Emerging Islamic geo-political landscape - The Daily Guardian
Connect with us

Defence

Emerging Islamic geo-political landscape

Tri-polar Islamic world seems to be emerging over the horizon with Turkey, Saudi Arabia-UAE combine and Iran as the three poles around which the various Islamic nations are gravitating.

Lt Gen Dushyant Singh (retd.)

Published

on

Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have agreed to sign an accord for peace, making UAE the third country in the Middle East to do so. Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994) are the other two countries. What are its implications on the Middle East, rest of the world and India, are few questions that beg answers. To answer these questions, we need to read between the lines and also glean what has not been said in the proposed agreement. The agreement was brokered by the US president in a tri-parte telephonic conversation between US President Donald Trump, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Prince Mohammad Bin Zaid (MBZ) of the UAE on 13 August 2020. The agreement envisages full normalization of relations between Israel and UAE in exchange for Israel suspending annexation of occupied West Bank territory.

 International reactions

Palestine has opposed the agreement and recalled its ambassador to UAE. Ahmad Majdalani, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, stated, “Palestinian people have not authorized anyone to make concessions to Israel in exchange for anything.” In Israel too, certain sections are not happy as they feel let down that Netanyahu has forgone its claim over the West Bank. Netanyahu however, is taking the cover that the agreement envisages suspension of annexation of West Bank territories only for the time being and not a final commitment. Given the deep divide over the Palestine issue, chances of sustainability of the agreement in the long run appear improbable. Although President Trump is hoping that the rest of the world will follow suit. President Trump’s initiative is also seen by many as a pre-election move to raise his popularity levels in the run up to the ensuing US presidential elections.

 Saudi Arabia was expected to follow suit in the steps of UAE for which the Saudi Crown Prince was expected to fly down to the US on 31 August. However, Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS) has cancelled the visit since the information of the visit got leaked. Saudi Arabia spoke positively of the deal. Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, the Saudi foreign minister, described the normalization deal as a potential contribution to peace in the region. It may merit noting that there are extensive but close door contacts between the two countries on various matters including collusion in defence equipment and technology.

 Turkey has strongly condemned the UAE-Israel deal. Taking on indirectly even the United States, it has said, “History and the collective conscience of people in the Middle East will not forget and never forgive the ‘hypocritical behaviour’ of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in agreeing to normalise ties with Israel.” Are we seeing a third pole in the offing in the Islamic world with Saudi ArabiaUAE combine and Iran being the other two? It appears that Turkey is keen to restore its old glory of Ottoman Empire under the leadership of its current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Reaction of Iran has been on the expected lines. President Hassan Rouhani has lashed out at UAE in a nationwide broadcast warning the Emirates not to throw open the region to Zionists. From the speech, it is evident that the Iranians will do their level best to exploit the situation and back the Palestinians and other countries like Syria and terror groups such as Hezbollah and Houthis to strike at the UAE-Saudi interests in the region. However, given the traditional anti-Iran sentiments in the Arab World (read Shia-Sunni conflict), it is unlikely that Iran will be able to extend its influence beyond its current reach. Reaction of Pakistan at best can be described as torn between the need to denounce it but given its Sunni orientation, it has been neutral. Its Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri has said that the deal has far reaching consequences for the region. It recognizes the two-nation theory as a solution for the Palestinian problem and at the same time has also supported the need for peace and stability in the region. Pakistani reaction has prompted an unfavourable response from Saudi Arabia led OIC to refuse  any discussion on the Kashmir issue in the OIC besides MBS refusing an audience to the Pakistani Army Chief Bajwa.

The Indian reaction has also seen a marked change. Unlike Pakistan,  which placed the Palestinian concern as its main focus and peace and stability in the region as its major concern, India has clearly articulated its support for the agreement while hoping for an early solution to the Palestinian problem. Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava further added that UAE and Israel are India’s key strategic partners. This approach was expected given India’s relations with UAE and Israel and our gradual disenchantment with Iranians over their recent bonhomie with China.

