IMRAN’S ‘NAYA PAKISTAN’ IS A MISNOMER, WITH ANARCHY, CHAOS AS ITS TRADEMARKS - The Daily Guardian
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IMRAN’S ‘NAYA PAKISTAN’ IS A MISNOMER, WITH ANARCHY, CHAOS AS ITS TRADEMARKS

India will have to deal with a Naya Pakistan that will remain China-backed. It will be aligned with the new ideological Islamic thinking from the Turkey and Malaysia axis. Pakistan will remain what it was: A state to be used and discarded.

LT GEN PR SHANKAR (Retd)

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An analysis of opinions in Pakistan indicates that Imran Khan’s ‘Naya Pakistan’ has emerged anew to take shape as a state — failed and adrift. It does not know where to go, how to go and why to go. It also does not know who will take it wherever it eventually goes. The Army wants a state to rule and make money. The politicians want power. The elites exploit the masses. The clerics radicalize them. The bureaucracy has its goodies. The international community uses it. The people manage to survive on their own. Terrorism is just another profession for survival. If ever there is a nation without a collective reason to exist, it is Pakistan.

72 years back, Pakistan’s factor binding was ‘Not Being India’. As Naya Pakistan – nuclear, radical and impoverished – enters uncharted waters, its survival staple is ‘Hate India’. Externalizing failures and blaming India will be the norm. Imran Khan’s statement in an interview with Der Spiegel says it all – ‘India is a threat to its neighbours, to China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and to us. It has the most extremist, racist government on the subcontinent. It is a fascist state, inspired by the Nazis in the 1920s and 30s’. This warped thought is the guiding principle of Naya Pakistan’s politics, economics and international relations. The ‘Pulwama admission’ on the floor of the house nails Pakistani nefarious plans and obsession with India. It makes Pakistan an uncertain and neurotic neighbour.

At the grassroots, the common Pakistanis are suffering. They pay Rs 115/litre of milk as against Rs72/litre (exchange rate adjusted) in Chennai. Food insecurity is high. Pakistan traditionally exports wheat and sugar. This year even these items have seen unprecedented imports. Jobs are scarce with rising unemployment. People cannot even afford basics. Poverty is rising. The prospects ahead are also poor as per FAO. At a macro level, growth rate is negative. Exports non-existent. Inflation hovering around double digits. Manufacturing sector is struggling. This is the third year of low growth and high inflation. Pakistan is plumbing new depths of stagflation. Circular debt is spiralling. Roll over of debts is the norm. The latest one being 3 Billion USD from China. Another repayment of 4 Billion USD from Gulf states is looming ahead. It will run to China again. The Chinese Virus has put Pakistan’s economy on a ventilator. There is no end or a solution to this downward viral. Things will only worsen from hereon. That is the combined forecast of IMF and World Bank.

For 72 years, the Pakistani Army ruled the state. During civilian rule, it did backseat driving as the ‘Deep State’, thriving on deniability and unaccountability. That’s gone. Pakistanis now talk openly of a ‘State above a State’ and the Army is now termed the ‘Establishment’. It is being asked as to why it supports Imran Khan. Questions are being asked about missing persons in Balochistan. Politicians are demanding accountability. All these were red lines till recently. In the now famous ‘pair kamp raha tha aur mathe par pasina tha’ revelation, what has emerged is that Imran Khan refused to attend the crisis meeting prior to releasing Abhinandan. He also refused to get involved in the ‘Karachi Incident’. Imran Khan is emerging as a defunct coward who passes everything to the Army! The Army on its part will continue to back such weak-kneed politicians since it suits them. The Pakistani Army with its vast business empire, hitherto unaccountable, is being asked uncomfortable questions. Another red line. Very soon questions on the economy will dominate. Simultaneously one has to realise that people have no other choice. The politicians are corrupt, divided and incapable. The Army will continue to destroy Pakistan under the garb of saving it. Pakistan will only lurch from one state of instability to another until complete anarchy sets in. If more than 30% of the civilian pilots hold “fake” licences and 262 out of the 860 active pilots in Pakistan did not take the exam themselves and had paid someone else to appear on their behalf, surely anarchy is setting in! More such issues will surface.

