India-China border tension and nuclear posturing May 9, 2013Posted by aungsi in : Gordon, Sandy, India, Pakistan , Comment
The standoff between China and India in Ladakh has been resolved, at least for now. After China set up five tents for 40 personnel 19 km inside what India regards as the line of control, India set up similar tents facing them. Both lots of tents are now to be removed, but it is still unclear whether India is to remove any of the structures at Fukche and Chumar, as demanded by the Chinese.
The Chinese withdrawal only occurred after India had hardened its position on the impending visit of Indian foreign Minister Salman Kurshid to Beijing on 9 May and the reciprocal visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to New Delhi on 20 May. The Indian government was forced to harden its position by the strong public reaction to what was perceived to be its week-kneed response to the Chinese ‘incursions’.
A disturbing feature of the incident was the way it had been politicised on both sides, thus risking the protagonists being ‘locked in’ to their respective positions.
India, the ‘New Asia’ and the American presidential elections September 26, 2012Posted by nishankmotwani in : By contributor, India, Stoddart, Brian , 1 comment so far
Any American presidential election reverberates around global policy corners but, for India, the 2012 contest carries unusual significance. With its economy slowing, national government under severe pressure, and competition with China over ‘new Asian power’ status sharpening, India has a strong stake in the November result. Superficially, India could be contented. A late 2011 Congressional Research Service report shows two-way trade totalling approximately $US50 billion.
The US is India’s largest direct investment partner at over $16 billion, and one of its largest trading partners. As India’s economic growth flourished, American interest and investment soared. The highpoint was America’s 2008-9 agreement on nuclear development and trade – as for Australia a few years later, that was the cost of doing business with India.
Rebalancing Asia: Panetta visits India July 24, 2012Posted by nishankmotwani in : By contributor, India, Merrington, Louise , Comment
US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s visit to India in June highlighted both India’s increasing importance as a regional balance in the US ‘pivot’ to the Asia Pacific and the extent to which the US–Pakistan relationship has deteriorated in recent months.
Although the US–India relationship reached a high note with the 2008 civilian nuclear deal, several sticking points remain. First, India’s nuclear liability law, designed to guard against a repeat of the Bhopal disaster, made the manufacturers of nuclear reactors liable for accidents caused by faulty equipment. (more…)DeSilva-Ranasinghe, Serge, Future Directions International, India , Comment
This post first appeared on Future Directions International on 2 May 2012.
As the latest addition to India’s expanding arsenal, the launch of the Agni-5 long-range missile on 19 April is another step forward in the diversification of India’s nuclear strike capabilities. While India celebrates its technological achievement, the development of a nuclear-capable intermediate-range ballistic missile, with an estimated range of 5,000 kilometres or 3,100 miles, is likely to intensify strategic competition between Pakistan and China, which have viewed these developments with reservation.
Although senior Indian officials publicly say that the Agni-5 is for deterrence purposes only, India has a clear rationale behind the missile’s development, which is to: demonstrate its expanding strategic strike capabilities, impress the world’s major powers that possess intercontinental missiles and deliver a strong message to Pakistan and China. (more…)India, Sullivan, Kate , Comment
India outed its nuclear bomb and yet remained the land of Gandhi. The same message of peace and power should follow the launch of its first ICBM.
With the successful Agni V test on Thursday, India appears to be aiming for status as much as security. Yet without credible reassurances, the by-product of this quest for prestige could be an increasingly insecure region.
As so often in the past, India faces the challenge of reconciling its quest for military and nuclear status with the need to persuade the international community of its peaceful intentions. That India has the experience, skill and track record to do so is without doubt.
For decades, India’s nuclear policy and discourse have been built on a curious mix of hard power and principle. The 1974 test was dubbed a “Peaceful Nuclear Explosion,” and successive governments opted to refrain from overtly developing a nuclear weapon capability. Following the nuclear tests of 1998, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee stressed that the tests and India’s future nuclear policy would “continue to reflect a commitment to the sensibilities and obligations of an ancient civilization, a sense of responsibility and restraint.”
India’s nuclear tests were a means of establishing India’s international status and prestige. Yet refreshingly, they were not simply an act of conformity to the dominant might-is-right maxim of the international system.
A synthesis was formed with an enduring set of principled foreign policy values. In the wake of the tests, India stressed its peaceful intentions, announced a voluntary moratorium on further testing, limited itself to a minimum credible deterrent, and later pledged a no-first-use policy. (more…)
India and Asia’s ‘concert of powers’ October 6, 2011Posted by sandygordon in : Gordon, Sandy, India , 2comments
The CIA has assessed that India is a ‘swing state’ in Asia. By that it means that how India, as a rising power, chooses to lock into existing security structures will have important implications for the Asian security order.
India’s emergence is especially important in the context of the rise of China and apparent relative decline of the US. This confronts Australia with stark choices between its economic imperative not to alienate China and its long-standing strategic reliance on the United States.
Leading Australian analysts such as Hugh White (Power Shift) and Coral Bell (Living with Giants) have advocated that China and India be inducted into a ‘concert of powers’ consisting of those two plus the other big powers – the US, Japan and Russia. They thus hope to mitigate the perturbations that might otherwise be associated with China’s rise.
Half of the ‘quadrilateral’ – Bush meets Abe, Camp David, 2007.
China, India: defence co-operation rapprochement offers potential for regional stability July 13, 2011Posted by southasiamasala in : DeSilva-Ranasinghe, Serge, Future Directions International, India , Comment
This article was first posted in Future Directions International on 29 June 2011
China and India have recommenced bilateral defence co-operation and exchanges, after nearly a year’s suspension since an Indian lieutenant-general was refused a visa to enter China in July 2010. The eight-member Indian delegation was headed by a major-general. It visited China from 19-23 June and engaged in discussions with Chinese officials in Beijing.
Uneasy neighbours August 28, 2010Posted by southasiamasala in : India, Merrington, Louise , Comment
In August last year the Chennai Centre for China Studies, a hawkish Indian foreign-policy think tank, published a copy of an article it clearly hoped would create a furore. Translated from a Chinese website, the article detailed how China could split India into ten or twenty ethnically based states by funding insurgents and supporting restive neighbours like Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan. As expected, controversy ignited across India.
With their usual tendency to manufacture outrage, India’s voracious tabloids and twenty-four-hour television stations began baying for Chinese blood. And in a typical display of the Indian media’s tendency to eat their own, they also turned on the Hindu’s Beijing correspondent, Ananth Krishnan – one of only four Indian correspondents in China – when he dared to suggest that not everything on China’s internet can be associated with the Chinese government.
Coming on top of a series of low-level skirmishes on the India–China border, the controversy illustrated just how deep anti-China feeling still runs in large sections of Indian society. The roots of the hostility lie in the still-disputed border and a three-month conflict – nearly fifty years ago – that many people outside India have never heard of. As the furore showed, the relationship between the two countries might have evolved in many ways over the last six decades, but some things haven’t changed.
India ‘Looks East’ as history July 7, 2010Posted by southasiamasala in : Gordon, Sandy, India , 3comments
This paper was presented at a workshop titled ‘India Looks East’ hosted by the Australia India Institute and Institute of South Asian Studies, Singapore, at the University of Melbourne, on 4 July 2010.
India’s Look East policy was initiated out of failure: the failure of India’s Cold War strategy of ‘playing both ends against the middle’ while at the same time attempting to adopt a pro-Soviet ‘tilt’; and the failure of India’s command economy, which by 1990 had managed to command only 0.4% of world trade – insufficient to cushion India from the 1989-90 oil shock. While the collapse of the Soviet Union was no fault of India, it left New Delhi searching for an alternative set of economic and strategic approaches. The ‘Look East’ policy seemed to fit both needs.
India, however, initially had a hard job to claw its way back into those parts of Asia to its east. ASEAN itself was borne out of concern about an encroaching communist bloc and tempered in the fires of the Vietnam War. It viewed India’s still clunky economy and former Soviet bloc ‘tilt’ with suspicion. (more…)
Is the Indian media reading China right? September 9, 2009Posted by southasiamasala in : Guest authors, India , Comment
In recent weeks, there’s been a perceptible escalation in tension between India and China, focused principally on a border dispute that has dragged on for decades. Media reports in both India and China have struck a shrill note (see here for a summary), which has effectively drowned out efforts by officials in both countries to lower the pitch.
The recent posting of an ‘essay’ on a Chinese-language website (original post inaccessible, but it has been replicated here), which outlined a strategy for China to ‘balkanise’ India, and the Indian media’s hysterical reaction to it only served to reinforce the enormous ‘trust deficit’ that exists between the two countries – and revealed that passions on both sides remain highly inflamed.
However provocative the ‘essay’ may have been, the over-the-top Indian media and popular response to it, without the faintest attempt at verifying the authenticity of the original post or the extent to which its message reflected official Chinese mindsets reveals a disquieting vacuum in Indian understanding of China.