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Kerry Lunges Into India With Anti-BRI Agenda Bringing Green Suicide for All

By Matthew Ehret | Strategic Culture Foundation | April 9, 2021

As the China-Russian-Iran alliance continues to gain new momentum spreading win-win cooperation and development across Asia, Africa and the World, the dying unipolar system run by detached militarists, financiers and technocrats is doubling down on its weird mix of 1) a “scorched earth” offensive threat to “dissuade” China and Russia from continuing on their current trajectory and 2) a “positive” green game on which nations are invited to tie their destinies as an alternative to China’s BRI.

Everyone reading this should already be aware of the “scorched earth” Full Spectrum dominance policy targeting Russia and China.

However, what is less appreciated even among the most geopolitically savvy anti-imperialists today is what sort of “positive” green game is being deployed to subvert the $3 trillion Belt and Road Initiative which has already won over 136 participating nations and which geopolicians understand to be a mortal threat to their desired world order.

A U.S.-Led Alternative to the BRI

According to Biden’s own remarks during his March 26 call to Boris Johnson, the USA must create “an infrastructure plan to rival the Belt and Road Initiative.”

This agenda was amplified by John Kerry’s foray to India, Bangladesh and the UAE from April 1-11 where the Presidential Climate Envoy has been deployed to set the stage for the April 22-23 International Leaders Summit on Climate to be hosted by Joe Biden.

Now, in principle, a U.S.-version of the BRI is not intrinsically a bad idea.

However, this idea could only function in the real world IF the USA were to give up its unipolar imperial ambitions and return to the anti-imperial constitutional traditions which once animated its greatest leaders like Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, FDR and JFK. Under influence of the technocrats managing the current Biden presidency in post-color revolution USA, that option is about as far from reality as one can imagine.

On the other hand, were the USA to stick with the Great Reset Agenda which is attempting to undo the industrial revolution under the cover of “reducing global emissions” to zero by 2050 as the Paris Accords proclaim, then any idea of a viable U.S.-led BRI doppelganger is pre-doomed to fail by its own internal self-contradictions.

What is the main self-contradiction of this “development agenda”?

The nations of the earth need to develop. They have objectively verifiable and measurable constraints to their ability to support their populations based on limits to agriculture, industry, energy, education and transportation. Decades of unchallenged Anglo-American dominance has only exacerbated these problems to the acute degrees we find today.

That’s why they are embracing China’s Belt and Road so enthusiastically.

Unlike the World Bank and IMF practices over the past 70 years, China is extending financing to all participating nations based on conditionality-free, low interest practices that create long term, genuine development, and full spectrum economies in every nation it touches. This is how China has met its goals of wiping out extreme poverty at home in a relative blink of an eye.

Despite the countless billions of dollars of loans extended to the poorest nations of the world since the earliest days of the Cold War, poverty, war, insecurity, terrorism and debt slavery have become more rampant today than ever before. The recent March 23 Hunger Hotspots Report issued by the World Food Program and FAO outlined hundreds of millions of people suffering acute food insecurity around the world with Syria, the Congo, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Venezuela, Haiti and South Sudan toping the list. U.S.-led imperial intrigue, financial loans, speculative warfare and humanitarian “aid” to all of these countries should not be seen as coincidental to their currently dismal situation.

China, on the other hand, is ensuring that these nations acquire genuine development, great megaprojects, interconnectivity via roads, ports and rail as well as local industrial production and engineering expertise via trade schools and on-the-ground training under Chinese experts. Investments into all forms of energy required to build megaprojects is on the table without any green conditionalities as we find being imposed by western technocrats.

Kerry’s Green Delusion Exposed in India

Compare this with John Kerry’s demands that India and Bangladesh embrace de-carbonization strategies in the build up to the April 22-23 climate conference and the latter COP26 summit in December. The delusional foundations of Kerry’s thinking were eloquently exposed by Chandrashekhar Dasgupta, a leading member of Modi’s Council on Climate Change who told the Hindustan Ties on March 30:

“First, it would require us to immediately scrap all existing coal-based power plants and factories, or alternatively, retrofit them with carbon-capture and storage technology. This would entail astronomical costs at a time when the economy is already reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Dasgupta called out the hypocrisy and imperial agenda’s underlying this apparently altruistic green agenda saying:

“It would necessitate an immediate switch-over to imported, existing clean energy technologies at a huge cost, denying our own industry the time required for indigenization or development of affordable indigenous technologies. Let us not forget that the U.S. lodged a complaint against us at the WTO when we took some modest measures to promote domestic manufacture of solar cells and modules… we need to examine the trade-related implications of surrendering our principled position on ‘common and differentiated responsibilities.’ The European Union is set to impose levies on carbon-intensive imports, even from developing countries. It would be naive to think that the countries calling on India to adopt a 2050 net-zero target are motivated purely by altruistic concerns unrelated to commercial interests.”

OSOWOG Revived

Despite the fact that a “Green BRI doppelganger” has been on the books since 2018 when the OSOWOG Plan was unveiled as a World Bank-financed/British Commonwealth-run initiative, the plan was generally acknowledged to be an unworkable green boondoggle and fell out of interest for quite some time. However, a flurry of renewed media propaganda over the past few months has attempted to drive this green zombie back into the zeitgeist as witnessed by Forbes’ recent promotional coverage of the plan. The authors of the Forbes fluff piece stated:

“The idea behind OSOWOG is that the sun never sets. An inter-continental grid can be instrumental in harnessing the sun’s energy (and all other forms of renewable energy) by optimally leveraging the differences in time zones, seasons, resources, and prices between countries and regions. This is particularly helpful for decarbonising countries which have limited avenues of harnessing renewable energy and heavily reliant on fossil fuels.”

The plan’s outline is broken up into three phases which is somewhat reminiscent of the famous “underpants gnome plot” from South Park.

The World Bank-connected authors describe how in phase one, solar panels will be spread across South Asia, Southwest Asia and the Middle East with India serving as the driving force. Completely skipping over how phase one could realistically happen, the technicians describe phase two which sees North Africa swiftly covered in solar panels (see: Desertec part deux) and as if by magic, both regions would be connected via green grids. In the final third phase, this new green energy hub cutting across the Eurasian Heartland from Africa through Asia, would then be extended to the entire globe.

When all of this is somehow finished by 2050, the world as a whole would be forever relieved of its dependence on dirty energy sources like oil, natural gas and nuclear as we collectively are steered into a new age of clean zero-growth, sustainable mediocrity under a technocratic elite managing the levers of consumption and production under a post-nation state world order.

Three basic questions might arise at this point:

1) How would such large-scale green megaprojects be funded by western nations who are sitting on top of a multi-quadrillion dollar derivatives bubble of speculative capital ready to blow out into a hyperinflationary collapse that will make Weimar 1923 look like a cake walk?

Answer: It can’t.

2) Even if green solar grids could be constructed across the heartland cutting across (and disrupting) the East-West New Silk Road, how could such forms of green energy- long known for its unreliability, high costs and low-quality energy output be capable of meeting the needs of the people of the world wracked by generations of poverty and underdevelopment?

Answer: It can’t.

3) So why would any nation go along with this sort of plan when viable alternatives like the Belt and Road Initiative and broader Multipolar Alliance already exist with olive branches open to all?

Answer: If they are not suicidal, then they won’t.

This last answer obviously creates a bit of an uncomfortable ambiguity since the thesis that “nations are not suicidal” is rather indefensible at this moment in time.

Suicidal Ideation as a Bad Foreign Policy Paradigm

Based upon their words and actions, any onlooker endowed with a basic IQ level would have to come to the conclusion that many nations have demonstrated a high degree of suicidal behavior in recent years. From pumping trillions of dollars into zombie, to shutting down entire economies in response to viruses with relatively low fatality rates, to encircling Russia and China with belligerent military postures, to pouring flames onto the fires of radical jihadi terrorist and neo-Nazi groups, to shutting down the foundations of industrial energy needs requisite to support existing population levels, to burning food for bioethanol- there is very little western governments have done in recent years which gives any strong indication that the desire to survive is strong.

The fact that many of those suicidal nations are concentrated in the Trans-Atlantic City of London-dominated zone of influence and have seen their nationalist leaders fall under assassins bullets many decades ago in order for supranational “deep state” operations to infuse themselves into positions of control should be kept firmly in mind. This fact helps remind us that we are not dealing with conventional “sovereign nation states” as some commentators make the foolish habit of doing, but rather we are dealing with a supranational financier oligarchy utilizing its influence across bureaucratic, media, military industrial, academic, and corporate lines of control.

Whether or not India, or any other nation among NATO (and newly emerging Pacific NATO Quad) has the moral fitness to survive will depend on how fast they realize that their genuine interests are not located in green grids or military confrontation with Russia and China but rather in dropping zero sum thinking in order to work with the Multipolar Alliance as collaborators.

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

India threatens to jail Facebook, WhatsApp & Twitter staff over refusal to wipe data that ‘undermines national security’

RT | March 6, 2021

Indian authorities have reportedly given an ultimatum to US social media platforms, threatening jail time for their local employees if the companies continue to ignore official takedown requests against “damaging” information.

Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter have each received written notices warning their employees could face arrest should the requests be ignored, in some cases citing specific India-based staff by name, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing “people familiar” with the matter.

The reported warnings come as New Delhi faces down Big Tech platforms amid a wave of heated protests over controversial agricultural bills, which have drawn thousands of farmers to rally in the Indian capital, at times descending to violent clashes with security forces. While the government has long wrangled with the social media platforms, the threats of arrest mark a sharp escalation of pressure.

In early February, Twitter blocked access to a litany of accounts for Indian users, among them lawmakers, news outlets, journalists and political commentators. Though the platform quietly reversed those bans some 12 hours later, AFP reporter Bhuvan Bagga, citing a government source, noted the move followed an order from India’s IT ministry to block hundreds of accounts it accused of spreading “factually incorrect” claims and “inflaming passions” around the farmer protests.

The ministry responded harshly to Twitter’s sudden reversal, threatening “penal action” should it continue to rebuff the government’s takedown requests. The warning appears to have worked, as Twitter reinstituted many of the bans within days, though refused to re-block “accounts that consist of news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians.”

A Facebook spokesperson told the Journal the platform complies with takedown and data requests “in accordance with applicable law and our terms of service,” while its subsidiary WhatsApp said it abides by the orders only when they are consistent with “internationally recognized standards” of human rights and due process. Twitter, meanwhile, was more defiant, insisting it would “continue to advocate for the fundamental principles of the Open Internet.”

As Big Tech firms seek their way into India’s massive market, the country recently imposed new rules to govern social media platforms, requiring them to appoint India-based representatives to coordinate with law enforcement and government agencies. The restrictions can also compel sites to scrub content the state believes to undermine national security or public order. Ravi Shankar Prasad, the minister of electronics and information technology, argued the rules would force the companies to be “more responsible and more accountable,” after previously blasting sites like Twitter for “double standards” in enforcing their policies.

March 5, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Interview With Doctor Sheri Tenpenny

The Conscious Resistance Network | February 13, 2021

February 13, 2021 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | Leave a comment

India needs course correction on Myanmar

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | February 7, 2021

The Modi government made a strident call on February 1 that the “rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld” in Myanmar. The statement, following a prodding from Washington, was unabashedly intrusive, and, ironically, completely overlooking that human rights, rule of law, democratic pluralism, etc. are universal values that India also can (and should) be held accountable for. Lapping up the neocon prescriptions from Washington may not serve India’s interests, in general, and they are very specific to Myanmar. 

The government failed to fathom the US’ motivations in riding the high horse of democracy so soon after the Capitol Riots in Washington, DC. Human rights issues come handy for Washington to rally allies at a juncture when its leadership of the transatlantic alliance is in drift and major European powers do not see eye to eye with its global strategies on Russia and China and mock at its nostalgia-laden slogan that “America is back.” 

Alas, the government failed to consult the ASEAN despite Delhi’s refrain that it attributes “centrality” to that grouping.

The ASEAN Chair’s statement of Feb, 1 recalled the “purposes and the principles enshrined in the ASEAN Charter” which include respecting the principles of sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, non-interference, consensus and unity in diversity.” 

The ASEAN Chair’s statement of Feb, 1 recalled the “purposes and the principles enshrined in the ASEAN Charter.” Simply put, India chose to bandwagon with the US, Japan and Australia while the ASEAN and China took a differentiated stance. Geopolitics crept in. But the US has since realised the folly and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan scrambled to contact the ASEAN ambassadors in Washington. 

How come Delhi goofed up? Primarily, it is due to a flawed understanding of the Myanmar situation. The Indian analysts increasingly view world developments through their China prism and began fancying that with the massive victory of Aung San Suu Kyi in the November election provided an opportunity for India to “gear up to implement a major strategy with Myanmar under its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy… to bring Myanmar under the Indo-Pacific construct” so as to align that country “more with ‘like-minded’ countries… to stand firm against China… to make Myanmar a part of the Indo-Pacific policy… (and) steer Myanmar away from the Chinese grip.”  

Such views betray a zero sum mindset borne out of blind Sinophobia. Whereas, the ground realities are much more complex. The point is, Beijing brilliantly succeeded over the years in building a close relationship of mutual trust and mutual respect with Suu Kyi, parallel to the nurture of links between the Chinese Communist Party and her party National League for Democracy. 

Unlike the western narrative of Aung Suu Kyi as Myanmar’s democracy icon, Beijing regarded her as a pragmatic politician who never uttered remarks to the detriment of China-Myanmar ties, was manifestly eager to maintain good relations and consistently adopted a soft stance on the South China Sea issue. 

Beijing was greatly impressed that although Suu Kyi wanted Western support, she was adamant about national sovereignty. Arguably, it was in sync with what China would like its neighbours to practice. Chinese President Xi Jinping received Suu Kyi seven times since 2015.

State Counselor Wang Yi visited Myanmar recently on Jan. 12, met Suu Kyi and expressed strong support for her government and conveyed a strong commitment that China wants to work with her during the second term. And they agreed to push ahead with Belt and Road projects and lock in a five-year pact on trade and economic cooperation. Clearly, the prospect for the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor under Belt and Road Initiative has become uncertain now, as compared to a month ago. 

In fact, the Chinese media reports already sound a word of caution that “Chinese companies operating in Myanmar need to watch out for contractual and default risks amid the current political upheaval… Government default is a major risk, especially for major and strategic projects in sectors including transportation and energy… But Chinese companies can seek international arbitration if they face illegal confiscation of their property.”

It is no secret that the Myanmar army marks a certain distance from China. Suffice to say, Myanmar developments present an extraordinary case study where Beijing silently feels distressed over the sudden eclipse of western style democracy in a neighbouring country. (See the Reuters analysis Myanmar coup does China more harm than good.)

Surely, the coup creates political baggage for China insofar as it cannot (and will not) take a position against the military, but also comes under compulsion to cover or provide protection for the military internationally. On the whole, this situation poses a major political and diplomatic liability for Beijing and cannot bring good news. Therefore, China prioritises that the concerned parties to solve their differences mutually, according to the constitution and within the legal framework, while maintaining peace and stability. Chinese expert opinion is that Suu Kyi’s political career is in jeopardy. 

Of course, Suu Kyi made some serious errors, too. She heavily depended on people loyal to her personally, without bothering about their competence or integrity. It not only spawned corruption but also led to government failure to deliver, especially in job creation. Her leadership style was often dictatorial. She resorted to draconian laws to muzzle or jail critics. (See the Singapore-based Channel News Asia video titled Aung San Suu Kyi: A Fading Legacy dated October 22, 2020 on the eve of the November elections.)

Suu Kyi had no control over some major sectors of the national economy through two entities, Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited and Myanmar Economic Corporation as well as a network of domestic private business enterprises, known as “crony companies,” which generate revenue for the military and strengthen its autonomy.

Suu Kyi’s biggest mistake was in believing that she could, through her brand of nationalism, dismiss accusations of genocide directed against the Rohingya. In the process, Suu Kyi lost western support. From that point, she has been on borrowed time and the military barely hid its distaste for Suu Kyi.

To be sure, the military anticipated the impact and the reaction from the international community and took into consideration the Biden administration’s preoccupations with domestic issues. Myanmar doesn’t even figure in the top 10 priorities of Biden’s foreign policy. But the US Congress is not going to tolerate a coup in Myanmar and will mount pressure on the Biden administration to punish the military by imposing sanctions, cutting aid or targeting the generals and their companies.

However, a reversal of the military takeover is not to be expected and the probability is that Washington may lose whatever little leverage it would have had in Naypyidaw. Washington is mulling over policy options

But there may be a Plan B. Indeed, the former US Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson, who is no stranger to Myanmar, voiced the opinion last week that the time has come for the West to look beyond Suu Kyi for new faces among the opposition. One way is to mould a leadership that will be friendly to the US. There are signs that the western agencies are inciting the youth in Myanmar to stage protests, as had happened in Hong Kong and Thailand. The military has clamped down on Facebook and internet. Shades of colour revolution? 

This is where Russia’s role merits attention. The struggle for influence in Myanmar has a geopolitical dimension, for obvious reasons. Since 2015, following the signing of a military cooperation agreement, Russian presence has increased, and, importantly, it coincides with the lengthening shadows of Russian presence in the Indian Ocean. 

Russia has emerged as a major military partner for Myanmar. Russia operates a servicing centre in Myanmar. The Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin told the media last month that Myanmar plays “a key role in maintaining peace and security in the region.” 

It is entirely conceivable that Russia, which has great expertise in countering colour revolutions, shares intelligence with the Myanmar military. Over six hundred military officers from Myanmar are studying in the Russian military academies presently. Myanmar’s military chief Min Aung Hlaing visited Russia six times in the recent years, more than to any other country. 

During the visit of Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to Naypyidaw last month, the Russian media quoted Gen. Hlaing as saying, “Just like a loyal friend, Russia has always supported Myanmar in difficult moments, especially in the last four years.” An agreement was signed for supply of a batch of Russian missile and artillery air defense systems Pantsir-S1. 

Tass reported that the “command of Myanmar’s armed forces has shown interest in other advanced weapon systems of Russian manufacture.” Shoigu has reportedly expressed interest to establish visits of Russian warships to Myanmar’s ports. 

All things taken into consideration, we may expect China and Russia to provide a firewall for Myanmar to ward off western penetration, as is happening in Central Asia. (The UN Security Council statement avoids any reference to the military or a coup as such in Myanmar and lays emphasis on national reconciliation, with pointed reference to Suu Kyi’s release.) Russia shares China’s perception of Quad as a destabilising factor in regional security. 

Clearly, India needs to keep the “big picture” in view. It will not be to India’s advantage to create misperceptions that it is bandwagoning with some neocon Anglo-American project for regime change in Myanmar. In regard of Myanmar’s stability, India too is a stakeholder and would have a convergence of interests with Russia and China. 

February 7, 2021 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saudi FM to visit Pakistan to discuss strained bilateral ties

MEMO | December 29, 2020

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan Al-Saud will lead a high-level delegation, including business leaders, in a visit to Pakistan next month in an effort to discuss recently strained relations, according to the Pakistani daily the Express Tribune.

The kingdom’s Energy Minister Abdulaziz Bin Salman will join the delegation to discuss the establishment of a Saudi oil refinery in Pakistan.

Al Saud will hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in addition to meeting President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The visit comes amid tense relations between Riyadh and Islamabad since August when Qureshi criticised the Saudis over their lack of support on the issue of Kashmir over which Pakistan and rival India both claim in its entirety.

The Pakistani diplomat even stated that Islamabad would be “compelled” to “call a meeting of Islamic countries that are ready to stand with us”.

However, the Saudis who interpreted the statement as a veiled threat to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) which is dominated by Riyadh, responded by requesting the earlier repayment of a $3 billion loan to Pakistan made two years ago and refused to renew deferred oil payments scheme which part of the loan agreement worth another $3.2 billion. Earlier this month, long-term ally China agreed to help Pakistan repay the debt.

Earlier this year Beijing also helped Pakistan repay $1 billion to the Saudis meaning Pakistan has thus far repaid $2 billion with $1 billion outstanding.

Meanwhile, the Saudis have been developing ties with India despite its traditional ties with Pakistan, with a historic visit by the head of the Indian military to Riyadh earlier this month aimed at strengthening their bilateral ties, particularly in defence.

Read also:

Railway link from Turkey to Pakistan, through Iran to start in 2021

December 29, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

India ramps up deepwater gas production

Oilprice.com | December 24, 2020

The beginning of production at what is now Asia’s deepest offshore natural gas field will increase the share of natural gas in India’s energy basket.

India set to strengthen natural gas production

A few days ago, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and BP announced the start of production from the R Cluster, an ultra-deepwater gas field in block KG D6 off the east coast of India. RIL and BP are developing three deepwater gas projects in block KG D6: R Cluster, Satellites Cluster, and MJ. Together, RIL said it expects the projects to meet over 15 percent of India’s natural gas demand by 2023.

What makes the find even more newsworthy is that it is located at a depth of more than 2,000 meters, making R Cluster the deepest offshore gas field in Asia.

Production ramp-up

By the end of next year, it is expected to reach plateau gas production of about 12.9 million standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd), per MoneyControl.com.

These projects will utilize the existing hub infrastructure in KG D6 block. RIL is the operator of KG D6 with a 66.67 percent participating interest. BP holds a 33.33 percent participating interest.

R Cluster is about 60 kilometers from the existing KG D6 Control and Riser Platform (CRP).

Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Limited, said in a press release that production from the natural gas field marked a “significant milestone” in India’s energy landscape for a cleaner and greener gas-based economy.

Looking ahead

Incidentally, RIL’s partner in this project, BP has been in India for over a century. BP is one of the largest international energy companies in the country.

RIL expects the next project, the Satellites Cluster, to come onstream in 2021, followed by the MJ project in 2022.

RIL expects peak gas production from the three fields to be around 30 mmscmd (1 bcf/d) by 2023. That combined production is expected to account for about 25 percent of India’s domestic production. As such, the development will help reduce the country’s dependence on imported gas.

RIL and BP will get only US $4.06 a unit for the new gas they have started to produce from the eastern offshore KG-D6 field even though they have discovered a higher rate in an open market auction, the Business Standard reported.

The operators had pricing freedom. However, they cannot sell gas at a rate higher than the cap the government notifies every six months. The cap for six months to March 31, 2021, is US $4.06 per mmBtu.

There is also a steel perspective to the news. Essar Steel, Adani Group and state-owned GAIL in November 2019 bought the majority of the initial five million standard cubic meters per day of gas from the KG-D6 block, the Business Standard reported.

