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1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc) on: August 21, 2017, 08:56:00 PM
Certainly seems much of a coincidence. If true, the Chinese are quite advanced in their capabilities. I also found the NK missiles going haywire several months ago, quite odd, almost seemed as if the US was testing their own cyber capabilities. The problem is the US will not admit they were if a couple of Chinese missiles or ships crash that might be a sign.
2  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: August 19, 2017, 09:39:32 PM
Sums it up...YA

3  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: August 19, 2017, 10:27:31 AM
Two nuclear powers fighting with stones...looks like the Chinese are learning from the pakis (masters of stone throwing). One side is Chinese, the other is Indian, location: Pangong lake, Ladakh, India. Complete with one flying kick. All one needs is a bullet to be fired and then the balloon will be up. The frustration on the Chinese side is building up. Recently Chinese came up with a video mocking India and India did the same (Winnie da pooh). The Winnie da pooh video is classier...psyops from both sides
4  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North and South Korea on: August 11, 2017, 06:13:10 PM
Stratfor on NK
5  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: August 11, 2017, 04:40:00 PM
The drums of war continue. The media has not picked up on this, but the Chinese response to NK and on the Bhutan front are interlinked. China cannot open a front in Bhutan with the NK situation ongoing, and vice versa is also constrained to do much on their eastern sea board. Should China get involved in a war on its east, India could conceivably take back territories occupied by China (Aksai Chin etc). This is similar to the two front war threat that China and Pak pose to India....could not have happened to a nicer bully....YA.

India pumping in more soldiers, weapons on entire eastern front

Rajat Pandit | TNN | Aug 12, 2017, 12:27 AM IST

NEW DELHI: India continues to pump in additional troops and weapon systems on the entire eastern front in face of continuing belligerence from China on the Doklam standoff, even as diplomatic and military channels are being utilised in a bid to defuse the almost two-month-old crisis.
Sources said a top-level flag meeting between major-general rank officers from India and China was held at the Nathu La border personnel meeting (BPM) point in Sikkim for the first time on Friday, following failure of a similar meet between brigade commanders on August 8 to break the deadlock.

But the meeting also proved "inconclusive" with China remaining adamant that India should immediately withdraw its troops from the Bhutanese territory of Doklam near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction. "The Indian side held China should first remove its road construction equipment from the site. Both sides will now report back to their headquarters," said a source.
The meeting between top military officers indicates a line of communication at the ground level and efforts to exchange perceptions and possibly explore means to contain the confrontation.
The Army has steadily but stealthily moved troops to their "operational alert areas" on the borders with China in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, while also maintaining high operational readiness of its other formations and units all along the 4,057-km long Line of Actual Control stretching from Ladakh to Arunachal, as was reported by TOI earlier.

In the eastern theatre, this primarily includes the 33 Corps headquartered in Sukna, with the 17 (Gangtok), 27 (Kalimpong) and 20 (Binnaguri) Mountain Divisions under its control. Each division has 10,000-15,000 soldiers who have undergone acclimatization for the high-altitude forward areas.
The 3 Corps (Dimapur) and 4 Corps (Tezpur), with similar infantry and mountain divisions under them, have also been activated as a precautionary move. IAF airbases in the North-East are also maintaining a high operational alert, with "combat air patrols" on a regular basis, said sources.

India's troop mobilisation comes in response to muscle-flexing by China, which has amassed troops, tanks and artillery in the Tibet Military District. "While the People's Liberation Army is showing its teeth in a bid to make us cower down, we have cranked up our caution levels," said a source.

But at the actual faceoff site located at an altitude of over 11,000-feet in Doklam, which China is keen to grab from Bhutan to add strategic depth to its narrow Chumbi Valley, there are still only 300-350 soldiers ranged against each other. The PLA has deployed another 1,500 soldiers just beyond the standoff site as part of its aggressive posture.
Defence minister ArunJaitley, incidentally, assured Lok Sabha on Friday that the Indian armed forces are geared for all contingencies, while responding to questions on Chinese troop movements in Tibet and the Army vice-chief's statement that Pakistan's indigenous defence production industry was better than India's. "Our defence forces are ready to take on any eventuality," he said, without making any specific reference to to Doklam.
In sharp contrast to China's belligerence and threats of military reprisals, through both its officials and state-controlled media, India has chosen to remain largely tight-lipped about the entire faceoff from the beginning. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, in fact, had recently stressed the need for both sides to mutually withdraw their troops from Doklam simultaneously.

At least two flag meetings were also held earlier between the local commanders after Indian troops had proactivelyblocked the attempt by the PLA to construct a motorable road in Doklamon June 18, but they had proved futile with both the armies refusing to budge from their positions.
6  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc) on: August 11, 2017, 12:48:09 AM
More bluster from some point they have to do something!

South China Sea: Chinese military tells US ship to turn around 10 times

Thursday 10 August 2017 20.18 EDT
A US warship has sailed close to an artificial island created by China in the South China Sea as part of a “freedom of navigation” operation.

The USS John S McCain destroyer sailed within six nautical miles of Mischief Reef, part of the disputed Spratly Islands south of the Paracel Islands.
A US official said a Chinese frigate sent radio warnings at least 10 times to the USS McCain.

“They called and said ‘Please turn around, you are in our waters,’” the official said.

“We told them we are a US [ship] conducting routine operations in international waters.”

The official said the interactions were all “safe and professional”, with the operation lasting about six hours from start to finish.

China’s foreign ministry said: “The US destroyer’s actions have violated Chinese and international laws, as well as severely harmed China’s sovereignty and security.

“China is very displeased with this and will bring up the issue with the US side.”

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, despite partial counter-claims from Taiwan and several south-east Asian nations including the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.

The freedom of navigation operation – known in the military as a “Fonop” – was bound to annoy Beijing and was the third of its kind carried out by the United States since President Donald Trump took office.

It comes amid soaring tensions on the Korean Peninsula over Kim Jong-un’s missile programme, and as the United States seeks to push China into more assertively restraining North Korea.

Trump this week warned North Korea it faced “fire and fury” if it continued to threaten America.

Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Chris Logan declined to comment on whether there had been a freedom of navigation sailing, but said: “We are continuing regular Fonops, as we have routinely done in the past and will continue to do in the future.

“All operations are conducted in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows.”
7  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North and South Korea on: August 10, 2017, 10:13:02 PM
One more ballistic missile test by NK in the direction of Guam, will be crossing Trump's orange line. He is goading Kim to do just that, so that he can say he acted in self defense.
8  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: August 09, 2017, 08:25:46 PM
China needs to act or shut up....they are making a fool of themselves...YA.

Countdown to clash with India is on: Chinese daily

IANS | Updated: Aug 10, 2017, 05:19 AM IST

BEIJING: The countdown to a military conflict between India and China has begun and New Delhi should come to its senses and withdraw troops from Doklam before it's too late, a Chinese daily said on Wednesday.
An editorial in the state-run China Daily said the "clock is ticking away".
The piece was the latest addition to hostile commentaries in the Chinese media. The newspaper said, "India will only have itself to blame" if it didn't withdraw from Doklam where its troops are locked in a stand-off with the Chinese army since mid-June. "The countdown to a clash between the two forces has begun, and the clock is ticking away the time to what seems to be an inevitable conclusion," it said. "As the stand-off... enters its seventh week, the window for a peaceful solution is closing."
China has warned India of serious consequences if Indian troops were not pulled back from Doklam, which Beijing calls Donglang and claims is its territory.
India has proposed to China to simultaneously pull back from Doklam, which India and Bhutan say belongs to Thimpu. Beijing has refused.

The newspaper said India had ignored China's stern warnings.
"Anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear will have got the message. Yet New Delhi refuses to come to its senses and pull its troops back to its own side of the border."
9  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: August 08, 2017, 10:56:12 PM
So its now about 2 months and India is still sitting pretty in Bhutan. The Chinese window for action is closing fast, by mid sept it will get too cold. Chinese have been shown to be a bully and all bluster, I am sure this is a big loss of face for Xi, just before his major Communist Party Congress. Looks like they will have to backdown quietly, after the party congress is over. Problem is this incident (loss of face) has not gone unnoticed by neighboring countries, which may actually be problematic for us in the USA. The Chinese have also been forced to act against their stooge NK in the UN, too much loss of face again, question is will they (Chinese) be forced to lash out in some way in the Indo-China sea (eg sink a small boat)? If they dont, who will take them seriously, or are the Chinese stuck with bullying small countries, while the super power USA and developing power India thumb their noses at the middle kingdom.
10  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: August 08, 2017, 07:33:10 PM
These articles are 5 years old!. India is somewhat protected from Chinese hacks, because for the most part the country is still analog, compared to the USA where almost everything is electronic/digital and integrated. As India modernizes this willl change, but at present China cannot cause widespread disturbances. Local power shortage is pretty routine in north India (large population), especially during summers, though "load shedding" lasts only for a few hours during peak loads. Most well off houses and hospitals in cities have generator based back up power that comes up automatically. Heck until a few years ago and even now, there are tens of thousands of villages, where there is no electricity!. Modi govt is correcting  these things on a war footing.

My ancesteral home in the mountains next to China (until circa 1970), had a floor made of cowdung, cooking was done using chopped wood, electricity was sporadic and the water came for a 2-3 hours only. Today the cowdung floors have gone, cooking is with gas, but electricity and water are still sporadic, and this is the situation in middle class homes near the Himalayan foothills . In the surrounding villages not much has changed even today.
11  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: August 05, 2017, 09:35:26 AM

Doklam: the word from Ground Zero

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 4th Aug 17

On Friday, with China’s defence ministry warning New Delhi that: “restraint has its bottom line”, Indian Army officers participating in the Doklam faceoff have provided Business Standard the first detailed accounts of how the situation has evolved.

They say the Doklam bowl – which is disputed between China and Bhutan – currently has an extended, 200-metre long line of Indian infantry soldiers confronting a smaller number of Chinese border guards. Just one metre separates the two lines.

At any time, there are about 40 Chinese border guards in the disputed valley, facing off against three times that number of Indian jawans.

Backing up the Chinese front line are another 1,500 troops, a mix of border guards and regular People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers. These are positioned outside the disputed Doklam area, but cross in and out of the disputed area, relieving those on the front line at regular intervals.

Indian troops standing guard in Doklam are similarly relieved by a full infantry battalion (600 troops), located in Indian territory to the west. Backing up this battalion is a full infantry brigade (2,000 troops), ready to respond to any military moves from China.

In addition, a second fully acclimatised infantry brigade, slightly further away, stands ready to respond to a crisis.

“We fortunately had two brigades training in high altitudes nearby, so we have plenty of acclimatised troops. If needed, we can muster far more forces than the Chinese in Sikkim. This would never be an area where they start something”, says a senior Indian commander.

According to these officers’, tension began in early June, when Indian forces in the vicinity observed Chinese patrols reconnoitring the track in the disputed Doklam bowl. Intelligence assessments concluded that China was going to try and extend the road towards the Jampheri Ridge, at the farthest edge of China’s claim line.

Indian commanders strongly rejected yesterday’s statement by China’s foreign ministry, which claimed that India had been notified on May 18 and June 8, “out of goodwill through the border meeting mechanism”, that China would be building a road in Doklam.

They say, the Indian army reported to Delhi that road building seemed imminent, and were granted permission to cross into Bhutan-claimed territory to stop construction.

When India crossed into Doklam and confronted the Chinese construction parties, “they were taken completely by surprise and offered no resistance”, says an officer privy to events. “These are no soldiers; they are conscripted border guards, who live in heated barracks and periodically patrol the border in vehicles. They don’t walk much”, says an Indian commander.

“Our soldiers, in contrast, live a far tougher life. In Doklam, they stand guard without moving, while the Chinese keep breaking the line and going back for cigarette breaks. Indian morale is sky-high; soldiers know they are participating in something unprecedented – crossing a border to defend an Indian ally”, says the Indian officer.

Eventually, the Chinese had to send in a political commissar, recount Indian officers. “The commissar ordered up martial music and the hoisting of Chinese flags to stiffen resolve. They clearly had problems”, he says.

In the macho manner of militaries, the Indian Army is using a large number of Sikh and Jat soldiers to man the line in Doklam – in the expectation that their height and sturdiness would intimidate the smaller Chinese.

Army officers are elated also at having kept the confrontation out of the media for a full ten days, until Beijing was forced to make the incident public. “The Chinese have always complained that India’s media is too shrill and pro-active. This time, China had to mobilise their media, because we were there on the ground and nobody knew.”

Indian soldiers also point out that China has begun building bunkers and creating defences on the border. “That’s another first. They are recognising our capability to act decisively”, says an officer.

According to a senior Indian general: “The situation in Doklam has plateaued. Militarily, the Chinese know they can do nothing here. Eventually it will have to be a negotiated withdrawal, or the Chinese will have to open a front in another sector.”

With Beijing warning on Friday that “Chinese armed forces will resolutely protect the country's territorial sovereignty and security interests”, the PLA could choose its next move anywhere on a long, 3,500-kilometre border that stretches from Ladakh to Myanmar.
12  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc) on: August 05, 2017, 09:28:48 AM
This missile test has the dual purpose of serving as a warning to India too. There seems to be some Indo-US co-ordination going on with simultaneous US moves in the Indo-China sea. With the stand off in Bhutan, it puts pressure on China that a war with India might leave their eastern flank unprotected. In such an instance US could easily knock of NK.
13  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc) on: July 30, 2017, 10:33:15 AM
Looks like the West and the Brits may finally be developing some spine. Barak O should never have allowed the Chinese to build those islands, it gave Chinese a swollen head. They have continued to support NK and now they threaten us. Sending B1 planes to the region does not do much unless they fly directly over NK . At some point little Kim will need to go. I think Trump might do the needful. All these interceptor tests are meaningful.
14  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: July 28, 2017, 07:00:07 PM
This article was written before NS got booted out, amazing nation...YA

Not a single PM completed five-year term in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Will history repeat itself? Not a single prime minister in Pakistan has been allowed to complete his tenure since the country’s inception 70 years ago. All eyes are on the Supreme Court which is to announce one of the most important decisions of Pakistan’s history today regarding the fate of democratically-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. History might repeat itself.

The political situation in Pakistan has had a bumpy ride ever since 1947, as four times democratic governments were thrown away by military dictators, one prime minister was murdered while another was hanged by judiciary, while many were sent home by presidents and one was dismissed by the Supreme Court. Another one awaits a decision of the apex court. However, never in the history of Pakistan, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has sent home a PM under Article 184-3 of the constitution which is the suo moto jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s first prime minister was murdered in Rawalpindi on October 16, 1951. He had assumed the charge of the premier on August 15, 1947. Then the second PM Khawaja Nazimuddin was sent home by Governor General Ghulam Muhammad on April 17, 1953. Nazimuddin knocked the doors of the Supreme Court where Justice Munir had to invent the doctrine of necessity to validate Ghulam Muhammad’s illegal act. Then came Muhammad Ali Bogra who too was dismissed by Ghulam Muhammad in 1954 but later was again appointed as PM but he did not enjoy majority in the Constituent Assembly therefore Governor General Iskender Mirza dismissed his government in 1955. Chaudhary Muhammad Ali succeeded in becoming the PM in 1955 but because of his conflict with Iskender Mirza who had become president as a result of 1956 constitution, Muhammad Ali resigned on September 12, 1956. Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy was the leader of Awami League and led the party through a victory in the 1954 elections for Constituent Assembly. He was the first person from another party than Muslim League to be appointed as a Prime Minister in 1956. He was deposed in 1957, due to differences with Iskander Mirza.

Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar was appointed by Iskander Mirza after the resignation of Suhrawardy. He remained prime minister for almost two months. Chundrigar resigned from the post in December 1957. Then Mirza appointed Feroz Khan Noon as the seventh prime minister of Pakistan. He was dismissed after Martial Law was declared in 1958 by Ayub Khan.

After thirteen years of Martial Law, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto succeeded to power. Bhutto remained President under special arrangement till 1973 Constitution was passed. He resigned as president to become the prime minister of Pakistan after the 1973 Constitution. He went in to elections in 1977 and succeeded but was deposed the same year through coup d'état by General Muhammad Ziaul Haq in July 1977. He was hanged in 1979 by all powerful military-judicial nexus.

In 1985 non-party elections, Muhammad Khan Junejo was elected as PM of Pakistan under the worst dictators of Pakistan. As he was a political breed, he remained a threat to the dictator therefore his government was dismissed on May 29, 1988, just days after Junejo announced to probe the Ojhri Camp incident in Rawalpindi in which military’s weapons depot was exploded killing around 100 people and injuring thousands.

As a result of 1988 general elections, Benazir Bhutto came into power as PM on December 2, 1988. An impeachment move was shot down by PPP in 1989 but President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed Ms Bhutto’s government on August 6, 1990 using the notorious presidential powers of Article 58 (2)b. Mian Nawaz Sharif followed Ms Bhutto and become PM for the first time in 1990. His government was dismissed by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in 1993 but the Supreme Court restored it later. However, the famous Kakar formula came into play when the then Army Chief Waheed Kakar forced both, Mian Nawaz Sharif and Ghulam Ishaq Khan to resign on July 18, 1993.

Ms Benazir Bhutto again became PM of Pakistan in 1993 but her second government also could last three years and his own handpicked loyal president Farooq Laghari conspired against her and dismissed her government in November 1996 using Article 58(2)b. Mian Nawaz Sharif again became PM of Pakistan as a result of February 1997 election but on October 12, 1999, General Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency in the country and threw Nawaz Sharif out of the power.

Then three PMs under the dictator Musharraf served the office, of which Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali could hold the office for 19 months only and was sent home by Musharraf. Chaudhary Shujaat acted as a stopgap arrangement for two months before Musharraf’s friend Shaukat Aziz became PM in August 2004.

As a result of 2008 general elections, PPP succeeded to secure majority in the National Assembly and Yusuf Raza Gilani was elected as the PM. It was all well for Mr Gilani until he was convicted in a contempt of court case in Supreme Court for not writing a letter against the sitting president to the Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases. Gilani remained PM of Pakistan from March 25, 2008 to June 19, 2012. The remaining term of PPP government was completed by Raja Pervaiz Ashraf who held the office from June 2012 to March 2013.

Mian Nawaz Sharif became the PM for the third time in 2013 but as he entered the last year of his tenure, he has been engulfed by Panama Papers case in Supreme Court. The SC will announce an important judgment on Friday (today) which will decide the fate of Nawaz Sharif. Will the history repeat itself and no PM in the past 70 years would be able to complete his tenure? The answer is yet to come. Fingers are crossed.
15  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: July 28, 2017, 06:40:58 PM
Just as China miscalculated India's response, Stratfor IMHO, misses the fact that there is a nationalist BJP govt at the helm in India, not the spineless Gandhi family. So Stratfors forecast would be correct, under Congress rule, but not under BJP (Bhartiya Janta Party). Neither does Stratfor seem to appreciate the terrain and logistics that will be required for China to win, nor the current force levels at the border. Stratfor is right in that India is the weaker party in terms of weapons and economy.
16  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ajit Doval; Chinese changing tone on: July 27, 2017, 06:05:17 PM
Looks like the Chinese are finally coming to their senses!, have to see if this a temporary state, or they will ratchet up tensions as soon as the NSA leaves. NSA Ajit Doval is the last and only chance for a negotiated peaceful settlement, as one of the hats he wears deals with settling the border with China. Ajit Doval has an impressive history of working for 7 years as a spy (incognito) in Pak, infiltrating terrorist organizations etc, the man is a legend in India. His speeches are worth listening to, and their clarity of thought is amazing. He is responsible for the current hardline policy against Pak, China, the surgical strikes in Pak, Myanmar etc...YA.

Beijing sends conciliatory signals after Doval's first meeting with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi

Saibal Dasgupta | TNN | Updated: Jul 28, 2017, 12:33 AM IST
China's official Xinhua news agency sent out a conciliatory signal before Doval's expected meeting with Xi Jinping.
It spoke of the need to enhance mutual trust as the two countries are “not born rivals”.
The comments released by Xinhua made a strong plea to avoid the possibility of a war.

BEIJING: In the first official meeting between top Indian and Chinese officials since the Doklam stand-off became public, national security adviser Ajit Doval met state councillor Yang Jiechi here on Thursday, offering the possibility of serious diplomatic efforts to deescalate the confrontation.
Yang, who as China's state councillor overseeing foreign affairs occupies a powerful position in the state council, is the Chinese nominee in the India-China special representative level dialogue with Doval. An influential post, the state councillor is a member of the state council.
Indications of how the bilateral meeting went could be gleaned by the commentary released by the official Xinhua news agency which sent out a conciliatory signal before Doval is expected to meet Chinese president Xi Jinping on Friday. It spoke of the need to enhance mutual trust as the two countries are "not born rivals".
The comments released by the official Xinhua news agency made a strong plea to avoid the possibility of a war. "Most economies, including those in the West, will find themselves negatively affected by an India-China war in a globalised and intertwined world today," it said. In Delhi, the Indian government reminded China of the agreements on peace and tranquility that go back to 1993.
Yang also held separate meetings with security officials of three other countries on the sidelines of a security dialogue of BRICS nations comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
He discussed issues concerning bilateral relations, international and regional issues and multilateral affairs with the visiting security officials, the official Xinhua news agency said.
The remarks are a contrast to the hectoring tone in the comments published in publications like Global Times that are seen to reflect the views of the government.
China's official spokespersons have accused India of trespassing into Chinese territory, ignoring India's protests that the face-off near the Sikkim-Tibet-Bhutan trijunction has been caused by unilateral attempts by China to alter the ground position.
There are signs that the two neighbours might be able to scale down tensions that have spiked due to the military muscle flexing over China's bid to build a road through a plateau in Bhutanese territory.
This is the first time in weeks that the official media ran a commentary without demanding withdrawal of Indian troops from the disputed Doklam region. China has so far been insisting that troop withdrawal is a pre-condition to a "meaningful dialogue".
Doval reached Beijing on Thursday ahead of his planned meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and state counsellor Yang Jiechi on Friday.
"The recent border issue between the two countries shows a lack of strategic trust on the Indian side," Xinhua said.
It is not China but a set of problems common to all developing countries like corruption, a lack of quality education and healthcare that is holding back India.
"India must understand that China wishes what's good for the Indian people and would love to see a strong India standing shoulder by shoulder with China," Xinhua, which reflects the government's thinking said, giving an emotional touch to the vexed relationship.
Doval's formal purpose of visiting Beijing is to attend a security dialogue of BRICS nations. He is expected to discuss the border standoff with Chinese leaders in separate meetings.
Chinese foreign ministry has said that bilateral meetings are usually held during BRICS meetings and indirectly confirmed meetings on the border issue with Doval.
17  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: July 26, 2017, 12:47:27 AM
The Global Times has been quite jingoistic, with threats galore. All the neighboring small countries are watching, Pak, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Srilanka, as well as those in SE Asia. India has already occupied/defended Doka La plateau (Bhutanese territory), a third country's territory for over a month now. The Chinese are getting apoplectic, they are used to making empty threats and getting away with it, they build small atolls in the Indo-China sea, or buzz US surveillance aircraft with impunity, they have not had anyone oppose them for a long time. The loss of face is tremendous, they can redeem themselves by starting a war AND winning (a tall order), a draw will damage their reputation in the neighborhood severely.

The immediate benefit to India is that China's pawn Pak is getting the message that China cannot even defend their "own" territory, so Pak can forget the Chinese coming to their aid in a war situation.

There is one more possibility that the Chinese are being very clever, and all this is a fake move, with the actual move being planned elsewhere, eg in Pak Occupied Kashmir where the CPEC project goes through. India's NSA is in China over the week end for a BRICS meeting July 27-28., but will also be discussing the standoff(even though China insists that no talks are possible, until India withdraws!). The rainy season ends in Sept, so if any action will take place it must be in the sept-oct time frame, for Nov onwards, the place is frozen for the winter. Interesting times ahead.
18  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: July 20, 2017, 07:35:49 PM
Yes, it may be too early for India to take a victory lap....yes, the Chinese will learn from this, which is that their days of bullying India are over. In the days of the previous spineless govt under PM  ManMohan Singh (MMS), and previous Congress led govt's China was treated with kid gloves. MMS was such a coward, that he would not even visit Arunachal Pradesh an Indian State coveted by China as southern Tibet!. Under Modi, things have changed. He started off right by warmly inviting Xi to India, but during Xi's visit they occupied Indian territory which led to a standoff. After that, China has opposed India joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and vetoed the labeling of Mazhoor Azar as a paki terrorist at the UN. In response, Modi has allowed the Dalai Lama to visit Tawang (claimed by China as southern Tibet), shunned the Chinese One Belt One Road project, allowed the Tibetan flag to be raised at the border etc.

An Indo-China war will not be won by China. Reason is Tibet is too far away from the Chinese coast and their supply lines will be stretched thin. The Tibetan airfields are at 4000 m or higher which limits the bomb load that they can fly with, and acclimatization of soldiers in the thin air is a big problem. So China cannot win a conventional war, at best it would be a stalemate for two nations of 1.2 Billion population, each. Shooting missiles at each other damages China more, since their big cities are more developed.

On top of that, there are jingoistic reasons, Indian army is waiting to avenge their 1962 defeat. Subsequent skirmishes in the Bhutan/Sikkim area with China have resulted in Chinese suffering 2-3 fold higher casualties. In India the thinking is that China is a paper tiger, they make a lot of weapons, but dont have the will or experience to fight battles. Neither do they have experience with mountain war fare. Last war they fought with Vietnam did not got all too well for the Chinese. Add to that, most Chinese soldiers are the single/only sons of their parents, and their parents may have something to say when the body bags start arriving. Lastly, all the huffing and puffing is being done by the Chinese, which suggests they are the weaker party.
19  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: July 19, 2017, 10:51:42 PM
The Chinese have badly miscalculated this time. Their plan was to grab Bhutanese territory and gain a strategic advantage over India. All of this by the time of the coronation of emperor Xi at the August Communist Party Congress.
-Some facts, IMHO: Chinese cannot win in Doka la. They can save face by grabbing some other part of the LAC (Line of Actual Control) and then  negotiating Doka la. However, once the war spreads, nothing can be predicted.
-A missile barrage wont help, China has more to loose than India, in a missile shoot out, considering that Indian missiles reach China's industrialized east coast.
-Acting thro their Pak or other proxies wont help, they have been doing it for decades!.
-Chinese shipping lanes thro the Malacca Straights are at risk.

So while the Chinese are huffing and puffing, its obvious that their bullying has not worked and their bluff has been called.
20  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: July 19, 2017, 10:10:31 PM

With Doklam negotiations under way, military believes it has emerged victor

Generals say: "In a stalemate, India will have achieved its aims" (Photo courtesy Global Times)

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 20th July 17

Senior military officials in New Delhi believe Beijing badly overplayed its hand by heating up the rhetoric over the presence of Indian soldiers in the disputed Doklam bowl, adjoining Sikkim. They say in the stalemate that has emerged, India will have achieved its aims.

The planners say that Indian forces have held the upper hand ever since they surprised Chinese troops by confronting them on behalf of Bhutan, and sticking to their position despite unprecedented aggression and threats from Beijing.

“However this plays out, China is going to lose face, since it has made its threats publicly. And India is going to come out looking like a credible and reliable partner for Bhutan”, says a general, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Asked about the possibility of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) launching military operations against India, as Beijing has hinted, Indian generals are sanguine.

“There is no military mobilisation by China, nor will the Indian military mobilise unless war becomes imminent. If it comes to fighting, we are prepared to shed blood to uphold the India-Bhutan cooperation agreement. That would only raise our credibility in Thimphu’s eyes”, says a senior military planner.

“But that will not happen. The Chinese know they can achieve no military goal. They are smart enough to realise they have miscalculated badly”, he adds.

On Wednesday, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar admitted to a parliamentary panel that diplomatic negotiations are underway, both in Beijing and New Delhi, to resolve the month-old crisis.

On June 16, after Chinese road construction crews entered Doklam – an 89 square kilometre patch claimed by both Bhutan and China – Indian troops also crossed into Doklam and physically blocked Chinese road construction activity. Since then, hundreds of Indian and Chinese soldiers built up there, deployed eyeball-to-eyeball, initially igniting apprehensions of a shooting war.

Over the past week, however, as diplomatic discussions on de-escalation have moved along, Beijing’s foreign ministry spokespersons and government-controlled media have noticeably toned down the aggressive rhetoric they had earlier adopted.

Until last week, China’s foreign ministry insisted that a unilateral Indian withdrawal from Doklam was “the precondition for any meaningful dialogue between the two sides”. On June 6, Beijing threatened: “We once again urge the Indian side to immediately pull all of the troops that have crossed the boundary back to its own side before the situation gets worse with more serious consequences.”

On Tuesday, however, questioned about a briefing that China’s foreign ministry had given to diplomats in Beijing, a government spokesperson answered more benignly: “People will reach the just conclusion. If Indian wants to achieve its political purposes by sending military personnel across demarcated boundary, China urges India better not to do so.”

China’s media too is noticeably softening its stance from early June, when mouthpieces like the Global Times and Xinhua threatened India with a repeat of the 1962 military defeat. Over the weekend, China Central Television (CCTV) broadcast high-altitude, live fire exercises by a PLA brigade, without mentioning that the drills took place before the Doklam incident began.

This week, articles on the Doklam faceoff have been fewer in number. On Tuesday, after Pakistan’s “Dunya News” – a 24-hour, Urdu language television news channel –concocted news that a Chinese rocket attack in Sikkim had killed more than 150 Indian soldiers, Chinese media dismissed the report as “baseless”.

In India, even as the media keeps the spotlight on Doklam, the government is keeping a level tone. On Wednesday, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar reportedly told a parliamentary panel that hypernationalism and the media spotlight had inflated the crisis out of proportion.
21  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chinese only child children may not have learned important life skills on: July 15, 2017, 04:24:31 PM
This is an insightfull video about the Chinese, to those pressed for time 2:18-4:22 makes an important point.
22  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Indian Army getting ready for long haul in Doklam on: July 09, 2017, 11:01:17 AM

The longer the Chinese remain in denial, the bigger their loss of face, when they are ultimately forced to withdraw. Their belligerent statements have now stopped, as reality begins to creep in. Their miscalculation was that India would not defend Bhutanese territory....YA

Border row: Indian Army getting ready for long haul in Doklam

PTI | Updated: Jul 9, 2017, 02.30 PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Indian Army is ready for a long haul+ in holding onto its position in the Doklam area+ near the Bhutan tri-junction, notwithstanding China ratcheting up rhetoric against India demanding pulling back of its troops.The Indian soldiers deployed in the disputed area have pitched their tents, in an indication that they are unlikely to retreat unless there was reciprocity from China's PLA personnel in ending the face-off at an altitude of around 10,000 feet in the Sikkim section.

A steady line of supplies is being maintained for the soldiers at the site, official sources said, signalling that Indian Army is not going to wilt under any pressure from China.
At the same time they sounded confident of finding a diplomatic solution to the dispute, citing resolution of border skirmishes in the past through diplomacy.
Though China has been aggressively asserting that it was not ready for any "compromise" and that the "ball is in India's court", the view in the security establishment here is that there cannot be any unilateral approach in defusing the tension.

Both the countries had agreed to a mechanism in 2012 to resolve border flare ups through consultations at various levels.The mechanism has not worked so far in the current case as the stand-off near the Bhutan trijunction, triggered by China's attempt to build a road in the strategically important area, has dragged on for over three weeks.

New Delhi has already conveyed to Beijing that such an action would represent a significant change of status quo with "serious" security implications for India. The road link could give China a major military advantage over India. Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Doklam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region.
23  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Remember the lessons of 1979 on: July 09, 2017, 12:20:49 AM
Here's an American pov, somewhat simplistic...but again things dont look good for China!

As China Threatens to Punish India, It Should Consider the Lessons of Its 1979 Invasion of Vietnam
24  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China-India stand off in the Chumbai valley on: July 08, 2017, 11:54:14 PM
This is one of the better writeups by a retd. Indian  General as to whats happening at the border. Perhaps has too much detail...

Looks like either both sides will withdraw, or there will be a limited skirmish where China will loose. I would watch for China to start talking peace...though at the moment they are having a hard time believing that their bullying of little Bhutan did not work!. The Chinese are finding it hard to swallow that the only 2 countries in the world who oppose their OBOR project and dominance are India and tiny Bhutan!.
25  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Asia's colossus threatens a tiny state on: July 06, 2017, 04:53:06 PM
Asia’s colossus threatens a tiny state

Source Link

Bhutan, one of the world’s smallest nations, has protested that the Asian colossus, China, is chipping away at its territory by building a strategic highway near the Tibet-India-Bhutan trijunction in the Himalayas. Bhutan has security arrangements with India, and the construction has triggered a tense standoff between Chinese and Indian troops at the trijunction, with the Chinese state media warning of the possibility of war.

Bhutan says “China’s construction of the road inside Bhutanese territory is a direct violation” of its agreements with Beijing. China, however, has sought to obscure its aggression by blaming India for not respecting either the trijunction points or the boundary between Tibet and the Indian state of Sikkim, which is also contiguous to Bhutan.

In the way an increasingly muscular China — without firing a single shot — has waged stealth wars to change the status quo in the South and East China seas, it has been making furtive encroachments across its Himalayan frontiers with the intent to expand its control meter by meter, kilometer by kilometer. It has targeted strategic areas in particular.

If its land grab is challenged, China tends to play the victim, including accusing the other side of making a dangerous provocation. And to mask the real issue involved, it chooses to wage a furious propaganda war. Both these elements have vividly been on display in the current troop standoff at the edge of the Chumbi Valley, a Chinese-controlled zone that forms a wedge between Bhutan and Sikkim, and juts out as a dagger against a thin strip of Indian territory known as the Chicken Neck, which connects India’s northeast to the rest of the country.

In recent years, China has been upgrading its military infrastructure and deployments in this highly strategic region so that, in the event of a war, its military blitzkrieg can cut off India from its northeast. Such an invasion would also leave Bhutan completely surrounded and at China’s mercy.


Bhutan, with a population of only 750,000, shares some of its national defense responsibilities with India under a friendship treaty. Indian troops, for example, assist the undersized Royal Bhutan Army in guarding the vulnerable portions of Bhutan’s border with China.

The 2007 Bhutan-India friendship treaty states that the two neighbors “shall cooperate closely with each other on issues relating to their national interests.” The 2007 pact — signed after the Himalayan kingdom introduced major political reforms to emerge as the world’s newest democracy — replaced their 1949 treaty under which Bhutan effectively was an Indian protectorate, with one of the clauses stipulating that it would be “guided by” India in its foreign policy.

Recently, after days of rising Sino-Indian tensions at the trijunction, the People’s Liberation Army on June 16 brought in heavy earth-moving equipment and began building a road through Bhutan’s Doklam Plateau, which China claims, including Sinicizing its name as Donglong. Indian troops intervened, leading to scuffles with PLA soldiers, with the ongoing standoff halting work at the 3,000-meter-high construction site.

Significantly, the standoff did not become public until June 26 when China released a complaint against India, just as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was about to begin discussions with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House. The statement — timed to cast a shadow over the Modi-Trump discussions and to remind Modi of the costs Beijing could impose on India for his pro-U.S. tilt — presented China as the victim by alleging that Indian troops had “intruded” into “China’s Donglong region” and halted a legitimate construction activity. It demanded India withdraw its troops or face retaliation.

This was followed by a frenzied Chinese public-relations blitzkrieg against India designed to obfuscate the real issue — the PLA’s encroachment on Bhutanese territory. Chinese officials and state media fulminated against India over the troop standoff but shied away from even mentioning Bhutan.

It was only after Bhutan’s ambassador to India publicly revealed on June 28 that his country had protested the PLA’s violation of its territorial sovereignty and demanded a return to status quo ante that Beijing finally acknowledged the involvement of a third party in the dispute. The fact that an insecure and apprehensive Bhutan (which has no diplomatic relations with China) took eight days to make public its protest to Beijing played into China’s hands.


The Chinese attacks on India for halting the road construction, meanwhile, are continuing. For example, the Chinese defense ministry spokesperson, alluding to India’s defeat in the 1962 war with China, asked the Indian army on June 29 to “learn from historical lessons” and to stop “clamoring for war.” The Indian defense minister, in response, said the India of today was different from the one in 1962.

The same trijunction was the scene of heavy Sino-Indian military clashes in 1967, barely five years after China’s 1962 trans-Himalayan invasion led to major Indian reverses. But unlike in 1962, the Chinese side suffered far heavier casualties in the 1967 clashes, concentrated at Nathu-la and Cho-la.

Today, to mount pressure on India, China has cut off Indian pilgrims’ historical access to a mountain-and-lake site in Tibet that is sacred to four faiths: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and the indigenous religion of Tibet, Bon. While Manasarovar is the world’s highest freshwater lake at 4,557 meters above sea level, Mount Kailash — the world’s legendary center — is worshipped by believers as the abode of the planet’s father and mother, the gods Shiva and Uma, and as the place where Lord Buddha manifested himself in his super-bliss form. Four important rivers of Asia, including the Indus and the Brahmaputra, originate from around this duo.

By arbitrarily halting the pilgrimages, Beijing is reminding New Delhi to review its Tibet policy. India needs to subtly reopen Tibet as an outstanding issue in order to fend off Chinese pressure. After all, China lays claim to Indian and Bhutanese territories on the basis of alleged Tibetan (not Han Chinese) links to them historically. India must start to question China’s purportedly historical claim to Tibet itself.

More broadly, by waging stealth wars to accomplish political and military objectives, China is turning into a principle source of strategic instability in Asia. The stealth wars include constructing a dispute and then setting in motion a jurisdictional creep through a steady increase in the frequency and duration of Chinese incursions — all with the intent of either establishing military control over a coveted area or pressuring the opponent to cut a deal on its terms.

This strategy of territorial creep is based not on chess, which is centered on securing a decisive victory, but on the ancient Chinese game of Go, aimed at steadily making incremental gains by outwitting the opponent through unrelenting attacks on its weak points.

China has long camouflaged offense as defense, in keeping with the ancient theorist Sun Tzu’s advice that all warfare is “based on deception.” Still, the fact that the world’s fourth largest country in area, after Russia, Canada and the United States, is seeking to nibble away at the territory of a tiny nation speaks volumes about China’s aggressive strategy of expansion.

Longtime Japan Times contributor Brahma Chellaney is a geostrategist and the author of nine books.
26  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: July 06, 2017, 03:58:12 PM
India is not backing down, inspite of multiple threats from China..YA

Sikkim stand-off: Indian troops unlikely to pull back

TNN | Updated: Jul 7, 2017, 01.10 AM IST
India is not likely to consider a pullout without some clear terms being arrived at first
China's unilateral move violates agreements with India and impacts Bhutan's sovereignty

NEW DELHI: Despite rising stridency in Chinese demands that India pull back from the confrontation near the Sikkim-Tibet-Bhutan tri-junction, Indian troops are digging in to protect the strategic topography that is just 30 km from a hydel project and overlooks the Bengal-Assam road link.
The hydro-electric project is located at Jaldhaka river at Jhalong which is not far from the border with Bhutan and is also a bridge for crossing over to the landlocked hill kingdom. The Jaldhaka, along with Torsha river, flows into the Brahmaputra and is part of a tract of land that could come under pressure if the Chinese build the road they are planning through Doklam plateau in Bhutan.
The Siliguri corridor, and the town itself, will be vulnerable if China gets to dominate ridge lines which will allow its troops to literally sit astride Indian territory. The road to Assam also runs through the narrow strip of territory that connects West Bengal to the northeast and any threat to it can snip the surface link from Bagdogra to Guwahati.

Given the importance of holding the current alignment and preventing China from altering this to its benefit, India is not likely to consider a pullout without some clear terms being arrived at first. Though the Chinese are clearly annoyed at Indian troops stalling road work in an area that is near the tri-junction, Bhutan has strongly protested the intrusion on its territory. Even if the area is considered disputed, China's unilateral move violates agreements with India and impacts Bhutan's sovereignty.
As the full significance of the Chinese move becomes apparent, it is clear that the road project and movement of troops was more than the "usual" intrusions by which China tests India's defences and responses. The realignment of ground position was intended to grasp a decisive advantage in the region and went beyond the "needle and nibble" attempts to reset parts of the unsettled boundary between India and China.
With matters grinding to a stalemate and India holding its ground and comments, the stage could be set for more serious diplomatic engagement. Though the tough talk on part of Beijing continues, ejecting Indian troops is not an easy prospect and neither side would be keen to let matters get out of hand.
27  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: July 05, 2017, 09:58:43 PM

and a little bit of humor, this is how India China fight these days, without bullets!, video is grainy and in hindi, but no translation needed.
28  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Border Standoff: the intent behind Chinese excursions on: July 02, 2017, 01:17:15 PM

Border Standoff: Chinese Incursions Have A Much Deeper And Sinister Intent
Jaideep Mazumdar
- Jul 01, 2017, 3:46 pm

An India surrounded by countries which would be proxies of China would severely limit India’s global aspirations and keep it tied down to South Asia, thus allowing China a free run in Asia and the world.

China’s aggressive actions at the tri-junction between India, Tibet and Bhutan, in the Doklam plateau of the Chumbi Valley, is no routine border incursion and poses an extremely grave security and diplomatic threat to India. China’s actions signal its intent to embark on its long-term expansionist plans in this part of Asia, and ought to send alarm bells clanging in India’s security establishment.

A brief recap of the events at the border would be in order here. China has long laid claim to the Doklam plateau that falls in west Bhutan and adjoins the Chinese-controlled Chumbi Valley of Tibet. Chumbi Valley separates Sikkim from Bhutan and hangs like a dagger over the vulnerable Chicken’s Neck, or Siliguri Corridor, that connects North East India with the rest of the country. Chumbi Valley is, however, very narrow and cannot accommodate the number of troops and military hardware China would require either in case of an offensive, or to deter India militarily.

Also, Chinese troops in Chumbi Valley suffer from a serious strategic constraint since the ridge lines along the Valley fall in Bhutan and Sikkim and Indian troops have a clear tactical advantage there. It must be remembered here that India provides military muscle to Bhutan and the Indian Army has a strong presence in that country through the IMTRAT (Indian Military Training Team) units stationed in Bhutan. Thus, Indian troops pose a serious threat to the Chinese not only from Sikkim but also from Bhutan, where they are stationed.

It was Indian soldiers who backed the Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) which confronted and challenged Chinese attempts to construct a road through Doklam. The Chinese road through Doklam plateau – a strategically vital territory of Bhutan that China falsely lays claim to – would have even touched an RBA garrison. RBA troops, backed by IMTRAT units, stopped the Chinese road construction works and Bhutan issued a demarche to China, objecting to the construction that would have altered the strategic balance in that region in China’s favour.

An incensed Beijing, thus, spoke of India violating Bhutan’s sovereignty. Indian military presence in Bhutan has long riled China and despite its best efforts, Bhutan has steadfastly remained a close friend of India.

China’s Grand Design

Standing at Beijing’s infamous Tiananmen Square, China’s notorious communist dictator Mao Tse-tung said 1953 (after the annexation of Tibet): “Xizang (Tibet) is like China’s right palm whose five fingers – Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and NEFA (as Arunachal Pradesh was known as then) – remained severed and under the occupation of, or influence of, India. The palm is ineffective without the fingers, and so it is necessary to liberate the five fingers and rejoin them with the palm.”

That was no empty rhetoric. The Chinese, anyway, never indulge in empty rhetoric. Mao was articulating the deeply ingrained trait of expansionism among the Han Chinese, the largest ethnic group in the world. This expansionism, which has only intensified with China emerging as a global power, has brought that country in conflict with most of its neighbours. China, buoyed by successfully bullying smaller nations in its periphery into submission, wants to try out the same with India.

For China, Indian influence over Bhutan (which the Chinese maliciously allege is an Indian protectorate) is a deep irritant. China has been pressurising Bhutan, without success, to establish direct diplomatic relations with it instead of dealing with Beijing through the Chinese embassy in New Delhi. China is desperate to gain a toehold in Bhutan by opening an embassy in Thimpu. Doing so would be the first important step in increasing Chinese influence in Bhutan and weaning that country away from India’s embrace through massive financial aid and development projects.

China been successful in subverting India’s influence over Nepal, and large sections of the political establishment in Kathmandu are now openly pro-China and deeply anti-India. China has been pouring in financial and material aid to Nepal, executing massive infrastructure and power projects, and has brought Nepal into its own sphere of influence. New Delhi is, thus, wary of allowing Bhutan to open up to China.

The Chinese claims over large slices of territory in west Bhutan – Doklam, Charithang, Sinchulimpa and Dramana – have been made with twin objectives: (1) to neutralise the disadvantage its own troops face in Chumbi Valley and deny Indian troops in Bhutan access to the strategic high grounds overlooking the Valley, and (2) to force Bhutan to establish direct ties with Beijing. In fact, say sources in India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), China has already offered to defuse the tension in Doklam if Thimpu agrees to start working towards establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing and limits access of IMTRAT units to west Bhutan that adjoins Chumbi Valley.

Of the “five fingers” of the palm (Tibet), Ladakh is already under serious threat, what with half of it (Aksai Chin) being under Chinese occupation. Nepal is slowing falling to Chinese control, and China has upped the ante over Sikkim now even though it had accepted that Sikkim is an integral part of India in exchange for India reiterating its position about Tibet being an inalienable part of China. By transgressing into northeast Sikkim, China has perfidiously brought Sikkim back to the broader border dispute with India. India can now expect the Chinese to start contesting Sikkim’s ascension to India in 1975.

 Map of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir (Saravask/Wikimedia Commons)Map of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir (Saravask/Wikimedia Commons)
China’s transgressions into Bhutan and its claim over Bhutanese territory is thus part of its grand strategy to bully and beat Bhutan into submission and wean it away from India’s influence. China has already been laying claim to Arunachal Pradesh, especially the Tawang tracts to the west of the state that People’s Liberation Army troops overran in 1962. China has stationed large number of troops and sophisticated military hardware all along the Arunachal-Tibet border. In fact, Indian military presence and physical infrastructure compares very poorly with that of China across the border not only in Arunachal but Sikkim as well.

Importance of the ‘Five Fingers’

A look at the map of Asia will show that many landlocked parts of China – the eastern areas of Xingiang, and provinces like Gansu, Qinghai, Tibet, Sichuan and Yunnan – would benefit immensely with free access to the Bay of Bengal. That can only happen if the ‘five fingers’ come under Chinese control.

China already exercises tremendous influence over a big section of Bangladesh’s political and military establishment. The pro-Pakistan Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which is in the opposition now, and its ally the Jamaat-e-Islami, as well as Islamists in that country, are all closely linked to Pakistan, which is totally beholden to China. Beijing, through Pakistan and also on its own, thus wields a lot of influence over Bangladesh that offers a direct opening to the Bay of Bengal.

Chinese presence in Myanmar has increased and grown stronger and, through that country, China has also gained access to the Bay of Bengal. Even though Myanmar’s powerful generals have, of late, realised the insidious nature of Chinese presence in their country, they cannot simply shrug off the Chinese yoke that they had happily brought themselves under. India’s efforts to wean away Myanmar from China are far too sparse. And with its control over the rebellious tribes inhabiting the restive northern parts of Myanmar that are beyond the control of Myanmarese army, China automatically enjoys a lot of leverage over that country.

China’s incitement of insurgencies in North East India have to be thus seen from the prism of its expansionism. By aiding, supporting and training various militant groups of the North East and even extending safe refuge to them within its territory (the refuge granted to ULFA chief Paresh Barua being just one example), China wants to keep that part of India in turmoil and, thus, under indirect control.

In the long run, once it firmly establishes direct or indirect control over the ‘five fingers’ and rids them of Indian influence and control, China would gain a huge geo-strategic advantage over India. An India surrounded by countries which would be proxies of China would severely limit India’s global aspirations and keep it tied down to South Asia, thus allowing China a free run in Asia and the world.

New Delhi would also do well to keep in mind the fact that China’s right palm with its five fingers under Beijing’s control can also be used as a wrist to deliver a debilitating punch to India. The only way that can be countered is to meticulously follow the Chinese path of strengthening the economy, spurring growth and building up the country’s military capability. And, also, by judiciously weeding out the Chinese ‘plants’ in India’s polity.
29  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China-India: Border Face Off on: June 29, 2017, 05:36:42 PM
Interesting eye-ball to eye-ball confrontation going on in Bhutan between India and China. The Chinese typically grab bits and pieces of territory all over the 1400 km of the Himalayas. In this instance, the territory is Bhutanese, but if grabbed would provide them a strategic advantage to capture India's Siliguri corridor (chickens neck), which if taken, cuts east India from the mainland.

Border face-off: China, India each deploy 3,000 troops

Rajat Pandit | TNN | Updated: Jun 30, 2017, 01.15 AM IST
Two rival armies deployed around 3,000 troops each in a virtually eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation
Bhutan, too, has issued a demarche to China over the construction of the road
Flag meetings and other talks between the rival commanders have not worked till now

NEW DELHI: The ongoing troop face-off between India and China on the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction has emerged as the biggest such confrontation in the region in decades, with both sides continuing to pump in reinforcements to the remote border region.

Even as Army chief General Bipin Rawat reviewed the ground situation by visiting the headquarters of the 17 Mountain Division in Gangtok and 27 Mountain Division in Kalimpong on Thursday, sources said the two rival armies had strengthened their positions at the tri-junction by deploying around 3,000 troops each in a virtually eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation.

The Indian Army, on its part, refused to say anything. But sources said though there had been other troop standoffs at the tri-junction over the years, the latest one at the Doka La general area was clearly the most serious.

"Both sides are as yet not willing to budge from their positions. Flag meetings and other talks between the rival commanders have not worked till now," a source said.
During his visit, General Rawat especially concentrated on the deployments of the 17 Division, which is responsible for the defence of eastern Sikkim with four brigades (each with over 3,000 soldiers) under its command.

"All top officers, including the 33 Corps and 17 Division commanders, were present during the extensive discussions. The chief will return to New Delhi on Friday morning," the source said.

Undeterred by Beijing's aggressive posturing, India has made it clear that it will not allow China to construct a motorable road till the tri-junction through the Bhutanese territory of Doklam plateau, as earlier reported by TOI.

Bhutan, too, has issued a demarche to China over the construction of the road towards its army camp at Zomplri in the Doklam plateau, asking Beijing to restore status quo by stopping work immediately.

"China is trying to build a 'Class-40 road' in the Doklam plateau that can take the weight of military vehicles weighing up to 40 tonnes, which include light battle tanks, artillery guns and the like," the source said.

Interestingly, the People's Liberation Army declared in Beijing on Thursday that it had conducted trials of a new 35-tonne tank in the plains of Tibet, though it added that "it was not targeted against any country". The Indian defence establishment is concerned at the "creeping territorial aggression" by China, which aims to progressively swallow the 269 sq km Doklam plateau to add "strategic width" to its adjoining but narrow Chumbi Valley, which juts in between Sikkim and Bhutan.

China has also been pushing Bhutan hard for the last two decades to go in for a "package deal".

1) China violated its agreement with Bhutan by altering the status quo at the border. India and Bhutan have an Eternal Treaty that covers defence and foreign affairs of Bhutan. So India has a lcus st... Read More

Under it, Beijing wants Thimphu to cede control over Doklam plateau, while it surrenders claims to the 495 sq km of territory in Jakurlung and Pasamlung valleys in northern Bhutan.  But India is militarily "very sensitive" about the Doklam plateau, especially the Zomplri Ridge area because it overlooks the strategically-vulnerable Siliguri corridor or the 'Chicken's Neck' area.  India has progressively strengthened its defences in the Siliguri corridor, the narrow strip of land that connects the rest of India with its north-eastern states, to stem any Chinese ingress. "But it remains a geographical vulnerability. China has constructed several feeder roads from Tibet to the border with Bhutan, and is also trying to extend its railway line in the region," the source said.

Here's another article...

30  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: June 25, 2017, 03:22:15 PM
BTW Modi is in the US meeting Trump on Monday, very low key affair (compared to Chinese premier visit). No mention on the news channels.
31  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Pak military budget 20% of GDP on: May 27, 2017, 11:19:39 AM

Pak discloses 19.7 % military spend in budget....its probably much higher....if you spend 20 % on the military, you need to create a few bogies, namely India and terrorism, ISIS etc to justify the spend.

Defence budget set at Rs920.2bn for FY2017-18
Dawn.comUpdated about 10 hours ago
1329     82

Pakistan's defence expenditure in the next financial year will be around 7 per cent higher than it was in the outgoing year to Rs920.2 billion, the government announced in Friday's Budget 2017-18 speech.

The PML-N government's total budget outlay for 2017-18, possibly its last year in power, was Rs4.75tr, out of which 19.36pc has been kept aside under the Defence Affairs and Services head.

The operating expenses for the armed forces have been allocated Rs225.5bn, while almost Rs322bn will be sent on salaries and renumeration. The armed forces will get Rs244bn for 'physical assets' and Rs128.35bn for 'civil works'.

The government will separately pay nearly Rs180bn in pensions to retired military officials and jawans. This does not count in the budget allocated to defence services.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who presented the budget in Parliament, also announced a 10pc increase in the pay of all armed forced personnel as a 'special allowance' in recognition for their sacrifices in the ongoing conflicts across the country.

"I announce today that a 10pc will be given on the pay of all officers and jawans as special allowance. This allowance will be in addition to the increase in pay that will be announced," Dar said as he presented the Federal Budget 2017-18.

The Frontier Constabulary's jawans will also be given a fixed allowance of Rs8,000 per month, the government said. The special allowance and the fixed allowance are both separate from the defence budget.

The 'special allowance' was also topped up with a 10pc ad hoc increase in salaries for army personnel, along with other government employees.

Dar additionally said during his budget speech said the National Security Committee had recommended that 3pc of the provinces' Gross Divisible Pool should also be allocated to defence expenditures; however, the provinces have yet to get on board with this proposal.

"Large operations like Zarb-i-Azb require vast sums. This is our national duty against terrorism for which provision of resources is the responsibility of the entire nation," Dar urged during his Friday budget speech.

The government will also be launching a new scheme through the Central Directorate of National Savings (CDNS) for the welfare of families of martyrs.

Under this scheme, a guaranteed and enhanced profit will be given as a means of support for martyrs' families.
32  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor's George Friedman says war is coming on: May 25, 2017, 06:52:41 PM
#Invalid YouTube Link#

Stratfor thinks US will attack NK within weeks...
33  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: April 13, 2017, 08:04:01 PM

Cost of Afghanistan War: Timeline, Economic Impact
The Ongoing Costs of the Afghanistan War


By Kimberly Amadeo
Updated March 14, 2017
The Afghanistan War was a military conflict that lasted 14 years (2001 - 2014) and cost $1.07 trillion. The Bush Administration launched it in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks by al-Qaida. The United States attacked the Taliban in Afghanistan for hiding al-Qaida's leader, Osama bin Laden. It was the kick-off to the War on Terror.

The war's $1.07 trillion cost had three main components. First is the $773 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations funds specifically dedicated to the Afghanistan War.

Second is the increase of $243 billion to the Department of Defense base budget. Third is the increase of $54.2 billion to the Veterans Administration budget. Some of these costs are also attributable to the War in Iraq. But the true cost of the Afghanistan War should include the addition to these departments, even if some of the funds went toward both wars. For more on how to determine the actual cost of defense, see the U.S. Military Budget.

Timeline of Afghanistan War Costs
Here's a timeline of what happened each year. A table that summarizes these costs is below.

FY 2001 - $37.3 billion: Osama bin Laden authorized 9/11 attacks. President Bush demanded that the Afghanistan Taliban deliver bin Laden or risk U.S. attack. Congress appropriated $22.9 billion in emergency funding. On October 7, U.S. jets bombed Taliban forces. On December 7, the Taliban abandon Kabul, the capital. Hamid Karzai became interim administration head.

That same month, ground troops pursued bin Laden into the Afghan foothills. He escaped to Pakistan on December 16, 2001.

FY 2002 - $65.1 billion: In March, the U.S. military launched Operation Anaconda against Taliban fighters. Bush promised to reconstruct Afghanistan, but only provided $38 billion between 2001 and 2009.

Bush turned attention to Iraq War.

FY 2003 - $56.7 billion: In May, the Bush Administration announced that major combat ended in Afghanistan. NATO took over control of the peacekeeping mission. NATO added 65,000 troops from 42 countries.

FY 2004 - $29.6 billion: On January 9, Afghanistan created a new Constitution. On October 9, the U.S. military protected Afghans from Taliban attacks for their first free election. On October 29, bin Laden threatened another terrorist attack.

FY 2005 - $47.4 billion: On May 23, Bush and Karzai signed an agreement allowing U.S. military access to Afghan military facilities in return for training and equipment. Six million Afghans voted for national and local councils. Three million voters were women.

FY 2006 - $29.9 billion: The new Afghanistan government struggled to provide basic services, including police protection. Violence increases. The United States criticized NATO for not providing more soldiers.

FY 2007 - $57.3 billion: Allies assassinated a Taliban commander, Mullah Dadullah.

FY 2008 - $87.7 billion: Violence escalated in Afghanistan after U.S. troops accidentally killed civilians.

FY 2009 - $100 billion: President Obama took office. He sent 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan in April.

He promised to send another 30,000 in December. He named Lt. General McChrystal as the new commander. Obama's strategy focused on attacking resurgent Taliban and al-Qaida forces on the Pakistan border. That added $59.5 billion to Bush's FY 2009 budget. He promised to withdraw all troops by 2011. Voters reelected Karzai amidst accusations of fraud.

FY 2010 - $112.7 billion: NATO sent surge forces to fight the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. NATO agreed to turn over all defense to Afghan forces by 2014. Obama replaced McChrystal with General Petraeus. Afghanistan held parliamentary elections amidst charges of fraud.

FY 2011 - $110.4 billion: Special Forces took out Osama bin Laden on May 1, 2011. Obama announced he would withdraw 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year and 23,000 by the end of 2012.

The United States held preliminary peace talks with Taliban leaders. (Source: Amy Belasco, "The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11," Table A1. Congressional Research Service, March 29, 2014.)

FY 2012 - $105.1 billion: Obama announced the withdrawal of another 23,000 troops from Afghanistan in the summer, leaving 70,000 troops remaining. Both sides agreed to hasten U.S. troop withdrawal to 2013. Their presence had become unwelcome. The Taliban canceled U.S. peace talks.

FY 2013 - $53.3 billion: U.S. forces shifted to a training and support role. The Taliban reignited peace negotiations with the United States, causing Karzai to suspend his U.S. negotiations.

FY 2014 - $80.2 billion: Obama announced final U.S. troop withdrawal, with only 9,800 remaining at the end of the year. (Source: "Afghanistan War," Council on Foreign Relations. "Major Events in the Afghanistan War," The New York Times.)

FY 2015 - $60.9 billion: Troops trained Afghan forces. (Source: DoD 2015 OCO Amendment)

FY 2016 - $30.8 billion: The DoD requested funds for training efforts in Afghanistan as well as training and equipment for Syrian opposition forces. It also included support for NATO and responses to terrorist threats. (Source: DoD 2016 OCO Amendment)

FY 2017 - $5.7 billion: The DoD requested $58.8 billion for Operation Freedom Sentinel in Afghanistan, Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and the Levant, increased European support and counterterrorism. (Source: DoD 2017 OCO Amendment.)

 [RP1]I agree it’s okay not to spell this out.

Afghanistan War Costs Summary Table (in billions)

FY   Cost of Afghanistan War   DoD Budget Increase   VA Budget Increase       Total             Boots on Ground*   Comments
2001   $29.3   $6.5   $1.5   $37.3   9,700   9/11. Taliban falls.
2002   $22.8   $40.8   $1.5   $65.1   9,700   
2003   $68.4   $36.7   $2.6   $56.7   13,100   NATO enters.
2004   $92.1   $11.6   $2.6   $29.6   18,300   1st vote.
2005   $99.8   $23.6   $3.1   $47.4   17,821   Karzai agreement.
2006   $114.7   $10.5   $0.7   $29.9   20,502   Violence rises.
2007   $161.9   $20.9   $5.3   $57.3   24,780   
2008   $182.9   $47.5   $1.2   $87.7   32,500   
2009   $149.1   $34.2   $9.8   $100.0   69,000   Obama surge.
2010   $158.9   $14.7   $3.9   $112.7   96,900   NATO surge.
2011   $153.3   $0.3   $3.3   $110.4   94,100   Bin Laden killed.
2012   $120.9   $2.2   $2.3   $105.1   65,800   Troop drawdown.
2013   $93.3   -$34.9   $2.6   $53.3   43,300   
2014   $82.2   $0.8   $2.0   $80.2   32,500   Troops leave.
2015   $63.1   $1.0   $1.8   $60.9   9,100   U.S. trains Afghan troops.
2016   N/A   $24.3   $6.5   $30.8   8,370
2017   N/A   $2.2   $3.5   $5.7   N/A
TOTAL   $773.0   $243.0   $54.2   $1,070.2       
*Boots on Ground is the number of troops in Iraq. From 2001 through 2013, it's as of December of that year. 2014 - 2017 is as of May. (Source: "The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11," Table A-1. Amy Belasco, Congressional Research Service, March 29, 2014.) Boots on Ground for 2015 is for the fourth quarter and 2016 is from the second quarter. (Source: Heidi M. Peters, "Department of Defense Contractor and Troop Levels in Iraq and Afghanistan: 2007-2016," Table 3. Congressional Research Service, August 15, 2016. "Historical Tables," OMB.)

Cost of the Afghanistan War to Veterans
The real cost of the Afghanistan War is more than the $1.06 trillion added to the debt. First, and most important, is the cost borne by the 2,350 U.S. troops who died, the 20,092 who suffered injuries, and their families. (Source: "Total Deaths KIA," Department of Defense, January 13, 2017.) For details on these casualties, see

Improvements in battlefield medicine meant that more than 90 percent of soldiers wounded in Afghanistan survived. That's better than the Vietnam War's 86.5 percent track record. Unfortunately, that also means these veterans and their families now must live with the effects of permanent and grave damage. More than 320,000 of soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq have Traumatic Brain Injury that causes disorientation and confusion. Of those, 8,237 suffered severe or invasive brain injury. In addition, 1,645 soldiers lost all or part of a limb. More than 138,000 have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They experience flashbacks, hypervigilance and difficulty sleeping.

On average, 20 veterans commit suicide each day according to a 2016 VA study.​ The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) found that 47 percent of its members knew of someone who had attempted suicide after returning from active duty. The group considers veteran suicide to be its number one issue. (Source: "A Guide to U.S. Military Casualty Statistics: Operation New Dawn, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom," Congressional Research Service, Hannah Fischer, February 19, 2014. "Veterans Group to Launch Suicide Prevention Campaign," Washington Post, March 24, 2014.)

The cost of veterans’ medical and disability payments over the next 40 years will be more than $1 trillion. That's according to Linda Bilmes, a senior lecturer in public finance at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “The cost of caring for war veterans typically peaks 30 to 40 years or more after a conflict,” Bilmes said. (Source: "Costs of War," Watson Institute at Brown University, September 2016. "Iraq War Lives on as Second-Costliest U.S. Conflict Fuels U.S. Debt," BusinessWeek, January 3, 2012. "Final U.S. Troops Leave Iraq," Bloomberg, March 19, 2013).

Cost to Economy
The Afghanistan War cost more than the $738 billion inflation-adjusted dollars spent on the Vietnam War. It's second only to the $4.1 trillion inflation-adjusted dollars spent during World War II.

Unlike earlier wars, most American families did not feel impacted by the Afghanistan War. Unlike the Vietnam War and World War II, there was no draft. There was no tax imposed to pay for the war. 

As a result, those who served and their families bore the brunt. It will cost them at least $300 billion over the next several decades to pay for their injured family members. That doesn't include lost income from jobs they quit to care for their relative.

Future generations will also pay for the addition to the debt. Researcher Ryan Edwards estimated that the United States incurred an extra $453 billion in interest on the debt to pay for the wars in the Middle East. Over the next 40 years, these costs will add $7.9 trillion to the debt. (Source: "Costs of War," Watson Institute, September 2016.)

Companies, particularly small businesses, were disrupted by National Guard and Reserve call-ups. The economy has also been deprived of the productive contributions of the service members killed, wounded or psychologically traumatized.

There's also the opportunity cost in terms of job creation. Every $1 billion spent on defense creates 8,555 jobs and adds $565 million to the economy. That same $1 billion in tax cuts stimulate enough demand to create 10,779 jobs and puts $505 million into the economy as retail sales. The same $1 billion in spent on education adds $1.3 billion to the economy and creates 17,687 jobs.

Why did the United States start a war in Afghanistan? The Bush administration wanted to eliminate the terrorist threat of al-Qaida's leader, Osama bin Laden. It also wanted to remove the Taliban from power since they provided refuge for bin Laden.

Al-Qaida had been in Afghanistan since the Taliban came to power in 1996. Before that, al-Qaida had operated in Pakistan's mountainous western border. It returned to Pakistan when the United States ousted the Taliban in 2001. (Source: "Al-Qaida Backgrounder," Council on Foreign Relations, June 6, 2012.)

The Taliban grew out of Muslim opposition to the 1979-1989 Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. They came from the thousands of mujahedeen (holy warriors) that arrived from all over the world to fight the Soviets. Ironically, the United States supplied anti-aircraft missiles to the mujahedeen to stop the spread of communism in the Middle East. (Source: "The Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan," PBS Newshour, October 10, 2006.)

When the war ended, these mujahedeen battled each other for control of the country. An Afghan contingent joined with Pashtun tribesmen to create the Taliban. They practiced a fundamentalist version of Islam called Wahhabism. The Taliban (which means student) had attended schools funded by Saudi Arabia.

The Taliban promised peace and stability. They controlled 90 percent of the country by 2001. They also imposed strict sharia law, such as requiring women to wear burqas. The United Nations Security Council issued resolutions urging the Taliban to end oppressive treatment of women. (Source: "The Taliban in Afghanistan," Council on Foreign Relations, July 4, 2014.)

Al-Qaida shared a similar fundamentalist Sunni Muslim ideology. The Sunnis believe that Shiites want to revive Persian rule over the Middle East. This Sunni-Shiite split is the driving force of tensions in the area. It is also an economic battle. Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran both want to control the Straits of Hormuz, through which 20 percent of the world's oil passes.

The Taliban's support of al-Qaida came at a cost. It caused the UN Security Council to issue sanctions against Afghanistan. These sanctions, along with the Afghanistan War, led to the Taliban's downfall from power.
34  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Facta Non Verba on: April 09, 2017, 11:35:22 AM
Did Prez Trump do a "Facta Non Verba" on Assad?
So he could control him?
Yes, he did on Assad, N Korea, China...

Facta non Verba: How to Own Your Enemies

Dead horse in your bed — Friendship via poisoned cake –Roman Emperors and U.S. presidents –A living enemy is worth ten dead ones

The best enemy is the one you own by putting skin in his game and letting him know the exact rules that come with it. You keep him alive, in the knowledge that he owes this to your benevolence. The notion that an enemy you own is better than a dead one was perfected by the order of the Assassins, so we will do some digging into the work of that secret society.

An offer very hard to refuse

There is this formidable scene in the Godfather when a Hollywood executive wakes up with the bloody severed head of a horse in his bed, his cherished race horse.  He had refused to hire a Sicilian American actor for reasons that appeared iniquitous, as while he knew the latter was the best for the role, he was resentful of the “olive oil voice” that charmed one of his past mistresses and fearful of its powers to seduce future ones. It turned out that the actor, who in real life was (possibly) Frank Sinatra, had friends and friends of friends, that type of thing; he was even the godson of a capo. A visit from the consigliere of the “family” neither succeeded to sway the executive, nor softened his Hollywood abrasiveness –the fellow failed to realize that by flying across the country to make the request, the high ranking mobster was not just providing the type of recommendation letter you mail to the personnel department of a state university. He had made him an offer that he could not refuse (the expression was popularized by that scene in the movie).

It was a threat, and not an empty threat.

As I am writing these lines, people discuss terrorism and terrorist groups while making a severe category mistakes; there are in fact two totally distinct varieties. The first are terrorists that are terrorists for about every person equipped with ability to discern and isn’t a resident of Saudi Arabia or works for a think tank funded by Sheikhs; the second are militia groups largely called terrorists by their enemies, and “resistance” or “freedom fighters” by those who don’t dislike them.

The first includes nonsoldiers who indiscriminately kill civilians for effect and don’t bother with military targets as their aim isn’t to make military gains, just to make a statement, harm some living humans, produce some noise and, for some, a low-error way to go to paradise. Most Sunni Jihadis, of the type to take incommensurable pleasure in blowing up civilians, such as Al Qaeda, ISIS, the “moderate rebels” in Syria sponsored by former U.S. president Obama’s, are in that category. The second group is about strategic political assassination –the Irish Republican Army, most Shiite organizations, Algerian independence fighters against France, French resistance fighters during the German occupation, etc.

For Shiites and similar varieties in the Near and Middle East, the ancestry, methods, and rules originate in the order of the Assassins, itself following the modus of the Judean Sicarii during Roman times. The Sicarii are named after the daggers they used to kill Roman soldiers and, mostly their Judean collaborators, owing to what they perceived was the profanation of the Temple and the land.

I have the misfortune to know a bit about the subject as I am the only one of those “notable” former students listed on the Wikipedia page of the Lycée Franco-Libanais, my elementary and high school, whose notability doesn’t originate for having, like my classmates and childhood friends, having being the victim of a successful or attempted assassination.

The Assassins

Sanjar became in 1118 the sultan of the Seljuk Turkish Empire of Asia minor (that is, modern day Turkey), Iran, and parts of Afghanistan. Soon after his accession, he woke up one day with a dagger next to his bed, firmly planted in the ground. In one version of the legend, a letter informed him that the dagger thrusted in hard ground was preferable to the alternative, being plunged in his soft breast. It was a characteristic message of the Hashishins, a.k.a. Assassins, making him aware of the need to leave them alone, say send them birthday gifts, or hire their actors for his next movie. Sultan Sanjar had previously snubbed their peace negotiators; so they moved to phase two of a demonstrably well planned out process. They convinced him that his life was in their hands and that, crucially, he didn’t have to worry if he did the right thing –they had proven to him that they were both in control and reliable. Indeed Sanjar and the Assassins had a happy life ever-after.

You will note that no explicit verbal threat was issued. Verbal threats reveal nothing other than weakness and unreliability. Remember, once again, no verbal threats.

The Assassins were a 11th-14th C. sect related to Shiite Islam and was (and still is through its reincarnations) violently anti-Sunni. They were often associated with the Knight Templars as they fought frequently on the side of the crusaders –and if they seem to share some of the values of the Templars, in sparing the innocent and the weak, it is more likely because the former group transmitted some of their values to the latter. The chivalric code of honor has, for second clause: I shall respect and defend the weak, the sick, and the needy.

The Assassins supposedly send the same message to Saladin, informing him that the cake he was about to eat was poisoned… by them.

The ethical system of the Assassins is that political assassination help prevent war; threat of the dagger-by-your-bed variety are even better for bloodless control[1]. They supposedly aimed at sparing civilians and people who were not directly targeted. The methods focusing on precision meant to reduce what is now called civilian “collateral damage”.

Assassination as Marketing

Those readers who may have tried to get rid of pebbles in their shoes (that is, someone you bothers you and doesn’t get the hint) might know that “contracts” on ordinary citizens (that is, to trigger their funeral) are relatively easy to perform and inexpensive to buy. There is a relatively active underground market for these contracts. In general, you need to pay a bit more to “make it look like an accident”. However skilled historians and observers of martial history would recommend the exact opposite: in politics, you should have to pay more to make it look intentional.

In fact, what Captain Weisenborn, Pasquale Cirillo, and I discovered, when we tried doing a systematic study of violence (debunking a confabulatory thesis by the science writer Steven Pinker), was that war numbers have been historically inflated… by both sides. Both the Mongols and their panicky victims had an incentive to exaggerate, which acted as a deterrent. Mongols weren’t interested in killing everybody; they just wanted submission, which came cheaply though terror. Further, having spent some time perusing the genetic imprints of invaded populations, it is clear that if the warriors coming from the Eastern steppes left a cultural imprint, they certainly left their genes at home. Gene transfer between areas by happens by group migrations, inclement climate, unaccommodating soil rather than war.

More connected to recent events, I discovered that the Hama “massacre” of Syrian Jihadis by Assad senior was at least an order of magnitude lower than what was reported; the rest came from inflation –numbers swelling over time from 2,000 to close to 40,000 without significant information. Simply, Assad wanted, at the time, to intimidate and his enemies, the Islamist and their journalist sympathizers, former U.S. president Obama’s wanted to aggrandize the event.

Assassination as Democracy

Now, political life; if the democratic system doesn’t fully deliver governance –it patently doesn’t, owing to cronyisms and the Hillary Montanto-Malmaison style of covert legal corruption; if the system doesn’t fully deliver governance, we have known forever what does: an increased turnover at the top. Count Munster’s epigrammatic description of the Russian Constitution explains it: “Absolutism tempered by assassination”.

While today’s politicians have no skin in the game and do not have to worry so long as they play the game, thanks the increased life expectancy of modern times, they stay longer and longer on the job. France’s pseudo-socialist Francois Mitterrand reigned for fourteen years, longer than many French Kings; thanks to technology he had more power over the population than most French Kings. Even a United States President, the modern kind of Emperor (unlike Napoleon and the Tsars, Roman emperors before Diocletian were not absolutists) tends to last at least four years on the throne, while Rome had five emperors in a single year and four in another. The mechanism worked: consider that all the bad Emperors Caligula, Caracalla, Elagabalus, Nero ended their career either murdered by the Pretorian guard or, in the case of Nero, suicide in anticipation. In the first four hundred years of empire, only 20, that is less than a third, of emperors died a natural death, assuming these deaths were truly natural.

[1] It appears that what we read about the Assassins can be smear by their enemies (including the apocryphal accounts according to which their name comes from consumption of Hashish, Cannabis in Arabic, as they would get into a trance before their assassination).
35  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: February 27, 2017, 09:39:56 PM
This is a fairly accurate article and captures the current Indian thinking vis a vis China. Something that is not captured in most contemporary articles is the mood in India is quite positive, the thinking is that India will overtake China in about 10-15 years economically. Demographics of India are better as compared to China. New Indian missiles reach all parts of China, so the military threat from China is no longer scary. The thinking is that China has not fought a war in 3-4 decades...does this generation of chinese soldiers even know how to fight anymore ? and do they want to start with India.
36  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: February 27, 2017, 09:25:48 PM
Thanks, the question that needs to be asked is: what advantage is there for Pak to reform themselves ?, it will be a big loss for them.

Why Pak does not want reform:. If there was no worldwide terrorism emanating from Pak, their importance to the US would diminish, Coalition Support Funds would go down, and the  paki army cant have that. The paki army is perhaps the only army in the world which does everything except fight and win wars. They run sugar mills, flour mills, textiles most aspects of Pak business. When the Army Chief retires he gets a huge land allottment for building a farm house ofcourse. Land allottments are not just for the Chief, but lower ranks too, just smaller size land plots. So pak plays truant and the US obliges by becoming their sugar daddy. US support for Pak has a historic basis from the time, when India was aligned with Russia and the US wanted to support Pak to maintain balance of power. I think the US is getting tired of this game and support to Pak is declining, iron brother China is becoming their new sugar daddy. US interests align with those of India, especially to maintain balance of power with China. I expect this trend to continue.

Why there can be no peace with India: Traditionally Pak army has created the India bogey, because without India as an enemy, there is really no reason for them to exist, and their budget would be in the 1.5% range. So with the constant threat of India they have a huge budget (no one knows how much, perhaps 15-20 % with all their businesses). The problem with this is, the pak army sucks most of the money away and there is nothing left for education, health and infrastructure investment. So every year the country becomes more backward, foreign investment falls and the Paki army needs a bigger share to maintain their lifestyle.

Changes with new pak army chief, Bajwa: The outgoing pak army chief, raheel shareef had a congenital hatred of India, he was a sunni muslim. Fortunately he did not get an extension (that's another story), in the power play with prime minister nawaz shareef. Nawaz Shareef played a master card by making Bajwa the new army chief. The rumour is that Bajwa is not a sunni muslim, but a qadiani (Ahmedi sect of Islam, which is not recognized as muslim by Pak, its a blasphemy to be an Ahmedi). Infact, some of his relatives are known qadianis and perhaps even his father was a qadiani. However, a qadiani cannot be army chief, so Bajwa claims to be sunni muslim. Sort of like Obummer being a closet muslim with sympathies towards the religion of peace. What ever the truth, he seems to be moderate and right from the start has made peace overtures to India. Recently he put the terrorist Hafeez saeed under house arrest (mumbai blast master mind). It is not clear, why he is doing that. Is it a genuine peace overture ?, concern that Trump might ban Paki muslims, or perhaps pressure from China (since Indo-China relations are going downhill because of terror from Pak, and the Chinese blocking India's entry to NSG). What ever the reason, no one in India believes in reformation by Pak. We have been down this road too many times to know that paki good behaviour never lasts. Infact if relations start to improve, the ISI arranges for a bomb blast in India, which immediately suts down any peace overtures. China's interest in ensuring paki good behaviour is their 50 Billion $ investment in the CPEC project which goes through Pak occupied Kashmir (territory claimed by India), for India can certainly create mayhem there. So interesting times ahead, a lot of plots with subplots in the story.

37  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: February 04, 2017, 08:49:14 PM
ISIS recruits background in India...YA

IS suspects had formal schooling’
UPDATED: JANUARY 20, 2017 04:25 IST

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) said on Thursday that 80% of the persons arrested for alleged links to the Islamic State (IS) went to formal schools and only 20% had studied at madrasas (Islamic seminaries).

In one of the biggest crackdown in 2016, NIA arrested 52 persons for allegedly plotting terror attacks and being part of the banned outfit.

NIA said nearly half of the suspects were followers of Ahle Hadith (or Salafis/Wahabis who follow the puritan form of Islam promoted by Saudi Arabia) and 30% followed Tablighi Jamaat (Sunni Islamic movement). Only 20% were Deobandis (Islamic school based in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh) and none of them was from the Barelvi sect.

The NIA also said that 47 of the accused were from the Sunni sect of Islam and five had converted from Hinduism and Christianity.

Elaborating, an NIA official said four persons converted from Christianity to Islam and one converted from Hinduism to join the Islamic State.

All the five accused belong to Kochi in Kerala.

Twenty-eight of the 52 arrested persons were aged between 18 and 25, twenty were in the 25-40 age bracket and four were aged 40 and above.

An analysis of their educational qualification indicated that 20 were graduates and had professional degrees, 12 were diploma holders, 13 had done their matriculation, four studied till the senior secondary level and three were post graduates.

Thirty were from the middle income group, nine from upper middle income group and 13 from the lower income group.

The highest number — twelve each — belonged to Maharashtra and Telangana. Eleven were from Kerala, five from Karnataka, four from Uttar Pradesh, two from Rajasthan, three from Tamil Nadu and one each from Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi.

Of the 52 persons arrested for plotting terror attacks, only 20% had studied at madrasas, says NIA
38  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: January 26, 2017, 09:30:17 PM
Nice article, the 1962 loss to China, was due to bad political decisions and lack of strategic thinking on part of Nehru, the then PM of India. Current thinking is that this cannot and will not, be ever repeated. China will get a bloody nose, since nuclear weapons will not be used in a Sino-Indian war due to MAD. The reason for this confidence is that the Indian army is battle hardened, the Tibetan population does not support China and the Chinese havent fought a war in decades. China has good roads in the plains of Tibet, but they still have to come through the Himalayan range, where there are few roads and passes. Furthermore, the passes close due to snow for several months, that means the Chinese cannot stay for long (ie only short skirmishes are possible), for they cannot be resupplied and all exit routes back to China will close. When its not snowing, its likely raining in the North east of India, eg Cheerapunji in the east gets the highest rainfall in the world, heavy rains cause a lot of misery in the presence of heavily forested areas. So the Chinese can attack only in a short window of opportunity in the dry season....and as discussed they cannot stay for long!. One reason that India has not built roads has been, the natural protection provided by the mountain range between India and China.
39  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: January 22, 2017, 06:24:58 PM
Trump may well do exactly that. However the generosity of Bush/Obama was necessary to build confidence with the US leadership, which was a strongly in support of Pak. India does not ask for money (like Pak), but for technology. Previous technology denial regimes led by the US (eg after the nuclear blasts by India), had the unintended consequence of making India self sufficient in several aspects of missile technology! and space technology. Every time the west denies technology to India, they have developed it themselves, and just as the technology becomes operational, the western countries will lift the technology denial ban and ask that India buy western weapons/equipment !, this happens like clockwork.

40  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: January 21, 2017, 09:51:50 PM
I believe India is part of the US pivot to asia. This is recognized both by the USA and India. Ash Carter the previous defense secretary was particularly helpful in this, on the Indian side there is a clear understanding to move away from Russia (since it has gotten quite chummy with China). It is not acceptable for India that Russia sells the same weapons to China. On several occasions, Russia has sided with China on geopolitical issues that concern Pak. The USA has been quite active in courting India with respect to military equipment. Both the F-16 and F-18 factory lines have been offered to India (since the F-35 is replacing F-16) along with advanced sensors on the P-8 planes. The next agreement to get signed will be CISMOA, which deals with interoperability and sharing of advanced military equipment. The USA is pushing for it aggressively, India resists it since it comes with intrusive monitoring by USA. With time the issues will be resolved. Another thing which Obama did in the last days of his presidency was to establish an India desk.

At this time, both Indian and US interests align with respect to China, both countries have strong leaders. I would be very surprised if there is not a US-China power struggle in the South China sea. Obama tolerated a lot of crap from China, Trump may not.
Below is a blog exerpt by Ajai Shukla.

Tellis tells Trump to retain Obama’s policy towards India

Possible US envoy to New Delhi says India must get assurance against China

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 21st Jan 17

As President Donald Trump’s administration and policies take shape, Ashley Tellis, whom Washington Post identifies as America’s likely next ambassador to New Delhi, has urged America’s new president to continue Presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama’s policies towards Asia, and India in particular.

Writing in the publication, Asia Policy, Tellis has recommended that Trump should “[take] the existing threats of Pakistan-supported terrorism against India more seriously, [develop] a considered strategy for aiding India in coping with Chinese assertiveness, and [persist] with the existing U.S. policy of eschewing mediation on the thorny Indo-Pakistani dispute over Jammu and Kashmir.”

New Delhi is concerned that the Trump administration might back track substantially on Obama’s “rebalance to Asia”, reducing the salience of India in US foreign policy. While campaigning, Trump had indicated he would reduce America’s superpower role of maintaining global order, allow US military intervention only to tackle direct threats to the US homeland, make military allies pick up a larger share of the bill for their own defence and reject multilateral trade pacts like the Trans Pacific Partnership, a key component of former President Barack Obama’s economic strategy in Asia.

As in New Delhi, there is concern in capitals across the Indo-Asia-Pacific about whether America’s 45th president will leave the region on its own in dealing with a rising, aggressive China.

Tellis, one of America’s most highly regarded strategists and a Mumbai-born (??) India expert who served in New Delhi a decade ago, warns the incoming administration: “An Asia in which the United States ceases by choice to behave like a preponderant power is an Asia that will inevitably become a victim of Chinese hegemony. In such circumstances, there are fewer reasons for India to seek a special strategic relation with the United States, as the partnership would not support New Delhi in coping with the threats posed by Beijing’s continuing ascendancy.”

Tellis says that President Bush devised the policy of supporting India without expecting reciprocity from New Delhi, an approach that Obama has continued. “It was anchored in the presumption that helping India expand in power and prosperity served the highest geopolitical interests of the United States in Asia and globally — namely, maintaining a balance of power that advantaged the liberal democracies”, he writes.

“Accordingly, it justified acts of extraordinary US generosity toward India, even if specific policies emanating from New Delhi did not always dovetail with Washington’s preferences.”

Tellis writes that this “calculated altruism whereby Washington continually seeks to bolster India’s national capabilities without any expectations of direct recompense” includes the US-India civil nuclear cooperation agreement, support for a permanent US Security Council seat for India, championing India’s membership of global non-proliferation regimes and relaxed access to defence and dual-use technology.

Such initiatives would reap success, says Tellis “only if the larger architectonic foundations of the bilateral relationship — centered on boosting New Delhi’s power—are fundamentally preserved, not because they happen to be favourable to India but more importantly because they serve larger U.S. grand strategic interests in Asia and beyond.”
41  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: January 20, 2017, 10:27:17 PM
 There are several parallels with the USA. India's Prime Minister Modi is someone like Trump, a popular nationalist. He let his BJP party (akin to Republican Party) to victory over the long entrenched Congress Party (akin to Democrats, founded by Nehru). The Congress was the peacenik party who could not say radical Islamic terrorism and believed in unending talks with Pak. Modi has been strong, along with his NSA, Ajit Doval who is another nationalist. For the first time India has done two officially acknowledged cross border-raids (in Myanmar and in Pak) in response to terror strikes in India. Modi initially went out of his way to be cordial to Pak, but very soon stopped all talks with them since the cross border attacks continue. The point I am trying to make is that India no longer shows the other cheek, but rather responds militarily.

The Indian NSA has said that India should not compete with China in an arms race, rather he has instead proposed that we strongly develop the missile programs. India's recent launch of its nuclear capable missile, Agni 5 has caused a lot of heart burn in China, it can now for the first time reach any part of China. Future missiles with MIRV and MARV capability are being developed. India also has the nuclear triad of air, sea and land based missiles. This has essentially neutralized the Chinese nuclear edge, which means that any future war with China will be conventional, where India feels they have the edge. China has not fought a war, I think in the last 4 decades....there is no way they can win in a conventional war with Indian forces who are battle hardened after several wars with pak and ongoing counterinsurgency ops. A war with China cannot be excluded, especially over CPEC (China-Pak Economic Corridor), which passes through Pak occupied Kashmir (territory that India claims as its own).

Both Bush and Obama had good relations with India. Bush helped with access to peaceful nuclear technology, while Obama helped with provision of military equipment and technology. Several military agreements were signed under Obama, LEMOA (sharing of military bases), as well as major defense partner status was done under Obama's watch. It is expected that Trump will also have excellent relations with India, especially since Trump is taking a hardline with China.

So yes, as the older generation of politicians (from the pre-partition era) pass away, any sympathies for Pak disappear. The new generation of politicians do not retain any soft corner for Pak. Everyone in India is gungho about the future, they know that in about 2 decades, India's economy will overtake China's. The future appears very bright. India's advantage is that except for Pak and China, it has excellent relations with the rest of the world including the Arab states.
42  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / India's expanded toolkit on: October 08, 2016, 10:14:15 AM
The last 2 weeks have been a time of tremendous national outpouring of support to the Modi govt in India. After decades of suffering from Pak mediated terrorism, Mumbai bombings, Parliament attack, and recently Pathankot and Uri bombings, India finally responded by carrying out textbook surgical strikes in Pak occupied Kashmir. Previous Indian govts have been timid because of Paki nuclear sabre rattling over everything. This is a game changer for the Indian govt and people, Pak's nucklear bombast will no longer deter, and the Paki generals have suffered a severe loss of face.

India-Pakistan Tensions: India’s Expanded Toolkit
September 29, 2016

On September 28, the Indian Army initiated a military strike against terror camps along the Line of Control in Kashmir. The exact nature of this action, as well as its location, remains vague. But the “surgical strike,” as termed by India’s director general of Military Operations, has been embraced across India. This news comes a week after terrorists targeted an Indian Army base in Kashmir, leaving 19 Indian soldiers dead. It is unclear whether India’s military strike will lead to a further escalation of tensions with Pakistan. Even before the strike, however, India had been displaying an expanded set of options for dealing with Pakistan, compared to previous times of escalated tension such as 1999 and 2002.

In recent decades, both sides employed a fairly standard set of tools when tensions boiled over—ranging from expelling diplomats, cutting off transportation linkages, triggering troop mobilizations at the border, all the way up to combat operations such as the brief Kargil War in 1999. The usual barbs were traded in speeches during the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, though this is to be expected even during periods of relative calm between India and Pakistan.

However, following a number of recent provocations that India has linked to Pakistan-based militant groups, the government of prime minister Narendra Modi has employed a different set of tools to respond to these incitements. These tools may not be altogether new, but the fact that they have been the focus of India’s response to Pakistan’s incitements marks a different approach—one that surely has Islamabad on its toes.

First, India has shown a willingness to pull South Asia away from the traditional convening group, the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Founded in 1985, SAARC has never quite lived up to its potential, largely because its two largest members, India and Pakistan, have rarely been in a political position to work together. Earlier this week India announced it would withdraw from an upcoming SAARC meeting in Pakistan. India has refocused its regional connectivity efforts on sub-groupings that do not involve Pakistan, such as the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Program, the Bay of Bengal Initiative on Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), and the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) Initiative. To varying degrees, these groups have been able to move forward with new agreements that should increase connectivity and cooperation among interested South Asian nations. Several South Asian nations have conveyed concerns about Pakistan’s role in the recent attacks against India. Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Afghanistan joined India in announcing they would not join the SAARC summit in Pakistan in November.

Third, India has shown resurgent interest in strengthening ties with Afghanistan, creating a stronger link with the nation on Pakistan’s other major border. India has provided crucial development assistance to Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban. But over the last year India has looked to expand its work in new areas. Late last year, India agreed to provide four Mi-25 attack helicopters to the Afghan army—India’s first direct military assistance to Afghanistan. India has also re-committed to the development of Iran’s Chabahar Port, which will augment India’s connectivity to Afghanistan. The United States and India have also recently agreed to revive the moribund U.S.-India-Afghanistan trilateral discussions.Second, India has shown its increased capability to initiate strikes against militant groups outside its borders. In June 2015, Indian troops reportedly crossed into Myanmar to conduct a raid on a militant camp, less than a week after the militant group killed 18 Indian soldiers. While there has been some reasoned speculation that the raid may not have involved crossing into Myanmar territory, the signal to Pakistan was pretty clear—India had the ability to take a limited fight to militant camps.

Fourth, India is engaging the United States more aggressively than ever before on security cooperation. Recent highlights include the January 2015 “ U.S.-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region,” progress under the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), and the June 2016 “ Framework for the U.S. India Cyber Relations.” Engaging the United States has helped strengthen those American voices that have been calling for a reduction in military support to Pakistan based on our interest in strengthening relations with India. Such calls were far easier for Washington to ignore when we had little progress in our security relationship with India.

Fifth, India is reviewing its “Most Favored Nation (MFN)” trade policy towards Pakistan, in place since 1996. Despite positive noises, Pakistan has never reciprocated by granting India MFN. A cabinet decision on revoking Pakistan’s MFN status has been postponed, but is on the cards as another modest tool against Pakistan. As the Atlantic Council pointed out in its 2014 report, India and Pakistan: The Opportunity Cost of Conflict, most bilateral trade already takes place via third countries such as Dubai and Singapore. Still, revoking existing agreements is a fairly significant measure.

Sixth, India has hinted that it would consider altering the terms of its water sharing agreement with Pakistan under the 56-year old Indus Water Treaty. The Indus Water Treaty has often been highlighted as a rock of relative stability in India-Pakistan ties even when other aspects of the relationship hit various peaks and valleys. As we have seen within India’s own borders recently, restricting water can be a trigger for violence. So unilaterally altering a water sharing arrangement may be viewed as a particularly powerful escalation tool in a water-starved region. Still, India has signaled that such an action is under review.

While the Indian Ministry of Defence has stated it does not plan additional strikes, it is not clear whether the current tensions between India and Pakistan will escalate further. There is certainly little expectation that Pakistani militants, under varying degrees of control by Pakistan’s military, will be deterred from initiating further attacks. But the costs to Islamabad of supporting terrorism are increasing, and taking different forms than before.

Richard M. Rossow is a senior fellow and holds the Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
43  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: June 20, 2016, 08:51:55 PM
This week, June 23-24, India's entry into NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) will be debated. China wants its friend Pak to gain entry into NSG (Nuclear Smugglers Group). China/Turkey are the sole major objectors holding back India's entry on the pretext that Pak should also get in, and no one will allow Pak to get in. Interestingly China's record as a proliferator along with Pak is well known!
44  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America (and pre-emptive dhimmitude) on: June 12, 2016, 04:58:07 PM
Would not surprise me to see Obamster label this a "hate" crime and not Islamic terrorism.  It fits their agenda - gay hate crime and gun control.  Hate crime does fit but it is certainly Islamic terror even more:
Religion of Peace strikes again..
45  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America (and pre-emptive dhimmitude) on: June 12, 2016, 04:56:18 PM
It seems that the shooter's dad, had tried to stand for Afghan President the very least dad was a player in afghan politics.
46  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / India builds dam in Afghanistan on: June 11, 2016, 12:46:56 PM
India recently built a dam in Afghanistan, against all odds. I found this article interesting, because it shows why nation building is tough, and the collaboration that is required to get a major project done in Afgh....YA

47  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / India develops port in Iran, China in Pakistan on: June 02, 2016, 11:12:50 PM
There is another rivalry developing in the region. China developed Gwadar port in Pak to get access to the warm waters and open trade to central asia. India is doing the same, about 70 km to the west via Iran's Chabahar port. Question is which port route will survive and prosper. the security situation is worse in Pak, so I expect China's supposed 45 B$ investment in Pak will not go very far.

A Tale of Two Ports

Gwadar and Chabahar display Chinese-Indian rivalry in the Arabian Sea

Christophe Jaffrelot

YaleGlobal, 7 January 2011

PARIS: Sino-Indian rivalry in the Indian Ocean and India’s naval cooperation with the US draw the world’s attention. But quietly, out of sight, a contest has been building in the Arabian Sea centered between two ports, one based in Pakistan and the other in Iran. The first is backed by China, the second by India. The first, located in Gwadar, is intended to give China access to the Indian Ocean; the second, Chabahar, is supposed to connect India to Afghanistan and counter the first. The two ports represent longstanding rivalries in the region and anticipation for intense geo-strategic competition.  

Gwadar, with its proximity to the vital sea lane between the Middle East and China, has strategic importance for China, especially for oil trade. If China wants to emancipate itself from transportation or military problems along Asia’s southern coastline, direct access to the Indian Ocean may be the solution.

Direct access to the India Ocean would give China a strategic post of observation and a key location for its navy. While Myanmar and Sri Lanka can offer substantial support, the country that can best help Beijing is Pakistan because of its location and long-time friendship.

India, feeling encircled, reacted to this development. In his recent book on the Indian Ocean, journalist Robert Kaplan writes that “the Indians’ answer to Sino-Pakistani cooperation at Gwadar was a giant new $8 billion naval base at Karwar, south of Goa on India’s Arabian coast, the first phase of which opened in 2005.”  

Karwar was only one part of the response to Gwadar. The other one is Chabahar. In 2002 India helped Iran to develop the port of Chabahar, located 72 kilometers west of Gwadar, soon after China began work at Gwadar.
Chabahar should provide India with access to Afghanistan via the Indian Ocean. India, Iran and Afghanistan have signed an agreement to give Indian goods, heading for Central Asia and Afghanistan, preferential treatment and tariff reductions at Chabahar.

Gwadar is located on the Gulf of Oman, close to the entrance of the Persian Gulf. Until 1958 it belonged to Oman, which gave this land to Pakistani rulers who expected that the location would contribute to what Kaplan calls “a new destiny.”

When President Richard Nixon visited Pakistan in 1973, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto sought US help to construct a new port at Gwadar, and reportedly offered the US Navy use of the facility. He was unsuccessful, and Pakistan then turned to China for help. Work started in 2002, and China has invested $200 million, dispatching 450 personnel for the first phase of the job completed in 2006 and resulting in a deep-sea port.

Direct access to the India Ocean, with Gwadar, would give China a strategic post of observation and a
key location for its navy.

The Port of Singapore Authority was selected to manage Gwadar in 2007. But it did not invest much money, and Pakistan decided to transfer port management to another institution, not yet selected but which will probably be Chinese. On 6 November 2010 the Supreme Court of Pakistan asked the Gwadar Port Authority to seek cancellation of the concession agreement with the Port of Singapore Authority.

At the same time, Pakistan and China contemplate developing the Karakorum Highway to connect China’s Xinjiang and Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. In 2006, a memorandum of understanding was signed between both countries to upgrade this road and connect Kashgar and Abbottabad. But the Karakorum Highway, the highest point of which passes at 4,693 meters, can open between May and December. It’s also vulnerable to landslides, so large trucks may not use it easily.

Pakistan and China also discussed building a 3,000-kilometer rail line between Kashgar and Gwadar, during President Asif Ali Zardari’s July 2010 visit with President Hu Jintao in Beijing. The cost would be enormous, up to $30 million per kilometer in the highest mountains.

In addition, Baluchistan is one of Pakistan’s most unstable provinces today because of the development of a nationalist movement with separatist overtones. Insurgents have already kidnapped and killed Chinese engineers in Gwadar.

Soon after China began work at Gwadar, India helped Iran to develop the port of Chabahar, located 72 kilometers west of Gwadar.

But China persists. More than a gateway to the Indian Ocean, Gwadar, at least, will provide Beijing with, first, a listening post from where the Chinese may exert surveillance on hyper-strategic sea links as well as military activities of the Indian and American navies in the region, and second, dual-use civilian-military facilities providing a base for Chinese ships and submarines.
For the Indians, this is a direct threat. The Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis recently published a report on Pakistan: the “Gwadar port being so close to the Straits of Hormuz also has implications for India as it would enable Pakistan to exercise control over energy routes. It is believed that Gwadar will provide Beijing with a facility to monitor US and Indian naval activity in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, respectively, as well as any future maritime cooperation between India and the US.”

India responded by helping Iran with the port of Chabahar. Work on the Chabahar-Milak-Zaranj-Dilaram route from Iran to Afghanistan is in progress. India has already built the 213-kilometer Zaranj-Dilaram road in Afghanistan’s Nimroz province and helps Iran to upgrade the Chabahar-Milak railroad. Developing railroads and port infrastructure near the border of Afghanistan could strengthen Iranian influence in Afghanistan, especially among the Shia and non-Pashtun ethnic groups.

In developing Chabahar, India must factor in US attempts  at isolating Iran because of Tehran’s nuclear policy.

However, this Indo-Iranian project is bound to suffer from two problems:

First, politically, Afghanistan is unstable and may not oblige Iran and India if the Taliban or any Pakistan-supported government is restored. Chabahar is also part of one of Iran’s most volatile regions where anti-regime Sunni insurgents have launched repeated attacks. Don't agree with this, YA

Secondly, the work is far behind schedule. In July 2010, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohd Ali Fathollahi said the port was functional, but has a capacity of only 2.5 million tons per year, whereas the target was 12 million tons. Speeding work on the port was urged during the 16th Indo-Iranian Joint Commission meeting, attended by Iranian Finance Minister Seyed Shamseddin Hosseini and India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, who pointed out that “Iran’s assistance in developing the Chabahar port has been slow ‘til now.”

The connection between Gwadar and China remains distant, but could be the Suez Canal of the 21st century. At the minimum, this deep-sea port should provide Beijing with a strategic base soon.

The Chinese move prompted India to react – hence the development of Chabahar. But in developing this port, New Delhi must factor in US attempts at isolating Iran because of Tehran’s nuclear policy. How far the Indo-Iranian rapprochement is compatible with the growing Indo-American alliance remains to be seen.

The US and India may agree on the need to counter growing Chinese influence in Gwadar, but may also disagree on the policy India wants to pursue by joining hands with Iran.

Iran itself may not want to take any risk at alienating China, a country which has supported Tehran, including its nuclear policy, until recently.

Christophe Jaffrelot is a senior research fellow with the Centre for International Studies and Research, Sciences Po/CNRS.
48  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Geopolitical thinking from the Indian perspective on: April 15, 2016, 10:14:20 AM
Some of the geopolitical thinking in India, vis a vis China and how the US fits in...YA

India’s Geo Political Compulsions Will Play A Major Role In IAF’s Jet Deal

As India identifies the next supplier to IAF, the aircraft deal has become the mother of all deals. The eventual supplier will not only enhance its influence but also reap rich financial rewards. In terms of number of aircraft, this is perhaps the single largest contract ever. India is spoilt for choices. Who is who of the major combat jet manufacturers are lining up to sell jets to India. Americans, a UK-German European consortium, French, Swedes, and Russians are all working hard to woo the Indian government.
 However for India it will be a thin line between creating indigenous capability and new dependency on a foreign supplier. Combat aircraft selection starts with foreign policy. Only friendly and reliable countries are selected as eventual suppliers, and even after negotiations and aircraft delivery the job is not done. The combat jet deal ends with foreign policy. The country’s foreign office has the explicit task of remaining in the good graces of the supplier. The supplying country controls the parts supply and with exercising a quasi-veto over the country’s war making ability, greatly enhancing the selling country’s prestige and influence. For a buying country it’s a dependence on another country. No wonder fighter jet deals are often more about geo politics than pure commerce. Decisions by Indian policy makers thus will not only impact the make-up of IAF but could also reshape foreign policy. Part of that change is visible. Continued decline of Russia at the global stage has caught up on a reluctant India. In a first, Russia lost out in the last aircraft MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) tender, despite the lowest bid.

Never before have the Russians not been awarded the biggest IAF contracts. Although India purchased British and French jets in the past these were small numbers. The core of the IAF are Russian jets. First time in four decades the Indian Air Force will see a non-Russian jet alongside forming the backbone of the fighter strength. India’s ties with Russia will remain strategic as substantial defense hardware will continue to be Russian for a very long. However, Russia’s monopoly in the Indian skies has undoubtedly ended. Who is replacing Russia? In the fray are the Americans, the UK and German led consortium, the French and the Swedes.
 Not only are the hardware offered by each very different, so are the political and strategic ramifications. From India’s vantage point, the Swedish offer is predominantly commercial being the weakest country in terms of political and strategic value. Sweden is not a permanent member of the UN Security Council neither an economic heavyweight. Gripen jets are powered by GE engines thus not free of the sanction-prone impulses of Americans.

A partnership with Sweden will bring India little at the UNSC or other international fora. To make the Swedish offer compelling, there needs to be substantial compensation elsewhere. Like a generous offer with complete technology transfer and unprecedented buildup of Indian aviation industry. Given SAAB has declared a desire to become an Indian company, one assumes Swedes are fully aware of their options. The French Rafael offer and the UK-German led consortium with Eurofighter are better positioned as UNSC members and economic heavy weights. These countries place commercial interest’s almost equally with international politics which adds to the reliability of the historically dependable relationship. As a consequence the offers are less generous. Failing one of the key Indian criteria of development of an Indian industry. The French have already dragged their feet on producing in India or transferring significant technology.

 The UK and Germany offer nothing very different. If any of these were the eventual winners, the Indian aviation industry will remain underdeveloped. The Americans are offering the greatest amount of technology transfer and manufacturing in India with either the F18 or the F16. India will achieve a longstanding goal of enhancing its ability to design combat jets and develop an indigenous manufacturing capability. The Americans seem to have the best offer and the winning hand. However this is not all. There cannot be the slightest doubt that American defense sales are just commercial. These sales are an in veritable part of American geopolitical strategy, and deals have clear political objectives. The subsequent supply of spare parts is brazenly a bona fide instrument of continued control. India developed Tejas aircraft already depends on GE engines. Selecting another American jet will dramatically reroute IAF’s lifeline from Washington effectively giving Americans a veto. Given the sanction-prone history of relations, Uncle Sam is seen as unreliable in India and is facing political opposition. This is unchartered territory which no Indian government has ever dared to navigate.

 The cold math of real politics rather than platitudes should drive the future. One mitigating argument against unreliability of American policy is China. China is increasingly asserting itself as a rival to US power in Asia and beyond which is a common concern for both countries. The US needs a military counterweight, and India simply needs to upgrade to not get overwhelmed by China. After investing trillions in China over the decades, the US needs newer investment destinations. The IAF deal with jets manufactured in India not only meets but jumpstarts all the above objectives in one stroke. This is where the objectives of the two countries appear to align for the long term. It is this long term alignment of objectives that argues for reliability of American policy with India. However, while China’s emergence as an economic powerhouse is a foregone conclusion, the future of the US-China relationship is not. While Chinese dispute islands and borders, they are not exporting ideology and changing regimes.

  Unlike the Soviet Union, the US is not containing China either. US continues to be one of the largest foreign investors and trading partner of China. McDonalds and KFCs dot the landscapes of Chinese cities. Early in his first term President Obama did announce an exclusive G2 club with China leaving out all other powers in the cold.
 Both countries benefit from globalization and a capitalist economy. Chinese form the largest contingent of foreign students in American universities. Both countries cooperate on climate change, Iran, and North Korea. All this hardly qualifies as rivalry, at least not a black and white one. With mature leadership they can be less than rivals or keep oscillating between competition and cooperation.

 America’s economic interests with China are significant and several times bigger than with India. Despite best intentions there can be no guarantee that geo political expediency will not force Americans to engage with China at the expense of India. In face of such facts, constructing India-US security cooperation on assumptions of US-China rivalry would be akin to building on shifting sand. Indian reservations on becoming a de facto American pawn in the revolving US-Chinese relationship have merit. How does India solve the dilemma of having US fighter jets without becoming a tool between America and China? Technology transfer for the jets to be manufactured in India is the answer.
 Technology transfer and manufacturing in India limits ongoing dependence on US for spare parts. Anything less than building genuine India capability will be a one sided deal that increases American leverage over China but leaves India vulnerable to the much more dynamic US-Chinese relationship. Technology transfer would signal a commitment towards building India as a balancing power in Asia. It would generate confidence that India – US defense cooperation could be insulated from succumbing to short term US interests in China. Indian policy makers will do well to see the opportunity, while avoiding the traps and deliver a deal that will increase indigenous capability rather than increase countries’ dependency.
49  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: April 10, 2016, 09:11:20 AM
India is asking for EMALS aircraft carrier technology (electromagnetic aircraft launch technology) and the US is likely to give it. The LSA (logistics support agreement) will also be signed, this will allow the US to use Indian bases and ports for refueling etc. This acquisition may be linked with the transfer of the F-18 aircraft production line to India. The US  first donated F-16's to Pak and then they offer to build either F-16 or F-18 aircraft in India!. Both of these aircraft are at the end of their developmental life, so its not the latest stuff, but it serves both India's acute aircraft needs due to depleting squadron strength as well as US interests to pressure China with aircraft carriers equipped with EMALS and F-18's. So I think, this visit will be successful. Selling F-16's to Pak, while it does not change the balance of power, leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Because Pak uses F-16's, they will not be considered for production by India...YA
U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has arrived in India during a wave of increased cooperation with India’s military.

“We are doing things now with the Indians that could not have been imagined 10 or so years ago,” a senior defense official said.

Carter will look to improve defense technology and trade cooperation while increasing military-to-military cooperation through additional bilateral and trilateral coordinated operations.

“While these negotiations can be difficult and global competition is high, I have no doubt that in the coming years, the United States and India will embark on a landmark co-production agreement that will bring our two countries closer together and make our militaries stronger,” Carter said at a Council on Foreign Relations event Friday ahead of his departure.

Technology coordination between the two countries is focused on aircraft carrier design and the co-production of jet fighter aircraft, according to a senior defense official.

Undersecretary of Defense Frank Kendall visited New Delhi ahead of the secretary’s trip to discuss these projects.

The Indians “have an indigenous capability there,” James Clad, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asia and a senior advisor for the Center for Naval Analysis, told VOA. “They want to be in the rank of people with military capability that is kind of first world.”

Asia pivot

The visit aims to demonstrate the priority that the defense department has placed on the Asia-Pacific region.

Carter has touted the U.S.-India relationship as a “strategic handshake,” one that is “destined” to be among the most significant partnerships of the 21st century.

“As the United States is reaching west in its rebalance, India is reaching east in Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi’s 'Act East' policy that will bring it farther into the Indian and Pacific Oceans,” Carter said.

Clad told VOA the pivot has been a good way to formally display the “inside-our-government attitude” that gives Asia the priority many felt it deserved.

"Because we need to be enabled to focus unrelentingly on what is I think the single comprehensive challenge," Clad said, “which is the way the Chinese are coming at us.”

Carter has said the Asia pivot, however, is not aimed at any particular country and “excludes no one.” The secretary has accepted an invitation to visit China that is expected to take place later this year.

His India visit will likely ruffle feathers in (bother) neighboring China – whose aggression has caused concern in the Himalayas and the South China Sea – as well as in Pakistan, India’s rival.

Strengthening ties

Clad believes strengthening ties with Pakistan’s rival is a sensible move and “doesn’t care” if it bothers the Chinese or the Pakistanis.

“Pakistan has been an intervening drain on our resources,” Clad told VOA. “It's a country that's not really our friend. It’s a country that’s played a double and a triple game, vis-a-vis the Afghan war and all the rest of it.”

Goa, Carter’s first stop, is the home state of Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar. Senior defense officials say the visit to Goa underlies the “close, personal relationship” that Carter and Parrikar have developed.

Parrikar will show Carter several major attractions in his hometown during the visit, including St. Francis Basilica. The area is known for its sprawling coastlines and well-preserved 16th-century churches.

Carter will then head to New Delhi for talks with Prime Minister Modi and other senior officials.
50  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: April 05, 2016, 10:30:51 PM
I think the article cited by Shashank Joshi is spot on.

India will at most provide logistical support and refueling facilities, through the so called LSA (logistics support agreement). The reasons are clear from the Indian perspective. India does not trust the USA, particularly in a conflict with its arch enemy Pakistan. Every time, we feel that relations are improving, the US takes a retrograde step. So India PURCHASED a lot of arms from the USA in recent times and confidence was rising about Indo-US relations, and then the USA, "SELLS", F-16's and missiles to pak. In reality, its a donation to Pak through the Coalition Support Funds, since Pak is a beggar nation and they cannot afford to buy anything. Over the last few decades, Pak has received billions of dollars worth of arms from the USA in the form of aid, all of which are used to hit India. Without US support, Pak would not exist.

Indians still fondly remember the relationship with Russia/USSR, the Russians always stood by their friends. See the recent Russian support to Syria and compare how the US has treated its allies. In recent times, the Indian relationship with Russia has frayed, since the quality of Russian arms is no longer topnotch and India is starting to diversify its arms sources to the USA. Russia is also moving towards China, because the US is isolating Russia. However the level of trust is still quite high with Russia. Russia has helped India build its own nuclear submarine, Russia also leases nuclear subs to India. The US incontrast, sides with Pak, and when they sell arms, insists on intrusive checks to monitor them, along with conditions to not use them against Pak. Sharing of military technology is also minimal with the USA.

India-Pak relationship is comparable to the Israeli-Palestinian relationship. To gain trust, one needs to take sides, trying to maintain balance of power between arch enemies does not earn the US any friends. The USA is hated in Pak, everyone in Pak knows its a transactional relationship, where Pakilanders frequently express the feeling, that they are treated like a used condom. OTOH, the USA is for the most part loved in India, one of the few places in the world where that is so.

India-China relationship is a balanced one. China supports Pak to needle India, but has not ever sided with the Pakis in actual conflict. India-China also have minor bouts of non-violent territorial aggression (occupying each other's territory), but no bullet has been fired in several decades, whereas mortar fire is regularly exchanged over the India-Pak border.

If the US wants India to side against China, the US needs to pick sides, by clearly favoring India over both Pak and China. I have a hard time understanding what benefit the US sees in supporting Pak over India. This concept of maintaining balance of power between arch enemies does not win the US any friends.
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