Connect with us

Realpolitik

The Great Game: India, China and the Indian Ocean

Published

on

Indian Navy flotilla of Western Fleet escort INS Vikramaditya (R33) and INS Viraat (R22) in the Arabian Sea, January 10, 2014. Image Credit: Indian Navy via Wikimedia Commons

It is now clear that a grand-strategic, multi-contestant, maritime ‘Great Game’ is being played out in the Indian Ocean region. Of the two major participants, a ‘resident’ India and an ‘interloper’ China are each playing by different rules. While India imagines that the conventions of traditional Shatranj (Chess) will suffice, the Chinese, shrewd practitioners of realpolitik, are playing by the far more complex rules of their strategic board-game Wei qui, or more commonly Go, about which we know very little.

China’s leadership has astutely grasped the reality that ‘maritime power’ is much more than just a ‘fighting navy’. The results are truly striking; China is today the world leader in ship-building and its 5,000-ship strong merchant marine ranks No.1 in the world. It also owns the largest number of coast guard vessels that protect the world’s biggest fishing fleet. It is noteworthy that China’s sea-going fishing fleet is viewed in strategic terms as a guarantor of national food security and the marine economy. Chinese shipyards are rapidly adding to its fleet of modern warships as well as merchantmen. Its force of home-built nuclear submarines is operationally deployed, and its first aircraft carrier is at sea, with more to follow. By 2020, the PLAN will overtake the US Navy in numbers, and remain at No.2 only in capability.

Read the full article in Deccan Herald

Perspectives

Indo-Pak Relations and the Map Controversy

Published

on

A map of India from 1909. India Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Discussing the introduction of the controversial Geospatial Information Regulation Bill in the Indian Parliament, this article in Daily Times (Pakistan), alleges it to be India’s attempt to expand beyond its existing borders. India on its part has made it clear that the Bill is an “entirely internal legislative matter of India, since the whole of the state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Pakistan or any other party has no locus standi in the matter. The Government (of India) firmly rejects Pakistan’s repeated and increasing attempts to impose on the international community matters that India has always been open to address bilaterally with Pakistan.”

“The myth of Akhand Bharat (United India) still runs deep inside the Indian mindset particularly among those who have not reconciled with the partition of the Indian sub-continent. Unification of India may seem to be a fallacy but not a forgotten goal of those in India who want their country to expand beyond their existing borders.”

Read the full article in Daily Times.

Continue Reading

Perspectives

American Incoherence and the Making of Turkey’s Kurdish War

Published

on

SDF fighters in central Raqqa US-backed Forces Advance Against IS in Central Raqqa, September 6, 2017. Image Credit: By Mahmoud Bali (VOA) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In mid-2012 Turkey was alarmed when the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) took over a string of Syrian border towns. The PYD is the Syrian branch of the Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging a guerrilla-style war against Turkey’s government since 1984. Turkey has long warned that Turkey would never tolerate a Kurdish military presence on the country’s southern border. Following its warnings with action, Turkey has intensified its military campaign against Syrian Kurdish fighters. It is easy to blame, Turkey’s Erdoğan for being the culprit for this escalating confict. However, the United States’ must take a major blame for its myopic focus on vanquishing regional jihadism. The US’ Syria policy is inchorent and successive US administrations have obsessed over targeting the Islamic State (ISIS) without considering the full ramifications of their actions. Today Turkey’s incursion into northwestern Syria is just one consequence. After initially sharing Erdoğan’s concerns, when America found that the PYD is a useful ally to fight the ISIS, it started providing weapons and training to the PYD’s armed wing.

Full-scale invasions rarely succeed in uprooting jihadist threats. But America’s subcontracting of its battles to local fighters in Syria has created new perils. If Trump is to break with the past and earn the credit he is claiming, the US must find a new way to achieve its security goals without deploying entire divisions. At the moment, however, the US is offering Turkey – and the region – only incoherence and more empty promises.

Read the full article in Project Syndicate.

 

Continue Reading

Perspectives

The Point of Sharp Power?

Published

on

Russian-Chinese talks: Meeting with President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping on July 4, 2017 at The Kremlin, Moscow. Image Credit: http://en.kremlin.ru

Authoritarian governments are not playing by the rules governing democracies and yet have been able to project more influence beyond their borders. Christopher Walker, Vice President for Studies and Analysis at the National Endowment for Democracy argues that a sound diagnosis is necessary in order to devise an appropriate response.

Russia and China tend to do poorly in global public opinion surveys and indices of soft power, reinforcing the notion that attraction and persuasion are incompatible with authoritarianism. Internationally, autocrats are not “winning hearts and minds.” Nonetheless, Russia, China, and other well-resourced and ambitious regimes are projecting more influence beyond their borders than at any time in recent memory – and not principally through what Nye calls “hard power”: military might or raw economic coercion.

Read the full article in Project Syndicate.

 

Continue Reading

Trending