The complex terrorism and militant landscape of Pakistan is back in action. Militants are manoeuvring in the political voids. TTP’s operational strength has increased manifold with some deft and forced mergers. Much like a business conglomerate. TTP, operating from Afghanistan, has regularly carried out attacks in the tribal districts. The threat from Al Qaeda and the Islamic State is present in shadows. Communal and sectarian violence is on the rise. State sponsored terrorists are hale and hearty under state protection. The FATF retaining Pakistan on the grey list tells another story. Pakistan must be the only country to celebrate being on a grey list. Their Kashmir agenda is temporarily on hold, but will restart as soon as they get into some comfort zone or on being cornered. Kashmir is a release valve from internal troubles. Of course Balochistan rebels are upping their ante. The Pashtun problem has not run away. All their provinces are witnessing some protest or the other. Very strangely, Pakistan has even gone to the extent of filing an FIR against their so called PM of PoK for Treason! All in all a very volatile situation.

Pakistan is also lurching towards Afghanistan like an addict. It clearly wants to control the dispensation post US withdrawal. It is once again seeking strategic space in the Graveyard of Empires. It will also attempt to facilitate Chinese entry into Afghanistan for an alternative route to CPEC as it also gets its share of the booty. However, with the sustained levels of violence in Afghanistan and the radicalised intransigence of Taliban, it will be difficult for Pakistan to control the situation. The unrest in Afghanistan, increased activities of TTP and the ongoing PTM will make the Western Border very unstable and violent. It will only add to the overall anarchy.

Pakistan is going through its periodic identity crisis. Pakistan has traditionally seen itself as a leader of the Islamic world since the days it peddled the Islamic Bomb theory. That era is over. Then, for long, it identified itself as an Arab nation and got close to the Gulf and Saudi Arabia to sponge off them financially. When Saudis did not toe its Kashmir agenda, it publicly spurned Saudis and switched allegiance to Turkey. So Pakistanis have become Turks. This alternation between identities is going to have fiscal and political ramifications. Inward remittances through Gulf employment will get hit. The Turkey- Malaysia axis is no financial or political substitute for the Gulf. Pakistan’s peace overture to the Saudi monarchy failed when its COAS was kept waiting and sent back empty handed. As things were drifting it has got fresh winds to reinvent itself through religious attacks on France. That will only add pain to its existence since some Pakistani will blow up something somewhere and its status as a state sponsor of terror will get reinforced. In the meantime, its economy will continue to haemorrhage. Pakistanis will soon be denied entry into the West. The inevitable anarchy will accelerate.

As much as Pakistan and the USA want to get away from each other, they cannot. Their interests in Afghanistan, despite being mutually exclusive, tie them together. Strange but true. The USA remains the foremost military power and Pakistan knows it too well. US drift to India is a cause of consternation in Pakistani military minds. Pakistan needs the USA to access the IMF and World Bank if it wants its economy to revive. Very importantly, Pakistani elite send their children to the USA and not China. The USA still remains the second biggest trading partner and is the main export destination with a favourable trade balance. P&G, Pepsi, Coke, Facebook, Google, Uber, ExxonMobil, TRG, Citi, Bayer and Abbott are active in Pakistan. If the USA quits, Pakistan might just collapse. On the other hand, the USA will not walk away from Pakistan and cede ground to China. In fact, Pakistan will be the proxy battle ground to bleed China. Also, the West is paranoid about Pakistani nukes and will not allow it to go down. The relationship will continue with a lot of ups and downs. Hot and cold. Sour not sweet. We should not forget that the Pakistani military is tied in with Papa John’s financially.