December 27, 2020 Posted by | Economics | | Leave a comment

India arrests 75 in restive Kashmir following local polls

Press TV | December 26, 2020

Indian authorities have arrested at least 75 Kashmiri political leaders and activists in anticipation of an uprising following the triumph of an alliance of Kashmir’s regional political parties in a local election, a senior police official unveiled.

Those arrested included pro-independence leaders and members of the banned Jamat-e-Islami group, who were rounded up in what the government described as preventive custody, the official told Reuters on the condition of anonymity.

The detentions challenge the verdict of the people, said Imran Nabi Dar, spokesman for regional party, the National Conference, and a key member of the alliance.

The District Council election that ended early this week was the first such exercise since the government of India’s ultra-nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked the special status of the Muslim-majority region under its control last year.

Authorities in New Delhi then waged a crackdown on opposition activists in the restive region and rounded up hundreds of people in purported efforts to forestall protests and violence.

The alliance’s latest victory confirms that Kashmiris have not accepted Modi’s decision to end Kashmir’s special status, said Omar Abdullah, a former chief minister and head of the National Conference.

Following their release from prolonged detention, Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, chief of the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party, announced the alliance in October aimed at seeking a peaceful restoration of Kashmir’s autonomy.

Meanwhile, the elections in Kashmir appear to have paved the way for other electoral processes in the volatile region. However, many say this ballot has made people of Kashmir politically aware of the fact that New Delhi is trying to thrust such an electoral process in order to create the impression that normalcy has taken hold after it stripped Kashmir of its autonomy, without actually working on building trust and bridging the gaps.

India last year scrapped the semi-autonomy of its part of Kashmir. New Delhi unilaterally introduced a slew of laws that locals say are aimed at shifting the region’s demographics and economically disempowering local residents.

Modi’s government revoked the New Delhi-controlled Jammu and Kashmir’s special status last year and claimed at the time that ending Kashmir’s special status was necessary for closer integration of the territory into the rest of India.

New Delhi’s approach towards the region has been widely criticized as being an extension of its tolerating instances of egregious discrimination and occasional deadly attacks against Muslims on the mainland.

Kashmir has long been a flash point between India and Pakistan, which have fought three of their four wars over the disputed Himalayan territory. Both countries rule parts of Kashmir while claiming it in full. Thousands of people have been killed since early 1990s.

December 26, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Pakistan returns $1 bln of Saudi Arabia’s loan over Kashmir dispute

MEMO | December 16, 2020

Pakistan has returned $1 billion to Saudi Arabia as a second installment of a $3 billion soft loan, as Islamabad reaches out to Beijing for a commercial loan to help it offset pressure to repay another $1 billion to Riyadh next month, officials said on Wednesday according to a report by Reuters.

Analysts say it is unusual for Riyadh to press for the return of money. But relations have been strained lately between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, historically close friends.

Saudi Arabia gave Pakistan a $3 billion loan and a $3.2 billion oil credit facility in late 2018. After Islamabad sought Riyadh’s support over alleged human rights violations by India in the disputed territory of Kashmir, Saudi Arabia has pushed Pakistan to repay the loan.

With the $1 billion flowing out, Pakistan – which has $13.3 billion in central bank foreign reserves – could face a balance of payments issue after clearing the next Saudi installment.

“China has come to our rescue,” a foreign ministry official told Reuters. A finance ministry official said Pakistan’s central bank was already in talks with Chinese commercial banks.

“We’ve sent $1 billion to Saudi Arabia,” he said. Another $1 billion will be repaid to Riyadh next month, he said. Islamabad had returned $1 billion in July.

Although a $1.2 billion surplus in its current account balance and a record $11.77 billion in remittances in the past five months have helped support the Pakistani economy, having to return the Saudi money is still a setback.

Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who visited Riyadh in August to ease the tensions, met the Saudi ambassador in Islamabad on Tuesday.

December 16, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Reaction of the Leading Asian Countries to the Results of the US Elections

By Vladimir Terekhov – New Eastern Outlook – 17.11.2020

The close attention widely paid to the recent election campaign in the United States is understandable. We are talking about a change in the leadership of a country, which continues to occupy the position of one of the main pillars of the modern world order.

Leaving aside the theme of the nature of the “democratic procedure” in the United States (which caused “disappointment” for many, to put it mildly), let us note the main thing in this context: each of the other significant participants in the world political game associated some of their own expectations attached to it. In this regard, the first reaction of the three leading Asian countries (China, India and Japan) to the preliminary results of the American elections seems to be remarkable.

First, attention was drawn to the haste of expressing congratulations to Joe Biden, in which the prime ministers of India and Japan did not lag much behind their European counterparts. At the same time, no official reaction followed from Beijing to the democratic candidates declaration of “victory”. Apparently, it will not even be until the official announcement of the results of the elections held in the USA. Despite the fact that the Chinese press is actively discussing everything that is somehow connected with them.

First of all, it is noted that Donald Trump leaves American policy to his successors in a state of “degradation”. This implies an internal political situation, in the catastrophic deterioration of which Trump, however, is definitely less to blame than his opponents.

As for Washington’s course in the Chinese direction, it is to Donald Trump that US-China relations owe the extremely important ‘Phase 1 Agreement’ in the field of trade. The parties are implementing the main provisions of this document without interruption, despite understandable restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic and the aggravation of the political sphere of bilateral relations. Moreover, the latter is more likely a product of the “creativity” on the part of the US political establishment (represented in the current administration by M. Pompeo), over which Trump never managed to establish control.

It is precisely because of the extremely poor state of the political relations with the United States that the Chinese Global Times looks to the future with more than a small amount of skepticism. Believing, however, that there are resources for their improvement, which both sides should not waste.

The NEO has repeatedly noted that the highest ranking of these resources are trade and economic ties between the United States and the PRC (People’s Republic of China). In bilateral trade, the volume of which exceeds 600 billion dollars, there are serious problems, with the solution being aimed at the Agreement of the “1st Phase”. The main supporter of the further development of relations with the PRC remains American business.

China drew attention to the fact that at the third international exhibition the China International Import Expo (CIIE) (Shanghai, November 5 – 10) 197 American companies (5 more than the previous one, CIIE-2019) occupied the most extensive exhibition area. According to the Global Times, foreign exhibitors welcomed the message about J. Biden claim to victory in the recent elections.

But even if an intention to improve bilateral relations appears on the part of the new Washington administration, the “Taiwan problem” has become extremely aggravated in recent years.

In this regard, Taiwan’s reaction to the results of the American elections was remarkable. At first, it was almost mourning in nature, because just during the presidency of Donald Trump, the trend (to one degree or another always present in American politics) to provide comprehensive support to the Taiwanese leadership to acquire a full-fledged statehood for the island increased sharply. In recent months, special importance had been attached to the defense sphere of bilateral cooperation.

However, Taipei’s initial sadness was quickly replaced by official joy expressed in congratulations sent to Joe Biden by President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan. A similar metamorphosis in the camp of “Taiwanese separatists” provoked caustic comments from the same Global Times.

In the assessments of Indian experts on the results of the elections held in the United States and against the background of all sorts of speculations about the half-Indian K. Harris as vice president of the United States (which states, however, that she is a “proud American”), there is obviously a factor of a possible improvement in US-China relations.

The fact is that it was during the presidency of Donald Trump that the Indian leadership took a number of important steps towards the United States. Especially in the last six months a sharp aggravation of relations with China due to the conflict in Ladakh. In the wake of the (hypothetical) improvement in US-China relations, Delhi will be faced with a difficult question: how to proceed with Beijing?

Japan, in an absolutely obvious way, is sincerely (unlike many others) happy with Joe Biden, more for the expected departure of Trump as leader of a key ally. Which, as they say, “really got” Tokyo.

First, by regularly spoiling the mood with reminders of the US trade deficit with Japan of $ 70 billion annually. This is a good fact for Tokyo, but it is better to keep it as least noticeable as possible. In addition, the matter was not limited to talk, and the persistent D. Trump set a deadline (at the end of this year) for taking specific measures to correct the “obvious disgrace”.

Washington’s deliberate aggravation of US-China relations (and even against the background of the coronavirus pandemic) reduces the global economic situation, which negatively affects the foreign business of Japanese companies in general and in China in particular.

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is going to discuss all these and other issues with Joe Biden during his visit to the United States, which is due to take place immediately after the inauguration of the US president, scheduled for January 20, 2021.

Finally, it is not superfluous to comment (with a short excursion into recent history) on the ostentatious joy that the allies and closest partners of the United States are expressing with unprecedented speed to the (potential) new American president. Let us recall that when at one time the overseas “knight without fear and reproach” courageously fought against windmills (that is, “with communism” and all kinds of “totalitarian regimes”), his allies made a not so small profitable deal.

Four years ago, they suddenly felt like an abandoned wife, who, in anger and tears, exclaimed: “Come back, I will forgive everything”.

And now, when a ray of hope has dawned, the “abandoned” says, smiling and wiping away her tears: “Dear, let’s forget the old and start all over again?”

It will not work. In any case, on the same scale. For Donald Trump is not a one-time aberration in the political life of the United States. Expressed in a style popular at the time, four years ago America “breathed in the long-awaited air of freedom” and is unlikely to allow itself to once again throw on the yoke of obligations to cunning allies and all sorts of “independent” rogues.

Because it is not clear with whom and in the name of what to fight today. More precisely, it is already clear that there is no one with whom and for what. Moreover, the problems inside the country are “through the roof”.

However, one should not underestimate the factor of the possible return to the American administration of one of those “three witches” who at one time whispered and prophesied to the then American “Macbeth”, that is, President Barack Obama, the prospect of a “humanitarian catastrophe” in Libya.

After that, the United States was drawn into the military adventure of its European allies, the real catastrophic consequences of which the people of Libya are still unraveling.

Since the world game is shifting to Asia, a sharp strengthening of the “humanitarian” component of American foreign policy can be expected here. Moreover, the aforementioned second face of the new US administration was also marked with a “humanitarian” diagnosis. The formation of another trio of American political “witches” may complete the candidacy for the post of Secretary of Defense.

However, in connection with the situations in XUAR, Tibet, Hong Kong, the mentioned diagnosis of American policy in the Asian direction manifested itself quite clearly and “under the devil-Pompeo”. That is, with the coming to power in the United States of the new administration, one should hardly expect immediate and radical shifts in the regional political puzzle. As for the non-“immediate” and not “radical” ones, it is too early to say anything definite about them today.

Vladimir Terekhov is an expert on the issues of the Asia-Pacific region.

November 17, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

India and US signed a game-changer defence deal, amid the rise of what could be a new bipolarity

By Uriel Araujo | November 16, 2020

After the third annual “2+2” high-level US-Indian talks in Delhi on October 27, a very important defence pact was signed: the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA). With so much focus on the American election, little attention has been given to this crucial deal. Last Tuesday, the Australian navy joined Indian, American, and Japanese warships for the annual Malabarar exercises. This is yet another sign of the growing convergence between the four QUAD countries (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue). Both events must be seen in light of Indian and US intentions to “counter” China.

The BECA was signed nearly a week before the US elections – and it certainly was a kind of diplomatic victory for Trump’s administration. Regarding a future administration, we should not expect any major change. Joe Biden, who has declared victory in the US election (Trump is contesting the outcome), is on the record stating in 2006 that his “dream” is for the US and India to be the “two closest nations in the world”. According to a policy paper released by the Biden campaign during the election, India is a “high priority” and, among other things, the US should support Indian aspirations to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

After the two previous 2+2 talks in 2018 and 2019, the US and India signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) and the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA). The former gave mutual access to each other’s military facilities for the purpose of refueling, while the latter provides New Delhi with classified information from the US Navy. The latest BECA, in its turn, takes such cooperation to a whole new level. This was made possible and even fast-tracked partly because both Trump’s Indo-Pacific Strategy and the COVID-19 outbreak have brought India and the US closer.

The deal will give New Delhi access to American geospatial data and intelligence – for its missiles and drones. It will also enhance Indian automate hardware systems and weapons and will improve New Delhi’s navigation capabilities and its military targeting. On the other hand, some have voiced concerns with Indian sovereignty.

The agreement, after all, also gives the US a high degree of control over Indian operations. According to security analyst Bharat Karnad, a former member of India’s National Security Council and an emeritus professor at the Centre for Policy Research in Delhi, it could even open the possibility of Washington tampering with data and misdirecting Indian missiles. The full texts (and even official summaries) of the agreements the US has with some of its allies, such as the Philippines, remain classified and it fuels suspicions and reservations among part of Indian strategic analysts. According to a 2018 paper by Abhijnan Rej, a Fellow with Observer Research Foundation’s Strategic Studies Programme, some Indian officers fear that becoming part of any military communication network with the US would make India vulnerable to Pakistan tapping – because Pakistan, India’s main rival, is a member of the US Central Command (CENTCOM) Partner Network. The US claims such networks do not necessarily interface with each other but such claim is met with some skepticism.

If some sectors in India are concerned about being part of a military network together with Pakistan, the US  worries about Indian-Russian relations and cooperation. From the American point of view, the fact that Russia remains India’s top supplier of weapons – and has been so since Cold War era – is in itself a concern. Moreover, Moscow is eager to sell New Delhi its S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft weapons system by 2021. Washington fears that the presence of any Russian defense system into an Indian military network (where US hardware and data is also present) would expose some features of American platforms to Moscow.

That is probably why the US has even threatened India with sanctions over its decision to purchase such system from Russia – top diplomat Alice Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, claimed in May that could be possible. From Washington’s perspective, however, there is plenty to be concerned: one should also remember that the Kudankulam nuclear power plant (KKNPP) counts heavily on future nuclear cooperation with Moscow.

The BECA agreement holds tremendous geopolitical importance for the future of the region, especially when we consider the tensions between India and China – as well as Chinese-Japanese tensions, Indian-Japanese relations and concerns over QUAD becoming a kind of a “new  Asian NATO” in the Indo-Pacific region. Washington and New Delhi certainly have an area of common interest regarding Beijing’s growing power. The US, in turn, have been engaged in a trade war with China and in what many describe as a new cold war.

For India, such a game-changing deal brings also a kind of dilemma. In Indian political landscape, the anti-American left – which has always opposed the Indian-US strategic partnership – has been largely irrelevant for a while. The hegemonic Hindu right has traditionally rejected Western and American cultural influence while reaffirming Indian national culture and values. BECA will demand a closer political relationship with the US. Will such relationships be informed by narratives of common values like democracy and the rule of law?

As for the future, India could further strengthen its ties with the US (potentially damaging its relationship with Russia by doing so). It would confirm the fears of many about the QUAD becoming a “new NATO” and it would dramatically increase tensions regionally and globally – this scenario would represent the further rise of a supposed “new bipolarity” in global politics instead of multipolarity.

Or will India continue pursue its own traditional “middle path” way, engaging with both the US and Russia. In this case, together with allies such as Indonesia, and as part of the on-going “conceptual war” – over what the Indo-Pacific Region (IPR) must be – India could try and push its own view of the IPR.

Uriel Araujo is a researcher with a focus on international and ethnic conflicts.

November 16, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Pakistan Makes A Compelling Case That India Is A State Sponsor Of Terrorism

By Andrew Korybko | One World | November 15, 2020

This year’s Diwali celebration got off to a very symbolic start after Pakistan shined some light on the dark activities that it accused India of carrying out in the region. Islamabad released a detailed dossier during a press conference on Saturday strongly making the case that India is a state sponsor of terrorism whose intelligence services have weaponized this phenomenon as part of the proxy war that they’re fighting with respect to the UNSC-recognized international Kashmir dispute and against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of Beijing’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI). These claims aren’t anything new, but what’s novel is the amount of detail devoted to proving them this time around.

According to Pakistan, Indian diplomatic facilities in Afghanistan are being used to coordinate the training of various terrorist groups on that landlocked country’s territory, including efforts to unite relevant Baloch and Pashtun ones as well as create a new ISIS branch dedicated to attacking Pakistan. Islamabad mentioned names, dates, bank accounts, phone numbers, and other identifying information such as exposing the Indian mastermind of these regionally destabilizing activities to make its case that India is a rogue state whose behavior should be investigated by the international community, which might find it fitting to sanction the country through the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other related bodies.

Pakistan’s diplomatic masterstroke puts India in a very uncomfortable position because it had hitherto been the latter making such claims about the former and not the reverse. The comparatively muted reaction from the international community in the 24 hours since the dossier was revealed suggests that they feel uncomfortable about the accusations and aren’t too sure how to respond. India is a close military and economic partner of a growing number of influential players such as the US and “Israel” who might now be embarrassed for so closely associating with a country that’s been convincingly accused of such rogue behavior. At the same time, however, “birds of a feather flock together”, as they say.

For reasons of self-interest, it might turn out that the international community as a whole doesn’t react the same way to Pakistan’s accusations as they’ve done in the past whenever India made similar but much less detailed ones. Nevertheless, what’s most important to pay attention to is how these revelations might shape Chinese-Indian relations considering their clashes along the Line of Actual Control this summer and ongoing state of ever-intensifying cold war. The grand strategic interests of the People’s Republic are directly threatened by India’s Hybrid War of Terror on Pakistan, which aims to destabilize CPEC’s northern and southern access points in Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan respectively.

In fact, the timing of this dossier’s release might have been connected to those two countries’ rivalry. To explain, India was handily defeated by China during their clashes over the summer, which might be why it’s doubling down on its proxy war of terrorism against Pakistan in response. After all, Islamabad warned that New Delhi would soon seek to intensify its terrorist efforts in the coming future, so the dossier might have been intended to preemptively thwart that by exposing these plans in order to put pressure on India to reconsider its actions. Of course, it also took plenty of time to assemble all the details that were disclosed, but the timing was at least very convenient from the Pakistani perspective even if it was ultimately coincidental.

All told, the dossier heralds the advent of a new phase of Pakistani diplomacy where Islamabad confidently exposes India’s Hybrid War of Terror on the world stage. Since it can be assumed that China considers these claims credible considering the fact that its interests are directly threatened irrespective of the country’s public reaction (or potential lack thereof in line with its diplomatic traditions), the conclusion can thus far be made that this report already had a significant impact. It might very well end up being the case that Chinese-Indian relations will never return to their former friendliness, especially if Beijing begins to wonder whether Washington might be tacitly supporting New Delhi’s proxy war on CPEC.

Andrew Korybko is an American political analyst.

November 15, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

With an Eye on China, India Cuts Iran Loose & Embraces the US

By Salman Rafi Sheikh – New Eastern Outlook06.11.2020

India, tied as it to the US apron strings, has suffered a major strategic set-back in Iran where not only has it potentially lost exclusive development rights and control of the strategically important port of Chabahar, but has also been kicked out of Farzad-B gas field project. This has potentially meant a physical death of the ambitious 2013 ‘Tehran Declaration’, which had supposedly tied India and Iran in a strong strategic relationship. While India’s deliberate move away from Iran has taken place against the backdrop of US sanctions on Iran, imposed in the wake of Trump’s decision to force-scrap the JCPOA, these moves are fundamentally rooted in a strategic consensus with the US over Iran. It is for this reason that India has not pumped enough money even into the Chabahar port, which otherwise is exempted from US sanctions.

For India, getting close to the US was/is more important in the wake of its on-going military tensions with China than pursuing relatively low-level strategic interests in Iran. The path that the Indian policy makers chose to confront China at a broader level required sacrificing their interests in Iran. As it stands, Indian companies previously involved in Farzad-B are now engaged in a similar gas exploration project in Israel, indicating how India has largely moved to the anti-Iran camp.

India’s move away from Iran has allowed it to deepen its strategic relations with the US. Indeed, the immediate result has been the signing of “Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement” (BECA), the third so-called “foundational pact” after the “Logistics Exchange Memorandum Of Agreement” (LEMOA) and “Communication Compatibility and Security Agreement” (COMCASA) which collectively improve these countries’ military interoperability.

As an Indian news report explained, the BECA will help India get real-time access to American geospatial intelligence that will enhance the accuracy of automated systems and weapons like missiles and armed drones. Through the sharing of information on maps and satellite images, it will help India access topographical and aeronautical data, and advanced products that will aid in navigation and targeting.

While one may think that India’s close ties with the US have roots in Trump’s own aggressive China policy, the US policy towards India and India’s relevance for the US against China are unlikely to change even if Trump loses and Biden wins. Let’s not forget that Biden, when he was Obama’s vice president, was one of the main architects of the so-called “Asia Pivot” policy. India was as relevant to the “Asia Pivot” as it is to Trump’s “Indo-Pacific” strategy. “Indo-pacific” strategy is very much a continuation of “Asia Pivot” in as much as it aims at confronting and containing China and Russia in Asia and beyond.

According to Indian defense experts, the agreement signed will directly help India fight China in Ladakh, and Pakistan in Kashmir. Indian experts have been reported to have said that if the deal had been signed earlier, the situation at the Northern border of India could have been different.

Indeed, Mark Esper said that defense agreements between the US and India call for military cooperation and is a check on ‘Chinese aggression’, adding that “Based on our shared values and common interests, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific for all, particularly in light of increased aggression and destabilizing activities by China.”

“Our leaders and our citizens see with increasing clarity that the [Chinese Communist Party] is no friend to democracy, the rule of law, transparency, nor to freedom of navigation, the foundation of a free and open and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” said Pompeo.

Pompeo further categorically said that America would “stand by India” in the fight against China, and paid tribute to the soldiers killed in Ladakh.

With China, rather than Modi-Trump bromance, being the central pillar of US-India strategic relations, it is, therefore, unlikely that the prevalent spirit of deep direct defense ties will die out even if Trump is voted out of the White House.

As India’s former army chief General Nirmal Chander Vij explained, “Over this period we have realized that Indian interests and American interests are [going] in the same direction and for the same purpose – and for that very reason, India has gone ahead and signed the foundational military agreements.”

What is more important for India in the wake of its on-going military tensions with the US is the realization about its lack of military preparedness vis-à-vis China. With no significant arms industry at home, the Indian policy makers see in the US a natural anti-China ally, one they would not find in Russia or anywhere else, and a key source of advanced military hardware.

To maintain and even deepen this alliance and to further the scope of the so-called 2+2 dialogue, Indian policy makers were not reluctant to tell Iran that their country wouldn’t be able to maintain the spirit of the ‘Tehran Declaration.’ It is for this reason that two consecutive visits of India’s foreign and defense ministers to Iran were quickly followed by Iran’s decision to kick India out of the Farzad-B gas project, realizing that India’s strategic realities are clearly at odds with its previously widely propagated and ambitious ‘look East’ policy, an idea that imagined a greater Indian reach to Central Asia and Afghanistan via Iran.

Salman Rafi Sheikh is a research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs.

November 6, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment