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With eye on India, Pakistan strengthens military ties with Iran

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | November 20, 2019

he low-key coverage by the Pakistani media on the 2-day visit of the army chief General Qamar Bajwa to Iran notwithstanding, the event signifies a surge in the tempo of ‘mil-to-mil’ exchanges between the two countries.

The Iranian side gave the event a distinct political colouring with the Pakistani COAS having meetings with President Hassan Rohani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, apart from  talks with his host, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri.

Border security and counter-terrorism are key issues for Iran. But Gen. Bajwa’s talks extensively covered regional developments and even dwelt on the two countries’ “coordination on the major issues of the Muslim world”.

The Iranian reports did not make any references to the Kashmir issue or India-Pakistan tensions, but it is inconceivable that Gen. Bajwa sidestepped the topic.

In fact, even as Gen. Bajwa headed for Tehran on Monday, Pakistan conducted a training launch of the surface-to-surface ballistic missile Shaheen-1, a day after India conducted the first night trial of its Agni-II missile.

The Iranian news agency IRNA took note that the launch of Shaheen-1 “aimed at testing operational readiness of Army Strategic Forces Command, ensuring Pakistan’s credible minimum deterrence.”

The Pakistani army spokesman tweeted that Gen. Bajwa discussed with Rouhani the “regional security environment and matters of mutual interest”. According to the Iranian agency IRNA, Gen Bajwa told Rouhani that Pakistan was prepared to strengthen bilateral relations “in all spheres”.

Rouhani in turn hailed Pakistan’s role towards regional peace and called the relations between the two Muslim nations as “an invaluable asset” which should be used to further boost mutual cooperation.

Iranian reports quoted Gen. Bajwa as saying Pakistan and Iran face “common threats and have common interests”, calling for close cooperation and interaction.

An IRNA commentary said, “In recent years, Tehran and Islamabad have witnessed high level exchanges from top military officials and the recent visit of Pakistan Army Chief to Iran demonstrates the commitment of the two sides to consolidate defense ties through active diplomacy.”

The semi-official Fars agency reported that Gen. Bajwa and Gen. Baqeri discussed “different issues ranging from security partnership, regional developments and maintaining stable security at the regional level” and “explored avenues for bolstering and reinvigorating defence relations”.

Notably, Admiral Shamkhani, who reports to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, called for “all-out expansion of ties” with Pakistan “in a bid to provide regional security.” Equally, Foreign Minister Zarif and Gen. Bajwa “discussed a broad range of issues, including the political, economic and military relations” between Iran and Pakistan as well as “regional cooperation and the ongoing developments in the region, including the situation in Afghanistan.”

Without doubt, the Iranian reports uniformly underscored Tehran’s high expectations that a new phase of Iran-Pakistan relations may be commencing.

Gen. Bajwa’s visit tops up an intensification of high-level exchanges between the two countries during the past two-year period since his pathbreaking trip to Iran in 2017, which was the first by a Pakistani COAS in over two decades.

During the 2017 visit, Gen. Bajwa had told Rouhani that Pakistan was determined to expand its ties with Iran in all spheres and hoped that the two neighbours could collaborate for regional peace and security. To be sure, the shifts in the geopolitics of the region acted as catalyst in injecting new verve into the relationship.

Principal among them would be Delhi’s ‘pivot to Saudi Arabia’ in its Gulf strategy, markedly deviating from the traditional course of walking a fine line in the intra-Gulf discords and rivalries from a standpoint of benign neutrality.

Even as US-Iranian tensions began accelerating, the Modi government unceremoniously complied with Washington’s diktat to roll back ties with Iran by terminating all its oil imports from that country. The pusillanimous attitude of the self-styled nationalist leadership in Delhi took Tehran by surprise.

Tehran put its deep disappointment on display once it became apparent that the Modi government retracted even from its commitments at the highest level of leadership to cooperate with Iran on the development of Chabahar Port, which was a key underpinning of regional connectivity and security linked to the stability of Afghanistan. (See my column in Rediff, Why Iran is upset with India.)

The Indian U-turn on Chabahar has come to symbolise the phenomenal shift in Indian regional policies in the direction of harmonising with the US strategy at a critical juncture when Washington’s maximum pressure approach is fuelling tensions in the Gulf and leading to a steady augmentation of the American military deployments in Saudi Arabia that could well be the prelude to confrontation with Iran.

The unkindest cut of all is that Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province is also targetted by terrorist groups that are allegedly backed by Saudi Arabia. Tehran senses that the Modi government is inexorably gravitating toward the US-Israeli-Saudi axis, jettisoning India’s traditional independent Gulf policies.

The ardour of PM Modi’s personal friendships with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu must have set alarm bells ringing in Tehran.

On the other hand, Pakistan is closely gauging the downhill slide in the India-Iran relationship and estimating that the 40-year old Indian strategic embrace of Iran as a “second front” is ending. Meanwhile, for the first time since the Islamic revolution in in 1979, Iranian leadership is appreciating Pakistan’s independent foreign foreign policies.

Tehran would estimate that conditions are getting ripe for a breakthrough in Pakistan-Iran military cooperation. Importantly, the UN’s five-year time frame for embargo on arms trade with Iran expires next year, while the eight-year limit on Iran’s missile activities ends in 2023. (See a recent IRNA commentary titled JCPOA, Sunset Clauses and struggle of Americans.)

Of course, Tehran’s willingness to support Pakistan on the Kashmir issue could be the ultimate clincher.

In geopolitical terms, Iran’s overarching foreign-policy agenda of Eurasian integration brings Tehran and Pakistan more or less onto the same page in regional politics.

Zarif acknowledged at a recent meeting in Tehran with a group of visiting Indian writers and journalists that US economic and political actions had created “an understanding” between China, Russia and Iran “that we’re all (US) targets” and there was “a commonality being felt” by the leaderships of the three countries. Of course, Islamabad is well aware of it, having been a “target” itself.

November 20, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 2 Comments

Imran Khan ‘Puzzled’ Over Vast Media Coverage of Hong Kong and ‘Disregard’ of Kashmir Issue

Sputnik – October 11, 2019

Ahead of last month’s UN General Assembly (UNGA) summit, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan raised various concerns while travelling to New York, accusing world leaders of avoiding the Kashmir issue and the alleged humanitarian crisis in the Kashmir valley.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan took to Twitter​ to say how “puzzled” he is over the sharp contrast in international media coverage of the situations in Hong Kong and Kashmir while squarely blaming the press for not highlighting the situation in Kashmir properly.

