PULWAMA – A CLOSE CALL!

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Folks, sharing some thoughts on the recently foiled terror attack in Pulwama.
What I find surprising is how little ‘air-time’ it has received on social media and even mainstream media.
Why?
Just because it was unsuccessful?
Let me put things into context.
Firstly, let me discuss what exactly was being planned.
The Pulwama Attack of Feb 2019 is just over one year old, so we all remember that, right?
This one too was looking at something similar in effect – visual as well as material damages as the one last year. This car too was laden with 60+ kilograms of explosive.
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You know what 60kg explosive can do? Well here is the video of the explosion caused when the IED was detonated in a controlled environment by own troops some time ago.
To put things in another context, Wikipedia tells me that the Brahmos missile has a 200kg warhead.
So this car was laden with about 1/3rd of that.
Yup let that sink in a bit – SIXTY KG!
Just imagine the effect this would have had on yet another soft skinned vehicle carrying about 40-50 CRPF troopers, as was the original plan of the bastards.
Hope you see where I am getting to ..
What our boys have achieved is NOT merely averting a terror attack, but possibly another military clash, perhaps far bigger than what came in light of the Pulwama attack of last year.
Here I take a moment to thank them all for their selfless service to the Motherland.
Just imagine what might have been the aftermath had this attack been successful.
With the experience of Feb 2019, the GOI would have been expected to act with no lesser fury. But .. is it the right time for that?
The Nation is just about settling down as it fights COVID-19 and the attendant social and economic challenges that come with it. Of course Beggaristan too is dealing with it, but about their ‘fight’ with the disease, lesser said, better it is.
Then there is the ongoing fracas on the LAC with the Chinese. I’ll leave that bit out of further discussion on this blog post because I intend writing about it separately in a few days.
But, a major terror attack of the kind that was just foiled and the expected aftermath would have definitely made Indian position a bit more difficult, no?
Is it too fantastical to claim that Pakistan was acting like a true and loyal lap-dog of China when it attempted this attack?
Why else would the Terroristani Beggar-in-Chief allude to a ‘false-flag’ attack by India FOUR TIMES IN PAST THREE WEEKS?
As the Prime Minister, I’m sure he knows what his Brown Panted boys are upto, right?
You want a smoking gun?
Here it is.
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The Bastards had already thought up yet another ‘brilliant’ alibi for what they knew was to come in Kashmir. Remember Musharraf and his ‘freedom fighters’ occupying heights in Kargils in 1999?
Yes, these idiots are not very creative, I must say.
Before moving ahead, let me just leave this screenshot of a tweet from two weeks before the attack was foiled.
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Now with the benefit of hindsight, would you call that ‘incident’ of running through checkposts a trial run?
Would you call the people who went mad, accusing own forces of high-handedness, fifth columnists working for the enemy?
(Disclaimer: This comment is generic in nature, no alluding to Shri Gokhale personally in any manner)
That incident was dismissed as a mere ‘traffic violation’ by some folks.
Technically, this one too was a much similar ‘traffic violation’, no? This time too the forces fired at the vehicle, sadly missing the driver who chose to run away.
Now just imagine if the media had just broken this part of the story – the same rudaali would have been commenced by the usual suspects.
So should I say ‘Thank God’ that this time the vehicle was found to be laden with explosives?
These homegrown ‘liberals’ are either willing pawns in the hands of Pakistan, or sheer idiots unwittingly doing their bidding.
I’ll let you decide on that. As far as my opinion goes, I’d rather reserve it to myself, lest I cause a furore!
Btw, for a moment just imagine if this attack had succeeded.
Pakistan would have been crying hoarse with cries of ‘Imran Khan told you so’, ‘Imran Khan Zindabad’ and such likes, in addition to ISPR’s brilliant hashtag campaign on Twitter, right?
As far as homegrown Jaichands go, Pulwama 2019 template is still too fresh to be elaborated all over again.
To cut a long story short, they would be gloating, just like last year, happy that the Govt of India is in a spot; not caring for the killing of the Nation’s soldiers .. THEIR soldiers.
With the forces already engaged with China on the LAC, this would have only relieved pressure on the Chinese for the time being, enabling them to concentrate better on their own self-created siyaapas in the SCS and Hong Kong, with their India front secure, no?
Btw, before moving ahead, let me just plug THIS tweet here in this thread.
Willful partners of Pakistan, or unwitting accomplices – I’ll leave that to your judgement
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Ok, so back to the blog post.
This Nation of ours seems truly blessed that despite being surrounded by enemies outside as well as within, we are somehow able to keep plodding forward. Thank God for the countless, faceless men and women who put their very lives on the line day in and day out for our safety.
I’ve said it before as well –  The real fight coming up is that of China with the rest of the world.
The way the Chinese are thrashing about everywhere is indicative of the terror that they are feeling within, despite the bravado outside.
It is here that pet dogs can and WILL be put to good use. What better than to force a principle land adversary to look AWAY from the Himalayan borders as the commies go about sorting out their own mess?
Especially when a few crumbs thrown at Rawalpindi would do the trick?
Let me say again – I would NOT want this to be treated as a terror attack that has been foiled. Rather, I would like to see this treated as a full-fledged attack mounted by Pakistan that our forces have beaten back, just like in the 1965 or 1971 wars,
Retribution MUST be visited on those responsible.
Thankfully, the pressure to do so immediately is not there this time round because the IED exploded at a time and place where WE wanted it, not when the Terror Central based out of Rawalpindi wanted.
So here I finish this blog post, once again with heartfelt gratitude to all our warriors who have just done what they are tasked to do. Let the enemies outside and within do their worst.
WE SHALL PREVAIL.
ALWAYS.
Jai Hind

India-Taiwan Relationship: Time for a Reset?

So this tweet generated quite an interesting discussion on my mentions yesterday.

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Even though the circumstances regarding the WHO meet have changed by now, yet I will take some time to take this chain of thoughts forward. So here are my thoughts on whether it is time for Indian to change her policy on Taiwan. 

Firstly, why the current policy?

Well, this is due to the Paranoid Republic of China’s insistence on the world recognizing Taiwan as their province; basically the ‘One China Policy’.

Never mind that the Taiwanese have been administering themselves for the past 71 years in a democratic republic that the Communist overlords of China can only find threatening to their very survival!

After all, how can a ‘renegade’ province of the Middle Kingdom be democratic!

So much so that they go on issuing ‘experience’ certificates to all that ‘dare’ to engage with Taiwan!

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With their increased economic and military heft, they have been successful in bulldozing practically the entire world in keeping Taiwan at an arm’s length.

To be fair to the CCP, they did it because, well, they could!

Might is right, after all!

I won’t delve much on that since it is a well known fact. However, what has happened in the very recent past is that the #WuhanCoronaVirus pandemic has shaken the very foundations of the current world order.

I wrote about that some weeks ago, HERE.

Herein lies an opportunity for the entire world to shrug off the rising Middle Kingdom & their arrogant, sanctimonious ways.

Knowing the Chinese, they must have prepared a roadmap for next 50 years as to how to go about their ‘peaceful’ rise & who all to ‘teach a lesson’ on the way as they do so. But this #ChineseVirus pandemic and their typical handling of the entire mess has put a MASSIVE spoke in the wheels of history that the Chinese must have planned for themselves.

EACH and EVERY person in each and every country, more or less, is seething with anger at them.

Even as Trump said that the US might even de-couple from China in ALL respects across the board, others too are doing much the same, or atleast a bit of the same.

Bottomline is that the world is changing faster and faster, geopolitically speaking.

India won’t be immune to it either, in case anyone of us is thinking that way. We may not be faced with a ‘With us or Against us’ question, but the thing is that we will be EXPECTED to play the role of an upcoming power that we are.

Going forward from this point, let me offer a disclaimer – I am in no way prescribing a ‘way ahead’ for Govt of India. What I write hereon are strictly my personal views!

I am sanguine that the GOI will act in whatever way they feel is best for the country under current circumstances. It may or may not conform to my views, but so be it!

Coming to the issue of India and her re-evaluating relationship with Taiwan, let us be very clear about one thing – The current relationship is what it is, thanks to the ‘sensitivities’ of the Paranoid Republic of China.

Let’s have no doubt about that.

And, a reset in the India-Taiwan relationship too will be an outcome of the state of India-China relationship.

Which brings me to the next question – What is the current state of the India-China relationship?

Well .. does that really need an answer?

China has been our neighbour ever since they invaded Tibet in 1950. Ever since then, they have been an excellent example of a BAD neighbour.

I’ll be glad to be corrected on the above statement!

I think this tweet below sums up the current India-China relationship perfectly.

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The Paranoid Republic of China is NO ONE’S friend. They will act nice if you kowtow. Else they WILL do all in their powers to undermine you.

Period.

As far as India goes, they have been shielding the terrorist Masood Azhar at every international forum. They have been dumping cheap goods in our markets, undermining our own manufacturing industry.

Heck, they provided the NUCLEAR BOMB to Pakistan!

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Oh, and did I tell you that they also provided missiles to Pakistan to deliver those nukes to India?

Well they did!

How else would Pakistan – a country that didn’t even manufacture ball bearings at that time, get a missile programme all of a sudden?! (State Department Issued Public Notice of MTCR Sanctions Against China.)

So, is it time for a reboot of India’s relationship with China?

I’d say, YES it is.

We are in the midst of a massive ‘Manthan‘ these days. In fact the entire world is.

All thanks to the #CCPVirus.

Indian economy is staring at another 1991 type moment today – both in terms of challenges as also, opportunities. Given the recent announcements by the Finance Minister, the changes expected in the coming months are not merely expected to stem the downfall, but instead, to unshackle it all over again and establish India as a major manufacturing hub, unburdened by antiquated laws.

Herein also lies a hint in what the Prime Minister said – Aatmanirbhar Bharat!

For all those who care to listen, it also means saying NO to cheap, CCP subsidized Chinese imports that are killing our own industry.

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Thing is, that this blog post of mine might actually be a bit too late, and a reset of India-China relations might already be well and truly underway.

Hints too are everywhere.

Trump has well & truly shaken up the ‘normal’. And to compliment him, there is a GOI with an immense popular mandate as well!

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Now since I said that ‘hints are everywhere’, does that mean our friends, the Chinese too are listening to it?

I’d say yes they are.

So how do they react?

Well, you may want to revisit this tweet again!

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Recent transgressions on the LAC do point to an arm-twisting kind of a tactic in order to warn India to stay away from the US-China spat. Such transgressions have happened earlier too, most prominently when Emperor Xi ‘Winnie The Pooh’ Jinping visited Gujarat some years ago. 

So, to that end, it could still be dismissed as mere posturing.

But then, via their commie proxies in Nepal, they opened up another front – a non-existent border dispute at Lipulekh Pass.

Do you still think this is mere posturing?

Well, I don’t.

To me, it seems that the Chinese have already fired a shot across our bow.

What makes me say this?

It is THIS statement by the Chinese representative in New Delhi that made be take note!

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And he says it with a straight face, no less, even as his army gets into fisticuffs with ours on the borders!

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A popular saying about ‘actions and words’ comes to my mind!

Bottomline: The world is rapidly realigning.

Non alignment in this time and age might not be an option.

Heck, it might not even be advisable since we might have more to lose than gain if we stand aside!

Just as the Lord knew that Mahabharat was inevitable, despite he himself taking the Pandavas’ offer of peace in lieu of five villages to the Kauravas, so is this new and upcoming New World Order.

To stand aloof is NOT going to be an option this time round.

Especially when India stands to gain perhaps the maximum out of a PRC cut down to size. I wrote a BLOG on what I foresee coming in the coming weeks and months, less than two weeks ago.

Dare I say, things are already moving that way.

Do have a look at the above quoted blog post whenever you get the time!

What might be the first shot, remains to be seen.

For all we know, it might be forthcoming at the WHO in a matter of a few hours from right now (Coalition of 62 nations backs Australia’s push for COVID-19 probe)

Disagree with me on the W.H.O thing?

Well, that’s your choice.

But I did notice that Chairman Xi Jinping postponed a major CCP event that was about to happen at about the same time.

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Do tell me again why he is not spooked!

Guess why the Chinese are so angry with Australia for asking for an independent probe into the origin of the coronavirus pandemic?

Do they feel threatened?

If not, then why are they lashing out?

Heck, there is already talk in the USA of an alternative grouping in lieu of the W.H.O in case they do not desist from doing Chinese bidding. Just see this video at about the 1:15 mark!

Like I said in the beginning of this blog post, it STILL might not begin at the W.H.O, but happen it will!

If not this week then maybe the week after.

If not at the W.H.O, then at the economic front.

But happen it will!

Why do I get the feeling that a reset of relationship with Taiwan will form an inescapable part of this upcoming showdown?

Not just by the US, but by India as well?

If not full diplomatic recognition, then maybe a vote in their favour over China?

Food for thought, no?

Yes, Taiwan’s map of China claims Arunachal Pradesh. But will that really matter in case China itself retreats from Tibet?

Yes, I know it is a long shot, but not entirely impossible.

In any case, whom would you prefer as a neighbour when it comes to resolving a boundary dispute – an intensely dogmatic communist regime that simply will NOT listen to reason, or a democratic nation who is open to negotiations?

Remember the enclaves swap with Bangladesh some years ago?

As I wind up this blog post, all I will say that time has come to bite the bullet, either which way. It is nothing short of a ‘Dharm Yudhh’ that faces us and the rest of the world.

Yes, the ‘Manthan’ that I talked about above WILL throw up poison as well, before the nectar.

But it will happen regardless of we being part of the Manthan or not.

We should be prepared to deal with the poison, in order to get to the nectar eventually.

The more people there are to share the poison, the better it will be, no?

Even if it is in the form of a vote in favour of Taiwan, if not an outright diplomatic recognition, all I’ll say is Bring It On!

We should not, in fact we CANNOT sit this one out.

Period.

TOILET – EK (PAKISTANI) PREM KATHA

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What I have learnt / observed after about a decade plus of my experience with social media that what you see above is this the favourite ‘comeback’ of Pakistanis, regardless of what begins a ‘discussion’ with these folks, especially when their views are NOT solicited in any case!

Though this sample is yet another Pakistani who has made it to my muted accounts’ list, I thought I’d indulge this one just a tad bit more.

The buggers across the border seem to be a bit too overtly infatuated with the state of access to toilets in India. To be fair, there did use to be some merit in this line of thought till about five years ago, no doubt.

Till the previous Govt of India built 100million+ toilets, that is!

Yes, mindsets will take still a bit more time to change, but change they will. More so once each and every household gets piped water as planned by the current Govt of India.

But then, who will tell the yahoos inhabiting the lands to our West is the moot question.

Another question is that of living in glass houses and YET choosing to change clothes with lights on!

HERE is a report from one of their own newspapers quoting a figure – A figure of 41 MILLION Pakistanis without access to toilets. A figure that is almost TWENTY PERCENT of their reported population!

But Nope.

They will continue to be infatuated with us poor Indians, despite the 110 million toilets constructed in the last five years!

Let me spend some more time with the report above.

So Wikipedia tells me that Lahore is a city of more than 11 million people. YET, they only have 21 public toilets in the city!!

Yes TWENTY ONE ONLY!!

And most of them are plain filthy.

I didn’t say it. Their own newspapers report it!

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But No!

NO Pakistani defecates in the open as per these ostriches.

To top it, they also get magical powers to see Indians across the border lined up on railway tracks!

In addition, they will just not tell you that 125,000 of their children die each year due to diarrhea before reaching the age of five. Read this and weep, dear reader, for a country that is unable to control diarrhea deaths. (HERE is the link to a Pakistani newspaper reporting these figures, in case you have any doubts)

Not only that, they are content to report that the number of deaths have remained stagnant over the years, instead of going down – something which a proactive government and a somewhat ‘normal’ citizenry would have ensured!

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Of course the glass house dwelling Pakistani will point fingers at India as well.

Well, India, with more than six times the population, has fewer number of diarrhea related deaths for children under the age of five.

And what’s more, the absolute numbers for India too have been declining steadily over the years, reducing by 52% in the last one decade itself! (LINK)

I’m sure ‘friends’ from across India’s Western borders will be glad that they have beaten India in yet another statistic. Kudos to them all!

Oh, and the above report also contains a V.E.R.Y interesting statistic about access to sanitation India. I’ll just leave a screenshot for the benefit of our Pakistani ‘friends’ who are still stuck in the past, of course without blinkers that prevent them from seeing their own sorry state!

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But then, what are a few hundred thousand children dead for a country which not only brought back Polio – a disease eradicated from much of the civilized world, but also actively hunts down its own people trying to immunize its children against it, right? But this is a topic for some other day.

Let me, for the time being, take you back to the screenshot above. 

Why, you ask?

Well, because here is a comparative statistic – 52% Pakistanis lack access to sanitary facilities compared to 19.35% Indians! (HERE is a Pakistani report giving the statistic of 52%)

Oh, and another interesting nugget of info reported by their own press – 79 Million lack access to a decent toilet! (LINK – 79m Pakistanis still lack a decent toilet: report)

BUT .. despite all those new toilets constructed, India still needs to be mocked, because, well Ostriches continue to live in the past!

Of course, with 60% of the population living at less than $2/day, it is better to look outside for solace, no? (LINK – Why poverty hasn’t reduced significantly in Pakistan)

Hence the India bogey!

But what they forget is that India is well on its way to add a Pakistan (economically of course), to its GDP every year within the next 3-4 years!

And with Pak GDP growth rate just about equal to or even less than the population growth rate and about to fall further in the wake of the current #CoronaVirus mess & with govt revenues falling short of even the yearly debt servicing commitments, well, point fingers at India!

Here are some statistics from the Beggar-in-Chief himself.

The Pakistani PRIME MINISTER himself says that 55% Pakistanis don’t have access to a toilet. I guess being a nuclear power with a bloated military budget covers up for it, right?

And here’s some more on the toilet saga in Pakistan, once again straight from the Prime Minister.

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I know this is a very dark chain of thoughts, but then it just had to be laid out here in the fashion I have done, even if for nothing else than just archiving facts to counter the nonsensical propaganda from across.

Poverty is indeed the biggest challenge. As an Indian I know it all too well. And I do NOT mock others’ poverty, especially when my own country still has far to go.

But then, some folks just need this treatment. 

First set your OWN house in order and only THEN point fingers at mine, especially when my own economy is doing way better than yours, and better than almost everyone else’s in this world despite the myriad economic challenges.

A CONSPIRACY THEORY!

Folks, moving on from THIS blog that was posted about two weeks ago, let me share some ‘wild’ conspiracy theories about what I see happening in the coming few months.
Once again, writing on the go, so let’s see how this chain of thoughts goes!

Firstly, let me share with you all what triggered this chain of thoughts.
It was the tweet by Trump that the Chinese would be happy to see him lose the upcoming elections. Here is a screenshot of the tweet : 

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Now this is B.I.G
Here is a sitting President of USA openly insinuating that China is the enemy as far as his re-election bid goes.
Let me just say that such a statement means that he is committed to make China lose in order to win his upcoming re-election bid in about six months. 

Is this a ‘spur of the moment’ tweet? I’d say not. Reason – The politician in him knows that there is widespread anger & disgust against China, thanks to the fiasco that their mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent attempts at ‘managing’ the public perception that actually backfired, thanks to their high-handed attempts. Did a short thread on Twitter about that as well. May have a look HERE, if interested.

So coming back to this blog, what does it mean, going ahead.

A constituency already exists which will endorse anything he does against China. And this cuts across political affiliations amongst the American electorate. What I foresee is a number of events in the coming few months that will, in all probability, make relatively recent US-China Trade War pale in comparison. Yes, this is likely to happen within the next few months, or even in a matter of weeks since timing it to pay dividends during the upcoming election won’t be a bad idea either!

Once again, remember, the US Presidential election is ONLY about six months hence. Another thing that underscores this belief of mine is the relatively speedily moving chain of events / statements from people in the know.

Sharing some screenshots here (For your eyes only!)

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Go through the screenshots in the above thread again.
Fairly routine, no – blaming China and blah blah blah?
Or are they?
Yup, look again!
THIS is the one that caught my eye when it appeared on my TL! 

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Did the US just call for junking the ‘One China Policy’, adherence to which is COMPULSORY if you want the Chinese to ‘oblige’ you by doing business with you?
Well, looks like the US Mission in UN just took the wind out of the sails of the ‘One China Policy’!

This is H.U.G.E

An interesting nugget of info – Till 1971, it was the Republic of China (or Taiwan) that held the permanent UN Seat along with the Veto, which was thereafter given to the Peoples Republic of China after the Nixon-Kissinger led détente with Mao.

But .. coming back to the four screenshots shared above. Here is another one.

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Why this tweet?

Because the phrase “Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!” actually spurred the breaking down of the Berlin Wall & subsequent break-up of the USSR.

Talk about signalling, eh?

So, signalling apart, what is it that the USA under Trump can actually do to China?
Well, I’d say there is a lot that can be done.
It can range all the way from tariff increases to throwing out all Chinese companies and businesses from the US!

I understand if you say I am daydreaming outlandish dreams. I won’t fault you for that. Remember, I used the words ‘Conspiracy Theories’ in the very beginning of this blog!

So, back to my flights of fancy!

Remember, America just announced a stimulus package of TWO TRILLION dollars to jump-start its economy. The question is, where does this money come from?

Of course, they can simply print away in their dollar printing presses, no?

OR ..

They can seek reparations from China?
Just like a few other countries are already doing, no?
In fact, they are already in the process of doing so, by the way of lawsuits already filed in US courts or in the process of being filed!

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Do you still think it is mere signalling and hot air?
Think again.
If it were merely so, why would China be spooked like hell?
Why would Shri Hu Xijin, the de-facto social media mouthpiece of the CCP make this ‘not so veiled’ counter-threat?
What does he know that we don’t?

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And more importantly, what does China have to lose in the midst of this all?

Let us see ..

(A) 1.1 TRILLION dollars worth of American debt that they have purchased by the way of American treasury bonds.

(B) (Well, do you need any more examples after the above one?!)

The question now is .. Will He Do It?

My counter question to that is .. WHY WON’T HE?

What does he have to lose, huh, except a second term as the President of the USA?

You do the Math!

There are already talks about removing sovereign immunity of China in US, remember?

Would China react?

Of course they would!

Chairman Xi ‘Winnie The Pooh’ Jinping wouldn’t want to be sent to a re-education camp, would he?

‘coz that is exactly what will happen since he is already mightily weakened within! (If you don’t believe me, start by reading THIS piece)

To top it, his ‘defeat’ in the recent US-China trade war hasn’t done him any favours either!

Now, top that with the COVID-19 and the attendant negative press and you get my drift, right?

Btw, speaking of Xi Jinping, here is what I tweeted some weeks ago! 

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But then, when it comes to a matter of life and death, can China afford NOT to react?
They did react in whatever way they could during the trade war.

But to what end?

Bottomline – They have no counter leverage on the US.

But, what is to say that things will only stay confined to economic realm?
A dying empire of an emperor who has everything to lose will simply HAVE to thrash out, even if in sheer impotence. Here one needs to look at recent happenings in South China Sea as well!

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(HERE is the link to the tweet above, for those interested)

What bolsters my belief is the fact that the US is rapidly reclaiming the space it had to unwillingly cede to China due to its Navy getting laid low on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Heck, USS Nimitz is already on its way to the SCS!

Here’s some more food for thought, btw!

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Btw, Taiwan too is moving in to play the game.

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They’ve waited long enough for the day they achieve their manifest destiny. To them I’d say, time is nigh!
One wouldn’t be surprised to see Taiwan actually end up in the UN at about this time next year!

Bottomline – The China dream is over. Their dreams of playing the big brother to the rest of the world will not fructify. They still have NO idea about how much bad press they have accumulated for themselves in eyes of practically each and every common citizen of the free world.

The hubristic and autocratic CCP have failed spectacularly in failing to recognize that people outside of their control won’t simply roll over and believe whatever propaganda they dish out.

And then, they seek to interfere in democratic elections in the USA of all places!

Coming back to the US elections – do you also see a political masterstroke in Trump’s statement that Joe Biden is China’s preferred candidate?

Do you see what it does to Biden?

Trump has forced Biden to prove that he is NOT doing China’s bidding, atleast till the election day!

All in all, I foresee a repeat of the US-China trade war in the coming few weeks, only this time on steroids.

Chinese industry being chucked out – Check
Lawsuits against China – Check
Chinese assets being seized – Check
Chinese govt personnel being sanctioned – Check

Now add:
USS Nimitz transiting thru the Taiwan Strait – Who knows!
A shooting clash in the SCS – QUITE likely, I’d say
Removal of Xi Jinping by 2022 – Very likely
US recognition of Taiwan – ??

But then, this is all just a conspiracy theory / figment of my imagination, no?!

JMTs

The Post COVID-19 World

Folks, sharing some thoughts about the Post-WuhanVirus world that have been playing in my mind. Will talk about some happenings that are commonly known, without giving many links since that will be a bit too much work at this time.

Thoughts are still random and unstructured. But I hope it’ll make sense eventually.

Here goes ..

Firstly, let there be no doubt that it is a virus that has originated in China. I’ll not debate the veracity of this claim that I make, but I merely echo the general perception of the common man on the ground all across the globe when I say this.

And I stand by my opinion, regardless of what the Chinese propaganda machinery says, with its army of newly minted bots parroting the party line. Did a short thread on it on Twitter some days ago. May have a look – LINK. Will keep adding to it as well, so do keep track.

Even though the world is busy fighting the immediate fight – against the virus itself, let me offer a statement: THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT, HAS CHANGED.

Yes, plz read the above statement once again and ponder over it for a few moments.

Yes, you read it right. The world has already changed. What form this changed world takes, remains to be seen and will be apparent soon, maybe even within the next 6 to 8 months, once the immediate danger of the virus itself has passed.

The new world may find itself doing China’s bidding for all we know, or it may find China on its knees, it may see the West weaken, or even a slow motion break-up of the European Union itself, Middle-East may yet go back to desertification and Japan emerge as a manufacturing hub.

Point is, that it took world shaking events like two devastating world wars with a failed League of Nations in-between and a long and protracted Cold War to arrive at the current world order.

What we are seeing today with the Wuhan Corona Virus is nothing short of that.

In fact it is much more ‘world shaking’ than even the world wars because each and every human being KNOWS he or she is directly threatened by this virus. Chinese propaganda machinery showing all those horrific visuals from early days of lockdown in Wuhan didn’t help much either.

Which brings me to the role of China itself. Be it a lab-manufactured virus, or something that happened naturally, or whatever that guy from the WHO parrots, fact remains that it was first observed in China and it is from there that it has travelled to virtually every corner of the world.

However, with China more or less shut down in months of Jan-March 2020, the world realized one thing – putting all your eggs in a single (manufacturing) basket had a lot of unforeseen repercussions in terms of a virtual stoppage in a lot of critical supply chains. And then, thanks to their early exposure (or a pre-prepared vaccine as some speculate), China was amongst the first few of the majorly affected countries that brought the situation somewhat under control and with much fanfare, restarted her factories.

There was hope, until the Chinese revealed their ultimate weapon – the Middle Kingdom Syndrome.

They went ballistic with their ‘anger’ at the much justifiable backlash at their own mishandling of the issue in the very initial days.

Surprised, anyone?

I for one, am not!

There were reports that the quintessential Godless businessmen that the Chinese are, they were demanding that their crown jewel, Huawei be given the go-ahead for establishing 5G networks in countries such as Britain and France, before they would supply life saving equipment in terms of thermometers, PPEs, masks, gloves etc.  

It was nothing less than a hostage situation, with lives of humans at stake, that China had created.

The ‘barbarians’ had no choice but to kowtow, they thought.

But the hubristic Middle Kingdom was shocked to its core when it realized that not only were the ‘barbarians’ NOT kowtowing to its ruler, but instead they were accusing the Middle Kingdom itself for being .. well .. the Middle Kingdom!

There were reports that countries were not buying into the Middle Kingdom’s demands of giving their strategic 5G networks to Huawei. Britain was mulling officially barring Huawei. France had rejected the aid offer linked with Huawei.

The Middle Kingdom was suddenly in uncharted territory – it was not getting what it was demanding! They unleashed their army of social media warriors under their own Propaganda-in-Chief, Lijian Zhao, who himself had learnt the art of ‘Fifth Generation Warfare’ while in Pakistan not so long ago!

In addition, came a glut of ‘compliant’ articles on much of the world’s more ‘respected’ media houses. Then there were the Chinese diplomats who too did their bit by trying their darnedest best in the freedom of speech in their own host countries, leading at times to unforeseen results, to which I am sure, many heads would have rolled, mostly figuratively, but also atleast some literally, trying to figure out a counter. My personal favourite is THIS one by the Daily Telegraph in Australia. Do read.

Of course the Middle Kingdom had to reply to this ‘insult’ by the ‘barbarians’ and their free press. So they submitted an article in rebuttal. Sadly, the good folks at the Daily Telegraph subjected the letter thru their own version of a Chinese censor and THIS is what came out!

Daily Telegraph Australia

Bottomline: The world beyond their borders and except their one and only ‘true’ friend, Pakistan was simply NOT in a mood to buy their bullshit anymore. They were literally clutching at the straws out here. There was even a tweet by an official Chinese handle quoting a Pakistani ‘expert’ who claimed that the virus didn’t originate in China. Clearly, it wasn’t working. Not very long thereafter, a Danish newspaper published this:

Danish Newspaper China Virus

So the Chinese decided to go on a different tract. There were soon photos of Chinese origin relief material being shipped all over the world. Even Jack Ma, a prized asset of the CCP, posed in front of one such consignment and tweeted about it.

However, almost immediately, commenced reports of Chinese equipment being substandard and unusable at best, and even deliberately wrongly calibrated at worst. There were reports of Chinese factory owners deliberately manufacturing thermometers that gave wrong readings, in order to ensure that the disease spread far and wide in countries that had dared to call off their bluff. I remember this particularly in reference to a bunch of thermometers sold by China to the USA.

A lot of countries raced to recall such equipment – masks, thermometers etc from their populace, in order to prevent further acceleration in the spread of the disease.

As if this was not enough, now came the reports of racial profiling and consequent attacks on African citizens in China, blaming them for the disease. A tonne of such videos went viral.

Bottomline: China has well and truly gone about accumulating a lot of bad karma from everyone, right from governments of the world to the average citizens on the streets.

This is bound to come back to bite them, once the dust settles.

They know it too.

And are rattled.

With good reason.

Because they can already see it starting to happen. There is ever growing talk of moving manufacturing out of China. But this talk this time is different from similar talks a few months earlier. Where earlier, in the early days of the pandemic, people were only concerned with creating redundancies in case of a similar disruption in future, this time they are pursuing it with far more vigour due to pure disgust with the way China has mishandled the entire thing.

On that note, I’ll just leave this tweet here to underline what I mean.

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In their hubris of appearing squeaky clean, the Chinese have only damaged themselves more.

The repercussions are already manifesting slowly. Japan has announced monetary incentive for its companies to relocate from China. Other countries too, are already doing the same.

Not just content with moving their businesses out, there are countries who are already seeing calls to re-evaluate their very relationship with China once the immediate danger has passed. How these things pan out in future will be an interesting thing to watch.

Here is what I foresee.

China WILL lash out before letting any such thing happen.

We have already seen them try to take advantage of this situation economically, as well as geopolitically because right now they are in a relatively better position than the rest of the world.

On the economic front, they are out to make a killing in terms of prices of APIs that are immensely critical in pharma manufacturing, to outrightly going and buying major stakes in companies all over the world.

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On the strategic front, their activities in the South China Sea have increased manifold, including the sinking of a Vietnamese boat a few weeks ago. This particular event might have been triggered by the knowledge that the US naval presence too was stressed by the virus outbreak.

But .. and this is a big question .. what happens when the rest of the world gets its act together?

A LOT of manufacturing will have moved out, including that of the APIs on which China had created a virtual monopoly. Chinese investment is already being subjected to immense scrutiny and in some cases, a blanket rejection in order to prevent predatory takeovers of key industries by many countries.

Jumping a few months ahead, it is safe to say that the Chinese economy will be amongst the MOST affected ones, globally, with immense contraction coming their way. Remember, this pandemic will only accelerate the process already put into motion by the recent US-China trade war.

On the strategic front, once the world recovers, it will make good efforts to recover the ground it has had to cede to the Middle Kingdom. It may not be a far fetched theory if one says this time round there might actually be a shooting war, even if localized, in the South China Sea, esp once the US Navy moves back in. Heck, things are already being put into motion even as I type this.

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Now just imagine in case Shri Donald Trump wins the upcoming election in the US, what might be prioritize, esp after publicly calling out China as the origin of the virus and about their predatory moves in the midst of the pandemic.

Let me add that his chances of a victory seem even greater now even if for one single reason that his opponent is not getting even 1% of the airtime that he is getting as he leads his country in the fight against the pandemic. Feel free to disagree on this, but I stand by it.

Then there is the Middle East. Given that they and OPEC were already stressed financially due to Russia, I for one would NOT want to be in their shoes at this point in time, given the way oil prices are crashing! The welfare states that they created will soon come crumbling down. Call it Karma for all the evils that the export of toxic ideology from their lands brought to the world, but what was in any case being foreseen as their future about two decades hence, seems to have been advanced by atleast a decade, if not more.

As regards Russia, I’ll say that in the long run they will see off this pandemic relatively better than many, in terms of economics as well as strategically, esp when the realignment of geopolitical and geo-economic alliances takes place. Mark my words.

Coming on to the EU, it was an artificial construct in the first place (my personal opinion. Feel free to disagree) and was already in some stress. What this pandemic has done is to stress it further, coming as it does, bang in the middle of Brexit! Who would have imagined even a few weeks ago that the famed free borders of EU would still NOT stop countries from seizing relief material / medical supplies meant for fellow EU countries, for use by themselves? But it happened! Germany did it. As did Turkey, for that matter (LINK).

The EU will see internal differences get magnified in the medium term. Whether or not it survives in its current form is anyone’s guess, but I personally feel it will change demonstrably.

Now about India.

I see this pandemic and its aftermath as an opportunity which, if exploited tactfully, will help improve her geopolitical standing as well as economy. As it is, India is stated to be perhaps the ONLY major world economy which will post a positive GDP growth for this financial year, even if it is less than 1.5 percent. Remember, this, when China and the US will CONTRACT by more than 5% each.

Dare I say, with a LOT of manufacturing due to move out of China, if played right, India will gain much more of this than South-East Asia. Let’s wait and watch how it goes.

But what I am more interested in seeing is how the geopolitical environment changes in India’s case.

The biggest factor in this, IMO, is a China that is not only majorly weakened economically / geopolitically, but also facing AWAY from India, as it grapples with the US and rest of the Western world.

With Chinese economy contracting and thereafter growing slower than what has been the norm, it WILL mellow them down across the Himalayan borders, atleast in the short term.

This is partly due to the increased focus of West on China, as also due to the fact that India has so far played a very benign role as compared to the rest of the world when it comes to calling out China for its role in creating this entire mess.

Call it a masterstroke, or call it naivete on part of India, but fact remains that China doesn’t have much to complain about as far as the Govt of India goes. Heck, the GOI even ordered PPEs and other such equipment from China. That a bulk of it was found to be faulty did not come as a surprise. But even if unintended, it further weakens China’s case against castigating India!

smita prakash

Coming on to the other end of our borders, to Pakistan, well no one knows how they are coping, except the celebrations that are currently underway at getting a six odd month or so worth of waiver at repaying their loans as well as some fresh loans to ‘fight’ the pandemic.

Pakistan went from begging India for help (remember the Shahid Afridi / Shoaib Akhtar episodes?) to showing their true colours when they realized that no free monies from India were going to come their way.

After waiting for a few days to see if a few crumbs get thrown their way, the Pakistani President and the Prime Minister came back to their usual rants about Kashmir and Modi and India.

Then there is the Pakistan Army – fighting the pandemic in their own way – by sending in more terrorists our way from across the LoC. Not just that, in ‘anticipation’ of the upcoming FATF review in June, they have even taken off nearly 50% of the names from their own terror watch list!(LINK)

Talk about making hay when the world isn’t watching!

However, the situation out there needs to be monitored in great detail, because they themselves have no idea as to what their own state of exposure to the virus is. One can imagine the social unrest that comes their way in case the virus indeed goes viral out there.

And given the way that the Govt of Pakistan is (NOT) dealing with it, there is a very good chance of this actually happening. What happens there in case it does happen?

Well, one thing that surely comes to mind is a full blown refugee crisis on our borders.

In fact, this is something that I feel even the Brown Panted Ones in Rawalpindi must be gaming, if not done already.

Now the question is, how does someone deal with such a situation? We’ve already seen a sample at the Greek-Turkey border recently (Once again, EU Unity, anyone?)

In our case, however, we will most definitely have the usual suspects crying themselves hoarse over the ‘inhuman’ Govt of India and give it a communal colour, in case such ‘refugees’ are stopped at our borders.

So what is the answer then?

Do we create refugee camps ACROSS their borders?

Food for thought, no?

I’ll not delve much on that for the time being, though.

What I am looking at, is the fact that a weak China and a Pakistan virtually on the brink of default with a Saudi Arabia / UAE etc UNABLE to park free and surplus dollars into their banks to ‘shore’ their finances. Top it up with drastically reduced remittance from their workforce in the middle east as they themselves stare at empty coffers and you will get my drift.

Then their is their ‘all weather’ ally, China, who is itself going to be ‘under the weather’ for a long time, and the situation isn’t exactly worth the celebrations that they are having at the mere deference of loan repayments.

A Pakistan in this state is vulnerable as well as dangerous. Herein lies a challenge as well as an opportunity for India. Once again, I’ll leave the rest to your imagination, without delving much into it at this moment.

What I am getting at is that once the immediate danger is past, India will see a lot of (relatively) weakened states in near and far neighbourhood – right from China to Saudi Arabia. It is going to be a tricky tightrope that we will need to walk in order to maximize gains and minimize losses.

Chanakya’s Raj Mandal Theory comes to mind. Do google it in case not aware.

THIS is the time to put it to good use.

THIS is the time, it WILL manifest itself even if we don’t make many efforts to that end.

The future I foresee is one of great turbulence, lasting for atleast half a decade. This turbulence may not always translate into a protracted shooting war, but it most definitely will see localized military engagements.

This turbulence will also see the global economy as we know it, turn on its head. It will see a near and far neighbourhood – both regional and global – that will test the limits of our own diplomatic, military as well as economic heft.

We have absolutely no option but to be prepared for it.

Before this new decade is over, one wouldn’t be surprised to see the realignment of more than just a few borders the world over, own neighbourhood included.

At the cost of repetition, I’ll once again say that India is one of the few countries that stand to gain much.

Of course, it will mean short term pain as well. But that is any day preferable to long term pain, just as a few weeks of lockdown is preferable to a pandemic running wild in our societies.

The best part about this future is that we don’t have an option to avoid it!

It is best that we prepare ourselves for what it to come – the pain, as well as the goodies. Dare I say, I already see a few steps being taken in that direction. All I hope is to see the momentum build up further and then sustain over a long term.

The 5 Trillion dollar economy may come in 2027 instead of 2025, but come it will. And it will be a much more matured economy than what we have today, if we play it well.

The neighbourhood too, that has been in the grip of the ‘String of Pearls’, will soon see the hollowness of the Chinese model and at worst, become neutral once again.

Thanks for bearing with me over this long blog post. I end it with a silent prayer for all those who’ve died in this pandemic.

As far as China goes, let me just add this tweet to from seven years ago to this blog:

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And this one as well:

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On the US-Taliban Deal

Carrying on from this tweet, let me share some thoughts on the recently concluded US-Taliban deal. What I write below is just my observations / opinions. Feel free to disagree.

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Firstly, is this deal a sign that America has lost the war?

Well, many people say it is. Let me, however, offer a different point of view.

If America has indeed lost, who is it that has won this war?

Is it the Taliban? Is it Pakistan? Or is it someone else?

Let’s see ..

Taliban – Some ppl might say that they have won. But then, given the run-up to this deal when they couldn’t initially agree as to who will be the delegates representing the Taliban, leading to the postponement of the talks on atleast one occasion, I can only say that I look forward to the post America future of Afghanistan with increasing scepticism.

Till such time there was a common enemy to be fought, they stayed more or less together, though with a number of factions having their own geographical areas of influence which they guarded zealously even as they went about fighting the Americans. Now with the Americans soon to be gone, and suddenly so much more at stake, it is anybody’s guess as to how they will try and jockey for favourable positions with respect to the self appointed king makers.

Who are these self-appointed king makers, you asked?

Well, the Brown Panted ones sitting in Rawalpindi, of course!

They must be salivating at the laurels coming their way after defeating ‘yet another’ superpower, just like they ‘defeated’ the USSR in the 80s!

Which brings me to the question whether it is Pakistan that has won this war.

Well, they do come close to being the ones who have ‘won’. The simple reason for this being that they will get yet another opportunity to place yet another friendly regime in Afghanistan.

But .. the biggest question here is ‘Will they get an opportunity to install another friendly regime in Kabul at all?’

Feel free to ponder over that for a bit.

Firstly, let us see what constitutes a ‘friendly’ regime in Kabul from a Pakistani perspective. Quite simply, it is the Taliban who are under the thumb of Pakistan Army, who will gladly be their proxies when it comes to drug-running and exporting terror.

But more than that, they need the Taliban for what they are really meant to do – keep India away from Afghanistan, regardless of all the goodwill and all the humanitarian work that India has done for the Afghans. THIS is what their concept of ‘strategic depth’ is all about.

But then, given the recent statements from the Taliban leadership about India, this time round it may be a difficult thing to achieve, PROVIDED the Taliban manage to bomb their way to Kabul in the first place like they did in the ‘good old 90s!’

Somehow I find this prospect of a military takeover of Kabul a highly unlikely outcome.

90s were a very different world from what exists today. Even then, despite all economic and international diplomatic pressures, India was a steady supplier to the Northern Alliance. Today, with a $3 Trillion strong economy and much more ground presence by the way of humanitarian developmental projects executed over the last two decades or so and a more robust foreign police coupled with a friendly USA, not just the ethnic Tajiks but even the Taliban are more likely to accommodate Indian interests than was the case in the 90s. Plus the history of Balakot (will write another blog on that in the next couple of days, btw) and other not-so publicized military slaps on Pakistan Army, Indian influence is bound to be a viable countervail to Pakistani pressures.

Remember, even in the 90s, the Taliban had STILL refused to recognize the Durand Line as the international boundary between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Talking about the Durand Line, I’ll just leave this tweet here 🙂

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This is another reason Pakistan always looks to have a pliant government in Kabul – The natural / historical border between present day Pakistan and Afghanistan is not the Durand Line, but the Indus River. On that note, I’ll just leave the screenshot of another tweet here as well:-

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Moving on, it is fair to assume that Pakistanis will be going to town celebrating the defeat of yet another superpower. Heck, that has already started, in fact!

But, there are still 14 months to go.

And this is an American establishment which has seen Pakistani perfidy first hand, mind you. An American President starting a new year with these thoughts says a lot.

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Yes, he might be withdrawing from Afghanistan, but if I were a Pakistani, I would be very cautious celebrating this withdrawal.

Why, you asked?

Well, because it will remove perhaps the ONLY leverage Pakistan has over the USA at present.

Yup. Let that sink in for a moment.

And even when Pakistan had this leverage, Americans freely droned the hell out of the Taliban in ‘sovereign’ Pakistani territory, as also killed dozens of their troops as well.

Now imagine an America that is NOT beholden to Pakistan for logistics supplies to Afghanistan!

Remember the difficult days that Pakistan faced once the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in the 80s?

Here’s what it was like – The Pressler Amendment, withheld F-16s that were already paid for, economic sanctions and basically, utter neglect of a terror breeding country by the USA.

You get my drift, right?

Let me now offer another chain of thoughts about the Americans withdrawing.

The moot question is Do They Even Need to be in Afghanistan?

They’ve killed Osama Ji a long time ago. Their homeland is much more secure today than it was pre 9/11.

IS IT STILL AMERICA’S WAR?

What Afghanistan is today, and what it might be 14 months hence, will still be a big improvement over what it was on September 11, 2001.

You may read the above statement of mine once more.

It is also brought out in the text of the agreement wherein the USA “commits to facilitate discussions between Afghanistan and Pakistan to work out arrangements to ensure neither country’s security is threatened by actions from the territory of the other side”

Understandably, Pakistan is jittery! So much so that they are already issuing ‘not so subtle’ threats to Afghanistan! Mind you, this is the same Pakistan that gets orgasmic everytime the USA hints at ‘mediating’ between Indian and Pakistan on Kashmir!

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Now tell me that Pakistan will NOT be playing a spoilsport in the US troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan just as it did when they were actually fighting there, and I will show you a white marble building in Agra that I wish to sell to you!

This is where the next 14 months become very critical. Any party not happy with the withdrawal of US troops can potentially be a game-spoiler by precipitating an incident or two whereby the Americans get involved for a bit longer. And such parties include Pakistan as well.

In any case, the 14 month period can be divided into two parts – pre and post US Presidential elections. Heading towards elections, the current US President would like to ensure things move ahead smoothly.

And in case he comes back for a second term (something that looks quite likely), well, all gloves will be off. In case the situation so demands, a small America force might still stay behind in Afghanistan. Trump would STILL want his troops to be out, however, especially since he is now committed to it. That would mean carrots (as in the current deal with Taliban) as well as sticks, as needed.

Pakistanis might celebrate all that they want, for now. That their new godfather, China, is a very rich fellow, also encourages them to some extent, no doubt.

But China is no America, especially when it comes to simply throwing away money! 

If CPEC is any indicator, Pakistan will soon find itself in an even tighter hug of death with China, and with no other friends / benefactors to lean upon.

To that end, China might be a party that gets to benefit the most – a new colony in the form of Pakistan, and access to the vaunted mineral wealth of Afghanistan!

But then, that is a topic for discussion some other day. For the time being, let me talk about implications on India.

We already have a template from the 90s as to what might be the impact. Once the Taliban captured Kabul in the 90s, the Pakistani terror exports to Kashmir saw a qualitative change with more and more Afghans and even a few fighters from other Arab / African countries landing up. On the above note, I’ll just leave this tweet from a few days ago over here (LINK). Do click on it and check out some of the replies as well.

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These were the ‘surplus stock’ from the terror factory feeding the Afghan Jihad, no doubt, but the Indian Army made sure that they didn’t make it out of Kashmir alive.

Much of the terror training too was ‘outsourced’ by Pakistan to the Taliban, as well as the al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Remember the cruise missiles that Bill Clinton sent cruising via Pakistan into Afghanistan to target Osama bin Laden after the Tanzania and Kenya embassy bombings?

Amongst those killed were LeT terrorists as well as a number of ISI personnel.

Osama Ji, however, had escaped, thanks to the early warning by his Pakistani friends!

Bottomline: Expect a short term spike in terror related incidents in Kashmir as well as elsewhere in the country once the US withdrawal is well underway.

Atleast this is what conventional wisdom says, no?

But, there is a counter-point to that as well. The India of 2020 is no longer the isolated, economically weak India of 1990s. If they couldn’t do anything to us then, what makes them think they will be able to do so now?

The answer might partially lie in the Pakistani hubris and that cannot be denied. However, given the kind of ‘interaction’ that India and Pakistan have had in the non-diplomatic sense, commencing with the carpet bombing by the BSF in 2014, right upto Balakot and the subsequent downing of a PAF F-16 by and Indian MiG 21, they will surely be looking to keep things below another such flare up. In any case, it will also be in Indian interests to ensure that Pakistan acts this way.

So what happens to the ‘surplus’ terror infrastructure suddenly at hand?

Well, this is where I sense an opportunity. The Taliban act in sync with Pakistan establishment mostly because of the hold they have over their families, many of whom reside inside Pakistan. This does get frustrating for them at times. Now with an Afghan leadership (Taliban included) ‘guided’ by powers that be, quest for reuniting of Pashtun lands with Afghanistan can commence in earnest. This is a worst case scenario for Pakistan, but then, so be it. Better they fight within their borders than on mine, right?

The time is ripe for such a scenario to unfold, what with the PTM movement and the violent crackdown on it by Pakistani authorities. There still exists adequate time to put such things in motion at our end.

In any case, with the Zaranj-Delaram highway operational, Afghanistan already imports more via Iran than via Pakistan. So there goes another lever of blackmail that Pakistan had over Afghanistan in the 90s.

Now, add to that a ‘far-fetched’ hypothetical scenario wherein we have an independent Balochistan, and Afghanistan will have the means to completely bypass Pakistan when it comes to accessing the Arabian Sea!

THIS is where the duplicitous game of Pakistan can, and should be called out.

A clean US withdrawal is NOT in Pakistan’s interests. Have no doubts about this.

If that happens, why would Afghans (with the blessings of remnant US presence in whatever form) do Pakistan’s bidding?

Especially when Pakistan is a country they loathe completely?

Especially when the US administration right up to the POTUS know about the perfidious Pakistani role in the past 19 years that led to the current quagmire?

Especially when India too is a $3 Trillion economy & growing fast?

The best case scenario for Pakistan is that it is still able to extract some concessions from the US by being appointed as the gatekeepers of ‘Afghan interests’ in return for monetary ‘assistance’!

Do I see that happening?

Not quite, I’d say.

Another interesting outcome of American withdrawal that not many are talking about is the implication of the same on India’s options for punitive action in case of future Pakistani provocations. Pakistan literally got away with murder, thanks to the American war in Afghanistan that took priority over every other regional power’s national interests. A lot of doors were closed for us thanks to this, while terror export from Pakistan continued gleefully. I tweeted this some days ago as well. Here is a screenshot of that tweet:-

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So yes, regardless of who comes to power in Kabul, there will be a LOT MORE freedom for India to do what it wants to do across the LoC and even the IB. I’m sure, the powers that be, in New Delhi, must be salivating at this prospect as well.

To cap this blog, all I will say is that the USSR and the USA failed in Afghanistan because of one key reason – they didn’t crush the pipeline from Pakistan feeding their enemies.

This is what I tweeted way back in 2012. It still holds true.

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On an unrelated note, here are some thoughts I blogged on the question of India sending her troops to fill the vacuum in Afghanistan – Indian Troops in Afghanistan.
May have a look.

That the POTUS made no mention of it lately, only reinforces my point of view- India has already refused!

In the end, I’ll just leave this one year old tweet here. Remember, since Jimmy Carter, Trump remains the ONLY US President who hasn’t invaded a new country. Will he remain so in case of a second term as well? If not, which might that country be? 🙂

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Indian Troops in Afghanistan

Ok folks, so this tweet has generated quite a few reactions on my TL as well as DMs.

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In light of this, let me share my own thoughts on the topic of Indian troops for Afghanistan. Thoughts are still unstructured, but here goes!

Firstly, the question one must ask ourselves is WHY would anyone want Indian troops to help them with their own expeditionary wars.
Well, the answer to that, IMO, is two-fold.
Firstly, the sheer numbers that the Indian armed forces field could put any other army to shame.

Secondly, along with those numbers is the battle winning performance of such troops wherever they have been involved. And yes, I include Op Pawan when I make this statement. Will come back to that in a while.

So the reason why the USA would covet Indian troops to help it in Afghanistan is understandable.
But, should India be sending her troops to fight a battle in which we have hardly any stake whatsoever?
My answer – HELL NO!

Yes, I know there are folks who would disagree with me.

Let me just ask them two questions – Firstly, what would be the aim that you would give to the Indian Army in case they do end up going to Afghanistan, as you want them to?

Secondly, HOW MANY troops would you consider sufficient?

Let me take the first question first, and try and answer it with another one – What actually has been American aim in this war?

Heck, the Americans themselves no longer know what their own army is doing there!

The war started in 2001 with destruction of al Qaeda as its aim.

Then they wanted to turn Afghanistan into a democracy, something that the country had NEVER been, ever, and given its geography and culture, could never be.

Of course, they also wanted to rebuild the war-torn country simultaneously, sinking billions and billions of dollars without any plan.

Then there were those within the American administration who wanted to uplift the status of the women in Afghanistan.

There were yet others who wanted to reshape the regional balance of power between India, Pakistan, Iran and Russia.

Bottomline: There was absolutely no strategy worth the name!

To top it, they didn’t even seem to know who was the enemy that they were supposed to be fighting!

Was it al Qaeda?
Was it Taliban?
Or was it Pakistan?

Wait, Pakistan?

But weren’t they supposed to be allies of the USA in the war, and weren’t they getting so handsomely rewarded with monies and what not, because of this?

But then, why was the Taliban always finding sanctuary inside Pakistan?
And why was Osama bin Laden found hiding in a garrison town right under the nose of the Pakistan Army?
Plus, why in the world were those logistics routes blocked for nearly six months by their ‘ally’?

Bottomline: The face of the enemy was al Qaeda, or even the Taliban, but the real enemy lived comfortably across the Durand Line, working on commands issued in Rawalpindi.

And icing on the cake?
America was paying them billions of dollars each year to kill her soldiers in Afghanistan!

So, in the end, if you have to fight Pakistan then why ask for Indian troops to go to Afghanistan of all places!

Heck, we can do a much much better job of it sitting right here along their borders in J&K, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat, no?

Ok, so in a hypothetical scenario, we do end up agreeing to send our troops to Afghanistan even without a clear cut aim and our social media warriors go gaga saying now we can ‘exert pressure’ on Pakistan from two sides.

Let us say it happens.

Now comes the question – HOW MANY troops would you want to send there!
Let me come to that in a while.
For the time being, let me leave this map here for you to ponder over.
(I know this is an old map, but do indulge me for a bit)

Image

From the map above, just visualize the relative size of the Kashmir Valley.

Yes, just this much area takes up the bulk of the 63 Rashtriya Rifles battalions that wikipedia tells me there are, to keep under effective control.

Yup, feel free to ponder over that for a while.

Or would you want the template of the IPKF to be applied in Afghanistan?

Once again, wikipedia tell me that at its peak the Indian Army had FOUR divisions + two additional brigades worth of army troops inside Sri Lanka, duly supported by the Air Force and Navy.

Yet, they were once again confined to a very small piece of geography of Sri Lanka. They fought well, but India lost the war because at the end of the day, we had no clear, unambiguous political aim.

Anyone see any similarities with the American war in Afghanistan yet?

Of course, at its peak, the Americans and their allies had more than 150,000 troops inside Afghanistan, backed by an aerial armada which not even many European countries individually could boast of.

Yet, they were never ever close to any victory.

Why?

Firstly, because they didn’t know what would define victory, since they didn’t know what or who was it that they were fighting.

Secondly, the real enemy sat comfortable across the Durand Line, getting fat on THEIR dollars!

Why Pakistan got away without war despite the Parliament Attack, the Kaluchak Massacre (Anyone remember Indian PM’s ‘Aar Paar ki Ladai’ statement) or even the Mumbai attacks?

The answer – They were key ‘ally’ in the American war in Afghanistan.

Take that!

And now when they are drawing down and bringing their own numbers to less than 10,000, you want the Indian Army to go there?

If despite such massive technological and numerical superiority the Americans couldn’t do zilch, what might even four Indian divisions aka IPKF achieve?

But Afghans are our friends, you said?

To this I’ll say it is not the Afghans we would be fighting there, it is the Pakistan Army and their terror proxies. And unlike USA, we wouldn’t have the luxury of just throwing away massive amounts of unaccounted dollars either!

Pressure on Pakistan, you said?

Well, WAKE UP, I’ll say!!

What bloody pressure on Pakistan can you exert sitting so far away from your own borders and sitting inside Afghanistan for god’s sake? Unless of course you are planning to invade Pakistan via the Khyber!

Point is, sitting in Afghanistan, you will only be dealing with Pakistani proxies and nothing else.

But wait, even if you are dreaming about the Indian Army marching victoriously through the Khyber Pass, who will be supplying them?

Yup, NOT ONE fan of sending Indian troops to Afg has yet talked about logistics!
Heck, even the Americans couldn’t quite answer that question, thanks to Pakistan!
On that note, I’ll just leave the screenshot of this 8 year old tweet of mine here to explain whatever it explains!

Capture

Yes, LOGISTICS!
And of course, money to sustain an expeditionary force in active operations!
Plus, political aim!

Now you see why I am personally not in favour?

But then, America is our friend, no? And friends deserve to be helped, especially since they hold the key to so much good that might come your way, right?

I actually agree with this wholeheartedly, especially when they have a transactional businessman guy leading them.

So what is it that can be done, you ask?

SO MUCH, I’ll say!

But it better be on our terms, or atleast on terms which will lead to mutual gain for both Indian and the USA.

To do that, all that needs to be done is to increase pressure on Pakistan!

And what better way of doing this than by being more proactive on the LoC?

Oh, wait, that is something which is already happening, right?

Well, things can always be calibrated upwards or even downwards for that matter.

All that needs to be done is to tweak the ‘game’ on the LoC by just a few notches for permanent gains, tactical or even strategic. Add to that the dire economic state that Pakistan finds itself in and you can guess how much of a spoiler they can be for the American game in Afghanistan.

The blackmailing game which Pakistan has played for so long can so easily be turned on its head that they wouldn’t know which way to run to, especially with China under extreme stress currently and the current state of their relationship with the Saudis as well.

Of course there are those who (rightly) say that we have to have a direct land route to Afghanistan via PoK / Gilgit-Baltistan before committing any troops there. But this is a discussion for some other day.

For the time being, however, I’ll be content to say that the Indian Armed Forces can help the American effort in Afghanistan from WITHIN OUR OWN BORDERS, or even a bit across from the borders, if needed.

But boots on ground in Afghanistan is only going to invite disaster, something that the Americans themselves have realized, especially with an ‘ally’ like Pakistan.
In our case, even the facade of being an ‘ally’ wouldn’t be there.
Rest I leave to your imagination.

JMTs