Articles by: M K Bhadrakumar

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met Acting Taliban Dy Prime Minister Mullah Baradar, Doha, Oct. 255, 2021

Taliban Government gains traction

All indications are that the regional states are preparing to accord recognition to the Taliban government. The meeting of regional states and Taliban officials in the so-called Moscow Format last Wednesday signalled that the Taliban government is a compelling reality and constructive engagement is needed. read more A week is a long time in politics. The foreign-minister level conference in Tehran[Read More…]

by 27/10/2021 0 comments World
China-Russia naval exercise Joint Sea-2021 kicked off in Russia’s Peter the Great Bay on October 14 focusing on mine countermeasures, air defence, live-fire shooting, maneuvering & anti-submarine mission

Biden’s Taiwan gaffe meant no harm

The probability is that the US President Joe Biden committed yet another diplomatic gaffe at a CNN town hall last Thursday that Washington had a commitment to come to Taiwan’s defence if it were attacked by China. Yet, like Biden’s gaffes usually, this one too was not without an element of deliberateness. Biden was even insistent. Indeed, there is an[Read More…]

by 26/10/2021 0 comments World
Taliban government’s deputy prime minister Abdul Salam Hanafi (C) and Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi (R) arrive in Moscow to attend international talks on Afghanistan, Oct. 20, 2021

Taliban is the winner at Moscow conference

The Moscow meeting of ten regional states and the Taliban officials on Wednesday has produced an outcome that by far exceeds expectations. The salience of the consensus opinion is four-fold, as reflected in the joint statement issued after the event:  regional recognition that Taliban government is a compelling “reality”; it is through constructive engagement that regional states should endeavour to influence Taliban;  a[Read More…]

by 23/10/2021 0 comments World
Biden gets predictability in Russia ties

Biden gets predictability in Russia ties

Moscow has butted the grand old transatlantic alliance in the chest on Monday with the foreign ministry announcing that it will suspend the NATO military liaison mission with effect from November 1 and recall the accreditation of its staff in response to the NATO decision to withdraw the accreditation of eight Russian diplomats. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov curtly added, “if NATO has[Read More…]

by 22/10/2021 0 comments World
Afghanistan: Moscow meeting is a landmark event

Afghanistan: Moscow meeting is a landmark event

The United States regretted its inability to take part in the talks on Afghanistan in Moscow this week. The Russian side was pinning hopes on a meeting of the exclusive Troika Plus (US, China, Russia and Pakistan) followed by a gathering in an expanded format known as the ‘Moscow format’ on Wednesday.  The US State Department spokesman Ned Price said during a[Read More…]

by 21/10/2021 0 comments World
Bhutan announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with China on boundary negotiations, Thimpu, Oct 14, 2021

Narrative traps in India’s decision-making

I read a stimulating essay recently co-authored by Paul Dolan, professor at the London School of Economics, and his research assistant Amanda Hedwood analysing, against the backdrop of the uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic, how dominant narratives powerfully influence decisions and create the ‘narrative trap’ in decision-making.  The LSE academics wrote: “We contend that the failure to step back and consider[Read More…]

by 20/10/2021 0 comments India
Uzbekistan Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov (left) escorted by Acting Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi (R) and Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdus Salam (L), Kabul, October 7, 2021

Russia draws red lines for US

Moscow has categorically stated that it will not accept a US military presence in the Central Asian region. This reiteration has come at the level of Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov who told Tass that Afghanistan had been discussed at a meeting with Victoria Nuland, the visiting US Undersecretary of State in Moscow on Tuesday.  Ryabkov added, “We emphasised[Read More…]

by 14/10/2021 0 comments World
Kremlin announced that President Vladimir Putin will deliver a major speech on October 13, 2021 on global energy issues

A face-off over Nord Stream 2

The Russian President Vladimir Putin will be delivering “an informative and very important speech and then take part in a plenary discussion” on Wednesday in Moscow at the Russian Energy Week, an international forum on the global energy sector.  Expectations are running high in the energy circles in Europe and in America. Europe is experiencing an energy crisis with burgeoning[Read More…]

by 13/10/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Taliban Dy Prime Ministers Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (C) and Mawlawi Abdul Salam Hanafi (R) met with British High Representative for Afghanistan Sir Simon Gass, Kabul, October 5, 2021

Taliban receives overtures from near and far

The Taliban is getting many suitors lately. It is far from the “pariah” that the Biden Administration thought it was destined to be. During the past month alone, the Taliban received six suitors from the region and beyond offering courtship — the foreign minister of Qatar; the special envoys of Russia, China and Pakistan; the High representative of UK Prime[Read More…]

by 09/10/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Chinese ambassador Wang Yu met Acting Foreign Minister of Taliban Mawlavi Amir Khan Muttaqi, Kabul, September 26, 2021

US, UK prepare to re-engage Taliban

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has written yet another opinion piece in the Washington Post, sensing a turning point lies ahead with the Biden Administration assembling a sustainable, durable policy toward Afghanistan taking into account the new reality of the Taliban government.  Quintessentially, Imran Khan revisited his argument in the earlier WaPo piece in July where he had concluded: “I believe that promoting economic[Read More…]

by 30/09/2021 1 comment World
German Finance Minister, Vice-Chancellor and Social Democratic SPD Party’s candidate for chancellor Olaf Scholz holds up a bouquet of flowers at the party’s headquarters in Berlin. September 27, 2021

Rise of centre-left in Germany

The big take-away of Germany’s first election of the post-Merkel era is that none of the parties has ‘won’ and each of the parties has reason to look miserable and feel disappointed with their performance. A new political landscape is struggling to be born.  For the ruling Christian Democrats [CDU], this has been their worst ever performance in post-war history, faring significantly[Read More…]

by 28/09/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) with the US President  Joe Biden at White House, Washington DC, USA, September 24, 2021.

