DONALD TRUMP’S AFGHANISTAN POLICY REVIEW TODAY. WILL US PICK A LARGER ROLE FOR INDIA?

The article originally appeared on India Today.

According to the White House, US President Donald Trump is holding his much awaited South Asia strategy review focused on Afghanistan today at his country retreat Camp David in Maryland. In attendance will be US Vice-President Mike Pence, US National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and the US National Security Team.

The inter agency exercise aimed at redrawing US’ Afghanistan strategy includes inputs from the US State and Defence departments. An earlier plan by US Defence Secretary James Mattis and H.R. McMaster to increase the number of US troops in Afghanistan was rejected by Trump.

The plan sought to send around 5000 more US troops to the South Asian nation. The US has currently 9000 troops stationed in Afghanistan in its longest war in history that began in 2001. Reportedly, Trump has conveyed to his lieutenants that the US is not winning in Afghanistan and he might go for a radical revamp of the US policy there.

THE AIM OF THE INTER AGENCY EXERCISE

The exercise is also aimed at incorporating regional perspective to the whole Afghan issue. To explore the possibilities, the Trump administration had sent its top diplomat Alice Wells, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs and Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, earlier this month to India and Pakistan.

India also hosted other senior US State Department, Pentagon and US Security Council officials including Lisa Curtis and Cara Abercrombie during an event organized the MEA and a think tank.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S PRO-INDIA BENT

Given the Trump administration’s pro-India bent, India may emerge as an instrumental player in Afghanistan with US policy change and it happens so, it will certainly be a humiliating setback for Pakistan which sees India’s increasing influence in Afghanistan inimical to its interests and has linked peace efforts in Kabul to Kashmir something that India has completely ruled out. What also goes against Pakistan is the fact that it doesn’t hold good relations with Afghanistan’s ruling establishment and is fast losing its credibility in Washington as well.

That India is on the US radar become clear from the fact that the all powerful US Senate Armed Services Committee has strongly advocated for a strong Indian role in Afghanistan. “The committee believes that the US needs to recommit to the fight in Afghanistan and that India, as a major defence partner of the US and a contributor to regional security, has a critical role to play in this effort”, the committee report last month.

Also, the review meeting is going to be held in the backdrop of pro India and anti Pakistan developments in the US. Trump called Prime Minister Narendra Modi to wish India on its Independence Day while he didn’t extend the courtesy to Pakistan, its so-called ally in the war on terror.

SALAHUDDIN A GLOBAL TERRORIST, HIZBUL A TERRORIST OUTFIT

Then the US first termed Syed Salahuddin a global terrorist in June and then declared his ISI supported organization Hizbul Mujahideen a terrorist outfit. Pakistani propaganda calls them freedom fighters and has termed the US action completely unjustified. Before it, the US pressure had forced Pakistan to house arrest Hafiz Saeed in January this year. And to compound Pakistan’s problems, its latest Country Report on Terrorism has called Pakistan a haven for India-centric terrorists.

Also, the US has made a part of its military assistance to Pakistan conditional to its handling of Afghan terror groups including the Haqqani Faction and it withheld the amount for this year and the last year, over $600 million, as Pakistan could not convince the US of its action against the Haqqani Faction.

INDIA, A TRUSTED FRIEND OF AFGHANISTAN

India has been a trusted friend of Afghanistan for decades and shares cultural ties with it. The Pentagon defines India as Afghanistan’s most reliable regional partner.

India has played an important role in Afghanistan’s reconstruction in post Taliban era spending around $2 Billion since 2002 on development projects including its parliament building and committed another $1 Billion last year. The Indian aid basically has been in infrastructure development, health services and military equipments like bullet proof jackets and convoy vehicles. But breaking the tradition of not giving lethal military equipments in aid, it gave Afghanistan four attack helicopters last year and is also training its soldiers.

©SantoshChaubey

LARGER ROLE FOR INDIA IN AFGHANISTAN EXPECTED IN DONALD TRUMP’S SOUTH ASIA REVIEW TODAY

US President Donald Trump is going to hold his South Asia review at his country retreat Camp David today. In attendance will be US Vice-President Mike Pence, US National Security Advisor HR McMaster and the US National Security Team.

