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It would be counter-productive for BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization members India and China to come to blows on account of some extremely remote – albeit strategically important – snowy mountain passes. But when one looks at the 3,488-kilometer-long Line of Actual Control, which India defines as “unresolved,” that can never be totally ruled out.... Read More
President Donald Trump’s 36-hour whirlwind visit to India this past week was designed to show Americans just how adored abroad their president really is. Unluckily for Trump, his campaign stop at this behemoth nation of 1.3 or 1.4 billion proved a fiasco. First came the terrifying Chinese coronavirus that so far has killed less people... Read More
On 9 to 10 November 1938 the German government encouraged its supporters to burn down synagogues and smash up Jewish homes, shops, businesses, schools. At least 91 Jews – and probably many more – were killed by Nazi supporters egged on by Joseph Goebbels, the minister for public enlightenment and propaganda, in what became known... Read More
India’s massive welcome for President Donald J. Trump last week showed it will remain a real nation-state into the next century—while America probably won’t [India rolls out the MAGA carpet for Trump, by Anita Kumar, Politico, February 24, 2020]. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is implementing common-sense citizenship laws to protect India’s national identity. Much... Read More
US-Australia-Japan alternative to Belt and Road helps explain why the US sent a junior delegation to Thailand and why...
Chinese President Xi Jinping six years ago launched New Silk Roads, now better known as the Belt and Road Initiative, the largest, most ambitious, pan-Eurasian infrastructure project of the 21st century. Under the Trump administration, Belt and Road has been utterly demonized 24/7: a toxic cocktail of fear and doubt, with Beijing blamed for everything... Read More
Biggest story at ASEAN was convergence of moves toward Asia integration, leaving Delhi out for now
A pan-Asia high-speed train has left the station – and India – behind. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which would have been the largest free trade deal in the world, was not signed in Bangkok. It will probably be signed next year in Vietnam, assuming New Delhi goes beyond what ASEAN, with diplomatic finesse... Read More
At J. Nehru University, most students know about China and Russia only from the BBC, Reuters and other Western media outlets. Even those individuals who claim they belong to the left are not immune; influenced mainly by the British propaganda. It has been like this for years: usual confusion, all around India: tough nationalistic, even... Read More
Modi and Putin discuss business and joint ventures at an economic conference in the Far East
There’s no way to follow the complex inner workings of the Eurasia integration process without considering what takes place annually at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. BRICS for the moment may be dead – considering the nasty cocktail of economic brutalism and social intolerance delivered by the incendiary “Captain” Bolsonaro in Brazil. Yet RIC... Read More
kashmir_region_2004
Daring Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, has killed a sacred cow, called Article 370 of the Constitution, enshrining the autonomy of Kashmir. The consequences could be dire, including the fourth India-Pakistan war, but not necessarily so. It could also be a successful scheme. Apparently, Narendra Modi had been encouraged by his success in... Read More
Two of the world’s most important powers, India and Pakistan, are locked into an extremely dangerous confrontation over the bitterly disputed Himalayan mountain state of Kashmir. Both are nuclear armed. Kashmir has been a flashpoint since Imperial Britain divided India in 1947. India and Pakistan have fought numerous wars and conflicts over majority Muslim Kashmir.... Read More
No leaks from their trilateral at the G20, but the trend toward togetherness is clear
Japan excels in perfect planning and execution. So it’s hard to take this setup as an unfortunate “accident.” At least the – unofficial – Russia-India-China summit at the sidelines of the G20 transcended the fate of an interior decorator deserving to commit seppuku. Leaders of these three countries met in virtual secrecy. The very few... Read More
India under Modi, an essential cog in US strategy, gets cozy with China and Russia
It all started with the Vladimir Putin–Xi Jinping summit in Moscow on June 5. Far from a mere bilateral, this meeting upgraded the Eurasian integration process to another level. The Russian and Chinese presidents discussed everything from the progressive interconnection of the New Silk Roads with the Eurasia Economic Union, especially in and around Central... Read More
How fleeting is glory! Back in 1998, the South Asian Journalists Association proclaimed me ‘Journalist of the Year’ for a newspaper article I had written about India. But the next year the award was angrily rescinded after I wrote that India should compromise with Pakistan over the festering Kashmir conflict. Prickly Indians didn’t like being... Read More
...Barely
It’s still the most dangerous border on Earth. Yet compared to the recent tweets of President Donald Trump, it remains a marginal news story. That doesn’t for a moment diminish the chance that the globe’s first (and possibly ultimate) nuclear conflagration could break out along that 480-mile border known as the Line of Control (and,... Read More
There are a few genuinely upbeat news stories when it comes to this planet and people trying to figure out how to save us from ourselves and our fossil-fuel addiction. This at a moment of record global surface temperatures and record ocean heating when, despite the Paris climate accord of 2015, carbon dioxide from those... Read More
