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India Security Council Daily Updates PLUS Evidence Release

India Security Council Daily Updates PLUS Evidence Release


Half of Indians still have to vote

AP, 4-23, 19,

The voting for 117 parliamentary seats in 13 states and two Union Territories on Tuesday means polls are now half finished for 543 seats in India’s lower house of Parliament. The voting over seven phases ends May 19, with counting scheduled to begin May 23.

India aggressive in Kashmir now

News Click, 4-20, 19, Whither Kashmir?

Right before our eyes we are witness to a military suppression in Kashmir, in line with Indian army’s objective to “transform the will and attitude of the people”, and yet it has not stirred the conscience of opinion and policy makers in India. With the Government of India pursuing a no-holds-barred hard-line approach to the seven-decade old conflict over Kashmir, it appears that Bhartiya Janata Party wants to out-perform military suppression of the 1990s. ‘Operation All Out’ being carried out by the Indian armed forces has been combined with oppressive policing methods that involve cordon and search operation, arbitrary detentions, torture in custody, filing of trumped up charges, and banning of Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) and JKLF. The ban was imposed without even bothering to comply with law under which the ban was imposed. For instance, it is mandatory under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, to provide the “grounds” or cases/facts or FIRs filed in the immediately preceding year/s against the organisation sought to be proscribed. A judgment of the Supreme Court in JeI versus Union of India, 1994, laid stress on this while dismissing the ban imposed on JeI by the PV Narsimha Rao Government. In Kashmir’s case too, no grounds were provided in the official gazette notification banning the two organisations. Indeed, the authorities could not care less to follow the law. Here, rule by diktat is the operative rule. All this is taking place at a time when one of the most decisive elections in country’s history is taking place to elect the 17th Lok Sabha. What is the consequence of this muscular approach? Thousands have overnight become “criminals” because they are related to someone who is a member of, or is somehow associated with the banned organisations which were otherwise working legitimately for most of thirty years. It’s easy picking now to paint someone as “suspect” and an adversary of India. It is nothing but the Indian State terrorising its own citizens. Even Kashmiri officials are under scrutiny for their links with the banned organisations. And those in authority trivialise the grave threat experienced by Kashmiris and/or express their disdain for Kashmiris. LAWLESS GOVERNMENT When the government does not follow the law that they enforce on people and Constitutional freedoms remain virtually suspended, it makes Kashmir into an area of darkness and lawlessness. Neither does the Rule of Law prevail as in non-conflict areas of the country, nor does Rule of War operate in what has been a “Disturbed Area” for past three decades. It is this that should be a cause of concern because a region said to be “integral part of India” smacks of being ruled as though it is an alien land peopled by “proxy warriors”, rather than fellow citizens who are alienated and desperate for a political resolution. Neither infiltration, which is in double digits only, nor the number of militants (a few hundreds, indigenous and foreign), can justify a huge deployment of army, central para-military forces, J&K armed police backed by former rebels who are now SPOs, to fight militancy. That too in a land area 60 km long and 40 km wide. The increased deployment of 100 companies of CRPF in the past six months, and restrictions imposed on movements of people with more bunkers, checkpoints, camps to house the soldiers, makes Kashmir a highly militarised zone, crowded with security camps. To make this harsh reality more bitter, authorities recently imposed a ban on civilian vehicles on the National Highway on Wednesdays and Sundays, reserving it for military vehicles. This is reminiscent of the British colonial ruler’s habit of imposing collective punishment on people whenever things went out of their control or they feared losing control. This is what is being imposed on Kashmiris by the “nationalist” BJP led Government. Interestingly, banning civilian vehicles is something which was never attempted even at the height of insurgency in 1990s. The Army protested the recent ban saying that they were not consulted and that they will ply their vehicles every day of the week barring Friday. In fact, on Monday April 16th, Army personnel stopped all civilian vehicles and beat up the SDM of Dooru (district Anantnag) near Dalwach Square near Qazigund along with his four colleagues who were travelling in an official car while on election duty. So, between two-day ban by Indian government and local level restrictions on plying of vehicles by the military personnel, Kashmiris are being squeezed from both sides. This affects every routine activity including attending schools, rushing to hospitals, attending work, visiting market, or going for business, etc. It is said that this prohibition will last until May 31, but by then a people already suffering from military suppression would have experienced manifold greater pain. It is worth recalling that more than half of the Kashmiris suffer from PTSD, that armed forces enjoy legal immunity for whatever they do, that justice is denied to civilians who are victims of egregious violations by armed forces, and even Kashmiris in state services are treated with suspicion and they are slowly getting side-lined. It is evident that there is a deliberate policy to ratchet up coercion on ordinary people to force them to give up their demand for “azaadi”. What will this escalation of repression on Kashmiris do to their pent-up anger and resentment when every door has been shut and all possibilities of normal redressal ruled out, is not too difficult to imagine. PITFALLS OF PROLONGED DEPLOYMENT That thirty years after making J&K “Disturbed Area” and extending legal immunity through AFSPA, the armed forces still claim to be fighting a “proxy war” reminds us of when the apex court wondered: does the fact that an area remains “disturbed” for decades on end and normalcy still escapes being restored imply that army has failed to do its job or that the Government has failed to make use of opportunities created by the armed forces? As earlier pointed out, it is when we look at actual numbers we discover the utter futility of the policy of military suppression. By targeting civilians at home in the name of cordon and search operations or targeting civilian protestors at encounter site and funerals, the armed forces may succeed for a while. But to believe that Kashmiris can be silenced now, when the same failed for three decades of “Disturbed Area” and AFSPA is to believe in the unbelievable. Even more alarming is what the Army’s own Doctrine of Sub-conventional Operations pointed out – something they ought to be aware of. It argues that in such operations there is “blurring” of distinction between fighting the ‘enemy’ and ‘fighting his own people’ as well as there is “blurring” of distinction between “front and rear; strategic and tactical; combatants and non-combatants”. In other words an army whose primary duty is to defend the country against external threat in which it requires its ‘rear’ i.e. hinterland to be secure, has been engaged in operations in the hinterland fighting the people for past three decades, thus, compromising on its primary task which requires a secure and friendly ‘rear’. This vulnerability of the Army, India’s primary force to defend our borders, is presented as strengthening “national security”! Indian army is fond of claiming that it wages its operations mindful of protecting civilians. Yet, not only had the Indian Army chief and other potentates come out in support of Major Gogoi for the “human shield” incident, considered a war crime under international humanitarian law, they even described it as an “innovative” method. It appears that the army chief sent a message to his rank and file to do as they will, without a care for the consequence, whereas the message sent to Kashmiris was that every method fair or foul will be used against them unless they surrender. In this situation, for police and administration to carry out repression in the name of curbing unlawful activities of JeI and JKLF members/supporters carries the message that non-violent politics has no future. If to this is added the poison of BJP’s hate-filled rhetoric against Kashmiris the message being driven across is that official India does not care what is done to Kashmiris because either they are proxies for Pakistan or by insisting on “azaadi” they have forfeited the right to their life and liberty. There is no stomach to rigorously examine the role played by successive Indian governments in the making of the crisis in Kashmir and a largely apathetic Indian society, in turning Kashmiris away from India, and for both caring little for sanctity of Kashmiris Muslims life and liberty. WORRYING DEVELOPMENT It is this that should worry Indians. Because Indian government’s policy of military suppression is not driving Kashmiris away from militancy but towards it and that too, to a more virulent form. Officials themselves claim two abortive suicide bombings in past few weeks. In one instance the bomber panicked at the last minute thus averting a major calamity. So, with all doors closed, and the armed forces carrying out ‘Operation All Out’, hatred of ordinary Kashmiris has increased and hostility towards them is openly expressed. All this makes for a incendiary situation. The singular achievement of BJP led government of India in Kashmir in the last five years has been its shrill campaign that everything-is-Pakistan’s-fault when the facts on the ground show that truth is otherwise. It is the utter failure of BJP led government which is evident. Three decades down the line, authorities still profess a muscular approach rather than ask themselves why three decades of military suppression has not “transformed the will and attitude of the people” which is what army’s objective was. So, what is it that makes BJP government feel that they will succeed when wise army veterans have repeatedly warned the Indian public that there is no military solution to Kashmir dispute and what is required is a dialogue between all stakeholders? And when the damage being inflicted will only fortify the resolve of those who are desperate and know all options are closed, how can this dismal state of affair be in “nation’s interest”?

India Security Council membership needed to establish Indian global leadership, challenge China, promote global democracy, and lead on climate change

Dixit, 4-16, 19, Kanak Mani Dixit, a writer and journalist based in Kathmandu, is the founding editor of the Colombo-based magazine, ‘Himal Southasian’, Kanak Mani Dixit, a writer and journalist based in Kathmandu, is the founding editor of the Colombo-based magazine, ‘Himal Southasian’ Indian elections, South Asian concerns,

The rest of South Asia wants the very best of democracy for India, plus to share in the peace dividend, growth and camaraderie The staggering scale of the election that is under way in India with just under a billion voters is hard for the mind to grapple with, even in this densely populated neighbourhood that includes Bangladesh and Pakistan. The level of worry is also at a pitch, for India should be the bulwark against weakening democracy in a world of Bolsonaro (Brazil), Duterte (the Philippines), Erdoğan (Turkey), Putin (Russia) and Trump (the U.S.) not to mention the People’s Republic of China. Redefining India Modern India, created by M.K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru and their cohort, should be raising the standard for social justice and grass-roots democracy, and against destructive right-wing populism. This has not quite been Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s record, and hence the concern that another five years would redefine the very idea of India. Already, the term ‘world’s largest democracy’ is achieving banality as India gains majoritarian momentum. Centralised control of society would never be possible in such a vast and variegated society of sub-nationalities, we were told, but look at what is happening. The high principle and probity of India’s political class, bureaucracy, academia and civil society are now exceptions rather than the rule. India’s Ambassadors are no longer the self-confident professionals we knew for decades, they act today like timid note-takers. Higher education is directed by those who insist that the achievements of Vedic era science included flying machines and organ transplants. Meanwhile, the adventurism that marked economic management, including immiseration through demonetisation, has been ‘managed’ through loyal social and corporate media. VDO.AIVDO.AI Intellectual toadyism and crony capitalism have overtaken New Delhi on a subcontinental scale, but sooner than later this drift towards regimented society and whispered dissent must be reversed. Too much is at stake for too many citizens — India must revert to the true, messy and contested democracy we have known and appreciated. Soft power Parliamentary democracy is the governance procedure adopted by each and every country of South Asia, and the Indian practice has always been held up as the example. The precedents set by India’s courts are studied elsewhere, the professionalism of the civil service is regarded as the benchmark, and everyone else seeks the aspirational welfare state set in motion in India in the middle of the 20th century. This is why we watch worried as Indian democracy weakens in step with its economy, as inter-community relationships within India descend to one-sided animus, and as New Delhi’s global clout decreases in inverse proportion to Beijing’s. To cover weaknesses in governance and promises undelivered, Mr. Modi as the solo electoral face of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has whipped up a tornado of militarised nationalism that projects Pakistan as the exclusive enemy. No one dares remind the Indian voters that Pakistan is the far weaker power; its people are battling fanatical demons more than are Indian citizens; Pakistan is a large potential market for India’s goods and services; and the future of Kashmir must be based on Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. Meanwhile, Lahore intellectuals watch with apprehension as India copies the excesses of Pakistan’s theocratic state. Dhaka observers are numbed into silence with New Delhi’s vigorous backing of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed as she constructs an intolerant one-party regime. Colombo rides a geopolitical see-saw as New Delhi shadow-boxes Beijing. And Kathmandu wonders whether New Delhi has it in itself to concede that the amplified Chinese involvement in Nepal is the result of the Great Blockade of 2015-16. Coy on Beijing India has been reduced to a giant nervously finger-counting friends made or lost to China. The media triumphalism that greets even modest shifts in India’s favour — be it in Male or Thimphu — marks unnecessarily low self-esteem. New Delhi seems preoccupied with ‘managing’ South Asian countries when it should be commanding the global platforms on climate alteration, protection of pluralism and correcting imbalances in global wealth. Few note the incongruity of a New Delhi loudly daring Islamabad while acting coy on Beijing, which one would have thought was the real adversary or competitor. Meanwhile India’s celebrated soft power wilts even as the Chinese work to wipe out their English deficit, and Beijing places Confucius Institutes in far corners. Chinese goods flood the Indian market, Chinese research and development gallops ahead of India’s, and Beijing convincingly moves to tackle environmental degradation. India seems drowsy and lethargic in contrast. South Asia as a whole — much of it the historical ‘India’ — roots for Indian democracy even while welcoming Chinese investment, infrastructure loans and tourists. Also because it has the largest population in the Subcontinent, India is expected to lead South Asia on myriad issues including the death-dealing Indo-Gangetic smog, fertilizer and pesticide use, cross-border vectors, arsenic poisoning, regional commerce and economic rationalisation, social inclusion and the Human Development Index and so on. But leadership requires humility, to study, for example, how adjacent societies have successfully tackled great challenges — look at Bangladesh surging towards middle income country status. Nepal has long been regarded by exasperated New Delhi policy-makers as the South Asian basket case sending out migrant labour to India. This much is true, but it also emerges that the Nepal economy is the seventh largest sender of remittance to India after the UAE, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, the U.K., Bangladesh and Canada. Unlike these others, Nepal’s remittances go to India’s poorest parts, in Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. We switch on India’s news channels and find an abysmal common denominator in terms of civility and rationality. The national intelligentsia seems intimidated, unable to challenge the rigid, dangerously populist narrative of the BJP/Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). We watch as the National Register of Citizens propels statelessness, as the refoulement of Rohingya refugees points to a reckless disregard for fundamental humanitarian principles, and as majoritarianism weakens the pillar of representative democracy that is the protection of minorities. Regionalism’s import India is indeed large and important, but the chest size of a country does not translate into equity, social justice or international standing. Because nearly 20% of humanity lives within its boundaries, when India falters, the pit of despair and the potential for violence open up wide and deep. The South Asia that New Delhi’s policy and opinion-makers should consider is not the centralised Jambudvipa mega-state of the RSS imagination. Instead, the ideal South Asian regionalism is all about limiting the power of the national capitals, devolving power to federal units and strengthening local democracy. Mr. Modi’s own idea of regionalism is one where he calls the shots. The start of his current term was marked by an attempt to dictate to the neighbours, after which the pendulum swung to the other extreme. The freeze put by India on the inter-governmental South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is only a cynical means to keep Pakistan out of the club. The sabotaging of SAARC can hardly be considered a victory, for that feather-light geopolitical stratagem fails to consider that regionalism is a potent means to bring economic growth and social justice to India’s own poverty-stricken ‘peripheral regions’ from Assam to Purvanchal to Rajasthan. For its own security and prosperity as well as that of the rest of us, India must re-connect with South Asia. Subcontinental regionalism is also important to achieve New Delhi’s ambitions on the world stage, including that coveted seat at the UN Security Council. India’s global comeback will start the day New Delhi think tanks begin questioning South and North Block rather than serving as purveyors of spin. On South Asian matters, they should pull out a copy of the Gujral Doctrine from the archives, to be dusted and re-examined. We seek an India that is prosperous and advancing at double digit growth, not only because what this would mean for its 1.35 billion citizens, but to the other 500 million South Asians. For its own selfish interests, the rest of South Asia wants India to succeed in the world.

Put away the potato chips — If there is a nuclear war, it will be between India and Pakistan, and it will kill 2 billion people

John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy In Focus and the author of the dystopian novel Splinterlands, March 13, 2019, The World’s Most Dangerous Divide,

If nuclear war comes, it will happen because of a calculation or miscalculation by India or Pakistan. By John Feffer, March 13, 2019. Print Friendly, PDF & EmailPrint hindu-nationalists-india-pakistan-sectarian Hindu nationalists rally in Calcutta (Shutterstock) In the beautiful and terrifying novel The City of Devi, communal hatreds escalate in India and Pakistan until the two countries feel compelled to threaten each other with nuclear weapons. At least, it starts out as a threat. Pakistan vows to take out Mumbai, and India will level Karachi. But everyone involved knows that nuclear war doesn’t really work that way. “Nuclear bombs are like potato chips,” the author Manil Suri writes, “nobody can stop at just one. Every scenario predicts that a country under attack will launch all its weapons at once to avoid losing them.” The populations of the two cities panic. A great exodus takes place as residents flee by car, by train, even by foot, and the wealthy try to snag the last berths on the outgoing ships. A woman and a man traverse this chaos in search of the object of their affections: it’s love in the soon-to-be-ruins. They hope against hope that the bombs won’t fall. And then an accident happens, as they so often do, and Pakistan mistakenly launches one missile at Mumbai. And India retaliates with four strikes on Karachi. One of the characters in the novel, Mr. Cheerio, assesses the damage from some faraway perch via short-wave radio: You might think me cold-blooded, but this is one of the best possible outcomes in terms of human cost. Only one or two cities struck, and that too almost empty — can you imagine the miniscule probability? There was bound to be an exchange, either now or in the future — things had gone too far. Every war-game simulation I’ve ever seen predicted results more final, more unthinkable, than how this seems to have played out. Manil Suri is a mathematician, as well as a novelist, so he knows about probabilities. The devastation wrought by the nuclear exchange in The City of Devi is terrible — the incineration, the radiation, the environmental damage. But a roll of the nuclear dice could have produced much worse. Those worse-case scenarios are what India and Pakistan — and the rest of the world — have been recently contemplating. After all, the most likely locus of nuclear war is not on the Korean peninsula. It’s not across the old Cold War divide in Europe. It won’t involve Israel’s secret cache of H-bombs. If nuclear war comes, it will happen because of a calculation or miscalculation by India or Pakistan. There are fanatics on both sides who care only about vanquishing their rival by any means necessary. Unlike in a novel, however, a catastrophic denouement to the current conflict is not inevitable. Tit for Tat India and Pakistan have been engaged in a tug-of-war over the territory of Kashmir since the very separation of the two countries that followed independence in 1947. China, too, has gone to war with India over its portion of the territory. Kashmir is the only place in the world where three nuclear powers have a border dispute. In the most conflict-ridden part of the region, the Jammu and Kashmir region of northern India, a separatist movement inspired by Islamic radicalism squares off against about a half a million Indian troops. Three wars between India and Pakistan, plus the skirmishes that have taken place in between, have claimed around 70,000 lives. Last month, as part of the insurgency against Indian control of this part of Kashmir, a suicide bomber went after a unit of Indian soldiers, killing 40. In response, India launched its first cross-border attack on Pakistan in nearly 50 years when it bombed a presumed militant encampment. Pakistan responded by dropping some bombs inside Indian territory. Neither attack seems to have destroyed much of anything, though India claims otherwise. In a subsequent dogfight, Pakistan shot down an Indian jet fighter and captured the pilot. In a hopeful move, Pakistan returned the pilot to India “as a gesture of peace.” However, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reciprocated with a threat: the first attacks were just practice, he warned, “now we have to make it real.” A new round of attacks, however, was not forthcoming. Pakistan has promised to go after Islamic militancy and has even taken some steps in that direction. As The Economist put it, “Relations between India and Pakistan are returning to the normal huffy disdain after a week of military brinkmanship.” It’s a mistake, however, to think that all is well on the subcontinent. Future Sparks The political party of Narendra Modi subscribes to a virulent version of Hindu nationalism. He largely soft-peddled this nationalism four years ago when the BJP won a commanding parliamentary majority. Once in power, however, Modi has fallen back on what worked for him as the chief minister of Gujarat: inflaming the passions of his more militant followers. Writes Max Frost in The National Interest: Indian politicians have normalized hardline Hindu nationalism through draconian cow protection laws, the renaming of cities with Muslim names, and the appointment of extremist Hindu nationalists to powerful positions. These shifting priorities explain Modi’s 2017 appointment of a firebrand Hindu monk, Yogi Adityanath, as chief minister of India’s most populous state. Adityanath has claimed that Hindus are “preparing for religious war” and has called Muslims “a crop of two-legged animals that has to be stopped.” Hindu nationalists have also taken aim at the Indian constitution, which provides Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir province the special status of greater autonomy. So, for instance, Indian citizens from other parts of the country can’t buy property in the province, which helps it retain its Muslim majority. Top BJP officials, however, want Article 370, the offending part of the constitution, repealed. Indian elections take place next month, and Modi is campaigning for a second term. Because of the myriad problems facing the country, he was looking at a significant backlash at the polls. The aggressive response to Pakistan, however, has boosted his electoral fortunes. According to political analyst Yogendra Yadav, Modi’s party could have lost at least 100 seats in the upcoming election, but now, “the impression is things have improved for BJP.” Pakistan has promised to go after suspected militants on its territory. But Prime Minister Imran Khan is in a difficult position. The country is practically bankrupt, and he has had to go begging to Saudi Arabia in particular for assistance. He has also taken a more accommodationist approach to the Taliban as a way to resolve the war in Afghanistan and reduce cross-border problems. The Trump administration, meanwhile, has not shown Pakistan much love. China has much better relations with Islamabad, but has been quite selective in pressuring its ally to crack down on extremism. China views some extremist factions, for instance, as useful for cementing Beijing’s influence in Afghanistan and hobbling its major challenger in the region, namely India. As The New York Times notes, the Trump administration is in no position to act as a mediator, given the president’s obvious preference for India, “where he has pursued business interests.” Indeed, the subcontinent has emerged as a locus of U.S.-China conflict, as Beijing has pushed forward with its Belt and Road initiative in Pakistan and the United States is pressuring India to join its containment strategy against Iran. India and Pakistan may well shape up to be the modern counterpart to Cold-War-divided Germany. Kashmir, then, is the new Berlin: divided, tense, full of intrigue. The two superpowers have found two very dangerous proxies to engage in shadow play. The military confrontation, meanwhile, has developed its own dynamic. As Arzan Tarapore writes at War on the Rocks: India demonstrated a new appetite for imposing costs on Pakistan, and especially for crossing thresholds and accepting risk. Its actions probably still won’t deter Pakistan, though they will make the next crisis more dangerous. India may now assess that henceforth it can strike its neighbor, absorb a proportionate Pakistani retaliation, and safely de-escalate later in a crisis. But with Pakistan now more concerned about its own deterrent, this crisis may induce both sides to take riskier action next time. Such riskier actions could escalate all the way to the nuclear level. And the consequences of a nuclear exchange would be considerably worse than what’s depicted in The City of Devi. If the two sides only use only a portion of their nuclear arsenals, it would kill millions of people on the subcontinent and also have a devastating impact worldwide. A partial nuclear winter would settle upon the planet: the resulting hunger, drought, and disease would kill as many as 2 billion people. Now that the acute crisis has passed, regional actors have to use this reprieve to defuse the world’s most dangerous nuclear faultline. Those efforts have to begin with Kashmir. Fortunately, the difficult task of working out a joint resolution to the problem has already been done, back in the mid-2000s. As Ahmed Rashid points out: Indian and Pakistani envoys agreed to make the Line of Control, the heavily militarized border between the Indian and Pakistani-controlled portions of Kashmir, irrelevant by giving the Kashmiris the right to free movement and trade across the line. They agreed upon providing autonomy to Kashmir’s subregions and drawing down forces as violence receded. They also agreed to establish a body of Kashmiris, Indians, and Pakistanis, vaguely described as a “joint mechanism,” to oversee the political and economic rights of the Kashmiris on both sides of the line. Khan seems amenable to revisiting this deal; Modi will not budge until after the elections. The missing ingredient at this point is pressure from outside the subcontinent. Here, the cluelessness of the Trump administration and the unraveling U.S.-China relationship serve as significant obstacles. But maybe India and Pakistan will show more sense than their respective backers. These are ancient civilizations that have weathered many previous storms. Now they just have to team up to avoid a nuclear winter.

India already supporting all female peacekeeping, including on the Congo

Press Trust of India, 4-12, 19, UN must encourage members to deploy all-female peacekeeping units: Indial

Gambhir said India is fully prepared to deploy a Female Engagement Team (FET) comprising 22 women officers and soldiers as part of rapidly deployable battalion in Congo by August. It will also deploy a women Formed Police Unit (FPU) in South Sudan by this year-end. India partnered UN Women towards capacity building initiatives at the New Delhi-based Centre for UN Peacekeeping, which conducted the third UN female military officers course for 40 women military officers from 26 countries. India also provided adequate pre-deployment training on gender sensitization to its peacekeeping forces.

China currently backs Pakistan in the Security Council to maintain relations and protect China’s international leadership and its China-Pakistan corridor

Adnan Aamir is a journalist and researcher based in Pakistan. He has written extensively on the Belt and Road Initiative for Nikkei Asian Review, Financial Times, South China Morning Post, Lowy Institute, CSIS and Asia Times, among others. He was a Chevening South Asian Journalism Fellow 2018 at the University of Westminster, London.April 9, 2019, China’s Diplomatic Moves Amidst the India-Pakistan Conflict

Pakistan has been a strategic partner of China since 1962. During the last 57 years regimes have changed along with international politics, but Pakistan’s relations with China have remained close. China helped Pakistan during its wars with India, against the Soviet Union in the Afghan War, and also with the development of Pakistan’s nuclear program (Times of India, January 28, 2017). Likewise, China has consistently stood with Pakistan in the UN Security Council. Over the years, India has lobbied for multiple UNSC resolutions against Pakistan-based groups that India claims are involved in terrorism. However, as a permanent member of the UNSC, China has used its veto power generously to provide diplomatic cover for Pakistan. If the UNSC designates Azhar, or others like him, as terrorists then it will not only damage the international standing of Pakistan, but also potentially generate problems for Pakistan internally. 2) Countering the Rise of India China attempts to indirectly counter India by supporting its arch-nemesis Pakistan. India stands as a major impediment to China’s goals to become the undisputed leader of Asia. Although the size of the Indian economy is nowhere near that of China, India is projected to overtake China as the world’s most populous country by the year 2024 (Times of India, June 21, 2017), and its military power presents a potential challenge to the PRC in South Asia. In addition to that, India has also given refuge to the Dalai Lama since 1959, and is home to the Tibetan government-in-exile. Therefore, China is apprehensive of India’s rise and perceives it as a threat not only to its own aspirations of global dominance, but also for the security of Tibet (China Daily, April 5, 2017). India is constantly facing the menace of terrorism: terrorists have attacked the Indian parliament, its financial hub Mumbai, and launched countless attacks in Kashmir. These attacks not only affect the growth of the Indian economy, but also prevent it from attaining the status of a fully secure country (India Today, October 6, 2015). India wants to get rid of its terrorism problem, and it believes that the only way to do so is to confront Pakistan. Each and every time India blames Pakistan for acts of terrorism, China provides diplomatic cover to Pakistan in the UN Security Council—therefore, the PRC is effectively aiding terrorist groups that target India [1]. Despite this, Beijing still does not want to confront India directly. It not only engages in trade with India at levels much higher than Pakistan, but also continues to reach out to India through diplomatic connections. Therefore, right after blocking the resolution against Azhar, China expressed its desire for diplomatic dialogue with India (South China Morning Post, March 16). Such steps are intended to help the PRC manage India’s reactions to the moves made by China against India’s interests, especially in the UNSC. India already blocks 3) Retaining the Support of Pakistan for the CPEC The third reason that motivated China to block the resolution against Azhar was its ongoing effort to retain the whole-hearted support of Pakistan for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an ambitious $62 billion infrastructure program the PRC has pledged for Pakistan’s economy (China Brief, 05 January; China Brief, February 15). The former Pakistani Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government of PM Nawaz Sharif signed the CPEC agreements with China; however, ever since assuming office in 2018, the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party-led government of Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan has expressed reluctance to carry forward with CPEC. Razak Dawood, a PTI cabinet member, has demanded that CPEC projects should be postponed for one year, and reviewed to ensure that they consistent with the interests of Pakistan (Pakistan Today, September 30, 2018). Even the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has said that Pakistan will ask China to review the CPEC agreements. This change in policy angered Beijing, which refused to assist Pakistan last year when the country desperately needed a bailout to support its troubled economy (Dawn, November 3, 2018). Pakistan sought help from Saudi Arabia and the UAE instead to prevent a foreign exchange default. Following this squabble in autumn 2018, relations have mended in 2019, and Pakistan is currently making a renewed push for progress in CPEC. Pakistan has allocated additional funds to develop CPEC infrastructure projects in the southern province of Balochistan (Express Tribune, March 22, 2019)—a region that has recently seen threats to Chinese citizens and PRC infrastructure projects from separatist insurgents (China Brief, 15 February). PM Imran Khan has also agreed to attend the Second Belt and Road Forum scheduled to be held in Beijing later this month.

4) Purchasing Security for PRC Interests in South Asia There is an additional security dimension to the PRC’s diplomatic protection for Masood Azhar and JeM: China relies in part on Pakistan to secure its southwestern border region. With the help of Pakistan, China has cracked down on the Uighur militants who were operating under the umbrella of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) (Dawn, September 2, 2015). Therefore, the PRC wants to retain a strategic relationship with Pakistan to secure its borders—especially at a time when Beijing has cracked down on Uighur citizens en masse in Xinjiang. Furthermore, CPEC roads pass near Pakistan-administered Kashmir, which is the operating area for Jaish-e-Muhammad. If the PRC had supported sanctions against Azhar, there was a fear that JeM might have attacked Chinese interests in Pakistan. In that context, experts believe that China’s moves in the UNSC have a two-fold benefit: (1) they deflect the possibility of JeM directing attacks against Chinese interests and citizens based in Pakistan; and (2) they smartly mute any possible criticism by Islamic groups in Pakistan of Beijing’s mass internment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. 

India already blocks China’s economic model

Ryan Drillsalma, 4-8, 19, India boycotts China’s second Belt and Road forum

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — India will boycott China’s second Belt and Road forum scheduled for later this month, according to the Times of India. India declined an official invite to the first Belt and Road forum in 2017, claiming one of the initiative’s flagship projects impinged on the country’s territorial sovereignty. Despite Beijing’s expectation that India would revisit its decision this time, the country remains firm on its choice to shun the scheme. An informal summit last April between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Marendra Modi was unable to quell existing tensions. One of the Belt and Road Initiative’s (BRI) key trading routes, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), runs through the disputed territory of Kashmir, on which China, India and Pakistan all hold separate claims. Analysts have suggested the CPEC acts as a buffer and counterweight for China in its border disputes with India. Additionally, China has continued to rile India by blocking United Nations resolutions that would designate a Pakistan-based terror group leader as a global terrorist.

Pakistan is pressuring the Taliban to negotiate

Ryan Drillsalma, 4-8, 19, India boycotts China’s second Belt and Road forum

However, there is a possibility that the Afghan Taliban, not JeM, may have provided the initial push for the attack. By giving diplomatic cover to JeM, China is safeguarding its economic interests in the region and propping its regional ally (Pakistan), which is pressuring the Afghan Taliban to negotiate with Kabul.

China reduced tensions in Kashmir (China-Pakistan relations good impact)


Reuters, March19, 2019,, China says played ‘constructive role’ in reducing Pakistan, India tension

BEIJING (Mar 18): China played a “constructive role” in reducing tension between Pakistan and India, the foreign ministry said, after the nuclear-armed rivals almost came to blows last month following an attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy in disputed Kashmir. The sparring threatened to spiral out of control and only interventions by U.S. officials, including National Security Adviser John Bolton, headed off a bigger conflict, five sources familiar with the events have told Reuters. At one stage, India threatened to fire at least six missiles at Pakistan, and Islamabad said it would respond with its own missile strikes “three times over”, said Western diplomats and government sources in New Delhi, Islamabad and Washington. A Pakistani minister said China and the United Arab Emirates also intervened to lessen tension between the south Asian neighbors. In a faxed statement to Reuters late on Monday, responding to a question on China’s role in reining in the crisis, its foreign ministry said peaceful coexistence between Pakistan and India was in everyone’s interest. “As a friendly neighbor of both India and Pakistan, China pro-actively promoted peace talks and played a constructive role in easing the tense situation,” it said. A Pakistani minister said China and the United Arab Emirates also intervened to lessen tension between the south Asian neighbors. In a faxed statement to Reuters late on Monday, responding to a question on China’s role in reining in the crisis, its foreign ministry said peaceful coexistence between Pakistan and India was in everyone’s interest. “As a friendly neighbor of both India and Pakistan, China pro-actively promoted peace talks and played a constructive role in easing the tense situation,” it said. “Some other countries also made positive efforts in this regard,” the ministry added. China is willing to work with the international community to continue to encourage the neighbors to meet each other half way and use dialogue and peaceful means to resolve differences, it said, without elaborating. The Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, is set to meet Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Beijing later on Tuesday. The Feb. 14 attack that killed at least 40 paramilitary police was the deadliest in Kashmir’s 30-year-long insurgency, escalating tension between the neighbors, who said they shot down each other’s fighter jets late last month. China and Pakistan call each other “all-weather” friends, but China has also been trying to improve ties with New Delhi.

China and Pakistan are cooperating on counter-terror now

Bloomberg, March 19, 2019,   China, Pakistan Vow to Strengthen Counter-Terrorism Cooperation

China and Pakistan have agreed to enhance cooperation on counter-terrorism in their first strategic dialogue since the recent military flare up between Islamabad and New Delhi. The meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi came as Islamabad awaits more than $2 billion in commercial loans from Beijing in a bid to shore up foreign-exchange reserves and stabilize its economy. Pakistan is one of the biggest beneficiaries of President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road trade and infrastructure initiative, through which some $60 billion has been poured into roads and power plants that give China a path to the Arabian Sea. Some of those projects are being built in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, infuriating India. Answering a question about whether CPEC is a “debt trap” or might only help certain parts of Pakistan, Wang said the project is “oriented towards the entire country of Pakistan” and noted only 20 percent of CPEC projects were funded by Chinese loans. “We are committed to expeditious implementation of CPEC,” Qureshi said. “There is a national consensus that this is a project which is not just beneficial to Pakistan and China. It is a project that will benefit the entire region.” Tense Standoff The two discussed the potential impact of further escalation between India and Pakistan, Qureshi said, and described a “rapidly deteriorating situation” in Kashmir, including an “intensification of human rights violations.” Closer ties between China and Pakistan could impact tensions in South Asia, which has seen a tense military standoff in recent weeks over Kashmir, which is claimed by both Pakistan and India. “No matter what kind of changes take place in the international system or the region, we will always resolutely support the maintenance of Pakistan’s sovereignty,” Wang said. The flare-up began when Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed a Feb. 14 suicide bombing that killed 40 troops in an Indian-administered area of Kashmir. On Monday, India confirmed it had sent nuclear submarines, an aircraft carrier battle group and other naval vessels to the North Arabian sea after the attack. Since the recent tensions arose, China has reiterated its position that the two sides should be encouraged to resolve their differences through dialogue and that Pakistan’s anti-terrorism efforts should be encouraged. Read more: China Blocks UN Attempt to List Pakistani Militant as Terrorist China moved last week to block the United Nations Security Council from designating the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed as a global terrorist, an outcome India’s foreign ministry called “disappointing.” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou also visited Pakistan earlier this month to discuss the situation with officials there, the ministry said.

China supporting conflict de-escalation now

Laura Zho, 3-19, 19,   Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan says Beijing backs Pakistan’s efforts to manage relations with neighbours

Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan on Tuesday said China supported Pakistan’s efforts to manage its relationships with its neighbours. In a meeting with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Wang said the relationship between China and Pakistan had withstood many challenges. “China supports Pakistan’s efforts to seize development opportunities and handle challenges, and manage its ties with neighbours,” Wang was quoted as saying by state-run CCTV. Qureshi, who arrived in China on Sunday, also met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi for the first strategic dialogue between the countries’ foreign ministers. The conflict between India and Pakistan, triggered by a suicide bomb attack in jointly administered Kashmir that killed 40 Indian paramilitary police officers last month, was on the agenda, the Chinese foreign ministry said. Beijing and Islamabad have long had strong ties and Pakistan has become known as “China’s iron brother”. Beijing said it would play “a constructive role” in reducing tensions and push for peace between the nuclear-armed neighbours. SUBSCRIBE TO US CHINA TRADE WAR Get updates direct to your inbox your email SUBMIT By registering for these newsletters you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy A Chinese diplomatic observer said the latest visit by Qureshi could be seen as an opportunity for Beijing to underline its support for Pakistan. China ‘helped defuse Pakistan-India tension’ after Kashmir attack “Pakistan and China are all-weather partners, so the visit by the foreign minister could be a political symbol of China’s support for Pakistan,” said Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of International Relations. Qureshi’s trip also comes as Beijing is preparing for the second “Belt and Road Initiative” summit in April, the most high-profile domestic diplomatic event of the year for Chinese President Xi Jinping. Islamabad has not yet announced who will attend, but Hu played down Qureshi’s part in preparations for the summit and the timing of the trip. “There’s no need to read too much into [Qureshi’s visit],” Hu said. “It’s part of diplomatic protocol for the foreign minister to visit … no matter if the conflict [in Kashmir] happened or not.” Campaigners from Pakistan’s Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat burn an Indian flag during an anti-India protest in Islamabad this month. Photo: AFP Campaigners from Pakistan’s Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat burn an Indian flag during an anti-India protest in Islamabad this month. Photo: AFP Share: Pakistan has a special role in China’s belt and road relationships with the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which aims to connect Xinjiang in China’s far west with the Pakistani Arabian Sea port of Gwadar. The network of motorways, railways, oil pipelines and trading centres was hailed by Beijing as a “flagship” among hundreds of its projects across the region, though questions have been raised over whether Beijing has overestimated its value since it could be vulnerable to pressure from separatism and terrorism. The corridor has also drawn suspicion from India, which refused to endorse Beijing’s investment and infrastructure push as part of the project runs through disputed Kashmir. Indian troops shoot dead ‘key conspirator’ in Kashmir bombing

.Our turn is unique – China supports Pakistan now

The News – Pakistan, March 17, 2019,

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi paid a call on Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan in Beijing on Tuesday. The Foreign Minister conveyed greetings of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Vice President Wang Qishan. He said Prime Minister of Pakistan is looking forward to visit them next month to attend the 2nd Belt and Road Forum. Reaffirming the time-tested and all weather strategic cooperative partnership between Pakistan and China, Vice President expressed satisfaction at the upward trajectory of bilateral ties since the visit of the Prime Minister to China in November 2018. Vice President assured Foreign Minister Qureshi of China’s unwavering support for Pakistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and for its socio-economic development. The Foreign Minister thanked the Vice President for China’s steadfast support to Pakistan. He briefed Vice President on the recent developments in the region and thanked China for playing an important role in easing of tensions. The Foreign Minister briefed Vice President on progress in development of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Both sides agreed that smooth implementation of CPEC will greatly contribute to socio-economic development of Pakistan. The Foreign Minister is on a visit to China for the inaugural round of Pakistan-China Strategic Dialogue.

Strengthening Security Council undermines the UN, which is key to multilateralism

Times of India, March 20, 2019, ndia slams Security Council for ‘undermining’ UN General Assembly’s authority

UNITED NATIONS: India has said the UN General Assembly must take lead in finding solutions to the challenges faced by the world, slamming the Security Council for “progressively undermining” the authority of the 193-member global body. India’s deputy permanent representative K Nagaraj Naidu said on Monday the growing number of complex challenges facing the world, like those related to peace and security, climate change and sustainable development that cut across boundaries and regions can be addressed only through a genuine multilateral and participative process. “The General Assembly, which is the closest institution to a world parliament, must take the lead in setting the global agenda and in restoring the centrality of the UN in formulating multilateral approaches to resolving transnational issues,” he said. Naidu said the revitalisation process must also restore the primacy of the United Nations in development matters. “…The prerogatives and authority of the General Assembly have been progressively undermined by the Security Council through its frequent attempts to redefine its scope of competence through wider and permissive interpretations of what constitutes a threat to international peace and security and by engaging in discussions on issues that clearly fall within the purview of the General Assembly,” he said. “A part of the blame for this situation must also be taken by the General Assembly and its member states for focusing on procedures rather than addressing the substantive issues,” he said in a statement. The General Assembly must be in the “vanguard of global agenda-setting” and lead the multilateral process for finding solutions to the challenges faced by the world, Naidu said. He said the political will and commitment of member states were required to reinforce the role and authority of the General Assembly as mandated by the UN Charter. “A revitalised General Assembly must focus on substantive deliberations rather than spending considerable time and resources on procedural issues,” Naidu said. Naidu said it was important that the main organs of the UN work in synergy with one another while fully respecting their respective mandates given by the UN Charter. India has criticised the UN Security Council’s veto-wielding members in the past for obstructing the designation of terrorists without giving any explanation, apparently hitting out at China for repeatedly blocking its bid to list Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.

China blocks the UNSC from intervening in Kashmir

Kashmir Times, 3-20-19,   Home Columnist


China has yet again blocked the move at UN to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. India is highly disappointed at China’s stand which had the support of other permanent members of security council- US, UK, France Russia and many other non-permanent members like Germany, Poland & Belgium etc. A security council diplomat, not happy with the Chinese move, has said that responsible member states of the security council may be forced to pursue other options, if China continues to block Azhar’s designation. On a personal note, I share the Indian disappointment. There was a time in Fifties & Sixties when America and other permanent members of Security Council would pilot unending motions in the UNSC to press India for implementation of UN resolutions on Kashmir but USSR, the then sole protector of India, would use its veto power to thwart such attempts. Indians better learn that history repeats itself and more often than not, as a tragedy. Had India respected international community’s wishes at that time, probably we wouldn’t have witnessed the colossal human tragedy, unending mayhem and bloodshed unfolding in Kashmir since then.

India-US relations non-unique – GSP preferences

Arman Thakur, March 6, 2019,  The Diplomat, The US GSP Decision: Risks to US-India Relations and Upsides for China

The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw India’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits not only risks adversely affecting the broader strategic relationship with India, but also giving a boost to Chinese exports.

On March 4, 2019, President Donald Trump wrote a letter to Congress to provide notice of his intent to terminate the designation of India as a beneficiary country under the Generalized System of Preferences, a program designed to “promote economic growth and development in the developing world.” Although the Indian government noted that the “GSP concessions extended by the U.S. amounted to duty reduction of only $190 million” per year, this decision could spill over and adversely affect other aspects of the U.S.-India relationship. Moreover, by revoking India’s GSP benefits, the Trump administration may also worsen America’s trade deficit with other countries, notably China.