Archive for ‘war’

10/03/2019

India and Pakistan: How the war was fought in TV studios

An Indian man watches live news channels broadcasting images of Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander pilot Abhinandan Varthaman returning to India from the India-Pakistan Wagah border in New Delhi on March 1, 2019.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionAn Indian man watches the news broadcasting images of the released Indian pilot

As tensions between India and Pakistan escalated following a deadly suicide attack last month, there was another battle being played out on the airwaves. Television stations in both countries were accused of sensationalism and partiality. But how far did they take it? The BBC’s Rajini Vaidyanathan in Delhi and Secunder Kermani in Islamabad take a look.

It was drama that was almost made for television.

The relationship between India and Pakistan – tense at the best of times – came to a head on 26 February when India announced it had launched airstrikes on militant camps in Pakistan’s Balakot region as “retaliation” for a suicide attack that had killed 40 troops in Indian-administered Kashmir almost two weeks earlier.

A day later, on 27 February, Pakistan shot down an Indian jet fighter and captured its pilot.

Abhinandan Varthaman was freed as a “peace gesture”, and Pakistan PM Imran Khan warned that neither country could afford a miscalculation, with a nuclear arsenal on each side.

Suddenly people were hooked, India’s TV journalists included.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he speaks during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) "Sankalp" rally in Patna in the Indian eastern state of Bihar on March 3, 2019.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionIndian PM Narendra Modi is accused of exploiting India-Pakistan hostilities for political gain

So were they more patriots than journalists?

Rajini Vaidyanathan: Indian television networks showed no restraint when it came to their breathless coverage of the story. Rolling news was at fever pitch.

The coverage often fell into jingoism and nationalism, with headlines such as “Pakistan teaches India a lesson”, “Dastardly Pakistan”, and “Stay Calm and Back India” prominently displayed on screens.

Some reporters and commentators called for India to use missiles and strike back. One reporter in south India hosted an entire segment dressed in combat fatigues, holding a toy gun.

And while I was reporting on the return of the Indian pilot at the international border between the two countries in the northern city of Amritsar, I saw a woman getting an Indian flag painted on her cheek. “I’m a journalist too,” she said, as she smiled at me in slight embarrassment.

Print journalist Salil Tripathi wrote a scathing critique of the way reporters in both India and Pakistan covered the events, arguing they had lost all sense of impartiality and perspective. “Not one of the fulminating television-news anchors exhibited the criticality demanded of their profession,” she said.

Media captionIndia and Pakistan’s ‘war-mongering’ media

Secunder Kermani: Shortly after shooting down at least one Indian plane last week, the Pakistani military held a press conference.

As it ended, the journalists there began chanting “Pakistan Zindabad” (Long Live Pakistan). It wasn’t the only example of “journalistic patriotism” during the recent crisis.

Two anchors from private channel 92 News donned military uniforms as they presented the news – though other Pakistani journalists criticised their decision.

But on the whole, while Indian TV presenters angrily demanded military action, journalists in Pakistan were more restrained, with many mocking what they called the “war mongering and hysteria” across the border.

In response to Indian media reports about farmers refusing to export tomatoes to Pakistan anymore for instance, one popular presenter tweeted about a “Tomatical strike” – a reference to Indian claims they carried out a “surgical strike” in 2016 during another period of conflict between the countries.

Media analyst Adnan Rehmat noted that while the Pakistani media did play a “peace monger as opposed to a warmonger” role, in doing so, it was following the lead of Pakistani officials who warned against the risks of escalation, which “served as a cue for the media.”

What were they reporting?

Rajini Vaidyanathan: As TV networks furiously broadcast bulletins from makeshift “war rooms” complete with virtual reality missiles, questions were raised not just about the reporters but what they were reporting.

Indian channels were quick to swallow the government version of events, rather than question or challenge it, said Shailaja Bajpai, media editor at The Print. “The media has stopped asking any kind of legitimate questions, by and large,” she said. “There’s no pretence of objectiveness.”

In recent years in fact, a handful of commentators have complained about the lack of critical questioning in the Indian media.

Indians celebrated on hearing news of the strikesImage copyrightAFP
Image captionIndians celebrated news of the strikes

“For some in the Indian press corps the very thought of challenging the ‘official version’ of events is the equivalent of being anti-national”, said Ms Bajpai. “We know there have been intelligence lapses but nobody is questioning that.”

Senior defence and science reporter Pallava Bagla agreed. “The first casualty in a war is always factual information. Sometimes nationalistic fervour can make facts fade away,” he said.

This critique isn’t unique to India, or even this period in time. During the 2003 Iraq war, western journalists embedded with their country’s militaries were also, on many occasions, simply reporting the official narrative.

Secunder Kermani: In Pakistan, both media and public reacted with scepticism to Indian claims about the damage caused by the airstrikes in Balakot, which India claimed killed a large number of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants in a training camp.

Hamid Mir, one of the most influential TV anchors in the country travelled to the area and proclaimed, “We haven’t seen any such (militant) infrastructure… we haven’t seen any bodies, any funerals.”

“Actually,” he paused, “We have found one body… this crow.” The camera panned down to a dead crow, while Mr Mir asked viewers if the crow “looks like a terrorist or not?”

There seems to be no evidence to substantiate Indian claims that a militant training camp was hit, but other journalists working for international outlets, including the BBC, found evidence of a madrassa, linked to JeM, near the site.

A cropped version of a satellite image shows a close-up of a madrasa near Balakot, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan, March 4, 2019. Picture taken March 4, 2019.Image copyrightPLANET LABS INC./HANDOUT VIA REUTERS
Image captionThe satellite image shows a close-up of a madrassa near Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Paktunkhwa

A photo of a signpost giving directions to the madrassa even surfaced on social media. It described the madrassa as being “under the supervision of Masood Azhar”. Mr Azhar is the founder of JeM.

The signpost’s existence was confirmed by a BBC reporter and Al Jazeera, though by the time Reuters visited it had apparently been removed. Despite this, the madrassa and its links received little to no coverage in the Pakistani press.

Media analyst Adnan Rehmat told the BBC that “there was no emphasis on investigating independently or thoroughly enough” the status of the madrassa.

In Pakistan, reporting on alleged links between the intelligence services and militant groups is often seen as a “red line”. Journalists fear for their physical safety, whilst editors know their newspapers or TV channels could face severe pressure if they publish anything that could be construed as “anti-state”.

Who did it better: Khan or Modi?

Rajini Vaidyanathan: With a general election due in a few months, PM Narendra Modi continued with his campaign schedule, mentioning the crisis in some of his stump speeches. But he never directly addressed the ongoing tensions through an address to the nation or a press conference.

This was not a surprise. Mr Modi rarely holds news conference or gives interviews to the media. When news of the suicide attack broke, Mr Modi was criticised for continuing with a photo shoot.

Imran KhanImage copyrightAFP
Image captionImran Khan was praised for his measured approach

The leader of the main opposition Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, dubbed him a “Prime Time Minister” claiming the PM had carried on filming for three hours. PM Modi has also been accused of managing his military response as a way to court votes.

At a campaign rally in his home state of Gujarat he seemed unflustered by his critics, quipping “they’re busy with strikes on Modi, and Modi is launching strikes on terror.”

Secunder Kermani: Imran Khan won praise even from many of his critics in Pakistan, for his measured approach to the conflict. In two appearances on state TV, and one in parliament, he appeared firm, but also called for dialogue with India.

His stance helped set the comparatively more measured tone for Pakistani media coverage.

Officials in Islamabad, buoyed by Mr Khan’s decision to release the captured Indian pilot, have portrayed themselves as the more responsible side, which made overtures for peace.

On Twitter, a hashtag calling for Mr Khan to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize was trending for a while. But his lack of specific references to JeM, mean internationally there is likely to be scepticism, at least initially, about his claims that Pakistan will no longer tolerate militant groups targeting India.

Source: The BBC

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06/03/2019

‘War’ and India PM Modi’s muscular strongman image

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he speaks during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) "Sankalp" rally in Patna in the Indian eastern state of Bihar on March 3, 2019.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionMr Modi is accused of exploiting India-Pakistan hostilities for political gain

A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth, American political journalist Michael Kinsley said.

Last week, a prominent leader of India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appeared to have done exactly that. BS Yeddyurappa said the armed aerial hostilities between India and Pakistan would help his party win some two dozen seats in the upcoming general election.

The remark by Mr Yeddyurappa, former chief minister of Karnataka, was remarkable in its candour. Not surprisingly, it was immediately seized upon by opposition parties. They said it was a brazen admission of the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party was mining the tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals ahead of general elections, which are barely a month away. Mr Modi’s party is looking at a second term in power.

Mr Yeddyurappa’s plain-spokenness appeared to have embarrassed even the BJP. Federal minister VK Singh issued a statement, saying the government’s decision to carry out air strikes in Pakistan last week was to “safeguard our nation and ensure safety of our citizens, not to win a few seats”. No political party can afford to concede that it was exploiting a near war for electoral gains.

A billboard displaying an image of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding a rifle is seen on a roadside in Ahmedabad on March 3, 2019.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionThe BJP has put up election posters of Mr Modi posing with guns

Even as tensions between India and Pakistan ratcheted up last week, Mr Modi went on with business as usual. Hours after the Indian attack in Pakistan’s Balakot region, he told a packed election meeting that the country was in safe hands and would “no longer be helpless in the face of terror”. Next morning, Pakistan retaliated and captured an Indian pilot who ejected from a downed fighter jet. Two days later, Pakistan returned the pilot to India.

Mr Modi then told a gathering of scientists that India’s aerial strikes were merely a “pilot project” and hinted there was more to come. Elsewhere, his party chief Amit Shah said India had killed more than 250 militants in the Balakot attack even as senior defence officials said they didn’t know how many had died. Gaudy BJP posters showing Mr Modi holding guns and flanked by soldiers, fighter jets and orange explosions have been put up in parts of the country. “Really uncomfortable with pictures of soldiers on election posters and podiums. This should be banned. Surely the uniform is sullied by vote gathering in its name,” tweeted Barkha Dutt, an Indian television journalist and author.

Mr Modi has appealed to the opposition to refrain from politicising the hostilities. The opposition parties are peeved because they believe Mr Modi has not kept his word. Last week, they issued a statement saying “national security must transcend narrow political considerations”.

‘Petty political gain’

But can the recent conflict fetch more votes for Mr Modi? In other words, can national security become a campaign plank?

Many believe Mr Modi is likely to make national security the pivot of his campaign. Before last month’s suicide attack – claimed by Pakistan-based militants – killed more than 40 Indian paramilitaries in Kashmir, Mr Modi was looking a little vulnerable. His party had lost three state elections on the trot to the Congress party. Looming farm and jobs crises were threatening to hurt the BJP’s prospects.

Now, many believe, Mr Modi’s chances look brighter as he positions himself as a “muscular” protector of the country’s borders. “This is one of the worst attempts to use war to win [an] election, and to use national security as petty political gain. But I don’t know whether it will succeed or not,” says Yogendra Yadav, a politician and psephologist.

Indian people feed sweets to a poster of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as they celebrate the Indian Air Force"s air strike across the Line of Control (LoC) near the international border with PakistanImage copyrightEPA
Image captionMany Indians have celebrated India’s strike in Pakistani territory

Evidence is mixed on whether national security helps ruling parties win elections in India. Ashutosh Varshney, a professor of political science at Brown University in the US, says previous national security disruptions in India were “distant from the national elections”.

The wars in 1962 (against China) and 1971 (against Pakistan) broke out after general elections. Elections were still two years away when India and Pakistan fought a war in 1965. The 2001 attack on the Indian parliament that brought the two countries to the brink of war happened two years after a general election. The Mumbai attacks in 2008 took place five months before the elections in 2009 – and the then ruling Congress party won without making national security a campaign plank.

Things may be different this time. Professor Varshney says the suicide attack in Kashmir on 14 February and last week’s hostilities are “more electorally significant than the earlier security episodes”.

For one, he says, it comes just weeks ahead of a general election in a highly polarised country. The vast expansion of the urban middle class means that national security has a larger constituency. And most importantly, according to Dr Varshney, “the nature of the regime in Delhi” is an important variable. “Hindu nationalists have always been tougher on national security than the Congress. And with rare exceptions, national security does not dominate the horizons of regional parties, governed as they are by caste and regional identities.”

Presentational grey line

Read more from Soutik Biswas

Presentational grey line

Bhanu Joshi, a political scientist also at Brown University, believes Mr Modi’s adoption of a muscular and robust foreign policy and his frequent international trips to meet foreign leaders may have touched a chord with a section of voters. “During my work in northern India, people would continuously invoke the improvement in India’s stature in the international arena. These perceptions get reinforced with an event like [the] Balakot strikes and form impressions which I think voters, particularly on a bipolar contest of India and Pakistan, care about,” says Mr Joshi.

Others like Milan Vaishnav, senior fellow and director of the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, echo a similar sentiment. He told me that although foreign policy has never been a “mass” issue in India’s domestic politics, “given the proximity of the conflict to the elections, the salience of Pakistan, and the ability of the Modi government to claim credit for striking back hard, I expect it will become an important part of the campaign”.

But Dr Vaishnav believes it will not displace the economy and farm distress as an issue, especially in village communities. “Where it will help the BJP most is among swing voters, especially in urban constituencies. If there were fence-sitters unsure of how to vote in 2019, this emotive issue might compel them to stick with the incumbent.”

How the opposition counters Mr Modi’s agenda-setting on national security will be interesting to watch. Even if the hostilities end up giving a slight bump to BJP prospects in the crucial bellwether states in the north, it could help take the party over the winning line. But then even a week is a long time in politics.

Source: The BBC

01/01/2019

China’s military priorities for 2019: boost training and prepare for war

  • PLA’s official newspaper outlines ‘work focus’ in New Year’s Day editorial, saying ‘at no time should we allow any slack in these areas’
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 January, 2019, 10:36pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 January, 2019, 11:40pm

Strengthening training and preparation for war are among the top priorities for China’s military in 2019, its official newspaper said on Tuesday.

“Drilling soldiers and war preparations are the fundamental jobs and work focus of our military, and at no time should we allow any slack in these areas,” the PLA Daily said in its New Year’s Day editorial.

“We should be well prepared for all directions of military struggle and comprehensively improve troops’ combat response in emergencies … to ensure we can meet the challenge and win when there is a situation.”

Other priorities outlined in the editorial included thorough planning and implementation to develop the military, fostering reform and innovation, and party building within the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

President Xi Jinping, who also heads the military, has been pushing the PLA to boost its combat readiness since he took the top job in late 2012. Observers said stepping up drills could be about flexing the PLA’s military muscle, but spelling it out at the start of the year also suggested it was a more important part of the plan for 2019.

“During the 20 years I spent in the PLA before I left in 2004, military training to boost combat readiness was always one of our top tasks,” said Zeng Zhiping, a retired lieutenant colonel and military analyst based in Nanchang, Jiangxi province.

“But this is something different. When training and preparation for war is highlighted at the beginning of a year it means this is a plan for the whole year, although we don’t know what the real intention behind the rhetoric is at this stage.”

Taiwan’s former deputy defence minister Lin Chong-Pin said it was about showing the PLA’s military strength.

“Prioritising military training and preparation for war is nothing more than a move to boost its diplomatic strength, which the PLA has been emphasising over the past four decades – though it has never gone into battle with any other country during that time,” Lin said.

“This comes at a time when the US has increased pressure on China with a series of military operations. But listen, I’m 100 per cent sure that the PLA will not be waging any war, no matter whether it’s in the South China Sea or the Taiwan Strait. It will only become more cautious when it starts rising more rapidly.”

Meanwhile, at least 38 senior colonels were promoted to the rank of major general in late December, according to local media and Chinese military watchers.

Lin said they were carefully selected by the president himself. “These new major generals were definitely hand-picked by Xi – he intends to build his own army, or the so-called Xi force,” Lin said.

Of those promoted to major general, nine were from the PLA’s ground forces, four were from the air force, three were from the rocket force and 22 from the People’s Armed Police Force.

The military has undergone major upheaval and reform during the past six years, with dozens of generals brought down amid an unprecedented anti-corruption campaign.

They include top generals Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, both former Central Military Commission vice-chairmen, Fang Fenghui, who was the PLA chief of staff, and Zhang Yang, former head of the PLA’s General Political Department.

31/12/2018

Surprise, war and miscalculations, China’s turbulent economy in 2018 had it all and more

  • The world’s second largest economy started the year with the strong intentions to improve the quality of growth but ended it hoping for a better 2019
  • The trade war with the United States, the government’s deleveraging campaign to reduce debt and an unhappy private sector all played their part
PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 December, 2018, 6:33pm
UPDATED : Monday, 31 December, 2018, 6:33pm

If there is a single Chinese word to describe China’s economy in 2018, there may be no better one than gang, which translates to dispute and leverage.

Beijing started the year with the strong intentions to improve the quality of growth, vowing to reduce deeply troubling risks in the financial system and to control rampant pollution.

But in reality it was disputes – either between China and the United States, or with the Chinese private economy and state-owned enterprises – that dominated the headlines.

The world’s second-biggest economy is expected to achieve the government’s growth target of “around 6.5 per cent” this year, but the deviation from its original policy intentions, a mixed result of misjudgment, excess pride and uncontrollable external factors, have turned out to be very costly.

Unprecedented trade war

The Chinese government’s strategy of making major purchases of US products managed to prevent the US China-bashing from damaging bilateral ties in the first year of Donald Trump’s term as US president which began in January 2017, but that strategy was no longer effective in 2018.

Beijing’s tough retaliatory stance in the face of the first US tariffs starting in July did nothing to deter more American taxes.

And by the end of September, Washington had imposed tariffs on half of the Chinese exports to the US and threatened to sanction the rest if an acceptable trade deal was not agreed by March 1.

“We were relatively slow to foresee [the US actions] … and underestimated [the Trump administration’s] determination. Also, policy support was not well prepared,” said Qu Fengjie, director of the external economy research institute under the National Development and Reform Commission.

The US’ liberal use of decade-old trade law to justify its protectionist trade moves, the surprise arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Sabrina Wanzhou Meng on the same day that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump met in Argentina, the hard-hitting speech by US Vice-President Mike Pence at the Hudson Institute in early October, and US charges in December that China had engaged in a prolonged campaign of cybertheft for commercial advantage, all helped fan speculation that the world’s two largest economies had entered into a prolonged “economic cold war”.

“It’s not simply economic friction, but a turning point of bilateral ties and a strategic adjustment of the US,” warned Li Wei, an associate professor of international relations at Renmin University of China.

Despite the 90-day truce agreed on December 1, there remains a huge question whether a bilateral trade deal can be reached at any point, creating great uncertainty that is increasingly haunting the national economy.

The data suggests a further slowing of Chinese growth in the fourth quarter from the 6.5 per cent posted in the third quarter, with some suggesting a drop below 6 per cent in the first half of next year.

China’s lowest first-quarter growth rate was 6.4 per cent in 2009, meaning a drop below 6 per cent would represent a record low since the National Bureau of Statistics started publishing quarterly figures in 1992.

The government’s deleveraging campaign to cut excess debt and risky borrowing – one of the three major tasks laid out at the start of the year by the top leadership – sought to tackle the risk from the huge, and often hidden, debt accumulated in a decade of economic stimulus since the 2008 global financial crisis.

Risk from the deleveraging campaign

The country’s debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio stood at 253 per cent of GDP at end of June, one of the highest rates in the world.

Beijing slashed its fiscal deficit ratio for the first time in six years, while a clampdown on shadow banking rippled to capital-thirsty private firms, local government controlled financing vehicles and public-partnership projects.

“Its impact on the economy has exceeded expectation upon a variety factors, most notably the trade war, a shadow banking curb and environmental protection,” Bank of Communications senior researcher Liu Xuezhi said.

“Particular, infrastructure investment has registered a free fall.”

The infrastructure investment growth, a major government tool in previous rounds of economic stabilisation, plunged to 7.3 per cent in the first half of this year, compared to 21.1 per cent a year earlier.

And despite the offsetting measures that started in July, the slowdown continued, with January-November growth of only 3.7 per cent.

Li Yang, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and a former policy adviser of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), said the deleveraging campaign was meant to avoid a financial crisis rather than exacerbate an economic slowdown.

“If it progresses too quickly – rather than having a controlled timing and pace in coordination with other policies – it could artificially create a Minsky moment or even Lehman Brothers moment,” he said.

Minsky and Lehman Brothers moments refer to the sudden collapse of a financial market or institutions, usually triggered by debt, currency or other issues.

The first is named after economist Hyman Minsky, while the second refers to the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers 10 years ago that rocked global stock markets and led to the biggest financial crash since the Great Depression.

A year ago, former PBOC governor Zhou Xiaochuan warned that China must stay alert for a Minsky moment.

After the first US tariffs were imposed on Chinese products in July, Beijing’s policymakers continued the deleveraging campaign even though they shifted the policy direction to economic stabilisation.

At the Central Economic Work Conference in December, the top leadership vowed to carry on “structural deleveraging”, paving the way for a bigger economic stimulus.

“It will become a long-term policy goal” rather than an immediate priority, Li said.

Structural deleveraging means structural changes among different sectors. For instance, the government can have higher leverage, but corporate leverage should be lowered, therefore the overall debt-to-GDP ratio will be kept roughly stable.

Private economy outcry

Private firms, the major victims of both financial deleveraging and the trade war, have been hit the hardest by the economic slowdown.

A total of 33 firms for the first time registered bond defaults by November 5, 28 of which were private firms, according to Everbright Securities, compared to only nine private firms in 2017.

In addition, dozens of private owners of listed firms risked losing their controlling stakes when the value of the shares they pledged to banks as collateral for loans fell with the rest of the stock market.

As well as the decade-old problems of lack of access to credit and high fundraising costs, the governments support of state-owned enterprises to become bigger and stronger and feelings of those who wanted to eliminate private ownership turned out to be the last straw.

The desperate voices of entrepreneurs, which increased ahead of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening up policy, forced top leaders to emphasis the government’s support for the private sector, including the introduction of new credit and tax policies to help small businesses.

Xi also rolled up his sleeves at a high-profile symposium at the start of November.

“Some argue that the private economy has completed its mission and will fade out. All these statements are completely wrong and do not conform to the party’s policies,” he told dozens of private sector representatives.

Lu Feng, a professor of economics at Peking University, said the arguments of those advocating elimination of private ownership were not well formulated.

“However, they do expose some inconsistency between our ideology and the reform and opening up reality,” he said in December.

Lu said further reforms were needed to lower institutional costs and address the obstacles that businesses faced every day.

“Market access for private firms have been talked about for years, but many old problems remain unsolved,” he said.

01/07/2014

Army chief Bikram Singh to begin rare China visit tomorrow – The Times of India

Chief of the Army Staff General Bikram Singh r...

Chief of the Army Staff General Bikram Singh received by Director for General Staff Duties Sanjeev Chopra (Photo credit: UN Women Asia & the Pacific)

Operationalisation of a new border defence agreement to deal with recurring troop incursions along the LAC besides improving defence ties, is expected to top the agenda of General Bikram Singh as he starts a rare visit by an Indian Army chief to China from tomorrow.

“Currently India and China maintain exchanges and cooperation at various levels. This is very significant for the two countries,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said here today.

“The visit you mentioned will be an important event in military to military exchanges between China and India,” he said commenting on Singh’s visit at a media briefing.

“We wish full success of this visit so that the mutual trust between the two armies can be enhanced,” he said.

To deal with tensions arising out of the incursions by both sides, India and China signed the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) last year.

Singh’s visit was aimed at implementing a number of steps incorporated by BDCA on the ground, officials said.

The Indian Army chief’s four-day visit is taking place after a gap of nine years.

via Army chief Bikram Singh to begin rare China visit tomorrow – The Times of India.

07/03/2014

China, ASEAN to have talks on South China Sea – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China is willing to work with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to formulate a code of conduct (COC) for the South China Sea, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said on Friday.

Flag of ASEAN

Flag of ASEAN (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Qin’s comment came ahead of the 10th joint working group meeting between China and ASEAN on the implementation of the declaration on the conduct (DOC) of parties in the South China Sea. The meeting will be held on March 18 in Singapore.

“China is ready to work with ASEAN for comprehensive and effective implementation of DOC and steadily push forward consultations on COC,” Qin said.

Practical maritime cooperation will also be touched upon during the meeting, Qin said.

Qin called for favorable conditions for the implementation of DOC and formulation of COC to maintain peace and stability on the South China Sea.

China and ASEAN officials met last September in Suzhou, in east China’s Jiangsu Province, for the 6th China-ASEAN senior officials’ meeting and the 9th joint working group meeting on the implementation of DOC.

via China, ASEAN to have talks on South China Sea – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

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20/10/2013

Six Wars China Is Sure to Fight In the Next 50 Years – StratRisks

We can only hope that the article below is a worst-case scenario that will not actually happen.

From: http://stratrisks.com/geostrat/15914

On July 8, 2013, the pro-PRC Chinese-language newspaper, Wenweipo, published an article titled “中國未來50年裡必打的六場戰爭 (Six Wars China Is Sure to Fight In the Next 50 Years)”.

The anticipated six wars are all irredentist in purpose — the reclaiming of what Chinese believe to be national territories lost since Imperial China was defeated by the Brits in the Opium War of 1840-42. That defeat, in the view of Chinese nationalists, began China’s “Hundred Years of Humiliation.” (See Maria Hsia Chang,Return of the Dragon: China’s Wounded Nationalism. Westview, 2001.

Below is the English translation of the article, from a Hong Kong blog, Midnight Express 2046. (The year 2046 is an allusion to what this blog believes will be the last year of Beijing’s “One County, Two Systems” formula for ruling Hong Kong, and “the last year of brilliance of Hong Kong.”)

Midnight Express 2046 (ME2046) believes this article “is quite a good portrait of modern Chinese imperialism.” What ME2046 omits are:

  • the original Chinese-language article identifies the source of the article as 中新網 (ChinaNews.com).
  • The Chinese-language title of the article includes the word bi (), which means “must” or “necessarily” or “surely.” That is why  the word “sure” in the English-language title of the article.

PLAN

THE SIX WARS [SURE] TO BE FOUGHT BY CHINA IN THE COMING 50 YEARS

China is not yet a unified great power. This is a humiliation to the Chinese people, a shame to the children of the Yellow Emperor. For the sake of national unification and dignity, China has to fight six wars in the coming fifty years. Some are regional wars; the others may be total wars. No matter what is the nature, each one of them is inevitable for Chinese unification.

THE 1ST WAR: UNIFICATION OF TAIWAN (YEAR 2020 TO 2025)

Though we are enjoying peace on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, we should not daydream a resolution of peaceful unification from Taiwan administration (no matter it is Chinese Nationalist Party or Democratic Progressive Party). Peaceful unification does not fit their interests while running for elections. Their stance is therefore to keep to status quo (which is favourable to the both parties, each of them can get more bargaining chips) For Taiwan, “independence” is just a mouth talk than a formal declaration, while “unification” is just an issue for negotiation than for real action. The current situation of Taiwan is the source of anxiety to China, since everyone can take the chance to bargain more from China.

China must work out a strategy to unify Taiwan within the next ten years, that is, by 2020.

THE 2ND WAR: “RECONQUEST” OF SPRATLY ISLANDS (YEAR 2025 TO 2030)

After unification of Taiwan, China will take a rest for two years. During the period of recovery, China will send the ultimatum to countries surrounding the Islands with the deadline of 2028. The countries having disputes on the sovereignty of Islands can negotiate with China on preserving their shares of investments in these Islands by giving up their territorial claims. If not, once China declares war on them, their investments and economic benefits will be taken over by China.

At this moment, the South East Asian countries are already shivering with Chinese military unification of Taiwan.

THE 3RD WAR: “RECONQUEST” OF SOUTHERN TIBET (YEAR 2035 TO 2040)

China and India share a long border, but the only sparking point of conflicts between the two countries is only the part of Southern Tibet. China has long been the imaginary enemy of India. The military objective of India is to surpass China. India aims to achieve this by self-development and importing advanced military technologies and weapons from the U.S, Russia and Europe, chasing closely to China in its economic and military development.

In India, the official and media attitude is more friendly towards the U.S, Russia and Europe, and is repellent or even hostile against China. This leads to unresolvable conflicts with China. On the other hand, India values itself highly with the aids from the U.S, Russia and Europe, thinking it can beat China in wars. This is also the reason of long lasting land disputes.

In my opinion, the best strategy for China is to incite the disintegration of India. By dividing into several countries, India will have no power to cope with China.

THE 4TH WAR: “RECONQUEST” OF DIAOYU ISLAND [SENKAKU] AND RYUKYU ISLANDS (YEAR 2040 TO 2045)

In the mid-21st century, China emerges as the real world power, accompanied with the decline of Japan and Russia, stagnant U.S. and India and the rise of Central Europe. That will be the best time for China to take back Diaoyu Island and Ryukyu Islands. The map below is the contrast between ancient and recent Diaoyu Island and Ryukyu Islands (map omitted).

From the historical records of Chinese, Ryukyu and other countries (including Japan), Ryukyu has long been the vassal states of China since ancient times, which means the islands are the lands of China.

THE 5TH WAR: UNIFICATION OF OUTER MONGOLIA (YEAR 2045 TO 2050)

Though there are advocates for reunification of Outer Mongolia at the moment, is this idea realistic? Those unrealistic guys in China are just fooling themselves and making a mistake in strategic thinking. This is just no good to the great work of unification of Outer Mongolia.

China should also pick the groups advocating the unification, aiding them to take over key posts in their government, and to proclaim Outer Mongolia as the core interests of China upon the settlement of Southern Tibet issue by 2040.

THE 6TH WAR: TAKING BACK OF LANDS LOST TO RUSSIA (YEAR 2055 TO 2060)

The current Sino-Russian relationship seems to be a good one, which is actually a result of no better choice facing the U.S. In reality, the two countries are meticulously monitoring the each other. Russia fears the rise of China threaten its power; while China never forgets the lands lost to Russia. When the chance comes, China will take back the lands lost.

When the Chinese army deprives the Russians’ ability to counter strike, they will come to realize that they can no longer match China in the battlefield.

19/08/2013

China summons Japanese ambassador over shrine visit

Reuters: “China summoned Japan’s ambassador on Thursday to lodge a strong complaint after two Japanese cabinet ministers publicly paid their respects at a controversial Tokyo shrine for war dead, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

Anti-Japan protesters carry posters depicting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as they march to the Japanese consulate in Hong Kong August 15, 2013. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

The ministers’ visit to the Yasukuni Shrine “seriously harms the feelings of the people in China and other Asian victim countries”, the ministry said in a statement.

Visits to the shrine by top Japanese politicians outrage China and South Korea because it honors 14 Japanese wartime leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal, along with war dead.

For Koreans, the shrine is a reminder of Japan’s brutal colonial rule from 1910-1945. China also suffered under Japanese occupation before and during World War Two.

Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin summoned Japanese ambassador Masato Kitera for an emergency meeting to lodge “stern representations and express strong opposition and severe condemnation”, the ministry said.

“The issue of the Yasukuni Shrine relates to whether or not Japan can correctly recognize and face up to the history of invasion of the Japanese militarists and whether or not they can respect the feelings of the people of China and the other victim nations in Asia,” the ministry said.”

via China summons Japanese ambassador over shrine visit | Reuters.

26/07/2013

India, China trying to develop mechanism to prevent face-off: AK Antony

Daulat Beg Oldi is in northernmost Ladakh.

Daulat Beg Oldi is in northernmost Ladakh. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Times of India: “NEW DELHI: India and China are trying to develop effective mechanisms to prevent the “embarrassing” face-offs between their troops along the “disputed” points of the Line of Actual Control, defence minister AK Antony said here on Friday.

 

Terming the 21-day stand-off between the two sides in Depsang valley in Daulat Beg Oldi area as an “unusual” incident, the defence minister said the two countries will meet soon in Beijing to discuss issues and try to find a solution for such “unpleasant incidents”.

“Till the final settlement of the border issue, we are trying to find out more effective mechanisms to prevent occasional incidents. There are many points in the LAC that are disputed and they are patrolled by both sides. So, sometimes it leads to some face-off,” he told reporters on the 14th anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas.”

via India, China trying to develop mechanism to prevent face-off: AK Antony – The Times of India.

19/07/2013

Strike Force Would Allow ‘War on Two Fronts’

WSJ: “The Indian government this week reportedly paved the way for the creation of a new military corps of 50,000 troops near its border with China. If correct, analysts say this is a sign that New Delhi, which has been largely focused on its frontier with Pakistan, is now shifting its attention to the long, disputed Sino-Indian boundary.

Government sources were quoted by the Press Trust of India as saying a new mountain strike corps costing nearly $11 billion over seven years, was approved by India’s cabinet committee on security Wednesday. The committee is headed by India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The force will be headquartered at Panagarh, in the eastern state of West Bengal, the news agency reported. Attempts to confirm these reports with India’s ministries of defense and external affairs were not successful.

The creation of a strike corps would give India thousands of war-ready soldiers, trained and equipped to respond rapidly to a military threat, stationed close to the border between India and China, known as the Line of Actual Control.

Analysts say it would take five to seven years for such a force to be formed fully, as large numbers of soldiers would need to be recruited and trained for combat at high altitudes and in mountainous terrains.

“The process will be incremental,” said Srikanth Kondapalli, a professor in Chinese studies at the New-Delhi based Jawaharlal Nehru University. “There won’t be large-scale training, because there is no immediate threat.”

For decades, relations between India and China have been characterized by mistrust. The tensions boiled over into a war between the two in 1962, which China won by gaining control over a large swathe of Indian territory known as Aksai China.

Beijing is still in control of the 38,000 square kilometers of land, but Indian maps show Aksai Chin as a part of Jammu and Kashmir, it’s northernmost state. China also claims 90,000 square kilometers of land in Arunachal Pradesh, a state in India’s northeast.

Neither nation has shown any inclination to return to armed conflict since, but India’s decision to create a strike corps – which analysts say has been in the offing for over two years – reflects New Delhi’s growing concern that Beijing is becoming increasingly assertive in its territorial claims.

via Strike Force Would Allow ‘War on Two Fronts’ – India Real Time – WSJ.

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