He claimed that the media paid much attention to the ongoing Hong Kong protests while surprisingly avoided giving importance to the “dire human rights situation” in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Khan, who returned from China on Thursday, chose to highlight the issue hours ahead of the crucial second Informal Summit to be held between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

China has already extended its full support to Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. In a joint statement, it has said: “The Kashmir issue is a historical dispute, and should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.”

China has already expressed its opposition to India’s unilateral action on 5 August to strip the special status of Jammu and Kashmir state and split the region into two federally administered territories. It has said the decision scrapping the special status of Jammu and Kashmir “complicates the situation”.

Pakistan Prime Minister Khan in his Tweet has said the communications blackout and curfew in Kashmir since 5 August is a growing humanitarian crisis.

“For over two months there has been a complete blackout of communications, thousands imprisoned, including the entire spectrum of political leadership and children, and a growing humanitarian crisis. In Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir 100 thousand Kashmiris have been killed over 30 years of fighting for their right to self-determination,” he added.

India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads over Kashmir since they attained independence from British Colonial rule in 1947. While the two neighbours both claim the entire territory, they administer separate parts of Kashmir.

October 11, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 1 Comment

Iran, Pakistan sign new agreement on major gas project: Report

Press TV – September 17, 2019

A major deal for exports of gas from Iran to Pakistan has been revised after several years of uncertainty surrounding the project, shows a report in the Pakistani media.

The Express Tribune said in a Monday report that national gas companies from Iran and Pakistan had inked an agreement to revise the terms of an old deal meant for exports of gas from Iran which had been supposed to be implemented by 2015.

The deal had stalled mainly because Pakistan was unable to construct a pipeline through its territory to transfer the Iranian gas to the port of Karachi. Islamabad was also unwilling to pay compensation for its delay, saying it had been caused by sanctions imposed on Iran.

The report said the Inter State Gas Systems (ISGS) of Pakistan and the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) had agreed to allow Pakistan to finish construction of the pipeline in its territory until 2024.

It cited sources as saying that Iran would not sue Pakistan for a fresh delay beyond 2024 unlike the previous contract under which Iran had threatened Islamabad with legal action. There was no comment on the report from the Iranian officials.

It said the two companies would seek to devise solutions for completion of the project which would enable Pakistan to import 750 million cubic feet of gas per day from Iran.

Based on the terms of the previous deal, Pakistan had been supposed to complete its section of the gas pipeline within 22 months after construction activities for the project kicked off in March 2013.

However, Pakistan later backtracked from the commitment and officials said that sanctions imposed on Iran had made it impossible for the country to build the 1,600-kilometer pipeline.

Iran has almost completed its sides of the pipeline which starts from installations of the South Pars gas field located on the Persian Gulf port of Asaluyeh and runs 1,172 kilometers through two provinces to reach the Pakistani border.

September 17, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , | Leave a comment

India’s narrative on J&K is hyperbolic

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | August 13, 2019

Editorials have appeared in two leading Delhi newspapers today (here and here) urging the government to present a credible, appealing diplomatic narrative on the J&K developments.

The Indian narrative so far is largely focused on the domestic audience. It has gone to ridiculous extents by projecting that the situation is actually quite “normal” in J&K. Pictures of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval savouring (mutton) biryani with Kashmiri Muslims on a street corner in Srinagar have been doing the rounds. (Indeed, it was a charade to hoodwink the public.)

Crude propaganda won’t win hearts and minds. A narrative has to be crafted rationally. It’s common knowledge that there is little acceptance of the government move among Kashmiri Muslims.

When it comes to the external projection of the Indian narrative, given the fact that India’s case is flying in the face of international law and the UN Charter, the government must be capable of sensitivity.

The government would have seized the initiative at the diplomatic level if only soon after Home Minister Amit Shah piloted through both houses of the parliament at breakneck speed the legislation on abrogating Article 370 of the constitution, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar had stood up and made a suo moto statement offering to discuss all differences with Pakistan bilaterally in a comprehensive dialogue in the best interests of regional security, peace and stability.

Of course, such a momentous initiative would have required imagination, far-sightedness and wisdom — and, most important, political courage at the leadership level. The shortfall in statecraft and diplomacy is appalling.

A self-righteous attitude will not do. Take EAM’s demarche with the Chinese counterpart State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Monday. The MEA readout spells out the Indian stance on the following lines:

One, constitutional amendment is an “internal matter for India” and the “sole prerogative of the country”.

Two, abrogation of J&K’s special status (including changes in Ladakh’s status) is aimed at “promoting better governance and socio-economic development”.

Three, the government move has “no implication for either the external boundaries of India or the Line of Actual Control” with China.

And, four, India is “not raising any additional territorial claims.”

Incredibly enough, this was how EAM brushed aside China’s “serious concern over the recent escalation of turmoil in Kashmir” – that “any unilateral action that may complicate the situation in Kashmir should not be taken; that the Kashmir issue is a dispute born out of the region’s colonial history and should be properly handled in a peaceful way in line with the UN Charter, relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and bilateral agreements between Pakistan and India”; and, its expectation that “India will play a constructive role in regional peace and stability.” (here, here, here, here and here

EAM’s rejoinder may have some resonance domestically within India as a macho attitude, but it will only arouse mirth and derision abroad — even in the diplomatic enclave in Chanakyapuri area.

No P5 member country has officially voiced support for India. There is no shred of evidence that the Russian Foreign Ministry voiced support for India on the issue — not on the FO website; neither in a Tass or Novosti report nor even in the irrepressible Russian press. Some fly-by-night operator well-versed with the Indian rope trick, apparently spread fake news on a Friday night and it became “breaking news” in India by next morning. Pathetic.

Simply put, the Indian stance articulated by EAM is fundamentally flawed in logic and can only be counter-productive, as it shuts the door on discussion. The point is, Kashmir is an international dispute and India unilaterally changed J&K’s “status” in violation of the relevant UN resolutions. No one will accept India’s claim that it is an “internal matter”.

