Tag Archives | China

25 Years since the Tiananmen Massacre

By Piyush Singh

June 5th will mark the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. A pro-democracy movement which had started nearly 6 weeks back was brutally subjugated by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) under the orders of the Communist Party of China.

Chinese government not for the first time though, used brutal military tactics to quell the protest organised by Beijing University students for more freedom and basic human rights as enshrined in the Chinese constitution. What started out as a student revolt soon became a mass protest movement drawing peasants from the countryside to Beijing. Similar protests also started in other cities in China. The Communist Party, under the leadership of the autocratic Li Peng, vowed to use “firm and resolute measures to end the turmoil swiftly”. Martial Law was subsequently declared in and around Tiananmen Square and the protesters were given final warning to disperse or be responsible for what happens next.

On the night of June 4th under firm orders from the party leadership “to clear the square by dawn”, the army began its advance. Throughout the night scores of peaceful, unarmed protesters were killed or brutally injured. People were shouting at the foreign journalists present at the scene to take videos and pictures to show the world what is going on in China. It was a mere coincidence that foreign journalists were present in Beijing in large numbers to cover the event because it occurred simultaneously to Gorbachev’s visit to China. What happened was the most brutal oppression of peaceful protest in the world. Majority of countries from all over the world condemned the Chinese government. India, in order to not agitate China carried a very limited broadcasting of the event.

The scars of the event remain fresh in world’s memory even though Chinese citizens have no clue about it. Chinese internet search results are very strictly censored with regards to the event.  Searches like “May 35th”, “April 65th” etc are blocked. Chinese authorities have gone at great lengths to erase the memory of the protest from public view. Beijing has been attempting to expunge their collective memory through the worship of a soaring economy.

The protest also served as a wake-up call for the Chinese government. Already the Chinese market was going through huge reforms and the government after the brutal crackdown brought in further reforms to pacify the citizens. They stuck a deal with the citizens which basically were that you will have economic development but no political freedom. The sort of deal you make with the devil.

Since then China has transformed on a huge scale. Its economy is one of the largest and recently it became the world’s largest trading nation. However their citizens rue the lack of basic human rights and representative form of government. Human dignity signifies not just economic prosperity but also able to live his/her life freely, be able to voice opinions which are against the government etc. Recently in 2008, Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo came up with Charter 08 to demand political reform and an end to single party rule in China.  He suffered the same fate as all political dissidents in China suffer. One outspoken film professor, Cui Weiping, wrote, if people continue to stay silent, “June 4 will no longer be a crime committed by a small group of people, but one in which we all participated.”

Even though former President Hu Jintao and current President Xi Jinping have regularly advocated that western democratic values won’t work in China, it is essential that China follow its own Constitution which speaks about democracy, rights to its own people and constitutional supremacy.

As we near the 25th anniversary of the oppression, it is to be noted that even though China is still far away from incorporating democratic values and institutions into the society, a single misstep by the Party rulers in the long run will surely ignite a new protest. They are banking on economic growth and prosperity to bide time for themselves but it won’t last for long. China has become extra vigilant as the 25th anniversary approaches near and has been rounding off scholars and pro-democracy protesters so that they do not create any sort of disturbance on that day.  All efforts made by the Chinese government to wash-off its hands of such heinous crime should be resisted and people should slowly and steadily work to fulfill the dreams of those who died that day. Lu Xan in 1926 after witnessing a brutal protest wrote “Lies written in ink can never disguise facts written in blood” should serve as the dictum for people who still hope for democracy in China.

Piyush Singh is an intern at the Takshashila Institution.

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Can USA and China avoid the Thucydides trap?

In a recent interview with The World Post, Chinese President Xi Jinping set out his outline for the future of China and the world and why peaceful world environment is necessary to develop China in the long term. One particular significance of this interview was his usage of the term “The Thucydides Trap”.

“The Thucydides Trap” was coined by the Belfer Center Director Graham Allison whereby an established power becomes wary of an emerging power and ultimately leads to war and confrontation among them. The Greek Historian Thucydides blamed the war between Athens and Sparta on Sparta’s fear of Athens growth and its own diminishing influence and hence went to War with Athens to thwart its rise.

Even though The United States and China are the world’s largest economies, their relationship is very complex and based on mutual fear and suspicion.  China’s rapid defence modernisation coupled with increasing assertiveness with its neighbours over various territorial disputes has caused US policy makers off guard in Asia. What worries the policy makers the most is what will be the US response in case of conflict between say China/Japan or China/Philippines and to what extent will the United States go to protect its allies in the region?  Even though China advocates a multi-polar world, its actions speak differently about the role it is going to take in future. China is playing a game of cat and mouse in the region and is checking USA’s capacity to deliver in case of a conflict.

United States has clearly outlined its intention after long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that it will be concentrating on Asia with its Asia Pivot policy.  The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq proved too big a financial burden on the American economy and allowed China to leapfrog it and become the world’s largest trading nation. As the US troops withdraw from the region post 2014, the US plans to concentrate on Asia-Pacific region to check the growth and influence of China in the region. Post World War II, United States has been a dominant power in the region and most of its trade goes through this route and any effort by China to subvert its influence will be met by strong US response.

Current President Xi and Former President Hu Jintao, both laid out a vision for China’s global role in international politics wherein both Countries will form a “new type of great power relationship”. To what extent the United States is going to share power with China and what will be its impact on International geopolitics remains to be seen. Skeptics argue that confrontation between the two countries is more of a reality in the coming decades then in the past.

American foreign policy which was clearly focused on terrorism and Middle East post September 11 attacks have once again started concentrating on China after the economic recession of 2008. America’s Asia pivot is aimed clearly at China and focuses on containing it in the region without harming its interests or its allies. Japan is increasingly trying to change its pacifist Constitution in order to prep up its military in case of a conflict with China. Japan is concerned that US will not come to its rescue in case of conflict even though the US-Japan Treaty 1971 provides so and hence is becoming increasingly insecure about China’s intentions in the region. In his book On China, Henry Kissinger states that China wants a complete revamp of the current world order wherein it has greater say in the happenings around the world and is not discriminated against whereas the United States stands for the existing rule based order, freedom of navigation of seas and skies. The opaque system of Chinese decision making makes it much more difficult for America to solve disputes or tone down the tensions in case of a miscalculated Conflict.

US policy makers believe India can be a trump card against China in the Asian power dynamics. Based on the principle of democracy and rule based order, United States believes that in the long run India can become a possible alternative to China in Asia and on one on which it could depend on. India is being increasingly courted by Japan, Australia and the US to seek a dominant role in Asia Pacific to subvert Chinese influence.  However they forget that India has its own sets of problems with China and will not join any US led camp against China. India’s current focus right now is economic growth and liberalisation and lifting millions out of poverty before it can match China tooth for tooth militarily in Asia and the world.

In the last 500 years, whenever an established power has been faced with an emerging power, the result was war in 11 out of 15 cases. The US has slowly and steadily built up its largely dominant role now since 1890, when it surpassed United Kingdom as the world’s largest economy and has enforced itself as the sole World Super Power through the two World Wars and its rivalry with Soviet Union during the Cold War years. What will be the US approach to China’s rise and whether it is going to make any concessions to China remains to be seen? China on the other hand will try to gain its status as the Middle Kingdom in the Confucian concept of “All under Heaven” and regain its previous glory as the world’s largest economy prior to 1750’s.

Piyush Singh is a law student with an interest in India-China relations and nuclear law and energy. He completed his internship at the Takshashila Institution.

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The significance of Asia’s democratic security diamond

Asia’s security is best laid out in the hands of Democratic countries that follow rule-based order, have respect for the current international order and international law.

Just days after being selected as the new Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe in his first public address stated his future for Japan and the Indo-Pacific region in general. The title of the address “Asian Democratic Security Diamond” was quite apt considering the lingering tension in the region.

This piece focuses on strengthening Japan’s relation with democratic forces in Asia namely India, Australia, United States of America and Japan itself. The principle argument of this is that Asia’s security is best laid out in the hands of Democratic countries that follow rule-based order, have respect for the current international order and international law. After Japan’s recent skirmishes with China over a small set of islands in the East China Sea, Japan has become wary of China’s growing disrespect for international law and order and the current status quo. Japan wants the democratic countries to come together and counter China over such misappropriated claims.

In a carefully planned address Shinzo Abe stated “The ongoing disputes in the East China Sea and the South China Sea mean that Japan’s top foreign-policy priority must be to expand the country’s strategic horizons. Japan is a mature maritime democracy, and its choice of close partners should reflect that fact. I envisage a strategy whereby Australia, India, Japan, and the US state of Hawaii form a diamond to safeguard the maritime commons stretching from the Indian Ocean region to the western Pacific. I am prepared to invest, to the greatest possible extent, Japan’s capabilities in this security diamond.”

Japan’s struggle against a growing and increasingly assertive China will be at the forefront of a new rivalry between the West and China. Even though Chinese Leaders repeatedly convey that China’s rise will be peaceful and not cause harm to anyone, analysts believe that China is going the way of Germany before World War I and II. Japanese repeatedly point out that China is making the same mistake that Japan made during World War II. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe went as far as to compare the recent tension between the two countries to the one existing between Great Britain and Germany prior to World War I at the recently concluded Davos Summit in Switzerland.

Japan is positioning itself to defend its interests in Asia. Japan has been largely dormant since World War II, concentrating mainly on its economy and has been a model US ally in the region. Japan is becoming increasingly fearful that South China Sea is becoming “Lake Beijing” and it will surely harm its economy and its very existence in the future. If implemented, Abe’s policies will inject Japan into the heart of the intensifying Pacific struggle between Beijing and Washington for maritime regional maritime dominance and stir new concerns, especially in China, over a possible reemergence of Japan’s militaristic past.

Japan is increasingly courting countries such as India and Australia with huge interest in the Indo-Pacific region to ward off the China threat. Joint Maritime exercises with these Countries have become a calendar marker each year. The Malabar Exercise between India, United States, Japan, Australia and Singapore have seen strong diplomatic response from China which sees such exercise being directed against it.

Australia issued a strong response in support of Japan when China declared an expanded ADIZ covering the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Even Kevin Rudd, Former Australian Prime Minister and a sinologist suggested that rise of China as a singular naval power in the region will harm the interest of all the countries in the region and said that it will be the policy of successive Australian governments to see to it that Australia, along with The United States and Japan try to strive to prevent such a future.

India on the other hand is watching these developments very closely and approaching the situation very cautiously. Even though India did not issue a official statement condemning China’s ADIZ, many believe that Japan will have the support of India in any future conflict. India too is fearful that China is not expanding only into the Pacific but also its own backyard, the Indian Ocean. There have been cases of skirmishes and stand-offs between the Indian Navy and its Chinese Counterpart in the area. The inductance of INS Arihant and other ships such as Aircraft Carrier and Frigates are a step in the right direction to achieve its Blue Water Naval ambitions and to counter China’s formidable navy.

The United States with its 6 Carrier Groups in the Indo-Pacific region is keeping a check on China’s naval ambitions. Joint Naval exercises with Countries in the periphery of China and at times, at the receiving end of China’s gun-boat diplomacy are being assured of all financial help to perk up their own capabilities to counter China. US has time and again empathised on the role of regional organisations to sort out disputes between the concerned countries. The role of United States is critical and extremely crucial in maintaining order in the region. However many countries are concerned to what extent the United States will go to safeguard the territorial integrity of its allies in the region especially after last year’s Scarborough Shoal, where after US intervention, China backed off but within a month again occupied the islands and with very little response or retaliation by the United States.

Japan’s emphasis on “open and stable seas” and maritime security is the taking point in the policy circles and to what extent the Democratic Security Diamond initiative is able to ward off the China threat remains to be seen. One thing is guaranteed that Shinzo Abe will go down in history  as the one man who stood up against the China threat well before anyone else.

Piyush Singh is a law student with an interest in India-China relations and nuclear law and energy. He completed his internship at the Takshashila Institution.

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“Chinese dream”- return to the concept of Middle Kingdom?

By Piyush Singh

China wants to be the sole regional power in the Asian region and is clearly projecting the same, militarily and through its economic clout.

The recent declaration of Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) by China over Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands was a reminder by the Chinese government to the world of its growing role as a regional power and in future a ‘superpower’. Over the course of last year after President Xi Jinping took helm as the leader of the country, Chinese assertiveness has increased in the Asia-Pacific region. It has proactively started claiming the whole of South China Sea and Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea. The Chinese government has already declared these zones as its “Core Interests”, putting it at the same stature as the issue of Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang. Its Boundary dispute with India is one of a more complex nature and in the past one year there have been more than 300 instances of incursions by the Chinese troops and occupying Indian Territory.

President Xi Jinping’s Speech about the great Chinese Dream was focused on “rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” and “combines the spirit of the nation with patriotism as its core”. Skeptics around the world have linked the nature of this so called “Chinese Dream” to a more military form of dream. China’s increasing assertiveness in South and East China Sea has created ripples in various countries. President Xi’s interpretation of the Chinese Dream as a strong nation for the Chinese people and a strong military dream for the military has further more alarmed the neighbouring countries, in particular Japan, India and Vietnam. This is a stark difference from President Hu Jinatao’s “Peaceful Rise” concept whereby he emphasised on the peaceful development of the “Chinese nation”. After assuming power President Xi has issued orders to focus on “real combat” and “fighting and winning wars”.  China’s official defence budget has increased 10.7 percent from 2012 to 117 Billion Dollars.Unofficial Spending is estimated to be much higher, around 150 Billion Dollars.

What Is the Dream About? However, the main concept behind President Xi’s Concept of “Chinese Dream” is to restore China to its former glory of more than 5000 years of proud civilisation which it had lost after more than 200 years of foreign rule and oppression starting in 1750’s through Opium Wars and ultimately Japanese Occupation culminating into World war II. His dream is directly related to the old Confucian concept of the “Middle Kingdom” whereby China was at the centre of the world affairs and different countries paid homage to it. China no longer needs to “bide its time and hide its capabilities” as propounded by the great reformer Deng Xiaoping. For President Xi, the time for the Chinese nation to reclaim its former glory has come. He has even outlined the year 2049 as the time when the Country would have truly arrived at the world stage, which is on the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China. Even though many argue that the so called “Chinese Dream“ is for the development of the Chinese people and to achieve economic growth, reduce poverty etc drawing parallels with “American Dream” of economic prosperity, liberty and basic human rights they clearly forget that China has always been a very opaque society in terms of its functioning and decision making. Who calls the shots in China has always been disputed. Many argue that the military has a firm control over the politburo and largely influences its decision making process.

Indian and Japanese Concerns-Time for Strategic Partnership? The other two aspiring regional powers in the Asian region, India and Japan have clearly taken the proactive Chinese military Posture with a pinch of salt. India in response to repeated Chinese incursions has raised a new mountain corps division of near about 85,000 soldiers and is simultaneously strengthening its fledging navy to maintain its dominance over the Indian Ocean region and also to secure its economic interests in the South China Sea. Japan has for the first time in ten years increased its defence budget and aims to spend around US$239 Billion over the course of next five years on buying up military hardware to counter China. Since assuming office, prime minister Shinzo Abe has vowed to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Japan. The Japanese Self Defense Forces(SDF) have been rapidly undergoing modernisation drive and it is being widely assumed in policy circles that it will soon lose its “pacifist” tag forced upon it after the horrors of World War II.

Both India and Japan share common concerns regarding the rise of China and how it is going to impact the regional balance in Asia and its periphery. The recent visit of the Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko signify the importance the Japanese give to India-Japan Relations. Both India and Japan in recent years have increased defence cooperation and financial engagements. Abe’s government has also vowed to review Japan’s ban on weapons exports and is aggressively pursuing options of arming the militaries of India and Vietnam. Even the United States of America, the sole super-power after the end of Cold War has started prioritising itself in Asia-Pacific with its “Asia Pivot” program whereby it seeks to limit China’s growth as a super power and keep it mingled on the Chinese Mainland through repeated poking at its dismal Human Rights record, environment pollution and more rights for its citizens. Many analysts have linked this concept of “Chinese Dream” to the USA’s “Monroe Doctrine” which it adopted in the early 19th Century whereby it restricted the meddling of European powers in the Americas. China wants to be the sole regional power in the Asian region and is clearly projecting the same, militarily and through its economic clout.  The best way to contain China is to engage it more in international issue through the rule of law and not arbitrarily through its own set of rules.

Piyush Singh is a law student with an interest in India-China Relations, Nuclear Law and Energy. He is completing his internship with the Takshashila Institution. 

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The paucity of water resources in India

Krishna Kavita Meegama

The Indian subcontinent’s population of 1.5 billion is growing at 1.7 percent a year. An Indian gets 1,730 cubic metres of fresh water a year (global average is 8,209 cubic metres). The shrunken Himalayan glaciers will reduce the Indus flow by 8 percent and an eventual 20 percent reduction in the total available fresh water in the next 20 years. Most of our headwaters originate in the Tibetan Plateau, especially the Indus and the Brahmaputra (as also Sutlej). Given that China now controls the Tibetan Autonomous Region, which the Government of India has officially accepted as a part of the People’s Republic of China in 2004, we now have no recourse if and when the Chinese decide to divert the waters to its arid north or to build the largest dam in the world of 540 MW (twice as big as the Three Gorges Dam) to tap into the hydropower at Mount Namcha Barwa (where the Brahmaputra swerves sharply and drops 8000 ft to enter Arunachal Pradesh) generating 38,000 MW of energy. It is no surprise that territorial dispute with China re-started in 2006 along with plans to divert and build on the Great Bend.

By recognising Tibet as a part of China we have given up strategic rights to fight for our waters originating there, we will now have to deal very delicately with China and cannot afford to cause anger, since we have no treaty with it regarding water-sharing. Our economic growth depends on having access to waters for industrialisation and for the well-being of our people. Unless we engage with China, which we fail to do despite knowing how imperative it is, we cannot hope to convince them to stop diversion of the Brahmaputra. Even on the matters of dam building, it is essential that there is joint management of resources.

As co-members of BRICS and SCO, we should leverage on our similarities with the other member nations and concentrate on how we can build together as an alternative to the European Union. We should work on our futures as economic trading partners needing one another to survive than in playing a game of one-upmanship to usurp the other in the international arena. India’s standing too, in the world order will depend on how it can squeeze itself out of the mess it has created for itself over the years by refusing to see the truth about Tibet, the importance of Arunachal, the need to talk to China instead of running away from a confrontation or being belligerent for the wrong reasons. China would be happy to engage with a global power that does not kowtow to the West, unlike now where it looks at India as America’s proxy in the region.

India is already facing domestic water struggles due to excessive population growth, industrialisation, siltation, global warming and glacier melt. To China’s advantage, it is unlikely to be presented with a united opposition since all its downstream states are involved in internecine water conflicts of their own. China faces acute water shortage of 25 percent by 2030. 6000 lakes have dried up & the Yellow River is 30 percent dead, this has lead to desertification. Given this grim scenario, diversion is the only way out. Although with 10 major rivers flowing from it to 11 countries with none flowing into it, it has control of international waters. Any reduction in the flow of waters due to diversion or because of climate change will pose a serious challenge for Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and India as also the proposed large dams on the Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) which are being built callously on seismic zones, which in the event of an earthquake at such altitudes can easily flood states of Arunachal and/or Assam.

According to World Watch Institute, since 1965, the water table in Beijing has fallen by about 59 meters or nearly 200 feet. In 1999, Jiang Zemin, then China’s paramount leader, announced xibu da kaifa, or the Great Western Extraction, which would transfer huge volumes of water from Tibet into the Yellow River. The politburo and 118 Chinese generals leant their support to the project, which included the Shuo-tian (reverse flow) canal as the solution to chronic water shortages. B G Verghese of Centre for Policy Research, says fears of diversion of water are “highly exaggerated” because the difficult terrain makes it all but impossible to do this. Colonel K P Gautam of IDSA says “India should negotiate with China. We need data on the quantum of water flow in the Brahmaputra, on the melting of glaciers.” Former water secretary Ramaswamy Iyer agrees that there is a chasm where there should be formal agreement. Until some years ago, water did not even figure in talks between India and China.

Previously India has not paid sufficient attention to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization but the region represented by the SCO countries is strategically vital for India. When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Rise of a New Global Order, writer Martin Jacques sounds a wake-up call for India: engage China or prepare to endure its hegemony.

 Krishna Kavita Meegama worked as a Journalist, TV anchor, Filmmaker prior to being a Language and Cultural Instructor. Currently on a sabbatical, she is studying the Upanishads in their original Sanskrit at a Gurukulam.

 

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India’s options for reducing risk from China-Pak alliance

R.Srikanth

While the internal debate has predictably settled down on questioning the morality of executions in a democratic republic, few questions have been asked about whether Kasab’s execution has increased or decreased India’s options with respect to its long-term adversaries in the region, China and Pakistan.

Hafiz Saeed, leader of terrorist group Lashkar-e-Toiba is being legitimised in the public space in Pakistan, as he makes a foray into Pakistani politics. Given Pakistan’s penchant for denying its hand in anti-India terrorism, it seems like poor strategy to execute Kasab at this time, as he is the only living being that was proof of 26/11. Can Indians afford to be sanguine about the mainstreaming of terrorist groups in Pakistani politics?

The central place of religion in politics is not surprising given that Pakistani Constitution and Republic and even the Army define themselves in terms of religious doctrine. The side effect of religious propaganda in the Pakistani school curriculum over the decades has resulted in religious fundamentalist groups garnering immense public support for right wing political groups. In this environment, terrorist masterminds like Hafiz Saeed are able to seek legitimacy by entering politics and making pretensions of abstaining from terrorism.  Hafiz’s actions of offering prayers for a 26/11 terrorist, but not its victims, says enough about his pretensions of seeking a life of peace.

It does not seem to be in India’s interest to let Pakistan get away with providing validity to groups like Hafiz Saeed’s Lashkar-e-Toiba as a legitimate political party via an election. This will result in the permanent mainstreaming of terrorist groups into Pakistani politics. However, in Pakistan, it is a truism that no matter which political party wins, the Army actually is in control. So, in that sense, not much has changed in Pakistani politics, except for the death of secular and liberal political parties. Frequent headlines in the international print media that portray the Army submitting to the civilian government of the day have always turned out to be false.

Even mainstream political parties such as the PTI and Jamaat-e-Islami are very vocal about their aggressive intent towards India, should they come to power. All these political parties have openly stated their antipathy for friendly relations with India, with constant background refrain of promising more terrorism in India unless India relinquishes Indian territory in Jammy &Kashmir to Pakistan.

Buckling down to Pakistan’s blackmailing tactics to exchange land for peace, whether in Siachen or elsewhere, are unlikely to yield results for India. This is mainly due to the Pakistani Military-Jihad Complex’s (MJC) antipathy to normalising relations with India, combined with their domineering role in Pakistani politics. Since the inception of Pakistan as a state in 1947, the Pakistani Army has always dictated terms to the civilian government in power.

In the early 80s and 90s, Pakistan was financially, politically, and diplomatically supported by the USA, China, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. Such support has waned in the recent years due to frictions between Pakistan and its donors. USA continues to finance Pakistan under strict controls and has downgraded military relations with Pakistan. Saudi Arabia still wields a lot of influence in Pakistan, though it has stopped subsidising Pakistan like it did in the past.

The only country that has made proclamations of everlasting, mutual, enduring relations with Pakistan is China.  This was evident from the fact only a journalist from Pakistan was given the privilege of being allowed to record the proceedings of the CPC. Ignoring the dubious value of the Pakistani presence in such a meeting- the showcasing of China-Pakistan relations- is a reminder that the chance of these two Indian adversaries colluding against India in the long term is a certainty. As long as the MJC wields power in Pakistan and the Communist Party wields power in Beijing, India needs to consider the likelihood of such collusion, a certainty.

Although China’s investments in Pakistan have decreased in scope and involvement over the last couple of decades, not least to the inability of the Pakistani government to secure the lives of Chinese engineers and workers implementing development projects in Pakistan. However, China has followed a strategy of proliferating weapons of mass destruction to states like North Korea and Pakistan, and there is no indication that the CCP has relinquished the use of WMD proliferation as a tool in the toolkit of Chinese foreign policy.

This is where China and Pakistan gain from their illegal occupation of Indian territory in J&K. Pakistani occupation of PoK and China’s occupation of CoK, has resulted in a physical border and land route connecting China and Pakistan. As long as this land route connects China and Pakistan, China’s capability to proliferate weapons of mass destruction to Pakistan via such a route remains in place. Proliferating such weapons by Air or Sea is a lot harder as the global commons is monitored. Thus, it is in India’s long-term interests to ensure that Chinese capability for such proliferation is neutered. Once a capability is neutered, China’s intentions towards India in that region do not matter if India regains control over all of J&K. Intentions of any geopolitical entitiy can change on a whim with no effort, but geopolitical capability needs to be gained and maintained.

Why is the completion of the accession of J&K to India necessary? Why does Indian government spend an enormous amount of revenue generated from other Indian states to sustain J&K? For one, there is a parliamentary resolution in effect today that declares India’s sovereignty over all of Jammu & Kashmir.  India retaining control would mean that India would have a border with Afghanishtan, establishing direct Indian transit into Central Asia. India has been denied land transit rights into Afghanistan and will continue to be denied such rights for the foreseeable future. Also, as explained earlier, such reclamation of control over J&K would ensure breaking a land route between two of India’s most bloody-minded and hostile adversaries, China and Pakistan. Seems prudent for India to proactively gain leverage over them in order to control events in the future that may be orchestrated by the collusion of these two hostile nations.  It should be noted that a political union of the two sides of the LoC in J&K is a logical first step towards Indian control over all of J&K.

What are India’s options with respect to Pakistan, especially given China’s significant capabilties today, to change the nature of India-Pakistan relations via WMD proliferation? India taking the initiative on foisting aggression on Pakistan is not an option, as this is exactly what the Pakistani MJC has been trying to do for a long time. Recall the 26/11 was orchestrated when the Pakistani Army was trying to prove to its American allies that maintaining a large army presence in the Indo-Pak border is essential, in order to avoid going after the Taliban in North West Pakistan.  The Army’s gambit would have worked had the Indian government reacted to 26/11 by escalating hostile intentions, thereby providing the Pakistani Army with a solid excuse to not cooperate in Waziristan.

If India escalates the situation on the ground, Pakistani army’s best option is to respond by claiming that various red lines have been crossed. Once this is done, what will follow is a drumbeat of “India-Pak nuclear flashpoint” from motivated third parties, mostly arms-control wonks. Such a falling out of events has never worked in India’s favor in the past. A more important reason to avoid a war with Pakistan is the effect it will have on the gap between India and China in terms of economic and military power. The already wide gap is likely to increase further, which is unwise given that there is no guarantee India can recover from such a setback post war with Pakistan. However, even if overt war is ruled out with Pakistan, the sub-conventional proxy war options that Pakistan avails is also available to India- it is a different matter that Indian political leadership seems to have failed to avail itself of such options.

Let us take a look at Pakistan today. Pakistan government’s choice to radicalise their population with religious dogma, hatred and violence in school textbooks has created multiple generations of Pakistanis that would fit the label of religious radicals or fundamentalists- people who are not averse to using violent means as a tool to further their religious-political goals. The end result seems to be that Pakistanis are increasingly vulnerable to terrorist bombings in their own country, and State of Pakistan is increasingly unable to exert control over its own territories.  This should seemingly increase India’s options, but it has not done so yet.

The Pakistani government effectively controls 3 out of 4 states in the country. The army dare not challenge militant tribes in the Northwest Frontier province that challenge the Pakistani army on the ground. Any election in Pakistan is likely to usher in a religious-minded political party in power- these parties have openly stated their concurrence with the goals of Al Qaeda in Pakistan. If such a religious party comes to power as a result of elections in Pakistan, it will legitimise anti-India terrorist groups in Pakistan, which means an increase in anti-India violence emanating from Pakistan, as it has happened in the past. When dealing with Pakistani MJC/Government it is prudent to watch what they are doing rather than what they are saying, as explained by Mr Vikram Sood.

If suggestions that Saltoro/Siachen be transformed into a “Peace Park” are taken seriously by the Indian government, then it would imply that the Indian Government has learnt no lessons from the Kargil War or has forgotten those lessons already.

R. Srikanth is a Senior Researcher at the Cyber-Strategy Studies Team at the Takshashila Institution and a GCPP alumnus.
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Foreign Policy Must Power Indian Growth.

Ameya Naik

Problem: Energy Crisis (Inability to find sufficient fuel resources, or to generate sufficient electricity to meet the demands of a high-growth trajectory.)

Why this is a Foreign Policy problem: India’s national interest has broadly been defined as following a high economic growth path, which implies sharp increases in agricultural productivity, industrial productivity & international trade. The first two rely sharply on availability of electricity at critical times. Even trade can at a minimum be said to benefit in an energy surplus environment – indeed, the trade of electricity is most lucrative – besides which it remains affected by currency exchange rates, inflation rates or forex levels, which again link to both productivity & fuel prices. International relations are thus a key component of ensuring we always have the energy supply to maintain the desired trajectory, ceteris paribus, as it were.

Substantive Solution: acquire supplies of fuel which, in combination with technologies available, reliably produce enough energy to meet the demands of the desired growth trajectory. By corollary, acquire technologies that enable us to meet such demands with the levels of fuel supplies we can afford. Given that the problem is hardly unique to India, the implementation of such a solution might generously be described as an intractable problem.

Impact on Foreign Policy: Our freedom to follow strident policies towards existing or potential suppliers of fuel resources or energy generation technology is curtailed. Witness our studied silence on Saudi Arabian action in Bahrain. Hydel power generation is an important component of our negotiations with upper riparian states such as Pakistan, Bangladesh & (especially) China. The proposed TAPI pipeline is an important component of our Af-Pak policy. Maintaining a balance between oil suppliers & nuclear suppliers is a particular challenge: this was India’s dilemna when USA insisted we comply with sanctions against Iran! At the same time, we become natural rivals to nations competing with us for the same fuel resources. Nowhere is the intricacy of the balancing act involved more evident than in our choice of arguments & allies on climate change.

Impact on global capacity: India is seen as a key player in global economic stabilisation & growth. This demands a stable energy supply in India, which in turn means certain concessions have to be made to us. Similar arguments apply with effect to China. Where Indian & Chinese claims come into competition – the recent OVL South China Sea adventure, or as regularly occurs in MENA – a diplomatic impasse is likely. Given relatively limited supplies as well as the linear relation between thermal power generation & carbon emissions, global concerns over energy security & climate change in the coming decade will probably rely on India & China as test cases. The inability to manage demand from the two largest consumers of energy can only lead to increasing global instability. In the simplest terms, if India continues to be energy starved for want of purchasing power, many other developing (or “global South”) nations have little hope of finding supplies.

Time Constraints: In questions of productivity, every day of underutilisation of capacity is deadweight loss. The one state in India that currently seems able to manage these demands is Gujarat; it is possible to see electoral returns in this. In other words, the current government would want to address this issue before the next general election, or risk conceding an important electoral  plank to the opposition. On the other hand, even if this is leveraged into a new mandate by the opposition, it would become a central parameter for assessing their accomplishments when in power. (Note that the current disputes on dispensation of coal in India is precisely along party lines between states.) In other words, the latest time window to solve this issue would be the general  election after next – 2019. Failure to do this would condemn India to a lower growth trajectory than what is currently postulated for the decade 2020-30, with a corresponding retarding effect on the global economy.

Impact on Global Standing: The question is a tautology: how does the global distribution of power affect the global distribution of power? The more stable, diversified & sustainable our energy situation, the greater our pre-eminence in global politics as well. The less we are beholden to any one nation or cartel for our energy needs, the greater our autonomy with respect to allowing other criteria to dictate our policy to them. Indeed, India’s greatest scope to distinguish itself from China is to become a high productivity/high growth energy surplus state, given that we are likely to remain net importers of fuel resources. This requires some adroit diplomacy as well as multiple power sector & policy reforms in the domestic arena, but if successful would position us with diplomatic capital enough to counter the sheer volume of the Chinese political-economic juggernaut. The opposite scenario could see us approach the precarious situation East European states face with respect to Russia – held hostage for daily heat or power over every annoyance their supplier state may face or imagine!

Ameya Naik is a student of International Law and Foreign Policy , living and learning in New Delhi.

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