Relations with India not of dictation but partnership: US | WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs Relations with India not of dictation but partnership: US – WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs
Connect with us

World

Relations with India not of dictation but partnership: US

Published

on

Alice Wells

New York, Oct 22 : The United States does not dictate to India but partners with it, Acting Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells declared on Tuesday at a Congressional hearing on human rights in South Asia at which Representatives leveled caustic criticism of India’s action in Kashmir after rescinding its special constitutional status.

“This is not a relationship of dictation, it is a relationship of partnership,” she said.

She was responding to Democratic Representative Anthony Brown who suggested that the US should take economic or other measures against India on the restrictions it has placed on Kashmir.

Wells said that India, a country of 1.3 billion people, has survived four wars, the suspension of the constitution under then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, “it has survived Maoist insurgencies and insurgencies in Kashmir, and at the same time it has continue to lift people out of poverty and incrementally make advances. We respect that. So that conversation with India will continue. When we see Indian institutions have failed or responded slowly it is something that we take up but this is not a relationship of dictation, it is a relationship of partnership”.

During the hearings by the House of Representative Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific in Washington that was to cover all of South Asia, almost all of the discussions centred on India, mostly ignoring human rights issues in Pakistan as Representatives repeatedly brought up the restrictions placed by India on Jammu and Kashmir, often based on what they heard from some of their constituents with ties to Kashmir.

Wells said in her opening remarks to the subcommittee that the US welcomes “actions by the Indian government to improve the situation and address local grievances” in Jammu and Kashmir while being concerned about the detention of local political leaders and activists and the internet blackout.

But she also said that Washington was “concerned about reports of local and foreign militants attempting to intimidate local residents and business owners in order to stymie normal economic activity”.

“While conditions in Jammu and Ladakh have improved, the Valley has not returned to normal,” she said.

The US supports the Indian government’s objectives “to increase economic development, reduce corruption, and uniformly apply all national laws in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in regard to women and minorities,” she said.

However, “the Department remains concerned about the situation in the Kashmir Valley, where daily life for the nearly eight million residents has been severely impacted since August 5” when India rescinded the special constitutional status, she said.

“The Department has raised concerns with the Indian government regarding the detentions of local residents and political leaders, including three former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir,” she said, adding: “We have urged Indian authorities to respect human rights and restore full access to services, including internet and mobile networks.”

“The United States supports the rights of Kashmiris to peacefully protest, but condemns the actions of terrorists who seek to use violence and fear to undermine dialogue,” Wells said.

Overall about India, she said: “We are proud to partner with India. Its Constitution mandates a secular state that upholds the rights of all citizens to practice religion freely, freedom of expression and speech, and equal treatment before the law.”

Wells said that the US believes that Pakistan and India should resolve the Kashmir problem bilaterally.

In response to a Congressman’s remarks about the presence of 800,000 troops in Kashmir which he said amounted to one soldier for every eight Kashmiris, she said that it was a misleading characterisation because most troops were stationed along the line of control.

She said that a decline in cross-border infiltration has been noticed since the restrictions were imposed in Kashmir.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)

Middle East

UN Security Council Rejects US Proposal to Extend Arms Embargo on Iran

Published

on

By

UNSC

United Nations, Aug 15 : Isolated by its allies, the US has suffered a diplomatic defeat at the UN Security Council (UNSC) which turned down its demand to extend the arms embargo on Iran.

The setback came on Friday, a day after President Donald Trump announced a diplomatic triumph in the Middle East: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) setting up diplomatic relations with Israel in return for its freezing expansion in the West Bank.

Five of Washington’s NATO allies along with six others abstained, while China and Russia voted against the resolution to indefinitely extend the arms embargo that expires on October 18.

Only the Dominican Republic voted with the US.

The results of the remote voting that started on Thursday in the Council that is operating virtually because of the Covid-19 pandemic, was announced on Friday.

The defeat was a rebuke to the Trump administration, which unilaterally withdrew from the international agreement with Iran to end its nuclear weapons programme.

Under the 2015 agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the Council and Germany, along with the European Union, Tehran undertook to reduce the amount of uranium it enriches and cut its stockpile of enriched uranium to a level that would prevent it from making nuclear weapons, and take other steps to stop proliferation.

In return, the economic sanctions on Iran were lifted.

Turning down appeals from Washington’s European allies, Trump, however, in 2018 backed out of the deal reached by his predecessor Barack Obama and reimposed economic sanctions on Iran.

Tehran, in turn, began increasing uranium enrichment beyond the level it had agreed to.

By absenting themselves from the vote, the US allies sent a message to Trump reinforcing their opposition to his unilateral action.

Germany’s Deputy Permanent Representative Gunter Sautter said that it was committed to preserving the Iran deal and was working with Britain and France to save it despite US withdrawal and Iran’s actions rolling back the agreement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said after the vote: “The Security Council’s failure to act decisively in defence of international peace and security is inexcusable.

“We will continue to work to ensure that the theocratic terror regime does not have the freedom to purchase and sell weapons that threaten the heart of Europe, the Middle East and beyond.”

While theoretically Iran could buy and sell weapons when the embargo ends in October, the US is counting on using its economic muscle to enforce a unilateral arms embargo as it has in order to ensure that its economic sanctions were followed.

The Trump administration is also counting on the provisions in the Iran deal that would require the reimposition of sanctions if Iran exceeded the limits of uranium production set in the agreement, which it has already done.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of UAE reached an agreement to establish diplomatic relations and it is the only tangible peace development in the Middle East from the initiative overseen by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

It was driven in part by UAE’s fear of Iran and its influence in the region.

Trump said while announcing the agreement that “peace between the Arabs and the Israelis is Iran’s worst nightmare”.

The UAE will become only the third Arab country after Egypt and Jordan to exchange envoys with Israel.

It has taken 25 years since Jordan’s deal with Israel for another Arab country to follow suit.

But if Israel goes through with the agreement to give up claims on the West Bank, it could lead to other Arab and Muslim countries at odds with Iran normalising ties with Israel, potentially redrawing the region’s geopolitical map.

Continue Reading

Blog

Comment: What should India do in response to the US-China Rift?

Published

on

By

us china trade war

US President Donald Trump issued two executive orders on Thursday restricting Chinese social media networks TikTok and WeChat, on the grounds that they pose significant national security threats to the United States. These executive actions set a 45-day deadline to ByteDance, which owns TikTok, and Tencent, owner of WeChat, to sell the two platforms to American companies, or face a complete ban in the US.

ByteDance has already been in talks with Microsoft to sell the US operations of TikTok, an enormously popular video-sharing platform. Now by issuing the executive order, Trump has virtually ensured the certainty of that sale. WeChat, which is mainly used by the Chinese diaspora to communicate with their family members and friends in the mainland and make mobile payments, now faces a more uncertain future in the US.

Trump’s crackdown on TikTok and WeChat, and by extension, Chinese technology and business interests, opens up another front in the President’s on-going confrontation with China, which started with a trade war involving farming, dairy products and other American goods. More recently, the Trump administration has taken actions to restrict Huawei access in the US and the use of government funds to purchase Huawei products and services.

Does this latest phase in the Sino-American confrontation, which began on June 21 with the US ordering the closure of the Chinese consulate general in Houston, and China, in retaliation, closing the US consulate in Chengdu, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, benefit or provide an opportunity for India?

Several analysts in both Washington and New Delhi have observed that it does. It is easy to see the logic behind that argument. In restricting TikTok and WeChat, the US has merely followed India’s footsteps in banning these two and 57 Chinese apps in late June, in response to encroachments by People’s Liberation Army soldiers into Indian territory.

From a geopolitical standpoint, there is no doubt that the current US-China conflict has come at an opportune time for India, which has been engaged in multiple standoffs with China along the border in Ladakh since the beginning of this summer. It once again reinforces the convergence of security interests of India and the US on the China front.

There may be a temptation because of this to escalate the tension with China and in attempt to get concessions in Ladakh. Many armchair warriors have urged Prime Minister Modi to ally with the US and force China to the back foot, to use a cricketing term. Even though New Delhi and Washington have become closer strategic partners, especially in the past two decades, India has never openly aligned with the US on China, despite US pressure to do so.

The historic US-India civil nuclear deal, signed in 2008, was widely seen in Washington as a move to empower India as a bulwark against China. But, much to the frustration of the anti-China hawks in Washington, India has never been comfortable playing that role. This hesitancy continues till today. Notwithstanding calls by many in India and the US to do so, New Delhi has not rushed into Washington’s arms in the wake of the Galwan attack. This appears to be a quite prudent decision.

In any scenario, it is highly unlikely that the US will engage in a full-scale cold war similar to the one it waged with the erstwhile Soviet Union for much of the last half of the 20th century. China doesn’t pose any physical threat to the US, or its European allies, unlike the Soviet Union back then. Economically, the US and China are more integrated than perhaps any two large sovereign nations ever have. Besides being the source of many American goods, China also holds more than $1 trillion worth of US securities.

There is every possibility for a reset in Sino-US relations if Trump loses to Democrat Joe Biden in November. Even if Trump is re-elected, it is unlikely that he will pursue an all-out economic war with China during his second term.

Knowledgeable observers suggest that the immediate provocation for Trump’s TikTok and WeChat restrictions are not geopolitical, but domestic politics. With Covid-19 continuing to ravage the American heartland and the much anticipated US economic recovery not materializing, the President’s re-election prospects have dimmed considerably.

Having spent considerable efforts on boosting the stock market throughout his term, the economy was the primary issue Trump was planning to run on in his re-election bid. But, the impact of Covid-19 has cratered the American economy.

Indeed, the latest job report, released on Friday, revealed that more than 15 million Americans are still unemployed. And, over 30 million are receiving some type of unemployment assistance. These conditions dash any hopes for a meaningful and major economic turnaround before the November election.

In addition, Trump’s failure to develop a national plan and process to contain the spread of Coronavirus has raised serious questions among many voters about his competency. According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, nearly three-fifths of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the pandemic, and less than two-fifths approve.

Trump can never take the blame or assume responsibility for his own poor performance. In his mind, if he loses the presidency it will be solely because of China and its failure to contain the virus from spreading outside its borders. He began calling Covid-19 the “China virus” in an attempt to deflect attention from himself regarding his failed leadership in managing the response to the pandemic. This deflect and diversion tactic is classic Trump. It explains why the President has chosen the path of escalation with Beijing. It is not a deep-seated ideological or policy-based aversion to the Chinese. It is primarily a personal and politically motivated action taken as part of a re-election gambit.

Given this, India should engage in watchful waiting to see what the next move from Washington and Beijing will be and who will be elected President in the US in November. It should then determine how to proceed. And, do so with caution.

(Frank F. Islam is an entrepreneur, civic and thought leader based in Washington DC. The views expressed are personal)

Continue Reading

Disaster

Coronavirus: Global COVID-19 cases surpass 21mn: Johns Hopkins

Published

on

RUSSIA CORONAVIRUS

Washington, Aug 15 : The overall number of global coronavirus cases has surpassed the 21 million mark, while the deaths were nearing 763,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Saturday morning, the total number of cases stood at 21,066,992 and the fatalities rose to 762,997, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US accounted for the world’s highest number of infections and fatalities at 5,309,138 and 168,396, respectively, according to the CSSE.

Brazil came in the second place with 3,226,443 infections and 105,490 deaths.

In terms of cases, India ranks third (2,461,190), and is followed by Russia (910,778), South Africa (579,140), Mexico (511,369), Peru (507,996), Colombia (433,805), Chile (382,111), Spain (342,813), Iran (338,825), the UK (315,605), Saudi Arabia (295,902), Pakistan (287,300), Argentina (282,437), Bangladesh (271,881), Italy (252,809), France (249,655), Turkey (246,861), Germany (223,791), Iraq (168,290), Philippines (153,660), Indonesia (135,123), Canada (123,521), Qatar (114,532) and Kazakhstan (101,848), the CSSE figures showed.

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are the Mexico (55,908), India (48,040), UK (46,791), Italy (35,234), France (30,410), Spain (28,617), Peru (25,648), Iran (19,331), Russia (15,467), Colombia (14,145), South Africa (11,556) and Chile (10,340).

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular

Corona Virus (COVID-19) Live Data

COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.