World opinion accepts that Pakistan is a party to Kashmir dispute. It is beside the point that India is not redrawing boundaries. And it’s gratuitous to say there is “no implication” for the LOC or the LOAC. If things were that simple, why couldn’t Modi government stomach the CPEC passing through Gilgit-Baltistan? We screamed, “territorial sovereignty” blah, blah.

World opinion will only believe that Delhi’s real intention is to change the demographic balance so that there shall be no Muslim-majority entity henceforth within the Indian Union.

If such unilateral acts in modern history are as simple as “internal matter”, why is no one recognising Russia’s annexation of Crimea? Why is Beijing so sensitive on intervention in Hong Kong? Why is the US insisting on “freedom of navigation” in South China Sea? Why is the US raising eyebrow over the North Sea Route and the Arctic? What is wrong with Iran’s claim over Persian Gulf as sovereign territory? What prevents Sri Lanka’s Mahinda Rajapaksa from solving the Tamil problem in similar fashion (as he hinted last week)?

The Modi government will be creating a long-term, intractable problem for India for generations to come by adopting such an ostrich approach. Analysts have pointed out (here and here) that the change in Ladakh’s status makes the India-China border dispute incredibly complicated and all but unsolvable. India’s international standing can get seriously damaged.   

The only way to address the conundrum is to propose to Pakistan that India is ready to discuss these differences. Fortuitously, Pakistan also faces the unhappy situation that no one in the international community is showing willingness to stand up and be counted as its partner to push back at India.

The bottom line is that India enjoys wide acceptance for its insistence on bilateralism to resolve differences with Pakistan. India should now tactfully exercise this privilege. It is always possible to hold out informal assurances that there’ll be no “colonisation” of Kashmir valley. After all, we have such safeguards for many regions of India.  

The window of opportunity shall not remain open for long. From all accounts, the ground situation in J&K is explosive and the grating roar of human misery is approaching. PM Imran Khan’s prognosis on another Pulwama is not off the mark. For Delhi to build a new architecture in J&K out of the debris all around, a dialogue with Pakistan is critically important.

August 13, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | Leave a comment

China backs the opening of Kashmir file in UNSC

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | August 10, 2019

The “special and emergency visit” by Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to Beijing on Friday August 9 has been highly successful in getting China to voice open support for Islamabad’s proposed move to raise the Kashmir issue in the UN Security Council.

From both Pakistani and Chinese accounts, the outcome of the meeting between the Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Qureshi conveys a significant “pro-Pakistan” shift in Beijing’s stance apropos the situation around J&K, which was more or less on neutral ground initially. (See my blog China reacts to J&K, India demands reciprocity.)

How far the reference to China’s “internal affairs” in the MEA spokesman’s remarks on August 6 (which appeared to be a knee-jerk reaction) provoked Beijing is a moot point now. Indeed, Qureshi’s air dash to Beijing signalled Pakistan’s desperate need of Chinese open support and China cannot afford to be seen wanting.

According to the Xinhua report, the cutting edge of Wang’s remarks lies in his listing of the UN Charter (which upholds international peace and security, fundamental human rights, adherence to international law and obligations of member states to adhere to treaties, etc.), relevant resolutions of the UN SC on Kashmir (on the status of J&K, holding of plebiscite, UNMOGIP, etc.) and the bilateral agreements between Pakistan and India (Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration) — in that sequence as the road map on Kashmir.

China has de facto pledged support to Pakistan when the latter raises the Kashmir issue in the UN SC. Wang doubled down on Beijing going the whole hog to support Pakistan: “China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic partners and have always understood and supported each other on issues concerning core interests, which is also a good tradition that both countries should cherish. China will continue to firmly support Pakistan in safeguarding its legitimate rights and uphold fairness for Pakistan in international affairs.”

Qureshi reciprocated subsequently by telling the media in Beijing, “Pakistan is not looking at the military option. We are rather looking at political, diplomatic and legal options to deal with the prevailing situation.” Wang reportedly advised Qureshi that Pakistan should prioritise its national development and peace in South Asia and seek a new path of peaceful co-existence with India.

The Radio Pakistan reported that the Wang-Qureshi meeting lasted for two and half hours, which suggests that substantive discussions took place regarding strategy on Kashmir. The Pakistani report said Wang also agreed that “steps taken by India are unilateral that have changed the status quo and structure” of J&K and “could jeopardize the peace and stability in the region.” It added that Wang “was in concurrence that Jammu and Kashmir has been recognized as a disputed region and its resolution should also be in the light of UN resolutions.”

The overt, dramatic shift in the Chinese stance against Indian interests would have taken into account the ambivalence in the US position on Kashmir. Against the backdrop of the controversial remarks by President Trump to mediate on Kashmir, the US state department spokesperson, when asked on Friday’s press briefing in Washington, blithely passed the buck to the White House.

The spokesperson also underscored, “Obviously, we just had Prime Minister (Imran) Khan here, not just because of Kashmir. That’s certainly an incredibly important issue and something that we follow closely, but we have a host of issues that we work with India on quite closely and that we work with Pakistan on quite closely. I would say that we are – as a State Department, we are incredibly engaged in Southeast Asia.”

During the coming week, two senior US officials are landing in Delhi at the same time — US deputy secretary of state John Sullivan (corresponding to ministerial rank) and Acting deputy secretary of state in charge of South Asia Alice Wells. Sullivan is reaching Delhi from Bhutan while Wells who was on a scheduled visit to Islamabad has extended her tour by travelling to India as well.

By the way, Sullivan becomes the highest ranking US official to visit Bhutan in decades. His visit signals a Churchillian approach in the US policies toward China lately — “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills.” Historically, this is the first time that Bhutan finds itself being courted as a frontline state in the Cold War cockpit.

Clearly, Sullivan’s visit augurs the same centrality to Bhutan in the US geo-strategy that Washington has lately begun attaching to Mongolia. In June, US National Security Advisor John Bolton visited Ulaanbaatar; in July, President Trump hosted Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga in the White House; by August already, the US Defence Secretary Mark Esper touched down in Ulaanbaatar on a daylong follow-up visit “to expand their military training, joint exercises and defense intelligence sharing”, according to Stratfor, US think tank wired into the security and defence establishment.

