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Author Topic: India/Indian Ocean (and India-afpakia and India-China)  (Read 24629 times)
ya
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« Reply #100 on: May 04, 2013, 07:32:33 PM »

Here's a post on Pak and the spread of Islam in India by an Indian nationalist poster called Rudradev. He has some interesting ideas, that I had not heard before. I have made some comments in italics, where the language might be unfamiliar to you, or underlined or made things bold..

"The essential similarities between Western feudalism (transplanted to colonized countries in the colonial era) and Islamic "Kabila (defined later)" imply that it is not only the "West" which has been a colonial entity as far as societies like ours are concerned... Islam itself is equally a foreign colonialist entity in our subcontinent, as fundamentally alien and predatory to our land, our culture and our way of life as the British or Portuguese or Dutch ever were. The atavistic howls issuing from their minarets five times a day are, indeed, cries of triumph and domination in a foreign language... the language of the colonizer shouting down the colonized.

Ramana has written extensively on the "Kabila" model... it roughly translates to "government as armed camp." Essentially there is a sultan who, with his generals and their troops, constitutes the ultimate fount of power in the political hierarchy. This is unwaveringly typical of the manner in which various political groups and dynasties have consolidated power in West and Central Asia, and North Africa, since the very advent of Islam.

The "Kabila" worked very well in the lands where Islam originated, and where it spread in the early centuries of its expansion. Why? Because the lands themselves were amenable to being governed in this form. In the deserts of West Asia, the arid mountains of Persia and the steppes to the North, the circumstances of nature favour a form of political dominance which relies on armament, maneuverability and mobility. This is because resources are scarce and concentrated in a few areas... an oasis here, a valley there. With a strong group of highly mobile armed men on horseback, you can easily forge an empire in such places. All you have to do is seize control of the few well-defined supply centers, the market centers (city states) and the trade routes between them. Most of the land is junk anyway. Once you're able to do this, and especially to destroy any civilizational affinity to pre-Islamic forms in the market centers (hence the Islamic obsession with temple breaking and idol smashing) you have, effectively, an empire. It doesn't matter if the thousands of useless square miles in between are physically under your domination or not; as long as you have no challengers in these particular small foci of power, you're an unchallenged monarch.

"Kabila" differs from European feudalism because of the emphasis on mobility... horsemen and artillery could be moved to engage a challenger in very short order. A necessary corollary of the Kabila model is un-rootedness. If you have to move fast you cannot afford to be tied down. Therefore, you do not invest in the land or the people, you see them only as objects to be controlled and squeezed for every drop of utility against the hard anvil of history. You position mullahs in population centers to be your spies, propagandists and social monitors... weeding out unorthodoxy and rebellion at the stage of ideation before it becomes necessary to smack down an armed rebellion. But ultimately you, and your apparatus of mullahs, constitute an extraordinarily parasitic, locust-like and virulent form of colonialism. This is something that Western studies of post-colonialism (with their essentially Euro-centric historiography) entirely ignore... they see the Islamic virus as something that was indigenous somehow to the lands they conquered. They do not realize that it was merely a more rapacious and less invested form of colonial imperialism.

Indeed, the more invested Muslim rulers became in their territories, the less "Islamic" they became, of necessity taking on the administrative, social and traditional trappings of pre-Islamic statehood. This made them vulnerable to "purer", mobile and less-invested Islamic conquerors. Hence the Delhi sultanate was prime fodder for Timur and Babar... Baghdad for the Mongols... and Mughal Delhi, again, for Nadir Shah. In each case the less-civilized, more predatory and more essentially savage Kabila prevailed over the more "settled" and "urbanized" Muslim state. When you do not carry the baggage of civilization or of feeling responsibility for the people you rule, you have much more maneuverability and ruthlessness at your disposal. Taking advantage of the Kabila's inherent strengths, the West was able to lead roving bands of armed Arabs in a devastatingly effective rebellion against the settled Ottomans during the 1st World War.

Why do I bring all this up with relevance to Pakistan?

As I said before... the "Kabila" system worked very well to dominate places where resources were scarce and concentrated in well-defined locations. However, it never worked quite as well in India.

That is because our Bharatvarsha(Hindi term for India) is quite unlike those lands where Islam originated and expanded in the early centuries of its being. In Bharatvarsha, the land is almost never inhospitable or forbidding. In Arabia, a band of people displaced from an oasis had two choices: submit to the peaceful orthodoxy of a triumphant Muslim conqueror, or go out into the desert and die. In India, not so. A displaced people had only to go fifty or a hundred or two hundred kilometres in any direction... and mother Bharat (India)in her generous embrace would provide fertile lands, rich orchards, abundant and plentiful fields. How many generations and what huge extents of such flights were supported by the bounty of Bharatvarsha become apparent if you study the migration of the Saraswats, originally from Kashmir... one branch traveled from there south of the Vindhyas, to Goa, and then again uprooted themselves in the face of Portuguese onslaught and proceeded to what is Dakshin Kannada in Karnataka today.

This had two effects: first, it made Indians in general indifferent to the fact of an Islamic conquest. If they took away our old fields and seized our city... well, we would just move over a little bit and build a new city, cultivate new fields. Our Gods and families are safe, let the Turk or Afghan have the old land, because there is enough for everybody if we simply adjust our location a little bit: this was how our forefathers dealt with Islamic expansion. Incidentally, this is also how we deal with Chinese encroachments!)

The second effect, of course, is that Hindu society survived, largely unscathed, as an essentially Indian identity. In Mesopotamia or Egypt, the Muslim idol-smashers and temple-breakers could effectively carry out cultural genocide because their targets were all in one place and immobile... where could you build another Baghdad or Luxor? The inheritors of the old culture had no choice but to surrender before the savagery of Islam's harbingers, and participate willingly in the extinction of their pre-Islamic cultural identities, if they wished to survive at all. In India, we would take our Gods, our families and our few possessions and head out a few more miles into the vast green hinterland and endless bounty of Bharat-mata (Hindi for mother land), who would provide lovingly for us to begin our lives over again as Hindus.

This is essentially why we were saved from being extinguished by the onslaught of Islamic colonialism... Bharatvarsha herself sheltered her children and empowered them to preserve their way of life.

Now what you have in Pakistan today is the continuance of the Kabila system. The West realized soon enough that without the depredations of Islamic colonialism that denuded the civilizational wealth of the East for nearly ten centuries, sapping the power of the old Asiatic states and erasing their very identities... without this, the West would have had a much harder time pursuing their own colonial expansions. In fact, Islamic colonialism prepares the ground for Western colonialism... a fact that remains as true today as it was before the Battle of Plassey. Hence, everyone from Olaf Caroe to Zbignew Brzezinski sees a utility for the West in maintaining Islamic Kabilas even when the armies and viceroys of the West have gone home. The Kabilas will never construct a state of sufficient power to threaten the West; but they will keep Asia weak for the day that the West might want to return, in one form or another.

THIS is why the West was so determined to see a Pakistan constructed out of a large portion of Bharatvarsha. It is also why the West has been careful to destroy any alternative sense of nationhood or state-based form of governance in the Muslim world, other than Kabila. It is why the Arab nationalists of Ba'ath Egypt (Nasser) and Iraq (Saddam) had to be deposed, and the last scion of Ba'athism, Syria's Assad, is being systematically marked for elimination today. This is the reason why Gaddaffi in Libya was ousted, and why Iran is now at the head of the list of Western targets. Meanwhile the Kabila-state of Saudi Arabia is raised to paramountcy; while in smaller GCC nations... which are essentially city-states or market-centers like the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain... the US itself has taken on the role of Kabila.

In Pakistan that role has been given to the Kabila known as the Pakistan Army. However, let's remember... the land which the Pakistan Army Kabila seeks to dominate is not an arid expanse with tightly localized resource concentrations, as in the territories where the Kabila model has a natural advantage. No, the land of Pakistan is the land of Bharatvarsha... all-embracing and hospitable. It is much harder for a Kabila to control and dominate this "Pakistan" than a Persia or an Iraq.

Meanwhile, to the northwest of Pakistan is Afghanistan... a prime Kabila land, where a mobile and savage army unencumbered by investment in the people can always prevail over the forces of a more settled kingdom.

What happened over the last ten years is instructive. The Kabila (Pakistan Army) deputed by the West to control and enervate Western Bharatvarsha for colonial exploitation, has failed in its task. It has succumbed to the temptations of the land it occupies... Bharatvarsha... and become more "settled" than a Kabila has any right to be. It has become invested in private enterprise, legitimate ones like textiles and agriculture as well as illegal ones such as heroin supply. The Pakistan Army remains a true Kabila in that it still does not give a damn for the people in its charge; but it has become "softer" in the style of the Lodhi who was overwhelmed by Babar, or the Abbasid Caliph who was smashed by Genghis Khan. To compensate for its softness, the Pakistan Army has overemphasized the role traditionally played by Mullahs in the Kabila system, and set up a huge, hypertrophied apparatus of highly empowered political agents to subdue the population in the name of Islam... including all our favourite Tanzeems(Paki terror groups).

The big mistake that the Soft Kabila of the Pakistan Army made was to create another Kabila... the Taliban... in an attempt to colonize and subdue the people of Afghanistan. Taliban Kabila, being a classic, mobile, hard Kabila, was able to gain control over the prime Kabila-land of Afghanistan in record time back in 1996. However, with the force of historic inevitability... they have utterly lost regard and affinity for the soft, settled Kabila of the TSPA. They see no reason why they should take orders from this decadent, less-pure Sultanate; they have enjoyed repeated military successes over the TSPA (derogatory term Terrorist State of Pak Army) over the past ten years; and worst of all, they have seen the TSPA do the bidding of the Kaffir (USA) by comfortably abetting the slaughter of Momin (muslims) perpetuated by the Americans since 2001.

As a result, not only the Taliban, but many sections of the Kabila-apparatchik mullahs (who would ordinarily remain loyal to a strong, hard-Kabila) have turned against the soft and decadent Kabila of the TSPA.

Perhaps the most curious thing is how the TSPA and the Paki elite have responded to this state of affairs. Being themselves of Bharatvarsha... they have begun to do the classic Hindoo thing! "Fine", they say, "let the fundoos have FATA/KP, after all we have much more productive land".... "fine, let them have a presence in Karachi/Quetta/Peshawar, not a blade of grass grows there"... "fine, let them expand into southern Punjab, after all we should keep them close so we can keep an eye on them." Rationalization after rationalization is articulated by these Pakis while their circle of influence shrinks; so far will our bounteous mother Bharat let them retreat into the welcoming folds of her sari that they blindfold themselves ever more tightly with her pallu (wrap of the sari dress) and convince themselves that all is well."
« Last Edit: May 04, 2013, 07:37:45 PM by ya » Logged
ya
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« Reply #101 on: May 04, 2013, 07:51:25 PM »

Koranic concept of war, pdf

http://wolfpangloss.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/malik-quranic-concept-of-war.pdf
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ya
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« Reply #102 on: May 05, 2013, 04:01:25 PM »

Looks like the Chinese have withdrawn, from Indian territory. Am sure the details will be out soon..
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #103 on: May 05, 2013, 07:41:06 PM »

Good to have you back with us YA.  Thank you for these posts.
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bigdog
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« Reply #104 on: May 05, 2013, 08:56:50 PM »

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/05/03/china_india_most_dangerous_border

From the article:

While China's motivations remain unclear, the potential implications are massive. The Sino-Indian dynamic is often seen as a sideshow to Beijing's more immediate rivalries with the United States and Japan. But more intense strategic competition between India and China would reverberate throughout the continent, exacerbating tensions in Central Asia, the Indian Ocean, and Southeast Asia. Disruptions to the Asian engine of economic growth caused by these tensions could debilitate the global economy.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #105 on: May 05, 2013, 09:43:06 PM »

OTOH the Indians make natural allies of the US in its dealings with China  grin
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ya
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« Reply #106 on: May 11, 2013, 02:10:53 PM »

Something not appreciated in the west is that India's current political leadership, is from the preindependence era (1947). eg the Current prime minister was born in what is currently Pakistan, and eg Musharraf was born in India!. They have emotional baggage related to pak. However, as the newer generation of politicians come to power, these leaders do not have anything binding them to Pak and are infact willing to take a much harder line.  As the economy improves, the newer gen of Indians, are willing to take a harder line against China too.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #107 on: May 27, 2013, 10:19:18 AM »

An opinion from a New Delhi economist published in the Asia Times FWIW...

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/SOU-03-240513.html
    
Indian growth model unsustainable at best
By Kunal Kumar Kundu

NEW DELHI- The Indian economy is likely to have grown at a mere 5% in the financial year that ended in March, the lowest growth rate in a decade; investments are falling and the fault lines of Indian politics lie fully exposed.

With the government embroiled in a numerous corruption cases, leading to a sense of policy paralysis gripping the economy, business confidence has been on the wane.

India's shinning story of a decade back has lost plenty of sheen of late due to growing frustration at a rising governance deficit. The


very fact that the Indian economy is expected to grow at close to 6% during the current financial year and close to 7% in the next (a far cry from 8% to 9% growth predicted a few years back) indicates how short-term expectations have been whittled down.

However, like China, India is still considered to be one of the world's rising economic powers. But, while the Chinese growth story has the authoritarian state to thank for it, the forward march of the Indian economy has been impeded by the ineptitude of the state.

After growing at over a double-digit rate for decades, China is now on the throes of a slowdown caused by over investment and under consumption, though its state-of-the-art infrastructure can be cause for envy. India, on the other hand, suffers from woefully inadequate infrastructure as the financially challenged government cannot invest while the morally and politically challenged government fails to clear away hurdles against private investment.

Even so, there's a generally held view that by 2030, India (a supposed growth engine for the global economy) will be the world's third-largest economy while it could overtake China as the world's fastest growing major economy much sooner.

The question, therefore, is how can one of the most populous countries like India grow at a pace it has grown despite widespread corruption, inefficiency and a government that can barely be called functional?

A peek into India's growth history can, to a large extent, explain this dichotomy. Essentially, it boils down to the extent of control that the government has on the various sectors of the economy.

India leapfrogged from being an agrarian economy to a service sector led economy as entrepreneurs had to find a way to grow despite the heavy hand of government. The agriculture sector, which is under maximum government control, now accounts for a mere 14% of gross domestic product (GDP). Industry, where the government still has major control on the factors of production such as land, labor and natural resources, accounts for roughly 26% of GDP. On the other hand, the service sector, about which the government has limited knowledge and over which it has the least control, now accounts for roughly 60% of GDP.

To understand how India's entrepreneurial spirit thrives and grows despite clear governance failure, one need look no further than the cities of Gurgaon, in northwestern Haryana state, and Bangalore, to the south in Karnataka.

Gurgaon, as we know it, is barely two decades old yet houses practically every big name in the corporate world. Its buildings are designed by the world's best architects, and it has about 24 shopping malls that stock practically every international brand, eight golf courses and more than 20 outlets for luxury cars such as BMW, Audi and Volkswagen.

However, while it's a private sector success story, it is a public sector failure. The city does not have a functioning drainage system; reliable electricity or water; or any citywide system of public transportation.

The inadequacies of the government did not act as a deterrent for the private sector. To compensate for several hours of electricity blackouts, companies and real estate developers operate massive diesel generators that have the capacity to provide electricity to small towns. Private water supply flourishes as do privately dug bore wells to take care of shortages. Large number of companies employs hundreds of private buses and taxis to bridge the transportation gap.

The experience of India's IT capital Bangalore is not dissimilar. Companies such as Infosys and Wipro maintain their own fleet of vehicles to transport their employees and have huge captive power generation capacity to ensure uninterrupted service.

Gurgaon and Bangalore are good examples of how the private sector strives to keep the economy functional despite the huge governance deficit, raising the question of whether this should be the template for future economic growth?

Ideally not, since the existing growth template is not efficient enough. It can provide temporary succor but not a permanent solution. The animal spirit that was unleashed following the ushering in of economic reforms in 1991 has, by now, taken advantage of all the low hanging fruits that could be plucked.

A functional private sector and a dysfunctional public sector is the least desired recipe for sustainable growth. Fact is, only a small portion of the blame for recently plummeting growth can be directed toward external factors. The debilitating impact of the governance deficit has manifested itself in a far bigger way than anticipated.

Rising inequality, continued health and education challenges, and a tussle for ownership of factors of production are challenges that need to be addressed by well-intentioned government and the private sector.

The Indian economy cannot be service-sector driven for an indefinite period. Manufacturing has to play an equally important role to ensure a more equitable growth. For that to happen India desperately needs a government that can function and be effective. Only a concerted effort to follow this strategy can help the economy get back to the growth path that logically should be India's.

Kunal Kumar Kundu is a New Delhi-based economist.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #108 on: August 30, 2013, 11:48:37 PM »

Slowdowns in China and India don't help us, nor does our stagnation help them.
-----------
http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/08/30/as-gdp-slips-pm-attempts-to-restore-confidence-in-indias-economy/

India’s GDP growth for the April to June quarter was a dismal 4.4 percent, the government said today. It was the slowest rate of growth since 2009. ”It was a weaker performance than most economists had been expecting,” the BBC reports, “and was a slowdown from the first three months of the year, when growth was 4.8%.”


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G M
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« Reply #109 on: August 31, 2013, 05:26:01 AM »

Plowhorse!-Pradesh Weshindi

Slowdowns in China and India don't help us, nor does our stagnation help them.
-----------
http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/08/30/as-gdp-slips-pm-attempts-to-restore-confidence-in-indias-economy/

India’s GDP growth for the April to June quarter was a dismal 4.4 percent, the government said today. It was the slowest rate of growth since 2009. ”It was a weaker performance than most economists had been expecting,” the BBC reports, “and was a slowdown from the first three months of the year, when growth was 4.8%.”



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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #110 on: April 09, 2014, 01:26:40 PM »

y Robert D. Kaplan

A noteworthy geopolitical shift is emerging that the media have yet to report on. In future years, a sizable portion of the U.S. Navy's forces in the Middle East could be spending less time in the Persian Gulf and more time in the adjacent Indian Ocean. Manama in Bahrain will continue to be the headquarters of the Fifth Fleet. But American warships and their crews, as well as the myriad supply and repair services for them, could be increasingly focused on the brand new Omani port of Duqm, located outside the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Sea, which, in turn, forms the western half of the Indian Ocean.

High-ranking U.S. defense officials, military and civilian, have been visiting Oman and particularly Duqm of late. A few years ago, Duqm was just a blank spot on the map, facing the sea on a vast and empty coastline with its back to the desert. Now, $2 billion has been invested to build miles and miles of quays, dry docks, roads, an airfield and hotels. By the time Duqm evolves into a full-fledged city-state, $60 billion will have been spent, officials told me during a visit I made there -- a visit sponsored by the government of Oman.

Duqm is a completely artificial development that aims to be not a media, cultural or entertainment center like Doha or Dubai, but a sterile and artificially engineered logistical supply chain city of the 21st century, whose basis of existence will be purely geographical and geopolitical. Duqm has little history behind it; it will be all about trade and business. If you look at the map, Duqm lies safely outside the increasingly vulnerable and conflict-prone Persian Gulf, but close enough to take advantage of the Gulf's energy logistics trail. It is also midway across the Arabian Sea, between the growing middle classes of India and East Africa.

Key Indian Ocean Ports
Click to Enlarge
For Oman, Duqm is key to nation building, as it will further link the southwestern Omani province of Dhofar and its port of Salalah with the ports of Muscat and Sohar in northeastern Oman. For the United States, Duqm will be a partial answer to the Chinese-built port of Gwadar on the nearby coast of Pakistan. As China continues its growing involvement in Indian Ocean ports (as I documented in my 2010 book, Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power), the United States will seek to preserve the balance of power in the Indian Ocean with its own military and commercial footprint. The reported new emphasis on Duqm would be a giant step toward the U.S. Navy becoming an Indian Ocean-Pacific sea force instead of an Atlantic-Pacific one, as it has been for all of its previous history. From Duqm, the U.S. Navy would still be close enough to the Persian Gulf to bomb Iran, yet without American warships being as hemmed-in and exposed to attack as they are in Bahrain. To be clear, this will be a gradual and subtle shift over time. The U.S. Navy is not deserting Bahrain and the Gulf.

For China, Duqm can be a transshipment hub for its consumer goods bound for the Indian subcontinent and East Africa -- especially for the growing markets of Tanzania and Mozambique. In other words, container ships would arrive from China, and the containers themselves would then be off-loaded at Duqm for transport on smaller ships to various points in Africa, India and the Greater Middle East. Salalah, farther southwest, already serves this purpose. But local officials maintain that there will be enough commercial sea traffic in coming decades to make Duqm viable as well. Though China has openly expressed interest in utilizing Duqm, Omani officials assured me that China will never have the influence over this new port as they have at others around the Indian Ocean.

The scale of development here is simply profound, attesting to the Indian Ocean's increasing geopolitical importance. I drove five hours across the desert from the Omani capital of Muscat to reach Duqm, with almost nothing in between but a bare-knuckled wilderness in innumerable shades of gray and little else besides goats and camels in sight. Upon arrival, I saw a 4.5-kilometer main breakwater built of reinforced concrete octopods protecting the new port, which already features mobile and rail harbor cranes, as well as rail lines already laid for future gantry cranes. Sixteen warships from the Gulf Cooperation Council sat along the pier in preparation for a live fire exercise the next day. The dry docks were filled with merchant vessels in need of repair. American Navy ships have been arriving for shore visits in greater frequency. Port authorities are planning for enhanced facilities in order to, perhaps one day, service U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines.

Officials briefed me in front of a large and detailed scale-model of Duqm as they hope it will appear years hence: composed of fisheries, an oil refinery, a transit hub for petrochemicals, a rail link, mineral-based manufacturing, a desalinization plant, a hospital, a mall, an international school, a town center and a tourist zone. Obviously, the airport here will have cargo facilities. The runway, already built, is long enough to receive flights from Europe. With 80 kilometers of virginal coastline allotted to Duqm, the new city-state could be larger than Bahrain or Singapore. And this is all just phase one -- being built from scratch and inspired only by location on the map. The very fact of Duqm, as it exists and as it is envisioned, constitutes testimony to the fact that geography will be as important to the 21st century as it was to all previous ones.

New natural gas discoveries in the desert to the rear should help service Duqm's energy needs, as a population of 67,000 is envisioned here by 2020. The new railhead will link Duqm to Muscat, Dubai and ports all the way north to Kuwait at the head of the Persian Gulf. If a rapprochement between the United States and Iran is achieved, Duqm will repair Iranian ships and be an offshore base for the burgeoning Iranian economy. If the rapprochement never materializes, Duqm, located safely outside the Gulf, will be a port of choice for merchant shipping companies that do not want their mega-ships diverted to the volatile Gulf region. Instead, they can make landfall here and potentially take deliveries of hydrocarbons by rail or pipeline from inside the Gulf.

To spur development, Duqm will have a new legal framework and will feature 100 percent foreign ownership of local businesses. Foreign companies that invest here will enjoy tax-free status and the ability to operate without currency restrictions, I was told.

Duqm's biggest advantage for the Americans is that Oman has been for decades among the most stable, well governed and least oppressive states in the Greater Middle East -- whereas the problem the Chinese have in Gwadar is that Pakistan is among the least stable and worst governed states in the Greater Middle East. Strategic geography for a port requires not just an advantageous location vis-a-vis the sea, but vis-a-vis land, too. And it is road, rail and pipeline connections from Omani ports outside the Persian Gulf -- Salalah and Sohar, as well as Duqm -- to ports inside the Gulf, from Dubai to Kuwait, that potentially make this place so attractive.

If Duqm succeeds -- still a big "if" -- it will become a great place name of the 21st century, just as Aden was in the 19th and Singapore was in the 20th. Given continued demographic growth and the theoretical prospect for economic dynamism in India and East Africa -- even as Europe hovers around zero population growth with stagnant, over-regulated economies -- the Indian Ocean, as I have been writing for years, could become the geopolitical nerve center of postmodern times. Duqm constitutes a multibillion-dollar bet that I am right.

Read more: The Indian Ocean World Order | Stratfor
Follow us: @stratfor on Twitter | Stratfor on Facebook
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DougMacG
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« Reply #111 on: May 19, 2014, 01:05:33 PM »

Any comments or observations from YA or others?

http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-india-conservatives-elections-modi-20140516-story.html
India's Narendra Modi leads conservatives to election day victory
India’s conservative opposition party won national elections in a landslide, results showed Friday, riding a message of optimism and clean, business-friendly governance to a historic parliamentary majority that could profoundly change the direction of the world’s largest democracy.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2014/05/indias-next-prime-minister-0
India aspires to become strong on the back of economic growth, more international trade, deeper global engagement
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G M
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« Reply #112 on: May 19, 2014, 01:58:07 PM »

Makes me more bullish on the rupee.
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ya
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« Reply #113 on: May 19, 2014, 07:04:48 PM »

The Tsu-NaMo (NaMo=narendra modi) wave that swept India....is a major event..after 30 years, a single party won enough seats to be the majority party. NaMo has shown that he can govern, is a hindu nationalist (so wont tolerate misbehaviour from pak or China)...and will even work with the muslims and take them along. I am quite bullish on India....YA.

‘Modi-fied’ India: Implications of BJP’s landslide win
 
Rajeev Sharma is a New Delhi-based journalist, author and strategic analyst. He tweets @Kishkindha and can be reached at bhootnath004@yahoo.com.


The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stormed into power on Friday riding on the crest of a Narendra Modi tsunami which gave a clear majority to a single party for the first time in India for 30 years and swept the ruling Congress into oblivion.

It has become the worst-ever electoral performance by the Grand Old Party. With Modi emerging as the undisputed strong man of India, this will have its own implications for the world.

Here is my take on the specific countries and regions that are crucial for India.

South Asia/India’s Neighborhood: Modi’s emergence as the undisputed strongman in India and the sole decision-maker should make India’s smaller neighbors more cautious. Nepal and the Maldives have repeatedly cocked a snook at India during their tenure of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government headed by Manmohan Singh. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh bugged India with their own pinpricks. They could afford to do so as the UPA government was bogged down in coalition politics. This mindset should see a sea change.

Pakistan: The country’s entire leadership, particularly military, is prone to India-bashing, something that would get a fitting verbal lashing from the Modi government if such statements were to emanate from Pakistan. However, the most interesting thing to see in India-Pakistan relations will be whether Pakistani firing from across the Line of Control (LoC), which has picked up momentum in the past couple of weeks, will continue this trend. Incidentally, for the first time in its history, the BJP has won three out of six Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir, the state which is at the core of the India-Pakistan dispute, and also the venue of the Kargil War in 1999. This in itself should be seen as a huge statement from the people of India to Pakistan.

China:
Modi will be more careful when dealing with China. However, it will have to be seen whether China makes a Depsang Valley-like 16-km-deep incursion in Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir) under a Modi-led government.


Russia, Japan: These two countries will be the most important in the entire world from the perspective of the Modi government. The Modi administration will deepen ties with both: Russia to counterbalance the United States and Japan to counterbalance China. The Modi-led India should also see a huge fillip in trade and economic ties with these two countries.

United States: Modi will go slow with the US and wait for the Americans’ overtures before taking the first step. The US has pursued a policy of denying a visa to Modi over his alleged but unproven involvement in the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, and has foolishly stuck to this policy when the entire West has changed its stance toward Modi. Obama called to say that visa will not be an issue...but it may be too late...YA

Domestic implications

The Indian election results have also come up with three trail-blazing new trends, each one auguring well for the nation of 1.2 billion people.

One: The coalition era that descended on India a quarter century ago is over, as the BJP has crossed the magic number of 272 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha on its own and does not need any allies – pre-poll or post-poll – to run the government. However, it is another question whether Modi, after he takes over as prime minister of India in a few days, will be able to rope in the BJP’s regional allies in his government. The flip side of this is that it does not mean that it is sunset time for regional parties because parties like AIADMK (Tamil Nadu), Trinamool Congress (West Bengal) and Biju Janata Dal (Orissa) have done very well without the support of any party, national or regional.

Two: For the first time, factors like caste, creed, religion and region that have been the bane of Indian politics have been thrown by the wayside. The BJP has posted unprecedented electoral victories in states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar which are notorious for their caste and religion-based politics. Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state in terms of population and number of MPs in the Lok Sabha, is a classic example. BJP nearly swept the state winning 71 out of 80 seats (as against just ten in the last election). The Samajwadi Party (SP) plummeted to just five seats from its previous tally of 23 seats, while the worst fate befell the Bahujan Samaj Party or BSP (previous tally: 20) which drew a blank despite having the third largest vote share. Both the SP and BSP have, for decades, thrived on parochial political considerations, such as caste and appeasement of Muslims.

Three: In Modi, India has seen for the first time the emergence of a single individual, born in the post-independence era, who is today the most powerful man in India despite humble origins. He has single-handedly outstripped the record of the previously best leader the BJP ever produced – former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He is the only prime ministerial candidate in the history of India to have won by a margin of over 570,000 votes. Ironically, Modi, who contested his first Lok Sabha election from two constituencies, posted this feat from Vadodara in his native state of Gujarat, where the BJP won all 26 Lok Sabha seats, but he is likely to resign from this seat and retain the fiercely-contested Varanasi seat, which he won by a margin of just fifty thousand votes.

For the first time in decades, perhaps since the time of the Congress stalwart and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the world will be dealing with a strong leader who has a mind of his own. It will have to be seen whether Modi displays Shinzo Abe’s Abenomics or pursues hard economic decisions like Margaret Thatcher, or shows the gall to take tough strategic decisions like Vladimir Putin.

The writer is a New Delhi-based independent journalist and strategic analyst who tweets @Kishkindha

« Last Edit: May 19, 2014, 07:10:34 PM by ya » Logged
DougMacG
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« Reply #114 on: June 30, 2014, 04:26:21 PM »

Thinking of foreign policy and our headfake pivot to Asia, I have not heard a peep out of this administration in terms of reaching out to the new government in India.  India seems like quite a good natural ally for the United States as a partial balance against unfriendliness coming out of Russia and China .  Are we really in a committed, monogamous and satisfying relationship with Pakistan?  Hasn't that pretty much run its course.  What does Pakistan offer us for the future, compared with India, if we can't work with them both?

YA posted the following regarding Mr. Modi and his relationship with the US: 

"Modi will go slow with the US and wait for the Americans’ overtures before taking the first step. The US has pursued a policy of denying a visa to Modi over his alleged but unproven involvement in the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, and has foolishly stuck to this policy when the entire West has changed its stance toward Modi. Obama called to say that visa will not be an issue...but it may be too late...YA"

Still waiting for those overtures?  Not really.  Unfortunately the US is mostly irrelevant to India. 

A brief lookup on the incident in question:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002_Gujarat_riots
"In 2012, Modi was cleared of complicity in the violence by a Special Investigation Team appointed by the Supreme Court of India."
(A landslide electoral victory in a peaceful country further indicates he is cleared.)

Modi doesn't just harbor some deep, bad feelings toward the US, the new Prime Minister of the world's largest democracy is barred from visiting the US due to a suspected terror/riot incident.  (While Barack Obama is co-authoring books with Bill Ayers and hobnobbing with the PLO and moderate terrorists in Syria.)

While we are doing nothing in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Egypt, Libya and a few other hot spots around the world, and while China is accelerating its militarization and Russia is expanding its territory, you would think that between golf games we might court India a little bit for some future strategic cooperation.  Just a thought. 
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« Reply #115 on: June 30, 2014, 06:49:26 PM »

If we had a president interested in protecting America...
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« Reply #116 on: June 30, 2014, 07:32:45 PM »

I strongly agree that India seems a natural ally to the US in the world today.
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« Reply #117 on: June 30, 2014, 10:56:46 PM »

I strongly agree that India seems a natural ally to the US in the world today.


The ignorant cowboy Bush did a lot of bridge building with India. All that got dropped when the world citizen became president.
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« Reply #118 on: July 01, 2014, 01:31:44 AM »

I remember there was something about us helping them out with nuke tech in a way that was less than 100% IAEA approved or something like that.  What else?
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« Reply #119 on: July 03, 2014, 08:35:24 AM »

I strongly agree that India seems a natural ally to the US in the world today.

If not a State Dinner, you would think our dear leader could meet him somewhere halfway for a breakfast?  While Obama dithers (and golfs), others show interest in good relations with India.

A nice followup on the subject over at The American Interest:

http://www.the-american-interest.com/articles/2014/07/02/narendra-modis-path-forward/
INDIA ASCENDANT?
Narendra Modi’s Path Forward
C. RAJA MOHAN
If Narendra Modi’s landslide victory was in large measure due to the failure of the preceding Singh government, he now faces a big challenge and a huge opportunity. Here’s how he might proceed on both the economic and foreign policy fronts.

Published on July 2, 2014
In the few weeks he has been at India’s helm, after an unexpected landslide victory in the general elections, Narendra Modi has raised hopes around the world, including the United States and China, that Delhi is ready for a productive engagement with its external partners. These expectations are rooted in the nature of the mandate that Modi won, his reputation for economic pragmatism as the chief minister of Gujarat province, which he ran for more than a decade, and the structural opportunities that have long presented themselves to India on the international stage.

Modi’s predecessor, Manmohan Singh, was widely liked and respected abroad as a wise elder statesman. Singh, who had no prior foreign policy experience, instinctively understood the extraordinary opportunities that awaited India after a period of sustained high growth rates from the early 1990s, when he had launched reforms as the finance minister of the nation. His first year as Prime Minister saw the unveiling of a historic civil nuclear initiative and a new framework for defense cooperation with the United States in 2005. Equally significant were an agreement on the principles to settle a boundary dispute with China and a opening up of a back channel negotiation with Pakistan to resolve the intractable problem of Kashmir. In 2005 India joined the newly formed East Asia Summit and began to engage fully with the geopolitics of Asia, from which it had excluded itself for decades.

Singh presided over unprecedented growth rates of close to 9 percent in the middle of the past decade; the rare prospect of improving relations with both China and the United States; the resolution of India’s longstanding territorial disputes; and the reclamation of its role as a major power in Asia. There was a worldwide perception that India’s long-awaited rise was inevitable, and most major nations vied with each other to deepen ties with India.

Tragically, this rare moment in India’s international relations evaporated over the next nine years of Singh’s decade-long tenure as Prime Minister. The lack of economic reforms and the drift toward populism in the earlier years of UPA rule were compounded by the global economic crisis. India’s growth rate soon plunged to five percent and below. The political drift within the government left it unable to advance bilateral relations with major powers, including the United States. Regional initiatives toward Pakistan and China sputtered, and hopes that India would play a larger role in Asia were dampened.

If Modi’s landslide victory was in large measure due to the failure of the Singh government, he now faces a big challenge and a huge opportunity. It is indeed impossible for any leader of a large and diverse country like India to fulfil all the demands that are being made on Modi. On the other hand, the drift under Singh has left much low-hanging fruit for Modi to pluck. Even small steps that restore a sense of political purposefulness in Delhi could significantly improve India’s image and generate much space for the new government to operate on the international stage. Modi’s success in securing an absolute majority for his party after a gap of thirty years has the potential to end the prolonged rule of weak governments in Delhi. If the compulsions of coalition politics limited Delhi’s ability to make bold economic reforms and significant foreign policy initiatives, Modi has the mandate to do both.

On the economic front, Modi appears prepared to bite the bullet. The depth of Modi’s commitment to reform will be visible after his government presents the budget for the year in mid-July. Those in the West looking for wholesale privatisation or dramatic expansion of market access, however, might be disappointed. He will rather attempt to craft a reform agenda that is sustainable in the complex Indian political environment. That agenda will emphasize shoring up India’s economic fundamentals and creating the right environment for investment by domestic and foreign capital.

Modi is perhaps the most business-friendly Prime Minister India has ever had. Yet he will have to fend off the long-entrenched suspicion of the private sector within the political class, including his own party, which is full of nativists and economic populists. Even modest success on the economic front is bound to generate greater space for Modi to improve relations with India’s immediate neighbours, narrow the growing strategic gap with China, and make Delhi an important player in shaping the balance of power in Asia, the Indian Ocean, and beyond.

Modi’s unabashed celebration of India’s cultural nationalism and his reputation as a Hindu nationalist and Pakistan-basher, however, had raised concerns at home and abroad, especially in the West, that he might adopt a tough and muscular approach toward Islamabad and precipitate a military crisis. In power, though, Modi took a very different tack. He invited the leaders of the seven South Asian neighbors, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, to participate in his swearing-in ceremony. That all of them accepted and came on very short notice underlined the fact that India’s neighbours have long been waiting for a credible interlocutor in Delhi. Although the talks between Modi and Sharif were positive and the two sides have agreed to resume their dialogue, few expect a breakthrough. Many agreements have been negotiated but not implemented under the UPA government. These include pacts on normalization of trade relations and visa liberalization. Among other possibilities discussed were the export of electricity and diesel from India to Pakistan. If there is no major terror incident in India emanating from across the border in Pakistan, and if Sharif’s powerful army allows him to move forward, a positive phase in bilateral relations might be at hand. But these are big “ifs.”

Beyond Pakistan, Modi appears to be keen to reclaim India’s primacy in the Subcontinent. China’s emergence as the principal external player in the Subcontinent has raised concerns in the Indian strategic community. This in turn demands that India resolve disputes with its neighbors and deepen economic integration under the aegis of Delhi. There is some recognition of the latter in the Modi government’s emphasis on strengthening the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation, the main regional forum. Modi has also underlined the emphasis on neighborhood diplomacy by making tiny Bhutan his first foreign destination. His Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj, chose Bangladesh for her first trip abroad. Delhi’s effort to deepen ties with the neighbours over the past few years was stymied in part by opposition from provinces, such as those bordering Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The strategic community in Delhi has agonized over the federalization of Indian foreign policy, and Modi’s strong mandate promises to reverse this unfortunate tendency. While affirming Delhi’s prerogative to conduct foreign policy, Modi has promised to expand consultations with the state chief ministers and make them partners in crafting national policies. While creating more political space at home for dealing with the neighbors, Modi is expected to press them hard to show greater respect for India’s regional interests. In any case, a vigorous South Asian policy has become central to the principal strategic challenge that India faces—the rise of its giant neighbour to the North.

China’s emergence as a great power has also presented an opportunity for India in East and South East Asia. China’s growing assertiveness in its Asian territorial disputes has led many of Beijing’s neighbours to seek stronger strategic partnerships with India as part of an effort to maintain an effective balance of power in the region. One of the first foreign destinations for Modi outside of the Subcontinent will be Tokyo, where Shinzo Abe is enthusiastic about building a stronger economic and strategic partnership with Delhi. Many ASEAN nations that have been disappointed by Delhi’s inability to carve out a larger role in Asia would be pleased if Modi pursued a more vigorous diplomatic and security engagement with the region. Already, he explicitly has underlined the importance of stronger defense ties with the smaller countries of Asia and the Indian Ocean. Given his party’s strong commitment to national defense, Modi is expected to raise India’s defense spending, which had fallen below 2 percent of GDP; accelerate weapons procurement, which had stalled under the previous government; facilitate foreign direct investment in the expansion of India’s domestic defense industrial base; and step up arms exports.

China also emerges as an important factor in India’s relations with the United States as Washington copes with the rapidly changing balance of power in Asia. China, locked in a confrontation in East Asia, has been sending positive signals to India. Well before the West had taken notice of Modi, China found him a valuable economic partner in Gujarat; it laid out the red carpet for him when he travelled to Beijing some years ago. At the same time, Modi would not downplay the security threats from China. During the election campaign, Modi visited the northeastern frontier claimed by China and denounced Beijing’s “expansionist mindset.”

In power, then, Modi is outlining a twin track policy toward China. He has proclaimed a strong interest in expanding economic cooperation with China; he has agreed, for example, to set up industrial parks for Chinese investments, which would also hopefully address the problem of the expanding trade deficit with Beijing. On the security front, he is actively clearing the way for long-delayed projects to modernize the Indian military and to improve Delhi’s defenses on the disputed frontier with China. He is also reminding Beijing that he has the requisite domestic political strength to negotiate a boundary settlement with China.

As a realist, too, Modi is quite conscious of the fact that India needs a strong partnership with the United States to successfully pursue India’s economic and foreign policy interests, including the challenge of balancing China. Given that he has been denied a U.S. visa since 2005, under unproven charges that he did not do enough to stop the anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat during 2002, there is much discomfort between Modi and Washington. During the campaign, Modi had repeatedly stated that his personal issues with Washington would not be allowed to affect India’s important relationship with the United States. Overruling the widespread sentiment within his party and the strategic community that he should not travel to Washington without a formal apology from the United States on the visa issue, Modi quickly accepted an invitation from the Obama Administration for a White House meeting in September.

For his part, Modi is eager to put the past behind him and seek a productive relationship with the United States. But the Obama Administration has much work to do. For one, Washington must demonstrate genuine political warmth to Modi and assuage the deep, personal hurt on the visa issue. For another, Washington will have to recognize that India is on the cusp of significant internal change and must be prepared to make the best of it.

Modi’s arrival allows the two states to make a fresh start, to overcome the accumulated frustrations of the last few years and lay out a bold agenda for bilateral cooperation. The premises of 2005, when India and the United States took big steps toward a strategic partnership, continue to hold. A strong India makes it easier for Washington to sustain a balance of power in Asia that is favorable for America. Delhi, on the other hand, needs the full support of the United States to emerge as a great power on the world stage. A decade later, thanks to the relative weakening of both United States and India in relation to China, Washington and Delhi need each other more than ever before.

C. Raja Mohan is a distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in Delhi and the foreign affairs columnist for the Indian Express. He is a non-resident senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a visiting professor at the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore. He is on the editorial board of The American Interest.
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« Reply #120 on: August 12, 2014, 06:56:36 PM »

 

    
Modi Condemns Pakistan's 'Proxy War'; Police Officer Deaths Rise in Karachi; Afghan Taliban Kill 20 Civilians Over Tax
 
   

 
India

PM Modi visits Kargil; condemns Pakistan's proxy war

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Kargil and Leh in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) on Tuesday, his second visit to J&K in two months (Indian Express, NDTV, Hindustan Times). While addressing troops of the Indian Army and the Air Force in Leh, Modi strongly condemned Pakistan, and said the neighboring country "has lost the strength to fight a conventional war, but continues to engage in the proxy war of terrorism."

Dressed in traditional Ladakhi clothes, Modi said in Leh: "There was a time when Prime Ministers never visited this state. I have come here two times already, your love has drawn me here." Modi said further that his three-pronged development plan for the region was about three P's: "Prakash (electricity), Paryavaran (environment), and Paryatan (tourism)."

As the first Indian prime minister to visit the volatile Kargil region since the war in 1999, Modi inaugurated a 44-megawatt Chutak power station in Kargil and promised industrial development of the area. Modi also praised the locals and said: "The people of Kargil are very patriotic and it is inspiring for the entire country." The Kargil war in 1999 was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan, which began after Pakistani soldiers infiltrated the Indian side of the LoC, a military boundary between the Indian and Pakistani-controlled parts of Kashmir. Although New Delhi and Islamabad agreed to a truce in 2003, ceasefire violations have continued across the borders.

Sonia Gandhi: increase in communal violence under Modi

In strong criticism of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said on Tuesday that there had been an increase in communal violence in the country since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in May (Hindustan Times, IBNLive). While addressing Congress leaders in the southern state of Kerala, Gandhi said further that the BJP government's main agenda was to divide the people. Gandhi said: "During UPA [United Progressive Alliance] 1 and 2, there were hardly such instances. But in a very short span we have had nothing less than 600 incidents of communal violence in UP [Uttar Pradesh] and perhaps as many in Maharashtra. Why suddenly all these communal instances after the BJP came to power? These instances are deliberately created to divide our society on religious lines. We must condemn this."

Gandhi also criticized the Modi government for not expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people over Israel's assault on Gaza, and said: "this has muted the country's response to the suffering people and betrayed its long tradition of solidarity with the people in Palestine and the vision of two states existing side-by-side in peace and harmony." Last week, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi had demanded a discussion over the communal violence in Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament).

Indian minister claims Yale 'degree;' creates twitter storm

Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani said her statement regarding her participation at Yale University's leadership program had been "misconstrued" on Monday, a day after claiming she had a "degree from Yale University" (Washington Post, Indian Express, NDTV, Economic Times). Irani tweeted on Monday: "Unfortunate that the statement re my participation in a leadership programme and certificate thereafter was misconstrued." At an event on Saturday Irani had said: "In that kitty of mine where people call me 'anpadh' (illiterate) I do have a degree from Yale University as well which I can bring out and show how Yale celebrated my leadership capacities."

Irani, the youngest cabinet minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, has been criticized for being the education minister even though she does not have a college degree. Irani has had to defend her academic background ever since she took office in May because of contradictory declarations about her education qualifications in her election affidavits in 2004 and 2014.

?Despite her clarification on Monday, Irani's statement created a storm on twitter. Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeted: "And our HRD minister forgot to mention her Yale degree in her affidavit this time. But all her affidavits have had different degrees, sigh." A post from "God" retweeted several times said: "Congratulations to Smriti Irani on Graduating from Yale in the exact same amount of time it took Me to Create the World." Another post said: "2 more days at Yale, You could've been Dr. Smriti Irani Tongue."

-- Neeli Shah and Jameel Khan

Pakistan

Police officer killings in Karachi on the rise

The New York Times' Zia ur-Rehman and Declan Walsh reported on Monday that Karachi's police force, which recently logged its 102nd officer death, is on track to exceed the 2013 death toll of 166 police deaths (NYT). They attribute many of the deaths to a growing Taliban presence in the city and Pakistani officials say that the guerilla war that was once fought only in northwestern Pakistan is now seeping into Karachi. "It's a very serious threat," said Ghulam Qadir Thebo, the Karachi police chief. "The Taliban are well trained and well organized, with a network that is linked to global jihad."

Stock market drops

On Tuesday, Pakistani stocks rose above 350 points to settle at the Karach Stock Exchange (KSE) benchmark 100-share index at 28, 425 (Dawn). Earlier that same day, stocks fell over 450 points in the first twelve minutes of the morning trading session.  The market suffered its largest ever drop in a single day in share prices on Monday, as investors panicked about the political marches by Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri on Islamabad planned for August 14.

Will Pakistan censor the kiss?

Pakistan's sweetheart (and most highly paid actress) Humaima Malik, worries that her native country won't be very receptive to her latest on-screen romance (BBC). Starring in her first Bollywood role, she will be seen on screen locking lips with Indian co-star Emraan Hashmi (who is known as the 'serial kisser' in Bollywood)(NDTV). Until recently, all kisses were censored in Pakistani cinema, but the fact that the object of her affection is Indian adds to the shock value. Many Pakistani actresses who have sought fame in Bollywood have seen backlash at home in conservative Pakistan.

Afghanistan

Afghan Taliban kill civilians over 'war tax'

Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, Kundex police spokesman, said that Taliban militants killed 20 civilians who refused to pay a "war tax" in northern Kunduz province on August 11 (RFE/RL). The Taliban shot and wounded 10 others for refusing to pay that same day. According to a Defense Ministry statement, government troops launched military operations against militants across the country on Monday and Hussaini said 16 militants were killed in these operations.

Attack kills NATO soldier

A NATO service member died in an attack in eastern Afghanistan while a roadside bombing killed three Afghan policemen in the south on Tuesday, Afghanistan officials said (AP). The U.S.-led military alliance gave no further details about the death of the service member, but the death brings the number of NATO service members who have died in Afghanistan so far this year to 51, including 38 Americans.

-- Emily Schneider

Edited by Peter Bergen

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« Reply #121 on: September 03, 2014, 10:49:51 PM »

Hat tip to our YA:


Looks like AQ is feeling envious of ISIS, what with all the beheadings...
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Al-Qaida-announces-India-wing-renews-loyalty-to-Taliban-chief/articleshow/41640746.cms

This branch of AQ will be for south asia...
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« Reply #122 on: September 06, 2014, 01:39:09 AM »

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/09/05/kashmir_afghanistan_pakistan_terrorism
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« Reply #123 on: September 11, 2014, 09:18:22 PM »


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Beijing Takes a New Approach to South Asia
Geopolitical Diary
Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 18:07 Text Size Print

China is beginning to view South Asia in a different light as the region becomes more economically and strategically valuable to Beijing. From Sept. 14 to Sept. 19, Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit the Maldives, Sri Lanka and India after a stop in Tajikistan. This will make Xi the first Chinese president to visit the two island nations in nearly 30 years. Moreover, Xi's visit to India will be the first official visit between the two continental giants since Narendra Modi's government took office in May.
Interpreting China in South Asia

To some extent, the implications of China's presence in South Asia have often been outweighed by discussions of China's strategic intent, particularly regarding India. Geopolitical principles provided the explanation for these concerns, given the historical, economic and political proximity of South Asia's smaller nations to India, and given the rivalry between India and China, from disputes over their 4,000-kilometer (about 2,500 miles) land border and maritime boundaries to their competition over resources and energy. There is also Beijing's "iron" political and military relationship with Islamabad and New Delhi's ongoing search for bilateral and multilateral defense and strategic alignment with Japan, Vietnam and others, with an eye on China.

India's relative geographic isolation -- ringed by oceans and the Himalayas -- and its decadeslong foreign policy focus on its South Asian neighbors enabled China to continue to expand in its periphery, from Central Asia to Southeast Asia, with little meaningful interference from New Delhi. Despite India's allowances, however, China's South Asia strategy often lacked integral focus and remained a low priority.

Stretching along China's most restive areas, South Asia hosts the largest number of China's land neighbors and numerous important emerging economies. Yet, perhaps with the exception of Pakistan, high-level diplomatic exchanges have been rare in recent decades. Aside from a few eye-catching infrastructure projects -- especially the deep-water port facilities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and some transport construction in individual countries -- China's investments in South Asia are far smaller than its investment portfolios in North America, Southeast Asia and, to a lesser extent, Africa.

The reasons for this are manifold. Before India began projecting power outside the region, South Asia was little more than the space between the Middle East's rich energy assets and the economic and manufacturing powers in East Asia. The region was constantly marred by political instability and internal chaos, and its limited strategic importance kept it low on China's priority list. Without substantial amounts of energy and resources -- two key priorities in China's strategy to fuel its export powerhouse -- the region is more of a long-term, gradual strategic matter than one of immediate significance. Additionally, more coherent relations with South Asian nations were often complicated by the distrust and rivalry between Beijing and New Delhi.
China's Strategic Needs

India's increasing economic heft, along with the integration of peripheral states such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka into the global manufacturing supply chain, could change China's assessment of the region. This change comes alongside Beijing's domestic economic and strategic recalculations and the shifting perception of its global position.

In recent years, Beijing has been attempting to chip away at the low-end exports economic model and move toward higher value-added manufacturing. It has pushed aggressively to expand China's global market share in strategic industries such as automobiles, electronics and telecommunications. It has provided options for cash-strapped South Asian states seeking alternative sources of capital, trade and technology while adding to their new manufacturing base.

Xi's visit to India will bring $7 billion of investment into two industrial parks in Maharashtra and Gujarat focusing on automobiles and electricity, in addition to trade and investment agreements for pharmaceuticals and information technology services, among others. New Delhi hoped that the investment would offset its trade deficit and help India emulate its neighbor's success as a manufacturing powerhouse. Likewise, China will finalize a free trade agreement with Sri Lanka, giving Colombo free access to China's vast market. The deal will help Sri Lanka capitalize on its shift to low-end manufacturing, especially in its garment industry. The Maldives and China will sign a series of cooperation agreements ranging from tourism to trade and infrastructure construction. In short, while the South Asian nations still have a way to go to show they are viable investment destinations, and although they remain a relatively low priority for China, the region's sizable and expanding consumer market is something that Chinese investors could not neglect.

What is a Geopolitical Diary? George Friedman Explains.

Amid Beijing's global push, China increasingly perceives South Asia as an important component of its more comprehensive, integrated overland corridor across the Eurasian land mass that will include roads, expressways and potentially railway projects. Thus, South Asia will become more important as China pays more attention to its own underdeveloped interior regions and as Beijing's need to hedge against security risks and supply disruptions off its coast grows.

Beijing has begun shifting from its focus on individual countries in South Asia and is starting to view the region as a more integrated economic and strategic entity. A series of initiatives has been launched accordingly, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor, subcomponents of Beijing's envisioned Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road.

The centerpiece of Beijing's strategy is a more cordial relationship with New Delhi. Xi's visit will include a few landmark agreements that will allow China to assist with India's outdated railway system and potentially allow for an overland connection in the region. On many other fronts, although their competition endures, Beijing and New Delhi have appeared ready to move beyond decades of icy relations.

Notably, Xi's visit to South Asia followed a last-minute postponement of a trip to Pakistan, where domestic instability could delay $34 billion in much-needed investment deals for coal power, railways and road infrastructure. This is not to suggest that Sino-Pakistani relations are facing any challenges. Beijing simply seems to be signaling that its strong relationship with Islamabad will no longer override its desire to pursue more balanced connections in South Asia.

Read more: Beijing Takes a New Approach to South Asia | Stratfor
Follow us: @stratfor on Twitter | Stratfor on Facebook
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