The US South Asia strategy review basically revolves around Afghanistan and given the increasing voices in the US to take a regional approach and the Trump administration’s pro-India bent, India is expected to become an instrumental player in Afghanistan, much to the chagrin on Pakistan which see India’s increasing influence in Afghanistan inimical to its interests.

That India is on the US radar become clear from the fact that the all powerful US Senate Armed Services Committee, headed by influential lawmaker John McCain, has strongly advocated for a strong Indian role in Afghanistan. “The committee believes that the US needs to recommit to the fight in Afghanistan and that India, as a major defence partner of the US and a contributor to regional security, has a critical role to play in this effort”, the committee report last month said realizing India’s role in Afghanistan’s future, “The committee believes that timely actions by the Indian government to fill identified needs in Afghanistan would significantly benefit the short and long-term security and stability of the region.”

Also, the review meeting is going to be held in the backdrop of pro India and anti Pakistan developments in the US. Trump called Prime Minister Narendra Modi to wish India on its Independence Day while he didn’t extend the courtesy to Pakistan, its so-called ally in the war on terror.

Then the US first termed Syed Salahuddin a global terrorist in June and then declared his ISI supported organization Hizbul Mujahideen a terrorist outfit yesterday. Before it, the US pressure had already forced Pakistan to house arrest Hafiz Saeed in January this year. And to compound Pakistan’s problems, its latest Country Report on Terrorism has called Pakistan a haven for India-centric terrorists whom Pakistan patronizes as freedom fighters of Kashmir.

India has been a trusted friend of Afghanistan for decades and shares cultural ties with its South Asian neighbour. It has played an important role in Afghanistan’s reconstruction in post Taliban era spending around $2 Billion since 2002 on development projects in Afghanistan including its parliament building and committed another $1 Billion last year. The Indian aid basically has been in infrastructure development, health services and military equipments like bullet proof jackets and convoy vehicles. It is also training Afghan soldiers.

India, as a policy, did not provide lethal weaponry to countries facing internal unrest but with Afghanistan, that policy is changing now. Last year India gave four MI25 attack helicopters to Afghanistan and a positive US decision on India’s increased role in Afghanistan can see increased flow of all sorts of Indian military aid to the country, especially when Afghanistan has been seeking support for long.

We go by the report of the committee, the US, in fact, is envisaging a fairly comprehensive strategic role for India in Afghanistan. It talks of trilateral cooperation between India, the US and Afghanistan saying, “This assistance could include logistical support; joint training; combined military planning; threat analysis; intelligence, materiel, and maintenance support for Afghan National Defense and Security Forces for humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, security assistance, and any other areas deemed appropriate.”

Apart from India’s humanitarian role in Afghanistan and its strengthening ties with the US, what can also work in India’s favour is the fact that the US is miffed with Pakistan’s double-dealings.

The world knows Pakistan is the main sponsor of terror in Afghanistan. The US has made a part of its military assistance to Pakistan conditional to its handling of Afghan terror groups including the Haqqani Faction and it withheld the amount for this year and the last year, over $600 million, as it found Pakistan’s claims dubious.

Pakistan’s situation in the US has seen a new low with the inauguration of the Trump Administration. The US has always questioned Pakistan’s dubious role in its war against terror and Al Qaeda and the voices that say that Pakistan be made accountable for billions of US dollars that it receives in US assistance in the name of being a US ally in the war against terror have taken the centre-stage of the US policymaking now.

We can say the inflection point in US-Pakistan ties was US locating Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and deciding to eliminate him without involving Pakistan. That showed how deep was the US distrust of Pakistan. But Pakistan continued double-dealing the US even after that, taking US money to fight terrorists while, at the same time, letting them run amok in Afghanistan.

So much so that the US and NATO commander in Afghanistan General John F. Campbell had described the Haqqani Faction as the most capable threat to the US and coalition forces. Also, Taliban is seeing a new surge. According to different analyses, it now controls 10 per cent of the Afghan territory and 30 per cent of its people. Taliban surge is good for Pakistan’s interests in Afghanistan but the US would never allow Taliban to run over Afghanistan again after spending 17 years fighting Taliban and other terror forces of the country.

©SantoshChaubey

WHERE WAS CHINESE STATE MEDIA’S FUSS THIS WEEKEND?

The weekend passed without any fuss this time. The Chinese state media didn’t come with any editorial warning India of war or disastrous consequences, be it People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party (CPC), or its hawkish tabloid Global Times or China’s state-run news agency Xinhua.

Let’s begin with Global Times, the sister publication of People’s Daily that has been the front of the Chinese state media pushing for an India-China war (scenario?) ever since the border standoff between the two countries on the Doklam Plateau began around mid-June.

The only editorial with harsh war rhetoric available on the opinion section of its website is from August 7. Titled ‘India misjudges China’s hope for peace’, it mocks India for miscalculated assessment of Chinese ‘silence’ and then throws the routine, i.e., ‘countermeasures from China will be unavoidable’.

The pattern of all other editorials, especially during the weekend, have been back to viewpoints like the developments around the South China Sea dispute, or the Sino-US trade row or even the Sino-India trade war but the hawkish tone of military war has taken a leave it seems. Now whether it is temporary or the Chinese propaganda machinery will be back to its virtual war with India only time will tell.

To continue..

©SantoshChaubey

NOW CHINESE STATE MEDIA WADES INTO US-NORTH KOREA ROW, SAYS CHINA WOULD COUNTER US ACTION AGAINST NORTH KOREA

“China should make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral.”

This is what an editorial in China’s official publication Global Times, known for taking extreme positions, says. The official mouthpiece of the ruling Chinese Communist Party has been issuing war threats and warnings of disastrous consequences to India on a daily basis ever since the India-China border standoff in Doklam Plateau began in June.

It is an established fact that China is the only factor that has let North Korea, a rogue state, become increasingly belligerent over the years in spite of global sanctions that have been in place for decades. China, in fact, is the only major trading partner of North Korea and accounts for over 80 per cent of North Korean trade.

After North Korea’s first Inter-continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) test, that was surprisingly successful, and its increasing threats of launching a nuclear missile on the US, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) last week imposed even harsher sanctions on North Korea in an aim to reduce its exports by one-third.

But seeing the history of China always extending olive branch to North Korea, experts are divided on whether imposing more sanctions on North Korea will be of any help. Even though China has announced to support the sanctions, its track record says it has never implemented such international agreements in past and they merely remained on paper.

In the same doublespeak, China’s state run media says here if North Korea attacks the US, China should remain neutral but would prevent any US or South Korean attempt to overthrow the war friendly dictatorial regime of North Korea, “If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.”

That clearly means China would not take any pre-emptive step to stop North Korea from taking that disastrous step and would not allow even the US and South Korea to do so, even if it means a nuclear attack by the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Clearly taking the line of China’s interests first, the editorial goes on to say that “China will firmly resist any side which wants to change the status quo of the areas where China’s interests are concerned.”

US President Donald Trump has warned that the US is fully prepared, locked and loaded, to face any North Korean threat following his reaction to unleash fire and fury on North Korea after it was revealed that North Korea had developed a miniaturized nuclear warhead for its missiles that could effectively reach the US mainland.

In response, North Korea has said that it is readying plans to launch missile attack on Guam, an US island in the Pacific. Guam is a major US military installation housing the Naval Base Guam and the Anderson Air Force Base. Apart from high-end military assets like the B52 bombers and the nuclear powered fast attack submarines, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD), an anti-ballistic missile defence system, are deployed here. Recently, the US deployed THAAD in South Korea to counter any missile attack threat from North Korea. China sees presence of THAAD in the Korean Peninsula a challenge its sovereignty in its area of influence and has been vehemently opposing it.

North Korea has been rapidly revving up its nuclear and missile programme after successful test launches of nuclear capable ICBMs. Trump, who had said earlier that he would not allow North Korea to have an ICBM, had reacted strongly on North Korean ICBM saying the US was drawing plans for its “pretty severe” response.

©SantoshChaubey

DONALD TRUMP SAYS NORTH KOREA WILL BE MET WITH FIRE AND FURY IF IT THREATENS US

The article originally appeared on India Today on 9 August.

US President Donald Trump has warned North Korea that “if it escalates nuclear threat, it will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen”, the US media has said. A tough response from him was expected after it was revealed earlier in the day that North Korea had produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that could be fitted inside its missiles. The revelation was based on the assessment of the US intelligence agencies.

Terming Trump’s threat extraordinary, a CNN report quoted him as saying, “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which the world has never seen.”

On Monday, North Korea ‘vowed’ to teach US a severe lesson. North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said if the US used military force, North Korea would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons.

HARSHER SANCTIONS

Earlier, on Saturday, the United Nations Security Council slapped even harsher sanctions on North Korea, in an aim to reduce its exports by one-third.

Hitting back, North Korea said “it would make the US pay dearly for all the heinous crimes it commits against the state and people of this country.”

Experts are divided on whether imposing more sanctions on North Korea will be of any help – because even though China, its biggest trading partner, has announced to support the sanctions, its track record says it has never implemented such international agreements in past and they merely remained on paper.

NUCLEAR PROGRAMME

North Korea has been rapidly revving up its nuclear and missile programme after it successfully test fired its first inter-continental ballistic missile last month which according to experts was a new type unlike the previous North Korean missile tests and with a range of over 8,000 km. Such a missile can easily reach the American mainland.

North Korea’s ICBM had left the major world powers divided. A Russia-China joint statement was soft and put the onus of North Korea’s missile launch on annual US-South Korea military drills in the region and the deployment of the US anti-ballistic missile defence system THAAD in South Korea.
Trump, who had said earlier he would not allow North Korea to have an ICBM, had reacted strongly. He then said the US was drawing plans for its “pretty severe” response.

The US, with South Korea, held a military drill in response to North Korea’s ICBM and the US allies held an emergency UN Security Council meeting where the US’ UN Ambassador Nikki Haley asserted that the US could use “considerable military forces” if situation demanded.

©SantoshChaubey

CHINESE MEDIA NOW PATRONISES BHUTAN, WARNS INDIA OF DISASTROUS CONSEQUENCES YET AGAIN

The article originally appeared on India Today on 9 August.

In a clear attempt to patronize Bhutan, an editorial by China’s official news agency, Xinhua now has blamed India to turn Bhutan into its protectorate. Saying that if there is any dispute, it is between China and Bhutan and “it has nothing to do with India.”

Terming Bhutan a weak country, the editorial says India is recklessly invading its neighbour based on “childish assumptions and foolhardy speculations.” “The bottom line in international justice is that no country may pursue its security at the cost of another’s sovereignty,” the editorial further writes in attempts to provoke Bhutan.

The editorial’s line that “China respects Bhutan as an independent sovereign state and resents India’s attempt to turn it into a de facto protectorate,” may be a new Chinese ploy to mould or pressure Bhutan after India has refused to budge from its position in spite of incessant Chinese threats of military action.

Extending the routine of aggrandizing China’s military prowess, it warns that “India should underestimate neither China’s determination nor its capacity to defend its sovereignty and national interests and must dispel all illusions and avoid disastrous consequences.”

Terming India’s thinking that China will back down a wishful thinking, it further says that India, so far, has done nothing to diffuse the border crisis in Doklam and instead is making eccentric demands even if China is known as an expansionist country involved in territorial disputes with around 20 countries.

China has been ratcheting up its anti-India rhetoric through statements of its foreign ministry, defence ministry, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and its state run media, infusing it with war threats, saying it is now up to India to deescalate the border tension and withdraw its troops from an area that it claims as its own.

The editor of the Global Times, a state owned hawkish tabloid, today came up with his second video warning India of war if it doesn’t withdraw its troops from Doklam unilaterally. In his first video message last week, he was seen aggrandizing China’s military strength vis-a-vis India, drawing parallels like ‘if China and India engage in military conflict, the PLA has an overwhelming advantage”. The hawkish newspaper, a sister publication the People’s Daily, Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, has run a number of anti-India editorials laden with rhetoric ever since soldiers from the Indian Army and the PLA first faced off on the Doklam plataue last month.

Doklam that China considers a part of its Donglang region has been a long running territorial dispute between Bhutan and China and Bhutan even issued a demarche to China on construction of road in the area by the PLA. Indian troops entered the area to prevent the road construction with India informing China that it was against the agreement of maintaining the status quo in the area as agreed in the past.

But an autocratic and expansionist China refused to budge, and in fact, unleashed an intense propaganda war against India aimed to dislodge the legally valid Indian claims and employed every possible propaganda tool in its arsenal, be it the high pitched ‘war possibility’ threat or arrogant responses delivered by its higher level officials including daily briefings of its foreign ministry or indiscriminate verbal firing rounds by its official publications.

©SantoshChaubey

DOKLAM STANDOFF: INDIA CHINA DID TRY DIPLOMACY BUT IT HAS HIT A ROADBLOCK

A Reuters report has said that the efforts to diffuse the Doklam border standoff between China and India at diplomatic levels have hit a roadblock. The report quoting people who have been briefed on the talks, said that “India’s diplomatic efforts to end a seven-week military standoff with China have hit a roadblock “as there has been no further development “on the low-key diplomatic manoeuvres that took place outside the public eye.”

Last week, while speaking on the Doklam standoff in the Parliament, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said that war was not a solution and diplomatic efforts were needed to resolve the crisis. But, according to Reuters, “China did not respond to India’s suggestion in the talks that it move its troops back 250 metres in return if India has to withdraw its troops from Doklam,” quoting a source with deep access to the Modi government.

“The Chinese countered with an offer to move back 100 metres, so long as they received clearance from top government officials”, the Reuters report further said but there has no further headway after it, as clear from increasing war rhetoric from China. “It is a logjam, there is no movement at all now,” the report said quoting another source.

Meanwhile China has continued ratcheting up its anti-India rhetoric through statements of its foreign ministry, defence ministry, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and its state run media, infusing it with war threats, saying it is now up to India to deescalate the border tension and withdraw its troops from an area that it claims as its own.

The editor of the Global Times, a state owned hawkish tabloid, today came up with his second video warning India of war if it doesn’t withdraw its troops from Doklam unilaterally. In his first video message last week, he was seen aggrandizing China’s military strength vis-a-vis India, drawing parallels like ‘if China and India engage in military conflict, the PLA has an overwhelming advantage’’. The hawkish newspaper, a sister publication the People’s Daily, Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, has run a number of anti-India editorials laden with rhetoric ever since soldiers from the Indian Army and the PLA first faced off on the Doklam plataue last month.

Doklam that China considers a part of its Donglang region has been a long running territorial dispute between Bhutan and China and Bhutan even issued a demarche to China on construction of road in the area by the PLA. Indian troops entered the area to prevent the road construction with India informing China that it was against the agreement of maintaining the status quo in the area as agreed in the past.

But an autocratic and expansionist China refused to budge, and in fact, unleashed an intense propaganda war against India aimed to dislodge the legally valid Indian claims and employed every possible propaganda tool in its arsenal, be it the high pitched ‘war possibility’ threat or arrogant responses delivered by its higher level officials including daily briefings of its foreign ministry or indiscriminate verbal firing rounds by its official publications.

©SantoshChaubey

WHEN MAO WANTED TO CRUSH NEHRU

It is consensus in India that China backstabbed our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in spite of his friendly stand that believed the Indian and the Chinese were brothers (Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai). The 1962 Sino-Indian war is the biggest symbol of China’s betrayal in spite of Nehru’s sacrifice that allowed China to have permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Mao Zedong, China’s supreme leader, in fact wanted to crush Nehru alleging India of interference in Tibet, a document released by the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars shows. It is a transcription of meeting between Soviet Union Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Chinese leaders including Mao Zedong and Chinese Premier and Foreign Minister Zhou Enlai on October 2, 1959. It was a heated conversation where the Soviet Premier blamed China for Tibet unrest, defending India and Nehru, and blasted the hostile Chinese action at the Sino-Indian border.

Before Nikita Khrushchev arrived in China, the USSR had passed a resolution, known as the TASS Declaration, taking a public stand in order to be seen neutral and ‘not anti-Nehru’ in the ongoing India-China conflict. This stand by one communist nation on another offended China and in fact laid the foundation of cold-war Sino-Soviet split that continued till late 1980s.

By this time, the expansionist Chinese tentacles had become clearly visibly. China had killed and detained Indian soldiers in Ladakh and had forcefully occupied an Indian post at Longju at Assam-China border resulting in casualties on the Indian side and was increasingly sounding belligerent, especially after the Dalai Lama and countless Tibetans, who were given moral support and shelter by India, had to flee the Chinese oppression, a development that brought China a bad name.

The transcript of the meeting shows how China was hell-bent on proving India and Nehru wrong even if it was not able to convince Nikita Khrushchev of its words, motives and action.

Nikita Khrushchev: We….do not understand in particular your conflict with India. You have had good relations with India for many years. Suddenly, here is a bloody incident, as result of which [Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal] Nehru found himself in a very difficult position…..If you let me, I will tell you what a guest should not say the events in Tibet are your fault. You ruled in Tibet, you should have had your intelligence [agencies] there and should have known about the plans and intentions of the Dalai Lama.
Mao Zedong: Nehru also says that the events in Tibet occurred on our fault. Besides, in the Soviet Union they published a TASS declaration on the issue of conflict with India.

Nikita Khrushchev: Do you really want us to approve of your conflict with India? It would be stupid on our part. The TASS declaration was necessary. You still seem to be able to see some difference between Nehru and me. If we had not issued the TASS declaration, there could have been an impression that there was a united front of socialist countries against Nehru. The TASS declaration turned this issue into one between you and India.

Mao Zedong: Our mistake was that we did not disarm the Dalai Lama right away. But at that time we had no contact with the popular masses of Tibet.

Nikita Khrushchev: You have no contact even now with the population of Tibet.

Mao Zedong: We have a different understanding of this issue.

Though sounding harsh on the Dalai Lama, Khrushchev goes on to vindicate India’s stand on giving shelter to the Dalai Lama pinning the blame squarely on the Chinese Communist Party, “It’s not a matter of arrest; I am just saying that you were wrong to let him go. If you allow him an opportunity to flee to India, then what has Nehru to do with it? We believe that the events in Tibet are the fault of the Communist Party of China, not Nehru’s fault.”

Mao Zedong: No, this is Nehru’s fault…. We also support Nehru, but in the question of Tibet we should crush him.
Nikita Khrushchev: Why did you have to kill people on the border with India?

Mao Zedong: They attacked us first, crossed the border and continued firing for 12 hours.

Zhou Enlai: What data do you trust more, Indian or ours?

Nikita Khrushchev: Although the Hindus attacked first, nobody was killed among the Chinese, and only among the Hindus.
Zhou Enlai: But what we are supposed to do if they attack us first. We cannot fire in the air…. In my letter of 9 September to Nehru we provided detailed explanations of all that had occurred between India and us.
Nikita Khrushchev: Comrade Zhou Enlai. You have been Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PRC for many years and know better than me how one can resolve disputed issues without [spilling] blood. In this particular case I do not touch at all the issue of the border, for if the Chinese and the Hindus do not know where the borderline goes between them, it is not for me, a Russian, to meddle. I am only against the methods that have been used.

Zhou Enlai: We did not know until recently about the border incident, and local authorities undertook all the measures there, without authorization from the centre.

Nikita Khrushchev: That the centre knew nothing about the incident is news to me.

Like China is sounding obstinate today, in the ongoing Doklam standoff, it was the same behaviour on display even then. They kept on repeating their falsities that finally frustrated Khrushchev, “There are three of us here, and nine of you, and you keep repeating the same line. I think this is to no use. I only wanted to express our position. It is your business to accept it or not.”

Though Mao Zedong assured Nikita Khrushchev that the border clash with India was a marginal issue and would be resolved peacefully, the Chinese had other designs and it becomes clear from the letter that Zhou Enlai wrote to India in the aftermath where he blamed India for escalating tension by indulging in border aggression, anti China propaganda and Tibet unrest.

China, in fact, was preparing to betray India all along 1950s, clandestinely intruding into the Indian territories to forcefully acquire them and the Tibetan uprising of 1959 was just a pretext to impose its sinister designs of grabbing thousands of kilometres of Indian Territory in Jammu & Kashmir’s Ladakh, i.e., Aksai Chin that the whole world saw after the 1962 war. Prime Minister Nehru, in fact, detailed these Chinese designs in response to Zhou Enlai’s letter that how Chinese were intruding into the Indian territory since 1954, that how they had built a road in Ladakh, that how China arrested Indian security forces personnel in Aksai Chin in 1958 and so on. Nehru also added in the letter that India did not make public these because it was still hoping for their peaceful resolution.

The streak of the Chinese betrayal has continued ever since, resulting in China usurping India’s territory and claiming for more, ignoring India’s sovereignty by developing an economic corridor in Pak-occupied-Kashmir that is legally India’s, its persistent belligerence on Sino-Indian border, its attempts to encircle India by having military presence in India’s neighbouring countries and its anti-India stand on global multilateral platforms that exhibits itself in its moves like blocking India’s entry in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) or vetoing India’s and world community resolution to ban Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist Masood Azhar.

©SantoshChaubey

HOW CAN DONALD TRUMP BE THE GREATEST PERSON ON EARTH?

Now we don’t need to wait for controversies to tail US President Donald Trump when most of them are his own creation. And they are aplenty – even if it is just six months for Trump in the White House – he brought presidential order to block people from Muslim majority countries in the US; he withdrew the US from global trade and climate deals, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Paris Climate Deal; he has tried hard but has failed so far in repealing his predecessor Barack Obama’s healthcare act; he has cracked down on immigrants and introduced an immigration bill this week to slash down the number of legal immigrants; and his campaign pledge to build a wall along the Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it.

The 45th US President is writing the newest chapters of the book on few controversial US Presidents so far. A CNN analysis few days back, in fact, had found a term to describe Trump – The Most Un-presidential President. Ever since Trump’s inauguration, his popularity has been rapidly coming down and new survey has found 61 per cent of registered American voters disapproving his way of governance.

Now another major US publication, The Washington Post, that has already done its series of revelations and expose on Trump’s misadventures and has been in Trump’s firing line of his vitriolic wit and tweets, has come out with another bombshell. The Post has released leaked transcripts of Trump’s phone conversations with his Mexican and Australian counterparts. And like said, they are so un-presidential that the White House did not release them in first place.

When we go through the entire transcript, we can easily look into the mind of Donald Trump, that why he is so – someone who believes he is the greatest person on the earth and then goes on to boast it.

There is no denying to this established fact that the US President is the most powerful person on the earth – but he is certainly not the greatest one. That is a human virtue that doesn’t need the power corridors of the White House. By virtue of being the US President, Donald Trump, indeed could have been the most powerful person in the world. But the irony is, he is not even the most powerful one in America, owing to the spate of controversies around him and his family. The robust system of checks and balances in the US administration cannot allow him to be so. What can be a better testimony to this than his failed attempts to repeal Barack Obama’s healthcare act that he so vehemently detests or wide criticism in the US that his travel ban plan from Muslim majority nations attracted.

The transcript shows him fighting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull like some small time, factional politician and not the President of the United States of America, an office that is most powerful in the world and is also supposed to be the most dignified one. But how can it be dignified when its inhabitants are not.

This one ‘I am the greatest person on the earth’ is a perfect example of it. While discussing with his Australian counterpart an already agreed deal to take in Nauru and Manus islands refugees who were trying to enter Australian through sea route but were caught and imprisoned, he can be seen using un-parliamentary words not just for human lives but also for his predecessor Barack Obama who had signed the deal with Australia. Trump declares the deals signed by Obama stupid and rotten.

Portions of this Trump-Turnbull conversation were leaked earlier which had created tension between the US and Australia. Reportedly, after the 20-minute conversation had ended, Trump had described Turnbull, who is considered a moderate, a brawler and not a shrinking poppy, something that Trump had expected before the call.

But what shocks is the utter disregard for human lives that Trump has. During the course of conversation with Turnbull on January 28, Trump says, “I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people and I agree I can vet them, but that puts me in a bad position. It makes me look so bad and I have only been here a week.”

Even if Turnbull assures that they are not bad people but economic refugees and Australia has full knowledge of their backgrounds, Trump keeps on repeating his scorn for the refugees as if he is not hearing what Turnbull is saying, “I am taking 2,000 people from Australia who are in prison and the day before I signed an Executive Order saying that we are not taking anybody in. We are not taking anybody in, those days are over.”

©SantoshChaubey

CHINA HAS OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE OVER INDIA IN CASE OF MILITARY CONFLICT: GLOBAL TIMES CHIEF EDITOR

The article originally appeared on India Today.

China has an edge over the United States’s military presence in the South China Sea and anywhere near China’s coastal waters, and is far more powerful than the India’s overall military strength that is restrained by limited resources, an editorial in Global Times, a hawkish state-run newspaper in China, says.

China also has an ability to upgrade its military capabilities that is unparalleled among other countries, the Global Times editorial goes on to say. China has worked on its core strategic areas in such a streamlined fashion that it can augment the country’s comprehensive military capability faster than others, in fact every few years, the editorial points out.

The editorial comes as China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the world’s largest military force with a strength of around 2.3 million troops, celebrates its 90th anniversary and as the India-China standoff at the Doklam plateau enters its second month.

The article is the latest in a string of India-baiting editorial that have been published by the Global Times, which sometimes is known to take extreme positions not always held by Beijing. The hawkish newspaper has run a number of anti-India editorials laden with rhetoric ever since soldiers from the Indian Army and the PLA first faced off on the Doklam plataue last month.

This time, however, the Global Times seems to have brought out the big guns. The newspaper’s Twitter handle today posted a video in which its editor-in-chief Hu Xijin, a former war correspondent, can be seen aggrandizing China’s military strength vis-a-vis India, drawing parallels like ‘if China and India engage in military conflict, the PLA has an overwhelming advantage’ and ‘if China and the US have a standoff in the nearby waters, the PLA will not lose’.

The editorial runs on similar lines, saying that ‘underestimating the PLA’s strength could lead to a major mistake’. The editorial also boasts of PLA’s ‘all around development’ built on high-tech research and development in military hardware including submarines, aircraft carriers and navigation systems and highlights China’s defence budget of $151.4 billion, three times of India’s $52 billion allocation for its defence sector.

China is rapidly enhancing its strategic capabilities and in fact, has created an advanced weapons research agency, the Scientific Research Steering Committee, modelled on the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, the mother of most innovative defence research in the world giving us technologies like internet, GPS, stealth fighters, precision weapons and electromagnetic cannons.

In March this year, China inducted J-20, its first stealth fighter jet, into active service. The same month, it announced to develop a breakthrough, an electric propulsion technology, that it claimed would make its submarines quieter than US submarines. In April, the country launched its first home-built aircraft carrier in open waters. In June, it launched its home-built guided missile destroyer that it claimed was most advanced in Asia and the world second most powerful.

And as it is the season of army parades in China, the Global Times editorial takes the liberty of issuing warning even to the world on PLA’s behalf it seems. It says as “China’s national interests expand, the PLA will take on greater responsibilities. Other countries need to get used to the presence of Chinese forces outside China’s coastal waters, whether they like it or not.”

Last month, China sent its troops to Djibouti, its first overseas military base. China has entered into an agreement with Djibouti which allows it to station its 10,000 troops in the country till 2026, much higher than 4000 US soldiers stationed at Camp Lemonnier, also in Djibouti, America’s largest permanent base in Africa. And experts say its second overseas naval base is going to come up in India’s backyard, at Pakistan’s Gwadar Port in the Arabian Sea.

©SantoshChaubey