Indian Army Commander: China’s Presence in Pakistan-administered Kashmir “Increasing Steadily”, China’s First Aircraft Carrier May Be Nearly Ready, Photos Released Days Before Robert Gates Visit to Beijing, Taiwan Inaugurates Missile Ships amid Buildup Vow to Offset the Perceived Military Threat from China, Former Minister of Railways Executed for Act of Sabotage and Espionage Charges in North Korea, Pyongyang Strengthens Submarine Drills Near Border, Threatens Action for US-South Korea Military Exercises, Sri Lankan Army Commander in Indonesia Defence Relations to Be Enhanced, Iran’s Oil Exports to China Increased 62%, Tehran Moscow Underline Increasing Cooperation in Oil Gas Fields, Russia Begins Refuelling Iran Nuclear Plant, China and Russia Fingered in German Industrial Espionage, Washington Gears for High-Stakes Sea-Based Missile Defense Test, With Eye on South China Sea U.S. Might Place Troops in Australia, Russia to Continue Military Conscription for Next 10-15 Years
China’s Presence in PoK “Increasing Steadily”: Army Commander
China’s presence in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is “increasing steadily” and its troops are “actually present” along the Line-of-Control, a top Army commander said, adding the Chinese footprints are “too close for comfort” for India.
“Chinese presence in Gilgit-Baltistan and the Northern Areas is increasing steadily… There are many people who are concerned about the fact that if there was to be hostility between us and Pakistan, what would be the complicity of Chinese. Not only they are in the neighbourhood but the fact that they are actually present and stationed along the LoC,” Northern Army commander Lt Gen KT Parnaik said here last week while addressing a seminar.
He said China’s links with Pakistan through PoK “lends strength” to the “nexus” between the two countries which is a cause of “great security concern” for India.
“As part of (China’s) ‘strings of pearls’ policy, Chinese footprints are too close for comfort,” Parnaik added.
The Army commander said such a nexus between the Chinese and Pakistani military “jeopardises our regional strategic interests in the long run and and facilitates speedy and enhanced deployment of Pakistan armed forces to complement China’s military operations and thus outranks India.”
He said China has been found to be involved in the construction of numerous roads and and several hydro-power projects inside PoK.
Beijing is laying a web of roads that run across areas as distant from each other as Skardu in PoK and Kunming in China near Myanmar border.
China has already constructed roads connecting all its highways to logistic centres and major defence installations that dot the border with India and the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in south-eastern Jammu and Kashmir.
The Times of India | April 5, 2011
Chinese Warship May Be Nearly Ready
The Chinese state news agency has posted photographs of an aircraft carrier under reconstruction that appears to show the warship near completion. Captions with the photos said that the work would end soon and that the carrier was expected to sail later this year.
[...] Xinhua’s headline with the photos said: “Huge warship on the verge of setting out, fulfilling China’s 70-year aircraft carrier dreams.” One caption said: “A few days ago, domestic online military forums consecutively published photographs of the Varyag aircraft carrier being reconstructed at China’s Dalian shipyard. From the pictures, we can see that this project is entering its final stage.” The caption noted that construction on the ship’s bridge was almost done, with the exception of a radar system.
[...] The appearance of the photos came just days before Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates visited China. Military officials tested the fighter while Mr. Gates was in Beijing, which led to a puzzling and awkward diplomatic moment between Mr. Gates and President Hu Jintao.
Continue Reading >> The New York Times | April 7, 2011
Taiwan Inaugurates Missile Ships amid Buildup Vow
Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou inaugurated a squadron of missile boats Thursday as he pledged to continue the island’s military buildup to offset the perceived military threat from China.
The fleet of 10 locally manufactured missile boats joined the navy following a ceremony presided over by Ma at the northeastern naval base in Suao.
Ma, the initiator of detente with the island’s giant neighbour, said tensions with the mainland have eased significantly since he came to power in 2008 but insisted Taiwan needed a deterrent against Beijing which claims the island as part of its territory.
Continue Reading >> AFP | April 7, 2011
Two Former Ministers Executed in North Korea – Seoul Newspaper
[...] The newspaper reported that the North Korean former minister of railways, who occupied the post in 1998-2000, was executed over the blast case at a railway station in April 2004. This explosion was qualified as an act of sabotage targeted against a special train of a North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, who was on the way back from China.
The minister was accused of classified information leakage. The routes and the schedule of Kim’s trips were accessible only for his bodyguards and secretaries, as well as the railway minister.
Continue Reading >> ITAR-TASS | April 4, 2011
N. Korea Strengthens Submarine Drills Near Border
North Korea has intensified submarine drills near the tense Yellow Sea border with South Korea, putting Seoul defence officials on alert, a report said Thursday.
JoongAng Ilbo newspaper, citing a Seoul military source, said the North had been staging exercises involving five or six submarines at the Bipagot submarine base on its west coast since last month.
They feature the signature 325-tonne submarines as well as the new and bigger Shark-class submarines called K-300, it said.
“It’s highly unusual for them to beef up submarine drills in March so we’re intensely monitoring the situation,” said the source.
Continue Reading >> AFP | April 7, 2011
N. Korea Threatens Action for US-SKorea Drills
North Korea warned Friday that its military would not remain a “passive onlooker” if South Korea and the United States continued joint military drills, state media reported.
The threat came from Ri Yong-Ho, a vice marshal of the North’s armed forces, at a meeting attended by top government, military and party officials in Pyongyang.
Continue Reading >> AFP | April 8, 2011
SL, Indonesia Defence Relations to Be Enhanced
Sri Lankan Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya’s official visit to Indonesia has resulted in further strengthening the longstanding and excellent defence relations between the two nations and their armed forces.
Army sources say that it also provided opportunity to explore further defence cooperation between the two countries.
Continue Reading >> Daily News | April 6, 2011
Iran’s Oil Exports to China Increased in 2011
The Islamic Republic of Iran’s crude oil exports to China increased 62 percent in the first two months of 2011, Xinhua reported.
In January-February 2011, Iran’s crude exports to China increased 62 percent compared to the same period last year.
During the mentioned time, China has totally imported 45.73 million tons half of which has been supplied by the countries in the Middle East.
Iran’s crude oil exports to China reached 4.11 million tons during the two months. Iran has been second biggest crude supplier to China.
Saudi Arabia exported 8.19 million tons of oil to China and it was ranked first supplying 20 percent of the Asian country’s oil demand during the same period.
Mojnews | April 6, 2011
Tehran, Moscow Underline Increasing Cooperation in Oil, Gas Fields
Iranian Deputy Vice-President for Economic Affairs Ali Aqa Mohammadi and Chief Executive of Russia’s Gazprom Company Alexei Miller in a meeting in Moscow underscored the necessity for the further promotion of mutual cooperation between the two countries in the oil and gas sectors.
Continue Reading >> Fars New Agency | April 7, 2011
Russia Begins Refuelling Iran Nuclear Plant
Russia on Friday resumed loading fuel into Iran’s first nuclear power plant after it had to be removed because of an apparent technical fault, news reports said.
Continue Reading >> AFP | April 8, 2011
China and Russia Fingered in German Industrial Espionage Alert
Industrial espionage by China and Russia is becoming easier thanks to computer hacking, officials warned German business leaders on Thursday, adding that police need data logs to track computer break-ins.
A conference heard that the annual cost to German companies of data theft was at least 20 billion euros (nearly 30 billion dollars).
[...] “Russia and China are the main sources of so-called industrial espionage in Germany,” Schroeder said.
Continue Reading >> Monsters and Critics | April 7, 2011
U.S. Gears for High-Stakes Missile Defense Test
The United States is preparing for its first test of a sea-based defense against longer-range missiles of a type that officials say could soon threaten Europe from Iran.
Continue Reading >> Reuters | April 7, 2011
With Eye on South China Sea, U.S. Might Place Troops in Australia
American troops might soon find themselves serving in Australia as the United States looks for better access to the South China Sea, the source of much friction between China and many other Pacific nations.
During testimony on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Adm. Robert Willard, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, said Australians would like to see an increase of U.S. military activities Down Under.
[...] U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he has a group studying the idea of U.S. troops rotating through existing Australian bases, but he doesn’t want to create any new permanent bases in the Pacific. And he remained diplomatic when asked whether such a plan would be about keeping China in check.
[...] The United States and Australia have been on the same side of every major war since World War I. Australia has the largest group of troops from a non-NATO country fighting in Afghanistan.
Continue Reading >> CNN | April 8, 2011
Russia to Continue Military Conscription for Next 10-15 Years – Medvedev
The Russian Armed Forces will continue using a mixture of conscripts and contracted recruits for the next 10-15 years, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday.
Russia is in the process of reforming its armed forces by shifting the focus away from a largely inefficient body of conscripted soldiers toward a smaller professional army.
Continue Reading >> RIA Novosti | April 4, 2011
Russia Hopes Turkey Will Eventually Give the Green Light to the South Stream Gas Pipeline Project, “Turkey to OK South Stream When Conditions Met”, “Project is Not in the Best Interest of Ukraine and the Country is Working against it”, Iran Plans to Invest $90 Billion in South Pars Gas Field, U.K. Royal Dutch Shell Drilling 17 Gas Wells in China, Beijing Urges Quick End to American-Led Airstrikes in Libya, Considers the Security Situation in the Asia-Pacific as “Volatile”, Points to the U.S. Reinforcement of Military Alliances and Rising Suspicions in the Region, Seeks to Reinforce Trust With Neighbours, Will Stick to a Defensive Military Doctrine, The World’s Largest Arms Importer is Now India Not China, South Korea U.S. Conduct Large Military Exercise in Yellow Sea, Singapore Thailand U.S. Conclude Military Drill, Naval Exercises Between the Philippines and Malaysia, Venezuela’s $15 Billion Weapons Purchase Concerns Latin America, Joint Ghana U.S. Jungle Warfare Exercise Ends
Russia hopes Turkey will approve South Stream
Russia hopes Turkey will eventually give the green light to the section of the South Stream gas pipeline project that crosses its territory, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.
Turkey has not given its consent to the laying of part of the 15.5-billion-euro marine pipeline across its Black Sea territory. South Stream is designed to diversify Russian gas export routes, and will stretch to Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast and then on to Italy and Austria.
[...] The land section of the pipeline will go across Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia and Austria, with whom Russia has already signed intergovernmental agreements.
Continue Reading >> RIA Novosti | March 22, 2011
“Turkey to OK South Stream When Conditions Met”
Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said Turkey would still abide by the terms of a 2009 agreement with Russia over a proposed underwater pipeline that will carry natural gas to Europe bypassing Ukraine.
South Stream, controlled by Russian Gazprom and Italian Eni, is planned to carry Russian natural gas under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and on to Europe via Italy and Austria. In an exclusive interview with Today’s Zaman, Yıldız reaffirmed the Turkish position on the $21.5 billion pipeline project called South Stream, saying nothing had changed on the Turkish side. “We are still waiting for the environmental impact studies, as well as feasibility studies, on South Stream to see if the required criteria demanded by Turkey are met. If met, there is no question we would give our approval to the project,” he said.
Continue Reading >> Today’s Zaman | March 26, 2011
Minister: Ukraine Works Against South Stream
The South Stream natural gas pipeline project is not in the best interest of Ukraine and the country is working against it, according to Ukrainian Minister of Energy Yuriy Boyko.
Boyko said his country is undergoing “tense discussions” with Russia, the main country supporting the project, set to deliver gas to southern and central Europe, bypassing Ukraine.
“South Stream is a political project of our Russian partners, who want to create an excess of transit capacities for gas, like what they did back in the day for oil,” said the Ukrainian minister, quoted by MIGnews.
Boyko said that in collaboration with Ukraine’s “EU partners,” the country will be putting efforts so that in the end the pipeline be not built.
Sofia News Agency | April 2, 2011
Iran Plans to Invest $90B in South Pars
Iran’s Oil Ministry plans to invest about $90 billion in South Pars gas field in the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21), Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi said.
According to Mirkazemi, about $60 billion of the mentioned amount will be allocated to the upstream projects and about $30 billion to the downstream sector, SHANA News Network reported.
The official also noted that an extra $20 billion will be invested in the petrochemical projects of the giant field.
Mirkazemi further said that the Oil Ministry plans to complete the developing projects of all the remaining phases of the field within 35 months.
The Iranian oil minister also stressed the need for foreign investment in the site to speed up the projects, saying that once all the phases of the South Pars come on stream, the field can produce 25 million cubic meters of natural gas and about 40,000 barrels of liquefied natural gas per day, making the country’s annual revenue from the field hit $110 billion, Press TV reported.
The South Pars gas field is located in the Persian Gulf in the border zone between Iran and Qatar. The field’s reserves are estimated at 14 trillion cubic meters of gas and 18 billion barrels of liquefied natural gas.
Payvand Iran News | April 1, 2011
Shell Drilling 17 China Gas Wells
U.K. oil major Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA.LN) is drilling 17 wells in China, including for tight gas and shale gas, Reuters reported Sunday, citing Chief Executive Peter Voser.
If drilling is successful, Shell plans to spend $1 billion a year during the next five year years on shale gas in China, Voser was quoted as saying.
MarketWatch | March 20, 2011
China Urges Quick End to Airstrikes in Libya
China escalated its opposition to American-led airstrikes on Libya on Tuesday, joining Russia and India in calls for an immediate cease-fire and suggesting that coalition forces were imperiling civilians by exceeding the United Nations-mandated no-fly zone.
[...] China’s response to the campaign has been the most forceful, warning that the assault could bring about a “humanitarian disaster.” In a news briefing Tuesday, Jiang Yu, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, called for an end to hostilities. “We’ve seen reports that the use of armed force is causing civilian casualties, and we oppose the wanton use of armed force leading to more civilian casualties,” she said.
China was one of five countries to abstain from the United Nations resolution that authorized the allied airstrikes against the forces of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, which have been seeking to crush a rebellion against his four-decade rule. Russia, Brazil, India and Germany also abstained, while South Africa joined nine other Security Council members in supporting the resolution approved last week.
In its decision to abstain rather than block the resolution through its veto power, China said it was heeding the wishes of the Arab League and the African Union.
Continue Reading >> The New York Times | March 22, 2011
China to Reinforce Trust With Neighbours
The Chinese government on Thursday said it viewed the security situation in the Asia-Pacific as “volatile”, pointing to the United States “reinforcing” regional military alliances and rising suspicions among China’s neighbours.
In a national defence white paper issued on Thursday, China said it would seek to expand confidence-building measures with its neighbours, as well as stick to a defence policy that was defensive in nature.
The white paper, the seventh that China has issued since 1998, portrayed a strained regional security environment, describing the Asia-Pacific region, in particular, as “volatile.”
“Relevant major powers are increasing their strategic investment,” said the paper. “The United States is reinforcing its regional military alliances, and increasing its involvement in regional security affairs.”
Continue Reading >> The Hindu | March 31, 2011
The World’s Largest Arms Importer is Now India, Not China
India has spent US$80 billion to modernize its military to keep up with China and now, India has become the world’s number one arms importer according to Swedish think-tank keeping tabs on global arms transactions. India makes up 9 percent of global arms purchases while China has 6 percent of market share in comparison.
“India has ambitions to become first a continental and [then] a regional power,” Rahul Bedi, an analyst with London-based Jane’s Defence Weekly, told AP.
“Just from what they have already ordered, we know that in the coming few years India will be the top importer,” said Siemon Wezeman, a senior fellow at SIPRI told the International Business Times.
SIPRI’s report stated India’s defense budget for the coming fiscal year is in the region of $32.5 billion, 40 percent more than in 2009. In addition, India will spend over $50 billion in the next five years to modernize its military – including purchasing new fighter jets and aircraft carriers.
“The kind of purchases that India is buying, no country in the world buys,” added Bedi of Jane’s Defence Weekly. India has also been importing 82 percent of its weapons from Russia and plans to purchase 250 to 300 advanced fifth-generation stealth fighter jets worth $30 billion in the next decade.
SIPRI also included in its report:
Average volume of global arms transfers in 2006-2010 increased 24 percent from 2001-2005.
Asia and Oceania accounts for 43 percent of arms imports, Europe for 12 percent, 17 percent in the Middle East, 12 percent in the Americas and 7 percent in Africa.
The largest arms importers are locate in Asia with India accounting for 9 percent of all imports, 6 percent in China, 6 percent in South Korea and 5 percent in Pakistan.
USA remains the world’s largest exporter of military equipment and totals 30 percent of global arms exports in 2006-2010; of which 44 percent were exported to Asia and Oceania, 28 percent in the Middle East and 19 percent to Europe.
EconomyWatch | March 30, 2011
S. Korea, US Conduct Large Military Exercise in Yellow Sea
A large-scale South Korea-U.S. military exercise in the Yellow Sea seeks to prepare for North Korea`s use of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, submarines and special forces to destroy or blockade major infrastructure in the South.
Continue Reading >> Donga.com | March 24, 2011
Singapore, Thailand, US Conclude Military Exercise
Singapore, Thailand and the United States concluded the trilateral “Exercise Cope Tiger 2011″ at Korat Air Base in Thailand on Friday.
[...] About 100 aircraft and 34 ground-based air defence systems were deployed.
[...] More than 2,300 personnel took part.
Continue Reading >> Channelnewsasia | March 26, 2011
Military Exercises Strengthens RP-Malaysian Relations
The ten-day military exercises between the Philippine Navy and the Royal Malaysian Navy, which concluded March 25, has been beneficial to both parties and was a success in its purpose, the Naval Forces West (NFW) claimed. The activity opened on March 16.
Continue Reading >> Zamboanga Today | April 1, 2011
Hugo Chavez’s $15 Billion Weapons Purchase Concerns Latin America
With the acquisition of hundreds of tanks, helicopters and bulletproof vehicles as well as submarines and missile networks, Venezuela is arming itself at a speed unprecedented in the history of the South American country.
Continue Reading >> McClatchy | March 21, 2011
Joint Ghana, US Military Exercise Ends
The Africa Partnership Station (APS) 2011 jungle exercise, conducted by personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and the United States Marines, has ended at Achiase Jungle Warfare in the Eastern Region.
[...] The two-week training exercise comprised 100 troops from GAF and 42 US Marines.
Continue Reading >> Vibeghana | March 22, 2011
The Kremlin says it will nearly double the military wages and increase the number of military officers.
Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday police and other law enforcement agencies will also get wage hikes starting next January.
Russia’s Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said that an army lieutenant will get an average monthly wage of 50,000 rubles (about $1,700), about twice as much as the current salary.
He also said that the military will also increase the number of officers. Over the past two years the number of officers was reduced from 355,000 to 150,000.
Serdyukov was quoted by news agencies as saying Wednesday that the armed forces will now need 70,000 more officers because of the plans to form additional units.
The Canadian Press | February 2, 2011
Less than 24 hours after the breakdown of its nuclear dialogue with the six world powers in Istanbul, Iran announced plans Sunday, Jan. 23, to send a fleet of warships, including a home-made destroyer, on operational and intelligence-gathering missions to the Red Sea and on to the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal. DEBKAfile’s military sources: Parts of the fleet will in fact be deployed in the three waters around Israel’s southern and western shores.
DEBKAfile | January 23, 2011
The Chinese Army is believed to have built an underground “Great Wall” that stretches for more than 5,000 km in the Hebei region of northern China. Citing the People’s Liberation Army’s official newsletter, the Ta Kung Pao daily of Hong Kong on Saturday said China’s strategic missile squadron, the Second Artillery Division, built a massive underground tunnel to conceal nuclear weapons, including the Dongfeng 5 intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 13,000 km.
Since 1995, the Second Artillery Division has mobilized tens of thousands of soldiers to build a network of tunnels stretching for more than 5,000 km below the mountain regions of Hebei, China’s state-run CCTV reported. “A missile base has been built hundreds of meters underground and can withstand several nuclear attacks,” CCTV said. “People refer to the network of tunnels connecting to the missile base as the ‘Underground Great Wall.’” In March 2008, CCTV broadcast a documentary which revealed that the PLA had been building underground facilities enabling it to launch a counterstrike in case of a nuclear attack.
The Chosunilbo | January 20, 2011
The United States has expressed its readiness to supply Georgia with more anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons worth tens of millions of dollars, a source in the Russian special services has said.
Russian news agency ITAR-TASS quoted the unnamed source as saying that the weapons will be supplied through third-party countries, as is usually practiced by the United States.
Russia Today | January 11, 2011
Could Chinese ‘Carrier-killer’ missile reshape sea combat?
Fox News | January 7, 2011
With an eye on the nuclear arms race led by its neighbor Iran, Saudi Arabia has arranged to have available for its use two Pakistani nuclear bombs or guided missile warheads, DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources reveal. They are most probably held in Pakistan’s nuclear air base at Kamra in the northern district of Attock. Pakistan has already sent the desert kingdom its latest version of the Ghauri-II missile after extending its range to 2,300 kilometers. Those missiles are tucked away in silos built in the underground city of Al-Sulaiyil, south of the capital Riyadh.
DEBKAfile | December 30, 2010
Iran is on the verge of emulating the U.S. tactic of shooting terrorists and insurgents inside Pakistan, according to the latest chatter in Iranian military and intelligence circles. Following the fatal suicide bombing in Chabahar on December 15 that killed and injured more than a hundred people during an important Shia ceremony, many military and security officials in Tehran have started talking openly about the need to cross the border and target Baluch insurgents on Pakistani soil. The suicide attacks on Iranian targets has worn Tehran’s patience thin. Iran usually blames such attacks on Israel, the United States, and other Western countries such as the United Kingdom. But after recent attacks in Zahedan and other locations in Sistan and Baluchistan, Iran has increasingly blamed Pakistan.
Tabnak | December 26, 2010
Russia on Dec. 9 warned Poland against hosting U.S. F-16 fighter jets, possibly from 2013, saying it would work to counter the move.
Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich announced last month that his country would accept a U.S. proposal to host rotations of F-16 and Hercules transport aircraft and their crews on its territory.
Defence Talk | December 10, 2010
The current strategic landscape in the Gulf is shaped by a competition between Iran, Iraq, the US, and the individual Southern Gulf states for influence in the military, political, and economic realms. Iran is making broad efforts to expand its influence over the entire Gulf, as well as to deter US military action, reduce US influence, and establish itself as the dominant power in the region. In recent years, Iran has pursued this strategy by building up its capability to pose a missile, nuclear, and asymmetric threat; exploiting the Arab-Israeli conflict; attempting to discredit the US; expanding its influence over Iraq’s Shi’ites; and by making direct country-to-country contacts with each of its Southern Gulf neighbors designed to increase its influence and leverage.
The report shows that the US has sought to contain Iran, and limit its influence over the Southern Gulf countries, by strengthening relations with each Arab Gulf state, working with allies like France and Britain, by helping to negotiate an Arab-Israeli peace, and by establishing a mix of US, Iraqi, and Southern Gulf capabilities for deterrence and defense that will contain Iran. As part of this effort, the US seeks to limit Iran’s ability to use its political influence, ties to other regional states, influence over Iraq, exploitation of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and capabilities for asymmetric warfare to dominate the region.
Saudi Arabia is now the most important US ally in the Gulf, and will remain so as long as Iraq’s political and strategic alignments are uncertain- and Iraq remains a weak power caught up in its own internal struggles. This does not mean that Saudi Arabia’s interests always coincide with those of the US: they do not. It does mean that the US and Saudi Arabia share a common interest in limiting and containing Iran, and in ensuring the security of the Gulf and the stable flow of Gulf oil exports.
This relationship is reinforced by a long history of US and Saudi military cooperation and the US role in arming and developing Saudi forces. Furthermore, both nations have a common interest in dealing with the challenges of terrorism, the problems posed by Yemen, and the growing instability in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea. While both countries are divided in their approach to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict, they share a common interest in ending it and removing it as a cause for extremist action and a political tool that Iran can exploit in dealing with Lebanon, the Palestinians, and Arab popular anger.
The end result is a complex set of relations shaped by Saudi competition with Iran and the factors that shape Saudi cooperation with US policy, by US policy towards Saudi Arabia and how it uses this policy to confront Iran, and finally, by Iranian policy towards Saudi Arabia and how it also uses bilateral relations to compete with the US.
Strategic completion in the Gulf, then, plays out with the US and Saudi on one side, and Iran on the other, each side seeking to advance their interests in each separate Gulf country based on the complex political context there. However, the smaller GCC countries display various levels of support for each side and play distinctly different roles in this competition:
Kuwait is most similar to Saudi Arabia in its approach to US-Iranian strategic competition. It considers Iran a serious threat to its stability because of its perceived interference in Kuwait’s Shi’ite population, its growing military capabilities, and its nuclear program. Kuwait is one of the US’s major military allies in the region, and cooperates with the US on a number of levels, including providing essential bases for US troops.
Bahrain, with a Sunni elite and a majority Shi’ite population, feels threatened by perceived Iranian meddling within the disaffected Shi’ite population. It tempers this threat by maintaining strong political and security relations with both the US and Saudi Arabia. It is the home to the 5th Fleet headquarters and receives major US military funding.
UAE practices a more nuanced approach because of the difference in perceptions of Iran in each Emirate. The dispute for control over the islands of Abu Musa and the Tunbs shapes perceptions of Iran everywhere except in Dubai. Dubai maintains positive relations with Iran because of shared financial and trade networks. The UAE is also using its wealth to purchase advanced weapons from the US, and likewise strengthen its security ties to the US.
Oman has a unique role in the region. It is generally accommodating towards Iran, has tensions with Saudi Arabia, close ties to the UK, and serves as a major strategic ally for US military and diplomatic interests. As a result, it often plays the role of intermediary and has some diplomatic leverage over Iran.
Qatar has exploited the strategic competition between US and Saudi interests and Iranian interests in order to create an independent role in the region. Within this role, it tilts more towards Iran than Saudi Arabia while also hosting major US military bases to deter Iranian pressure.
Yemen is increasingly a broken state whose regime is too caught up in internal issues and threats to pay a significant role in the competition. However, a variety of factors make it strategically important, although often as a liability rather than an asset. Both Iran and the US accuse the other side of meddling in Yemen’s internal affairs but both desire some level of stability there.
As the US strengthens its military partnership with the individual Gulf states in an effort to both decrease the threat of terrorist activity and to combat Iranian influence, the strategic competition with Iran will continue to heat up. This competition in the Gulf is subject to a number of variables in the current political system, including the character of the future Iraqi government, the effect of international sanctions on Iran’s policy calculus, Saudi succession, developments in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and global economic stability.
In spite of these variants, it seems likely that the competition will play out in much the same way as it has in recent years. Bilateral relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia will be characterized by public accommodation and underscored by fundamental distrust and competition in the economic, political, and military realms. Iran will continue to exploit divisions between the other Southern Gulf states in order to gain influence and undermine the US policy of military and security cooperation in the Gulf.
The US will continue to strengthen its military partnership with Saudi Arabia based on their mutual interest in deterring the Iranian threat to the Gulf’s economic stability. In order to achieve this, the US will continue to supply the Saudis with counters to Iran’s growing naval asymmetric and missile capabilities. However, the US will simultaneously seek to avoid arming the Saudis at the expense of other Arab Gulf countries, or Israel. As a result, the stepping up of arms deals with Saudi Arabia will be followed by a series of deals with other Gulf allies, including the likely provision of the THAAD missile system to the UAE, and ongoing cooperation with all Gulf states to increase security cooperation.
What is not clear, however, is how or if Iranian foreign policy calculus will change in response to these developments, international sanctions, or domestic pressure. What is clear is that Iran and both the US and Saudi Arabia have legitimate and structural grounds for competition in Iraq, both economically and militarily. It is unlikely that these grounds for competition will disappear in the near future, and as a result, Iran will continue to compete with both the US and Saudi Arabia for influence in the region.
The full report: U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition
CSIS | December 6, 2010
Washington and its western allies have for the first time since the end of the cold war drawn up classified military plans to defend the most vulnerable parts of eastern Europe against Russian threats, according to confidential US diplomatic cables.
The US state department ordered an information blackout when the decision was taken earlier this year. Since January the blueprint has been refined.
Nine Nato divisions – US, British, German, and Polish – have been identified for combat operations in the event of armed aggression against Poland or the three Baltic states. North Polish and German ports have been listed for the receipt of naval assault forces and British and US warships. The first Nato exercises under the plan are to take place in the Baltic next year, according to informed sources.
Following years of transatlantic dispute over the new policy, Nato leaders are understood to have quietly endorsed the strategy at a summit in Lisbon last month.
Despite President Barack Obama’s policy of “resetting” relations with Russia, which was boosted at the Nato summit attended by Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, the state department fears that the major policy shift could trigger “unnecessary tensions” with Moscow.
The decision to draft contingency plans for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania was taken secretly earlier this year at the urging of the US and Germany at Nato headquarters in Belgium, ending years of division at the heart of the western alliance over how to view Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
The decision, according to a secret cable signed by Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, marks the start of a major revamp of Nato defence planning in Europe.
The Guardian | December 6, 2010
Lawrence Wilkerson: Wikileaks cables may show that China no longer need North Korea as a buffer state.
TheRealNews | December 5, 2010
India has formed two new army divisions – comprising more than 36,000 men – to defend the north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.
The remote north-eastern state adjoins China which claims large parts of it.
The 56th Division will be based in the nearby state of Nagaland to guard the eastern flank of Arunachal Pradesh from Chinese attack through Burma.
The other new formation, the 71st Division, will be based in Assam to protect central Arunachal Pradesh.
There has been no response so far from China to the decision.
Already the Indian Fifth Mountain Division guards western Arunachal Pradesh while another division is responsible for protecting the eastern part of the state.
In addition there are counter-insurgency troops in Assam who can be sent to the Sino-Indian border at short notice.
A total of 1,260 officers and 35,011 soldiers have been assigned to the two new divisions, which are being especially equipped for mountain warfare.
Officials say they were formed at the behest of the Indian army chief, General VK Singh – who said they were necessary to beef up defences against China.
Gen Singh was not available for comment but one of his staff officers, on condition of anonymity, told the BBC that the army chief had “pushed very hard to fast-track the raising of the two divisions”.
He said that they should be “fully operational” by March 2011.
He said their formation was India’s response to the “huge Chinese build-up” in Tibet over the last three to four years. But he did not wish to elaborate.
India is also raising a paramilitary force called the Arunachal Scouts and Sikkim Scouts to help the army protect the Sino-Indian border in the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.
“All the men in these formations will be drawn from mountain-fit local tribesmen but the officers will be from the army, at least for a while,” said a corps commander.
Their formation will be modelled on the Ladakh Scouts, who the army says bravely fought Pakistani intruders during the Kargil conflict of 1999.
India says the new measures have been put in place partly because China has “superb” communications on its side of the border, especially after a new train line to Lhasa was built in 2006.
India says that the Chinese airlift capability is also far superior.
The formation of the two new divisions means that India’s deployments in the eastern sector of its border with China now matches the five army divisions that existed in 1986-87, when the two countries nearly went to war.
But after India and China signed a “Peace and Tranquillity” treaty in 1993, both sides scaled down their deployments as part of a confidence-building package.
BBC News | November 24, 2010
Chomsky: U.S. still wants to dominate but cannot order other big powers as it pleases; Iran war threat is real.
TheRealNews | November 22, 2010
The large st ever air defense exercises in Iran are underway. The drills are aimed at testing the country’s ability to deter air strikes and prepare for attacks on nuclear sites.
The large scale national air defense exercises are being carried out near Iran’s nuclear centers and vital facilities.
The three-stage five-day defense maneuvers are dubbed “the Guardians of Islamic Skies”. Air defense units from the Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards are taking part in the drill.
The exercises also include tests of long-range anti-aircraft missiles.
During Tuesday’s exercises, Iran activated its air defense system at
nuclear facilities across the country. A spokesman for the maneuvers says Iranian forces successfully repelled a hypothetical enemy air attack from reaching nuclear and industrial sites.
Iran faces accusation that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran counters that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes. Israel has hinted it might take military action against Iran if international efforts to curb its nuclear program fail.
CNTV | November 16, 2010
Pentagon and its embedded media covering up Chinese show of force off LA
China flexed its military muscle Monday evening in the skies west of Los Angeles when a Chinese Navy Jin class ballistic missile nuclear submarine, deployed secretly from its underground home base on the south coast of Hainan island, launched an intercontinental ballistic missile from international waters off the southern California coast. WMR’s intelligence sources in Asia, including Japan, say the belief by the military commands in Asia and the intelligence services is that the Chinese decided to demonstrate to the United States its capabilities on the eve of the G-20 Summit in Seoul and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Tokyo, where President Obama is scheduled to attend during his ten-day trip to Asia.
The reported Chinese missile test off Los Angeles came as a double blow to Obama. The day after the missile firing, China’s leading credit rating agency, Dagong Global Credit Rating, downgraded sovereign debt rating of the United States to A-plus from AA. The missile demonstration coupled with the downgrading of the United States financial grade represents a military and financial show of force by Beijing to Washington.
The Pentagon spin machine, backed by the media reporters who regularly cover the Defense Department, as well as officials of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), and the U.S. Northern Command, is now spinning various conspiracy theories, including describing the missile plume videotaped by KCBS news helicopter cameraman Gil Leyvas at around 5:00 pm Pacific Standard Time, during the height of evening rush hour, as the condensation trail from a jet aircraft. Other Pentagon-inspired cover stories are that the missile was actually an amateur rocket or an optical illusion.
Experts agree that this was a ballistic missile being fired off of Los Angeles. Pentagon insists it was a jet aircraft or model rocket.
There are no records of a plane in the area having taken off from Los Angeles International Airport or from other airports in the region. The Navy and Air Force have said that they were not conducting any missile tests from submarines, ships, or Vandenberg Air Force Base. The Navy has also ruled out an accidental firing from one of its own submarines.
Missile experts, including those from Jane’s in London, say the plume was definitely from a missile, possibly launched from a submarine. WMR has learned that the missile was likely a JL-2 ICBM, which has a range of 7,000 miles, and was fired in a northwesterly direction over the Pacific and away from U.S. territory from a Jin class submarine. The Jin class can carry up to twelve such missiles.
Navy sources have revealed that the missile may have impacted on Chinese territory and that the National Security Agency (NSA) likely possesses intercepts of Chinese telemetry signals during the missile firing and subsequent testing operations.
Japanese and other Asian intelligence agencies believe that a Chinese Jin-class SSBN submarine conducted missile “show of force” in skies west of Los Angeles.
Asian intelligence sources believe the submarine transited from its base on Hainan through South Pacific waters, where U.S. anti-submarine warfare detection capabilities are not as effective as they are in the northern and mid-Pacific, and then transited north to waters off of Los Angeles. The Pentagon, which has spent billions on ballistic missile defense systems, a pet project of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, is clearly embarrassed over the Chinese show of strength.
Likely route of Jin-class submarine from Hainan base (Map).
The White House also wants to downplay the missile story before President Obama meets with his Chinese counterpart in Seoul and Tokyo. According to Japanese intelligence sources, Beijing has been angry over United States and allied naval exercises in the South China and Yellow Seas, in what China considers its sphere of influence, and the missile firing within the view of people in Southern California was a demonstration that China’s navy can also play in waters off the American coast.
For the U.S. Navy, the Chinese show of force is a huge embarrassment, especially for the Navy’s Pacific Command in Pearl Harbor, where Japan’s December 7, 1941 attack on the fleet at Pearl Harbor remains a sore subject.
In 2002, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice reportedly scolded visiting Chinese General Xiong Guankai, the deputy chief of staff for intelligence of the People’s Liberation Army, for remarks he allegedly made in 1995 that China would use nuclear weapons on Los Angeles. Xiong denied he made any such comments but the “spin” on the story helped convince Congress to sink billions of additional dollars into ballistic missile defense, sometimes referred to at “Star Wars II.”
Wayne Madsen Report | November 11, 2010
National security adviser Shivshankar Menon said on Thursday a limited war in nuclear conditions to deter adversaries was a possibility, and called for creating a new security architecture for the country. “What India needs is an open, balanced and inclusive architecture to correspond to the new situation that is emerging,” he said while delivering the keynote address at the golden jubilee celebrations of National Defence College, New Delhi.
NSA reiterated that terrorism was a derivative of nuclear deterrence. “Nuclear confrontation or war between major powers is not as likely as the threat from derivatives of nuclear deterrence, namely, terrorism and nuclear proliferation, which are being used to subvert the emergence of a plural, secular and democratic international order in the twenty-first century,” he averred.
Prominent strategic affairs analyst K Subrahmanyam said Pakistan had been exploring the role of terror in war. He said while Winston Churchill had called “deterrence the child of terror”, Pakistan had made “terror the child of deterrence”.
Chinese professor of international relations Shen Dingli began speaking by saying his views were a combination of his personal views and the Chinese government’s position. Shen spoke about global zero, or the total elimination of nuclear weapons, to which, he said, China was committed.
He blamed the US for making China a nuclear state, saying Beijing reluctantly acquired nuclear weapons after the Korean War.
Shen claimed missiles deployed in Tibet were not nuclear-capable and that China’s “no first-use” (of nuclear weapons) was applicable to Taiwan also.
Earlier, president Pratibha Patil said in her inaugural speech that terrorism was the “foremost threat” the civilised world was facing and it had to be confronted with force and in close cooperation with the international community.
Bhutan king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk said there was a bright future ahead for both India and Bhutan.
DNA India | October 22, 2010
The US is building an £8 billion super military base on the Pacific island of Guam in an attempt to contain China’s military build-up.
The expansion will include a dock for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, a missile defence system, live-fire training sites and the expansion of the island’s airbase. It will be the largest investment in a military base in the western Pacific since the Second World War, and the biggest spend on naval infrastructure in decades.
However, Guam residents fear the build-up could hurt their ecosystem and tourism-dependent economy.
Estimates suggest that the island’s population will rise by almost 50 per cent from its current 173,000 at the peak of construction. It will eventually house 19,000 Marines who will be relocated from the Japanese island of Okinawa, where the US force has become unpopular.
The US’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that this could trigger serious water shortages. The EPA said that dredging the harbour to allow an aircraft carrier to berth would damage 71 acres of pristine coral reefs.
The EPA’s report said the build-up would “exacerbate existing substandard environmental conditions on Guam”.
Local residents’ concerns, however, have been sidelined by the US-China strategic competition. China has significantly expanded its fleet during the past decade, seeking to deter the US from intervening militarily in any future conflict over Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own, and to project power across disputed territories in the gas and oil-rich South China Sea.
Beijing’s naval build-up is also intended secure the sea lanes from the Middle East, from where China will import an estimated 70-80 per cent of its oil needs by 2035 supplies it fears US could choke in the event of a conflict.
China has therefore invested in what are called its “string of pearls” a network of bases strung along the Indian Ocean rim, like Hambantota in Sri Lanka and Gwadar in Pakistan and in developing a navy which can operate far from home.
Experts agree China does not currently have the capability to challenge US supremacy in the Pacific and Indian Ocean. “China has a large appetite”, says Carl Ungerer, an analyst at Australian Strategic Policy Institute, “but it hasn’t got enough teeth”.
But China clearly intends to add bite to its naval arsenal. The country has acquired several modern Russian-made submarines and destroyers. Its shipyards are building new nuclear-powered submarines, as well as an aircraft carrier. There have also been reports that China is planning to test a new type of ballistic missile, the Dong Feng 21D, which would effectively render US carriers defenceless.
“China’s charm offensive is over”, says Ian Storey, an expert at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, “and its given way to what you might call an adolescent foreign policy. The country’s flexing its muscles, letting us know it won’t be pushed around”.
The US is also investing another £126 million on upgrading infrastructure at the British-owned Indian Ocean atoll of Diego Garcia, 700 miles south of Sri Lanka.
Key among the upgrades at Diego Garcia, which are due for completion in 2013, will be the capability to repair a nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine which can carry up to 154 cruise missiles striking power equivalent to that of an entire US aircraft carrier battle group.
Diego Garcia, which has served as a launch-pad for air strikes on Iraq and Afghanistan, is already home to one third of what the US navy calls its Afloat Prepositioned Force equipment kept on standby to support military deployment anywhere in the world.
The Daily Telegraph | October 25, 2010
Japan’s decision to increase the size of its submarine force to 24 from 18 is a major response to the rise of Chinese military power and presumably not the last.
A rise in any force level for a developed country is unusual, because unit costs grow faster than economies.
At some stage, Japan’s sacred (if somewhat theoretical) rule limiting defense spending to 1% of economic output should come under pressure. If it does not, and if China fails to throttle back on defense spending, then the Japanese forces’ power in relation to those of China will decline according to their relative GDP growth rates.
Although Japanese news reports play up the significance of poor current relations between the two countries because of a territorial dispute, it is surely long-term thinking that has driven the decision.
The move on the submarine fleet is historic, since the submarine force has been kept at 17 or 18 for about 20 years.
A brisk building program has commenced work on one boat every fiscal year since 1978 (and at almost that rate since 1960). So the number in service has been about the same as the decomissioning age in years.
In 1980 the oldest Japanese submarine, among 14 in service, was only 15. By the early 1990s they were kept running for a little longer, and so the number in service was 17, edging up to 18 this decade.
So the rise to 24 is pretty dramatic by Japanese standards. The building rate will be unchanged, so each submarine will be kept running for 24 years, much closer to a normal operational life.
The force can rise as quickly as one a year by suspending all decommissionings until 24 is reached in 2016, but Japan has not said how quickly the force will rise. The details should appear in a formal announcement in the defence policy guideline — a sort of white paper — due before the end of the year.
While building costs will not rise, the considerable expense of running the submarines will, presumably by more than a third, since old submarines can be expected to cost more to run than new ones. A bigger rolling modernization program will probably be needed, too.
The fleet could rise further in the future, but at some point the building program would have to step up a notch. One issue could be the designed fatigue life of the hulls, which one might reasonably suspect to be short, given the long policy of early retirement.
Don’t be confused by Japanese media reports saying the fleet is rising from 16 to 22. Those figures do not count two submarines that are always assigned to training duties. They could surely be reassigned to war operations in the blink of an eye.
Aviation Week | October 22, 2010
The Egyptian and Saudi armed forces have ended a week of joint military maneuvers in the desert near Egypt’s northern coast.
The official MENA news agency says the drill, code-named “Tabuk-2,” included an operation to repulse an enemy, a counter- attack and an enactment of an infantry thrust deep into enemy territory.
The report says F-16 warplanes, French-army Gazelle helicopters, armored and artillery units took part in the exercise, which ended Wednesday.
Egypt and Saudi Arabia have increased their military co-operation recently, including conducting military and naval exercises.
Almasry Alyoum | October 20, 2010
First joint Saudi-Egyptian maneuver ever was geared to Iranian threat
Egypt and Saudi Arabia secretly carried out their first ever joint exercise this week with the participation of their special operations, marine, armored, missile, air and naval forces, DEBKAfile’s military sources reveal. Exercise Tabuk-2 was programmed to repulse a potential Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia by taking the battle over to Islamic Republican territory. Our sources note that a new chapter was written in Middle East military history this week: The two largest Arab nations deployed their military strength in position for combating the Iranian army and its Revolutionary Guards Corps and showed they were willing to counter Iranian belligerence by invading the aggressor.
Tabuk-2, which Riyadh and Cairo took care to keep under wraps, took place from Sunday, Oct. 17 to Wednesday Oct.21 under the command of Acting Saudi Defense and Aviation Minister, Prince Khaled Bin Sultan, son of Crown Prince Sultan.
Khaled’s military record goes back to 1991 when he led the Saudi contingents taking part in the American invasion of Kuwait for ending the Iraqi takeover. In 2009, he commanded the Saudi expedition force which fought Iran-backed and funded Huthi rebels in northern Yemen.
This week’s joint exercise was conducted in Egypt’s northern desert up to its Mediterranean shoreline, an area whose terrain is similar to conditions on the Persian Gulf coast of eastern Saudi Arabia. Although Iran was not named, the two armies practiced responses to “enemy landings” in the kingdom’s eastern regions, where its oil fields, facilities and ports are situated. The script provided for Egyptian forces to be rushed to the area under attack and join up with the Saudis to throw the invaders back while at the same time a joint Saudi-Egyptian commando force standing by in the northwest would make for the western coast of Iran and launch a counter-attack on Revolutionary Guards bases.
In the weeks leading up to Tabuk-2, large-scale Saudi marine, air force, tanks and artillery forces arrived in Egypt, their first landing on Egyptian soil.
According to DEBKAfile’s military sources, this was the first maneuver in a series planned for the coming months in the Mediterranean, Red Sea and Persian Gulf arenas. Riyadh and Cairo are firmly resolved to have their armies at peak war readiness at all times for going into battle in any security contingency that might arise.
Egypt gave Israel advance notice of the maneuver and met with its approval.
DEBKAfile | October 22, 2010
The Defence Minister and Army Chief have voiced concern over China’s increasing assertiveness on the political, diplomatic and military fronts. Though there is no cause yet to sound an alarm, the Indian establishment should be prepared to checkmate the Dragon’s moves
Look at some of the past and recent developments and then perceive the scenario of a Sino-Indian thaw. The occupation of Aksai Chin by China since 1962, construction of the Karakoram Highway connecting Pakistan, supporting insurgency in India’s North East since 1965 and claiming areas like Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh have been some of the direct interferences of China in Indian affairs.
A few recent developments, however, are more disturbing then the earlier ones. These include :
A proposed rail link, via Myanmar, to Chittagong port in Bangladesh
Construction of Sona deep sea port at Cox Bazaar in Bangladesh
Construction of Hambantola port in Sri Lanka
A full facility at Gawadar port, west of Karachi, in Pakistan
Occupation of northern areas of Gilgit by regular Chinese troops
Interference in internal politics of Nepal
Intruding in various places along the borders in the guise of herd-grazers
Construction of nuclear power plants in Pakistan
Sino-Indian relations started on a warm note after independence. Both countries were in search of their place in the new World Order and trying to find bread for their people. All this changed in the aftermath of the 1962 Sino-Indian war, which has left China and India in state of flux that continues till today. China started its economic development in late 80′s and became a popular investment destination for Americans and Europeans.
Today China is poised to become an economic superpower and is in close competition with the US and Japan, leaving India far behind. China knows it well that after Japan and United Korea, no other country can compete. With India waking up very late to the new realities of economic developments, China now perceives India as a potential competitor in Asia and Afro-Asian regions. China has become the largest user of oil in the world overtaking USA. The Chinese growing economy has also become the third largest economy in the world, China is a fully developed nuclear state with the largest Army in the world.
It is reported that China consumed 2,200 million tons of oil in 2009. Its consumption of energy in the future is well perceived, and in order to maintain future import requirements, China definitely requires a supply chain management system from the Gulf countries. Gawadar-Xinjang highway, gas pipeline from Myanmar and intermediate refueling facility at the port of Hambantola in Sri Lanka may be its genuine requirements.
These facilities may legitimatize as geo-economic necessities for the future. But the Chinese regular troops occupying Gilgit region in POK, direct support to the Maoist party in Nepal and openly declaring Kashmir as a disputed area prove its hidden intentions of deploying itself in the geo-strategic encirclement of India.
Recent developments in the Indo-US relationship paradigm may have also irked Beijing. US civilian nuclear deal with India, enhanced mutual trust between the two democracies, Obama’s forthcoming visit to India, purchase of defense hardware by India from the US and Obama’s clear indications of upgrading mutual relations with India could be seen as unwelcome developments by China.
China follows well-practiced strategies with its neighbors, like “teaching them a lesson”, as it did with Vietnam in 1978. China also follows a strategy of “tactical arrogance”, with India, Nepal and Bhutan over and again during the livestock-grazing season. China also believes in the strategy of “bullying”‘ neighbors by actions more than words. China, recently denied a visa to one of our Army Commanders posted in Kashmir.
These postures and actions prove yet another point that China has grown so powerful that it does not bother about anyone, including Uncle Sam. China believes in having its cake and eating it too.
One of the biggest and saddest events that have gone in favor of China is the downfall of the erstwhile USSR. The present Russian federation cannot engage China due to its internal problems and weak economy. So, what does it boil down to? What should India do to engage its bullying neighbor meaningfully?
One of the options available to India, as our economist Prime Minister stated, is that our engagement with ASEAN countries is a key element of India’s vision of an Asian economic community. If we can meaningfully engage ASEAN countries in economic ties, then these countries will definitely look up to New Delhi in a supportive and friendly gesture. These countries will definitely upgrade India in their priorities over China. India should also keep close watch on SAARC countries and help them in their genuine economic development. This would remove their fear of India’s big brother attitude and bring about an economic change in the region. We, therefore, must agree upon an economic development program for SAARC countries to enhance their confidence in India and not leave them to any vulnerable threat from outside.
China knows it well that India today is not what it was in 1962. With a credible nuclear deterrence, a fairly well trained and well deployed army, India cannot be bullied or treated with arrogance. India could do well by organizing some sort of offensive capabilities along the north-eastern borders. Indian defensive capabilities are fairly well developed and it is capable of countering any limited misadventure by China. A large-scale Chinese offensive, of course, would dictate different options for India.
In all fairness, China is definitely not an irresponsible state and recognizes India’s regional and international aspirations. If New Delhi and Beijing can settle their long-standing border disputes and engage in economic development as well as ASEAN and SAARC countries, then the 21st century definitely belongs to these Asian giants. After all, Panchsheel, the basic document guiding India’s foreign policy, was first signed by these two countries.
The Tribune | October 21, 2010