Monday, November 13, 2017

Is US Playing the "India Card" Against China With "Indo-Pacific Quad"?

Has Asia-Pacific become Indo-Pacific? Is George W. Bush's Quad back again? Is this Trump's version of Obama's Pivot to Asia? Let's examine what happened during President Donald Trump's recent Asia Trip.

Obama's Pivot to Asia:

President Barack Obama's Pivot to Asia initiative and his efforts to create Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) seemed to have been all but abandoned by President Donald Trump after his inauguration in January 2017. This is part of a pattern of Mr. Trump's campaign to erase the Obama legacy and put his own stamp on all things American. However, it now appears that the Obama legacy is being repackaged by the Trump administration under new names such as "Quad" in "Indo-Pacific" region. Its aim remains the same: To check China's rise.

Trump's Quad in Indo-Pacific:

In a speech to business leaders during his visit to Vietnam, President Trump repeatedly called for a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” describing a region where independent nations could “thrive in freedom and peace” and all states “play by the rules.” Without naming China as the target, Trump also used the phrase repeatedly at the start of a meeting Monday in the Philippines with President Rodrigo Duterte, according to Bloomberg.    Trump also met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Manila and called him a friend and a “great gentleman.”

Trump's Asia trip also saw the revival of a decade-old but short-lived partnership of four maritime nations (Australia, India, Japan and the United States) worried about China’s rising influence in the region now being described as "Indo-Pacific" rather than its usual moniker of Asia-Pacific.  Senior officials from the four countries met in Manila for the first such meeting since the George W. Bush administration, focused on regional issues including North Korea but topped with China-related concerns.

US-India Anti-China Military Alliance?

To some observers, the "Quad" appears to be a throwback to the Cold War era in which the United States wants to use Narendra Modi as a willing ally to check China's rise. They cite lack of confidence in the current American leadership under Trump to follow through on any international or bilateral commitments.

While the US seeks to use India against China, the Indians remain obsessed with Pakistan. They talk about the lack of American concern for India's interests in South Asia and the Middle East. Writing for The Wire, Indian analyst Manoj Joshi complains that "there is no reciprocal US commitment to issues of Indian concern relating to Pakistan and the dangers arising out of the highly volatile environment in the Persian Gulf area which the US has helped create".

India's Pakistan Obsession:

It seems to me that the US policymakers don't fully appreciate the Kautilya doctrine that says "your neighbor is your enemy and your neighbor's neighbor is your friend".

The foreign policy doctrine enunciated by Kautilya, the ancient Indian Machiavelli, continues to guide India's foreign policy vis-a-vis its neighbors, particularly Pakistan. Kautilya's Rajamdala (Circle of States) theory can be seen in action today in India's use of Afghanistan against Pakistan. Unfortunately, the Pakistan phobia in India is so deeply ingrained that the Indian policy vis-a-vis Pakistan is not likely to change in the foreseeable future.


President Donald Trump has repeatedly talked about the "Indo-Pacific" region in an obvious attempt to sign up Delhi to counter Beijing in Asia.  However, the Indians remain obsessed with enlisting the Americans to hurt Pakistan. The Trump administration is willing to engage in anti-Pakistan rhetoric but it is not going to act against Pakistan as long as Afghanistan remains important to the US interests. This is where their interest diverge now and likely to remain so at least in the foreseeable future.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Why is India Sponsoring Terrorism in Pakistan?

Ex-Indian Spy Documents RAW's Successes in Pakistan

Post Cold War Line-up: Pakistan-Russia-China vs India-Japan-US

Ex RAW Chief AS Dulat Blames Advani For Agra Summit Failure

Pakistan ISI: Afghanistan's Bogeyman

Trump's Anti-Pakistan Rhetoric

Counter-insurgencyOperation ZarbeAzb

India's Abiding Hostility Toward Pakistan 

India's Israel Envy: Will Modi Attack Pakistan?

India's Pakistan Phobia


Chen said...

In international relationship, India remains a card, not a player. And it's a relatively weak and unstable card.

Singh said...

I would have preferred India to be friends with China rather than US,that that is clearly not possible due to nuclear proliferation by China to its 2 client states

Ali I. said...

Not surprising. Use India as a pawn against China.

Anonymous said...

In 60s ZAB wrote "it is the hatered of Pakistan that has kept India united".

So, Pakistan is not India's obsession but requirement for its existence.


Nitin B said...

Then the answer is simple. Give up this Kashmir nonsense and be friends with India ceding whatever is necessary. India will then break up and you can snatch Kashmir and more!

Anonymous said...

NBRX wrote "Then the answer is simple. Give up this Kashmir nonsense and be friends with India ceding whatever is necessary. India will then break up and you can snatch Kashmir and more!"

It takes two to tango, first of all India will never solve all problems and even if all problems with Pakistan are resolved then India will create a new boogy man (China?) to keep the population terrified and united.

Artificial nations (like India) exist on external enemies.

G. Ali

Anonymous said...

How is India an artificial nation but not Pakistan?

Btw all nations need credible external enemies to maintain focus.The quality of US leadership has fallen of a cliff ever since the USSR collapsed.

Reagan,Kennedy,Eisenhower...vs Clnton,Bush Jr. and now The Donald!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said
"How is India an artificial nation but not Pakistan?"

Just check the history of India. Never before the British united it were Kashmir to Kanya Kumari were ruled by one ruler, it was British who united sub continent. As Dr. Lee Kyan Yew said that India was not even a real country, merely “32 separate nations that happen to be arrayed along a British rail line”.

On the other hand there is Pakistan. If there is a nation whose nationhood is justified, it is Pakistan, where around 90% people voted for it's creation.

I am not sure if US needs enemies. It is easier to sell McDs and iPhones to friends and partners than to enemies and rivals.

G. Ali

Nitin B said...

UK is artificial. USA is articial so is South Africa. In fact most countries. Maybe Pakistan creation was divine!


made or produced by human beings rather than occurring naturally, typically as a copy of something natural.

Anonymous said...

NBRX said... "UK is artificial. USA is articial so is South Africa. In fact most countries...."

We are not talking about US/UK/South Africa or for that matter about Mars or Jupiter, so who cares. We are talking about South Asia, so stay with it.

Typical Indian, can't argue with facts so bring in grandmothers shoe size into the discussion.

G. Ali

Riaz Haq said...

Here's India's Hindu Nationalist loving Tarek Fateh calling for dissolution of India into multiple nations

"India, the whole sub-continent, you see it was never been one country....even during the British, India has not been one country under Ashoka, not even under Aurangzeb

The future that I see, if I had my dreams come true, something like Europe, the entities that exist are Bengal. Punjab with no borders, common currency,

there's more in common between someone in Lahore and Delhi than between someone between Delhi and Madras.

Break-up of India, that's my analysis of what will happen in the future, if it's ever dissolved voluntarily, would be best thing to happen to India, like Europe has.

Anonymous said...

Riaz Haq,

You have restored my faith in humanity, Tariq Fateh saying something intellegent, wow? This was probably before he was invited to become an RSS stooge.

Some seventy years ago Dr. Ambedkar wrote a book "Pakistan or division of India", he mentioned that for seventy years there is an argument going on between the anglos and Hindus about weather or not India is a nation. He wrote that when Hindus are told that India is not a nation, they feel like some one has taken off their cloths in public. Remember the book was written in 1940s, so for some 140 years they have been told that India is a nation, now the myth has become a reality for them.

G. Ali

Truth Seeker said...

In terms of countries that have ceased to exist, isn't Pakistan of 1947, since 1971, ceased to exist technically speaking?

SYJ said...

As a American and a long term US Embassy worker in India but now retired I see many parallels to the US. India is going through growing pains of a maturing democracy not unlike the race relations in the US. I see a Indian "glue" that is getting stickier and stickier on its own notwithstanding problems - like race issues in the US.

It is a definite positive for the world as a whole. Problems will arise but it is the capacity to resolve and that is sticky glue.
All the best!

Riaz Haq said...

SYJ: " I see a Indian "glue" that is getting stickier and stickier on its own notwithstanding problems - like race issues in the US."

I'm afraid the "glue" holding India together is under threat with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its top leader. Modi is a highly divisive figure like the current US President Donald Trump. The two have a lot in common.

Riaz Haq said...

Truth Seeker: "In terms of countries that have ceased to exist, isn't Pakistan of 1947, since 1971, ceased to exist technically speaking?"

A country like Pakistan is not defined by geography alone.

Pakistan is not one or two's much more complex as explained by Christophe Jaffrelot in his book "The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience".

Political, military, religious, ethnic, sectarian, secular, conservative and liberal forces are constantly pushing and pulling to destabilize it but Pakistan remains resilient with its strong nationalism that has evolved after 1971.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan will always be important for #US, say experts at a conference in #India. #Trump #China #Afghanistan | Business Line …

Pakistan will always be important to the US in its strategy towards containing Taliban and other terrorist organisations in Afghanistan even as India will continue to play a crucial role in balancing the geopolitical changes in the region, say experts.

“The US policy toward South Asia is not new, but a tweaking of the earlier policy … And India’s relationship with China and Pakistan should not worsen because we think the Americans are on our side,” said former diplomat KC Singh at an event – The New US Policy toward South Asia: Implications for the Region – organised by Chaophraya Dialogue: India Chapter here on Tuesday.

Ambassador Singh said India should be very careful in coming under US’ radar when it comes to their strategy for Asia Pacific or offshore balancing.

“India will have to function within a shadow play in the bipolar world,” he added.

Within nine months into the Presidency, Donald Trump announced his much-awaited South Asia policy in August this year. While not deviating much from what his predecessor Barack Obama did with Afghanistan to promote the war on terror there, President Trump vowed to keep American boots on Afghan soil.

One of the main reasons, why President Trump did this was to ensure that withdrawal of international troops from there should provide an opportunity to terrorist organisations like Al-Qaeda, ISIS or Daesh, Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT) to make a comeback again into mainstream politics.

“India has welcomed Trump’s South Asia policy because it clearly mentions Pakistan as a safe haven for terrorists. America’s only objective is to get rid of the safe havens for terrorist organisations and preventing the nuclear armaments to come into the hands of terrorists,” said Gulshan Sachdeva, professor at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

He also believes that in return of India endorsing US’ South Asia policy, it can be asked of other things by America in terms of promoting trade and connectivity with war-torn Afghanistan.

Riaz Haq said...

#America's #Indo-#Pacific strategy costs #India development opportunity - Global Times. #China #BRI #CPEC #Trump #2Plus2 #Pakistan

India is eager for development, but the US is not the one that can provide New Delhi with the atmosphere that its development needs. The decision of the US administration to postpone the US-India "2+2 dialogue", scheduled for July 6, is a disappointment to India, and the second such time that this supposedly important dialogue between the two countries' foreign and defense ministers has been postponed.

Indian media speculated that the latest postponement was due to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to North Korea to discuss denuclearization plans. Divergences over other issues between the US and India were also cited as a possible reason.

The US has been generous about its fondness for India in rhetoric. But whether the fondness is what Indians need the most, or if the value is worth the price, remains undetermined.

Of course, the United States and India do have common interests. Otherwise, there would be no Indo-Pacific strategy at all. However, any benefits from this strategy may be greatly outweighed by the costs to India.

The subtext of this strategy of the United States is that it hopes India can play an essential role in balancing the rise of China. Does India really want to play the role that the US expects? Don't forget that this strategy has a strong military stance against China. At the very least, it is re-dividing Asia-Pacific with Cold War thinking.

It is understandable that India wants to keep its sphere of influence as an emerging power, but this shouldn't come at the cost of its domestic development. Indulging in the game of military balance will only consume India's strength.

India needs to be aware that without paying heed to Indian concerns, the US' strategy is hampering, not aiding, India's domestic development. Rather than falling victim to the US' purpose of containing China's rise, it is better for India to look to China for ways of self-development. What India can learn from China is that its ability to stand on its own feet will determine its place in Asia and the world.

India is currently at a critical juncture in its development. Can India's economy achieve greater development in the next five to 10 years? The number one challenge is how India can lay the foundation for manufacturing and infrastructure to fully enter the global production chain.

From this perspective, it is China, not the United States, that can provide more support and knowledge to India. If India follows the US strategy step by step, it will lose future opportunities to cooperate with China and many other neighboring countries. India should be able to understand the situation.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Michael Lewis, author of "The Fifth Risk" on a potential threat that could destroy US credit and its economy:

"Assuming Donald Trump remains president for a while, I think there's at least the possibility of the risk that he will try to default on the American debt selectively. Like, he'll say, the Chinese are trying to sell their treasury bonds, and it's causing disruption in the treasury bond market; they stole all that money in the first place from us; we're not going to pay the Chinese back."

Michael Lewis, welcome back to FRESH AIR. Explain what "The Fifth Risk" is.

MICHAEL LEWIS: Short answer is it's the risk that you fail to imagine. It's while you're worried about what you're worried about, it's the thing that's actually going to come and kill you. And the longer answer is, when I'm working on this book about the federal government under Trump, I come to see the federal government as really a portfolio of risks that are being managed.

And as I'm wandering around the federal government trying to figure out what these risks are, over and over again when I'm asking people in the Energy Department or the Agriculture Department or even the White House to name kind of the top risks on the tip of their minds, they all come up with kind of three or four, and then they can't think of the fifth. So I thought that's the moment where the mind fails to imagine what it needs to imagine.

GROSS: Since your book is about the federal government under Trump, focusing on the energy, agriculture and commerce departments, why did you name it "The Fifth Risk" now that you've explained with "The Fifth Risk" means?

LEWIS: Well, it was a response to what I'd found about how the Trump administration had gone about taking over the federal government. What kind of lights a fire under me is when I discovered that the Obama administration had spent the better part of a year and thousands of people's lives preparing essentially the best course that had ever been created in how to run the federal government or what was going on inside the federal government and that this course was meant to be delivered to whoever won the election the day after the election - starting the day after the election.

And they were expecting hundreds of people to roll in to receive these briefings, and nobody showed up. Nobody - in many cases, when I go get these briefings, I'm the first person to have got them. And I thought, well, this enterprise that's managing all these risks it imagines but we as a society don't spend much time thinking about. It's being neglected, ignored and is operating on the basis of ignorance. So I thought, what happens when you do that across a big portfolio of risks like the federal government runs? And what happens is you amplify the risks. You increase the probability of these risks actually causing problems.

GROSS: So you write about three different departments - energy, agriculture and commerce. In all three or at least in two of the three, data has been removed, and the public can no longer access it. Can you give us some examples across the agencies of data that's been removed?

LEWIS: Yeah, so this is a theme. You know, trying to - wants to tease out some of the themes of the Trump administration. And one of the themes is it's going dark, or it's got a very loose or sometimes hostile attitude towards the data the government is supposed to collect and make available. Just a couple of the examples - in all three agencies, anything having to do with climate was removed. And then in several cases, it was kind of odd removal of data.

Riaz Haq said...

The United States, Britain, and Australia have announced what is in effect a new “Anglo” military alliance.

The French response has been apoplectic. The country’s minister of European and foreign affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, called the decision a “knife in the back.” Benjamin Haddad, from the Atlantic Council, in Washington, said it had set relations between the U.S. and France back to their lowest point since the Iraq War. Bruno Tertrais, of France’s Foundation for Strategic Research think tank went even further, calling it a “Trafalgar strike.”

Yet behind the soap opera of French anger and the quiet crowing of les perfides anglo-saxons, sits something much more important: the faint outlines of a new world order, or at least an attempt to start drawing one.


Indeed, in one reading, the formation of an AUKUS military alliance has a sense of deep continuity. As Biden pointed out, the three nations have fought together for most of the past 100 years and are core members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, alongside Canada and New Zealand. For France, in particular, the announcement only reinforces its belief in the difference between Europe and the Anglo-Saxon world. So much, so similar. (A senior Biden-administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said last night that Britain and Australia were America’s “oldest allies.” That might be news to France, which was allied to the nascent U.S. as it fought for independence from … Britain.)

But to view the emergence of AUKUS as a sign of continuity—as its architects have presented it—is to miss the point. Although Biden twice name-checked France in his remarks last night, the country on his mind was the one not mentioned at all: China.

The senior administration official said the alliance was designed to strengthen capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region by anchoring Britain “more closely with our strategic pursuits in the region as a whole.” But what is Biden’s strategic pursuit?

In his statement last night, Biden, while far from being particularly eloquent, set out a vision for a “free and open Indo-Pacific”—in other words, one free of Chinese domination. According to a U.K. official I spoke with, this concept first emerged in Japan and has since been adopted by Australia, another Pacific power that has felt pressure from Beijing. It also fits in with Britain’s own stated pursuit of a peaceful and open international order, as set out in its strategic review this year, which is the centerpiece of Johnson’s foreign-policy vision. China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, said the move “seriously undermines regional peace and stability,” and the country’s embassy in Washington accused Britain, Australia, and the U.S. of having a “Cold War mentality.”


Biden and Johnson see a world of multiple and complementary alliances. Biden, for example, spoke of “the quad” in his statement, the informal grouping of the U.S., Japan, India, and Australia that is another pillar of Washington’s Chinese-containment policy. This marks a contrast to the 20th-century world, one which centered on a continent-wide military alliance to contain America’s then–rival superpower and a globe-spanning trade body. Johnson sees the emergence of today’s world, more ad hoc and nimble, as perfect for post-Brexit Britain, which has—in his mind—unshackled itself from the permanence and inflexibility of the European Union to enter a more “dynamic” world where Britain can react quickly to events, signing up to new alliances such as AUKUS based on its own national interests. (Critics would, of course, point out that EU membership and global alliances are not mutually exclusive—see France.)

Riaz Haq said...

#China & #Pakistan launch #naval drills to counter #US Indo-Pacific strategy. Focus is on attacking maritime targets, tactical maneuvers, anti-#submarine warfare, reinforcing damaged #ships, anti-#aircraft & anti-#missile operations & replenishment at #sea

The Indian Ocean is a vital trading hub, and 80 per cent of China’s oil imports come through the Malacca Strait, the ocean’s busiest “choke point”.


Lin Minwang, a professor of South Asian studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, said the exercise would help China to expand its engagement in the Indian Ocean and counter US efforts to advance its Indo-Pacific strategy, which emphasises India’s “continued rise” and leadership in the region.
“The strengthening of maritime security between India and the United States has led to China’s greater engagement in the Indian Ocean.”
China must strengthen naval cooperation with countries in the region, including Pakistan, Iran, and Middle Eastern countries, Lin said.


The maritime exercise – the second in the ‘Sea Guardians’ series – will allow Pakistan to test Chinese-made warships
The drills coincide with US-led Rimpac, which has excluded China since 2018

China and Pakistan have launched a joint naval exercise in Shanghai, with an eye on countering the US Indo-Pacific strategy and responding to security threats in the Indian Ocean.

The four-day “Sea Guardians – 2” maritime exercise, jointly held by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy and Pakistan Navy, started at the Wusong military port, state news agency Xinhua reported.

The exercise aims to advance the strategic partnership between China and Pakistan and improve their joint response to maritime security threats, according to Xinhua.

This is the second time China and Pakistan have held a “Sea Guardians” joint maritime exercise. The first was held in January 2020 in the northern Arabian Sea.


To counter India, it is important for Pakistan to improve its navy by acquiring advanced equipment from Beijing and enhancing its capabilities through these drills, according to Lin.
The drills coincide with the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (Rimpac), a US-led multinational naval exercise joined by 25 other nations. The exercise began in Hawaii in late June and will last until August.
China took part in Rimpac in 2014 and 2016, but was not invited in 2018 or subsequent years as US-China relations worsened under the administration of former US president Donald Trump.


The Pakistan Navy sent the PNS Taimur – the second of four powerful Type 054A/P frigates built by China – to take part in the exercise. The ship was delivered to the Pakistan Navy in Shanghai on June 23. The first of the frigates, the PNS Tughril, joined the Pakistan Navy fleet in January.
The Chinese vessels and aircraft taking part in the exercise are mainly from the PLA Eastern Theatre Command. They include the guided-missile frigates Xiangtan and Shuozhou, supply ship Qiandaohu, a submarine, an early warning aircraft, two fighter jets and one helicopter.

Riaz Haq said...

Why Are #Indians So Obsessed With #Pakistan? Perhaps because they have been fed an anti-Pakistani and #Islamophobic narrative by their right-wing #Modi government? #Hindutva #BJP #Islamophobia_in_india #Muslim #MsMarvel #Pakistani-#American via @tft_

Young Indians have been incensed that Marvel featured a Pakistani Muslim character. Perhaps they wanted an Indian Marvel hero? Or, because they have been fed an anti-Pakistani and Islamophobic narrative by their right-wing government? What if… these trolls on both sides of the border can be reasoned with

Generally, Pakistanis mind their own business and focus on their own issues of which there is no dearth. It is a poor country, one-seventh the size of India, with much smaller economic and financial resources. Yet, many have noted time and again how Indian trolls flood Pakistani sites to provide their unsolicited two cents on the latest Pakistani news along with their contempt that is projected by branding Pakistan as a “beggar nation” or as a “failed state”.

This necessitates the question that why are Indians so obsessed with Pakistan.

Maybe this has to do with the wars of 1948, 1965, 1971, and 1999 fought between the two nations. But then people who have seen the horrors of war may have PTSD or generally try to avoid negativity, as they have seen enough to envelop the rest of their lives in misery. This older generation of Indians and Pakistanis has been mellowed by age and the understanding that life is too short to dwell on past grievances.

In contrast, the firebrand responses online often emanate from the younger Indian crowd that has been fed an anti-Pakistani and Islamophobic narrative stoked by the right-wing Indian government in power. It is this demonisation of the Pakistani or the Muslim other that lies behind the seething Indian hatred witnessed in online spaces.

However, Pakistanis of all people should know how narratives lead to bigotry and prejudice, as they have been fed with the Islamisation narrative over the years that has instigated the persecution of religious minorities, including Pakistani Hindus.

Indeed, online Indians comment how the Pakistani Hindu population dwindled from 14 to about 2 percent as the country was made on the basis of religion. Others point out that Jinnah and the Muslim League simply did not want to live in United India, as if the situation prior to Indian Partition or Pakistani Independence (based on the respective narratives) was based on some serene ‘kumbaya’ type co-existence.

Such brash statements require further scrutiny. Dr Vikas Divyakirti elaborates in detail in a YouTube video that the Pakistani Hindu population dwindled because of Hindu migration to India just as many Muslims migrated to Pakistan. The Indian Muslim population reduced from 25 to 14 percent. Additionally, despite clamouring by Indian trolls, Pew Research graphically shows how the Hindu population increased exponentially and far outstripped that of Muslims from 1951–2011 in India.

Riaz Haq said...

The Asian Century

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

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

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

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

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

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer whose service over a 20-plus-year career included tours of duty in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control agreements, serving on the staff of US Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf during the Gulf War and later as a chief weapons inspector with the UN in Iraq from 1991-98. The views expressed in this article are those of the author.

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

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

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

India was reportedly not invited, according to informed sources.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Since the June 2020 Galwan Valley clash between Chinese and Indian armies, bilateral ties have been severely hit.

Riaz Haq said...

China Has India Trapped on Their Disputed Border

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

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

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


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


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

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

Riaz Haq said...

China's top-ranking diplomat told Japan and South Korea their people can dye their hair blonde and make their noses sharper but that they'll 'never become Westerners,' urging them to work with Beijing instead

China's top diplomat Wang Yi reminded Japanese and South Koreans of their ethnicity.
He said they can "never become Westerners," calling for closer cooperation between their nations.

China's highest-ranking diplomat urged Japan and South Korea to cooperate more closely with Beijing, saying they can change their looks but will "never become Westerners."

"It doesn't matter how much you dye your hair blonde, how sharp you make your nose, you'll never become Europeans or Americans. You'll never become Westerners," Wang Yi told South Korean and Japanese guests at a conference in Qingdao on Monday.

"We have to know where our roots are," the diplomat said, according to a recording of the conversation shared by Chinese media.

Most Europeans and Americans aren't able to tell Chinese, Japanese, or Korean people apart, Wang added.

Wang, who was speaking at the annual International Forum for Trilateral Cooperation, said the three nations should raise a "clear signal" that they want to work together, adding that they should resist a "Cold War mentality" and push back against "bullying and hegemony."

The diplomat's comments come amid rocky US-China relations over Taiwan, chip restrictions, and accusations of Beijing spying on the US with a balloon. Tensions continued to sour in June as President Joe Biden called Chinese leader Xi Jinping a "dictator," as State Secretary Antony Blinken visited Beijing to ease the relationship between both nations.

South Korea and Japan, close US allies, have recently publicly aligned with Washington on several hot-button issues, releasing joint statements with the White House on Taiwan in the last two years. Both nations have also conducted high-profile military drills with the US this year.

Washington has sought to curb China's growing influence in the rest of Asia, as Beijing pursues closer ties with countries like Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.