Follow by Email

Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

China’s MTCR Envy, Pakistan’s Oedipus complex and India’s Road to the NSG

China’s MTCR Envy, Pakistan’s Oedipus complex and India’s Road to the NSG

China’s recent dragon dance to block India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) by hook or crook has brought out interesting geo-political insights. China’s fig-leaf of rhetoric of “principled adherence to the international laws” is just that, a fig-leaf, because China has never adhered to the spirit of international law whether it is UNCLOS or the NSG or the NPT itself. China is currently in violation of the NSG rules by building additional nuclear reactors at Chashma, Pakistan without seeking formal NSG exemption or waiver. China has been the worst horizontal as well vertical proliferator of nuclear weapons having been the fountain-head of the CHIPNOKISS nuclear proliferation network. Chinese nuclear weapons designs showed up in Libya when that country turned in the nuclear program documents to IAEA.

China had doubled down its efforts to hyphenate India with its “all-weather friend” Pakistan regarding India’s entry into NSG in cahoots with Pakistan. China articulated three main pseudo-arguments against India’s entry into the NSG; mainly that India is not a signatory to the NPT of 1968 and allowing India to join will send a wrong message to the non-proliferation agenda, that India’s entry will disturb the strategic balance in Indian sub-continent and will further encourage Pakistan to take more desperate measures to seek strategic parity with India and lastly that the NSG should have criteria-based for enlargement of membership for non-NPT members instead of making country-specific decisions.

On one hand China stated that India is not ready to join NSG simultaneously giving hints that China would allow India’s entry to NSG provided its Asian concubine Pakistan is given the same privilege. China wants to use the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) “model” for joint and simultaneous entry of both India and Pakistan into the international diplomatic groups in order to continue hyphenation of India with Pakistan in the international arena. China maneuvered this strategy successfully in the SCO summit at Tashkent, Uzbekistan on June 23-24th 2016 because it has controlling voice in the SCO.

After the Seoul NSG meeting was over, other deeper geo-political reasons for China’s refusal to budge became obvious. China became a member of the NSG in May 2004 while it applied for the membership of the MTCR, the same year. China’s membership of the MTCR was denied because of international concerns about China’s proliferation of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Weeks before the October 2004 MTCR meeting, the US had imposed proliferation sanctions on eight Chinese companies. India became the 35th member of the MTCR on June 27th 2016 and China is now green with envy.
China openly argued that India has just negotiated for last eight years for entry to the NSG while China has waited for more than ten years for entry to the MTCR without success! Implication is that India has to wait several more years for the NSG membership like China has waited for the MTCR. China is afraid that India within the MTCR might block China’s membership efforts to be part of the MTCR which it has desperately sought. China is using India’s membership application for the NSG as a double-bargaining chip or a quid quo pro for China’s own admission to the MTCR and Pakistan’s membership of the NSG.

Chinese hostility towards India is superbly reflected in a recent editorial in the state-run Communist Party English language mouth piece the Global Times, lecturing “Indian nationalists” saying “they should learn how to behave themselves” and name-calling Indians as “self-centered and self-righteous people”!

Pakistan’s perfidy:

Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz and other government functionaries have openly gloated over the fact that Pakistan in cahoots with China was able to kill India’s membership to the NSG. PM Nawaz Sharif reportedly wrote to 17 countries exhorting them to block India’s entry into the NSG. At the same time, Pakistan has started breast-beating that it is being discriminated against India in the NSG membership.

What should the US do?

Unfortunately, prior to the June 2016 meeting of the NSG in Seoul, Korea most of the heavy -lifting was done by India and the Indian PM Narendra Modi. Though the US made supportive and positive statements, the performance of the team Obama-Kerry was no match to the standards set by the team Bush-Rice in 2008. If Obama-Kerry team had emulated the example set by Bush-Rice team, and had worked the phones personally, the outcome might have been different. If President Obama wants to leave his foreign policy legacy shining for the posterity, he will have to work very hard by the end of the year to have a special meeting of the NSG convened by December of 2016 and get India’s membership approved without hyphenating it to Pakistan’s last minute application for NSG membership sponsored by the rogue Chinese regime.

What should be India’s response?

The Government of India should disregard the motivated and partisan domestic criticism about the so-called foreign policy failure. On June 2nd 2016, India had already pipped China by acceding to the International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, aka, The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC). In the month of June 2016, India got entry into the HCOC, the SCO and the MTCR.  The MTCR membership will allow India to buy high-end missile technology and predator drones from the US while strengthening its joint ventures with Russia on missile development and research.
India should continue to work in tandem with the US, Mexico, Japan and Australia to get the NSG membership closed by the end of the 2016. A panel for informal consultations on India’s membership headed by Argentine ambassador Rafael Grossi has already been set up by the NSG. Both Mexico and Australia have argued for a special session which the US government has supported. It would require intense Indian diplomatic outreach to the dissenting countries including New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, Austria and Switzerland. India should let the US work on two countries namely, China and Turkey. Turkey is part of the Islamic brotherhood of Pakistan and would continue to place road-blocks for India on behest of Pakistan. Sooner the Government of India understands it, the better it would be for eventual success. The only country that can exert pressure on China and Turkey is the US.

Simultaneously, India should work towards picking up the low-hanging fruits of the memberships of the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies and the Australia Group on export control to prevent spread of chemical weapons. China is not a member of either of these export control groups.  India should formally seek the entry before China becomes members of these two export control arrangements. The Indian diplomatic juggernaut should not end there. India must convince the Obama regime, once for all, about genuinely supporting India’s membership of the APEC instead of providing mere lip-service. Both the US and India must also prepare for possible Chinese opposition to India’s membership in the APEC in 2016. President Obama has a golden opportunity to leave a foreign policy legacy by ending India’s diplomatic isolation by calling the Chinese bluff and organizing a special meeting of the NSG to approve India’s membership of the NSG.

- See more at:
अपि स्वर्णमयी लङ्का न मे लक्ष्मण रोचते जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Supporting India's Entry to The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

This article originally was published on June 23rd 2016 on the

The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a 48-nation exclusive export control regime dedicated to curbing nuclear arms proliferation while promoting safe international nuclear commerce for civil nuclear energy. After receiving a country-specific waiver for the India–United States Civil Nuclear Agreement from the NSG in 2008, most western nations advocated for India’s inclusion into the NSG, even Russia has expressed unconditional support for India. The sole outlier for the major powers remains China, though China could benefit from supporting India’s membership.
Instead, China has spearheaded a diplomatic campaign to thwart India’s entry into the NSG. Doubling down on efforts to link India with China’s all-weather friend Pakistan, China has grasped at rationales to prevent India’s NSG membership.

China has articulated three main pseudo-arguments against India’s entry into the NSG.  The first is that India is not a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT) of 1968 and allowing India to join does not comport with the greater non-proliferation agenda. Also, India’s entry might disturb the strategic balance in the Indian sub-continent, further encouraging Pakistan to take more desperate measures to seek strategic parity with India.  Lastly, China argues that the NSG should be based on specific criteria, rather than selectively choosing suitable nations for entry.

On all three counts, China is using clever sophistry to block India’s long overdue entry into the NSG. Whereas the roots of China’s obstructionist view stems from China’s strategic insecurity and fears of another rising Asian nation in the international geo-political theatre.

Let us discuss China’s pseudo-arguments point by point. France’s NSG membership, in 1975, despite not being a signatory of the NPT until 1992, thus creating precedence for a non-signatory of NPT becoming a member of the NSG. China’s second argument, again fallacious, attempting to adjoin Pakistan’s nuclear program with that of India. Pakistan’s aggressive assertions regarding the potential use of tactical nuclear weapons against India, is a vast departure from India’s peaceful and defensive nuclear posture. Particularly considering India’s need for nuclear energy to support a burgeoning economy and population, and to minimize the use of fossil fuels to support current climate change initiatives.

Currently, there are only four countries that are non-signatories to the NPT: India, Israel, Pakistan and South Sudan. North Korea, having withdrawn from NPT is obviously not a candidate for NSG.  Israel and South Sudan are not seeking NSG membership, leaving just India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan have starkly contrasting non-proliferation records. Pakistan and China’s nuclear cooperation lacks a great deal of transparency, and is obviously a mix of civilian AND military applications, which should be cause for alarm.

China, worried about growing India-U.S. strategic cooperation, sees Pakistan as a mechanism to contain India in a perpetual regional conflict. China provided Pakistan with 50 kg of free weapons grade HEU and allowed Pakistan to test its first nuclear weapon of Chinese design in 1990 at China’s own Lop Nor nuclear test range.

Essentially, China is a rising hegemon that can not countenance a rising India, systematically placing roadblocks to India’s entry into the diplomatic world, commensurate with India’s size and economic maturity. The time has come for the 5th generation leadership of communist to do the prudent thing by diplomatically supporting India’s entry into the NSG. China should remember that India had supported communist China’s entry into the UNSC as a permanent member in 1971 despite having bilateral border issues. Diplomatic hegemony by China cannot arrest a rising India’s entry to NSG, UNSC, APEC or any other international body. Continued attempts to limit India’s participation in the international community will actually cause China harm rather than goodwill.

China was a brotherly country to India until the occupation, and eventual annexation, of Tibet. The following attack on India in 1962 is still ingrained in the minds of the international community. India’s industrial base and growing economy is on pace to rival that of both the United States and China.  If China wants the 21st century to be remembered as an Asian century, China must learn to recognize and accept India’s vital role.

China as a nation must do some self-introspection regarding its hegemonic behavior and expansionist policies since 1949.  China has no allies worth naming on the twin issues of its imperialistic behavior in the East and South China Seas. Peoples’ Republic of China can gain immense goodwill from a peaceful and rising India if it stops obstructing India’s entry into the NSG on June 24th 2016 in Seoul, South Korea.

Dr. Adityanjee is the President of the Council for Strategic Affairs, New Delhi, India

Published Originally on June 23rd 2016 on Real Clear Defense at the following url:

अपि स्वर्णमयी लङ्का न मे लक्ष्मण रोचते जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

India, Taiwan and China Triangle: Opportunity for Strategic Balancing

History, despite Francis Fukuyama’s prediction of it having ended, was made on Saturday, January 16th 2016  in the  “Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu”,  aka Chinese Taipei, aka Republic of China or the de facto Republic of Taiwan. Tsai Ing-Wen of the Democratic Progressive Party was elected President with 56% of the vote defeating Kuomintang’s Eric Chu. Besides, electing its first ever female president from the Democratic Progressive Party, the citizens of this island nation thoroughly defeated the President Ma Ying-Jeau’s Kuomintang Party for excessively placatory and deferential postures towards Beijing. The people of the Republic of Taiwan democratically slapped the Communist China on the face despite its repeated catastrophic warnings. History was also made because per analysts, “A new Taiwanese identity won” in the elections. A new generation with pro-independence mind gave a resounding defeat to the status quoist KMT. The 59 years old Tsai, a former law Professor is an alumnus of the University of Cambridge. She made the history as being elected the first female leader of an Asian nation without having any prior family connections or following the path of dynastic succession.

It was the 6th direct election for the President of Taiwan since 1988 when Taiwan became a de facto and de jure democracy.  The Democratic Progressive Party, also secured a majority in the legislature, marking the first time that the DPP can govern alone with over a 50% majority. Results on the Central Election Commission’s website showed Ms. Tsai receiving 6.9 million votes, around 56% of the total, with her main rival, KMT candidate Eric Chu, getting 3.8 million, or 31%. A third-party candidate took the remainder. It is the first time the ruling KMT and its allies have lost control of the legislature since Chiang Kai-shek moved his Nationalist government across the Taiwan Strait after its defeat on the mainland by Communist forces in 1949.

Government of India should send a large official delegation for inauguration of the President-elect Tsai on May 20th 2016. India needs to exploit this democratic opportunity of government transition in Taiwan to engage it strategically besides deepening the economic and mercantile ties. Over the years, this analyst has made case for deeper economic, mercantile and strategic engagement with Taiwan in an effort to balance Communist China (1, 2). India’s civil society and the hyperactive NGOs need to make their presence felt in the Republic of Taiwan. There are several levels at which Indian civil society should engage the Taiwanese people. Since our ruling party the BJP has party to party relations with the Communist Party of China and has sent several party delegations to China, it should seriously consider sending an official party delegation for the inaugural of President Tsai. From a more pragmatic perspective, the BJP delegation should consist of former heavy weight cabinet ministers like Yashwant Sinha, Dr. Subramanian Swami and Dr. Arun Shourie. Building party to party relations with the Democratic Progressive Party will serve India’s long-term strategic interests.
The easy way forward would be for the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to send large delegations to drum up more business, investments and joint ventures with their Taiwanese counter-parts. Indian business houses must invest in the tourism and hospitality sector in Taiwan especially in the strategically important island of Penghu in the Taiwan Straits.  Newer business entities like Patanjali Yoga Trust should consider exporting their organic consumer items in Taiwan.

Besides the business leaders, Indian Think-tanks, civil society, cultural and religious organizations should step up to the plate to foster people to people relations. Dharmic organizations should foster the Buddhist-Hindu brotherhood using Dharma-Dhamma paradigm. Since the time of Asoka, the great, India has exercised cultural and Dharmic diplomacy. Perhaps, His Holiness Dalai Lama should grace the occasion of inaugural function of the President-elect Tsai with his divine presence and blessings. In the same analogy, one of the Shankaracharyas should be persuaded to travel to Taiwan for blessing the new woman president of that nation! Organizations like Dharmacharya Sabha, Art of Living and Bharat Swabhiman have a role to play in promoting Yoga, meditation and other instruments of India’s soft power in Taiwan. Even ex-servicemen organizations should be encouraged to send delegations to Taiwan for the presidential inaugural.

India needs to focus on developing religious tourist facilities in the islands of Matsu and Penghu especially shrines to the Mazu (Matsu) Guardian Goddess of the sea whom Taiwanese revere. Because Taiwan is an island and relies on the sea for sustenance, the “sea goddess” Mazu (Matsu) is very important for the seafaring Taiwanese people.  Taiwanese and Chinese Goddess Guanyin (Kuanyin) began her divine existence and origin in India as the male bodhisattva Avalokiteshwara, but is usually described in Chinese communities as the Buddhist goddess of mercy. Worshipped by people of Chinese origin – including many who don’t explicitly identify themselves as Buddhist – since the 12th century, her full name is translated as, ‘she who hears all of mankind’s cries’. Reciprocally, India should hard-sell the Buddhist circuit for the Taiwanese tourists to India. Owing to historical Indian cultural influences in the East Asia, we need to remember and reinforce our soft power diplomacy while engaging Taiwan.

We both nations are the legitimate trading partners in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Chinese Taipei has been a member of the WTO since 1 January 2002. Taiwan is also a member of the Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) where India’s application is pending for membership for the last twenty years (3). Taiwan is an aspiring candidate country for membership of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Officially, since we have trade and commerce going on with the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu (Chinese Taipei), the official Indian delegation should be headed by the Commerce Minister or by the Finance Minister. Communist China has intense trade and investment relations with Taiwan, so it can’t possibly object if India adopts the same course (2). India must deepen economic engagement with Taiwan on a war footing. Taiwanese investments should be sought aggressively and tapped voraciously for the #Make-In-India Campaign. Cash-rich Taiwan is sitting on foreign exchange reserves of $425 billion as of December 31st 2015. Instead of letting this money be invested across the straits in the Communist China, India should raise the economic costs for China by providing an attractive alternative destination for the Taiwanese surplus capital for investment in India’s infrastructure.

The only country that currently exports arms to the Republic of Taiwan is the US. Taiwan is desperately trying to modernize its armed forces in view of continued military threat from the Communist China. India is trying to enter the lucrative arms export market. India has 3-4 defense items/armament systems ready in its inventory that can be exported to Taiwan in the near future. These armaments include the Tejas fighter aircrafts, Dhruva attacks helicopters, Arjun battle tanks and Brahmos hypersonic missiles. Taiwan would be delighted to buy Indian hardware for its defense. India should also take future orders from Taiwan for supply of frigates and submarines. Since Communist China is exporting and supplying arms to Pakistan and building its capacity continuously, we should do the same with Taiwan.

India’s strategic establishment must adopt diplomatic and strategic pragmatism and must learn to strike when the iron is hot! Our soft power and hard power must be complimentary to each other for sake of furthering our strategic interests.


  1. Tibet Today, Taiwan Tomorrow? By Dr. Adityanjee
  1. India Taiwan Strategic Economic Partnership
    by Dr. A. Adityanjee
  1. India, APEC and the US by Dr. Adityanjee

- See more at:

अपि स्वर्णमयी लङ्का न मे लक्ष्मण रोचते जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी


Monday, January 11, 2016

Talk, Don't Trust

While intensive post-mortem reports are being written by self-proclaimed  strategic experts about the Government of India's supposed (mis-) handling of the terrorist attack on the Pathankot airbase, not much has been written on the antecedents of the terror attack and the suggested future course of action. Instead of continuing to self-flagellate and indulge in yet more chest beatings, the focus should be on the way forward for the nation to deal with the continuing terror threats that challenge national security.

Looking at the recent history, it was expected that the state-supported actors of the Pakistani security establishment [read ISI/GHQ/Army/Jihadi complex] will strike soon after PM Modi's sudden and unplanned stop-over in Lahore for birthday and wedding celebrations. It was not anticipated that the terrorists will strike so soon. By that brilliantly staged photo-op meant for the consumption of international community, India's reasonable attempts to engage civilian Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif were appreciated all over the world. There was a subtle signal to the Pakistani security  establishment [Read General Rahil Sharif ] that India will continue to engage the civilian leaders and civil society of Pakistan and not emulate the despicable behavior of the US Government in wining and dining the uninvited military leader as it did in November of 2015.  The brief Lahore stop-over did achieve its ostensible goal reassuring everyone that India is not a war-mongering nation and diplomacy will be given full chance while dealing with Pakistan. General Rahil Sharif by sending  Jaish-e-Muhammed terrorists to Pathankot airbase reinforced the notion that Army with the country called Pakistan will not allow peace with India at any cost. The raison d' etre for this Army that controls the country called Pakistan, is anti-India scare-mongering.  Any putative move towards peace with India generates survival instinct and behavior patterns so as to disrupt the gains of the peace overtures.

All that is history and no amount of intellectual contortions and gymnastics will change the sequence of events in resolving the terror attack. What matters most is India's posture in dealing with the terror threat and response to complex geo-political situation that the Government of the day is handling very adroitly. US has not decided to change its policy regarding Pakistan despite it having achieved the honor of being terror central of the world. US  will continue to coddle Pakistan. Obama administration will continue to label terrorism as violent extremism as if it will magically disappear by changing the name. Pakistani backers like China will continue to hold UN to ransom by not allowing universal acceptance of a definition of the terrorism. The OIC group led by Saudi Arabia will continue to support Sunni/Salafi/Wahabi terror groups world-wide while claiming to be supporting anti-terror operations. India must reconcile herself that it will remain alone in its fight against the Jihadi terror and will have to continue to fight her own battles single-handedly. - 

For any complex geo-political problem, the solution has to be multi-dimensional and well-thought out. Instead of reflexively calling off the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue or instantaneously mounting a maximal military response the Government of India is advised to initiate a basket of well-calibrated responses in next few weeks to send a message across to Pakistan and to the international community in general that we mean business while we defend the security and sovereignty of India. Our responses need not be sequential and can be done in parallel as they may have more effectiveness if deployed concurrently. The hotline between the two PMs must continue to remain active as both will need to talk. 

A number of diplomatic responses, albeit symbolic, must be taken to express our displeasure at the terror attacks. First and foremost should be the pressure on Pakistani government to take prompt and meaningful punitive action against the state-supported entities and their Military backers. The foreign secretary level talks must be postponed till such action is taken. Meanwhile we can still talk to Pakistan but on NSA level to discuss the Pakistani efforts to control terror groups and attempts to prevent recurrence of similar attacks in future. Pakistan must be asked to submit a detailed action taken report during the NSA level talks. NSA  level terror talks can assure Pakistan that will jointly support them in taking punitive actions against terror groups hiding in their territory.

Meanwhile, a dimarche' must be sent to Pakistani High Commissioner to visit the MEA and hear our opinion about the this terror strike. We must consider declaring the Pakistani Army and Defense Attache' posted in New Delhi as a persona non-grata [PNG] as the evidence suggests clear cut involvement of Pakistani military in orchestrating this terror attack. India should recall her High Commissioner from Rawalpindi for further consultations while the Pakistani counter-part goes back leaving the diplomatic missions to be managed by the DCMs. Perhaps, one of the Pakistani consulates outside New Delhi must be closed as a retaliatory measure. These symbolic diplomatic responses from the tool-kit will send the message to Pakistani civilian leadership that while India continues to engage with them, they have an onus to take concrete action to satisfy Indian concerns. The MEA  and the PMO must convey to their counterparts in Pakistan that participation of the PM in the SAARC meeting later this year will be contingent upon satisfactory security environment in the Indian subcontinent in general and in Pakistan in particular.

On an international front, India must engage the UN  and the international community in taking common stance against terrorism. Freezing financial assets of terror backers and identifying Pakistani military handlers for international travel ban are reasonable steps that will help in generating an international coalition against terrorism. Granted that China will sabotage any such efforts and the US  will provide only lip-service. Most of the heavy lifting will have to be done by India by reaching out to all the civilized countries of the world in the next few months.

We must also engage regional countries for a united front against state-supported terrorism emanating from Pakistan. A formal forum for sub-regional mechanism for intelligence sharing and counter-terrorism activities should include countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan [A.I.B.B]. A sub-regional summit against terror must be organized within next three months by the Government of India seeking harmonization and commonality of preventive approaches and response. This mechanism should subscribe to the mantra that terror attack on one country would be considered as terror  attack on all the four requiring joint response. At this stage all these 4 countries are facing with terror challenges of their own, notably with origins from Pakistan. We can continue to engage West and US diplomatically in an effort to reshape attitudes and opinions but action must start from the region. Later on, if needed China, Myanmar and Srilanka can be invited as observers for this anti-terror front.
Since India's economic leverage with Pakistan is minimal, we cannot rely on economic sanctions at this time. Yet symbolic economic sanctions will include suspension by India of the MFN [most favored nation]  status granted to Pakistan in mid-nineties following our accession to WTO. Any upgrade back to the MFN status should be subject to bilateral, reciprocation by Pakistan. India should fast-track the proposed Iran-India undersea gas pipeline instead of focusing on the TAPI pipeline as it will give economic dividends to Pakistan. India must not show any eagerness to sell electricity to Pakistan while we ourselves are a power-deficient nation. India must caution China about advisability of going ahead with CPEC construction activities in the POK which is Indian sovereign territory. In other words, without Indian participation and approval,  any construction in the CPEC segment in POK and northern territories will be an act of war against India. As part of our economic response, we must fast-track the development of the Chabahaar port in Iran giving us connectivity to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Covert action has to be re-deployed along with other appropriate measures to effective send a message to Pakistan. Pakistan has a weak soft under-belly in Baluchistan. Sectarian differences and divide in that country can also serve as a fertile soil for activities against Pakistani security establishment. India, unfortunately, gave up her strategic assets in Pakistan under the infamous Gujral doctrine. Time has come for India to re-establish her strategic assets in Pakistan and elsewhere including the West. India must encourage Afghanistan Government to promptly retaliate militarily against Pakistan for terror strikes against Indian consulates in Jalalabad and Mazar-e-Sharief. Initiating covert actions will act as a warranty against future terror attacks short of full-fledged military response. India must not hesitate to transfer offensive weapon capabilities to  Afghanistan for punitive strikes.

On a more muscular level, India should consider taking preparatory steps for a full-fledged military response if need be. The fact that Pakistan has tactical nuclear weapons should not deter us from taking an appropriate military response. We should not succumb to Pakistani nuclear blackmail and bluff. We should no longer agree to treated as punching bags. We should acquire killer drones from Israel while the DRDO is assigned money for fast-tracking a domestic predator drone development and deployment program. Having that precision strike capability, we should be able to target Maulana Hafiz Sayeed and Maulana Masood Azhar for surgical operations. We do have hypersonic, land-based Brahmos missiles that can be used for precision strikes against the headquarters of Jaish-e-Muhaamed, LET, Al Rashid Trust and similar terror organizations. Since the terror attacks in Gurdaspur and Pathankot breached the international borders we should consider surgical strikes against terror training camps in both POK and elsewhere in Pakistan.

A broad array of diplomatic and other options goes in support of policy of engagement with Pakistani civilian leadership while simultaneously containing and degrading the terror infra-structure in Pakistan with the help of sub-regional allies. It is important to talk to the civilian leadership but we don't have to trust the Pakistani Army/GHQ/ISI/Jihadi Terror Complex. Dialogue does not mean defeat. Engagement does not exclude containment. Both can go hand in hand. As Zalmay Khalilzad, Afghan-American diplomat  articulates it, we have to deploy CONGAGEMENT strategies against Pakistan.

अपि स्वर्णमयी लङ्का न मे लक्ष्मण रोचते जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी

Thursday, December 24, 2015

WTO From Doha to Nairobi: India leads the Developing World

The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Tenth Ministerial Conference was recently held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 15 to 19 December 2015, the first such meeting hosted by an African nation. The conference was chaired by Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Amina Mohamed and had to be extended by an additional day owing to lack of consensus and sharp divisions. There were tough negotiations and bargaining till two hours before the final package was approved despite a majority of 162 participating countries having serious doubts about the final five page long “Nairobi Ministerial Declaration” (NMD) or the so-called “Nairobi package”.  India’s trade Minister Nirmala Sitharaman covered herself with glory when she firmly pointed out the manner in which the final declaration ignored India’s long-held viewpoints.

The Nairobi Package contains a series of six Ministerial Decisions on agriculture, cotton and issues related to least-developed countries. These include a commitment to abolish export subsidies for farm exports, which the Director-General Roberto Azevêdo hailed as the “most significant outcome on agriculture” in the WTO’s 20-year history. The achievements of the “Nairobi package” are very controversial depending upon which side of the international divide one belongs to. On one hand, the western block gloats over the final nail put in the coffin of the Doha Developmental Agenda (DDA), India expressed deep disappointment over the Nairobi Declaration saying its concerns were not addressed adequately. The Nairobi package by its failure to reaffirm the DDA again yielded to the US line. Prior to the meeting, the US had called for the WTO to remove the “stricture of the Doha round”.  The developing countries were left feeling that once again the agenda of the developed countries prevailed despite being in minority at the expense of the developing countries.

Because the WTO functions by an opaque consensus modality, the US achieved what it wanted by highlighting the divisions between the US/EU/Japan on one hand and China, India, the African Union and the LDCs on the other side. Failure to have consensus on reaffirmation of the DDA led to essentially jettisoning the DDA and paving the way for newer agenda issues like e-commerce, digital economy and investments besides a preference for narrowly focused limited sectoral arrangements. Mike Froman, the US trade representative crowed: “While the opinions remain divided among the WTO membership, it is clear that the road to a new era for the WTO began in Nairobi”. US having comparative advantage in those new areas would be able to dictate terms in future ministerial meetings as the new issues are allowed for the first time in last 14 years.

The other agricultural decisions taken during the NMD cover public stockholding for food security purposes, a special safeguard mechanism for developing countries, and measures related to cotton. Decisions were also made regarding preferential treatment for the least developed countries (LDCs) in the area of services and the criteria for determining whether exports from the LDCs may benefit from trade preferences. The only non-controversial achievement of the 10th Ministerial meeting was the inclusion of Afghanistan in the WTO whose application for membership was languishing for the last 11 years!

There is a stringent domestic criticism of the Government of India by the Congress party and specifically by Anand Sharma, the former UPA Minister for Commerce for failure of the final declaration to reaffirm the DDA. These nay-sayers who suggest that India should have walked away and take the blame for the failure do not understand why China or any of the LDCs or African countries did not block the final “Nairobi Package”. None of these players including China had the anatomical fortitude to pull the plug from the final ministerial declaration! African countries had already started to blame India as they did not want the first WTO conference held in an African country to be deemed as failure! On the social media, West inspired anti-India campaigns were started to badmouth India as an enemy of free trade. If India had blocked the “Nairobi Package” the international consequences would have been disastrous for India. India is already the “bad boy” or the “whipping boy” of the international trade negotiations. India is still negotiating for entry into a number of regional and multi-lateral trade blocks and would have been “black-balled”. Already the US and China have delayed India’s entry into the APEC.

To Government of India’s credit, India won four years of reprieve from legal challenges if the subsidy limit for procurement for public distribution were breached. The Government was able to get the “peace clause” inserted in place till a permanent solution in the form of a reworked formula is arrived at.

Congress party must realize that there are multitude of legacy issues regarding the WTO functioning for which the former Congress party government is responsible. At the time of the acceptance of the Marrakesh Declaration of 15 April 1994 which called for transformation of the GATT (General Agreement on Trade and Tariff) into the WTO, former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao led Congress party government was in power. It acquiesced to a very opaque system of international rules under the WTO sacrificing India’s trade and mercantile interests forever. In the name of consensus, The Director-General of the WTO has considerable discretion and say in arriving at the final negotiated text of the ministerial declaration. There are a lot of back-room negotiations that sometimes can stymie the majority of the participating countries.

At this juncture, India must focus on further harm reduction and damage limitation to our own national trade interests. India must stop mouthing empty “third world” rhetoric for the LDCs and safeguard her own interests. India must give up the sermonizing, moralist international trade policy and adopt real-politick approach that safeguards  India’s narrow national trade and mercantile interests irrespective of whatever happens to the trade interests of the LDCs and Africa. When push comes to shove, these countries habitually either abandon India or fail to show spine in presence of US/EU/Japan pressure. The only business of the Government of India is to promote Indian interests alone and not African or the least developed countries’ interests.

The only way for India to exercise influence in international trade negotiations is from a position of power and strength as an insider. India should throw her hat in the ring and should announce her candidature for the position of the next Director General of the WTO when the post becomes vacant in September 2017. On September 1, 2013, the WTO selected and welcomed a new Director-General, Roberto Azevêdo, of Brazil ostensibly as a token of solidarity of the developing countries.  India whole-heartedly, threw her lot behind Brazil. Sadly speaking, Roberto Azevêdo, of Brazil did not whole-heartedly work for the interests of the LDCs or  for the “third world” and let the US hijack the final “Nairobi declaration”  despite being in minority along with the EU and Japan.  This should be a lesson learnt for India. The election or selection process will become live nine months before the vacancy. India should work towards building a plurality and possibly a majority in her favor by openly contesting the election of next Director General of the WTO.

India must also work towards renegotiating the rules of WTO functioning from consensus approach to a more democratic decision making by 2/3rd majority vote. Having position of the Director General will help India facilitate changes in the WTO as an insider rather than as a perpetual outsider.

- See more at:

अपि स्वर्णमयी लङ्का न मे लक्ष्मण रोचते जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी


From Kyoto to Kashi: Is Sky Really the Limit for India-Japan Cooperation

It is a truth universally acknowledged that India and Japan are, indeed, civilizational brothers. India gave Japan the Zen-Buddhism through China. Even prior to that Shinto religion had coopted a number of important deities from Sanatana Dharma. River goddess Benten or Benzaiten is mother Saraswati reincarnated. The worship of Ganesha or Vinayaka or Kangiten, as he is popularly called in Japan, is a distinguishing feature of Japanese Buddhism. There are hundreds of temples and shrines dedicated to the goddess Benten in Tokyo.  A 12th-century temple of Ganesha in Asakusa suburb of Tokyo has been declared a national treasure of Japan.

In more recent times, a monument to a learned and wise Indian was erected in the Yasukuni shrine in Japan.  Most of the Indians have forgotten this wise man but the Japanese still revere him profusely. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, during a visit to India in 2007 paid tribute to him in a speech to the Indian Parliament in New Delhi and then traveled to Kolkata to meet the learned man’s then 81-year-old son Prasanta. Radhabinod Pal, an Indian judge, was the only one out of 11 Allied justices who handed down a not guilty verdict for Japan’s top wartime leaders at the post-World War II International Military Tribunal for the Far East, or the so-called Tokyo trials.  Justice Pal had courageously described the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States as the worst atrocities of the World War II, comparable with Nazi crimes.

No wonder, last week during his second visit to India as the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe was perfectly at home participating in Ganga Aarti with Narendra Modi on the Dashashwamedha ghat of Varanasi (Kashi). How beautifully India’s soft power and cultural diplomacy was at display for the entire world! For the hard-core pragmatist, going back to ancient past does not serve current strategic interests. This has been a monumental failure and a Himalayan blunder of Indian diplomacy and foreign policy establishment in the post-1947 era.

Recently independent India with a Fabian socialist Prime Minister and penchant for so-called non-alignment forgot the cultural roots and regional influences and Japan after having been subjugated in World War II and having been occupied by the US had no independent foreign policy voice for decades. Both nations are now emerging from the dark clouds of the colonial past and rediscovering the unspoken bond they share! Election of nationalist politicians as Prime Ministers in both countries has helped cement the relationship. Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Junichiro Koizumi shared a very cordial and close relationship. And now both Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe do not have to carry that unwanted burden imposed on their nations by history! A new economic and strategic relationship has emerged between the two nations after the just concluded three-day visit of Shinzo Abe.

Not only Japan has decided to participate in the “Make in India” campaign in a major way, it has become one of the most sought after investor in India’s infra-structure growth with soft loans under multiple mechanisms. India will, no longer, be bullied by China in dis-inviting Japan for the annual Malabar Naval exercises. Japan will keep its anti-nuclear rhetoric at bay and finally agreed to sign a civil nuclear energy deal with India. Both countries are harmonizing their approach to the issues of transnational terrorism, nuclear proliferation, climate change, freedom of navigation and overflights, access to sea-lanes for trade and commerce in international waters, peaceful resolution of disputes without use or threat of force, participation in regional economic and security forums and enlargement of the UNSC.

Interestingly, India has started to export Maruti-Suzuki cars back to Japan. There is a lot more scope for Japanese tourists to visit India for religious pilgrimage if India’s tourism infrastructure can be upgraded. India has already announced visa-on arrival facility for Japanese citizens from March 1st 2016.

Looking at the seven page long joint statement that was released, the relationship has indeed matured. The relationship has become indeed multi-dimensional with strategic, economic, technological, educational, academic, healthcare cooperation. In near term India will need all the help and unequivocal  support it can from Japan for India’s entry into the four international export control regimes, mainly Nuclear Suppliers Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia group with the aim of strengthening the international non-proliferation efforts. India also needs Japan’s help becoming a member of the APEC. Both Indian and Japan need each other’s help for expansion of the UN Security Council. Japan is a member of the newly proposed Trans-pacific partnership. Perhaps, it is too early for India to consider TPP membership but when the time comes, Japan’s assistance would be needed.

India will continue to need massive infusion of Japanese investment into infra-structure. It is unlikely that China or US will be able to provide for investment. Japan is willing to pitch in with soft yen loans for such projects.  Both countries should aim for co-production of military hardware in India with Japan for domestic needs and also for third country export markets. India and Japan can be the joint providers of security and strategic stability in the Indo-Pacific region. Both nations have already cooperated in the field of disaster relief during the Asian Tsunami. Since both nations have agreed to sign a civil nuclear energy deal, both could jointly supply nuclear reactors to other Asian countries under IAEA safe-guards.

Japan has demographic challenges and its population is rapidly aging. Japan needs more workers to sustain its industrial economy. Shinzo Abe is incentivizing entry of Japanese women and retired persons back into the workforce. However, Japan’s need for more workers can be easily fulfilled by India by government to government import of labor and services. Aging Japanese population needs more healthcare providers which Japan is getting from Indonesia and Philippines. Indian healthcare professionals can easily fulfill that role despite language issues. Japanese universities do not have Indian students owing to language barrier. Compared to the US, UK, or Australia, university education may be cheaper in Japan for Indian students. A three month intensive Japanese language course for students and professionals may eliminate the linguistic barrier!

It is just the dawn of a new beginning. History has not been written yet. India and Japan together can change the future history of the Asia, nay, of entire world. It a win-win-win proposition!

- See more at:

अपि स्वर्णमयी लङ्का न मे लक्ष्मण रोचते जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी