among Washington policy makers for providing India a ‘pass’ on tough sanctions decision.”

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Riaz Haq
@haqsmusings
People Of #Flood-Hit #Pakistan Need #America's Help. #US Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has introduced legislation to provide more help to the country that has been devastated by recent #floods. #PakistanFloods #Sindh

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1571173078625030148?s=20&t=sptq7d0z3ATWm_L0h6R1uA

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Pakistan, she said, has been a friend and has helped the US in the evacuation of Afghan refugees; helped in the war on terror, where they lost the Pakistani military in the war on terror.

“And, of course, the huge and very engaging Pakistani diaspora, Pakistani Americans who are both respected and, of course, energised to be collaborative with their government here in the United States to try to save the lives of babies and children, women and men, people who are sick, who need kidney transplants, who can't get their medicine, it is imperative that we rise up to this occasion,” she said.

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Asserting that the people of Pakistan need America’s help, a US lawmaker has introduced legislation to provide more help to the country that has been devastated by recent floods.

The cash-strapped nation has been struggling with the worst floods in the past 30 years, leaving more than 1,400 dead and 33 million people affected since early June.


A third of the country is submerged in water and one in every seven persons is badly affected by the floods that have led to an estimated USD 12 billion in losses that have left about 78,000 square kilometers (21 million acres) of crops under water.

“The people of Pakistan need our help. The Pakistani Americans have risen to their call. So many in my Congressional district are providing and offering to help send medical care if you will,” Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, co-chair of the Pakistani Congressional Caucus said in her remarks in the House of Representatives.

Speaking on the floor of the House, Jackson-Lee said that it is very important for the US Congress to go on record in recognizing the devastation that the people are facing every single day.

“Would you imagine, even in the trials and tribulations that we have in the United States, that you have populations of people who are isolated by dirty water and that there are people who are living in the outlying areas with no shelter whatsoever,” she said.

“The people are hungry, the lack of food is rising. The pregnant women are fearful for the unbelievable challenges they have in giving birth,” she said.

“Madam Speaker, I am calling upon Congress, as I introduce this legislation dealing with the devastation of the floods in Pakistan, to join me in supporting the legislation and, as well, recognising the dire conditions that our friends in Pakistan are having,” Jackson-Lee said.


Jackson-Lee has just returned from Pakistan after a 10 days visit with the Congressional Pakistan Caucus. “I could see water as far as the eye could see. The devastation is overwhelming: 33 million people displaced, more than 600,000 homeless, but more than that, hungry,” she said.

She thanks the Biden administration for its initial support of the UN fund of USD 30 million and the additional funding of USD 20 million.

“After our briefing in Islamabad and working with the administration, the United States military joined in delivering 300,000 tents,” she said.

“To my colleagues, more is needed. I will be introducing legislation that reflects the delegation's work and, as well, their efforts; and that is, we need additional funding for these devastating conditions,” said the Democratic Congresswoman from Texas.
Riaz Haq said…
‘Sale’ of F-16 spares is US way to keep Pakistan where it wants to be—between China and West
Even though all the three services of Pakistan’s armed forces are largely composed of Chinese-manufactured equipment, Rawalpindi's heart remains tilted towards the West.


by Ayesha Siddiqa

https://theprint.in/opinion/sale-of-f-16-spares-is-us-way-to-keep-pakistan-where-it-wants-to-be-between-china-and-west/1130194/

The Joe Biden administration’s announcement to offer defence equipment worth $450 million to Pakistan for its F-16 fighter jet fleet is a noticeable development. But it definitely doesn’t indicate that America’s South Asian policy is shifting gears or moving away from where it had started to pivot around 2012. The US’ Indo-Pacific strategy remains focussed on India. Donald Lu, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, said that America isn’t giving any aid to Pakistan; rather, it’s just the sale of spare parts which won’t add anything to Pakistan’s capabilities.

Theoretically, this is the correct position because $450 million is not a huge amount. It is barely enough to buy the necessary nuts and bolts to keep the three aircraft squadrons in Pakistan Air Force (PAF) operational. It also doesn’t help Pakistan’s flood-battered economy to cough out $450 million. The main aim of PAF here seems to be to keep its F-16s functional.

The US administration’s approval for the sale of spares is meant for about 19 block-52 aircraft. Reportedly, the PAF has about a squadron strength of these aircraft. The PAF is also keen to replace its old French Mirage aircraft but F-16 is certainly not an option as Islamabad wouldn’t have the cash to pay for Western aircraft. The evolving geo-political circumstances also don’t seem to suggest that floodgates to American military and economic aid would open like in the past. Pakistan received the bulk of F-16s in its inventory during the 1980s to fight the war against Soviet troops in Afghanistan. The F-16s became a symbol of strong Pakistan-US relations and gave wings to the country’s security, prompting the PAF to want to acquire about 120 aircraft. The plan was eventually shelved as Pakistan was hit by the US arms embargo after October 1990. The American war against the Taliban that followed resulted in adding some more F-16s to the PAF but the story essentially stops here.

The reality is that over the past decade, the PAF has shifted towards the Chinese JF-17 Thunder aircraft, which it had used during the post-Balakot operation in 2019. The JF-17 Thunder, jointly developed and produced by Islamabad and Beijing, is an aircraft that has evolved with major inputs from the PAF. Initially meant to add numbers to the air force, the aircraft was developed over the years to also fill the quality gap that Pakistan had been unable to do due to lack of access to fourth generation Western aircraft. It was early this year that plans were reportedly afoot regarding PAF procuring 50 JF-17 block III aircraft. The internet is already flooded with photographs of the latest JF-17s flying with the air force.

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan and China trumpeted their "all weather" friendship after their leaders met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit on Friday, but analysts warn that Islamabad's scramble to extricate itself from an economic crisis could stoke tensions.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Pakistan-and-China-hail-brotherhood-but-IMF-terms-spell-friction

Both sides' readouts of the summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif were filled with flowery language. Sharif's office said he emphasized that the nations' "iron brotherhood had withstood the test of time" and reaffirmed "his personal resolve to take their bilateral relations to greater heights."

China's Foreign Ministry said Xi stressed that "the two countries have all along stood with each other through thick and thin. No matter how the international situation evolves, China and Pakistan are always each other's trustworthy strategic partners."

But hinting at concerns over recent attacks on Chinese interests in Pakistan and worries over payments to Chinese companies, Beijing's readout added: "China hopes that Pakistan will provide solid protection for the security of Chinese citizens and institutions in Pakistan as well as the lawful rights and interests of Chinese businesses."

Looming over the meeting were expectations that Pakistan will seek concessions on dues owed to Chinese power producers operating in the country under the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) -- part of Xi's Belt and Road Initiative.

Cash-strapped Islamabad needs to do this to satisfy the International Monetary Fund and unlock more funding, as it rushes to reduce the risk of a debt default.

The government assured the IMF in July that it would strive to reduce capacity payments to Chinese independent power producers (IPPs) either by renegotiating purchase agreements or rescheduling bank loans. Capacity payments are fixed payments made to power plants for generating a minimum amount of electricity to ensure that demand is met. These companies produce costly electricity using imported fuel, and are said to be on the brink of default.

"The IMF anticipated that pressure would come from the Chinese IPPs that the entire loan installment be used to pay them," Nadeem Hussain, a Boston-based author and economic policy analyst, told Nikkei Asia. "Hence, the IMF extended the current program on the condition that it would not go to the Chinese IPPs."

The Washington-based lender released a long-pending tranche of $1.17 billion two weeks ago after Pakistan undertook a series of politically unpopular economic measures toward fiscal discipline. The bailout program, which began in 2019 but stalled, was also extended until next June, with additional funding set to bring the total value to about $6.5 billion, the IMF said in a statement.

But Pakistan owes $1.1 billion to Chinese IPPs for power purchases, contributing to the massive 2.6 trillion-rupee ($11 billion) debt stock in the country's power sector. The IMF has long maintained that Chinese loans threaten Pakistan's debt sustainability.

Xi, in the Chinese Foreign Minister readout of his meeting with Sharif, "stressed that the two sides must continue to firmly support each other, foster stronger synergy between their development strategies, and harness ... the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to ensure smooth construction and operation of major projects."

Observers say Pakistan's handling of the electricity issue is likely to irk China, noting that Sharif's government committed to the IMF to reopen power contracts without taking the Chinese companies into confidence. Pakistan has also reneged on a promise to set up an escrow account to ensure smooth payments to Chinese IPPs.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan and China trumpeted their "all weather" friendship after their leaders met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit on Friday, but analysts warn that Islamabad's scramble to extricate itself from an economic crisis could stoke tensions.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Pakistan-and-China-hail-brotherhood-but-IMF-terms-spell-friction

"The Chinese [companies] have been absolutely upset for a very long time," said Haroon Sharif, a former minister of state who spearheaded industrial cooperation with China under the previous government of Prime Minister Imran Khan. "The Chinese stance is that it's a commercial agreement. No IPP is obliged to listen to the [Pakistani] government because the agreements were drawn under the law," he said, referring to a system that predated the Khan government and paved the way for Chinese players to invest in the country's power sector, setting the terms.

Resentment has been building for some time. CPEC projects were stalled for months after Khan took power in 2018, mainly due to graft allegations regarding the previous government's dealings. There were also allegations that the arrangements unfairly benefited Beijing.

"The IPP framework is deeply flawed," Haroon Sharif said. "The [Chinese] IPPs are averse to taking risks because the state guarantees a return on investment in dollar terms whether they are selling [electricity] or not."

As a confidence-building measure, Islamabad did announce the release of 50 billion rupees to the companies by next week and assured the Chinese suppliers that all outstanding dues will be cleared by June next year. The announcement came ahead of Prime Minister Sharif's meeting with Xi at the SCO and a planned visit to China in November, when he might raise concerns about the power deals.

The release of the funds may serve only as a Band-Aid.

The IMF is demanding that Pakistan rationalize payments to the Chinese IPPs in line with earlier concessions extracted from local private power producers, Haroon Sharif explained. Former Prime Minister Khan persuaded local IPPs to accept lower interest rates on outstanding bills before releasing staggered reimbursements in the form of debt instruments, like government bonds.

Chinese power producers, however, have fiercely opposed similar propositions in the past. In March, Chinese IPPs closed down operations due to unpaid dues, insisting they did not have money to import fuel. The government disbursed another installment of 50 billion rupees to get them to resume operations.

The IMF now wants Pakistan to negotiate an increase in the duration of bank loans from 10 years to 20 years, or to reduce the markup on arrears owed to Chinese IPPs from 4.5% to 2%, the ex-minister said.

He added that there is a lesson in this for China. "Chinese companies should deeply study macroeconomic fundamentals [before making any investments], and not blindly follow state guarantees,'' Sharif argued. At the same time, he said, this will have a far-reaching impact on Pakistan's future investment climate.

Riaz Haq said…
Dr Claude Rakisits
@ClaudeRakisits
Now that the war in #Ukraine is starting to seriously turn against #Russia, ⁦
@PMOIndia
⁩ now sees the benefits in being publicly critical of #Putin. It’s unfortunate that #India hadn’t taken a more principled position from the start.

https://twitter.com/ClaudeRakisits/status/1571015863712550912?s=20&t=Jl49VRi9l2Q4vIa0LC4n7Q
Riaz Haq said…
China-led SCO pushes multipolar world as Xi warns of 'color' revolts
Beijing, Moscow challenge Western influence in joint statement

https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/China-led-SCO-pushes-multipolar-world-as-Xi-warns-of-color-revolts


Leaders from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization called for a stronger multilateral world order led by several powers and regions in a joint statement Friday, as China and Russia push to expand the framework to counter America's global unipolar influence.

The declaration, issued after a two-day summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, urged closer cooperation on a wide range of fields from politics and economy to national security and culture.

The eight member states "reaffirm their commitment to a more representative, democratic, just and multipolar world order based on the universally recognized principles of international law," the statement says.

Xi on Friday also urged cooperation to prevent foreign powers from meddling in internal affairs and instigating "color revolutions," referring to the series of anti-regime protests largely in the former Soviet Union. China considers Taiwan part of its territory and thus a domestic matter.

China and Russia consider the world to be at a crossroads with the rise of Asia and the war in Ukraine. They see the SCO, which Iran is now set to formally join next year, as a tool to increase their international clout.

Still, it is unclear how closely members can work together given the organization's limitations.

Established in 2001, the SCO functions as a loose grouping that fosters stability and trust between former Soviet states and promotes multilateral cooperation. In addition to China and Russia, its official members are Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, India and Pakistan.

Fourteen leaders attended this week's summit, including from observer states Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia, and dialogue partners Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka.

The grouping is seeking out new members to bolster its clout. Iran this week signed a memorandum toward attending the 2023 summit in India as its ninth full-fledged member. Belarus, a Russian ally, has begun the membership process, while Turkey has expressed interest as well.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar newly signed on as dialogue partners with an eye on eventually joining the framework. The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Myanmar, Bahrain and the Maldives will start the process as well.

But unlike NATO, which is a political and military alliance, the SCO is not a united bloc. Its agreements generally are not legally binding, and regional issues are usually settled bilaterally between individual members.

Some members are at odds with each other, like China and India over their shared border. While Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin affirmed their opposition to U.S. "provocations" in a Thursday summit, they signaled a rift in their position on the war in Ukraine.

China and Russia have also used other channels like BRICS -- their grouping with Brazil, India and South Africa -- to advocate for an alternative to the Western-led international order. They have promoted an expanded "BRICS Plus" framework, which includes other emerging and developing economies.

Meanwhile, the U.S., Japan and Europe are deepening their cooperation with countries that share similar values, like the rule of law. They have launched the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue with India and Australia and the AUKUS grouping with Australia in recent years as a deterrent against China and Russia in the Asia-Pacific.
Riaz Haq said…
China-India relations: Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi continue to keep each other at arm’s length | South China Morning Post

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3192927/china-india-relations-xi-jinping-and-narendra-modi-continue

Chinese President Xi Jinping met at least 12 state leaders for one-on-one talks during a three-day diplomatic blitz last week, his first trip outside China since the early days of the pandemic.

But they did not include Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The pair posed for group photos at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit held in the Uzbek city of Samarkand and attended multilateral meetings, but there was no publicly reported two-way meeting. The deadly clash in the Galwan Valley two years ago continues to weigh on relations and Beijing is concerned by Delhi’s growing closeness to the US

Riaz Haq said…
The United States is in "deep" talks with India over its reliance on Russian arms and energy, a US State Department official said Tuesday, in a development that could further isolate Moscow on the international stage.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/21/india/india-us-talks-shifting-russia-reliance-intl-hnk/index.html

Russia "is no longer a reliable weapons supplier" and Indian representatives are "coming to understand that there could be real benefits for them (in finding other markets)," the official told reporters in New York.
"India is heavily, heavily dependent on Russia, and that's something that they did to themselves over some 40 years: first their military and then their energy dependence," the official said. "So we have been in deep conversation with India about the fact that we want to help them have options to diversify here."
CNN has contacted India's Ministry of External Affairs, but did not receive a response.

The State Department official's comments came hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin announced an escalation of Moscow's offensive in Ukraine, calling for the immediate "partial mobilization" of Russian citizens.
"In order to protect our homeland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, to ensure the security of our people and people in the liberated territories, I consider it necessary to support the proposal of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff to conduct partial mobilization in the Russian Federation," Putin said in a highly anticipated speech to the nation Wednesday.
Efforts to begin partial mobilization will begin on Wednesday and the decree was already signed, Putin said. The mobilization would mean citizens who are in the reserve and those with military experience would be subject to conscription, he added.
Putin framed the fighting as part of a larger struggle for Russian survival against a West whose goal is it is to "weaken, divide and ultimately destroy our country."
It is unclear what impact Putin's comments will have on India's position on the war.
Since the start of Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, India has sought to carve a middle path between Moscow and its Western critics, largely steering clear of condemning a country that remains its biggest arms supplier and with which it has ties dating back to the Cold War.
It has so far largely resisted Western pressure to cut its economic ties with the Kremlin, instead increasing its purchases of Russian oil, coal and fertilizer, and has repeatedly abstained from a United Nations vote on suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council, instead calling for "dialogue and diplomacy."
However, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared to indicate a potential change in tone last week, telling Russian President Vladimir Putin that now is not the time for war.
The comments from Modi came during a face-to-face meeting on the sidelines of the the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan.
"I know that today's era is not of war and we have talked to you many times over the phone on the subject that democracy and diplomacy and dialogue are all these things that touch the world," Modi told Putin.
While India's relationship with Russia goes back decades, New Delhi's ties with the West have been growing ever closer since Modi's election in 2014. Annual India-US trade is more than $110 billion, compared to about $8 billion for India's trade with Russia. In recent years, India has also become a major customer for US military equipment.

Riaz Haq said…
Senators seek secondary sanctions on Russian oil purchases that could irk India, China


https://worldoil.com/news/2022/9/20/u-s-senators-seek-secondary-sanctions-on-russian-oil-purchases/

(Bloomberg) — A bipartisan pair of senators is pressing the Biden administration to use secondary sanctions to enforce a cap on the price of Russian oil.

The push comes as the US and Group of Seven nations seek to limit Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ability to fund his war in Ukraine.

Senators Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, and Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey are working on legislation that would impose secondary sanctions on foreign firms that facilitate the trade of Russian oil and on countries that increase their purchases of the commodity.

The pair worked together before and co-sponsored the Senate version of the Hong Kong Autonomy Act that imposed sanctions on Chinese officials involved in the crackdown on dissent in the territory and was signed into law by Donald Trump.

“We have yet to effectively cut off funding to Putin’s war machine by diminishing Russia’s revenues from energy sales,” Van Hollen and Toomey, who are both members of the Banking Committee, said in a statement. “In order to successfully enforce the price cap, it’s clear the administration requires new authority from Congress.”

The legislation sets up a clash with the Biden administration, which has previously rejected secondary sanctions as a way to enforce the oil price cap. Biden’s team argues that the economic incentives of a cap are sufficient to induce cooperation and secondary sanctions would create tensions with nations such as India, which continue to buy Russian oil.

Buyer Incentives

“I don’t think you need secondary sanctions for this to work,” Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in a Sept/ 6 interview with Bloomberg reporters in New York. “The incentives of buyers are aligned with the incentives of the countries that are putting in place the price cap.”

A Treasury Department spokesperson declined to comment. A person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations, said Treasury had been briefed on the framework.

But Congress has repeatedly steered the administration toward harder-line policies on Russia since its Feb. 24 invasion. The most prominent example was when the administration, under pressure from lawmakers, reversed its opposition to cutting off some Russian banks from the SWIFT financial messaging system.

Bilateral Strains

If passed, the legislation could provoke a major fight with countries such as India and China, which have ramped up their purchases of Russian oil and have reacted coolly to the idea of a price cap. The US has been careful in its interactions with India on the price cap, pitching it as a way to negotiate lower prices from Russia but steering clear of threatening penalties for failing to join the scheme.

Under the two senators’ proposal, the US and its allies would be required to impose a cap on the price of Russian seaborne oil by March 2023. The cap would then be reduced by one-third every year until it reaches the break-even price within three years, depriving Putin of any revenue above the price of production. The president can waive the price reduction if the administration determines it would cause the global price of oil to spike.

The cap would be enforced by secondary sanctions on any firms involved in the sale or transportation of Russian oil, including banks, insurance and re-insurance companies and brokerages.

The legislation, which has not yet been introduced, would also penalize countries found to be importing Russian oil, oil products, gas and coal above their pre-war levels.

Van Hollen and Toomey said secondary sanctions would give the administration the tools it needs to “hold accountable the financial institutions supporting those countries involved in rampant war profiteering from Russian exports.”
Riaz Haq said…
Sidhant Sibal
@sidhant
US's F-16 package to Pakistan "predicated on US interest associated with our defence partnership with Pak, wch is focused on counter terror or nuclear security as Sec. Austin made it clear to Min. Singh, it doesnt includes any upgrades", says US Asst Sec of Defense Dr. Ely Ratner

https://twitter.com/sidhant/status/1572991990454591488?s=20&t=z8IxFm3TqHNVXaW9wHT6wg


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US has limited security partnership with Pakistan, says Pentagon official
Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION

https://www.wionews.com/world/us-has-limited-security-partnership-with-pakistan-says-pentagon-official-518852

The Pentagon has said that it has a "limited security partnership" with Pakistan, key comments in the backdrop of the recent Washington announcement of a $450 million package for Islamabad to sustain its F16 fleet. The Biden government's decision, which was announced earlier this month reverses the decision of the previous Trump govt and helps Pakistan sustain its F16 programme.

Speaking to a selected group of reporters, US Asst Sec of Defense Dr Ely S Ratner explained that the US has been engaging with its Indian counterparts on the issue "both in advance of the announcement.." and "during the " mini 2+2 that happened earlier this month in Delhi.

Dr Ely Ratner, along with Donald Lu, Assistant Secretary of State (South and Central Asian Affairs) were in Delhi for the India-U.S.A 2+2 Inter-sessional Dialogue with Indian diplomat Vani Rao. Rao is the Additional Secretary (Americas) in the Ministry of External Affairs.

Ratner said, "It is important to be transparent as we could with Indian counterparts both in advance and during the decision and good opportunity for health exchange on both the US rationale for its limited security partnership with Pakistan and good opportunity to hear India's concern about that".

In the aftermath of the US announcement on F16, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and Indian Defence minister Rajnath Singh spoke to each other in which the latter raised New Delhi's concerns. The package doesn't include any upgrades.

In response to the question, the Pentagon official also clarified that the package was not "designed as a message to India, as it relates to its relation to Russia."

He pointed out that the "decision inside US govt around F16 issue was made predicated on US interest associated with our defence partnership with Pakistan which is primarily focused on counter-terrorism and nuclear security". US comments come even as Pakistani PM Shehbaz Sharif is in New York.

India and US defence ties have increased in the past few years significantly. In 2016, the defence relationship was designated as a Major Defence Partnership (MDP). Several defence agreements have been signed in recent years. These include, Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Association (August 2016); Memorandum of Intent between the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and the Indian Defense Innovation Organization – Innovation for Defense Excellence (2018); Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (September 2018); Industrial Security Agreement (December 2019); Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (October 2020).
Riaz Haq said…
Was China a factor in US$450 million US-Pakistan F-16 deal, or is it all about airspace access?

by Tom Hussain

https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3193522/was-china-factor-us450-million-us-pakistan-f-16-deal-or-it-all

A deal struck to maintain and upgrade Pakistan’s warplanes has prompted speculation the US military may have secured airspace access in return
Both sides share a common enemy in Afghanistan-based terror groups. But some analysts see China as part of the reason for the F-16 deal as well


For the first time since the United States cancelled military aid to Pakistan in 2018, Washington this month approved a US$450 million package to maintain and upgrade the South Asian nation’s fleet of F-16 fighter jets, hinting at a thaw in bilateral ties that had turned decidedly frosty of late.
The deal announced on September 9 followed a flurry of diplomatic activity, prompting speculation that in return for agreeing to keep Pakistan’s warplanes airborne for the next five years, the US military covertly secured access to the country’s airspace to carry out counterterrorism operations.
Though Islamabad has repeatedly denied any such conspiracy, the assassination in late July of al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul is widely believed to have been carried out by a US drone that traversed Pakistani airspace en route to its target.

Was China a factor in US$450 million US-Pakistan F-16 deal, or is it all about airspace access?
A deal struck to maintain and upgrade Pakistan’s warplanes has prompted speculation the US military may have secured airspace access in return
Both sides share a common enemy in Afghanistan-based terror groups. But some analysts see China as part of the reason for the F-16 deal as well
Pakistan
Riaz Haq said…
"You're Not Fooling Anybody...": S Jaishankar On US' F-16 Deal With Pak
"It's a relationship that has neither ended up serving Pakistan well nor serving the American interests," S Jaishankar said at an event in Washington


https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/s-jaishankar-f-16-not-fooling-anybody-s-jaishankar-on-us-fighter-plane-deal-with-pak-3377931

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has raised questions over the "merits" of the US-Pakistan relationship and said that Washington's ties with Islamabad have not served the "American interest".
"It's a relationship that has neither ended up serving Pakistan well nor serving the American interests," Mr Jaishankar said at an event organised by the Indian American community in Washington on Sunday.

The remarks were made when the Indian minister was questioned by the audience on US action on F-16 fighter jets with Pakistan. Just weeks ago, for the first time since 2018, the US State Department approved a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to the Government of Pakistan for the sustainability of the Pakistan Air Force F-16 fleet and equipment at the cost of USD 450 million.


Defence Minister Rajnath Singh promptly conveyed to US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin India's concerns over Washington's decision to provide a sustenance package for Pakistan's F-16 fleet.

"It's really for the United States today to reflect on the merits of this relationship and what they get by it," Mr Jaishankar asserted.

"For someone to say I am doing this because it is all counter-terrorism content and so when you are talking of an aircraft like a capability of an F-16 where everybody knows, you know where they are deployed and their use. You are not fooling anybody by saying these things," Mr Jaishankar noted.

"If I were to speak to an American policy-maker, I would really make the case (that) look what you are doing," he asserted.

Mr Jaishankar on Saturday concluded the high-level United Nations General Assembly debate in New York and is scheduled to spend the next three days in Washington.

The minister is scheduled to meet with his American counterpart, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and other top officials of the Biden administration.

Riaz Haq said…
Suhasini Haidar
@suhasinih
India, Pakistan both partners of U.S. with different points of emphasis: Biden administration
"We look to both as partners, because we do have in many cases shared values...shared interests." Said State dept spokesperson

https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/india-pakistan-both-partners-of-us-with-different-points-of-emphasis-biden-administration/article65940554.ece

https://twitter.com/suhasinih/status/1574601690581389313?s=20&t=rC5naFys3GZIi6ol7sNwVQ

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India and Pakistan are both partners of the U.S. with different points of emphasis, the Biden administration said on September 26, a day after visiting External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar questioned the rationale behind the latest American F-16 security assistance to Islamabad.

Referring to the argument made by the U.S. that F-16 sustenance package is to fight terrorism, Mr. Jaishankar had said everybody knows where and against whom F-16 fighter jets are used. "You're not fooling anybody by saying these things," he said in response to a question during an interaction with Indian-Americans.

"We don't view our relationship with Pakistan, and on the other hand, we don't view our relationship with India as in relation to one another. These are both partners of ours with different points of emphasis in each," State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at his daily news conference.

"We look to both as partners, because we do have in many cases shared values. We do have in many cases shared interests. And the relationship we have with India stands on its own. The relationship we have with Pakistan stands on its own," he said.



Early this month, the Biden administration approved a $450 million F-16 fighter jet fleet sustainment programme to Pakistan, reversing the decision of the previous Trump administration to suspend military aid to Islamabad for providing safe havens for the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.

"We also want to do everything we can to see to it that these neighbours have relations with one another that are as constructive as can be possible. So that's another point of emphasis," Mr. Price said in response to a question.

Responding to another question, Mr. Price said it is "not in Pakistan's interest to see instability and violence in Afghanistan".

"The support for the people of Afghanistan is something we discuss regularly with our Pakistani partners; our efforts to improve the lives and livelihoods and humanitarian conditions of the Afghan people, and to see to it that the Taliban live up to the commitments that they have made," he added.

Pakistan is implicated in many of these same commitments: the counterterrorism commitments, commitments to safe passage, commitments to the citizens of Afghanistan, Mr. Price said. "The unwillingness or the inability on the part of the Taliban to live up to these commitments would have significant implications for Pakistan as well".

"So, for that reason, we do share a number of interests with Pakistan regarding its neighbour," Mr. Price said.



The United States, he noted, has been intently focused on the devastation that has resulted in the loss of life resulting from the torrential floods that have devastated large areas of Pakistan.

"We have provided tens of millions of dollars in relief for these floods. The Secretary today will have additional details on further US assistance for the Pakistani people, in light of this humanitarian emergency that Pakistanis are facing," he added.
Riaz Haq said…
Hassan Akbar
@hass_akbr
Shocking coming from a country that has been on the receiving end of US generosity what with the CAATSA waiver. Can’t believe India thinks it can dictate US foreign policy while selling Washington baloony about is own independence when it comes to Ukraine.

https://twitter.com/hass_akbr/status/1574369893797220353?s=20&t=rC5naFys3GZIi6ol7sNwVQ


"You're Not Fooling Anybody...": S Jaishankar On US' F-16 Deal With Pak
"It's a relationship that has neither ended up serving Pakistan well nor serving the American interests," S Jaishankar said at an event in Washington


https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/youre-not-fooling-anybody-jaishankar-responds-to-us-f-16-package-for-pakistan-101664183691205.html

Riaz Haq said…
With eye on Beijing, India and US make a show of unity amid fissures

On Monday, Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar had sharp words for US President Joe Biden’s approval earlier this month of a US$450 million package to maintain and upgrade the F-16 fighter jet fleet of Pakistan, India’s rival. The US argues that the F-16 fleet is important to counter terrorism.

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3194048/eye-beijing-india-and-us-make-show-unity-amid-fissures

A day after fissures reappeared in US-India ties, top diplomats from both countries struck a cordial tone on Tuesday in a show of unity with an eye on China – a common challenge and competitor in the Indo-Pacific.
On Monday, Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar had sharp words for US President Joe Biden’s approval earlier this month of a US$450 million package to maintain and upgrade the F-16 fighter jet fleet of Pakistan, India’s rival. The US argues that the F-16 fleet is important to counter terrorism.

India – a key partner in the US security strategy for the Indo-Pacific region to counter China’s growing muscle – opposed the move, contending that Pakistan harbours and exports terrorists. On Monday, Jaishankar said the US was “not fooling anyone” when it said the fighters would be used for counterterrorism “because we all know where they are deployed”.

Expressing a “keen interest to move forward on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework

Expressing a “keen interest to move forward on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework”, a loose grouping of 13 countries from South and Southeast Asian countries led by the US to counter China’s dominance in international trade, Jaishankar said that “India and the US share a strong interest in encouraging more resilient and reliable supply chains”.
Discussing security issues, Jaishankar praised the US for adopting a more “international” approach and becoming “more open to engaging with countries like India” in initiatives such as the Quad Security Dialogue – a four-nation bloc including the US, India, Japan and Australia – that hope to counter China as its influence grows in the Indo-Pacific.
The Quad, he said, “has grown remarkably in the last two years”, adding that there was a “lot of promise in working with the US to shape the direction of the world”.

For his part, Blinken signalled support for “increasing the number of both permanent and non-permanent representatives of the United Nations Security Council, a long-standing goal of India”. China opposes India’s bid for a permanent seat on the Security Council; the two nations maintain strained ties over a decades-long border dispute in the Himalayas.

While Jaishankar avoided the topic of Pakistan, Blinken endured questions from the Indian press over the deal’s effectiveness in tackling terrorism. He said that it was the US’ “responsibility and obligation” to provide sustenance support, reasserting that Pakistan’s bolstered capability in counterterrorism benefited both India and the US.
Last week, China, one of the five permanent Security Council members, blocked a joint attempt by the US and India to sanction Sajjid Mir, a Pakistan-based commander of the Islamist militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba; India claims Mir played a role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 that killed more than 300 people.
Akriti Vasudeva of the Stimson Centre in Washington noted that with “the growing US-India strategic partnership, the two countries’ alignment on the Chinese threat and the need for a rules-based order, and their broad-based cooperation means that they have far greater convergences than divergences and will not let any misgivings derail or hamper their ties”.

Riaz Haq said…
Given their history, one might have expected India and China to be two of the most vocal critics of Russia’s invasion and effort to in essence colonize, or recolonize, Ukraine. And yet neither country has done so. Indeed, both have seen the Russian invasion as an opportunity to improve ties and expand trade, especially in fossil fuels, with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

By BY MERRILL MATTHEWS, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR

https://thehill.com/opinion/international/3662321-why-arent-india-and-china-opposing-russias-ukraine-colonization/

Colonization is defined as “the act of taking control of an area or a country that is not your own, especially using force, and sending people from your own country to live there.” Sounds a lot like what imperial Russia is up to in Ukraine.


Of course, part or all of what is now Ukraine has long been the object of foreign invasion, domination and colonization, especially by Russia, Poland and the Soviet Union. But with the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine declared its independence in 1991. Though not without its challenges, the country has been free and independent for 30 years.

India, too, has a long and troubled history of being colonized, primarily by Great Britain. The British, under the auspices of the British East India Company, first landed in India in 1608 to engage in trade, especially tea and spices.

But the East India Company expanded its power and control, with India formerly becoming part of the British Empire in 1765.

India’s people eventually undertook a decades-long struggle to free themselves from British colonial rule, obtaining their independence in 1947, only 44 years before Ukraine became independent. But not before thousands of Indians were imprisoned, injured or killed in the effort. That struggle saw the rise of Mahatma Gandhi, who became an international role model for how to lead a nonviolent revolution.

If India believes it’s acceptable, or at least not too problematic, for Russia to invade Ukraine to drag the country kicking and screaming back under Russian rule, would it also be acceptable if Great Britain were to decide to drag India back into the British empire?

Of course not, which is why India’s silence on the Russian invasion is so troubling.


China is not India, and it was never colonized the way India was. But China did experience decades of European colonizing powers, including Great Britain, knocking at its door, demanding trade.

Those conflicts led to what’s known as the 19th century Opium Wars. The British were heavy consumers of some of China’s most important products, especially tea, silk and porcelain. But China required traders to pay for those products with silver.

British merchants were transferring so much silver to China that Great Britain’s silver reserves began running low. The Brits needed a product the Chinese were eager to buy to get that silver back. The solution was opium, mostly made in India.

When the Chinese government took steps to stop, or at least limit, the opium trade, the first Opium War erupted (1839-42). The British won that war easily, and imposed an expansive treaty known as the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842, which included ceding control of Hong Kong to Great Britain. China simply had not developed the technology and military skills to stand up to Great Britain.

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European colonization, which included North and South America, has a long and checkered history. There were some benefits to both the colonies and colonizers, but the human rights abuses, especially in Latin America and parts of Africa and Asia, which includes India and China, were atrocious.

Imperial Russia is, once again, seeking to expand its empire. Those countries that were once the subject of colonizing efforts should be the loudest voices in opposition.
Riaz Haq said…
“This proposed sale ($450 million F-16 package) will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by allowing Pakistan to retain interoperability with US and partner forces in ongoing counter-terrorism efforts and in preparation for future contingency operations,” says the DSCA.

https://www.flightglobal.com/defence/us-clears-sustainment-package-for-pakistani-f-16s/150117.article

The US government has approved a $450 million sustainment package for Lockheed Martin F-16s operated by the Pakistan air force.

The proposed package lists several items, including the F-16’s structural integrity programme, the international engine management programme, spare parts, and other services and equipment related to the type, according to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by allowing Pakistan to retain interoperability with US and partner forces in ongoing counter-terrorism efforts and in preparation for future contingency operations,” says the DSCA.

“The proposed sale will continue the sustainment of Pakistan’s F-16 fleet, which greatly improves Pakistan’s ability to support counter-terrorism operations through its robust air-to-ground capability. Pakistan will have no difficulty absorbing these articles and services into its armed forces.”

The package does not, however, include new capabilities, weapons, or munitions.

The lack of capability improvements could reflect Washington DC’s increasingly warm ties with Pakistan’s archrival India.

Moreover, Pakistan has become closer to Beijing in recent decades, including the joint development of the Chengdu/Pakistan Aeronautical Complex JF-17. Pakistan is also the first international operator of the Chengdu J-10C, which in Chinese service performs similar missions to the F-16.

Cirium fleets data indicates that Pakistan operates 57 F-16A/Bs and 18 F-16C/Ds, with an average age of 30.8 years.


Riaz Haq said…
The US state department spokesman Ned Price has put External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on the mat as regards the latter’s remarks questioning the raison d’etre of the US-Pakistan relationship.

By M.K. Bhadrakumar

https://www.newsclick.in/india-can-live-US-pakistan-makeover

Yet, some national dailies have rushed to eagerly attribute it to the US displeasure over India’s stance on the conflict in Ukraine. One daily rather churlishly advised the government, “As Delhi demonstrates “strategic autonomy” to engage with every side — Quad one week, and Russia and China the next at the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) in Samarkand — and work around Western sanctions to buy oil from Russia, and keep friends in all camps, it may have to come to terms that others in world play the same game.”

In this unseemly hurry to link Ned’s remarks with India’s strategic autonomy, what these commentators overlook is that the US spokesman was speaking on a special day when the Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto was visiting the state department at the invitation of the Secretary of State Antony Blinken — and on top of it, the two countries were commemorating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Indeed, it is another matter that Jaishankar’s remarks were not only unwarranted — casting aspersions on the US-Pakistan relationship — but untimely, and perhaps, even provocative. The only charitable explanation could be that Jaishankar was grandstanding as a consummate politician before an audience of Indian-Americans, with an eye on his “core constituency” in India. The mitigating factor, of course, is that he has only given back to the Americans in their own coin, who consider it their prerogative to butt into other countries’ external relations with gratuitous comments — India’s with Russia, for instance.

Ned Price’s remarks have all the elements of a policy statement. He said: “We don’t view our relationship with Pakistan, and … our relationship with India as in relation to one another. These are both partners of ours with different points of emphasis in each. We look at both as partners, because we do have in many cases shared values. We do have in many cases shared interests. And the relationship we have with India stands on its own. The relationship we have with Pakistan stands on its own. We also want to do everything we can to see to it that these neighbours have relations with one another that are as constructive as can be possible. And so that’s another point of emphasis.”

What stands out at the most obvious level is that Price reiterated the US policy in the recent decades since the Cold War ended to “de-hyphenate” Washington’s relationships with India and Pakistan while also promoting a normal relationship between the two South Asian rivals who are not on talking terms. Price pointed out that the two relationships have “different points of emphasis in each.”

Interestingly, Price equated India with Pakistan as partner countries with which the US has “in many cases shared values” and “in many cases shared interests.” This needs to be understood properly. Washington has taken note of Pakistan’s objection over the prioritisation of India in the US’ regional policies in South Asia in the past.

This shift removes a major hurdle in the trajectory of US-Pakistan relationship and is necessitated by a variety of factors following the humiliating defeat that the US suffered in Afghanistan. Here, security considerations certainly constitute one key factor.

The killing of the al-Qaeda chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri was only possible due to the help from Pakistan. Equally, Afghan situation remains dangerous and the US cannot turn its back on what’s happening out there. The US’ dependence on Pakistani intelligence has only increased.

Riaz Haq said…
By Nirupama Subramaian, Foreign Affairs and National Security Editor, Indian Express


“As Delhi demonstrates “strategic autonomy” to engage with every side — Quad one week, and Russia and China the next at the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) in Samarkand — and work around Western sanctions to buy oil from Russia, and keep friends in all camps, it may have to come to terms that others in world play the same game.”

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/us-pakistan-f-16-package-india-jaishankar-concern-8175141/

India has lashed out at the US over its F-16 package to Pakistan
Why has the Biden Administration reversed Trump's freeze on military ties with Islamabad with a $450 million package for a lifetime upgrade of Pakistan's F-16 fleet? What is the deal, and why is Delhi unhappy?

Speaking at a meeting with the non-resident Indian community in Washington on Sunday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar lashed out at the US for its decision to provide Pakistan with a $450 million package for what the Pentagon has called the “F-16 case for sustainment and related equipment”. Jaishankar questioned the merits of the US-Pakistan partnership, saying it had “not served” either country. When asked about the US justification that the fighter planes were meant to assist Pakistan in its counter-terrorism efforts, Jaishankar retorted: “You’re not fooling anybody by saying these things”.
Riaz Haq said…
New Order with a Blend of Western Liberalism and Eastern Civilizational Nationalism | Institut Montaigne


By Ram Madhav Founding Member of the Governing Council of India Foundation (Hindu Nationalist RSS)

"...no one wants the present world order to continue except the US and its [Western] allies."

https://www.institutmontaigne.org/en/analysis/new-order-blend-western-liberalism-and-eastern-civilizational-nationalism

The conflict in Ukraine has begun reshaping the global order. Ram Madhav, Former National General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Member of the Governing Council of India Foundation, questions the legitimacy of the Western leadership model for “Ukraine Shifting the World Order”. Shedding light on the increasingly heteropolar nature of our world, he advocates for a new world order based on 21st century realities: one where nationalism and liberalism can coexist and where the Global South is a primary stakeholder.



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The Western leadership model
Two important questions arise. Firstly, is a uniform world order wedded to those three principles mandatory for the world, or can there be diversity? Secondly, who is responsible for wrecking the current liberal order? The Western powers themselves or their recalcitrant challengers like Russia and China?

After the Second World War, Western leadership villainized national identity. Nationalism was blamed for the two wars and all modern nation-states were mandated to follow the same template: liberal democracy, open market capitalism and globalization. Other forms were condemned as retrograde. When India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru mobilized nations to build a non-alignment movement, the Western leadership disapprovingly dubbed him a "neutralist". The Soviet Union finally collapsed in 1991, and a wave of enthusiasm engulfed the Western world. A unipolar world order based on Western liberal principles seemed inevitable and a fait accompli.

Fukuyama's 1992 book The End of History and the Last Man argued Western liberal democracies would become "the endpoint of mankind’s socio-cultural evolution, and the final form of human government". Samuel Huntington directly challenged Fukuyama with his provocative 1996 "Clash of Civilizations" thesis, stating that far from unipolarity, the ideological world had been divided on civilizational identities, the new source of conflict in the world, with "each learning to coexist with the others". Later years proved that the collapse of the Soviet Union had not moved the world from bipolarity to unipolarity, but to multipolarity. Several nation-states, with long cultural and civilizational histories, like China, Arab countries and India, have emerged as the new poles in the world. We also witnessed the rise of non-state poles - multinational corporations, social media giants, new age religious movements, non-governmental bodies like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Oxfam and CARE, and even terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and ISIS. With influences beyond the national boundaries of the states, these created a heteropolar world.

The erosion of the liberal democratic world order is a Western failure
The hegemonic nature of the world order is eroding with the rise of the heteropolar world. Lofty ideals that it cherished - liberal democracy, open markets, human rights and multilateralism - have been facing severe scrutiny and challenge in the last two decades. Unfortunately, the institutions created for sustaining that world order have increasingly grown weak and ineffective. The world appears to be moving inexorably in the direction of anarchy. The Ukrainian-Russian war is the latest, not the first, in the sequence of events that have catalyzed the collapse of the old world order. The West wants the world to believe that Russia and Putin were the culprits for ushering in anarchy and attempting to destroy what they had built over the last seven decades. But the West cannot escape responsibility for the failure of its hegemony.
Riaz Haq said…
As the world lurches through the growing pains of massive geopolitical change, the US’ relationship with India will increasingly take center stage. Washington likes to see itself as providing a geopolitical center of gravity that is inherently attractive to nations like India, especially against regional competitors such as China. As the US is about to discover, however, India and China have a shared ambition about who should dominate the Pacific in the coming century, and it doesn’t include the US. Op Ed by Scott Ritter

https://www.energyintel.com/00000183-21d9-d467-adc7-21fdd54f0000

On Aug. 19, India’s minister of external affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, gave a speech at a university in Thailand where he stated that relations between India and China were going through “an extremely difficult phase” and that an “Asian Century” seemed unlikely unless the two nations found a way to “join hands” and start working together.

For many observers, Jaishankar’s speech was taken as an opportunity for the US to drive a wedge between India and China, exploiting an ongoing border dispute along the Himalayan frontier to push India further into a pro-US orbit together with other Western-leaning regional powers. What these observers overlooked, however, was that the Indian minister was seeking the exact opposite from his speech, signaling that India was, in fact, interested in working with China to develop joint policies that would seek to replace US-led Western hegemony in the Pacific.

Struggle for Leadership

More than six decades ago, then-US Senator John F. Kennedy noted that there was a “struggle between India and China for the economic and political leadership of the East, for the respect of all Asia, for the opportunity to demonstrate whose way of life is the better.” The US, Kennedy argued, needed to focus on providing India the help it needed to win that struggle — even if India wasn’t asking for that help or, indeed, seeking to “win” any geopolitical contest with China.

Today, the relationships between the US, India and China have matured, with all three wrestling with complex, and often contradictory, policies that are simultaneously cooperative and confrontational. Notwithstanding this, the US continues to err on the side of helping India achieve a geopolitical “win” over China. One need only consider the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or “Quad,” conceived in 2007, but dormant until 2017, when it was resurrected under US leadership to bring together the US, Japan, Australia and India in an effort to create a regional counterweight to China’s growing influence.

There was a time when cooler heads cautioned against such an assertive US-led posture on a regional response to an expansive, and expanding, Chinese presence in the Indo-Pacific region. This line of thinking held that strong Indian relationships with Tokyo and Canberra should be allowed to naturally progress, independent of US regional ambitions.

These same “cool heads” argued that the US needed to be realistic in its expectations on relations between India and China, avoiding the pitfalls of Cold War-era “zero-sum game” calculations. The US should appreciate that India needed to implement a foreign policy that best met Indian needs. Moreover, they argued, a US-Indian relationship that was solely focused on China would not age well, given the transitory realities of a changing global geopolitical dynamic.

The Asian Century

The key to deciphering Jaishanker’s strategic intent in his Thailand comments lay in his use of the term “Asian Century.” This echoed the words of former Chinese reformist leader Deng Xiaoping, who, in a meeting with former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988, declared that “in recent years people have been saying that the next century will be the century of Asia and the Pacific, as if that were sure to be the case. I disagree with this view.” Deng went on to explain that unless China and India focus their respective and collective energies on developing their economies, there could, in fact, be no “Asian Century.”

Riaz Haq said…
The Asian Century

The key to deciphering Jaishanker’s strategic intent in his Thailand comments lay in his use of the term “Asian Century.” This echoed the words of former Chinese reformist leader Deng Xiaoping, who, in a meeting with former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988, declared that “in recent years people have been saying that the next century will be the century of Asia and the Pacific, as if that were sure to be the case. I disagree with this view.” Deng went on to explain that unless China and India focus their respective and collective energies on developing their economies, there could, in fact, be no “Asian Century.”

While Washington may not have heard the subtle implications of Jainshankar’s words, Beijing appears to have done so. Almost immediately after the text of the Indian minister’s comments was made public, the spokesperson for China’s foreign minister declared that both India and China “have the wisdom and capability to help each other succeed rather than undercutting each other.” The takeaway from this exchange is that while both China and India view their ongoing territorial disputes as problematic, they are able and willing to keep their eye on the bigger picture — the ascendancy of the so-called “Asian Century”.

The fact is that India and China have been working toward this goal for some time now. Both are critical participants in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which envisions the growth and empowerment of a trans-Eurasian economic zone that can compete with the economies of the US and Europe on a global scale. Likewise, India and China are actively cooperating within the framework of the Brics economic forum, which is emerging as a direct competitor to the Western-dominated G7.

While it is possible for India to navigate a policy path balancing the US and China in the short term, eventually it will need to go all in on China if its aspirations for an “Asian Century” are ever to be met. This narrative is overlooked by those in the US pursuing zero-sum policies with India when it comes to China.

Given the destiny inherent in the collective embrace of an “Asian Century” by India and China, the US could well find itself on the outside looking in when it comes to those wielding influence in the Pacific going forward. One thing is for certain — the “American Pacific Century” which encompasses the period between the Spanish-American War and the post-Cold War era, where US military, political, and economic power reigned supreme, has run its course. Whether or not India and China will be able to supplant it with an “Asian Century” is yet to be seen. But one thing is for certain — the strategic intent is certainly there.

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer whose service over a 20-plus-year career included tours of duty in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control agreements, serving on the staff of US Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf during the Gulf War and later as a chief weapons inspector with the UN in Iraq from 1991-98. The views expressed in this article are those of the author.
Riaz Haq said…
For US Visa, Over 2-Year Wait For New Delhi, Just 2 Days For Beijing
There's an appointment wait-time of 833 days for applications from Delhi and 848 days from Mumbai for visitor visas.

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/us-visa-appointment-wait-time-the-shocking-difference-for-indians-3387535

Indian visa applicants require a wait-time of over two years just for getting an appointment, a US government website showed, while the timeframe is only two days for countries like China.

There's an appointment wait-time of 833 days for applications from Delhi and 848 days from Mumbai for visitor visas, shows the US State Department's website. In contrast, the wait-time is only two days for Beijing and 450 days for Islamabad

For student visas, the wait time is 430 days for Delhi and Mumbai. Surprisingly, it's only one day for Islamabad, and two for Beijing.

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, who is in the US, yesterday raised the issue of visa applications backlog with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The top US diplomat said he's "extremely sensitive" to the issue and that they are facing a similar situation around the world, a challenge arising due to Covid.

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/wait-times.html
Riaz Haq said…
Suhasini Haidar
@suhasinih
#MustRead
@SushantSin
on Line of Actual Control two and a half years since PLA transgressions set off the military standoff and the Galwan killings,incl the change of returning to Status Quo Ante, and the utter failure of the leaders Summits to prevent it.

https://twitter.com/suhasinih/status/1576413875981127681?s=20&t=dFYJcftVW_uAVvmVDnjIGg


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FOR THE FIRST TIME in forty-five years, on 15 June 2020, India and China recorded the death of Indian soldiers on the Line of Actual Control—the contested border between the two countries, which stretches from the Karakoram Pass in the west to Myanmar in the east. The deaths occurred in the Galwan Valley, in Ladakh, and these were the first military casualties in the territory since the 1962 Sino-India War. The full details of the incident are shrouded in ambiguity, but it involved Chinese soldiers pitching tents around the Galwan Valley and their forceful eviction by the Indian Army—there is little clarity on whether China’s People’s Liberation Army had agreed to abandon these positions. This led to a clash which claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers and at least four PLA soldiers. More than seventy Indian soldiers were injured while nearly a hundred more, including some officers, were taken captive by the Chinese. No Chinese soldier was in Indian captivity. “We were taken by surprise by how well prepared they were for the clash,” a top officer at the army headquarters in Delhi, who was part of the decision-making in the Ladakh crisis, told me.

The LAC has neither been delineated on the map nor demarcated on the ground by either side. The last attempt to do so failed nearly two decades ago. The difference in the two sides’ understanding of it is so vast that New Delhi claims the border between the two countries is 3,488 kilometres long while China says it is only around two thousand. It is the world’s longest disputed border. As the two countries do not agree on where the “actual control” exercised by either side ends, both are engaged in an uncompromising contest of asserting control over small parcels of land in a desolate Himalayan wasteland. The demonstration of territorial claims can take several forms, including soldiers patrolling up to certain points, building infrastructure along the border and controlling the limits to which people in border villages are allowed to graze their animals. The unforgiving terrain and harsh weather have not dissuaded India and China from deploying around fifty thousand additional soldiers each on the 832-kilometre LAC in Ladakh since the summer of 2020.

The deadly Galwan clash occurred at patrolling point PP14—an area that was not until then disputed, and which the Indian Army patrolled regularly. Days after it, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared in Delhi that the Chinese had not “intruded into our border, nor has any post been taken over by them”—an attempt at saving face that China gleefully seized upon as proof that it had not encroached upon Indian territory. The clamour around the deaths and the release of captive Indian soldiers, however, had blown the lid off the government’s attempts to play down the crisis in Ladakh. The situation had already come to public notice in India a month earlier because of massive physical clashes on the north bank of Pangong Lake, also in Ladakh. There were severe injuries on both sides, but no deaths. These major episodes marked the border crisis of the summer of 2020, even though tension had been building for months before that.
Riaz Haq said…
How China and Pakistan Forged Close Ties
Though ties between China and Pakistan began in the wake of the 1962 Sino-Indian clash, China did not embrace the relationship. By the mid-2000s, the shift in U.S.-India relations and China's own global ambitions made Pakistan a critical partner for China.

Article by Manjari Chatterjee Miller

https://www.cfr.org/article/how-china-and-pakistan-forged-close-ties

On a visit to China almost a decade ago, I had a conversation with a Beijing-based Chinese foreign policy analyst. The subject of China’s relationship with Pakistan came up and the analyst laughed ruefully. Although he acknowledged Pakistan saw the bilateral relationship as a valuable friendship, he implied that was not how China saw it. China was in some ways reluctant, I gathered, even to be seen as cultivating a friendship with Pakistan. At the time, the idea of taoguang yanghui (hide your strength and bide your time) still held sway in China, and the Chinese government was not only wary of being seen as an international spoiler state but also siding with one. China saw no need to trumpet the relationship, and Pakistan needed China more than the other way around.

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Pakistan is now an important partner for China. The relationship raises the specter that India may, in the future, face a two-front war, a scenario that would have been implausible a decade ago. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and embassies in South Asia often tweet sympathetically about the relationship—including on topics such as Pakistan’s welcome of the Chinese-sponsored Global Security Initiative, China-Pakistan football matches, China’s flood aid, and pandemic cooperation. At an MFA press conference earlier this year, the spokesperson gushed that, “the bond of friendship and mutual assistance between the Chinese and Pakistani people is stronger than gold, and the two countries’ iron-clad friendship is deeply rooted in the people and boasts strong vitality.”

This is not to say the relationship is problem-free. China’s wariness about Islamist militants in Xinjiang and their links to Pakistani militants, its concern about Chinese citizens working in Pakistan who have been the targets of terror attacks, the sporadic opposition in Pakistan to CPEC projects, and China’s caution about weighing in on Kashmir (despite its recent condemnation of India’s abrogation of Article 370 and Wang Yi’s reference to the territory at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation meeting) all continue to be sticking points. Yet this is no longer just a relationship, but a genuine partnership. India should take note.
Riaz Haq said…
#India’s words are anti-war, but #NewDelhi’s actions are propping up #Putin’s regime. Rather than cutting economic ties with #Kremlin, #Modi is undermining Western sanctions by increasing purchases of #Russian #oil, #coal and #fertilizer. #US #Ukraine
https://www.cnn.com/2022/10/03/india/india-russia-war-putin-modi-intl-hnk

This apparent contradiction exemplifies India’s unique position on the war: verbally distancing itself from Russia, while continuing to maintain pivotal ties with Moscow.

Modi’s “stronger language to Putin” should be seen in the context of rising food, fuel and fertilizer prices, and the “hardships that was creating for other countries,” said Deepa Ollapally, research professor and director of the Rising Powers Initiative at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University.

“There’s a certain level of impatience (for India) with the intensification of the war,” she said. “There’s a feeling that Putin is pushing India’s limits because in some ways, it’s put itself out on a limb. And it’s not a comfortable position for India to be in.”

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When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Vladimir Putin “today’s era is not of war” last month, the West welcomed his comments as a sign the world’s largest democracy was finally coming off the fence about Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

French President Emmanuel Macron praised Modi and the White House lauded what it called a “statement of principle.”

But the reality, analysts say, is less straightforward.

Rather than cutting economic ties with the Kremlin, India has undermined Western sanctions by increasing its purchases of Russian oil, coal and fertilizer – giving Putin a vital financial lifeline.

New Delhi has repeatedly abstained from votes condemning Russia at the United Nations – providing Moscow with a veneer of international legitimacy. And in August, India participated in Russia’s large-scale Vostok military exercises alongside China, Belarus, Mongolia and Tajikistan – where Moscow paraded its vast arsenal.

Last week, India abstained from another UN draft resolution condemning Russia over its sham referendums in four regions of Ukraine, which have been used as a pretext by Moscow to illegally annex Ukrainian territory – significantly upping the stakes in the war.

India is “deeply disturbed” by the developments in Ukraine, said Ruchira Kamboj, New Delhi’s permanent representative to the UN, but stopped short of attributing blame and urged an “immediate ceasefire and resolution of the conflict.”

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‘A tale of two Indias’
As Russian troops massed on Ukraine’s border in December last year, Modi welcomed Putin in New Delhi during the 21st India-Russia Annual Summit.

“My dear friend, President Vladimir Putin,” Modi said, “your attachment with India and your personal commitment symbolize the importance of India-Russia relations and I am very grateful to you for that.”

New Delhi has strong ties with Moscow dating back to the Cold War, and India remains heavily reliant on the Kremlin for military equipment – a vital link given India’s ongoing tensions at its shared Himalayan border with an increasingly assertive China.

But according to analysts, India is concerned that Putin’s increasing isolation could draw Moscow closer to Beijing – and that requires India to tread carefully.

New Delhi’s contorted maneuvering in its stance on Russia’s aggression in Ukraine was on show when, alongside China, it took part in Russia’s Vostok military exercises – a move attacked by its Western partners.

“This can be seen as a tale of two Indias,” said Ollapally. “On the one hand, they are pushing back against China and then exercising along with China and Russia, giving Russia a certain amount of legitimacy.”

Riaz Haq said…
Suhasini Haidar
@suhasinih
Russia is India's second largest oil supplier, contribution to Indian imports now 21% , up from 1% before Ukraine war

https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/russia-bounces-back-to-become-india-s-second-largest-crude-supplier-in-sep-122100100217_1.html

https://twitter.com/suhasinih/status/1577124600399659008?s=20&t=d6vjRJYgQz8UUgURupmObg
Riaz Haq said…
Christopher Clary
@clary_co
Shishir Gupta: "It is quite evident that the rise of India will not be benign and will be contested both by the West as much as by the East. India should be prepared to go solo." https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/from-f-16-upgrades-to-ajk-has-us-pak-relations-rekindled-again-101664774068473.html

https://twitter.com/clary_co/status/1577288930810028032?s=20&t=iyFDTL_JxQJIz2nu_guVfg

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From F-16 upgrades to AJK, have US-Pak relations rekindled again?
By Shishir Gupta

It is quite evident from the chain of events that the US wants to shore up the Shehbaz Sharif regime and Pakistan economically so that an opportunistic Imran Khan, who weaponised a diplomatic cipher into an anti-US campaign before his government was ousted, never comes back to power. The so-called diplomatic cipher has apparently gone missing from the prime minister’s office in Islamabad and perhaps is in the custody of the Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qamar Jawed Bajwa in Rawalpindi.

New Delhi has taken note of all these events and senior officials believe that the transactional relationship between US and major non-NATO ally has been kick-started again. And Pakistan’s proven ability to do a strategic U-turn, produce and expose a top terrorist from its tactical locker be it Ayman Al Zawahiri and its ability to play both China and US to its short-term advantage remains quite unmatched.

Unlike Pakistan, India under Narendra Modi with its civilization, culture, and history, stands up for its national interest be it on Ukraine war and global good like Climate Change. It is quite clear that Pakistan will use the F-16 upgrades including air-to-air missiles against India and not against any third country.

Fact is that the US transactional relationship with Pakistan pays off in the long run as it can sell top of the line weapons and life-cycle maintenance to Rawalpindi unlike India which wants full transfer of technology for any acquired hardware platform from America.

Given that Pakistan needs US help to secure a multi-billion IMF loan to repay Chinese debt incurred on white elephant projects at exorbitant interest rates, the US-Pak relationship will deepen in future with Islamabad asking no questions. The US defence assistance to Pakistan came at a time when Islamabad needed money for providing flood relief.

While India knows that US needs New Delhi and vice versa on Indo-Pacific to counter a belligerent China, it is also aware that America continues to look the other way when it comes to proscribed Khalistani SFJ organisation and its leader who spews venom against India just as Pakistanis continue to send terrorists to India to cause mayhem.

The same is the situation with US allies Canada and UK with the latter being the principal advisor to Washington on Af-Pak region with strong bias towards Pakistan. One must not forget that disastrous role played by UK Chief of Defence Staff Nick Carter in getting the Taliban regime installed and US forces unceremoniously kicked out of Kabul.

Although India and the US share a robust bilateral relationship with deep sharing of intelligence and mutually beneficial information and high end technology, the Indian diaspora is now wondering whether citizens of a friendly power must wait for over 800 days to get a US visa.

It is quite evident that the rise of India will not be benign and will be contested both by the West as much as by the East. India should be prepared to go solo.
Riaz Haq said…
Sameer P. Lalwani
@splalwani
🧵: I'm surprised at the persistence of Indian sympathy for Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Not sure if its historical residues, elite cues, (dis)information, or genuine sentiment. But Indian public opinion seems quite distant from Europe, Quad, but also some BricS countries. 1/

https://twitter.com/splalwani/status/1583582488353337345?s=20&t=pb7ZmsupBVCjSyrdMKknbA

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Sameer P. Lalwani
@splalwani
·
1h
To be fair, this may be shared by global south & swing states. Turkey is an outlier within NATO and Indonesia also exhibits "both sides"-ism, attributing more blame to the West than Russia, and far less concern about the dangerous precedent set by Russian victory. 2/


----------



Sameer P. Lalwani
@splalwani
This survey data comes
@YouGov
-Cambridge Center's Globalism project and a survey conducted 24 Aug-22 Sept, 2022 in 25 countries. "Globalism 2022 - The info war for Ukraine - All markets" 3/


https://docs.cdn.yougov.com/0ma5boayqk/Globalism%202022%20-%20The%20info%20war%20for%20Ukraine%20-%20All%20markets.pdf

Riaz Haq said…
China Border Resolution Leaves Some in India Unhappy

https://www.voanews.com/a/china-border-resolution-leaves-some-in-india-unhappy-/6805279.html


The resolution of a two-year border standoff between China and India has eased tensions between the Asian giants but left Indian critics saying their government gave up too much, local herders complaining of lost pastureland and analysts warning another escalation could come at any time.

The two nations’ militaries have disengaged from a border point in the Gogra-Hot Springs region in eastern Ladakh in accordance with an agreement reached in September, resolving one of several simmering border disputes that have kept the two countries on edge.

The Chinese withdrawal was confirmed in recent satellite imagery shared on Twitter by open-source intelligence analyst, Damien Symon, who tweeted, “imagery of Chinese side confirms what used to be a border camp, has now been removed, depth deployments, however, remain.”

But Pravin Sawhney, a former Indian army officer and widely published defense analyst, argued in an interview that China’s People’s Liberation Army “are not going back an inch” from the land they occupied more than two years ago. “The disengagements that have happened and the buffer zone that has been created are about 6 kilometers inside Indian territory,” he said.

Sawhney also pointed out that Chinese troops remain on land claimed by India in other critical areas of the Himalayan border region, including the Depsang Plains adjoining the Siachen Glacier, a militarily sensitive region bordered by India, China and Pakistan.

“In case of war, the Depsang Plains would be critical as it could facilitate one-front reinforced war with China and Pakistan,” Sawhney said.

Indian National Congress member Rahul Gandhi, a former leader of the opposition Congress Party, has also complained about the deal in a tweet.

“China has refused to accept India’s demand of restoring status quo of April 2020. [Prime Minister Narendra Modi] has given 1000 [square kilometers] of territory to China without a fight. Can [the government of India] explain how this territory will be retrieved?”

Sajjad Kargili, a political activist from the Ladakh region in Indian-administered Kashmir, told VOA that while the easing of tensions has been welcomed in the region, local herders are resentful at being shut out of their former grazing land in what is now part of the buffer zone.

“We have witnessed and lost access to our traditional grazing area, and now nomads have to move around over 15 kilometers to feed their livestock,” said Konchok Stanzin, who represents a border constituency on a local council. “The government should provide compensation to keep alive nomads’ culture and tradition in eastern Ladakh.”

He and others say the loss of the grazing land threatens the Pashmina wool business, which has been in operation for over 600 years and provides livelihoods for over a quarter of a million people.

Aparna Pande, research fellow and director at the Hudson Institute’s Initiative on the Future of India and South Asia, sees the Gogra-Hot Springs dispute as part of what some have described as Chinese “salami-slicing,” a strategy that “entails taking over territory and then claiming it as Chinese and asking the other to just accept reality and move on.”

“Between 2012 and 2020, there were four different occasions when the PLA came in and took over Indian territory along the border and each time while India disengaged and withdrew its troops, China did not reciprocate,” she said. “This time, India has disengaged but the extra troops will only be withdrawn if, and when, China does the same.”

Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia program at the Wilson Center, a Washington-based research group, noted that China remains unhappy with India for several reasons, including its participation with Japan, Australia and the United States in a security dialogue known as “the Quad.”

Riaz Haq said…
NEW DELHI, Oct 27 (Reuters) - India's oil imports from the Middle East fell to a 19-month low in September while Russian imports rebounded although refining outages hit overall crude imports, data from trade and shipping sources showed.

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/indias-russian-oil-binge-sends-middle-east-imports-19-mth-low-trade-2022-10-27/

Iraq remained the top supplier while Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the second biggest after a gap of a month, the data showed.

India's total oil imports in September fell to a 14-month low of 3.91 million barrels per day (bpd), down 5.6% from a year earlier, due to maintenance at refiners such as Reliance Industries (RELI.NS) and Indian Oil Corp (IOC.NS), the data showed.

India's imports from the Middle East fell to about 2.2 million bpd, down 16.2% from August, the data showed, while imports from Russia increased 4.6% to about 896,000 bpd after dipping in the previous two months.

Russia's share of India's oil imports surged to an all-time high of 23% from 19% the previous month while that of the Middle East declined to 56.4% from 59%, the data showed.

The share of Caspian Sea oil, mainly from Kazakhstan, Russia and Azerbaijan, rose to 28% from 24.6%.

India has emerged as Russia's second biggest oil buyer after China, taking advantage of discounted prices as some Western entities shun purchases over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

"The discount on Russian oil has narrowed now but when you compare its landed cost with other grades such as those from the Middle East, Russian oil turned out to be cheaper," said a source at one of India's state refiners.

Imports for Saudi Arabia fell to a three-month low of about 758,000 bpd, down 12.3% from August, while imports from Iraq plunged to 948,400 bpd, their lowest level in a year, the data showed.

Imports from the United Arab Emirates declined to a 16-month low of about 262,000 bpd.

Higher intake of Caspian Sea oil has hit the share of other regions in India's imports in April-September, the first half of the fiscal year, and also cut OPEC's market share in the world's third biggest oil importer and consumer to its lowest ever.

In the first half of this fiscal year, Indian refiners also reduced purchases of African oil, mostly bought from the spot market. However, supply from the Middle East rose from a low base last year when the second wave of the coronavirus cut fuel demand.
Riaz Haq said…
#Russia Becomes #India’s Top Crude Oil Supplier, Overtaking OPEC Heavyweights #Iraq & #SaudiArabia. India received record-breaking 946,000 barrels per day (bpd) of #Russian crude in October. #UkraineWar #Modi #Putin | OilPrice.com https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Russia-Becomes-Indias-Top-Crude-Oil-Supplier.html #oilprice

Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, India was a small marginal buyer of Russian crude oil. After Western buyers started shunning crude from Russia, India became a top destination for Russian oil exports alongside China.

Indian refiners haven’t expressed hesitation to deal with Russia—their primary incentive to buy has been the much cheaper Russian oil than international benchmarks and similar grades from the Middle East and Africa.

According to Vortexa’s estimates, India—the world’s third-largest crude oil importer—shipped in a record 946,000 bpd of crude from Russia last month, up by 8% compared to September. Total Indian imports increased by 5% month on month in October, Vortexa data cited by the Economic Times showed.

Of note was that Russia surpassed both Iraq and Saudi Arabia to become the number-one crude oil supplier to India. Russian crude accounted for 22% of all Indian imports last month, while Iraq’s share was at 20.5% and Saudi Arabia’s—at 16%.

Going forward, there will be a lot of uncertainties among buyers over Russia’s oil exports when the EU embargo enters into force on December 5.

Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), two of the biggest state-owned importers of Russian crude oil in India, have reportedly stopped looking for spot Russian crude oil supply set to arrive after December 5, as they await more clarity on the EU sanctions regime ahead of the deadline, including on the possibility of secondary sanctions on buyers of Russian crude.

India will also further diversify its oil imports to better prepare for future OPEC+ production cuts that raise oil prices and tighten supply, its Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said last month.

Riaz Haq said…
If China Invaded Taiwan, What Would India Do?
The New Delhi government fears its expansionist neighbor but is deeply wary about getting in the middle of a brawl with Beijing.

By Hal Brands


https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/features/2022-11-14/if-china-invaded-taiwan-what-would-india-do


So how might India react if China attacked Taiwan? Although India can’t project much military power east of the Malacca Strait, it could still, in theory, do a lot. US officials quietly hope that India might grant access to its Andaman and Nicobar Islands, in the eastern Bay of Bengal, to facilitate a blockade of China’s oil supplies. The Indian Navy could help keep Chinese ships out of the Indian Ocean; perhaps the Indian Army could distract China by turning up the heat in the Himalayas.

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New Delhi has a real stake in the survival of a free Taiwan. China has a punishing strategic geography, in that it faces security challenges on land and at sea. If taking Taiwan gave China preeminence in maritime Asia, though, Beijing could then pivot to settle affairs with India on land.

Expect a “turn toward the South” once China’s Taiwan problem is resolved, one Indian defense official told me. And in general, a world in which China is emboldened — and the US and its democratic allies are badly bloodied — by a Taiwan conflict would be very nasty for India.

But none of this ensures that India will cast its lot, militarily or diplomatically, with a pro-Taiwan coalition. Appeals to common democratic values or norms of nonaggression won’t persuade India to aid Taiwan any more than they have induced it to help Ukraine.

Armchair strategists might dream of opening a second front in the Himalayas, but India might be paralyzed by fear that openly aiding the US anywhere would simply give China a pretext to batter overmatched, unprepared Indian forces on their shared frontier.

The Modi government has been happy to have America’s help in dealing with India’s China problem but is far more reluctant to return the favor by courting trouble in the Western Pacific.

What India would do in a Taiwan conflict is really anyone’s guess. The most nuanced assessment I heard came from a longtime Indian diplomat. A decade ago, he said, India would definitely have sat on the sidelines. Today, support for Taiwan and the democratic coalition is conceivable, but not likely. After another five years of tension with China and cooperation with the Quad, though, who knows?

Optimists in Washington might take this assessment as evidence that India is moving in the right direction. Pessimists might point out that there is still a long way to go, and not much time to get there.
Riaz Haq said…
U.S. Seeks Closer Ties With India as Tension With China and Russia Builds
Treasury Secretary Yellen wants India to be part of the Biden administration’s “friend-shoring” agenda, but trade tensions linger.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/11/business/us-india-relations.html


The United States is placing India at the center of its ambition to detach global supply chains from the clutches of American adversaries, seeking to cement ties with one of the world’s fastest-growing economies as tensions with China remain high and as Russia’s war in Ukraine upends international commerce.

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, the Biden administration’s top economic diplomat, delivered that message in person on Friday during a visit to the Indian capital at a moment of intense global economic uncertainty. Soaring food and energy prices stemming from Russia’s war and heightened concerns about America’s reliance on Chinese products have pushed the United States to try to reshape the global economic order so that allies depend on one another for the goods and services that power their economies.

India is often in the middle of geopolitical jostling between the United States, China and Russia. But as the Biden administration promotes what it calls “friend-shoring,” it is making clear that it wants India to be in America’s orbit of economic allies.



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India emerged as a significant obstacle when members of the World Trade Organization tried to reach a suite of agreements at a meeting this year. It has also declined to join negotiations over the trade pillar of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, an Asia-Pacific economic pact proposed by the Biden administration.

In the last few months, India’s long economic relationship with Russia has become increasingly problematic for the United States. India is the world’s largest buyer of Russian munitions — a relationship that is difficult to sever, particularly given India’s tensions with neighboring China and Pakistan. India has refused to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And since the war began, it has become a major buyer of Russian oil, which it is able to purchase on international markets at a discount.

India’s imports from Russia have risen 430 percent since the war in Ukraine began in February, as tankers of Russian crude oil flock to Indian ports. India, which imports a significant amount of energy and is the world’s second-most-populous country, has said it is merely focused on buying oil at the lowest price.

Eswar Prasad, a trade policy at Cornell University who speaks to both American and Indian officials, said that while India wanted to forge a stronger economic relationship with the United States, it was unlikely to distance itself from Russia.

“India has very deep-seated economic interests in maintaining a reliable and relatively cheap supply of oil from Russia,” said Mr. Prasad, a former official with the International Monetary Fund.

The American embrace of India comes as the United States and its European allies are racing to complete the terms of a plan to cap the price of Russian oil. The initiative must be in place by Dec. 5, when a European embargo and maritime insurance ban goes into effect, potentially disrupting the flow of Russian oil around the world.

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“In a world where supply chain vulnerabilities can impose heavy costs, we believe it’s important to strengthen our trade ties with India and the large number of countries that share our approach to economic relations,” she said.
Riaz Haq said…
U.S. Seeks Closer Ties With India as Tension With China and Russia Builds

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/11/business/us-india-relations.html


Sadanand Dhume, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said India faced several challenges in becoming a hub for international manufacturing, including government reforms that had not yet “appreciably” made it a more attractive destination for companies. And compared with China, India’s domestic consumer market is smaller and therefore less attractive for companies that manufacture there.

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The price cap would essentially create an exception to Western sanctions, allowing Russian oil to be sold and shipped as long as it remained below a certain price, a level that has yet to be determined.

India has been circumspect about the proposal, but Treasury Department officials say the United States is not trying to push it to formally join its coalition. Instead, they are hopeful that India will use the price cap as leverage to negotiate lower prices with Russia, depriving Mr. Putin of revenue but keeping the nation’s oil flowing.

However, Ms. Yellen emphasized in her speech that relying on Russian oil came with risks.

“Russia has long presented itself as a reliable energy partner,” Ms. Yellen said. “But for the better part of this year, Putin has weaponized Russia’s natural gas supply against the people of Europe.

The Treasury secretary added: “It’s an example of how malicious actors can use their market positions to try to gain geopolitical leverage or disrupt trade for their own gain.”

---

Atul Keshap, the president of the U.S.-India Business Council, said there were many opportunities for economic partnership between the United States and India, especially in setting up secure supply chains for strategic technologies like semiconductors, electric vehicle batteries, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and drones.


“You look at the headlines, you look at the risks to the supply chain,” Mr. Keshap said. “You look at the uncertainties of the last two or three years, and countries like India have an opportunity.”

But business leaders and trade experts say the U.S. and Indian governments have thus far failed to realize those opportunities. Talks for a trade deal with India briefly flourished during the Trump administration, but a series of persistent economic issues — ranging from India’s barriers for U.S. agricultural goods and medical devices to its lack of protection for U.S. intellectual property — have made any agreement difficult to reach.

A U.S. program that lowered tariffs on imports from poorer countries, including India, lapsed in 2020, and there has not been enough support in Congress to reinstate it. At a 2021 trade meeting in New Delhi, the sides made some headway on opening trade for American pork, cherries and alfalfa hay, and Indian mangoes and pomegranates.

A U.S.-India trade policy forum eyed for Nov. 8 in Washington was pushed back to give officials more time to achieve more substantive outcomes, a representative from the Office of the United States Trade Representative said.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of her meetings on Friday, Ms. Yellen said that reducing tariffs was not currently part of the discussions with India, but that the two sides had been talking about other “trade facilitation” measures to reduce non-tariff barriers.

According to Mr. Prasad, who is also a former I.M.F. official, there is lingering skepticism in India about the durability of America’s good intentions in the aftermath of the tariffs that former President Donald J. Trump enacted.

“There is a layer of apprehension if not outright mistrust in Delhi,” Mr. Prasad said.

Ms. Yellen came to India to show that, despite their differences, the United States can be a trusted partner. On Friday, she also met with India’s finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman.

Riaz Haq said…
India Absent, 19 Countries Attend China Forum's Indian Ocean Region Meet
India was reportedly not invited, according to informed sources.

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/china-holds-its-first-meeting-with-19-countries-in-indian-ocean-region-without-india-3555791


Beijing: China held a meeting this week with 19 countries from the Indian Ocean region in which India was conspicuously absent.
The China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA), an organisation connected with the Chinese Foreign Ministry held a meeting of the China-Indian Ocean Region Forum on Development Cooperation on November 21, in which 19 countries took part, according to a press release issued by the organisation.

The meeting was held in a hybrid manner under the theme of "Shared Development: Theory and Practice from the Perspective of the Blue Economy" in Kunming, Yunnan Province, it said.

Representatives of 19 countries, including Indonesia, Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Afghanistan, Iran, Oman, South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius, Djibouti, Australia and representatives of 3 international organisations were present, it said.

India was reportedly not invited, according to informed sources.

Last year, China held a meeting with some South Asian countries on COVID-19 vaccine cooperation without the participation of India.

CIDCA is headed by Luo Zhaohui, the former Vice Foreign Minister and Ambassador to India.

According to the official website of the organisation, he is the Secretary of the CPC (the ruling Communist Party of China) Leadership Group of CIDCA.

CIDCA's official website said the aims of the organisation is to formulate strategic guidelines, plans and policies for foreign aid, coordinate and offer advice on major foreign aid issues, advance the country's reforms in matters involving foreign aid, and identify major programmes, supervise and evaluate their implementation.

During his tour of Sri Lanka in January this year, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi proposed to establish a “forum on the development of Indian Ocean Island Countries.” When asked whether the CIDCA meeting is the same that is proposed by Wang, the Chinese Foreign Ministry here has clarified to the media that the November 21 meeting was not part of it.

At the November 21 meeting, China has proposed to establish a marine disaster prevention and mitigation cooperation mechanism between China and countries in the Indian Ocean region, the CIDCA press release said.

China is ready to provide necessary financial, material, and technical support to countries in need, it said.

China is vying for influence in the strategic Indian Ocean region with substantial investments in ports and infrastructure investments in several countries, including Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

While China has established a full-fledged naval base in Djibouti, its first outside the country, Beijing has acquired the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka on a 99-year lease besides building the port at Pakistan's Gwadar in the Arabian Sea opposite India's western coast besides infrastructure investments in the Maldives.

The Chinese forum apparently is aimed at countering India's strong influence in the Indian Ocean region where India-backed organisations like the Indian Ocean Rim Association, (IORA), which has a membership of 23 countries have taken strong roots.

China is a dialogue partner in the IORA formed in 1997.

IORA became an observer to the UN General Assembly and the African Union in 2015.

Besides the IORA, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proposed “Security and Growth for All in the Region” (SAGAR) in 2015 for active cooperation among the littoral countries of the Indian Ocean region.

The Indian Navy-backed ‘Indian Ocean Naval Symposium' (IONS) seeks to increase maritime cooperation among navies of the region.

Since the June 2020 Galwan Valley clash between Chinese and Indian armies, bilateral ties have been severely hit.
Riaz Haq said…
China Has India Trapped on Their Disputed Border

Beijing’s military and infrastructure advantage has transformed the crisis and left New Delhi on the defensive.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/12/01/china-india-border-crisis-infrastructure-ladakh-arunachal-pradesh/

The widening power gap between India and China—military, technological, economic, and diplomatic—now constrains New Delhi’s options on the border. It also raises tough questions for India’s geopolitical partnerships, such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (known as the Quad), and its aggressive approach toward Pakistan. The border crisis will hang over India’s decision-making for the foreseeable future.

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The risk of an accidental military escalation between Asia’s most populous countries—both nuclear powers—has increased significantly since 2020. This will continue unless Modi and Xi find a new modus vivendi. Establishing guardrails in the relationship will require political imagination and an honest appraisal of relative strengths; failing that, New Delhi faces tough geopolitical choices. It has so far eschewed any security-centric step with the Quad that could provoke Beijing, but murmurs from its partners about reticent Indian policy are bound to get louder. Meanwhile, India’s reliance on Russia for military equipment and ammunition now falls under a cloud of suspicion. And an unstable border with China prevents India from targeting Pakistan, a tactic that has proved politically rewarding for Modi.

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This marks the third straight winter that around 50,000 Indian reinforcements will spend in Ladakh’s inhospitable terrain in the northern Himalayas, warding off an equal number of Chinese troops stationed a few miles away. Despite intermittent dialogue between the two militaries, Indian Army Chief Gen. Manoj Pande recently confirmed that China has not reduced its forces at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Chinese infrastructure construction along the border is “going on unabated,” he said—confirmed by independent satellite imagery and echoed by the latest U.S. Defense Department report on China. Pande said the situation is “stable but unpredictable.” That unpredictability has become structural.

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India’s military and political leaders now confront a reality at the border that should have jolted them into serious action: China has a distinct advantage over India, which it has consolidated since 2020. By investing in a long-term military presence in one of the most remote places on Earth, the PLA has considerably reduced the time it would need to launch a military operation against India. New military garrisons, roads, and bridges would allow for rapid deployment and make clear that Beijing is not considering a broader retreat. The Indian military has responded by diverting certain forces intended for the border with Pakistan toward its disputed border with China. It has deployed additional ground forces to prevent further PLA ingress in Ladakh and constructed supporting infrastructure. Meanwhile, New Delhi’s political leadership is conspicuous in its silence, projecting a sense of normalcy.

Beijing refuses to discuss two of the areas in Ladakh, where its forces have blocked Indian patrols since 2020. In five other areas, Chinese troops have stepped back by a few miles but asked India to do the same and create a no-patrolling zone. This move denies India its right to patrol areas as planned before the border crisis began. The PLA has flatly refused to discuss de-escalation, in which both armies would pull back by a substantive distance. The question of each side withdrawing its additional troops from Ladakh is not even on the agenda. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson rejected any demand to restore the situation along the LAC as it existed before May 2020. The PLA continues to downplay the severity of the situation, instead emphasizing stability in its ties with India.
Riaz Haq said…
Indian PM Modi to skip annual Putin summit over Ukraine nuke threats

https://news.yahoo.com/indian-pm-modi-skip-annual-161600206.html

It would mark only the second time the leaders of India and Russia haven’t met face to face since 2000, when the relationship was elevated to a strategic partnership. The summit, usually held in December, was cancelled just once in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Bloomberg, Modi’s government is trying to balance between Moscow, a key provider of weapons and cheap energy, and the United States and its allies, which have imposed sanctions and price caps on Russian oil.

Since Russia’s invasion began, India has been one of the biggest swing nations. Modi’s government abstained from United Nations votes to condemn Putin’s war and held back from participating in U.S.-led efforts to sanction Moscow, using the opportunity to snatch up cheap Russian oil.
Riaz Haq said…
China’s frontier aggression has pushed India to the West
Brawling on the roof of the world

https://www.economist.com/asia/2022/12/15/chinas-frontier-aggression-has-pushed-india-to-the-west

The most likely flashpoints in Asia are generally thought to be the Taiwan Strait, the South China Sea and the Korean peninsula. This week, though, attention turned to the Himalayas and the 3,440-km (2,150-mile) border, much of it disputed, between the world’s most populous powers. News of a high-altitude brawl on December 9th has trickled down from the mountains.

The border disputes date back to the early 20th century when Britain demarcated spheres of influence between British India and Tibet (not in those days under Chinese subjugation). At the western end of the frontier, India claims Aksai Chin, an area under Chinese control in the Xinjiang region. In the eastern sector, China claims the whole of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh as a historical part of Tibet: an earlier Dalai Lama was born in its Tawang monastery. Sixty years ago India and China fought a nasty war over the disputed line. It ended with India humiliated by the People’s Liberation Army (pla).


In the decades since, confrontations have often taken place. But thanks to protocols agreed between the two countries—including a ban on using firearms when patrols clash—most have been tokenistic. Until recently, both sides tacitly acknowledged the other’s patrol routes along the contested Line of Actual Control (lac). When rival patrols met, warning banners were raised and sharp words exchanged, but little worse.

That changed in 2020 when the remote Galwan valley, in Ladakh in the western sector, saw a terrible mêlée that left 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers dead. They were the first fatalities along the frontier since 1975. The latest incident was in the eastern sector near Tawang, and resulted in no deaths; yet it appears to have been similar to the one in Galwan. Several hundred pla soldiers—many times the usual patrol size—are said to have charged across to the Indian side of an “agreed disputed area”, in the frontier jargon. They carried tasers and spiked clubs, and were swinging “monkey fists”, steel balls on lengths of rope. Well-prepared Indian troops pushed them back, India claims, but with injuries on both sides. China says the Indians “illegally” crossed the lac and sought to block a Chinese patrol. It was the first clash in the eastern sector in years.

Though the details of such incidents are always contested, and neither side’s account is reliable, the Galwan fracas appeared to represent a direct Chinese challenge to the status quo. It occurred after China had built new roads along the border and reinforced it with troops and equipment. It is now doing much the same in the eastern sector and India, as ever, is scrambling to keep up. “Unpredictability” along the frontier, writes Sushant Singh of the Centre for Policy Research in Delhi, “has become structural”.

To manage the tensions that it has done so much to increase, China may well propose to establish buffer zones in the east, just as the two sides have done in the west. Given that such zones often mean India being shut out of areas that it had previously patrolled, they are tantamount to an Indian retreat. Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, would be extremely reluctant to submit to this. India’s political opposition senses that he is vulnerable on the issue.

Mr Modi once invited President Xi Jinping to his home state to celebrate the Indian prime minister’s birthday. Such chumminess is long gone. China says the border dispute should be isolated from the two countries’ broader relationship. But India considers a peaceful border a precondition for normal ties, says Tanvi Madan of the Brookings Institution, a think-tank in Washington. Since Galwan, India has blocked a lot of Chinese investment and banned Chinese apps. Official visits are curtailed. The two leaders have had one brief exchange in three years, at the g20 summit in Bali.
Riaz Haq said…
Russia and Pakistan might cut unprecedented oil deal, with China as middleman
January 22, 2023 Wajahat S. Khan


https://www.gzeromedia.com/russia-and-pakistan-might-cut-unprecedented-oil-deal-with-china-as-middleman

Cold War rivals Russia and Pakistan are negotiating an agreement for the Russians to start selling cheap oil to energy-starved Pakistan in March.

This will make Islamabad yet another Asian customer of Russian crude at a time when Moscow’s cash inflows are limited by a G7/EU oil cap and sanctions. Also, considering Pakistan is dead broke, payments will be made through a “friendly” country, presumably China – a power play for Beijing, whose yuan will be used for the transactions, giving the currency more sway as an alternative to the US dollar.

How is this deal going to affect American interests in the region? And why is Pakistan, which wants to balance its ties with Washington, giving business to the Russians through China?

First, some history. Although the agreement isn’t finalized, it’ll be geopolitically novel when it is because Pakistan is an unlikely destination for Russian business. Unlike India, Islamabad and Moscow have had no commercial ties for decades.

Considering Pakistan spent the Cold War spying on the USSR and/or attacking its troops in Afghanistan (the Soviet Union paid back in kind by arming India, Pakistan’s archrival), the two sides haven’t exactly behaved like partner-material.

Enter China. Pakistan and China have been “Iron Brothers” for decades. Even though Islamabad was a non-treaty US ally until not too long ago, the Pakistanis and the Chinese have always remained “all-weather friends.”

However, as India settled into the role of becoming America’s strategic partner in the region, displacing Pakistan as the preferred South Asian ally over the last two decades, the Chinese encouraged Pakistan to open up to the Russians, and vice versa. Now, a once hesitant Islamabad doesn’t just want Russian oil, but also natural gas, weapons and more. Still, Islamabad wants to stay aligned with the American camp.

Why is Pakistan doing this? Islamabad’s energy bills make the biggest chunk of its imports. Cheaper oil from Russia will obviously help its escalating balance of payments crisis and ballooning trade deficit.

But the biggest issue is with dwindling foreign exchange reserves. A year ago, Pakistan had $17 billion in the bank. Today, foreign reserves have dwindled to $4.3 billion, which will pay for less than a month of imports.

To manage the dollar crunch, Pakistan could use the Chinese yuan in a swap with China to pay Russia once the oil flows in (it expects to get 35% of its annual crude oil imports from 70 million barrels of Russian crude), putting its import-regime firmly in the China-Russia camp.

Pakistan thus finds itself between a rock and a hard place: It needs the cheap Russian oil but also wants to avoid antagonizing the US and its friends in the Gulf, Pakistan’s main energy suppliers — especially considering that Islamabad has been negotiating bailouts with the Washington-backed IMF and deferred oil payments from the Saudis and the Emiratis.

While the Pakistanis defend their position by citing neighboring India as an example of a country that buys Russian oil even as it tilts towards the US and deals with the Gulf states, Islamabad is in a very different position compared to New Delhi because Pakistan is crawling toward default.

But that’s exactly how Washington and Beijing might find confluence to stop Pakistan from failing. “The US view on this is that countries like Pakistan may at times be strategically important, but in the great power competition between China and US, it doesn’t matter a whole lot,” says Uzair Younus, director of the Pakistan Initiative at the Atlantic Council.

Beyond Pakistan’s limited importance as a partner for counterterrorism in Afghanistan, he assesses that the view from Washington is that if others want to share the burden of propping up Pakistan and stabilizing its economy, so be it.


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