What Biden told the Indians

Given the state of the Indian media today, it is difficult to cut through the Indian-American rhetoric from a distance of 10,000 kilometres and get a rounded view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States and his meeting with President Biden.  So much has changed since Modi last visited America two years ago. India has changed, America[Read More…]

by 27/09/2021 Comments are Disabled World
US President Joe Biden at Quad Summit, White House, Sept. 24, 2021. Seated clockwise Australian PM Scott Morrison, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga & Indian PM Narendra Modi

Quad is turning & turning in widening gyre

By coincidence, perhaps, on the same day that President Biden hosted the first Quad summit, he also cleared the way for a senior executive of Huawei Technologies to return to Beijing — “removing one major irritant between the two superpowers,” as the New York Times put it.  Meng Wanzhouthe’s release made headlines overshadowing the QUAD event. Beijing reciprocated instantly by releasing[Read More…]

by 26/09/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Iran’s SCO membership is a big deal

Iran’s SCO membership is a big deal

Like in a Wagnerian music drama, there is an associated melodic theme that accompanies the situations behind the two big regional developments last week — the announcement of the AUKUS, security alliance of three “maritime democracies” on September 15 and Iran’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation as full member on September 17.  Both developments broke the glass ceiling. The[Read More…]

by 25/09/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Pentagon claimed its “righteous strike” by a Reaper drone on Aug. 28 in Kabul killed an ISIS terrorist who turned out to be an aid worker. Attack killed 10, including 7 children, in a residential block.

Afghanistan and India’s ‘over-the-horizon’ dilemma

In England, they’d plan a park, build it but wouldn’t complete it until they could observe  for a while the foot tracks of walkers, before deciding where to lay the pathways for optimal utility.  The Blinken Administration and Modi Govt apparently think they don’t have that luxury when it comes to Afghanistan. That is the troubling signal out of the Congressional[Read More…]

by 16/09/2021 1 comment World
Trade caravan on the Silk Road, Central Asia

Foreign Devils on the Silk Road

The title of an unputdownable 1980 classic by Peter Hopkirk comes to mind even as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation are preparing to hold back-to-back summit meetings at Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on September 17.  Foreign Devils on the Silk Road: The Search for the Lost Treasures of Central Asia tells the breathtaking story of the intrepid men[Read More…]

by 15/09/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Iran’s Vice-President & head of the Atomic Energy Organization Mohammad Eslami (second from right) met International Atomic Energy Agency director general Rafael Grossi, Tehran, Sept 12, 2021

Biden Doctrine appears in Persian Gulf

The incipient signs of a US retrenchment from Saudi Arabia have appeared in a series of moves in the past 2-3 weeks. On a parallel track, the Biden Administration is factoring in that new Iranian government is returning to the negotiating table at Vienna on nuclear issues. The interconnected maneuverings are predicated, indirectly at least at this point, on an[Read More…]

by 14/09/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Afghan tribal leaders and religious scholars and youth leaders from the central provinces (Hazarajat) met former president Hamid Karzai regarding formation of inclusive government, Kabul, September 11, 2021

Afghanistan: Enter regional states

The Taliban hoisted their black and white flag on the presidential palace in Kabul on September 11, which happens to be the twentieth anniversary of the Al-Qaeda’s attack on New York and Washington, DC. The symbolism is too obvious to be missed. Although the Taliban had no hand in the 9/11 attacks, it took the brunt of the US’ revenge[Read More…]

by 12/09/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Taliban get a government!

Taliban get a government!

The regional states will be shell-shocked by the brazen way Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed, head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), coerced the Taliban to announce an interim government that is guaranteed to preserve Rawalpindi’s control over the levers of power in Kabul. There are several things to be noted about the so-called interim government announced by the Taliban on September[Read More…]

by 09/09/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Taliban patrol after they took over Panjshir Valley, Sept 6, 2021

The fall of Panjshir 

Panjshir has fallen to the Taliban with a bang — and a whimper. The bang is because a 40-year old legend lies shattered, the legend of the invincibility of Panjshir Valley. And the whimper is because the short-lived ‘resistance’ had a tame ending.  A BBC report said the revolt’s two top leaders Ahmad Massoud and Amrullah Saleh were not even[Read More…]

by 08/09/2021 1 comment World
US climate envoy & former secretary of state John Kerry (L) and Chinese Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (File photo)

Biden gives green signal to US-China thaw

The visit to Tianjin by President Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry on September 1-3 is assuming a huge dimension holding promise as a defining moment in the tense bilateral relationship between China and the US. Unlike Kerry’s previous visit in April to Shanghai, his conversation has broadened and deepened this time around, going well beyond climate change issues.  Chinese State[Read More…]

by 03/09/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (R) receiving Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar (2nd-R), Doha, Sept. 2020

Rise and rise of Qatar in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan

When the US State Department announced that it would host a virtual ministerial meeting on August  30 with “key partners on Afghanistan,” there was an element of surprise in the list of participants. Apart from the US’ NATO and EU allies, there was a solitary non-western partner country — Qatar.  What qualified this peninsular Arab country to be invited to join such a privileged circle of America’s[Read More…]

by 02/09/2021 Comments are Disabled World
In two phone calls past fortnight, Chinese Councilor & FM Wang Yi (L) told US counterpart Antony Blinken (R) that coordination over Afghanistan would depend on US policies towards Beijing

US-China relations at crossroads

The Biden Administration, in dire straits over Afghanistan, is pursuing China for help. There have been two phone calls to Chinese State Councilor and FM Wang Yi from US Secretary of state Antony Blinken since August 16 alone.  The taciturn readouts from Washington would have us believe that these conversations related exclusively to Afghan developments. But Beijing insists that they[Read More…]

by 31/08/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Sirajuddin Haqqani, specially designated global terrorist under US law, carrying a reward of $5 million for information leading to his arrest, tipped as as Afghanistan’s prime minister (File photo)

Taliban has a package deal with US. Coast is clear for new government in Kabul 

The US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan discussed today in an interview with CBS “Face the Nation” the evolving relationship between Washington and the Afghan Taliban. Three things emerge.  First, Sullivan disclosed that “over-the-horizon strikes” against the ISIS-K from outside Afghanistan will continue but he ruled out any return to combat missions. Second, Sullivan claimed that after the complete withdrawal[Read More…]

by 30/08/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov flanked by Taliban officials attending a conference on Afghanistan, Moscow, November 2018

India reaches out to Russia to break out of regional isolation over Afghanistan

The Indian establishment media hyped up Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on August 24 in a desperate attempt to distract attention from Delhi’s abject isolation over the Afghanistan situation. The desperation to clutch at any straw stems out of the complete breakdown of India’s Afghan policy. The government’s narrative on Afghanistan stands exposed as deeply[Read More…]

by 28/08/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Terrorist strikes in Kabul: A political windfall for Taliban

Terrorist strikes in Kabul: A political windfall for Taliban

The horrific terrorist strikes in Kabul on Thursday which killed at least 12 US servicemen and dozens of civilians will lead to a higher level of cooperation between the US and the Taliban. The commander of CENTCOM Gen. Kenneth McKenzie disclosed to journalists on Thursday that the US was already sharing information on terror threats in Afghanistan with Taliban. As[Read More…]

by 27/08/2021 Comments are Disabled World
US Vice-President Kamala Harris (L) being presented with a spray of orchids named after her, as Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (R) looks on, Singapore, August 23, 2021

Quad meets the “Saigon moment”

The regional tour of Southeast Asia by the US Vice-President Kamala Harris got inundated with the tsunami of criticism over the United States’ frantic efforts to complete the evacuation out of Kabul Airport by the month-end. Again, Israel being a hugely attractive topic in US news cycles, Harris’ visit to Singapore and Vietnam may get marginalised with the arrival of[Read More…]

by 26/08/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Taliban patrol Kabul, Afghanistan, August 24, 2021

US senses that Taliban is reality – Implications   

The CIA Director William Burns had to travel to Kabul to seek a concession from the Taliban leadership to extend the August 31 deadline for the evacuations at Kabul Airport, which the Taliban political chief Mullah Ghani Baradar plainly refused.  Beijing is almost certain to provide a firewall for the Taliban government against Western pressures. Put differently, the US influence[Read More…]

by 26/08/2021 Comments are Disabled World
US-Taliban ties on razor’s edge. China is the winner

US-Taliban ties on razor’s edge. China is the winner

  A panoramic view of Mes Ayna on the gentle hills and craggy mountains in Logar province 40 kilometres south-east of Kabul, Afghanistan, where Chinese firms signed contracts to mine one of the world’s largest untouched copper deposits estimated to contain 450 million metric tonnes of ore worth at least US$50 billion. China  disclosed that unnamed US mining companies have[Read More…]

by 25/08/2021 Comments are Disabled World
The Taliban fighters posing for family photo and relaxing in the Presidential Palace, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug 15, 2021

Reflections on Events in Afghanistan

Afghan ambassador to Washington Ms. Adela Raz said that President Ghani and his cronies simply emptied the Afghan Treasury and left with the loot…India’s policymakers couldn’t have been unaware that a cabal was ruling Afghanistan but deliberately chose to ignore it… The Washington Post has exposed that the Pentagon commanders lied and the ‘forever war’ continued… The disconcerting fact is,[Read More…]

by 19/08/2021 1 comment World
United Nations Security Council in session, New York (File photo)

Don’t waste the opportunity at UN SC

India acted rather petulantly when it turned it down Pakistan’s request for participation in the meeting on Afghanistan. Alas, India made a clumsy start to its long-awaited UNSC presidency. This farcical performance does no credit to India’s claim for permanent membership of the UN Security Council… This only leads to misperceptions that India is party to President Ashraf Ghani’s increasingly[Read More…]

by 11/08/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Iran JCPOA: A bridge too far?

Iran JCPOA: A bridge too far?

  Ebrahim Raisi will be sworn in as Iran’s next president on August 5, marking a defining moment in the situation around the nuclear issue.   Having weathered the brunt of Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’, Tehran is in a better situation today. The international situation works in its favour too. Iran has gained strategic depth in the deepening partnership with Russia[Read More…]

by 03/08/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar (R) welcomes the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, New Delhi, July 28, 2021.

Blinken’s Single-Point Agenda In Delhi – China

Blinken’s real mission was without doubt to stop India from drifting away from the US-led anti-China coalition. The Biden Administration is worried that without India, the QUAD would unravel and the containment strategy against China wouldn’t gain traction in Asia.  Blinken also avoided making any assurances to give India full access to the raw materials for vaccine production. Did Blinken[Read More…]

by 31/07/2021 1 comment India
Blinken comes riding the Pegasus

Blinken comes riding the Pegasus

What we are talking about is a variant of cybercrime. Would the Israeli government have been in the dark about what was happening right under their nose? Impossible. Indeed, was the US in the dark about what Israel was up to all this while? Again, impossible. The CIA and Mossad are joined at the hips. Shouldn’t India call for a[Read More…]

by 31/07/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Foreign Ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation at Dushanbe with Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon, July 14, 2021

UK scripts new Afghan plot for US

As often in modern history, Britain provides the plot for Washington to act. Russia, China, Iran are in the US crosshairs and Washington’s future agenda is principally oriented to blocking China’s Belt & Road, promoting regime change in Central Asia, using militant Islam as geopolitical tool, and consolidating a long-term presence in Afghanistan as a template of its Indo-Pacific strategy. [Read More…]

by 29/07/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Pakistan’s geo-economics is working well

Pakistan’s geo-economics is working well

Nine Chinese citizens were killed after a bus carrying them plunged into a ravine following an explosion in Pakistan’s far north Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, July 14, 2021… When the whole world is lamenting that the US is quitting Afghanistan in ignominy, the Biden Administration is snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. What an audacity of hope! The new QUAD will[Read More…]

by 23/07/2021 Comments are Disabled South Asia
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) paid an ‘official working visit to White House and held talks with President Joe Biden (R), July 15, 2021.

Transitional period ahead in US-China relations

She was making it clear that China cannot be branded in one-dimensional terms as an adversary. Merkel is “convinced of our needing to be technological leaders… in many, many areas” but then, “Obviously, it’s legitimate for China wishing to do this as well. *** The ‘official working visit’ by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the White House on July 15[Read More…]

by 19/07/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Flag of Afghan Taliban (in white) was raised on the Afghan side of the border with Pakistan at the major border crossing at Chaman, 14 July 2021. The ministerial meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the meeting of the SCO-Afghanistan working group at Dushanbe on July 13-14 have thrown light on the templates of China’s approach to the evolving situation in Afghanistan. 

China explains its Afghan motivations

Contrary to the paranoia in the western (and Indian) media,  Wang prioritised China’s security concerns in the prevailing situation in 3 main directions –  namely, prevent the present conflict from morphing into a full-fledged civil war; restart the peace talks quickly; and, eliminate the risk of Afghanistan becoming again a revolving door of international terrorist groups. China’s commitment to the[Read More…]

by 18/07/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Bagram after US military left the base, Kabul, July 5, 2021 

A hybrid war to replace Afghan ‘forever war’?

The British newspaper Daily Telegraph did some kite-flying in the weekend that London is considering open-ended deployment of a contingent of elite special forces to Afghanistan “ to provide training to Afghan units and deploy with them on the ground as advisers.” At the same time, the New York Times reported that White House approves Gen. Austin S. Miller, the[Read More…]

by 07/07/2021 Comments are Disabled Imperialism
Zhou Enlai (left) and Mao Zedong (second from left) at Chinese Communist capital of Yan’an, c.1936. Photo by Edgar Snow

CPC transforms China as a world class power

The CPC’s centennial marks a historic breakthrough for China by far exceeding the predictions of most foreign observers. In a nutshell, the CPC has achieved the twin collective goals of getting rid of poverty and standing up to bullying by foreigners. The CPC is omnipotent in China and has become synonymous with the nation, the society and its politics. ***[Read More…]

by 03/07/2021 1 comment World
EU shelves Russia dialogue

EU shelves Russia dialogue

But the bottom line is that the German-French initiative has caused a divide within the EU, with East European and Baltic countries that are closer geographically to Russia being wary of any loosening of the EU’s approach to Moscow. Equally, the German-French initiative will alarm Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova in Russia’s ‘near abroad’. *** A thoughtful, far-sighted proposal by German[Read More…]

by 28/06/2021 Comments are Disabled World
US’ pathway to Iran has thorny shrubs

US’ pathway to Iran has thorny shrubs

Iran’s president-elect Ebrahim Raisi addresses his first press conference in Tehran, June 21, 2021 Raisi said: “European countries and the US should look at what they have done towards the nuclear deal; the US violated the nuclear deal and the Europeans did not fulfil their undertakings. We tell the US that it is duty-bound to lift all sanctions and that[Read More…]

by 27/06/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Fizz is gone from Biden-Putin summit

Fizz is gone from Biden-Putin summit

Putin’s Russia is a highly toxic subject in the US’ foreign-policy discourses.  US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, in a carefully choreographed interview, announced June 20 Sunday, “we are preparing another package of sanctions to apply” on the Kremlin…The Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov  promptly noted, “This is not a signal we all expected after the summit. I[Read More…]

by 26/06/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani (L) meets the media with President-elect Ebrahim Raisi (R) in Tehran, June 19, 2021

Biden has a worthy interlocutor in Raisi

This may seem a paradox but the truth is that the United States does not realise that Iran’s presidential election result — the resounding victory of the conservative head of the judiciary Ebrahim Raisi — can be an optimal outcome. Raisi has impeccable credentials as a hardliner who belongs to the powerful religious establishment and happens to be a genuinely popular public[Read More…]

by 21/06/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Takeaways from Biden-Putin summit

Takeaways from Biden-Putin summit

Putin said, “..We can see attempts at destroying the relationship between Russia and China. We can see that those attempts are being made in practical policies. And your questions, too, have to do with it. This is, perhaps, the salience of the Geneva summit…”  Russia and China have congruent interest in lending support to each other to create space for[Read More…]

by 19/06/2021 1 comment World
NATO declares China as global security challenge

NATO declares China as global security challenge

Family Portrait of NATO Allies, Brussels, Belgium, June 14, 2021 The NATO brings to mind the classic paradigm of someone all dressed up and nowhere to go. It has to constantly reinvent a reason for its existence. The NATO is a lucrative hunting ground for the American arms industry. The bigger the NATO’s threat perceptions, the greater the scope for[Read More…]

by 18/06/2021 Comments are Disabled World
The G7 leaders celebrated that the tumultuous Donald Trump presidency is over. French President Emmanuel Macron (L) sharing happy moment with President Biden, Cornwall, UK, June 12, 2021

US accent is on bilateral track to China

The US is aware that if it crosses China’s red line on the Taiwan question, there is going to be a heavy a price to pay at the cost of US own interests… All this only underlines that the US has realised the importance and necessity of bringing the China-US economic trade ties back on track… *** The European countries[Read More…]

by 17/06/2021 Comments are Disabled World
G7 and China: Fault lines in the world order

G7 and China: Fault lines in the world order

Surely, the friendly ambience has helped Biden to inject a certain Cold War overtone to the G7 proceedings…But without doubt, the G7 has brought to the fore that there is sharp disagreement among the United States and its allies about how to respond to China’s rising power. Europe — especially, the two major European powers Germany and France — does[Read More…]

by 15/06/2021 1 comment World
Biden clears the air on ties with Russia and China

Biden clears the air on ties with Russia and China

The US President Joe Biden’s op-ed in  Washington Post My trip to Europe is about America rallying the world’s democracies will draw wide attention in world capitals from Brussels to Beijing. He says right at the outset that this weeklong trip to Europe, the first overseas trip of his presidency, is “about realising America’s renewed commitment to our allies and[Read More…]

by 11/06/2021 2 comments World
India’s ‘Westernism’ is its Undoing in Vaccine Strategy

India’s ‘Westernism’ is its Undoing in Vaccine Strategy

Sputnik V has already been soft launched in India on May 14 as part of a pilot study with a top official of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories receiving the first jab in India. ..Single-dose Sputnik Light could be first single-dose vaccine launched in India. The biggest commercial consignment of Sputnik-V vaccines arrived in Hyderabad on june 1, at 3:40 am with[Read More…]

by 04/06/2021 Comments are Disabled India
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (L) and USTR Katherine Tai held their first call after the latter’s Senate confirmation, May 26, 2021

Biden wants to remain engaged with Russia, China

Russophobia and Sinophobia are so widely prevalent among the US foreign policy elite… Despite US statements against Kremlin or Beijing…highlighted by Indian media… Neither China nor Russia regards that the US is qualified to speak to them from a position of strength. Biden has outlined that his foreign policy vision will be domestically driven and linked to the American middle[Read More…]

by 01/06/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Afghan children walk past a Taliban Red Unit, an elite force, Alingar district, Laghman province in eastern Afghanistan (File photo) 

Afghan nationalism faces existential challenge — Part 2

 India is hardly in a position to assert on the Afghan chessboard… The bottom line is that New Delhi is highly unlikely to do anything that may undermine the US strategy in Afghanistan, which, incidentally, also has an “Indo-Pacific” dimension to it… New Delhi selectively intensifies its engagement with those world capitals that share its concerns over China’s rise and[Read More…]

by 29/05/2021 Comments are Disabled World
A Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle being loaded on to a flatbed trailer, Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. (File photo) 

Afghan nationalism faces existential challenge — Part 1

Afghan conundrum is mutating  The commencement of the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has got off to a flying start. So far there has been no hiccup. One significant landmark has been the vacation of the big American base at Kandahar, southern Afghanistan. There is some poignancy here. A recent despatch[Read More…]

by 28/05/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Building housing the offices of Associated Press and other media collapses after Israeli airstrike, Gaza City

Israel’s Pyrrhic victory in Gaza, Netanyahu is real winner

“The public opinion in the US has also been steadily becoming favourable to the Palestinians…But although Americans are warming to the Palestinians, they still favour Israel by wide margins…Western politicians obviously believe that the Palestinians should accept apartheid quietly, and should have the good grace silently to wither away… “Even if the Israeli military objective is realised, it can only[Read More…]

by 25/05/2021 Comments are Disabled Palestine
How India lost its way in Persian Gulf

How India lost its way in Persian Gulf

“India gets booted out, by Iran, of Farzad-B gas field in Persian Gulf… India’s ONGC Videsh Ltd had discovered it way back in 2008.” India began to identify itself with the countries of the anti-Iran regional front that the former US President Donald Trump was sponsoring, involving Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE…and with Washington’s so-called Indo-Pacific strategy against China.[Read More…]

by 24/05/2021 Comments are Disabled World
  Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (R) met Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, Tehran, (File photo) 

To Indians, Palestine’s Hamas remains a riddle

One major outcome of the current conflict in Gaza, West Bank and Jerusalem will be the emergence of Hamas as the charioteer of the Palestinian resistance movement against Israel. The Hamas’ ascendance poses a predicament for a number of countries who would have a sense of involvement with the Palestinian cause. India falls in that category. A policy adjustment becomes necessary.[Read More…]

by 23/05/2021 Comments are Disabled Palestine
China blocks US bases in Central Asia

China blocks US bases in Central Asia

Photo taken on May 9, 2021 shows the books of students who were killed in a car bomb attack in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan. (Photo by Rahmatullah Alizadah/Xinhua). Over 80 people were killed in successive explosions outside a girls’ high school in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, most of the victims were girl students. US withdrawal from Afghanistan must be[Read More…]

by 21/05/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (R) received Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (L), Jeddah, May 11, 2021

Saudi-Iran reset will take time

The Saudi-Iranian contacts that began last month in secrecy have gained gravitas. Significantly, this is an exclusively regional initiative. The Saudi-Iranian drive to normalise ties is motivated primarily by the two sides’ deep distrust of American intentions. Blinken sounded unhappy and somewhat irritated. His words reflect the reality that the US is a mere passive bystander while the two Gulf[Read More…]

by 20/05/2021 Comments are Disabled World
China on the horizon as ‘world’s pharmacy’

China on the horizon as ‘world’s pharmacy’

Jospeh Stiglitz,  the Nobel laureate,  in an essay last week , with a startling title Will Corporate Greed Prolong the Pandemic? , wrote: “…Their goal is simple: to maintain as much market power as they can for as long as possible in order to maximise profits..” Now China has gatecrashed the aggressively-guarded orchard of powerful western pharmaceutical companies… The WHO approved[Read More…]

by 16/05/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Handover ceremony at Camp Anthonic, from US Army to Afghan Special Forces, Helmand province, Afghanistan, May 2, 2021.

US-Taliban acquiesce to live and let live

But the US withdrawal is no longer conditions-based, which means the Taliban have achieved their number one objective without bending on any of the key issues such as their continuing links with the al-Qaeda or their agenda to reestablish the Islamic Emirate…  Apparently, all that the US extracted out of the Taliban is a tacit understanding that the western troops[Read More…]

by 15/05/2021 Comments are Disabled Uncategorized
India will be front-line state in Myanmar civil war

India will be front-line state in Myanmar civil war

The turmoil in Myanmar had all the hallmarks of a “colour revolution”… The chorus – BBC, Radio Free Asia, western NGOs promoting democracy and human rights… But the operative part hidden from view concentrated on the creation of a “government-in-exile” (a National Unity Government.) The parallels with Syria are striking — “Arab Spring” protests… India is a plausible sanctuary for[Read More…]

by 09/05/2021 Comments are Disabled South Asia
Boris Johnson walks away laughing with India’s Serum Institute in tow

Boris Johnson walks away laughing with India’s Serum Institute in tow

Without doubt, Johnson has stolen a march over PM Modi just  when the Indian foreign policy establishment is daydreaming about the possible induction of the UK into the Quad to contain China. Clearly, Johnson’s priorities are different — transfuse lifeblood from the former colony, the jewel in the Crown, into his “Global Britain” project.   *** Three cheers for the[Read More…]

by 06/05/2021 2 comments World
Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (R, bottom) at the peace talks with Afghan government, Doha, Qatar (File photo)

Breakthrough in Afghan peace process!

The “extended Troika” on the Afghan problem comprising the United States, Russia, and China — and Pakistan — have announced in Doha on April 30 Friday a road map in consultation with the Ashraf Ghani government and Taliban as regards the way forward in immediate terms for reaching a peace settlement. The announcement followed consultations in Doha with the involvement[Read More…]

by 04/05/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Tradeoff for US vaccine unthinkable

Tradeoff for US vaccine unthinkable

  The big question is whether the US is relenting on the vaccine front with a view to cut a deal with India on Afghanistan. But if past experience is any guide, Washington has shown savviness to exploit India’s travails. However, Afghanistan is a ‘graveyard of empires.’ The calculus of fratricidal wars keeps changing and India is best advised to[Read More…]

by 27/04/2021 Comments are Disabled India
Modi Govt’s vaccine diplomacy unravels, within India and abroad

Modi Govt’s vaccine diplomacy unravels, within India and abroad

What is foreign policy worth if it stands disconnected from domestic realities? The limelight falls instead on the US’ point blank refusal to lift the ban on supply of ingredients for manufacture of vaccines… As for China, this isn’t quite the occasion to write about it, but truth be told. Suffice to say, the Indian narrative on Sino-Indian tensions is[Read More…]

by 25/04/2021 6 comments India
US’ China policy at inflection point

US’ China policy at inflection point

“The symbolism is stunning”: China-France-Germany climate summit, Beijing, April 16, 2021. The three met without US…It is against the backdrop of the Biden administration’s containment strategy against China. The discussions spilled over from climate change to the entire spectrum of world politics. Considering the US media build-up as President Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry set out for China, the 4-day visit turned[Read More…]

by 21/04/2021 Comments are Disabled World
President Joe Biden wipes his eye as he walks through Arlington National Cemetery to honor fallen veterans of Afghan war, April 14, 2021.2400 American forces were killed, and 20,000 wounded .

Chronicle of the unavailing Afghan war

The occupation of Afghanistan became an end in itself, with war profiteering turning into a roaring business with money, women, drug trafficking, foreign bank accounts, contractors — all thrown into it…thus a limited punitive mission by two dozen special forces personnel morphed into a Sisyphean exercise that lasted nineteen years. *** One missing part in US President Joe Biden’s remarks[Read More…]

by 18/04/2021 1 comment World
India should welcome the end of US occupation of Afghanistan

India should welcome the end of US occupation of Afghanistan

A Taliban unit in Laghman, Afghanistan, Dec. 2020 (File photo) To be sure, the “forever war” in Afghanistan is ending on a sombre note. The US has barely managed to avoid a humiliating defeat. The final legacy will be that there are limits to American power. India will do well to bear this mind as it consorts with the Quad. [Read More…]

by 17/04/2021 Comments are Disabled World
US: Indian Ocean is not India’s ocean

US: Indian Ocean is not India’s ocean

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones prepares to pull alongside aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (File photo)  The “defining partnership of the 21st century” with India will not inhibit Washington from pursuit of American interests. The bottom line is that in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), India should not punch above its weight… reflect sadly where all the heady[Read More…]

by 16/04/2021 Comments are Disabled Imperialism
Whither India-Russia ties?

Whither India-Russia ties?

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L) at press conference with  External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar (R), Delhi, April 6, 2021 That is why today, any signalling that Modi has lost interest looks a cowardly behaviour and can be lethal to the India-Russia relationship… India has already given up its fascination for Russian energy and has settled for US shale oil;[Read More…]

by 15/04/2021 Comments are Disabled World
The China-Iran pact is a game changer – III

The China-Iran pact is a game changer – III

This is Sixth and the last in the series on the flux in the global scene by the seasoned diplomat, an expert on Middle East, Eurasia, Central Asia, South Asia and the Asia-Pacific… Part III: There is no timetable for an official launch  Yuan as the clearing currency?A non-dollar payment mechanism, between China and Iran is under discussion. It remains[Read More…]

by 06/04/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani received China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Tehran, March 27, 2021

The China-Iran pact is a game changer

Part II: China positions itself on the right side of history  See Part I: China neutralises the US campaign on Muslim Uighur issue  https://www.indianpunchline.com/the-china-iran-pact-is-a-game-changer-part-i/ In an exclusive interview with Al-Arabiya last week, China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi outlined Beijing’s approach to the West Asian region with particular reference to the tensions in the Persian Gulf. Wang lamented[Read More…]

by 05/04/2021 Comments are Disabled World
The China-Iran pact is a game changer

The China-Iran pact is a game changer

This is Fourth in the series on the flux in the global scene by the seasoned diplomat, an expert on Middle East, Eurasia, Central Asia, South Asia and the Asia-Pacific…   Fifth will follow. Part I : China neutralises the US campaign on Muslim Uighur issue    Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L)[Read More…]

by 04/04/2021 1 comment World
Refugees fleeing the attack by separatist Karen Liberation Army on Myanmar military outpost on Thai border, March 27, 2021. “Make no mistake, KLA is a creation of British intelligence.”

This is how shingles of Indian interests in Myanmar overlap Russia and China’s

This is third in the series on the flux in the global scene by the seasoned diplomat, an expert on Middle East, Eurasia, Central Asia, South Asia and the Asia-Pacific…Fourth will follow.  “To be sure, Myanmar saga is far from a binary of democracy vs. autocracy….Beware of “colour revolution” that the Western intelligence ,  US and UK in lead role[Read More…]

by 02/04/2021 1 comment World
      Baz Ratner/Reuters US troops in Afghanistan, June 2011

China resents US presence in Afghanistan

This is second in the series on the flux in the global scene by the seasoned diplomat, an expert on Middle East, Eurasia, Central Asia, South Asia and the Asia-Pacific…Third on Myanmar will follow. The “hidden agenda” of the war on terror in Afghanistan has been an open secret. The first inkling of its geopolitical character came when it transpired[Read More…]

by 01/04/2021 1 comment Imperialism
India’s agony and ecstasy over Quad

India’s agony and ecstasy over Quad

Aren’t the lotus-eaters in India in a state of blissful forgetfulness or foolish ecstasy that Blinken raised Ladakh at the Alaska talks? The NATO statement after the Ministerial didn’t contain a word on China…European allies are reluctant to be pushed into an American-led confrontation with China… *** A flurry of diplomatic activities through the past fortnight starting with the first-ever[Read More…]

by 31/03/2021 1 comment World
India has lessons from Sino-Russian normalization

India has lessons from Sino-Russian normalization

India has had a closed mind, and influential sections of national opinion cling to the notion that bellicosity is the signature element of China’s approach to India. The unfortunate coincidence is that many who indulge in such seasonal tirades against China also happen to be passionate advocates of a US-Indian strategic embrace. Their hysteria dovetails into an ulterior agenda.  [Read More…]

by 01/03/2021 Comments are Disabled India
A meeting between special representatives of India and China on  boundary question – Ajit Doval (L) and Wang Yi (R) – is on the cards

The Zen Of Ladakh Disengagement

The reduction of military tensions in Pangong Tso has become a matter of heartburn for sections of the media and the fraternity of India’s ‘China hands’ — and possibly, hawkish elements within the establishment — who scoff at the very notion of peaceful resolution of territorial differences with China now or ever. What we see is a calibrated attempt to[Read More…]

by 27/02/2021 1 comment India
Disengagement between Chinese and Indian forces at the banks of the Pangong lake in Eastern Ladakh 

India’s forever wars and forever warriors

India also has a powerful pro-American lobby clamouring for “forever wars”. Sinophobia feeds into it seamlessly. This lobby will only gain ascendancy, as India develops a defence industry and the corporate interests and their eventual nexus with the defence establishment come into full play, inevitably, in the domain of foreign and security policies. *** The Washington-based Quincy Institute, arguably the[Read More…]

by 25/02/2021 1 comment India
India completes two years of operations in Chabahar Port

With eye on Biden, India’s Iran diplomacy shifts gear

By a fortuitous happening, the top South Block official  heading the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran Division in India’s External Affairs Ministry, J.P. Singh was in Iran in the weekend, hot on the heels of the senior Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. It is improbable they met. It is equally improbable that the Indian diplomat failed to take note of the Taliban co-founder’s[Read More…]

by 09/02/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Biden’s Idea of India and Savarkar’s are poles apart

Biden’s Idea of India and Savarkar’s are poles apart

According to media reports, the US President Joe Biden has picked as many as 20 Indian-Americans for senior positions in his government, and the common thread running through them is that none of them had anything to do with the RSS or the BJP even remotely. What a curious yardstick to apply — avoid like plague India’s high-flying cultural organisation[Read More…]

by 07/02/2021 Comments are Disabled World
China cherishes Hanoi’s nay to ‘quad’

China cherishes Hanoi’s nay to ‘quad’

The 13th National Congress of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam got under way in Hanoi on January 25, 2021. It will go on for nine days. Succinctly put, another profound test of socialist democracy is unfolding in Asia, second only to China’s. The 13th national congress of Vietnam’s ruling communist party, which began in Hanoi on Jan 25 Monday[Read More…]

by 03/02/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Preview signals Biden’s foreign policy shifts

Preview signals Biden’s foreign policy shifts

In his first media interview, the incoming US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has given a preview of Joe Biden administration’s foreign policy directions in regard of Russia, Iran and China. Major shifts can be expected in the policies toward both China and Iran while selective engagement of Russia is on cards. First, Russia. Sullivan noted that it was “most[Read More…]

by 15/01/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Nepal’s Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli (R) received the vice-minister of International Department of Chinese Communist Party Central Committee Guo Yezhou (L) at Kathmandu, Dec. 27, 2020

China’s mission to Nepal gains traction

The route India took has been bullying and it ultimately isolated India. By treating Nepali politicians as shabby buffoons to be pampered one day and collared another day, India badly exposed itself. A belief got entrenched in the Nepalese mind that we are a dangerous neighbour with evil intentions, undependable and far too self-centred and cynical. Tragically, this was despite[Read More…]

by 11/01/2021 Comments are Disabled South Asia
Modi marks distance from Trump, finally

Modi marks distance from Trump, finally

No doubt, it was a Himalayan blunder to have staged the Howdy Modi (Houston) and Namaste Trump (Ahmedabad) spectacles… Therefore, it is just as well Modi decided to mark a certain distance from Trump’s agenda, even if belatedly. Apropos of the dramatic happenings in Washington, DC, — with President Donald Trump’s ardent supporters and acolytes ransacking the Capitol Hill on[Read More…]

by 09/01/2021 Comments are Disabled India