Tag Archives: India

Mark Collins – South China Sea Update: Vietnam Building; Philippines Smacking US

Two stories:

1) Exclusive: Risking Beijing’s ire, Vietnam begins dredging on South China Sea reef

2) Manila says will not help US on patrols in South China Sea

So the US and Vietnam are closer and close to being  de facto allies vs China whilst President Duterte’s Philippines smoozes the Dragon, effectively saying “Up yours, Uncle Sam!” What will PEOTUS Trump do in office? Looks a job for the good old CIA to me.

Meanwhile India and Vietnam are also getting together with Beijing much in mind. Lots of great games going on.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds


Mark Collins – Trump vs Trade: CPP Instead of TPP?

That’s the China-Pacific Partnership–a NY Times story on important talks with little public profile:

China’s Influence Grows in Ashes of Trans-Pacific Trade Pact

A toxic political war over money, jobs and globalization killed the vast and complex trade deal that was supposed to be a signature legacy of President Obama. But the deal, between the United States and 11 Asian and Pacific nations, was never just about trade.

The agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was conceived as a vital move in the increasingly tense chess match between China and the United States for economic and military influence in the fastest-growing and most strategically uncertain part of the world. The deal, which excluded China, was intended to give those 11 nations more leverage in that strained match by providing them with a viable economic alternative. And its defeat is an unalloyed triumph for China, the country that President-elect Donald J. Trump castigated repeatedly over trade

Much of Asia has for decades quietly accepted American security guarantees while also running large trade surpluses with the United States, turning them into prosperous manufacturing powerhouses. But China is now the largest trading partner for most of the region, while at the same time making territorial claims against many of its neighbors [see e.g. the South China Sea].

The neighbors fear they could soon face a stark choice among money, pride and place: Accede to China’s security demands, or lose access to China’s vast market…

Just three days before Mr. Obama’s arrival here, Peru’s foreign minister, Eduardo Ferreyros, said the country still hoped the Pacific pact would someday become a reality. But given the changing dynamics, his government also opened talks this autumn with Beijing to join the rival, Chinese-led trade pact, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

“Since Mr. Trump is not so interested in requiring economic integration and trade liberalization, why not have other countries follow this free-trade proposal?” asked Song Guoyou, a longtime trade specialist who is the deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Since the election, Australia’s government has also called for rapid progress in concluding that rival trade pact. Even Japan, despite facing territorial demands from China and close, but peaceful, confrontations between the two countries’ military jets and coast guard vessels, is paying more attention to China’s vision for global trade [note also Japan’s military build-up].

Australia and Japan have been bargaining for years with China on the deal. But they wanted it as a complement to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to balance their economic relationship with the United States instead of replacing it with ties to China.

“If T.P.P. doesn’t move forward, there’s no doubt that the focus will shift” to the China-led deal, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan told his country’s Parliament on Tuesday [Nov. 15, emphasis added] . Mr. Abe met with Mr. Trump on Thursday.

Since 2011, trade negotiators from China, Japan, Australia, India and 12 other Asian nations have been meeting several times a year to stitch together the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership [more here]. And with Mr. Trump’s victory, those efforts are almost certain to accelerate. The next round of talks is to be held in Indonesia early next month [emphasis added].

Trade officials across Asia met to negotiate details in Cebu, the Philippines, the week before Mr. Trump won the election. Almost no one noticed outside of Cebu. The next meeting, scheduled for early December, could attract far more attention, including some at this weekend’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting in Lima…

Will Canada try to get involved or just negotiate bilaterally with the Dragon?

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Oh, that cuddly panda. But consider:

The Dragon and the Beaver: Ottawa in Cloud Cuckoo Land

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Take that Dragon! Indian PM Modi Embraces the Rising Sun (plus the Eagle and the Bear)

Another azimut in the making, with a nuclear angle:

Strong Japan-India ties can help stabilize the world, says Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday [Nov. 11] praised the “growing convergence” of views between his nation and Japan, saying strong ties will enable them to play a stabilizing role in Asia.

Modi is in Japan to sign a landmark nuclear energy pact and strengthen ties as China’s regional influence grows and Donald Trump’s election has thrown U.S. policies across Asia into doubt.

India, Japan and the United States have been building security ties by holding three-way naval exercises, but Trump’s “America First” campaign promise has stirred concern about a reduced U.S. engagement in the region – an approach that could draw Modi and Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe closer.

Modi told Japanese business leaders that the 21st century is Asia’s century, urging them to invest in India.

“The growing convergence of views between Japan and India and our special strategic and global partnership have the capacity to drive the regional economy and development, and stimulate global growth,” he said.
“Strong India and strong Japan will not only enrich our two nations, it will also be a stabilizing factor in Asia and the world.”

The nuclear agreement, which Modi and Abe are set to sign later in the day, follows a similar one with the United States in 2008 which gave India access to nuclear technology after decades of isolation, a step seen as the first big move to build India into a regional counterweight to China…

The two countries have also been trying to close a deal on the supply of amphibious rescue aircraft US-2 [website here, cool looking amphibian] to the Indian navy, which would be one of Japan’s first sales of military equipment since Abe lifted a 50-year ban on arms exports.

India’s Defence Acquisitions Council met earlier this week to consider the purchase of 12 of the planes made by ShinMaywa Industries, but failed to reach a decision.

Earlier on another major azimut (and of course there is still the Russian one; the Indians are playing their own long game, as the Americans need to grok):

Eagle’s India Full Court Press (unhappy Paks)

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – ISIS, Islamism and Pakistan’s CT Failure

The very knowledgeable Pakistani author Ahmed Rashid (pieces for the NY Review of Books here) excoriates his country’s government:

Viewpoint: Pakistan’s Quetta attack blame game

The attack that killed 61 police cadets in Quetta has once again been followed by a government-led blame game. But the government has not faced up to its own failure to conduct a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy against all extremist groups.

Within a couple of hours of the attack on the Quetta police college on the night of 25 October, and even before sifting through the bloody evidence or taking statements from the 120 injured, government ministers immediately accused Afghanistan of helping the militants, who according to the government, belonged to an extremist anti-Shia group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ).

A few hours later, several groups claimed they carried out the attack but the most believable was the claim by so-called Islamic State (IS), as it also issued a photograph of the three heavily-armed assailants, who blew themselves up in the attack.

The authorities however are in a state of denial about the presence of IS on Pakistani soil. After IS released the photograph, the government claimed that IS had ”outsourced” the attack to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

It is not the first time the government has dismissed a claim by IS. In August, IS said it carried out the suicide bombing of a hospital in Quetta that killed 70 lawyers and patients – a claim that was ignored by the government.

Convenient scapegoat

The government claims to have eliminated LeJ in its two-year-long counter-terrorism operations. But the LeJ is still a convenient whipping boy when Islamabad is trying to deny that IS has political support in Pakistan.

Accepting that IS is prevalent in Pakistan would make a mockery of the government’s claims to have eliminated all terrorist groups that attack Pakistani citizens.

Denying that IS is in Pakistan has become standard operational procedure for the government.

However IS has a powerful presence just across the border in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. This week IS militants killed 30 civilians in Ghor province in central Afghanistan…

The government has also provided no evidence of its second major accusation that Afghanistan, with help from India, is involved in arming and training LeJ so that it can launch attacks in Pakistan.

Afghanistan is hardly in a position to orchestrate such attacks. And there is no evidence of any direct Indian involvement, although Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made no bones about his desire to see unrest in Balochistan in a tit for tat retaliation for Pakistan allegedly fuelling unrest in India-controlled Kashmir [see “Indian PM Modi Pours (RAW) Fat on Pakistan’s Baluchistan Fire“]…

For Pakistani authorities, passing the buck has become the standard response to any terrorist attack. Yet the government and army promised two years ago that its first task would be to cleanse Pakistani soil of terrorism, that it would set its own house in order.

The military has eliminated many groups that have threatened the state but two sets of extremist groups remain untouched.

Comprehensive strategy

The first are the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network, whose leadership is settled largely in Quetta and Peshawar and now partly in Iran.

The Afghan Taliban come and go at will between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Last year Islamabad made serious efforts to persuade them to open talks with the Kabul regime but that effort has collapsed.

However, the real threat is that many militant groups receive protection and sanctuary from the Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan. These include multiple Pakistani groups, including the highly toxic Pakistani Taliban as well as al-Qaeda and groups from Central Asia, China, Chechnya and elsewhere…

The second grouping is the plethora of Punjabi groups that live in Punjab province along the border with India. Their significance has risen in recent months with their repeated attacks on Indian security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir that have created a heightened tension between India and Pakistan.

It is unclear if these attacks were carried out by militants already in Indian-administered Kashmir or from the Pakistani side. The Indians believe the latter, while Pakistan insists there are no cross border attacks [see “Oh, Oh! Indian Troops Raid Pakistani Kashmir“].

Pakistan clearly needs to deal with these two sets of groupings in a more mature, realistic and believable fashion…

Mesdames et messieurs, faites vos jeux.

Earlier and very relevant:

Pakistan: What Can’t Be Said [Mr Rashid one topic]
Carlotta Gall [more here]

Pakistan’s Monster
By Dexter Filkins [more here]

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Now India Wants to Build Foreign Single-Engine Fighter (Gripen? F-16?)

Further to this post,

En Flipping Fin: India Signs to buy 36 French Rafale Fighters

one shudders to contemplate how long this process might go on–at Defense Industry Daily’sRapid Fire” (note RCAF and Saab Gripen E at end of post):

India has made a Request For Information (RFI) to fighter manufacturers for a single-engine fighter to be assembled domestically external link. The selected aircraft is expected to replace the large number of MiG-21s in service, adding to the 36 Dassault Rafales recently purchased by New Delhi. Likely front runners external link in the competition are the Saab Gripen [see here] and LM’s updated F-16 Block 70 [more here–single-engine would eliminate Boeing’s Super Hornet]…

The Gripen E may also be a candidate for the RCAF’s new fighter:

Five companies recently responded to its [Canadian government’s] call for information about fighter jets: Boeing (Super Hornet), Lockheed Martin (F-35A), Dassault (Rafale), Eurofighter (Typhoon) and the Saab Group (Gripen)…


New RCAF Fighter: Consult, Consult, Consult (with industry)–Why Not Just Compete?

Recall that the idea of Bombardier’s assembling Gripen Es in Canada  was floated earlier this year before the company’s big CSeries  jetliner deals with Air Canada and Delta–would Bombardier be able to do the fighter work too? One doubts it…but still given the politics and government help.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Oh, Oh! Indian Troops Raid Pakistani Kashmir

Further to this post,

The Asian Military Cockpit, Kashmir Section

matters are indeed getting pretty hairy:

India says hits Pakistan-based militants, escalating tension

Indian officials said elite troops crossed into Pakistan-ruled Kashmir on Thursday [Sept. 29] and killed suspected militants preparing to infiltrate and carry out attacks on major cities, in a surprise raid that raised tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Pakistan said two of its soldiers had been killed in exchanges of fire, but denied India had made any targeted strikes across the de facto frontier that runs through the disputed Himalayan territory.

Indian special forces crossed the heavily militarized border by foot just after midnight and hit about half a dozen “launching pads”, where the suspected militants were preparing to sneak across, an Indian military source and a government official said.

The official said troops killed militants numbering in the double digits, and that no Indian soldier was killed.

An army official based in Indian-controlled Kashmir said two Indian soldiers were wounded while returning from the raid – one stepped on a landmine and another was shot.

The strikes mark a rare public announcement by India that it had launched a military operation across its de factor border with Pakistan.

They followed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s warning that those India held responsible “would not go unpunished” for a Sept. 18 attack on an army base in Uri, near the Line of Control, that killed 18 soldiers.

The strikes also raised the possibility of military escalation between the neighbors that could wreck a 2003 Kashmir ceasefire.

India evacuated people from villages within 10 km of the de facto border in the Jammu area as a precautionary measure…

Keep watching that space.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – En Flipping Fin: India Signs to buy 36 French Rafale Fighters

Further to this July post,

“Absurd”: Continuing India/France Rafale Fighter Buy Balls-Up, Part 2 (plus Gripen)

this seemingly almost endless Indian procurement saga (ring any bells in the Great White North?) has finally ended with a bit of a nuclear bang (see second link at quote):

India Signs Deal To Buy 36 Dassault Rafale Fighters

Behind Rafale deal: Their ‘strategic’ role in delivery of nuclear weapons
The long-delayed deal is being finalised because India has identified the French fighters for their ‘strategic’ role — to deliver nuclear weapons.

Ready To Manufacture [further] Rafale[s] In India: Dassault CEO

Note that for their parts Boeing has offered to build the Super Hornet in India and LockMart to build their (new-model) F-16V. Lots of room for lots more Indian procurement fun and games.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – The Asian Military Cockpit, Kashmir Section

Further to this July post,

Bloody Weekend in Indian Kashmir (Canadian media ignore)

things could get very hairy in a most dangerous part of the (nuclear-armed) world:

The Indian Army Just Suffered Its Biggest Attack in a Decade as Tensions Rise with Pakistan
Sunday’s [Sept. 18] terrorist attack that killed 17 New Delhi troops occurred alongside a new Kashmir crackdown that has killed 85 so far.

Yet again, India is wounded. And furious.

On Sept. 18, suspected terrorists of the Pakistan-backed Jaish-e-Mohammed mounted a deadly attack on an Indian Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), killing 17 of its soldiers and injuring many others.

This was the biggest such attack on the Indian Army in a decade.

It follows two other major offensives on Indian soil since the Narendra Modi government took charge in May 2014. First was an attack in Punjab where three civilians and four policemen were killed in Gurdaspur district besides three Pakistan-backed terrorists. A more alarming one came in January this year when terrorists struck one of India’s most important air force bases in Pathankot, Punjab [see “Pak Miscreancy vs India, or, ISI“].

Following the death of 17 soldiers in the latest strike, Indians, as much as the international community, will keenly watch how prime minister Narendra Modi’s government reacts…

Not taking the bait is called strategic restraint. And irrespective of the regime in charge, India’s response to militant attacks or military excursions from Pakistan till date has been to tackle it diplomatically, involving the international community and de-escalating tensions.

That may now be changing, though it remains to be seen if all-out military action is on the cards.

India’s new posturing

On Sept. 18, prime minister Narendra Modi said those behind the attack will not go unpunished. Ram Madhav, general secretary of Modi’s Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), said, “We feel that the time for strategic restraint is over. India needs to tackle this menace with a firm hand and we need to take proactive measures.” Madhav looks after the party’s affairs in J&K…

Since July, Pakistan has been issuing statements condemning the use of force in Kashmir. Consequently, New Delhi changed its response to the uprising by shifting focus almost entirely on Pakistan.

In fact, the Modi government went a step further: it brought up Balochistan [see “Indian PM Modi Pours (RAW) Fat on Pakistan’s Baluchistan Fire“].

Pakistan’s troubled Balochistan province has many similarities with Kashmir: locals [not necessarily all of them] want secession and this demand is met with a crackdown by the army, no questions asked about human rights. So India has decided to use the restive Pakistani province as part of its new aggressive strategy.

However, Pakistan has long been accusing India of meddling in Balochistan. As recently as March this year, it announced the arrest of one Kulbhushan Yadav, a former Indian naval officer who allegedly confessed to being an Indian spy in Balochistan…

Lovely neighborhood, what? A tweet from a former Indian ambassador:

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Eagle’s India Full Court Press (unhappy Paks)

Further to these posts:

US SecDef Carter in India Pushing Military Cooperation
(note link at last para–tous azimuts)

Indian PM Modi in Washington–Goes for Defence Cooperation

the SecDef and the SecState are hard at it–Paks will certainly be most unhappy about 2):

1) Indian Defence Ministry Seeks Greater US Industrial Ties

As a sign of tightening bonds between the US and Indian militaries, the Indian defense minister this week will sit down with the top defense technology minds from both inside and outside the Pentagon.

Manohar Parrikar is in the US for a three day visit, starting with Monday’s meeting with his US counterpart, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, and in comments Monday made it clear he intends to come away from his visit having increased ties between the US defense industry and that of his home country.

On Tuesday [Aug. 30], Parrikar will have a sit down with top US industrial companies, and in comments to the press Monday, the minister was not shy about his goal to “encourage” future tie-ups between US and Indian defense firms…

Very relevant:

Future F-16s Built in India, Including for Export?

2) United States, India Agree to Boost Anti-Terror Cooperation

The United States and India agreed Tuesday to boost counterterrorism cooperation by expanding intelligence sharing about known or suspected extremists and terrorist threats.

Speaking after conclusion of the second U.S.-India strategic dialogue in New Delhi, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said the two countries also renewed their commitment to track down and prosecute perpetrators of several terrorist attacks on Indian soil, including the 2008 strike in Mumbai that killed 172 people and a January 2016 attack on the Pathankot Air Force base. India has blamed Pakistan-linked groups for the attacks [see “Pak Miscreancy vs India, or, ISI“].

Swaraj, speaking at a joint news conference with Kerry as well as U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and her Indian counterpart, said the two sides had agreed on the “urgent necessity for Pakistan to disable safe havens and terrorist networks” and “on the need to Pakistan to do more to bring the perpetrators of (the two attacks) to justice quickly.”

She said she and Kerry had had a “meeting of the minds” on cross-border extremism that India and its neighbors face from militants in Pakistan. “We both agreed that nations must not maintain double standards, such as the categorization of good and bad terrorists, nor must they act as safe havens,” she said.

Kerry said the U.S. “stands with India against all terrorism no matter where it comes from.” But, he did say he had spoken recently with Pakistani officials about “the need for Pakistan to deprive any (terrorist) group of sanctuary.” He specifically named the Haqqani network that operates in Afghanistan as well as Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has been blamed for attacks in India…

Tuesday’s talks were being held against the backdrop of rising tensions in the disputed region of Kashmir, long a flashpoint between India and rival Pakistan [see end of the post]. They came amid some of the largest protests in Kashmir against Indian rule in recent years. At least 68 civilians have been killed and thousands injured in the Himalayan region, mostly by government forces firing bullets and shotguns at rock-throwing protesters since early July.

On Monday, Indian authorities lifted a curfew imposed in most parts of India-controlled Kashmir as part of a 52-day security lockdown. But they re-imposed the curfew in the region’s main city after anti-India protests and clashes erupted in several neighborhoods.
Swaraj said India remained ready to open discussions with Pakistan but that such dialogue was difficult while India remains a target of Pakistan-based groups.

The U.S. has consistently urged dialogue between India and Pakistan on the dispute and, in a meeting with Indian national security adviser Ajit Doval, Kerry reiterated that position, according to U.S. officials.

The two countries also agreed to restart a three-way dialogue with Afghanistan over its future [earlier: “Afghanistan needs more Indian military aid: US”; meanwhile the Indians have their own plans well in play including gasp, Iran: “Indian Great Game to Bounce Paks in Afghanistan (take that Dragon!)“]…


Bloody Weekend in Indian Kashmir (Canadian media ignore)

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Indian PM Modi Pours (RAW) Fat on Pakistan’s Baluchistan Fire

Further to these posts from last year and this January,

India vs Pakistan, RAW vs ISI: Baluchistan, Karachi, Kashmir Elsewhere

Pak Miscreancy vs India, or, ISI

the Indian prime minister is most undiplomatic; improving bilateral relations really is a never never land:

By simply mentioning a Pakistani province, Modi fuels theories about India’s role in rebellion there

With what might have sounded like a simple, throwaway comment in the middle of a speech, India’s prime minister opened a geopolitical Pandora’s box.

Narendra Modi’s remark came as he stood on the ramparts of a 368-year-old fort, addressing the nation on its 70th independence day. And it really came down to just one word: Baluchistan.

Baluchistan is a Pakistani province that has been plagued by an unending cycle of violence and underdevelopment since India and Pakistan were partitioned upon gaining independence in 1947.

The two countries have been each other’s greatest adversaries since then, fighting war after war and destabilizing each other through covert intelligence operations. For years, Pakistan has alleged that India’s intelligence agency, known by its acronym RAW, supports and even trains separatist militants from Baluchistan.

India vehemently denies the claims, but in the past has been extremely careful not to publicly mention the Baluchistan issue or express any support for any of the political movements there that are fighting the Pakistani state. Doing so might imply that India is involved in Baluchistan in exactly the same way that it has long accused (and more or less proven) Pakistan to be fomenting insurgency in Kashmir [see end of the post], a region claimed by both countries.

But last Friday [Aug. 12], at a meeting with his political party’s leadership, Modi broke that taboo and denounced what he called Pakistan’s “atrocities” and human rights abuses in Baluchistan. And on Monday, at Red Fort in Delhi, he extended an unprecedentedly public overture to people from across Pakistan who had taken to social media to thank him for his outspokenness.

“I am grateful to the people of Baluchistan, Gilgit and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir who have thanked me in the past few days,” he said, citing two areas controlled by Pakistan that India claims.

The Pakistani government immediately jumped on Modi’s comment as “proof” that India is meddling in Baluchistan. In a statement, Sartaj Aziz, a cabinet minister in charge of foreign affairs, said, “Prime Minister Modi’s reference to Baluchistan, which is an integral part of Pakistan, only proves Pakistan’s contention that India, through its main intelligence agency RAW, has been fomenting terrorism in Baluchistan.”..

Read on. Also from 2015 and quite scary:

Indo-Pak Nuke Missile Race, Warheads Section

Pakistan’s Tac Nukes and India’s “Cold Start” Attack

My most recent on Kashmir, note “Comments”:

Bloody Weekend in Indian Kashmir (Canadian media ignore)

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds