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1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: December 10, 2017, 09:38:24 PM
What even the pakis have not realized is that they are rapidly becoming part of China....sinification of pakistan is becoming a way of life. Secondly, the Chinese govt is now engaging in a soft coup by wanting to deal directly with the army wrt to their CPEC project. Due to the corrupt Nawaz Sharif, the army now has the upper hand and runs everything from foreign policy to defense to sugar mills. Pakistan will likely default, and the Chinese will get a 100 year lease on Gwadar port. The Srilankans learnt it the hard way, when they could not pay the Chinese back, they had to give away Hambatonta port for a 100 years.
2  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: December 08, 2017, 08:43:07 PM
Paki humor from ZH. They think they are a superpower, same air marshall said pakis will land on the moon in 2 years.

Pakistan Air Force Ordered To Shoot Down US Military Drones
Tyler Durden's picture
by Tyler Durden
Dec 8, 2017 7:35 PM

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has just been ordered to shoot down any foreign drones that violate the country’s airspace including attack drones operated by the United States, Chief Marshal Sohail Aman said on Thursday.
The announcement is a complete change from the air force’s previous view, of which foreign drone strikes on its soil were condemned but the air force never threatened to shoot them out of the sky. “We will not allow anyone to violate our airspace. I have ordered PAF to shoot down drones, including those of the US, if they enter our airspace, violating the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman told an audience in Islamabad.

The statement was made about two weeks after a US drone strike targeted a militant compound in Pakistan’s tribal region along the border of Afghanistan, leading to multiple casualities, The Times of India reported.

This is the first time, the Pakistani government has taken a hard stance against foreign drones, especially the ones operated by US forces based in Afghanistan. The comment from Aman was shocking despite the US has been launching missiles into Pakistan and violating the country’s sovereignty since about 2004. The CIA was responsible for most US drone strikes in Pakistan until November 30, 2017, said The Times of India.

It’s believed, senior members of terrorist groups have been killed over the years in drone strikes, but it has come at a cost of “hundreds of civilian” deaths in the form of collateral damage.

After every drone strike, the Pakistan foreign office issues a condemnatory statement claiming that it will not allow such strikes on its territory.

 Hundreds of civilians, according to media reports, including women and children, as well as many senior members of terrorist groups have perished in these attacks. The status of many more people remains unknow
There has been no official response from the White House concerning this radical shift of how the ‘war on terror’ just got a little more complex over the skies of Pakistan.

3  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: November 16, 2017, 07:13:12 PM
Might be fake news...Govt of India also denies it. Looks like the French want to sell their own subs!.

Also re the wheat shipment to Afghanistan, this is the first that I am reading that it may not have reached.. looks like fake news. Even pakistani media is not claiming that!
4  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: September 03, 2017, 10:52:37 AM
With the BRICS conference next week,  something to lighten the atmosphere. This from the South China Post...

5  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: September 02, 2017, 09:32:57 PM
All 6 Indus valley system rivers originate or pass through Indian Kashmir before they enter Pak, 1-2 of them originate close to the border with Tibet (China). Ironically, the map is courtesy of Strat...dark green is India. If India wants they could block waters to Pak, though the flows are such that is difficult to do so without diverting the rivers. The situation is exactly reverse of what the author says, Pak is paranoid that India is choking them. Looks like the author got a bit confused with the labeling perhaps from this Strat map, (It shows the poorly placed label: Pak administered Kashmir, over Indian Kashmir)

6  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: September 01, 2017, 10:04:37 PM
I used to subscribe to Stratfor and was generally impressed with it, perhaps because I had no first hand knowledge of the topics they wrote about. Wrt India, since I know the subject matter somewhat, I find there writing quite superficial and also inaccurate. Not sure they have reporting strength on India. As an example:
"Control of Pakistan would help India meet two strategic objectives. The first is access to water resources from the Indus River Valley. The Indus River Valley lies in Chinese, Indian and Pakistani territory. From India’s point of view, control over Pakistan is necessary to ensure water and hydroelectricity to its northern cities." This is quite a misleading statement, infact India controls most of the river waters already and has been quite generous with giving Pak water as a lower riparian thro the Indus water treaty. Current thinking is that India should abrogate the treaty if Pak does not behave.

7  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / US Aid is "peanuts", not billions says Pak politician on: August 31, 2017, 05:21:29 PM
Trump should stop feeding pak peanuts!, they might get a stomach ache.

Pakistani Lawmaker Denies ‘Billions’ in U.S. Aid to Islamabad: It’s ‘Peanuts’

Chaudary Nisar Ali KhanAP/B.K. Bangash
by EDWIN MORA31 Aug 201791
A leader of the ruling party in Pakistan has reportedly denied that the United States has provided about $30 billion in American taxpayer funds for security and economic aid to Pakistan since the war started in neighboring Afghanistan 16 years ago.
“It’s not billions of dollars, it is peanuts,” claimed Chaudhry Nisar, a Pakistani lawmaker who until recently served as the country’s interior minister, reports Dawn.

He urged Islamabad to carry out an audit of U.S. aid it has received in the last decade.

Since the war in neighboring Afghanistan broke out in October 2001, the United States has provided “nearly $30 billion” in American taxpayer money for security and economic aid to Pakistan, revealed the U.S. National Defense and Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2015.

Nisar argued that the United States has provided funds to its Coalition Support Fund (CSF) for “services rendered by Pakistan” in the fight against Islamic terrorism.

“If our bill [for military services] is $500 million, they [US] sit on it for months … and end up giving us $200 million,” complained the Pakistani politician.Well they bill twice the original amount

CSF refers to U.S. aid that is eligible to be used to reimburse coalition partners for logistical and military support to American military operations.

In recent years, the United States has withheld millions of dollars in reimbursement payments to Pakistan, with plans to cut more, over its refusal to take action against the Afghan Taliban and its ally the Haqqani Network.

Most recently, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration decided to cut about $50 million in 2016 CFS payments to Pakistan.

The Trump administration has also decided to withhold $400 million in 2017 CFS funds to Pakistan, according to the NDAA for that year.

In total, the U.S. has provided $14 billion in CFS funds alone to Pakistan, reported the Washington Post, citing the Pentagon.

While announcing his Afghan war strategy last week, U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledged recently that the United States has been “paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars” while the Muslim country has been “housing the very terrorists we are fighting” in neighboring Afghanistan.

The leader of the ruling PML (N) party in Pakistan, Nisar, denounced Trump’s accusation that Islamabad is providing shelter to Islamic terrorists, echoing other officials from his country.

Last week, President Trump accused Pakistan of providing “safe havens to agents of chaos and terror,” to the ire of Islamabad.
8  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China's Coercion Playbook on: August 30, 2017, 05:42:15 PM
Nice article, with lessons for future conflicts...YA

China’s Coercion Playbook

China used the same playbook in Doklam as it has in other territorial disputes, especially Vietnam and the Philippines. This playbook usually involves four elements. The first step is to develop a larger or more permanent physical presence in areas where China has already has a degree of de facto control — whether that means new islands in the South China Sea or roads in the Himalayas. Using its military to build infrastructure in the Doklam area was likely an attempt to consolidate China’s control along its southwestern border, including this disputed area where it has patrolled for some time.

This consolidation usually goes hand-in-hand with the second element, coercive diplomacy. Here, China couples its threats or limited military action with diplomatic efforts designed to persuade the target state to change its policies or behavior. The strategy is to put the onus on the other side, often in a weaker position militarily, to risk confrontation over these gradual changes to the status quo. The goal is to ensure the target country does not counter China’s consolidation attempts, and ideally to compel them to engage in bilateral negotiations. It is in such talks that China can then leverage its stronger physical position to secure a favorable settlement.

China has used this model of coercive diplomacy not only against weaker claimants in the South China Sea, but also against the United States. In the 2009 U.S. Naval Ship Impeccable incident, for example, it used coercive diplomacy and other elements of its playbook against U.S. maritime surveillance operations. The Doklam case carried the added enticing prospect of opening new channels of diplomatic communication — and influence — with Bhutan, with which China currently lacks formal diplomatic relations.

Third, China uses legal rhetoric and principles to present its position as legitimate and lawful, thereby staking a claim to a broader legitimizing principle in territorial disputes. In the case of Doklam, China portrayed the Indian response as a violation of Chinese sovereignty — it claimed Indian troops entered Chinese territory through the Sikkim sector of the Sino-Indian border and had been “obstructing Chinese border troop activities.” China declared its road construction was entirely lawful, designed to improve infrastructure for the local people and border patrols. China’s policy position was that the border was delimited in 1890, formally reaffirmed several times since, and reinforced by the routine presence of Chinese troops and herders. Its legal argument thus rested in part on the first element of the playbook: the physical presence that it sought to make permanent with the road at Doklam.

Lastly, China leverages its government-controlled media to highlight its narrative and issue threats. These tend to involve warnings about not underestimating Chinese resolve and the Chinese people’s determination to protect their sovereignty just because China has restrained itself so far. The Chinese media was replete with such articles, warning India, for example, not to “play with fire” lest it “get burned.” They cautioned the Indian government not to be driven by nationalism and arrogance, to avoid miscalculation and repeating the mistakes of the 1962 war. This is not just a war of words; research shows that escalating threats in the media can be a precursor to China’s use of force.

While other countries may also seek to impose a territorial fait accompli — such as Russia in Ukraine — China always follows its multi-pronged playbook. It consistently demonstrates a preference for ambiguity, risk manipulation and controlling the narrative to win without fighting. Any use of coercion — which involves threats and use of force — carries the risk of escalation to conflict, even if China has previously managed to resolve most of its disputes without war. How China advances its claims in South and East Asia will determine whether those regions remain peaceful and stable.

Thwarting Coercion With Denial

China’s playbook, however, did not go according to plan this time, because it did not account for India’s unexpectedly swift and assertive response to its road-building. India did not simply voice displeasure or threaten to punish China if it continued to pursue its territorial claims as the United States and Southeast Asian countries have done in the South China Sea. In those cases, China used its coercive playbook effectively, forcing its adversaries to either back down or raise the ante. And as China’s uncontested gains have shown, its adversaries have generally lacked the capabilities, and especially the political resolve, to escalate crises.

But in this situation, India thwarted China’s coercion through denial — blocking China’s attempt to seize physical control of the disputed territory. By physically denying China’s bid to change the status quo, India created a stalemate, which suited its strategic policy. It did not acquiesce to a Chinese fait accompli, and it did not have to summon the capabilities or resolve to reverse China’s position, which would have risked a general war. India was able to do this because of a local military advantage and its broader policy of standing up to China. As a result, China did not have the option of proceeding under the guise of peaceful legitimate development, per its playbook; pressing its claims on Doklam would have required it to ratchet up military pressure. The stalemate thwarted Chinese coercion — but as long as it lasted, it was pregnant with risks of escalation and conflict.

Disengagement, But Dangers Persist

The immediate risks of conflict have receded, but the border dispute remains unresolved, and the broader Sino-Indian relationship remains fraught. First, on Doklam, while China has backed down for now, its statement that “China will continue fulfilling its sovereign rights to safeguard territorial sovereignty in compliance with the stipulations of the border-related historical treaty” suggests it has not changed its position on the border tri-junction. Indeed, during the standoff, China reportedly offered financial inducements to cleave Bhutan away from its traditional relationship with India — it has other ways, and continued ambitions, to press its claims.

Second, the India-China relationship remains tense, and prone to military risk, especially if China seeks to reassert itself after a perceived slight at Doklam. This could include an incursion somewhere along the India-China Line of Actual Control — indeed, such actions have already been reported. Or China might pursue a “cross-domain” response, for example with punitive cyber attacks or threatening activity in the Indian Ocean.

Third, over the longer term, India should be wary of learning the wrong lessons from the crisis. As one of us has recently written, India has long been preoccupied with the threat of Chinese (and Pakistani) aggression on their common land border. The Doklam standoff may be remembered as even more reason for India to pour more resources into defending its land borders, at the expense of building capabilities and influence in the wider Indian Ocean region. That would only play into China’s hands. Renewed Indian concerns about its land borders will only retard its emergence as an assertive and influential regional power.

The Lessons of Doklam

With the crisis only just being de-escalated, it is too early to derive definitive lessons from Doklam. However, a few policy implications are already apparent. First, Chinese behavior in territorial disputes is more likely to be deterred by denial than by threats of punishment. China will continue the combination of consolidating its physical presence and engaging in coercive diplomacy, lawfare, and media campaigns unless it is stopped directly. This is what India did at Doklam — it directly blocked Chinese efforts to change the status quo. Denial in other areas would require different military tasks — for example, in the Indian Ocean, it may involve anti-submarine warfare and maritime domain awareness.

Second, denial strategies may be effective, but they have their limitations. Denial is inherently risky. Countering China’s playbook involves risks of escalation — which most smaller adversaries, and at times even the United States, are unwilling to accept. Moreover, denial strategies can only serve to halt adversary action, not to reverse what the adversary has already done. As Doklam shows, India could convince China not to proceed with its road-building — but China did not relinquish its claims or its established pattern of presence in the area. Denial by itself offers no pathway to politically resolving the crisis.

Third, the agreement to disengage suggests that Beijing’s position in crises can be flexible, and perhaps responsive to assertive counter-coercion. Domestic audiences, even those in autocracies, often prefer sound judgment to recklessly staying the course. If the Doklam standoff had escalated to a shooting war, anything short of a decisive victory might have put Xi Jinping in an unfavorable position at the 19th Party Congress and hurt the PLA’s image with the Chinese people. But short of that, the Chinese government was always in the position to sell Doklam as a non-event, something the decreasing domestic media coverage suggests it was preparing to do. Beijing will frame the disengagement agreement as further proof of Chinese strength, especially relative to India. As the stronger power, China could magnanimously agree to a mutual disengagement for now while reserving the right to move forward when it sees fit.

Finally, the Doklam agreement, even if it is temporary, tells us that when China confronts a significantly weaker target, such as Bhutan, it will only be deterred by the actions of a stronger third party — in this case, India. Had India not acted, China would likely have been successful in consolidating its control and extracting territorial concessions from Bhutan. Third-party involvement may not be as easy in other cases — India had a privileged position in Bhutan. Such a strategy may also have significant second-order effects. In the near term, it is potentially escalatory — China argued that India has no basis for interfering in this bilateral dispute, and had many options for escalating the crisis at a time and place of its choosing. More broadly, such third-party involvement could intensify geopolitical competition between China and other powers such as the U.S. or India, if they intercede in other countries’ disputes with China. The lesson of Doklam for the United States is that arming small states and imposing incremental costs may not be enough. Washington may have to accept the greater risks associated with intervening more directly if it hopes to counter Chinese expansion in East Asia.


Oriana Skylar Mastro is an assistant professor of security studies at Georgetown University. She can be contacted through her website: Arzan Tarapore is an adjunct researcher at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation, and a PhD candidate at King’s College London.
9  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 30, 2017, 05:19:55 PM
Very nicely written article/post, complete withdrawal for the US is an option (probably the wise thing to do), but if the decision has been made to stay in Afghanistan to avoid a power vacuum (like in Iraq, Libya), following the old strategy would guarantee failure (as it has not worked for the last 16 years). I personally do not think Trump will succeed, not because his plan is bad, but because he will not have the guts to execute it. The US has the option to apply incredible pressure on Pak, a country which has now become a Chinese proxy...but for some reason does not. Pak is a failed state, they are bankrupt, IMF keeps propping them up. Their news reports suggest they have money for like 2 weeks of gas and will need to borrow to payoff loans!.The Chinese under CPEC build coal plants in Pak where the guaranteed return is like 18-30 % using foreign coal, chinese prison labor and Chinese equipment. Final cost of electricity is between 2-3 x what it costs in India, which means Paki industry can never be competitive, so the loans will not be paid. Pak will end up giving up territory to China.
10  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: August 28, 2017, 05:01:27 PM
Looks like the lizard blinked...while Chinese media will spin this as a victory for them, fact is that China will not be constructing a road on what they claimed was their territory. They have vacated Doklam along with their bull dozers. India has succesfully protected Bhutan, stayed put for 2.5 mths at Doklam, prevented the Chinese from building a road (which was the reason why India got involved in the first place). After a long time someone showed the Chinese the limits of their power, for far too long they had gotten away with bullying small neighbors. I believe this has shattered the myth of Chinese superiority and invincibility and that they were ready to take on the United States. The neighbors are surely discussing behind close doors that China is a paper dragon. Pak will be wondering whether China will ever come to its aid in a confrontation with India, or even against the US (Trump's Afgh policy)....YA

Below is a blogpost summarizing the solution.
India and China announce end of Doklam standoff
By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 28th Aug 17

The 71-day military standoff at Doklam, on the tri-junction of the Indian, Chinese and Bhutanese borders, has been defused without armed confrontation and bloodshed.

In a coordinated announcement on Monday, the Indian and Chinese foreign ministries both announced that troops were disengaging at the Doklam bowl, where they have been in eyeball-to-eyeball contact since June 16, when the Indian Army moved hundreds of soldiers and two bulldozers into the disputed area to block road construction by China.

On Monday, New Delhi stated that, after weeks of diplomatic negotiations between the two countries, “expeditious disengagement of border personnel at the face-off site at Doklam has been agreed to and is on-going.”

Meanwhile, Beijing announced that “On the afternoon of August 28, the Indian side has pulled back all the trespassing personnel and equipment to the Indian side of the boundary and the Chinese personnel on the ground has (sic) verified this.”

Indian government sources say the challenge during the negotiations over withdrawal was to maintain Chinese “face”, while obtaining an assurance from Beijing that it would halt road building in the area, an activity that India’s military says compromises its defensive positions.

This issue was intelligently finessed with Beijing announcing: “China will continue to exercise its sovereignty and uphold its territorial integrity in accordance with historical conventions.” No mention was made of China’s right to build a road in Doklam.

Regional watchers have speculated whether the disengagement agreement provided for China to establish diplomatic relations with Bhutan, something that India has discouraged under the terms of a treaty between New Delhi and Thimphu. However, well-informed media sources in Thimphu deny any such quid pro quo.

India has never objected to China patrolling the Doklam bowl, which is disputed between China and Bhutan. A Chinese road, however, is regarded as an unacceptable change in the status quo, which is expressly forbidden by a 2012 agreement between Beijing and New Delhi.

In a marked change of tone from the hostility that had pervaded official Chinese statements and official media reportage since the Doklam faceoff began, Beijing’s foreign ministry spokesperson stated on Monday: “The Chinese government highly values its friendly relationship with India. We hope India can fulfill the historic agreement on the border and safeguard the stability of the border area with China.”

Even as soldiers built up on both sides towards the end of June and a barrage of strident statements emanated from Beijing, the Indian government maintained a discreet silence except for an official press release on June 30, laying down India’s version of events.

The release, entitled “Recent Developments in Doklam Area” stated that India had intervened to block Chinese road building activity after a Royal Bhutan Army patrol had tried to stop the Chinese, who were in violation of two agreements between China and Bhutan. Indicating that India had intervened at Bhutan’s behest, the release stated that Thimphu and New Delhi “have been in continuous contact through the unfolding of these developments.”

New Delhi also justified its intervention in terms of its own national interest, stating: “Such [road] construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for India.”

This addressed the weak point in India’s argument, which was to explain why it had intervened in territory that it has no claim over. Since the crisis began, China has put pressure on Bhutan to ask Indian troops to withdraw from the Doklam bowl.

Chin had insisted throughout this crisis that Indian troops were “trespassers” into “undisputed Chinese territory”, and that they must withdraw from Doklam as a pre-condition for resolving the crisis. For most observers of Sino-Indian relations, the mutual withdrawal is a huge win for India that will significantly enhance its regional status and its standing with South Asian neighbours like Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Another feature of this crisis is Bhutan’s remarkable and consistent demonstration of support to India. Thimphu first confronted Beijing through a demarche on June 20 and then a government statement on June 29, protesting China’s road-building in Doklam and, thus, allowing India to justify its intervention. Bhutan does not value Doklam greatly but, since India believes it controls the approach to the strategic Siliguri corridor, continues to rebuff repeated Chinese offers to settle its borders with Bhutan in exchange for Doklam being ceded to China..
11  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Indian POV blog post on the PLA on: August 27, 2017, 01:07:20 PM
Here's an Indian pov blog post...on the PLA.

People’s Liberation Army – A History of ‘Valour’
August 27, 2017

        Huge parades, shiny ‘toys’, rows and rows of it. The President, or as he would like to be addressed – The Chairman, inspecting the troops in an open jeep with FOUR mikes, exhorting them to be loyal to him (Yes, apparently the PLA needs to be reminded of it’s obligation to be loyal to the CPC over and over again!). A shiny new aircraft carrier with beautiful introductory videos that would put Top Gun to shame. Or was it the other way round (LINK : China copied not only the music, but also the choreography of Top Gun)?

            The PLA, PLAAF and PLAN are the future of warfare, as the People’s Republic of China would like us to believe. Well, there’s only one way to find out the amount of truth in this ‘fact’ – and given the sabre rattling happening on the other side of the LAC (or is it empty vessels. Let’s leave that for later), it might not be too far in the future.

            But one thing that we CAN, and in fact MUST analyse is how the PLA has measured up when time has come to live up to their bombast. And there is plenty to talk about, given their ‘rich’ history of ‘valour’ too. Let us start with the PLA before the establishment of the PRC. They were actually raised as the armed wing of the Chinese Communist Party, and continue to be so even today. Yes, China, the country doesn’t have an army. What they have is the ARMED WING OF THE CPC, enabling the CPC in ruling over China.

            The PLA was raised in 1928 to help the CPC ‘struggle’ in its endeavour to establish a communist regime in China. Since almost its very inception, it found itself fighting Chiang Kai Shek’s Koumintang for the right to rule over China. This fight was, however interrupted when the Japanese showed up from across the East China Sea. This is where Mao played a masterstroke – he withdrew from the fight, preferring to let the Koumintang fight the Japanese instead. The same template carried on during the second world war too. So basically, the PLA did NOTHING for the freedom of China when occupied by the Japanese. On the contrary, as soon as the Japanese were defeated with the combined efforts of the Allies and the Koumintang, the PLA attacked a weakened Chiang Kai Shek and drove him to Taiwan.

            PRC established, the PLA soon marched into Tibet. There was NO resistance worth the name. Tick first ‘victory’ for the PLA. Fast forward three more years. Gen Eisenhower marched into North Korea, threatening to reach the very doorstep of the PRC on the Yalu River. Mao committed the PLA to ensure the survival of the commie regime. The Americans were ultimately driven back to the 32nd Parallel, where they continue to be even today. This campaign was touted as a stunning victory for the PLA. But was is really a victory? Dig a bit deeper and what does one find? Waves after waves of PLA soldiers sent in to simply overwhelm the Americans by sheer numbers. No tactics. No manoeuvres. Nothing. Just keep sending them till the Americans run out of bullets to shoot them. Very smart, Mr Mao! I will let you google for the fatalities that the PLA as compared to those suffered by the Americans. It was a ‘victory’ indeed, or was it? Total lack of ingenuity. Just one resource that Mao had at his disposal aplenty – scores and scores of poor Chinese soldiers.

    Less than a decade later came the 1962 war. Enough has been written about it. But still, I’ll add my own bit. As the Time Magazine wrote – ill armed, ill clad, ill trained, the only thing that the Indian Army didn’t lack was guts. The Indian army was thrust in a battle it was not prepared for. Couple that with questionable leadership and the result did NOT come as a surprise. BUT, one fact that is often left out is that wherever the local commanders did not panic, and actually LED their troops, the Indian soldier stood like a rock on his land. Till his very last breath. Names like Dhan Singh Thapa, Shaitan Singh, Jaswant Singh, Joginder Singh, Yog Raj Palta, Brahmanand Awasthi and the hundreds more.  A beautiful tribute to the Indian warriors who held on to Kibithu / Walong to their last breath appeared in the Pune Newsline on 07 Nov 1999. I still retain the original paper cutting. A must read piece.


            The Chinese admit to fewer than 750 casualties in that war. Let us analyse that a bit. 750 casualties. Let that sink in for a moment! Here is how the Chinese fought. They got a peasants’ army to march from the plains of East / South China into the high Himalayas in September / October. That done, they told them to attack. Uphill, against a stubborn enemy. At altitudes ranging from 12 to 15,000 feet. Across a theatre ranging from Ladakh to Kibithu. And then, with the plains of Assam in sight, they called for a ceasefire and withdrew!. Back up the hills from where they’d just climbed down. Back into the icy Tibet. In the peak of winters. And less than 750 casualties? The souls of Maj Shaitan Singh and his Ahirs would be laughing their heads off .. they would have accounted for a tad more than that figure at Rezang La itself! Another ‘victory’, but at what cost once again? And what did they achieve? No new lands came their way. On the contrary, they made an eternal enemy of a large neighbour. One that has given them considerable grief on the battlefield subsequently.

            Talking of grief on the LAC, the first instance came soon after 1962, at NathuLa in 1967 when Brigadier Sagat Singh ensured that his Grenadiers killed 300+ Chinese in response to they wounding their commanding officer. Soon thereafter came the incident at Chola, again in Sikkim, less than a month later wherein the Gorkhas of 7/11 GR did a repeat of that. And guess what, Sikkim has been so peaceful since then!

            Two years later came the faceoff between the PLA and the Soviets at Usuri River. Close to 1000 PLA troops were accounted for by the Soviets. So alarmed was Mao that he almost vacated Peking!

            Fast forward to a decade ahead. This time it was Shri Deng Xiaoping who thought he should ‘teach a lesson’ to puny Vietnam for opposing the China backed murderous Cambodian regime. He launched the much vaunted PLA to teach the said lesson to Vietnam. But no points for guessing who got taught the lesson! The PLA lost close to 200,000 soldiers, claimed a victory and moved back. Very smart of them. Just that the Vietnamese tend to disagree, though!

         Next decade came another standoff with India at Sumdorong Chu. Interestingly, Wikipedia has got it in good detail. Bottomline, the PLA tried to pre-emptively occupy some areas on the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh, but got the shock of their lives when the Indian army counter mobilised with an entire brigade! Thing is, the Chinese thought that this time too, the ghost of 1962 would prevent India from responding to them. But I guess they forgot that the ghost of 1962 was more than exorcised in 1967 itself. Something similar, in fact, happened at Dolam a few months ago, a standoff which carries on still. If only the PLA could learn from THEIR OWN FCUKING HISTORY!

            Then there was the ‘little’ incident in South Sudan some months ago, something that I blogged about earlier too (link at the top of this blog post), when the shiny toys failed to ‘persuade’ the PLA soldiers to hang on instead of running away in face of rag tag militias.

            At the end of it, I stand firm in my belief that the PLA is all huff and puff, but no WILL to prove that it is not mere bluster. Despite the shiny toys, the Chinese Emperor’s Army is Naked! I guess they know it too, ‘coz their aim seems to be to somehow win without fighting. And they just might succeed in doing so, atleast in the South – China, nay Indo – China Sea as it has historically been called. But they ran into a stone wall in Dolam, hoping for the same template to get repeated.

            To conclude all I will say is that this Indian Army is NOT the Indian Army of 1962, but the PLA soldier of today is STILL the same as the PLA soldier of 1962. He STILL cannot fight, esp when faced with a worthy enemy, and days of sacrificing him by the hundreds are gone for good.

Just my thoughts
12  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ex Pak Ambassador: Enforce conditions without cutting ties on: August 27, 2017, 12:11:28 PM
This is a longish report by ex-Pak ambassador to the US, Mr. Hussein Haqqani and Lisa Curtis from the Hudson Institute, as to how the US should deal with Pak. I note the very similar suggestions that I outline in my post above. The good ambassador is however no longer welcome in Pak!. In essence he suggests the stick when dealing with Pak and he commits the cardinal sin of recommending that Pak should forget inciting terrorism in  Kashmir and instead focus on getting their own house in order. The only country that can save Pak, is India (via trade), but if they trade with India and peace reigns, why would they need the Pak army ?....and so the cycle of terror continues under the tutelage of the Pak army.
13  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 27, 2017, 10:39:11 AM
To win in Afghanistan, we will need to do things differently, for several decades the US has supported Pak perfidies, Trump can be the agent of change, but I am not yet convinced that he will do what he threatens to do. The US will also need to change a few things, depending on what is important to the country in the long term. The Taliban can only hide, if they have access to sanctuary cities  grin in Pak, without that they are mince meat. Here are a few pain points for Pak.
1. $ aid, weapons aid needs to be stopped. Let them rely on Chinese weapons. CPEC will destroy Pak, there is no way that Pak can ever hope to pay back China. Watch what happened in Hambatonta port (Sri Lanka), which was built by Chinese aid. We have probably not discussed CPEC (Colonizing Pak to Enrich China) much, a major disaster for Pak in the offing. Pak will end up ceding land in Gwadar as a warm weather military port.
2. Take away major Nato ally status. That will hurt their H&D (honor and dignity) and continue to drone them as necessary.
3. Pak provides access to US military supply routes: This can be dealt with in two ways, direct rapproachment with Iran or a back channel negotiation with India who built Chabahar port and route to Afghanistan, for a direct and safer supply line to Afghanistan. This is an alternative to using Karachi or Gwadar port (Chinese built) in Pak. See map below. News reports suggest that the Chabahar route is now open.

4. Declare Pak as major terror sponsoring nation. They deserve that accolade more than any other nation. As of today, Pak's green passport is not welcome anywhere and there are only a few islands in the pacific which allow them visa free entry.
5. Finally, if the problem persists a decision needs to be made as to should Pak keep its nuclear weapons. Based on the risk of radicals getting traditional nukes or more likely small mass produced battle field nukes (tactical weapons that no one talks about), Pak needs to be broken (split). Pak has been broken once (1971 creation of Bangladesh), it needs to happen once more, for its far too powerful in its current configuration. The threat to break up Balochistan (independent country occupied by Pak) should be credible. Again not many are aware of the independence movement in Balochistan (topic for another day).
6. The previous US thinking of supporting Pak vis a vis India originates from the days of the cold war. Now China is the main competitor for India and the US and both countries interests converge. Pak is anyway under Chinese influence and has moved away from the US. Already their generals have shifted allegiance to China.

The US has a lot of pressure points in Pak, should Trump decide to use them...YA

P.S. I love the use of the word "Baccha bazi" by westerners...its a cute word thats very hard to translate in the cultural sense, even though its literal meaning is well understood by all.
14  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afpakia: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: August 26, 2017, 08:21:56 PM
I am in no position to challenge Michael Yon's thinking, as he has ground experience. With that out of the way, I think he is giving too much credence to the multiple tribes as to why Trump cannot solve Af-Pak. Afghans have a few major ethnicities, eg Pashtun, Uzbek, Tajik and Hazaras. Each can have multiple tribes. For the most part, Pashtuns are the main ethnicity we need to be focussed on. For the first time an American President is listening to his generals, who identified the problem, i.e. Pakistan. He also got the second important part right, he has threatened to let India into Afghanistan (what pakis fear most). Trump can win this , if he does what he has threatened to do. If he fails it will be because he did not do what he said and listened to Pak supporters in the State department (Robin Raphael).  The reason the US has failed is the sanctuary that Taliban get in Pak. Look at the picture below, its obvious, you need to get access to the underground sanctuaries (Pak), if you wish to solve the problem. So far the US has been playing whacka mole with the Talibs....YA

15  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China) on: August 23, 2017, 11:49:59 PM
So Xi is changing commanders, perhaps he is not sure of his power base at the upcoming Party Congress. In China the PLA reports to the communist party! not the country!....YA
All Xi’s men: China’s armies get new commanders

By ZI YANG AUGUST 22, 2017 12:53 PM (UTC+8) 1,743 3
China recently confirmed 26 new commanders in the People’s Liberation Army’s 13 group armies that saw not a single leader staying with his old unit, with most receiving postings to far away regions from their theater of command.

Why the shake up in its armed forces, the world’s largest with 2.3 million personnel, when there are conflicts brewing on China’s left and right flanks?

In April, the PLA eliminated five group armies, in keeping with its modernization plan to prune the ground force to make it a more versatile and combat-capable organization.

At present, each of China’s five theaters of command control two to three group armies. Each has combat and non-combat units divided into the following: infantry, armor, artillery, anti-aircraft warfare, anti-chemical warfare, cyber warfare, army aviation, engineer, communications, transportation, pontoon bridge construction, education and training, military hospitals, and arts troupe.

The size of a group army varies from 30,000 to 80,000 men. We know little about the new commanders besides their brief biographies, but some of the transfers are quite baffling.

For example, Major General Fan Chengcai, the new commander of the 76th group army responsible for Tibet, previously had a long career in the 14th group army of Yunnan Province, a subtropical region very different from the Roof of the World.

His comrade-in-arms, the political commissar Major General Zhang Hongbing served mostly in Henan Province, famous for its open plains. They could be experts in high-altitude, cold-weather warfare, but their background doesn’t indicate that.

There is an alternative explanation to how these decisions were made. While increasing combat effectiveness may be the long-term goal, the immediate concern of the PLA’s commander-in-chief Xi Jinping is about domestic politics.

The personnel reorganization is Xi’s attempt to curb military factionalism, better rendered in Chinese as “mountaintopism” or shantou zhuyi.

Influential Chinese military chiefs tend to build their leadership team based on personal loyalty. Turning the party’s army into their personal army, these commanders become in the words of Mao Zedong “mountaintops” that pose a challenge to the PLA’s cohesion as well as the supreme leader’s authority.

The Qing dynasty fell because a powerful general acquired total control of the New Army. Similarly, Chiang Kai-shek’s defeat on the mainland has been blamed on his failure in containing military factionalism.

The last thing Xi wants to see is collusion between generals and political opponents to derail  November’s 19th party congress, when Xi will be crowned China’s paramount leader.
The last thing Xi wants to see is collusion between generals and political opponents in derailing November’s 19th party congress, when Xi will be crowned China’s paramount leader.

Since early this year, Xi has accelerated the promotion of his own generals to the PLA’s highest echelons. In July and August, Xi promoted several dozens of generals, lieutenant generals and major generals to add weight to his control.

Then, to reduce the threat from regional commanders, Xi employed Mao’s old trick of removing them from their familiar environment and away from confidants.

The brand-new unit designations for the 13 group armies, numbering from 71 to 84, also shows Xi’s ambition in tearing down existing loyalty networks and rebuilding the army entirely as his own.

Like all other armed forces, the PLA’s unit designations carry history and esprit de corps. But fresh designations convey new allegiance.

According to the PLA Daily, the number 71 represents July 1st or the Chinese Communist Party’s founding day. The message is clear here — the party leader is the PLA’s nucleus, not the regional commandants.

Although expanding combat effectiveness is the group army reform’s premier goal, the assurance of loyalty is equally important.

The great army personnel overhaul reveals Xi is taking another step towards absolute control over the PLA top brass as he prepares to strengthen his power at the 19th congress.

Follow the author on Twitter @MrZiYang.
16  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.
17  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

18  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
19  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North and South Korea on: August 11, 2017, 06:13:10 PM
Stratfor on NK
20  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.
21  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.”
22  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.
23  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."
24  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.
25  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.
26  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.
27  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.
28  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.
29  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.
30  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.
31  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.
32  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.
33  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.
34  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.
35  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.
36  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.
37  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.
38  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
39  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!.
40  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.
41  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.
42  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.
43  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.
44  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...

45  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.
46  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.
47  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...
48  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.
49  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).
50  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.
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