  While Americans were obsessing over a third-rate actor’s fake claims of a racial assault, old foes India and Pakistan were rattling their nuclear weapons in a very dangerous crisis over Kashmir. But hardly anyone noticed that nuclear war could break out in South Asia. India and Pakistan, both nuclear-armed, have fought four wars over... Read More
If by fascist, you mean “adherent of a movement determined to seize state power with the help of violence committed by a disciplined and armed auxiliary, if necessary, to reorder society to achieve extra-constitutional, self-defined racial or ethnic objectives embodied by a charismatic leader”, that is. Narendra Modi and his BJP party, in my reading,... Read More
The divided south Asian mountain state of Kashmir is like a volcano: forgotten when quiescent, but terrifying when it comes alive. After the first India-Pakistan War in 1947, in which the British Indian Raj was divided into Hindu and Muslim-dominated states, India ended up with two-thirds of the formerly independent mountain state of Kashmir, and... Read More
A while back I wrote a piece, The Most Dangerous Letters in the World Aren’t SCS…They’re CPEC. I made the case that the South China Sea was a case of high-functioning, cautious states not interested in blowing each other up…while in South Asia the core Chinese gambit, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, was at the mercy... Read More
Once upon a time, if a war was going to destroy your world, it had to take place in your world. The soldiers had to land, the planes had to fly overhead, the ships had to be off the coast. No longer. Nuclear war changed that equation forever and not just because nuclear weapons could... Read More
A Nuclear Armageddon in the Making in South Asia
Undoubtedly, for nearly two decades, the most dangerous place on Earth has been the Indian-Pakistani border in Kashmir. It’s possible that a small spark from artillery and rocket exchanges across that border might -- given the known military doctrines of the two nuclear-armed neighbors -- lead inexorably to an all-out nuclear conflagration. In that case... Read More
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India is now the belle of the ball, as most of the world and Asian regional powers make pilgrimages to New Delhi to flatter and flirt with India’s dynamic Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Modi and India come with a certain amount of unpleasant baggage, which their suitors do their best to ignore. Modi himself is... Read More
I’ve covered 14 wars and seen a lot of combat. But being shelled or shot at never scared me half as much as the fear of serious illness in the field. While reporting on the 1980’s war in Afghanistan with the mujahidin warriors (“freedom fighters” back then/today “terrorists”), we were involved in a fierce battle... Read More
Both, actually (see endnote). That’s a duality that the United States is prepared to accommodate as it looks to a revitalized India as a strategic asset if not an outright ally in its crusade to counter “Rising China”. And it drives US government efforts to shield Modi from the consequences of his alleged involvement in... Read More
And is Joe Biden the Designated Whipping Boy? There has always been an implicit contradiction between Shinzo Abe's declared desire to "bring Japan back" and the US wish to lead "Free Asia". The divergence of aims has been obscured by the eagerness of the US defense establishment to encourage Japan's increasing heft as a "security"... Read More
The week started well with Abe in full regional statesman fig delivering a “China must be contained” speech at Davos (Yes, I know, nobody openly uses the "C" word, "containment" but if anyone can come up with a better descriptor, let me know). Ian Bremmer and a significant contingent of think-tank poobahs seemed primed to... Read More
[Correction: I incorrectly identified ex-Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi as Shinzo Abe's father-in-law; he was actually Abe's maternal grandfather. Thanks to a knowledgeable and sharp-eyed reader for catching the mistake. PL 6/21/2013] In a dismaying week for the PRC, India turned its back on China...and thereby drifted further away from the narrative of Japanese criminal aggression... Read More
In the later 1990’s, I was invited to a small dinner in New York given for the Dalai Lama. All of the guests came expecting to hear His Holiness explain the meaning of life. To their bewilderment, the Dalai Lama gave a rather long, detailed talk about the history of Himalayan border problems between India,... Read More
[This piece originally appeared at Asia Times Online on May 3, 2013.  It can be reposted if ATOl is credited and a link provided.  I was rather amused to see Paul Eckert of Reuters trolling the comment thread at Asia Times.  Not the way to build the Paul Eckert brand, let alone the Reuters brand.]... Read More
While the United States beats the war drums over North Korea and Iran’s long-ranged nuclear armed missiles –which they don’t even possess – Washington remains curiously silent about the arrival of the world’s newest member of the big nuke club – India. In January, Delhi revealed a new, 800km-ranged submarine launched missile (SLBM) designated K-15.... Read More
Reports on the premature death of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have been greatly exaggerated. Western corporate media is flooded with such nonsense, perpetrated in this particular case by the head of Morgan Stanley Investment Management. Reality spells otherwise. The BRICS meet in Durban, South Africa, this Tuesday to, among other... Read More
ISTANBUL - Reports of fighting along Kashmir’s cease-fire line don’t normally receive much attention in the western media. Last week, for example, saw a series of clashes on 8 and 10 January that killed both Pakistani and Indian troops. One of the Indian soldiers was decapitated, provoking fury across India and calls from its extremist... Read More
[This piece originally appeared at Asia Times Online on November 6, 2012.  It can be reposted if ATOl is credited and a link provided.  Rehashing the Sino-Indian War, with India's unwise fetishizing of the McMahon Line and the principle of sovereignty over genuine national interests that are strategically and tactically viable, has interesting implications for... Read More
“India launches first intercontinental ballistic missile,” the world media misreported this week. True enough, India did launch a new, 5,000 km-ranged Agni-V missile that can deliver a nuclear warhead to Beijing and Shanghai. Previously, India’s 3,500-km Agni-III did not have the range to hit China’s major coastal cities. But Agni-V is not an intercontinental ballistic... Read More
Does anyone remember Kashmir? Well, we certainly should. If nuclear war ever breaks out, the most likely place would be in Kashmir. The fabled state of Kashmir lies in majestic isolation amid the towering mountain ranges of the Himalayas and Karakoram that separate the torrid plains of north India from the steppes and deserts of... Read More
Getting out of the Washington goldfish bowl is also good for American presidents, particularly after an electoral shellacking. It must have been a relief for President Barack Obama to see smiling Indian officials on his visit to Delhi rather than snarling Republicans back home. India is a hugely important nation by any measure, so it... Read More
Most Americans still have not figured out the difference between Shia and Sunni or Kurds. Or, for that matter, Bosnians and Kosovars. But the insatiable demands of our imperium keep plunging us into new, mysterious places and murky conflicts. Welcome to Kashmir, the divided Himalayan state that is world's longest-running and certainly most dangerous international... Read More
Will there be a major war between China and India? That’s the 64,000 rupee question addressed by the highly respected British magazine “The Economist” in a major article in their 21 August issue. The “Economist” warns that the long contested border between the two giant Asian rivals risks sparking future clashes or even a full-scale... Read More
Western media is always on the alert for China’s insults to its Uighur and Tibetan minorities. Certainly, China’s occupation of Tibet since 1950 has been a brutal, bloody botch that killed upwards of half a million Tibetans during the rebellion in the 1950s and during the Cultural Revolution. Despite China’s determined efforts to fulfill its... Read More
…Kinda
Nepal’s government has decided to notify the international community formally of numerous violations of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) by the Nepalese Maoists. The last straw was the declaration of two newly minted autonomous regional governments in Maoist strongholds in eastern Nepal. Good. Maybe then the world will take notice of Nepal’s slide back into... Read More
…and a Catastrophe for Pakistan and China
Well, I guess President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize is going to go into the record books with a big, fat asterisk next to it. I have an article up at Asia Times Online Beijing broods over its arc of anxiety addressing the implications of the U.S. plan to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. As... Read More
Parsing Sino-Indian Tensions
I have an article up at Asia Times Online under the pen name Peter Lee entitled Dalai Lama at apex of Sino-Indian tensions. It's keyed to a high profile news item--the Dalai Lama's provocative visit to a border town in territory held by India but disputed by China--and a significant but rather underreported development--the escalating... Read More
Yesterday’s post, The Mumbai Paradox, placed the Mumbai attacks within the context of America’s persistent efforts to rein in pro-Taliban elements of Pakistan’s ISI and neutralize unsympathetic and powerful ex-ISI officers like retired General Hamid Gul. Gul was Director General of the ISI during its salad days running the anti-Soviet mujihadeen effort in Afghanistan. Gul... Read More
As India Bleeds, Pakistan Gets Pushed Closer to its Breaking Point
The rhetoric of the Global War on Terror doesn’t seem to have its old magic anymore. In the aftermath of the horrendous Mumbai attacks, it seems there were just as many articles in the papers saying this wasn’t Mumbai’s 9/11 as there were efforts to raise the bloody flag of America’s catastrophe over the carnage.... Read More
India is as warm and comfortable as ever. Over thirty years have passed since I roamed around in her cities and temples as a young long-haired white-cotton-trousered journalist cub, but coming back is easy. Things on the ground have not changed much – but they have changed. It is the same dense, busy crowd in... Read More
When China Matters got named in that “5 blogs that make me think” thingee, I didn’t do anything, mainly because the China blogs I read were all taken already. However, I do have a list of non-Chinese blogs that make me think, mainly because they provide an inside look on places and people that I... Read More
The Bush Administration's serial blunders in the Mideast have not only seriously undermined American influence over the region, they have opened the way for new, emerging superpowers to vie for its energy resources. Energy security has become the primary and most immediate strategic concern of Asia's two rising giants, India and China. The Middle East... Read More
America’s campaign against Iran may result in an undesirable by-product: a regional alliance of Russia, China, and India. Foreign ministers of these three countries met in New Delhi for a mini-summit and issued a Joint Communique concerning their shared desire to work together on energy, terror, security, and trade. Although carefully stating that their cooperation... Read More
MUMBAI - "Full power" is the new Indian mantra. Delivered not in Hindi, Pali, Gujarati or Malayalam, but in English, with a smile, by the Mumbai taxi driver, the Goan marguerita specialist, the Brahmin in Calicut, the information technology developer in Cochin. This is the sound of India stepping on the gas to 21st century... Read More
Category Classics
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?
How America was neoconned into World War IV
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.