Monday, 9 April 2018

Spy Poisoning: Who is the villain?

The political turmoil between the British and Russia has been triggered after the incidence of poisoning Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal (age 66) and his daughter Yulia (33) on March 4, in Britain. Britain blamed it on Russia and ordered the  23 Russian envoys of to leave the country. Russia took similar action against the UK's envoys. In the first phase, the dispute was limited to Britain and Russia. After Britain decided to leave the European Union in 2016, it was being regarded as EU's villain.The Brexit is going to be implemented in 2019 which is also one of the reasons for the unrest in Britain. US President Donald Trump's 'America First' policy also contributed to Britain's fear that they are left alone in Europe. In the presidential election of the United States, the alleged interference of Russia has led to cause many problems to President Trump.

Under such circumstances, the British Prime Minister Theresa May has the opportunity to get the support of the European Union using this issue of poisoning. The United States has also ousted most of the Russian envoys. After the efforts of the United States and Britain, 27 countries ousted more than 150 Russian envoys.

When British Prime Minister Theresa May gave Russia 24 hours deadline, Russia's Foreign Ministry reminded her that Russia is the second largest nuclear weapon holder in the world. Russia has also been accused of increasing its chemical weaponry too. The US and Britain took the help of chemical and other destructive weapons to overthrow Saddam Hussein's rule in Iraq. The then-Defense Secretary of US- Colin Powell presented the false pieces of evidence of destructive weapons projects in the United Nations Security Committee.

Russia has asked for evidence which proves their involvement in poisoning. France President Emmanuel Macron has said that these issue of poisoning in the UK is attack on whole Europe's sovereignty. Whether it's America or any European country; Russia or China; all countries are involved in spying. Multinational companies seek the help of private spies to protect their interests. Now, cyber technology has replaced human spies. In World War II, Hitler's Germany had made chemical weapons which could create havoc. Crusader Hitler used these poisonous gas against Jews but did not dare to use these weapons in the war. Britain's then Prime Minister Winston Churchill used chemical weapons, regardless of world opinion. China is looting mineral wealth by investing in Africa. While building the headquarters of the African Union on its own, China has created a spy network that records all its operations. There is no doubt then, that incidents like Skripal will continue to happen.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Rising Military Dictatorship In Pakistan

Whichever may be the country, fervent opposition to the radicalism always takes place by the conservatives. In Pakistan, the draft of the Election Reforms Bill-2017 was presented in Parliament. This draft made the government and the people disrupt since last 22 days. Once again the anarchy in Pakistan highlighted that the wisdom always fails against ochlocracy.

According to a certain law in Pakistan, all Muslim candidates contesting for elections have to submit affidavit. They have to write in the affidavit that Prophet Muhammad was the last Prophet of Islam, after which no other person became Prophet. 

In the aforementioned proposed bill, this condition was removed. But some took this provision as anti-Islam & started opposing it. Religious fundamentalists funded parties like Tehreek E Labaik, Sunni Tehreek, Tehreek-e-Khatme Nabuwwat disrupted whole country. However, The government agreed that mistake has been made. It also withdrew the provision. But, the hardline fanatics were not satisfied. This incidence highlighted Pakistan's political instability. The evil consequences of driving the Nation on the basis of religion are consistently seen, because religion & logic seldom go hand in hand.

Six civilians were killed in violence caused by this incidence. 95 soldiers including 200 civilians were injured. Although it seems that the resignation of Law Minister Zahid Hamid has mitigated the protest, more worrisome is how such a situation was happened in first place.

Although the Minister of Law bowed down to the pressure, Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, the judge of the High Court reprimanded Home Minister along with the army. This is some silver lining. Some such questions have arisen on this occasion. When instructions were given to desolve the agitation, why did the Home Minister gave army the role of mediator? Why the government had to bend the knee against the protestors?  What right the army had that it decided to intercede? Home Minister Ahsan Iqbal had no answers.

 It is expected from the army to be in the limits of the constitutional duties. But how can the army remain passive about the people who are taking law in their hands? It can be said that the unofficial alliance between the Pakistani military and local fundamentalists is no more hidden. Not only this, but the command of the army on the government is too, clearly highlighted.

This is also an indication that interference and impact of the military on Pakistani politics is going to escalate in near future . As a neighboring nation, India has to take notice this subject matter.

It is notable that in 2011, the former governor of Punjab,Salman Taseer tried to revise this very law, but was murdered by his own bodyguard Mumtaz Qadri.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Robert Mugabe: A Hero Turned Villain

Zimbabwe's former President Robert Mugabe's cabinet has been dissolved by the new president. In The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), which was founded by Mugabe, too was a growing discontent about him. The military had temporarily removed Mugabe's imprisonment and he was given an opportunity to step down from the post in honor. Mugabe's intention after being elected to power till the next year's election and then give the post to his wife, Grace Mugabe has been knocked down by the opponents.

Mugabe, who gave independence to the country by leading the freedom movement, had become the inspiration for the fighters against the anti-racism regime in South Africa. Nelson Mandela, after completing his presidential term, handed over the government to Thabo Mbeki and later to Jacob Zuma. Mandela could have stayed as a president at that time. But he was not fascinated by power. Mugabe did not find this example good enough to emulate.

11 years of imprisonment for the country, good work done during the first ten years after gaining power has been long forgotten because of Mugabe's obsession of clinging to power.

Mugabe's career, especially since the 2008 presidential elections, has been controversial. Even before that, in 2000, his scheme of seizing of one crore 5.5 million hectares of agricultural land from white minorities without compensation & giving it to black people failed. Political leaders, activists, military and civil officials grabbed four lakh acres of that land. Zimbabwe was Africa's biggest exporters of food. Minority white people were British. Therefore, the wrath of the international financial institutions influenced by the UK, the European Union and the Western countries fell on Mugabe. The country's economy declined. 4 million people out of 15 million flee from the country. Mugabe, being targeted at the international level became more aggressive. As a result of insecurity, the monopolistic tendency increased in him. 

If nothing else, Mr Mugabe has always been an extremely proud man. He often said he would only step down when his "revolution" was complete. 

Didymus Mutasa, one of Mr Mugabe's closest associates, once told the BBC that in Zimbabwean culture, kings were only replaced when they die "and Mugabe is our king".

But even his closest allies were not ready for Zimbabwe to be turned into a monarchy, with power retained by a single family.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Chabahar: The port of Good Hope for Afghanistan, Iran & India

Over the last decade, the foreign policy of India is to establish financial relations in regional and international boundaries. Knowing the fact that there is no possibility of getting any assistance from Pakistan, India was looking for other alternatives to increase trade with Europe, Russia, Africa and Central Asia. In this efforts, India's intention was not just to strengthen its political-economic interests with Afghanistan, but also to suppress Pakistan-China friendship and their domination. Chabahar in Iran was a useful port in that aspect. One trait of this port is that the port is near Pakistan's Gwadar port & from the port, it is possible to trade with Afghanistan and further till Europe-Central Asia.

 A few years ago, India was pondering on doing trade with Central Asia and Europe through Gwadar Port & such wish was expressed to Pakistan; But Pakistan did not allow the permission to use this port. India took the rejection from Pakistan as an opportunity to start the discussions with Iran to develop their Chabahar port. Iran, on the other hand, was looking for an opportunity to disrupt the US-China-Pakistan dominance. They were ready to develop their own port with the help of India and now it is being developed. On Sunday, India exported nearly one million tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan from Chabahar port. This is a very important step from India in helping Afghanistan's reconstruction program. With this assistance, the question of hunger among millions of Afghan nationals will be removed. Thus, this port has allowed India to trade with Afghanistan excluding Pakistan. Since this port is in Iran, India's efforts to establish friendly relations with this powerful country in Central Asia also succeeded. Moreover, this new aspect of Afghanistan-Iran-India friendship will be a  headache for China and Pakistan, that's a different advantage.

The trade that started in the Chabahar port should be considered as a milestone in the foreign policy of India. This is because Pakistan and China are trying their best to prevent India from participating in Afghanistan's rebuilding program. One part of it is that Pakistan has provided a big financial support to terrorist groups in Kashmir & Afghanistan. But three years ago, Obama began to call for withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and it caused a political instability in Afghanistan but India started participating in Afghanistan's rebuilding program. As a result, strategy of China & Pakistan of keeping Afghanistan turbulent and unsteady in order to control various terrorist groups and governments failed. 

With the development of Chabahar port, India and Iran have decided to make full use of these port. The road from Chabahar to Zahedan in Iran and road from Zaranj to Delaram in Afghanistan has been developed. Due to this pathway, most of India's business will not be from the Indian Ocean but it will be channeled through Afghanistan to Central Asia and Europe. Japan has also shown interest in developing Chabahar port because it has given them an opportunity to enter into a technology and investment agreement with India. On the other hand, India has also signed an agreement with Iran Railways to start a railway project from Chabahar to Zahedan. 

If the foreign policy is firmly asserted, the market becomes stronger and the country also establishes new allies. As a result of Chabahar port development, India has formed new allies.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Rex Tillerson's Visit Brings New Hope For India-US Relations

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in India in the last week of October. At the same time, India's new Trade and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu returned to India from USA. Indo-US relations have reached the new height and as a result, both countries will benefit.

Currently, China is doing some worrying movements from India's perspective. China's also advocating Pakistan. On this background, discussions between Tillerson & India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and between US Trade Minister Robert Lighthizer & Suresh Prabhu have given rise to new hope.

Rex Tillerson criticised China's expansionist policies, especially their interference on the sea route. He expressed concerns about the intensity of Chinese incursions in the Asia-Pacific Ocean area. On top of it; US, with the help of India, Japan and Australia has shown initiative to prepare a startegy to keep Chinese expansionism in control. The Tillersan made the statement that the whole country was completely disillusioned about Pakistan. Pakistan has given accommodation to Siraj Haqqani and two more terrorists and Pakistan should hand over these terrorists to the United States. 

In the last two and a half decades, the world's point of power has shifted from the Euro Atlantic region to the Asia-Pacific Ocean region. Chinese officials are fanatic about making their sole dominance over the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. In fact, they are trying to enter into the Arabian Sea from Pakistan's Gwadar port. In such an environment, it is fitting that the United States has taken steps to enhance India's defenses. 

In light of these events, meeting between Trade Minister of India, Suresh Prabhu and US Trade Minister Robert Lighthizer in the US, has also been a historic meeting. Since 2005, Delhi and Washington have been more active in promoting trade, and since the turnover of the trades has increased from $36 billion to $100 billion in present & both states desire to increase the turnover to $ 500 billion in the next five years. India wants US investment in various Indian industries. America's capital needs a profitable investment area. These are well-known signs that both countries can increase complementary trade.

Monday, 30 October 2017

China: Pakistan's Lone Defender

US External Affairs Minister Rex Tillerson recently visited India and Pakistan. China is in state of bewilderment after this visit because of Tillerson's long interaction with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the Indian capital. Afterwards, the two interacted with reporters. Tillerson said that US openly acknowledges the role of India as rightful. Going forward, Swaraj and Tillerson demanded together to destroy the 'heaven' of terrorism in Pakistan. It can be understood that Pakistan is getting distracted from such remarks; but China is more disturbed than ever before, it has made an appeal to whole world to help Pakistan. The spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry has stated that Pakistan is trying hard in eradicating terrorism. Actually, There is no reason why the Indo-US negotiations and the mention of Pakistan that came in it to become an important subject for China. 

India is constantly suffering from terrorism & it is no more hidden that terrorism is rooted in Pakistan. After it came in the light that Pakistan provided shelter to Osama bin Laden, Pakistani mask has fallen in front of the whole world. In the last decade, the US too, had to suffer in the Afghan region, situated next to Pakistan. That is why so many countries in the world have started to speak against Pakistan's national terrorist policy. It can be seen from the exponential decline in various subsidies and security assistance that Pakistan has been receiving for so long from the USA. There is a continuous discussion in the world regarding this matter on which Pakistan has no answer. That's why Pakistan's only defender, China always has been abashed regarding it's support for Pakistan. Now as US has begun asking India for it's assistance in blocking the Pakistani jihadist activities in Afghan territory, China has become upset about it. Because, if America-India cooperation began, China would have no use of Pakistan's friendship on its west or south border. If the jihad is fully controlled or eradicated in Pakistan, then there will be no way to beleaguer India. So China has to take the lead in advocating Pakistan. In fact, Pak now has become a lonely country in the world and it is becoming harder & harder for China to take its stand.

 Bangladesh, Sri Lanka & many other countries are also fed up with the exploitation of Pakistan's jihadist and intelligence agencies. Because,it has continued to take the minority Muslim people of any country and carry out the activities of jihadist violence. To end the Afghan war, US poured billions of dollars; but there too the Taliban or other jihadist groups have ransacked by assistance of Pakistan. As jihadi violence is spreading worldwide, its rooting will eventually come to Pakistan. Even Muslims in Arabian countries are persecuting Pakistan.
China’s  investment in Pakistan has reached $62 billion
 In the last decade, China has made huge investments in Pakistan in the light of its ambitious economic expansion, and yet China has not got any financial benefit from it. In such a situation, if Pakistan goes bankrupt and anarchic, the biggest damage will ensue on China. That's why China needs Pakistan not just to beleaguer India but also to avoid any economic crisis cropping up in Pakistan. That is why whenever the United States warns Pakistan, China gets more disturbed than Pakistan. Because, if US completely stopped its assistance to Pakistan, it wont take long for Pakistan to go bankrupt. Alternatively, Chinese investment may get wiped out in just one day. That is why appeals made by Chinese spokesman after Tillerson's visit to Delhi should be carefully reviewed. There are no threats or warnings but a mild language in that appeal. Is it not a sign of desperation which is coming from China's redundant appeal that we should not persecute Pakistan?

Friday, 20 October 2017

Xi Jinping and the Chinese Dream

Quinquennial election in China have started from October 18. Elections of the Communist Party are pre-planned. The election of two thousand member council (the Congress), the central committee of about 250 members, the Polit Bureau of 25 members and the standing committee of seven members will be concluded as decided by the party. According to the practice, the current president will be appointed for five more years.

 In the last five years, Jinping has assembled more and more power in his own hands and is surely gonna have full authority for the upcoming elections and the upcoming government. If all is already done, what is left for the discussion? However, the impact of Jinping's monarchy on China's internal situation and external policy-relations is an important issue. There are three major authoritative positions in China, President of the nation, Party Secretary and President of the Central Military Committee. Jinping is ruling on all three positions today. There is a tradition of two five-year terms for the presidency. However, there is no restriction of age or term for the other two positions and during the change of government, the party secretary is the chief-in-command. This gives the sense of how much Jinping has tightened his grip on power. Moreover, five out of seven members of the Standing Committee are likely to retire this time, so those who are going to be elected will be supporters of Jinping for sure.

About five years ago, when Jinping became the president, he started an anti-corruption campaign and after a few months removed his opponents from the council one by one and imprisoned some of them. This included political leaders, senior military officials and some social activists. The impact of these developments will be on China's internal politics. First of all, how will Jinping use such power? According to some researchers, this is a groundwork for the president's third term. China govt. has blocked 'Google', 'Amazon', 'Facebook' in their country.There are Chinese language substitutes for such social media applications in China. Therefore, it is easier for the government to control social media. The Chinese economy is second in the world after the US dollar, and its reserve is more than three billion dollars. China needs export and foreign markets to maintain the pace of economic progress, so it is clear why they are pushing 'One Belt One Road' (OBOR) project. Simultaneously, Jinping has started modernizing the military system.The army of 4 millions from long ago has now come to nearly 2.5 millions. Jinping wants to reduce this number to 1.5 million to make progress in modern weaponry, especially in air force aircrafts, navy submarines, aircraft carrier and cyber space. It is likely that there will be significant difference in the defense sector in the next five years.

China does not consider itself as a secondary power in the field of foreign relations. After Donald Trump became the president of the United States, China has started to see the flaws in US policy. Trump's imprudent, reckless remarks are helping China as America's policies are not as rugged and consistent as they were before, and China is ready to challenge them. In South China Sea, China has continued to increase its influence defying US and Japan, South Korea & Vietnam are puzzled on how to overcome Chinese domination due to US's vacillating policies on this matter. Chinese Navy had no special presence in the Indian Ocean until a few years ago. But now the Chinese ports covering India, military base in Djibouti situated on the east coast of Africa, the massive and ambitious project 'OBOR' is a sign of rising influence of China day by day. There is no doubt that this a matter of concern for India but there are some obstacles for China too. Chinese friends are limited - North Korea and Pakistan! Both of these nuclear-armed countries are completely dependent on China and China supports them for its own purposes.

Since Pakistan is infamous for being a country sponsoring terrorism, every event happening in that country is important for our safety. Under the 'OBOR' project, China has launched a massive scheme to finance Pakistan. Soon the results will be visible. Also, North Korea's atrocious policies and statements have created a very volatile situation. In short, if China wants to compete the US in the race of undisputed leading global power, it will have to maintain its relations with all the countries. Economic competence & influence is just one aspect.