Reasons for winds of change

 Emergence of the MBZ– MBS duo: The Arab world is witnessing a dynamic phase under the leadership of the two giants Prince MBZ of UAE and Prince MBS of Saudi Arabia. It is a wellknown fact that the UAE under Prince MBZ, has built up  a powerful armed force with the help of the US. Although he is known as a pro-US leader in the Arab world, he has also built a reputation of being of an independent mind in matters related to safeguarding and promoting his country’s national interests. He has been involved in resolving many issues in the Arab world intervening in the succession struggle in Saudi Arabia. It is interesting to note that Saudi Arabia was involved in constant border disputes with UAE till 2013. When an unfavourable successor was about to be installed as the ruler of Saudi Arabia, MBZ manoeuvred to get Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS), a relatively lower in the Saudi hierarchy but his close friend, installed as the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Since then the MBZ and MBS have been working together to shape the Arab World as per their vision. The two have jointly installed a pro Saudi-UAE ruling dispensation in Yemen and pressurized Qatar to abandon the Muslim brotherhood and its supporters.  Contrary to common belief that it is Saudi Arabia which calls the shots, it is the UAE leader who is the brain and power behind most of the happenings in the Arab world such as installation of a military-backed regime in Egypt following the Arab Spring revolution. MBZ considers, and now by corollary MBS too, consider Iran and the Muslim brotherhood supporters as their arch enemies. Both stand for a progressive Arab world but under an autocratic dispensation as they feel the Arabs are still not ready for democracy essentially due to the influence of Muslim brotherhood which is the ideological fountainhead of all terror movements in the region and the world.

 Turkey’s new found Interest in the Islamic world: It is fast emerging as a key player in the Islamic world. It overlooked the US in Syria by attacking the Kurds immediately upon their withdrawal from Syria. Following differences with the US over the Kurd issue in Syria, Turkey is charting an independent path in international geopolitics. It has also started wowing other Islamic countries such as Pakistan and Malaysia. Its strong statement against the UAE–Israel deal despite the fact that it was mediated by the US and the recent action of converting the world famous Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul (originally founded as a cathedral) into a mosque appear as strong signals of willingness of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to assume the leadership of the emerging Islamic world order. The conduct of military exercise in the East Mediterranean Sea by Turkey up to 11 September in response to border and gas drilling rights disputes with Greece despite support of the EU and France to Greece, will be viewed by the Islamic world as a mark of a leader capable of taking on the Christian dominated western world. The row over Greece’s strong objection to Hagia Sophia’s conversion into a mosque further adds strength to this argument.

Contours of future Islamic world

Tri-polar Islamic world seems to be emerging over the horizon with Turkey, Saudi Arabia-UAE combine and Iran as the three poles around which the various Islamic nations are gravitating. Further, Pakistan having been rebuffed by the Saudi leadership is pitching as a pivot country to build an alternate Islamic world order probably with Turkey as the proposed leader. Also Pakistan, since it has recently developed proximity with Iran through the Chinese manoeuvring, feels confident of taking Iran on board this grouping there by trying to restrict the Islamic world into a bipolar configuration. However, Iran may not follow suit and will remain stuck to its existing paradigm of regional geo–politics. It is most likely to continue its Shia-Sunni politics in the region and attempt to assume leadership of the majority of the Islamic Shia countries. Therefore, a more realistic assessment of the future Islamic world being divided into three poles appears more logical.

 Policy recommendation for India

The development in the overall analysis may be favourable to India. Firstly, UAE and Saudi Arabia are the undisputed power houses of the Arab world. They are favourably disposed to India as of today. Given our current relations with Iran, moving closer to a UAESaudi Arabia grouping, which in the likely future may extend to UAE-Saudi Arabia-Israel would act as a counterweight to ChinaPakistan-Iran polarization. Secondly, a tri-polar Islamic world augurs well for India as it would be able to freely work with various power blocks to meet its energy needs. The intransigence of Turkey can be neutralised by our deft moves Thirdly, India can now freely deal with Israel for our strategic needs in the defence sector without unduly annoying the Arab world barring a few inconsequential countries aligned with Iran. Fourthly, MBZ and MBS are highly opposed to radical movements such as Muslim brotherhood and global jihadists such as AQ and ISIS. Their support can be garnered in obtaining intelligence besides seeking financial and material curbs on such groups. The aim being to reduce their influence so that their capacity to promote groups such as AQ Hind and “Wilayah of Hind”, the ISIS branch in India. India is showing signs of becoming pragmatic in its foreign policy orientation especially following the Galwan incident with China. Such moves will build on India’s comprehensive national power through our soft power instrument of “diplomacy.” We need to pursue our approach along these lines and not abandon them in midway.

 The author has served in varied terrains and theatre of operations in India and in the UN as a military observer and is currently professor emeritus, Defence Studies at Gujarat Raksha Shakti University.

The Daily Guardian is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@thedailyguardian) and stay updated with the latest headlines.

For the latest news Download The Daily Guardian App.

Defence

MOD SIGNS CONTRACT WITH GSL FOR CONSTRUCTION OF 2 PCV FOR INDIAN COAST GUARD

Ashish Singh

Published

on

The Ministry of Defence signed a contract with Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) for the construction of two Pollution Control Vessels (PCVs) for the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) at a cost of about Rs 583 cr. These Special Role ships will be indigenously designed, developed and built by GSL. The acquisition is under ‘Buy Indian — Indigenously Designed Developed & Manufactured (Buy Indian-IDDM)’, the highest priority category for defence capital procurements.

The acquisition will significantly augment the capability of ICG to respond to Oil spill disasters at sea and also enhance Pollution Response (PR) efficiency. These two vessels are scheduled for delivery by November 2024 and May 2025 respectively. At present, ICG has three PCVs in its fleet at Mumbai, Visakhapatnam and Porbandar to carry out dedicated Pollution Surveillance, Oil spill monitoring/Response operations in Indian EEZ and around islands. The new PCVs planned are for pollution response requirements in Eastern and the ecologically sensitive Andaman & Nicobar Regions.

The vessels, with the capability of operating helicopter onboard, will have many advanced features with modern PR equipment of niche technology for containing, recovering and dispersing marine oil spill. While meeting the objectives of Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the contract would further boost the indigenous shipbuilding capability and increase employment opportunities in the shipbuilding sector that involves around 200 MSME vendors.

Continue Reading

Defence

IAF, NAVY CONDUCT PASSAGE EXERCISE WITH US NAVY CARRIER STRIKE GROUP

Ashish Singh

Published

on

Indian Naval Ships Kochi and Teg along with P8I and MiG 29K aircraft are participating in a Passage Exercise with the US Navy Carrier Strike Group Ronald Reagan during its transit through Indian Ocean Region on 23 and 24 June. The Indian Naval warships along with aircraft from Indian Navy and Indian Air Force (IAF) will be engaged in joint multi-domain operations with the Carrier Strike Group comprising Nimitz class aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey and Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser, USS Shiloh.

The two-day exercise aims to strengthen the bilateral relationship and cooperation by demonstrating the ability to integrate and coordinate comprehensively in maritime operations. High tempo operations during the exercise include advanced air defence exercises, cross deck helicopter operations and anti-submarine exercises. The participating forces will endeavour to hone their war-fighting skills and enhance their interoperability as an integrated force to promote peace, security and stability in the maritime domain. Indian Navy and the US Navy regularly undertake a host of bilateral and multilateral exercises which underscore the shared values as partner navies, in ensuring commitment to an open, inclusive and rule-based international order.

IAF AND USN IN THE INDIAN OCEAN REGION

As a strategic outreach exercise with the defence forces of friendly foreign countries in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), the IAF participating in operational engagements with the US Navy in an exercise to be carried out with the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group (CSG). The CSG is currently deployed in the IOR. 

The exercise in the Area of Responsibility (AoR) of Southern Air Command will see the IAF forces operate from bases under four operational commands and will include Jaguars & Su-30 MKI fighters, AWACS, AEW&C and Air to Air Refueller aircraft. The US CSG is expected to field F-18 fighters and E-2C Hawkeye AEW&C aircraft. The exercise will be carried out south of Thiruvananthapuram, on the western seaboard, over two days.

IAF has extensive experience in maritime operations in the IOR. This has been consolidated over the years by the conduct of exercises from the country’s island territories including participation in international exercises. The multispectral capability of the IAF in IOR also includes HADR missions and logistics support undertaken in support of friendly nations in the region. 

This engagement offers one more opportunity to undertake joint operations in the maritime domain with a friendly foreign power. The exercise with the US CSG will focus on multiple areas including enhancing aspects of interoperability, nuances of international integrated maritime SAR operations and exchange of best practices in the maritime airpower domain.

Continue Reading

Defence

DEFENCE SECRETARY CALLS FOR ACTIVE COLLABORATIONS TO FIGHT COVID-19 AT 9TH MOSCOW CONFERENCE

Ashish Singh

Published

on

The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation is holding the 9th Moscow Conference on International Security between 22 to 24 June. The conference, held annually since 2012, is an important security dialogue. Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar participated in the plenary session of the 9th Moscow Conference on International Security in Moscow. On the topic ‘Role of Military Agencies in fighting against Covid-19,’ he said, “Active collaborations, research partnerships and leveraging each other’s strengths are the ways ahead to fight pandemics like Covid-19”. Defence Ministers of Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Zimbabwe, Sudan and UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping among others participated in the session.

Noting that global challenges like Covid-19 make no distinction among nations, the Defence Secretary stressed bolstering infrastructure and capabilities for global response to prevent the eruption of such diseases in future. He urged the international community to focus on proactive vaccinations and keep ahead of the curve to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. “Emerging technologies must be leveraged. For example, Artificial Intelligence can be put to use for infection prediction, data analysis and Covid diagnostics with greater accuracy,” he suggested. 

On the India-Russia defence relations, Dr Kumar termed the ties as an integral pillar of the Special & Privileged Strategic Partnership between the two countries. He welcomed Russia’s willingness to actively engage in India’s ‘Make in India’ program for co-development and production of high technology defence items. He looked forward to the visit of Russian Defence Minister General Sergei Shoigu to India later this year for the next meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military & Military-Technical Cooperation.

Highlighting India’s assistance to other countries in fighting the pandemic, the Defence Secretary said, “India not only fought its own battle, but it also helped and continues to help friendly foreign nations to withstand Covid-19.” Even at a time of great medical and economic stress, India supported others unhesitatingly, inspired by its ancient belief of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam — ‘the world is one tfamily’, he added. Right when the first wave of the pandemic had struck, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called upon the leaders of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to combat Covid-19 together in the region.

The Defence Secretary highlighted India’s support to friendly nations by deploying Rapid Response Medical Teams to provide medical assistance to those in need. Medical supplies of various kinds were sent to 150 countries. Through the spring and summer of 2020, India was the main supplier of basic medicine of that time — paracetamol and hydroxychloroquine, to over 120 countries, he said. On the ‘Vande Bharat’ Mission, he said it was the largest logistical exercise of its kind ever undertaken that enabled movement by air and sea of seven million people, including evacuating over 120,000 foreigners from 120 nations stranded in India, when most of the world’s airlines were closed. 

Dr Kumar said today India is one of the largest eco-systems for the pandemic support industry, including the second-largest producer of PPE kits. He said the pandemic triggered innovations across the domain of medical demands and the industry developed a variety of Covid related medicines, vaccines, ventilators, equipment, diagnostic kits and other supplies which have been supplied to nearly 150 countries. 

The Defence Secretary reiterated the Government’s resolve to make vaccines and drugs effective and affordable for all, terming vaccination as the mainstay of the country’s response to the pandemic. He also stated that as of date, India’s contribution of 66 million doses of vaccine to other countries is the largest from any country. 

Dr Kumar described Russia as a front-ranking fighter against Covid-19 and hoped that the Russian vaccine, Sputnik V will play a significant role in mitigating the pandemic in India. “Mass production of the vaccine in India is expected to commence soon. A total of about 900 million doses of Sputnik V are expected to be produced in India, accounting for 70% of its global production,” he said. 

Elaborating on the efforts made by the Ministry of Defence & the Armed Forces in augmenting medical facilities and providing aid to civil authorities in India and abroad in the fight against Covid-19, the Defence Secretary lauded the contribution of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the three Services as well as Directorate General Armed Forces Medical Services (DG AFMS). He said DRDO figured out the most promising use of 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) which is effective against Covid-19. 

He added that DRDO established Covid Care facilities in a matter of days and embarked to set up 500 medical oxygen plants using the Medical Oxygen Plant technology developed for on‐board oxygen generation on Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.

Commending the Armed Forces for assisting the civil authorities, Dr Kumar stated that within days of the first wave, Army set up several isolation facilities and ran special military trains to transport medical supplies. On the efforts during the second wave, he said Indian Navy sent a huge number of medical supplies and teams to Indian Ocean Region, while 11 Naval ships ferried in over 1,500 metric tonnes of emergency Liquid Medical Oxygen. Indian Air Force carried out approximately 1,800 sorties and lifted 15,000 metric tonnes of essential medical supplies from within the country and abroad, he added. The Defence Secretary complimented AFMS for deploying additional doctors, including retired doctors and paramedics, and manning the hospitals 24×7 for Service personnel as well as civilians. 

Continue Reading

Defence

CHINA VS CHINA: UNRAVELLING AN INTERESTING BATTLE

China, as we see it today, will not be the same in another five years. India needs to be cognisant of this fact and script a long-term strategy to handle the emerging Dragon.

LT GEN PR SHANKAR (Retd)

Published

on

Galwan happened last year. A lot of water has flown in Indus. Sino Indian animosity is ascendant. Beyond a doubt, China is inimical to India’s interests in every respect. Chinese hatred of India was evident in the picture of a Chinese rocket at take-off besides a burning Indian pyre. China mocked India during our grief of the second wave. It also ensured that help does not reach India on one pretext or the other. Further, China does not understand another civilisation antithetical to its own in all respects — religion, culture, practices, ethnicities, and politics. A singular and homogeneous China and a heterogeneous and plural India have no common ground. Indian democracy has strengths far beyond the authoritarian CCP. India is a major threat to China in ways beyond our own self-deprecating and dismissive imagination. George Fernandes once said, “China is India’s number one enemy”. We should treat it accordingly.         

As we move into the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic, new equations are emerging. China was projected as a technological, economic, and financial giant. The Chinese dream was being rejuvenated through the greatest military on earth. The general belief was that China is the next superpower, set to dominate the world. A reality check is needed. Contrary to popular perception, emerging challenges faced by China are more than the opportunities presenting themselves. People might not agree with me. However, like the Chinese, I would like to see things in the long term.

China has entered its historical phase of ‘China vs China’. We need to understand this phenomenon. Historically, one generation of communist China has seeded major problems for the next generation. Mao’s ‘Great Leap Forward’ led to the great famine where millions perished in hunger. It generated widespread poverty till the next generation. Deng Xiaoping, accredited with opening up China, also started the ‘One Child Policy’. It is now propelling China into a demographic disaster. Xi Jinping’s ‘Rejuvenation of China’s Dream’ program marked by aggression and assertion has already put the next generations at risk. China’s naked ambition has put it under severe scrutiny, which it had escaped so far. There is a discernible switch from ‘aided’ to ‘impeded’ growth. ‘Cooperation’ has turned to ‘contestation’. Major fault lines — short and long term — crisscrossing each other have emerged.    

Demography: South China Morning Post published a series of 16 articles on China’s demography recently. It has not published a 16 series analysis so far in the past two years. This unprecedented analysis indicates the bleakness of the future with no solutions offered. The graph published recently by Renmin University defines the problem. The Renmin University figures are doctored to show the ‘State’ in a good light. Hence the problem is even graver. China’s population is shrinking irrevocably. The current fertility rate is 1.3 children per woman, which is well below the replacement level of 2.1. In just five years, the ratio of working population to non-working (dependent) population will be 60: 40 and will continue to reduce further. Working hands which have already reduced from 10:1 to 5:1 will further decrease. The situation, as per many analysts will be far worse. The recently enunciated ‘three child policy’ is a panic reaction. It is not a solution. People cannot afford to raise one child leave alone three. Girls do not want to get married. The gender ratio is skewed with 30 million unmarried men. Life expectancy has increased to 80. Old people are increasing and social security is inadequate. China will have to spend phenomenal sums on pensions. Pension funds are emptying and risk running dry. China’s younger workforce is decreasing. The middle and old age workforce are not suited for disruptive technologies. Technological superiority is a chimaera. China has a zero migration policy hence population inversion cannot take place as it does in the US. Further, even PLA does not have quality recruits. It has already lowered education, height and eyesight requirements. Look at it anyway — reducing population, reducing the workforce, shrinking pool for high technology, increasing old people, lowered standards for the army, reducing marriages, and reducing childbirths. Combine it with the headwinds on the economic front and its increased global footprint. People are the base for any nation. That is irretrievably skewed.  

Virus and Vaccines: The inefficiency of Chinese vaccines is now admitted by Chinese themselves. This is now proven by a rethink in Seychelles, the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and others. It also highlights the weaknesses of China’s technology. It will have a diplomatic fallout. The important issue is the internal effect. The virus is mutating with a shorter incubation period, faster transmission, greater virulence and higher viral load. New mutations are clearly beyond the Chinese vaccines. Chinese people remain unvaccinated. “China is at a very critical moment,” Zhong Nanshan, their top respiratory disease expert, said in a recent interview. “When other countries have been very well vaccinated, and China still lacks immunity, then that will be very dangerous”. The Chinese playbook of vast testing, strict movement controls and intense scrutiny of international arrivals will now impede economic growth. The new outbreaks suggest that the virus will circulate in China for a long. Look at it from any point of view — economic, technological, diplomatic or political- the law of diminishing returns is setting in for the Chinese. China will not break free ahead of others. 

Viral Stigma: There is no doubt that the Virus originated in Wuhan. The question is whether it was a natural zoonotic transmission or an engineered one which leaked out? Was it biological warfare? The lab leak theory, though based on circumstantial evidence, is getting stronger by the day. There has been no logical explanation about the natural origins of the Virus. Scientific investigation indicates that something fishy was going on in the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). That is reinforced by the fact that China has sealed all data of the WIV and is refusing to part with any information. China has hidden a lot. Hereafter, whether it is confirmed or not, China will be blamed and lampooned for the origin of the virus — officially or unofficially. Theories of biological warfare will abound. Chinese secrecy, aggression and attitude will enhance the perceptions. Loss of face in private is assured if not in public. China will carry the cross of this virus to stigmatise future generations. More the denial, greater will be the sticking power. China will be equated to the virus eventually. This will start appearing in all kinds of literature, school and history books. Repercussions will be wide-ranging and well into the future. 

Afghanistan: The moment of reckoning for China —the wannabe superpower, has arrived. Till now China had the insurance of the US’s presence in Afghanistan. That will vanish in September. China has to protect its interests on its own hereafter. It must secure its borders and stop extremism spilling over into Xinjiang. Its $3 billion investment in a giant copper mine in Aynak must be secured. It has to prop up a failing Pakistan to keep the CPEC and BRI going. It has already established a military base 12-14 Km from the Tajik-Afghan border and 30 km from the Tajik-China border in Gorno-Badakhshan province around 2019. It is in the process of constructing a road through the Wakhan Corridor. Chinese commitment in Afghanistan is set to increase in ways unknown. China is coming into the military centre stage wittingly or otherwise. Inevitably, it will have to shed blood to protect its interests. Slowly this military involvement will spread internationally. The military costs will go up and overstretch will commence. 

Outlook and Image: The images and epithets associated with China are wolf warriorism, assertion, aggression, debt-trap diplomacy, IPR theft, currency manipulation, untrustworthy, coercion, threats, corruption, and human rights abuses. Overall, a negative image has developed over the past year. Chinese actions have matched these descriptions in the South China Sea, Hongkong, Eastern Ladakh, Paracels, Australia, EU, Taiwan, Senkaku’s, Xinjiang, Tibet, and many more. The Chinese are also attempting to repair their image. Despite that, China continues with its arrogant outlook and ideology. For example, China came to an understanding with the EU on a new investment pact. It was touted as a diplomatic coup. EU imposed some sanctions due to severe human rights abuses in Xinjiang. China retaliated with sanctions on some EU politicians and entities. In response, the European Parliament paused the ratification of its new investment pact with China. China has now started shooting itself in its foot. It is a typical China vs China story. 

Exclusion: Throughout last year, the expectation was that China will be isolated. In a globalised and interconnected world, China has created multiple dependencies. Isolation will never occur. That is clear. However, something else is taking shape. The leaders of ‘G7’ (Germany, Japan, France, the UK, Canada, the US, Italy and Canada) plus Australia, South Korea, India and South Africa met recently (11 to 13 June). This is the first major meet of the world’s powerful democracies during the pandemic. The focus was on China, alternate supply chains and rivalling the Belt and Road. The significant issue is that in a year, two frameworks – ‘QUAD’ and ‘G7 Plus’ have evolved from which China has been excluded. The larger implication is that China might see the birth of international systems from which it is excluded and in which it is the main antagonist. China has to swim against the very current which helped its rise. The portents are ominous.

View it from any angle. All the issues which have been highlighted are interrelated and interdependent. They will detract from the Comprehensive National Power of China. Very importantly, China has no control over them. They are autarkic and will run their course in different directions. Issues related to economics, BRI, pollution, food security, energy security, environment, and climate change have not been factored in. Many of these issues were analysed in an earlier article. Everyone talks of the great military, but most of it can hardly be used. This is the great superpower which we will have to contend with. In a decade our adversary will be old and not rich. I had written about the  Chernobyl factor in an article. I am more than convinced that it will come true. The China we see today will not be China in another five years. China vs China is an interesting battle that is unfolding. India needs to be cognisant of these facts and script a long term strategy to handle the emerging China.     

Lt Gen PR Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vast operational experience. He contributed significantly to the Modernisation and Indigenisation of Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved in applied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read on www.gunnersshot.com 

China does not understand another civilisation antithetical to its own in all respects—religion, culture, practices, ethnicities, and politics. A singular and homogeneous China and a heterogeneous and plural India have no common ground. Indian democracy has strengths far beyond the authoritarian CCP. India is a major threat to China in ways beyond our own self-deprecating and dismissive imagination. 

Continue Reading

Defence

ANDAMAN & NICOBAR COMMAND CELEBRATES WORLD HYDROGRAPHY DAY

Ashish Singh

Published

on

Lieutenant General Ajai Singh, Commander-in-Chief Andaman & Nicobar Command (CINCAN) participated in commemorating the Centenary of the World Hydrography Day on Monday. The occasion is celebrated by the Hydrographic fraternity of the Indian Navy every year through a series of coordinated events at the respective Commands to spread awareness of hydrography and its contribution in ensuring safe navigation at sea as well as to showcase achievements and contributions of the Indian Naval Hydrographic Organisation. The theme for the event this year is “100 years of International Cooperation in Hydrography”.

The CINCAN appreciated the yeoman service by the Indian Naval Hydrographic Organisation in capacity building initiatives among littorals in the Indian Ocean Region through hydrographic surveys and providing world-class training to personnel from friendly foreign nations. The surveys help in augmenting the Sagarmala project under the NITI Aayog for the sustainable development of A&N Islands.

The Hydrographic Survey Unit at Port Blair under HQ ANC is responsible for the surveys around the A&N Islands and is fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for the conduct, analysis and preparation of reports of hydrographic surveys. HSU (PBR) participates in various joint operations with the Indian Army and Indian Air Force within the Andaman and Nicobar Command. The Unit has successfully conducted surveys for RCS 3.0 — UDAN, the prestigious Government of India project under regional connectivity by playing a vital role in identifying suitable seaplane landing sites at four locations in the Andaman group of islands at Shaheed Dweep, Swaraj Dweep, Hut Bay and Long Island, which will boost regional connectivity and tourism.

Indian Navy hydrography ships Sutlej from Southern Naval Command and Nirupak from Eastern Naval Command are currently deployed for hydrographic survey in Andaman and Nicobar Islands since April 2021. These ships utilise state-of-the-art Multi-beam Bathymetric Data Acquisition Systems to survey and update navigational charts of the A&N Islands. All Covid protocol measures were followed by the personnel present at the event.

Continue Reading

Defence

INS SHIVAJI ORGANISES VARIOUS ACTIVITIES TO MARK YOGA DAY

Ashish Singh

Published

on

The International Yoga Day celebrates the physical and spiritual prowess that yoga has brought to the world stage. While it is an important source of exercise and healthy activity, there are many benefits of practising yoga daily. This is a useful way to connect the body, mind, and soul in a way that exists for centuries. INS Shivaji undertook various activities towards the celebration of the International Yoga Day at Station Lonavla from 19 to 21 June. Keeping Covid-19 protocols in mind, a yoga workshop and seminar for personnel and trainee officers and sailors in the cohort group was conducted by a qualified yoga instructor.

As part of virtual yoga practice, yoga sessions were conducted for Naval personnel as available in the Namaste Yoga app launched by the Government of India. Personnel and families also undertook yoga sessions offered by the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga at their respective residences. Quiz and essay competitions were conducted for trainee sailors to educate them about the importance of yoga in daily life. To enlighten the significance of yoga, home guidelines and a list of digital resources available in the open network were uploaded on the unit LAN/website. Towards awareness of daily yoga practice, banners with the theme “Be with Yoga, Be at Home” were displayed at prominent locations.

Continue Reading

Trending