The Sino-Pak relationship is blossoming. As much as the Army is a ‘State above the State’ in Pakistan, the CCP is also a State above the Chinese State. Hence there is terrific commonality. A lot has been written and said about the CPEC. It is economically unviable and a debt trap. Over and above that, China has been either rolling over loans or is part of refinancing loans to Pakistan. Pakistan can never repay China. Hence it would be more than fair to say that Pakistani sovereignty is permanently compromised and it will be a vassal state of China to do the latter’s bidding. Pakistan will be a permanent geo-strategic catspaw in Chinese hands. Delving back into the CPEC. The scope and concept of CPEC has changed significantly. From being a transaction between Pakistan and China, it is now a transaction between two organisations – Pakistan Army and the CCP. The cat got out of the bag when the Diamer Bhasha Dam deal was signed. It was signed between the CCP controlled banks and a business organisation of the Pakistan Army in Indian territory. It is now a strategic corridor which serves their mutual and multiple interests. The strategies of this corridor are simple. Enable China get direct access to the Gulf waters to establish military bases and thereby control this part of the world. Enable China to access the mineral resources of Afghanistan. Enable the Pakistan Army stay relevant and in control forever. Pose a joint and collusive threat to India. Polemics aside, in India we should not have any doubt about this. I have always maintained that the CPEC is the third and most vulnerable front of Pakistan to be targeted. As days go by, disaffection in Pakistan will increase. Targeting CPEC will be more viable then. Targeting CPEC is killing two birds with one stone. At the same time India must prepare for a collusive two front situation hereafter. Any skirmish with one is a skirmish with the other.

Overall, Pakistan is slowly sliding deeper into anarchy. Will it implode? I doubt. Internally, the Army is too strong and greedy to allow it to happen. The politicians are too greedy to put up a joint fight beyond a point. There is no social or political movement for a break up. ‘Hate India’ binds them. Will Pakistan revive? I doubt. My doubt is reinforced by the Chinese Virus periodically. The social contract between the militants, the Army, its institutions and its people will inhibit revival. The US and China will not allow it to implode or revive. Both have interests to ensure that Pakistan remains where it is. India will have to deal with a Naya Pakistan in a state of Naya Anarchy. Naya Pakistan will remain China backed. It will be aligned with the new ideological Islamic thinking from the Turkey and Malaysia axis.

Finally, Pakistan will remain what it was. A state to be used and discarded. Uncle Sam used it for long for a few dollars and cast it aside. It is now being used by China for a few Yuan onlooked by the USA and the Saudis. In time it will be cast aside. The Naya Anarchy of being Naya Pakistan!

Lt Gen P.R. 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 his blog www.gunnersshot.com

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Defence

UP CM INAUGURATES ISDA 2021; ALIGARH NODE OF UP DEFENCE CORRIDOR TO BE INAUGURATED BY AUGUST

Ashish Singh

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The Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), in partnership with the Confederation on Indian Industry (CII) and the Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA), is organizing the Indigenisation Summit on Defence and Aerospace (ISDA) 2021 from 28th to 31st July. Speaking at the Inaugural Session of ISDA 2021, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath said that the Defence corridor in UP is a greenfield project and the industries coming alongside the six nodes of the corridor can benefit immensely from the scheme by becoming part of the ecosystem. 1409 hectares of land has been earmarked under the corridor. The project proposals received so far from 54 companies would create employment of more than sixteen thousand people. He shared that development of roads, electricity, water & boundary walls are underway for the Aligarh node and the inauguration of the Aligarh node, comprising of 74 hectares of industrial land divided into 19 units is proposed in August 2021.

Sharing that 2500 crores have been earmarked by the central government for promoting investments in the defence corridors, he said that land banks were being created for zones where there is a greater demand of land for investment projects. The state government along with the Defence Ministry is also working on the establishment of labs under the Common facilitation centre, Defence testing and Infrastructure scheme which would benefit MSMEs & Start-ups in prototyping, technology training as well as design & development. The state government has also established centres of excellence at IIT Kanpur, BHU for a greater engagement between the Indian navy, industry & academia. The first instalment of the grant for research & development at these centres has already been disbursed & the second is under consideration. Awanish Awasthi, ACS-Home & CEO, UPEIDA noted that the vision of the UP government is to attain 1st position as a business destination. Speaking on the progress of the nodes of the Defence corridor, he mentioned that infrastructure development to the tune of 32 crores is underway at Aligarh and the node is expected to be ready for inauguration by August 2021.

The Kanpur node, where 25 crores has been assigned infrastructure development would also be ready in a couple of months whereas the Jhansi node work would be taken up in the next six months. Chairman ISDA 2021 & Chairman, CII Northern Region Committee on Defence & Aerospace Manoj Gupta remarked that a strong and empowered defence ecosystem is crucial for any country seeking to emerge as a significant global player. With the thrust provided by the ‘Make in India’ movement, today India’s exports are to the tune of ten thousand crores which was merely five hundred crores eight years back. Measures like only domestic tenders for contracts below 200 crores, increasing FDI limit in defence production from 49% to 74%, greater number of production categories, defence offset program as well as an updated DAP 2020 will further embolden the defence manufacturing in the country. He further pointed out that a higher offset for defence industries as well as a single-window system for license issuance for the defence manufacturers will go a long way in making UP a hub for defence & aerospace. Jayant Patil, President, SIDM pointed out that the reforms pertaining to the defence sector are focused on building capacity. This is evident through the 15% increase in defence budget allocation. He also highlighted that two-thirds of the defence budget is now dedicated to purchases from Indian industries, of which 20% has been reserved for MSMEs. Patil mentioned that 208 items have been moved to the positive list now hence no imports of these items would be allowed into the country to promote the Indian manufacturers. He highlighted that Indian is expected to be the security provider in the Region, for which the industry can prove to become the sixth arm of the Indian Defence system. Speaking on the occasion, Sachin Agarwal, Chairman, SIDM UP Chapter pointed out that today, close to 8000 Defence Sector MSMEs, primarily from tier 2 and tier 3 cities form the backbone and are the largest part, in terms of volume, of the Industry. He also mentioned that the industries that are bound to grow and mature in this phase of development will find that UP can provide the necessary infrastructure and support needed to augment production and services. Agarwal highlighted that the Government planning to spend $250 billion over the next 10 years for the modernization of its Forces and the Industry will have a critical role to play in meeting these demands. Ashmita Sethi, Co-Chairman, CII Northern Region Committee on Defence & Aerospace spoke about the various emerging technologies being deployed in defence manufacturing for which UP can become a potential hub. These included defence electronics, MRO facilities, space related research & development, electric military vehicles among others. Over the 3 day period, Sessions with UPEIDA, DPSUs and the Services HQs will be held to generate awareness about opportunities available for the Industry vis-a-vis Defence Manufacturing.

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Defence

IAF FORMALLY INDUCTS RAFALE AIRCRAFT INTO NO. 101 SQUADRON

Ashish Singh

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The Indian Air Force formally inducted Rafale aircraft into No. 101 Squadron at Air Force Station Hasimara in Eastern Air Command (EAC) on Wednesday. Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) presided over the induction ceremony. On arrival, CAS was received by Air Marshal Amit Dev, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command. The event also included a fly-past heralding the arrival of Rafale aircraft to Hasimara followed by a traditional water cannon salute.

Addressing the personnel during the induction ceremony, CAS said that the induction of Rafale had been carefully planned at Hasimara; keeping in mind the importance of strengthening IAF’s capability in the Eastern Sector. Recalling the glorious history of 101 Squadron which bestowed upon them the title of ‘Falcons of Chamb and Akhnoor’, CAS urged the personnel to combine their zeal and commitment with the unmatched potential of the newly inducted platform. He said that he had no doubt that the Squadron would dominate whenever and wherever required and ensure that the adversary would always be intimidated by their sheer presence.

101 Squadron is the second IAF Squadron to be equipped with Rafale aircraft. The Squadron was formed on 01 May 1949 at Palam and has operated Harvard, Spitfire, Vampire, Su-7 and MiG-21M aircraft in the past. The glorious history of this Squadron includes active participation in 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars.

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RAJNATH SINGH ADDRESSES SCO DEFENCE MINISTERS’ MEETING IN DUSHANBE ‘

Ashish Singh

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated Member-States of the SCO on successful completion of 20 years of its existence. He said that though India joined the organisation in 2017, historical and civilisational relations and geographical connects make India inseparable from the SCO. Addressing the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on Wednesday Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, Terrorism is the most serious threat to international peace and security. “Any act of terror and support to such acts, including cross border terrorism, committed by whomsoever, wherever and for whatever motives, is a crime against humanity,” he added. The Defence Minister reaffirmed India’s resolve to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Rajnath Singh emphasised, “India accords high priority to the consolidation of trust in the security domain within SCO as well as strengthening ties with SCO partners bilaterally on the basis of equality, mutual respect and understanding.” The challenge today is not just one of concepts and norms, but equally of their sincere practice, he added.

Stressing on the importance of the regional group, Rajnath Singh said, “The SCO Nations, together, encompass nearly half the human population on our planet. In terms of geography, it covers approximately three fifths of the Eurasian continent. We, therefore, have collective stakes to create a safe, secure and stable region that contributes towards progress and improvement of human development indices of our people and the generations which will follow.” He pointed out that it is in the same spirit India helps people of Afghanistan, which is facing violence and devastation over decades. So far India completed 500 projects in Afghanistan and continuing with some more with total development aid of US dollar 3 billion. Speaking about geo-strategic location of India that makes it both a Eurasian land power and also a stake-holder in the Indo-Pacific, the Defence Minister said, “Our intent and aspirations are therefore focused towards prosperity and development of the entire region. We affirm this intent through our national policy of Security and Growth for All in the Region, commonly known by the acronym SAGAR.” Security and Stability are most essential components to create conducive environment for growth and economic development of the region and of our respective Nations, he added.

Reiterating India’s resolve to work within the SCO framework for helping create and maintain a peaceful, secure and stable region, Rajnath Singh highlighted, “India also reiterate commitments to partner with fellow SCO Member-States to develop joint institutional capacities that respect individual national sensitivities and yet generate a spirit of cooperation to create contact and connectivity between people, societies and nations.” Referring to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Defence Minister said “It has affected nations, civil societies and citizens in multiple ways. This is a warning sign of how non-traditional security challenges like pandemics, climate change, food security, water security and associated societal disruptions can impact national and international landscape.”

Rajnath Singh said the Armed Forces and the Defence Research and Development Organisation played a stellar role in efforts against Covid-19. He said, “During the global pandemic, India was able to provide support and assistance to countries around the world. This includes 6.6 crore doses of vaccines to 90 countries, support with medicine, medical consumables and equipment to 150 countries. We may mention the massive ‘Vande Bharat’ logistic service to move over 70 lakh stranded people, including foreigners, mostly by air route, but also by our ships in the Indian Ocean.”

Defence Minister assured, “India plans to produce well over 250 crore doses of vaccines between August and the end of 2021.We are determined to vaccinate at least 90 crore adult Indians and to help other friendly countries with vaccine.”

The Defence Minister called upon Member-Nations to evolve to meet the needs of its time. He said, “No institution, howsoever important, can remain frozen at the moment of its foundation. The inherent strength of SCO lies in the fact that Member-States participate in cooperation programme at their own pace and as per respective national policies. We are glad that SCO has evolved as truly an international organisation of significance.” Event of today is yet another step towards strengthening stability and security in the region. This will serve to further development of multilateral cooperation within the SCO format, he added.

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Defence

INDIAN NAVY & IDFC FIRST BANK OFFER HONOUR FIRST BANKING SOLUTIONS TO NAVAL PERSONNEL

Ashish Singh

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IDFC FIRST Bank announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Navy to offer Honour First, a premium banking solution, to serving personnel and veterans of the Indian Navy. Honour First is specially designed keeping in mind the needs of the Armed Forces community. It includes a zero balance salary Honour First salary account with unlimited free ATM transactions from any location, free fund transfers through IMPS, RTGS, and NEFT, free lost card liability protection and purchase protection. It has an accident insurance cover of Rs 46 lakh which include a children education grant of Rs. 4 lakh for wards of age up to 23 years and an additional Rs 2 lakh for girl child marriage cover for daughters in the age bracket of 18 years to 25 years. The MoU for Honour First was signed at the Naval Headquarters in New Delhi between Commodore Neeraj Malhotra, Commodore – Pay and Allowances, Indian Navy and Colin D’Souza, Head – Corporate Salary, IDFC First Bank.

Indian Navy is responsible to safeguard the maritime frontiers of the country including the island territories against external aggression as also assist in the safety of the world sea lanes in the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Speaking on the occasion, Amit Kumar, Head-Retail Liabilities & Branch Banking, IDFC First Bank, said, “It’s a proud moment for us. The association couldn’t have come at a better time as the Indian Navy celebrates the Golden Jubilee of the 1971 war. The Honour First solution is customised to the needs of Naval personnel and stands rooted in our customer-first and nation-first approach. We are constantly improving our offerings using state-of-the-art technology for a superior customer experience. It is a privilege for us to now serving the Indian Navy with an array of our convenient banking services, digitised financial solutions and enhanced access.” Malhotra said, “I welcome the initiative of IDFC First bank to offer customised banking solutions to suit the needs of Indian Navy and its personnel.”

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FLEET AWARD CEREMONY OF WESTERN NAVAL COMMAND HELD AT MUMBAI AFTER ONE-YEAR GAP

Ashish Singh

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The Fleet Award Ceremony each year marks the end of the operational cycle of the Western Fleet, the Sword Arm of the Western Naval Command. The ceremony was held at Mumbai after a gap of a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, the ceremony was hosted by Rear Admiral Ajay Kochhar, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet. The ceremony marked the operational achievements of the Fleet from April 2020 to March 2021. The event was attended by Flag Officers of Western Naval Command with Vice Admiral R Hari Kumar, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command as the Chief Guest.




The ceremony hosted this year was a modest one in adherence to Covid norms. While the attendance was in limited numbers, the achievements of the Fleet were numerous as expected of the Sword Arm. A total of 20 trophies were given away covering a myriad spectrum of naval operations, safety practices and morale. INS Kolkata was awarded the ‘Best Ship’ among the capital ships for exhibiting immaculate grit whilst undertaking a plethora of maritime operations. INS Tarkash was awarded the ‘Most Spirited’ ship for an awe-inspiring display of enthusiasm and morale in all Fleet activities, exercises at sea and indomitable spirit. INS Deepak won the award of ‘Best Ship’ in the category of Tankers and OPVs.

The year covering the operational cycle from April 2020 to March 2021 was anything but ordinary. While the norm of the hour was to work from home, the Western Fleet remained mission deployed and poised for action during the challenging period last year. The Western Fleet also contributed immensely to Covid relief missions in support of the National effort to fight the pandemic. The ships and aircraft of the western fleet also undertook daring rescue operations to save innumerable lives when cyclone Tauktae struck the western coast of India. Today’s ceremony also paid a tribute to the sacrifices of the men and their families who put the call of duty before themselves for all these missions. The Sword Arm remains the first responder, operationally deployed, combat-ready and stood too.

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Defence

US STATE SECRETARY BLINKEN ARRIVES IN NEW DELHI ON A TWO-DAY VISIT

Ashish Singh

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The USA State Secretary Antony J. Blinken has landed in New Delhi on a two-day visit to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to strengthening Indo-US partnership and underscore cooperation on shared priorities. Secretary Blinken will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar to discuss a wide range of issues, including continued cooperation on Covid-19 response efforts, Indo-Pacific engagement, shared regional security interests, shared democratic values, and addressing the climate crisis. On Indo-US ties, Secretary Antony J. Blinken has said, “The US and India are working together on so many of the most important challenges of our time and ones that are having a profound impact on the lives of our citizens. The partnership between the US and India is vital, it’s strong, and it’s increasingly productive.”

THE INDO-PACIFIC FRONT

India is a leading global power and a key US partner in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. At the inaugural Quad Leaders’ Summit in March, President Biden and Prime Minister Modi joined their Japanese and Australian counterparts in pledging to respond to the economic and health impacts of Covid-19, combat the climate crisis, and address shared challenges, including in cyber-space, critical technologies, counterterrorism, quality infrastructure investment, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and maritime security.

DETERRING ADVERSARIES AND DEFENDING INTERESTS

US-India defence cooperation is reaching new heights, including through information sharing, liaison officers, increasingly complex exercises like Malabar, and defence enabling agreements, such as the secure communications agreement COMCASA. As of 2020, the US has authorised over $20 billion in defence sales to India. Through the US-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, the US and India work together on co-production and co-development of defence equipment. The US and India are also closely coordinating on regional security issues, such as Afghanistan.

STRENGTHENING THE US-INDIA PARTNERSHIP

The US and India have a strong strategic partnership founded on shared values and a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The US has supported India’s emergence as a leading global power and vital partner in efforts to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is a region of peace, stability, and growing prosperity and economic inclusion. The US and India cooperate on a wide range of diplomatic, economic and security issues, including defence, non-proliferation, regional cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, shared democratic values, counterterrorism, climate change, health, energy, trade and investment, peacekeeping, the environment, education, science and technology, agriculture, space, and oceans. In 2008, the US and India signed an agreement, making India a full partner in the governance and funding of the Fulbright Program. An increase in exchanges under the agreement has allowed for the development of new and innovative programs, and India now has the largest Fulbright Scholar (faculty) program in the world. In FY 2019, this funding provided opportunities for 61 U.S. Scholars, 66 Indian Scholars, 80 US students, including 29 English Teaching Assistants, and 55 Indian students, including 13 Foreign Language Teaching Assistants. The US and India are working to expand cooperation in international organisations. The US welcomed India joining the UN Security Council in January 2021 for a two-year term. In October 2020, India hosted the third 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, and the US looks forward to the next 2+2 later this year.

COMBATING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The US has contributed more than $200 million to India’s Covid-19 relief and response efforts since the pandemic began, including more than $50 million in emergency supplies and training for more than 218,000 frontline health workers on infection prevention and control, benefitting more than 43 million Indians. Earlier this year, the US and India initiated the renewal of a memorandum of understanding to collaborate through an International Center of Excellence in Research focused on infectious diseases, including Covid-19 and other emerging threats. The US and India are partnering to strengthen the global response to Covid-19, on issues ranging from addressing infectious disease outbreaks to strengthening health systems to securing global supply chains. The US pharmaceutical companies have coordinated with Indian companies since the beginning of the pandemic. This cooperation includes voluntary licensing and technology transfer agreements to increase global manufacturing capacity for Covid-19 vaccines, therapies, and conducting clinical trials.

TACKLING CLIMATE CRISIS

The US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry travelled to India in April of this year and met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They discussed the importance of two of the world’s largest economies leading together to address the climate crisis. At the Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April, President Biden and Prime Minister Modi launched the US-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership to strengthen cooperation on strong actions in the current decade to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and to help each country achieve its respective climate and clean energy goals. Under the new Agenda 2030 Partnership, the US and India look forward to launching the new Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation Dialogue, led by Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, and relaunching the Strategic Clean Energy Partnership, led by Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, later this year. The US looks forward to furthering cooperation with India on tackling the climate crisis and rising global ambition ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, UK, in November.

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