The big question is, whether Sullivan is delivering an invitation from Trump to the Dragon King of the Kingdom of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.

Equally, there is the likelihood that the US may seek the establishment of intelligence outposts in Bhutan. En route to Mongolia, Def Secy Esper told reporters openly that the US is working to build relationships with key countries in the Indo-Pacific that share values and respect for each other’s sovereignty, “whether it’s Mongolia this trip, Vietnam, a future trip, Indonesia, other countries who I think are key.”

In a reference to China, Esper said, “We’ve got to be able to compete with them.” An AP report quoted a senior US official that the US seeks to expand its defense and intelligence cooperation with Mongolia, noting that its location makes it ideal for listening posts and monitoring stations for peering into both U.S. adversaries.

According to the US state department, Sullivan “will explore expanding and deepening our ties with the government and people of Bhutan.” Of course, any significant expansion of US-Bhutan relations can only happen with the concurrence and approval of India. This is where Chinese sensitivities arise.

Possibly, Beijing senses that Sullivan’s Bhutan trip figured in the meeting between foreign minister S. Jaishankar and his American counterpart Mike Pompeo in Thailand recently. Sullivan is expected to meet Jaishankar.

Most importantly, the state department announcement on Thursday implied that Sullivan’s visits to Thimpu and Delhi are a back-to-back mission with the aim “to advance the United States’ partnership with two nations that are critical to preserving the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region.”

To be sure, Beijing would have taken note that the fizz has gone out of the Wuhan Spirit — with just a couple of months left for the visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to India in October. The Wang-Qureshi meeting testifies to it.

August 10, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

India Responded To Trump’s Mediation Proposal By Killing More Kashmiris

By Andrew Korybko | EurasiaFuture | 2019-08-05

India defiantly responded to Trump’s mediation proposal by killing more Kashmiris and concocting yet another “politically convenient” conspiracy theory about so-called “Pakistani-backed terrorists” there in order to distract the world from its plan to unleash a wave of “Weapons of Mass Migration” that might forever change the demographic balance of this disputed territory to its long-term favor.

Modi’s Response To Trump

The situation in Indian-Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and along the Line of Control (LoC) is almost worse than it’s ever been before after New Delhi’s latest aggressive actions there that can be interpreted as an asymmetrical response to Trump’s recent mediation proposal. The US’ new military-strategic ally rejected the President’s earlier claims that Modi requested his assistance in mediating an end to the decades-long Kashmir Conflict, which coincided with increased shelling along the LoC that started during Pakistani Prime Minister Khan’s very successful visit to Washington last month and continues to this day. These provocations were shortly thereafter followed by the concocting of a “politically convenient” conspiracy theory about so-called “Pakistani-backed terrorists” there in order to distract the world from India’s egregious human rights abuses against the people of Kashmir and its illegal use of cluster bombs in targeting civilians on the Pakistani side of the LoC.

“Weapons Of Mass Migration”

While all of this might seem like a random flare-up of violence to the unaware observer, there’s actually a method behind the madness in that India is preparing to unleash a wave of “Weapons of Mass Migration” that might forever change the demographic balance of this disputed territory to its long-term favor. There were suspicions that the recent dispatch of over 20,000 more paramilitary forces to IOK wasn’t just to “protect Hindu pilgrims” like the Indian media alleged, but to reinforce the over half a million forces that are already there ahead of what turned out to be the repealing of constitutional clauses that guarantee a relative degree of “autonomy” for the region and prevented non-residents from purchasing property there. The implications of doing away with this special policy are enormous because they could lead to the large-scale influx of foreigners that would almost certainly provoke another wave of armed resistance from the desperate locals.

Machiavellian Perception Management

Anticipating this, India knew that it would inevitably have to dispatch more military forces to IOK, but it wanted to do so under the cover of a “publicly plausible” pretext in order to avoid international criticism, ergo the excuse of the latest reinforcement measures being due to what it claimed was the threat posed by “Pakistani-backed terrorists” to Hindu pilgrims. It then initiated a new round of shelling across the LoC, using cluster bombs in order to guarantee a response that it could then decontextualize and deceptively misportray as “Pakistani aggression”. This in turn led to New Delhi ordering non-Muslims to leave the region “in the interests of (their) safety and security” when the real reason that all of this is happening is so that they’re not caught up in the impending wave of violence that might soon be unleashed after the authorities revoked Kashmir’s “autonomous” status a little more than a week before India’s independence day later this month.

Exposing The Plot

This Machiavellian plot might very well backfire, though, because Pakistan is already preemptively exposing it in the international informational sphere and proving that there’s a reason why India can be regarded as a rogue state nowadays. Prime Minister Khan even tweeted about it too, thereby ensuring that the rest of the world pays more attention to Pakistan’s serious concerns about the deteriorating security situation along the LoC and the ever-worsening humanitarian one in IOK. In addition, India’s regional aggression is a personal affront to Trump’s peacemaking efforts, which might trigger him to double down on the game of “hardball” that he’s playing with it lately. The Democrats could also sense a self-interested political opportunity to put pressure on his administration by demanding that they cease further security cooperation with India until it stops its human rights violations in Kashmir, just as they’ve tried to do vis-a-vis Saudi Arabia and Yemen earlier this year.

Self-Inflicted Damage

Whichever way one looks at it, India’s recent aggression is counterproductive to its own interests. The country’s carefully crafted international image of supposedly being the peaceful land of Bollywood and yoga is shattered, and any revocation of Kashmir’s “autonomy” will return the region to being a global flash point, to say nothing of making it even more difficult for the military to indefinitely perpetuate its occupation in the face of heightened resistance from the locals. India had the chance to change history by admitting that it asked Trump to mediate in Kashmir and then taking his public disclosure of this secret as a signal to start that process, but it instead tried to make a fool out of him by pretending that no such request was ever made. Such strategic missteps as that one and the aforementioned risk isolating India even more in the international community and could even endanger its very existence in the event that they eventually lead to a hot war with Pakistan.

August 5, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

India strips Kashmir of autonomous status; Pakistan warns of ‘all options’

Press TV – August 5, 2019

The Indian government has scrapped the special autonomy status for the disputed region of Kashmir as part of attempts to fully integrate the Muslim-majority region with the rest of the country.

The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs announced on Monday that India’s President Ram Nath Kovind had signed a decree abolishing Article 370 of the constitution that grants a measure of autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir, including the right to draft its own laws.

The decree declared the measure came into force “at once.”

The president also moved a bill proposing that the Indian-administered part of Kashmir be divided into two regions directly ruled by New Delhi.

The government in New Delhi lifted a ban on property purchases by people from outside Jammu and Kashmir, opening the way for Indians to invest and settle in the disputed region like any other part of India, a measure likely to provoke a backlash in the territory.

The controversial move came after large parts of the Muslim-majority territory was placed under lockdown, with mobile networks, internet services and telephone landline services having been cut.

Moreover, prominent political leaders in the Indian-administered region of Kashmir were placed under house arrest and the Indian paramilitary forces deployed thousands of extra troops across the region, raising fears of a crackdown.

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, had earlier pushed for radical political changes in Jammu and Kashmir even before he won a re-election in May.

Modi said the old laws had hindered Kashmir’s integration with the rest of India.

Pakistan slams ‘illegal’ India move in Kashmir

The Indian government’s move on Monday to strip Kashmir of the special autonomy it has had for seven decades prompted a furious response from nuclear-armed rival Pakistan.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry denounced the move as “illegal” in a statement, saying, “as the party to this international dispute, Pakistan will exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps.”

Meanwhile, a senior Pakistani security source said that a meeting of the Pakistani military’s top commanders had been called for Tuesday.

Kashmir has been split between India and Pakistan since it was partitioned in 1947. Both countries claim all of Kashmir and have fought three wars over the territory.

Indian troops are in constant clashes with armed groups seeking Kashmir’s independence or its merger with Pakistan. India regularly accuses Pakistan of arming and training militants and allowing them across the restive frontier in an attempt to launch attacks. Pakistan strongly denies the allegation.

In recent years, southern Kashmir has seen intense fighting between Indian forces and armed Kashmiri fighters, who are demanding independence for the Himalayan region.

The conflict has left tens of thousands dead, mostly civilians.

August 5, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

The Western Alliance is Falling Apart

By Peter Koenig | Dissident Voice | August 2, 2019

Ever since Imran Khan became the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan in August 2018, the winds have changed. While his predecessors, though generally leaning eastwards, have often wavered between the US and the China orbit, Khan is in the process of clearly defining his alliances with the east, in particular China. This is for the good of his country, for the good of the Middle East, and eventually for the good of the world.

A few days ago, RT reported that China, in addition to the expansion of the new port in Gwadar, Balochistan, has entered into agreements with Pakistan to build a military/air base in Pakistan, a new Chinese city for some half a million people, as well as several road and railway improvement projects, including a highway connecting the cities of Karachi and Lahore, reconstruction of the Karakoram Highway, linking Hasan Abdal to the Chinese border, as well as upgrading the Karachi-Peshwar main railway to be completed by the end of 2019, for trains to travel up to 160km/hour.

This rehabilitation of dilapidated Pakistani transportation infrastructure is not only expected to contribute between 2% and 3% of Pakistan’s future GDP, but it offers also another outlet for Iranian gas/hydrocarbons, other than through the Strait of Hurmuz, for example, by rail to the new port of Gwadar which, by the way, is also a new Chinese naval base. From Gwadar Iranian hydrocarbon cargoes can be shipped everywhere, including to China, Africa and India. With the new China-built transportation infrastructure Iranian gas can also be shipped overland to China.

In fact, these infrastructure developments, plus several electric power production projects, still mostly fed by fossil fuel, to resolve Pakistani’s chronic energy shortage, are part of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also called the New Silk Road. They are a central part of the new so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which was first designed in 2015 during a visit by China’s President Xi Jinping, when some 51 Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) worth then some US$ 46 billion were signed. Pakistan is definitely out of the US orbit.

Today, in the CPEC implementation phase, the projects planned or under construction are estimated at over US$ 60 billion. An estimated 80% are direct investments with considerable Pakistani participation and 20% Chinese concessionary debt. Clearly, Pakistan has become a staunch ally of China and this to the detriment of the US role in the Middle East.

Washington’s wannabe hegemony over the Middle East is fading rapidly. See also Michel Chossudovsky’s detailed analysis “US Foreign Policy in Shambles: NATO and the Middle East. How Do You Wage War Without Allies?

A few days ago, Germany refused Washington’s request to take part in a US-led maritime mission in the Strait of Hormuz, under the pretext to secure hydrocarbon shipments through this Iran-controlled narrow water way. In reality it is more like a new weaponizing of waterways, by controlling what ships do what to whom and applying “sanctions” by blocking or outright pirating of tankers destined for western ‘enemy’ territories.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced last Wednesday in Warsaw, Poland, that there “cannot be a military solution” to the current crisis in the Persian Gulf and that Berlin will turn down Washington’s request to join the US, British and French operation “aimed at protecting sea traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, and combating so-called “Iranian aggression.”

This idea of the Washington war hawks was conceived after Iran’s totally legal seizure of the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker, after it rammed an Iranian fishing boat a couple of weeks ago. However, nothing is said about the totally illegal and US-ordered British piracy of the Iranian super tanker Grace I off the coast of Gibraltar in Spanish waters (another infraction of international law), weeks earlier. While Grace I’s crew in the meantime has been released, the tanker is still under British capture, but western media remain silent about it, but lambast Iran for seizing a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

Germany remains committed to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA (the Iran nuclear deal), from which the United States unilaterally withdrew a year ago, and Germany will therefore not intervene on behalf of the US.

Add to this Turkey – a key NATO member both for her strategic location and NATO’s actual military might established in Turkey – moving ever closer to the east, and becoming a solid ally of Russia, after having ignored Washington’s warnings against Turkey’s purchasing of Russian S-400 cutting-edge air defense systems. For “sleeping with the enemy”; i.e., moving ever closer to Russia, the US has already punished Turkey’s economy by manipulating her currency to fall by about 40% since the beginning of 2018. Turkey is also a candidate to become a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and so is Iran.

Turkey has become a de facto lame duck as a NATO member and may soon officially exit NATO which would be a tremendous blow to the North Atlantic Alliance and may tempt other European NATO nations to do likewise. Probably not overnight, but the idea of an ever more defunct NATO is planted.

All indications are that the future, economically and security wise – is in the East.  Even Europe may eventually ‘dare’ making the jump towards better relations with primarily Russia and Central Asia and eventually with China.

And that especially if and when Brexit happens, which is by no means a sure thing.  However, just in case, the UK has already prepared bilateral trade relations with China, ready to be signed, if and when, the UK exits the EU.

Will the UK, another staunch US ally, jump ship?  Unlikely. But dancing on two weddings simultaneously is a customary Anglo-Saxon game plan. The Brits must have learned it from their masters in Washington, who in turn took the lessons from the Brits as colonial power for centuries, across the Atlantic.

Western, US-led war on Iran is therefore unlikely. There is too much at stake, and especially, there are no longer any reliable allies in the region. Remember, allies — shall we call them puppets or peons — are normally doing the dirty work for Washington.

So, threatening, warning and annoying provocations by the US with some of its lasting western allies may continue for a while. It makes for good propaganda. After all, packing up and going home is not exactly Uncle Sam’s forte. The western alliance is no longer what it used to be. In fact, it is in shambles. And Iran knows it.


Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for independent media. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.

August 3, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

‘Nuclear war is not an option’: Pakistani PM says he’d give up nukes if India did so too

RT | July 23, 2019

In a stunning statement, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he would be willing to give up his nation’s nuclear weapons if its rival India vowed to do the same. He also urged New Delhi to come to the negotiating table.

When asked by Fox News’ Bret Baier if India offered to relinquish it nuclear arsenal, would Pakistan, Khan answered with an emphatic “yes.”

“Because nuclear war is not an option. And between Pakistan and India, the idea of nuclear war is actually self-destruction, because we have two and a half thousand-mile border,” Khan said.

The Pakistani PM added that the recent escalation in tensions between the two nuclear rivals, following sporadic outbreaks of violence in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack, was unnecessary.

Khan said he had asked US President Donald Trump to mediate between the two regional powers over the Kashmir issue, which Khan said was the only reason for which, over the past “70 years that we have not be able to act like civilized neighbors.”

Khan played down India’s fiery response to reports of potential talks mediated by the US, in which New Delhi insisted that negotiations could only take place bilaterally. He instead urged India’s government to come to the table.

“We’re talking about 1.3 billion people on this Earth. Imagine the dividends of peace if somehow that issue could be resolved.”

July 23, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Trump outflanks Iran to the west and east

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | July 5, 2019

The Turkish state news agency Anadolu has featured an analysis titled US sanctions on Iran increasing public unease, which is highly critical of the Iranian ruling elite’s approach to the current standoff with the US. The thrust of the commentary is that the Iranian ruling elites are deliberately provoking a showdown with the US by spurning President Trump’s repeated offers for unconditional negotiations because Tehran harbours the notion that it can lethally damage his bid for a second term in the 2020 election by entangling the US in an asymmetrical war and creates a Middle Eastern quagmire for him. The sub-text of the commentary is that the newfound belligerence in Tehran is attributable to the Supreme Leader and is not in the interests of the Iranian nation.

The opinion piece comes at a time when Turkey is quietly pleased with President Trump’s pragmatism in accommodating its purchase of the S-400 ABM system from Russia. It reinforces the impression from Trump’s extraordinary remarks at the press conference in Osaka on June 29 on Turkish President Erdogan that some sort of a deal has been struck by the two leaders. Trump  had gone out of the way to defend Erdogan’s decision on purchase of the S-400 missiles (because “he got treated very unfairly” by the Obama administration), which is “not really Erdogan’s fault”. Trump had said he’s “working on it (S-400 deal). We’ll see what we can do.”

Erdogan claimed later that Trump told him at their meeting in Osaka that the US will not impose sanctions against Turkey on account of the S-400 deal with Russia. Meanwhile, the actual delivery of the S-400 system in Turkey is expected next week. (Erdogan had also said recently that a visit by Trump to Turkey in July “is being talked about”.)

Some sort of an understanding between Trump and Erdogan with regard to Iran cannot be ruled out. Of course, Turkey is in a position to render invaluable help to Iran to bust the US sanctions (which it actually did in the past under the infamous oil-for-gold deal between Turkish and Iranian business elites during the Obama presidency.) Trump would know that if Turkey denies “strategic depth” to Iran, it can be a game changer for the  “maximum pressure” strategy against Tehran.

Significantly, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is also due to visit the US to meet Trump on July 22. Turkey and Pakistan aren’t exactly comparable but there are common elements here. Turkey is an estranged NATO ally which is open to reconciliation, whereas Pakistan is keenly seeking the resuscitation of its moribund strategic ties with the US.

The bottom line is that the US stands to gain out of “win-win” cooperation with both these Cold War allies over the vexed Iran problem.

Turkey’s cooperation is vital for the US to plug Iran’s land route to Syria’s ports in eastern Mediterranean and the US bases in eastern Turkey are key intelligence outposts eavesdropping on Iran. Similarly, the US hopes to keep a “very large” intelligence presence in the Afghan bases, which requires Pakistan’s acquiescence. Certainly, these US intelligence assets are not merely focused on the terrorism problem but also target Russia, China and Iran. In sum, the US intelligence assets in Turkey and Pakistan will play a crucial role in any military confrontation with Iran.    

Fundamentally, in regard of both Turkey and Pakistan, their estrangement as allies happened due to the US’ flawed policies that failed to adequately accommodate their legitimate interests. In both cases, the degradation of the relationships and the ensuing nosedive took place under President Obama. The alienation of Turkey when the Obama administration began soft-pedalling on the regime project in Syria in 2012 and it exacerbated following the failed coup attempt in 2016 to overthrow Erdogan.

In the case of Pakistan also, that watershed moment was reached in 2011 when a series of incidents took place that rocked the US-Pakistan ties — the detention of ex-CIA employee Raymond Allen Davis in Lahore in January that year, the Abbottabad operation to kill Osama bin Laden in May and the slaughter of 28 Pakistani troops at two Pakistani border posts in Mohmand tribal agency by NATO Apache helicopters, an AC-130 gunship and fighter jets in November.)

Unsurprisingly, Trump didn’t say at the press conference in Osaka as to what Erdogan’s side of the bargain might be. But the Anadolu commentary hints that Turkey won’t erode the US’ “maximum pressure” on Iran. Turkey has closed its ports to Iranian oil, fully complying with US sanctions against its main supplier — although Erdogan had previously slammed the sanctions, saying they are destabilising for the region. Prior to May 2018, when the US pulled out of the Iran nuclear accord, Turkey imported an average of 912,000 tonnes of oil a month from Iran, or 47% of its total imports.

Again, last Tuesday, the US put the Baluchistan Liberation Army on its global terrorist watchlist and on Thursday, Islamabad made the formal announcement on Imran Khan’s visit to the US. Pakistan comes under the US Central Command theatre of operations. (So does Iran.) Currently, there are no US bases in Pakistan.

But Pakistan, like Turkey, also has a long history of hosting American military bases. In Baluchistan alone, there were several US drone bases — Shamsi Airfield, shrouded in secrecy, which exclusively used to conduct drone operations and housed US military personnel; PAF base on the Sindh-Baluchistan border, which was also used for CIA drone operations; Pasni Airport where US spy planes used to be based, and so on.

July 5, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 2 Comments

Trump is finished with the Afghan war

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | July 4, 2019

There could be several ways of interpreting the US State Department’s decision on Tuesday to designate the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, which imposes economic sanctions on the group and anyone affiliated with it. What is absolutely certain is that this is by no means an altruistic decision by Washington.

The BLA is based in Afghanistan and has been waging a violent armed struggle against Pakistan for the past decade and a half upholding the right of self-determination of the Baloch people and demanding the separation of Balochistan province from Pakistan, apart from being involved in ethnic-cleansing of non-Baloch minorities in Balochistan.

Curiously, the BLA’s timeline (starting from 2004) has been co-terminus with the US’ occupation of Afghanistan. It is inconceivable that the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan were unaware of the BLA’s subversive activities or who were its mentors. Islamabad has been shouting and screaming from the rooftop all this while that its adversaries exploited the group as a proxy to destabilise Pakistan.

Put differently, the timing of the State Department decision banning the BLA is noteworthy. Why now, at this juncture?

These are extraordinary times when almost anything and everything that the US does in the Greater Middle East would have an eye on Iran with which it is locked in an epochal rivalry. Can it be that by making this gesture, Washington hopes to recruit Pakistani military and intelligence to strengthen further its ‘maximum pressure’ strategy against Iran? The possibility cannot be ruled out.

Of course, this is not to suggest that Pakistan will make hostile moves against Iran. Although Pakistan-Iran relations have been highly problematic through the past four decades since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and their mutual animosity kept frothing from time to time, things never reached a flashpoint as both sides observed certain ground rules of how far to go and what not to do. In the present context, Pakistan will take utmost care not to get entangled in the US-Iran standoff.

Having said that, there is a vital US-Pakistani convergence over Iran that cannot be overlooked, either. That is, when it comes to the Afghan situation. Iran has made it clear that if the US attacks it, it will retaliate against American assets all across the region. There have been two statements at least by senior US officials lately that Iran is moving against American assets in Afghanistan. Iran, of course, has stoutly rejected the allegation, but the US is paranoid — and not without reason.

The point is, apart from the traditional links with the Shi’ite groups in Afghanistan, Tehran also has dealings with the Taliban. Coincidence or not, Washington moved against the BLA within days of an incident in the eastern Afghan province of Wardak on June 26 in which two US soldiers were killed by the Taliban in an ambush.

The incident took place only a day after after Pompeo stopped in the Afghan capital, Kabul, for daylong talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani as well as other senior leaders and opposition politicians to discuss two topics, namely, the US’ ongoing efforts to reach a peace agreement with the Taliban and the potential that Iran has to carry out actions that would jeopardise the US exit strategy out of Afghanistan. (Read a report in Geopolitics magazine entitled Two Topics Dominating Pompeo’s Visit to Afghanistan.)

In fact, the US apprehends that an extremely dangerous situation is arising in Afghanistan even as the withdrawal of American troops accelerates. President Trump disclosed in an interview this week with Tucker Carlson on FOX television that the US troop level has come down to 9,000 from 16,000 already. Trump made no bones about the fact that he is finished with the war in Afghanistan.

At one point in the interview, Trump bursts out, “I’d like to just get out.” Trump claims that he intends to keep a “very strong” intelligence presence in Afghanistan. He couldn’t care less anymore whether there will be a broad-based government in Kabul or a Taliban takeover. He’s well past that point of agonising. At one point, Trump implied to Carlson — who also happens to be an inveterate critic of America’s “endless wars” — that he no longer trusts the judgment or integrity of the military commanders. (By the way, Carlson accompanied Trump to the meeting with North Korea Kim Jong-Un in Panmunjom while NSA John Bolton was sent away to Mongolia.)

This is where Pakistani help becomes critical. Ghani’s government lacks legitimacy but the holding of a presidential election in September, as planned, depends heavily on a settlement with the Taliban. The US expects Pakistani help in three directions: one, persuading the Taliban to reach an agreement at the Qatar talks without any further delay; two, enabling the US to withdraw the troops expeditiously and in an orderly fashion; and, three, creating politico-security conditions to facilitate a peaceful transfer of power in Kabul. Of course, it is a tall order.

The Americans know that Iran can escalate in Afghanistan anytime it wishes. Afghanistan falls within the domain of the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, commanded by the legendary general Qassem Soleimani who was the bête noire of the US and Israel in Iraq and Syria. Of course, if Soleimani creates a hopeless situation like in Vietnam (which forced the US into a humiliating retreat from the rooftop of the American embassy in Saigon), that will be highly damaging for Trump politically in the midst of his campaign for the 2020 election. And that is precisely why Trump is impatient to cut loose and get out from Afghanistan without even waiting for the implementation of any peace agreement with Taliban.

All this should be a morality play for the Indian strategists and policymakers as they pick up the debris of their own Afghan policies and its $2 billion price tag, which has been predicated so heavily through the past decade and a half on the US strategy. Equally, this should be a wake-up call for the Indian lobbyists who still want to bandwagon with the US in other regional theatres such as Sri Lanka, the Maldives or Nepal. (See blog US eyes Sri Lanka as its military logistics hub.)

For sure, the Afghan war has not ended. Trump recalled poignantly that the 9/11 attacks were not staged by Afghans but the Hindu Kush provided the plotters a “lab for terrorists”. Now, the US can only take the word of the Taliban that such a thing will not repeat. Washington’s best hope will be that Pakistan will keep an eagle’s eye to ensure that the terrorists from Afghanistan will not come visiting the US.

In turn, that is going to create an interdependency between the US and Pakistan. The IMF bailout, the ban on the BLA, the near-certainty that Pakistan is off the hook at the upcoming plenary of the Financial Action Task Force, an official visit by Prime Minister Imran Khan to the White House  — these are the starters from the US side. Pakistan is highly experienced in dictating the terms of engagement with the US.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

India’s Proposal For A Global “Terrorism” Conference Will Probably Backfire

By Andrew Korybko | EurasiaFuture | 2019-06-09

Indian Prime Minister Modi proposed a global “terrorism” conference while speaking in the Maldives during his first foreign trip following last month’s resounding re-election victory, but while this idea is obviously intended to contribute to his failed policy of “isolating” the global pivot state of Pakistan, it’ll probably backfire by drawing attention to his country’s policy of state terrorism against the Kashmiris, providing a platform for India’s new American-“Israeli”-Saudi allies to fearmonger about Iran, and putting Russia and the US in an awkward position for their diplomatic peacemaking ties with the Taliban.

Shifting The Blame For Regional Instability

Indian Prime Minister Modi is on his first foreign trip since winning a resounding re-election victory last month, during which time he told the Maldivian parliament that the world needs to urgently convene a global conference on “terrorism”. His supplementary remarks about “state-sponsored terrorism” and how some “people still try to create notions of ‘good terrorist, bad terrorist’” were interpreted as being aimed against the global pivot state of Pakistan’s political support for the Kashmiri freedom movement that India regards as “terrorists”, strongly insinuating that the intent behind Modi’s initiative is to contribute to his failed policy of “isolating” Islamabad. India also wants to deflect from the negative attention that it received worldwide after being exposed as the real rogue state in South Asia after it almost brought the region to the brink of nuclear war earlier this year following the suspicious Pulwama incident that it automatically blamed on Pakistan, desperately trying to continue pinning the blame on its neighbor for South Asia’s instability instead of taking responsibility for the being the reason behind this itself.

“Containing” China & Taking Revenge On Russia

Should this conference end up taking place, then it’s predictable that India will produce manufactured “evidence” in order to “prove” its point, exploiting the highly publicized opportunity to smear Pakistan’s reputation and provoke international concerns about investing in CPEC. This agenda has a much greater chance of succeeding if India convinces the US to impose unilateral sanctions against Pakistan on an “anti-terrorist” basis, understanding that the real purpose would be to indirectly sanction CPEC and consequently deal an asymmetrical blow to China in the so-called “trade war“. Furthermore, the negative attention that India hopes to heap upon Pakistan during that occasion could be weaponized to smear all of its targets’ partners by extention, including Russia, who New Delhi has been extremely angry with over the past few months after Moscow refused to take its side during the latest regional hostilities and instead opted to remain neutral as part of its balanced “Return to South Asia“. The news that President Putin might finally meet Prime Minister Khan during next week’s SCO Summit in Bishkek might have also motivated Modi to act as urgently as he did.

A Dose Of Modi’s Own Medicine

For as much as Indian strategists are expecting an optimistic outcome from Modi’s proposed global “terrorism” summit, there’s a very high likelihood that it’ll actually end up backfiring and causing many more problems than it’s worth. To begin with, Pakistan could use the international media coverage given to that event to draw attention to India’s use of state terrorism against the Kashmiri freedom movement that’s fighting for the right to their promised UN-mandated plebiscite to determine their political future. Not only that, but the “ModiMob” lynchings of dozens of Muslims over the past half-decade could be properly reframed as Hindu terrorist attacks if Pakistan plays its soft power cards right. In addition, the forthcoming event could also serve to remind the world of the testimony of convicted RAW Hybrid War operative Kulbhushan Jadhav after he admitted that he was tasked by his homeland to organize terrorist attacks in Pakistan, which could in turn lead to a wider discussion about India’s state sponsorship of the BLA and TTP terrorist groups .

Ranting About Iran & Talking Tough Against The Taliban

That’s not all, though, since the illusion of India’s “multi-alignment” would be ruined once and for all if its new American, “Israeli“, and Saudi allies exploit that platform to fearmonger about Iran, especially after New Delhi recently ditched it once Washington withdrew its sanctions waiver last month. Being responsible for sponsoring an anti-Iranian propaganda fest that raises the already high tensions in the Gulf would irreparably harm India’s reputation among the many countries of the emerging Multipolar World Order even if it endears it to the ones who are clinging to the fading unipolar one, showing without any doubt that New Delhi has made a decision to unapologetically pivot towards Washington. Nevertheless, India might also inadvertently harm its standing with the US if its representatives rant about the Taliban during that time, with whom Washington and Moscow are presently engaged in peacemaking diplomatic outreaches, but it might even stage a Bollywood-like drama to this effect to create some unconvincing ambiguity about its aforementioned pivot.

Concluding Thoughts

Modi thought that it would be a good idea to propose a global “terrorism” conference in order to put more international pressure on Pakistan, but upon further contemplation, it might be India itself that ends up coming under worldwide scrutiny if Islamabad takes advantage of this opportunity to raise awareness about New Delhi’s policy of state terrorism against the Kashmiris, the “ModiMob” Hindu terrorist lynchings of dozens of Muslims over the past half-decade, and Kulbhushan Jadhav’s confession that his homeland ordered him to organize terrorist attacks in Pakistan. Moreover, India’s reputation could be irreparably ruined in the eyes of the emerging Multipolar World Order if it sponsors an event that turns into an anti-Iranian propaganda fest for its US, “Israeli”, and Saudi allies to rant and rave against their rival, even if it stages a Bollywood-like drama by verbally attacking America’s peacemaking diplomatic ties with the Taliban to deflect from this fact. All told, more self-inflicted soft power harm than good might come out of India’s proposed global “terrorism” conference, though its strategists probably won’t realize this until after the fact.

June 9, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment