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Indo-Pak Stalmate & The Kashmir

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The relations between India and Pakistan have always experienced the Low and High degrees with later offering strategic dialogue with full support from the People of Pakistan while the former remained aggressive showing utmost hostility and acrimony due to extremist forces within their country. The arch-rival India has never trusted Pakistan despite assurances and this mistrust has affected their bilateral relations given the existing circumstances.

The terrorism is yet another key problem that has crippled the economy of Pakistan as Pakistan has given countless sacrifices by fighting the Afghan war at the behest of America.

With extensive relations with the world especially Pakistan’s best friend China, India’s atrocities in Indian occupied Kashmir have been intensified with the passage of time. The use of Chemical weapons and widespread human rights violations, defying the UN resolutions on Kashmir valley demanding a plebiscite, the Indian aggression has infinite boundaries.

Even Indian nefarious design did not stop here; they are planning to alter the article 35A of Indian Constitution to change the status of the State of Kashmir in a bid to change the disputed status of the territory. There are widespread protests in Jammu Kashmir against such move and the leaders of Kashmir Freedom movement are either detained or put on house arrest. The Indian Supreme court is hearing the case.

The constitutional provision of article 35A does not allow people from outside the state to buy or own immovable property, seeking permanent residence, avail any state-funded scholarships or get the government jobs. It also gives power to the state legislature to define “permanent” residents. Historically, the Article 35A was added by a Presidential order to Article 370, in 1954 that applied the independent status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Recently, a Delhi-based NGO “We the Citizens” had filed the petition in the Supreme Court of India challenging the articles 35A and 370. The application argued that the above-mentioned articles were discriminatory towards the citizens from the rest of India. The Chairman Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Former Chief Minister of State of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti has warned the Indian Government that any tinkering with the aforesaid articles will result igniting violence in the valley that will be beyond the control of the security agencies.

The people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir also condemned this move and demanded from the world community to intervene and exert their pressure on India to back out from such tampering with the said provision of the Indian constitution. The Islamabad’s policy statement sent a strong message to New Delhi to refrain from such the move as Pakistan will raise this issue at UN and other International forums to win support of the world community to force India change it’s desperate trying to abrogate the articles 35A and 370 which lay the basis of Disputed Territory and stops the outsiders from buying the immovable property or seeking citizenship to turn the Muslim majority into minority through temporary settlements that may weaken the claims of Pakistan on the claims of Muslim majority as per the Independence plan of  1947.

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Pakistan has always fought a defensive war be it 1965, 1971 the fall of Dhaka, Kargil war and the subsequent heated war of words and the indiscriminate firing incidents on the Line of Control from the Indian side, resulting loss of civilians lives. Though Pakistan retaliates strongly yet Indians are the first to offend and harming the peace process .

The Political leadership remained divided over building close relations with India to maintain peace in the region. Both PPP and PML-N tried to have close relations with India and start the strategic dialogue with India and signed Confidence-building measures. PPP government remained close to Rajiv and Indira Gandhi’s Indian National Congress Government while PML-N leadership maintained close relations with BJP. Though both countries started the peace talks at Foreign Secretary level but given strong the pressure from militant or extremist forces, it was always India who cancelled the peace talks at the eleventh hour giving no solid reasons of such cancellation or rolling up dialogue process.

The blame game for internal involvement has brought them too far but the meaningful dialogue can bring them together once again. The great nations always settle their disputes through negotiation table as wars always bring misery to people and the destruction that takes years to rebuild the country’s infrastructure.

Both the Nuclear capable countries must think sensibly and restart the strategic dialogue to find a solution to the Kashmir problem and end the long rivalry that has created distrust and prompts them to have heavy defence budget rather than focusing on other sectors such as infrastructural development, Education, Health, trade, commerce, IT and Sports.

It is ironic that the enmity as has also gripped the cricket and the fans are disappointed due to the refusal of India playing the series with Pakistan within India and Pakistan or at the neutral venue such as UAE. Sporting events bring the people together and play a pivot role in the normalization of circumstances but regrettably, this option was also lost by India.

It is the twenty-first century; the world is developing rapidly with advancement in science technology especially in Communication Technologies. Both the neighbours can collaborate with each other to help boost IT infrastructure as both countries have strong IT Professionals since Indian IT experts heading the leading Software giants such as Microsoft, PayPal, Google and Yahoo.

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The Prime of Pakistan had envisaged his vibrant and robust foreign policy during victory speech that he intended to maintain relations with the world such as Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arab, US and India on the equality basis and even offered India to come forward by one step, he will go forward two steps to start the dialogue on the core issues.

The talks at foreign minister level between the two countries were announced at UNGA but abruptly cancelled by India succumbing to internal pressure given the upcoming General Elections of India likely in May 2019.

Imran Khan lashed out India of being arrogant over the cancellation of talks at foreign Ministry level.

The ruling BJP eyes the 2019 General Elections and thus intended to create hype with their strong stance against Pakistan by cancelling the peace talks in order to get support from Indian people to win general elections 2019 and regain the Government for another term.

Well, India needs to change its attitude and should immediately start the dialogue to address the issues and find out peaceful solutions to the problem including the Kashmir issue by taking the Kashmiri Leadership on board. CPEC is a game changer for Pakistan and the region. The positive outcome of the peace talks may pave the way for India to benefit from the CPEC by joining CPEC as Partner.

CPEC can be made secure if we have peace with the neighbours such as India and Afghanistan and stability in Afghanistan is in favour of Pakistan.

Let the peace have a chance, let’s learn to live like good neighbours sharing our experiences and developing resources and promoting trade through people to people contacts. To pave the way for talks, India has to take initiatives such as ending atrocities in Kashmir, demilitarizing it and involving Kashmir leadership to find out a peaceful solution that may be acceptable to People of Jammu and Kashmir. Let the people of Kashmir decide their future.

Pakistan is ready to hold consequential talks and the Indian positive response is awaited to bid adieu to this long acrimony that has hampered peace process and bilateral trade ties between two strong nuclear powers. The SAARC forum can be instrumental for the countries to include SAARC member countries in CPEC  provided that India does not backtrack from the Peace Process.

 

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Analysis

Mainland Chinese Forces Launch ‘Blockade’ Drills Around Taiwan: A Show of Force or a Warning?

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Introduction

In a move that has sent ripples across the Taiwan Strait, mainland Chinese forces have begun conducting “blockade” drills around Taiwan, just three days after the inauguration of William Lai Ching-te as the new Taiwanese leader. The drills, which involve the PLA army, navy, air force, and rocket forces, are aimed at testing joint combat capabilities and have been seen as a show of force by Beijing. This development comes on the heels of Lai’s first speech as Taiwanese leader, which was met with fury in Beijing. In this article, we will delve into the details of the drills, the context in which they are taking place, and what they might mean for the future of Taiwan-China relations.

The Drills: A Display of Military Might

The drills, which are scheduled to last for two days, are being conducted in the Taiwan Strait and involve a range of military assets, including warships, fighter jets, and missile systems. The exercises are designed to test the PLA’s ability to blockade Taiwan, a move that would effectively cut off the island from the rest of the world. The drills are being seen as a demonstration of the PLA’s military might and its ability to project power in the region.

The Context: Lai’s Inauguration and Beijing’s Fury

The drills come just three days after William Lai Ching-te was inaugurated as the new leader of Taiwan. Lai, who is known for his pro-independence stance, used his inaugural speech to reiterate his commitment to Taiwan’s sovereignty and democracy. The speech was met with fury in Beijing, which sees Taiwan as a renegade province that must eventually be reunited with the mainland. Lai’s speech was seen as a provocation by Beijing, which has long been wary of Taiwan’s moves towards independence.

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Beijing’s Response: A Warning or a Threat?

The drills can be seen as a response to Lai’s speech and a warning to Taiwan not to pursue its independence agenda. Beijing has long used military exercises as a way to signal its displeasure with Taiwan’s actions, and the current drills are no exception. However, the scale and scope of the exercises suggest that Beijing may be going beyond a simple warning and is instead making a more explicit threat.

Implications for Taiwan-China Relations

The drills have significant implications for Taiwan-China relations, which have been tense for decades. The exercises are a reminder of the military imbalance between Taiwan and China, with the PLA boasting a significantly larger and better-equipped military. The drills also underscore the risks of a military conflict between Taiwan and China, which would have far-reaching consequences for the region and the world.

Regional Reactions

The drills have drawn reactions from across the region, with many countries expressing concern about the escalation of tensions between Taiwan and China. The United States, which has a long-standing commitment to Taiwan’s defence, has been particularly vocal in its criticism of the drills. Japan and South Korea, both of which have their territorial disputes with China, have also expressed concern about the exercises.

Conclusion

The “blockade” drills conducted by mainland Chinese forces around Taiwan are a significant development in the ongoing tensions between Taiwan and China. While the drills can be seen as a show of force by Beijing, they also underscore the risks of a military conflict between the two sides. As the situation continues to evolve, it remains to be seen how Taiwan and China will navigate their complex and often fraught relationship.

Timeline of Events

  • May 20, 2024: William Lai Ching-te is inaugurated as the new leader of Taiwan.
  • May 20, 2024: Lai delivers his inaugural speech, reiterating his commitment to Taiwan’s sovereignty and democracy.
  • May 23, 2024: Mainland Chinese forces begin conducting “blockade” drills around Taiwan.
  • May 23, 2024: The drills draw reactions from across the region, with many countries expressing concern about the escalation of tensions between Taiwan and China.
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Key Players

  • William Lai Ching-te: The new leader of Taiwan, known for his pro-independence stance.
  • The People’s Liberation Army (PLA): The military forces of mainland China, which are conducting the “blockade” drills around Taiwan.
  • The United States: A long-standing ally of Taiwan, which has expressed concern about the escalation of tensions between Taiwan and China.
  • Japan and South Korea: Countries in the region that have their own territorial disputes with China and have expressed concern about the exercises.

Key Terms

  • Blockade: A military tactic in which a country’s ports or borders are closed off to prevent the movement of goods or people.
  • Joint combat capabilities: The ability of different branches of the military to work together seamlessly in combat situations.
  • PLA army, navy, air force, and rocket forces: The different branches of the People’s Liberation Army, which are participating in the “blockade” drills around Taiwan.

Sources

  • “Mainland Chinese forces start ‘blockade’ drills around Taiwan 3 days after Lai speech.” South China Morning Post, May 23, 2024.
  • “Taiwan’s new leader William Lai vows to defend democracy and sovereignty.” BBC News, May 20, 2024.
  • “China launches military drills around Taiwan in response to new leader’s inauguration.” The Guardian, May 23, 2024.
  • “US expresses concern over China’s military drills near Taiwan.” Reuters, May 23, 2024.
  • “Japan and South Korea express concern over China’s military drills near Taiwan.” Nikkei Asia, May 23, 2024.
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Analysis

Putin Emphasizes the Crucial role of China in Russian Foreign Policy and Trade.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised China’s role in global politics and its close relationship with Moscow, calling it of “premier importance” in Russian foreign policy. In an interview with Xinhua, Putin commended Beijing’s efforts to maintain regional stability and promote peaceful conflict resolution. He also highlighted the “unprecedented level of strategic partnership” between the two countries, which has strengthened significantly in recent years.

The comments come as Putin prepares to visit China for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, where he is expected to discuss trade and economic ties between the two nations. China is Russia’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade reaching a record high of $108 billion in 2018. Both countries have also been working together on major infrastructure projects, including the Belt and Road Initiative and the Northern Sea Route.

Putin’s remarks reflect the growing importance of China in Russian foreign policy, as Moscow seeks to strengthen its ties with Beijing amid strained relations with the West. The two countries share a common interest in challenging US global dominance and promoting a multipolar world order.

Putin’s Praise for China’s Peace Efforts

Putin praises China's peace efforts in an interview, emphasizing its importance in Russian foreign policy and trade

Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised China’s peace efforts in an interview with Xinhua, highlighting the country’s “unprecedented level of strategic partnership” with Russia. Putin commended Beijing’s commitment to resolving global issues through peaceful means, citing its role in the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and the Syrian conflict.

Putin also emphasized the importance of the partnership between Russia and China in promoting regional and global stability. He noted that the two countries share similar views on many international issues, including the need to strengthen the role of the United Nations in maintaining peace and security.

The Russian leader’s comments come amid growing tensions between China and the United States, as well as concerns over Beijing’s military expansion in the South China Sea. However, Putin’s remarks suggest that Russia sees China as a key partner in its foreign policy objectives, particularly in the areas of trade and economic cooperation.

Overall, Putin’s praise for China’s peace efforts underscores the importance of the strategic partnership between the two countries, and highlights China’s growing influence in global affairs.

Strategic Partnership Between Russia and China

Putin emphasizes China's significance in Russian foreign policy and trade in an interview with Xin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised China’s “unprecedented level of strategic partnership” with Moscow, citing the two countries’ close cooperation in both trade and politics. In an interview with Xinhua, Putin commended Beijing’s efforts to promote peace and stability in the region, and emphasised the importance of China in Russian foreign policy.

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Trade Relations

The trade relationship between Russia and China has grown rapidly over the past decade, with bilateral trade reaching $108 billion in 2020. In recent years, the two countries have signed a number of major agreements to deepen economic ties, including a $400 billion deal to supply Russian natural gas to China over 30 years.

Political Alliances

Beyond economic cooperation, Russia and China have also formed close political alliances in recent years. The two countries have worked together to promote a multipolar world order and to counterbalance what they see as US dominance in global affairs. In addition, Russia and China have strengthened their military ties, conducting joint military exercises and signing a number of defence agreements.

Overall, Putin’s comments reflect the growing importance of China in Russian foreign policy. As the two countries continue to deepen their strategic partnership, it is likely that their cooperation will extend to new areas, including technology, energy, and infrastructure.

China’s Role in Russian Foreign Policy

Putin emphasizes China's pivotal role in Russian foreign policy and trade in an interview with Xin

China has become an important partner for Russia in terms of foreign policy and trade. In an interview with Xinhua, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised China’s efforts to maintain peace and stability in the world. Putin also highlighted the “unprecedented level of strategic partnership” between Russia and China, which he believes is a key factor in maintaining global security.

The two countries have been working together on a number of initiatives, including the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). The BRI is a massive infrastructure project that aims to connect China with Europe and other parts of Asia through a network of roads, railways, and ports. Russia has been a key partner in this project, with plans to build a high-speed railway between Moscow and Beijing.

In addition to the BRI, Russia and China have also been working closely together in the SCO, which is a regional security organisation that includes other countries such as India, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan. The two countries have been working together to combat terrorism, extremism, and separatism in the region.

Overall, China’s role in Russian foreign policy has become increasingly important in recent years. The two countries share a common vision for a multipolar world, and their partnership has helped to counterbalance the influence of the United States and other Western countries.

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Future Prospects for Sino-Russian Cooperation

Putin emphasizes China's key role in Russian foreign policy and trade in an interview with Xin

As Putin highlighted in his interview with Xinhua, the strategic partnership between China and Russia has reached an unprecedented level. This partnership has been strengthened by the two countries’ shared commitment to promoting peace and stability in the world.

One area where Sino-Russian cooperation is expected to continue growing is in the field of trade. The two countries have set a target of reaching $200 billion in bilateral trade by 2024, up from $108 billion in 2018. To achieve this goal, both sides have been actively promoting investment and trade in key sectors such as energy, agriculture, and technology.

Another area of cooperation is in the field of international affairs. China and Russia have been working closely together to promote multilateralism and uphold the principles of the UN Charter. They have also been coordinating their efforts to address global challenges such as climate change, terrorism, and nuclear proliferation.

In addition, the two countries have been deepening their cultural and people-to-people exchanges. This has been facilitated by initiatives such as the China-Russia Year of Media Exchange and the China-Russia Youth Friendly Exchange Year.

Overall, the future prospects for Sino-Russian cooperation are promising, as both countries continue to deepen their strategic partnership and work together to promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the world.

Implications for International Relations

Putin emphasizes China's significance in Russian foreign policy and trade in an interview with Xin

Putin’s praise for China’s peace efforts and strategic partnership with Russia has significant implications for international relations. The strong relationship between the two countries could potentially shift the balance of power in the world, with China’s growing influence being a key factor.

The strategic partnership between Russia and China has already had an impact on the world stage, with the two countries working together on issues such as Syria and North Korea. This partnership could also have an impact on the global economy, with the two countries working to increase trade and investment.

Furthermore, the partnership between Russia and China could have implications for other countries, particularly those in the West. As Russia and China continue to strengthen their relationship, it could lead to a shift in global alliances and a realignment of power.

Overall, Putin’s comments highlight the growing importance of China in Russian foreign policy and trade. As the two countries continue to work together, the implications for international relations could be significant, potentially leading to a shift in the global balance of power.

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Analysis

The UN Existence Heralds Failure: An Analysis in the Backdrop of Gaza

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flags of countries in front of the united nations office at geneva

Introduction

The United Nations (UN), an organization founded in the aftermath of World War II with the noble aim of maintaining international peace and security, has long been hailed as the beacon of global cooperation and diplomacy. However, in the backdrop of the ongoing conflict in Gaza, the effectiveness and relevance of the UN have come under intense scrutiny. As the world grapples with the escalating tensions and the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the region, it is crucial to examine the role of the UN and its ability to fulfill its core mandate.

The Failure of the UN in Gaza

The conflict in Gaza, which has been raging for decades, has once again erupted into a full-blown crisis, with devastating consequences for the civilian population. Despite the UN’s presence and its various resolutions and interventions, the situation on the ground has only worsened, raising questions about the organization’s ability to effectively address complex geopolitical conflicts.

Ineffective Conflict Resolution Efforts

The UN’s efforts to mediate and resolve the conflict in Gaza have been largely ineffective. Despite numerous ceasefire agreements and resolutions condemning the violence, the cycle of violence continues unabated. The inability of the UN to enforce its own resolutions and hold the parties accountable has only served to embolden the belligerents and perpetuate the conflict.

Lack of Impartiality and Neutrality

The perception of the UN as an impartial and neutral arbiter in the conflict has been severely undermined. The organization’s perceived bias towards one side or the other has eroded its credibility and trust among the parties involved, making it increasingly difficult for the UN to play a constructive role in the conflict resolution process.

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Humanitarian Crisis and the UN’s Response

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza, marked by widespread poverty, lack of access to basic services, and the devastating impact of the conflict on the civilian population, has been a major concern. However, the UN’s response has been criticized as inadequate and slow, failing to provide the necessary aid and support to alleviate the suffering of the people.

The Geopolitical Dynamics and the UN’s Limitations

The conflict in Gaza is deeply rooted in the complex geopolitical dynamics of the region, involving various state and non-state actors with competing interests and agendas. The UN’s ability to navigate these intricate power dynamics and effectively address the underlying causes of the conflict has been severely constrained.

The Role of Veto Power and Geopolitical Interests

The UN Security Council, the primary body responsible for maintaining international peace and security, has been hampered by the veto power wielded by its permanent members. This has allowed powerful nations to block or dilute resolutions that may go against their geopolitical interests, undermining the UN’s ability to take decisive action in the face of crises like the one in Gaza.

The Influence of Regional Powers and Proxy Conflicts

The conflict in Gaza has also become a proxy battleground for regional powers, with countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey vying for influence and pursuing their own strategic objectives. The UN’s limited ability to navigate these complex regional dynamics and broker meaningful compromises has further diminished its effectiveness in resolving the conflict.

The Erosion of the UN’s Credibility and Legitimacy

The perceived failure of the UN in addressing the crisis in Gaza has led to a growing skepticism and erosion of the organization’s credibility and legitimacy among the global community.

Criticism from the International Community

The UN has faced widespread criticism from the international community, including member states, civil society organizations, and the general public, for its perceived inaction and ineffectiveness in the face of the Gaza crisis. This criticism has undermined the UN’s standing as a trusted and respected global institution.

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The Decline of the UN’s Moral Authority

The UN’s inability to uphold its own principles of human rights, international law, and the protection of civilians has led to a decline in its moral authority. This has further eroded the organization’s credibility and its ability to serve as a moral compass for the international community.

The Way Forward: Reforming the UN

In light of the UN’s perceived failures in the Gaza conflict, it is clear that the organization must undergo significant reforms to regain its relevance and effectiveness in addressing global challenges.

Strengthening the UN’s Conflict Resolution Mechanisms

The UN must strengthen its conflict resolution mechanisms, including the ability to enforce its own resolutions and hold parties accountable for violations. This may require a review of the Security Council’s structure and decision-making processes, as well as the development of more robust peacekeeping and mediation capabilities.

Enhancing Impartiality and Neutrality

The UN must work to enhance its perceived impartiality and neutrality in conflict situations, ensuring that its actions and decisions are not unduly influenced by the geopolitical interests of its member states. This may involve reforms to the UN’s governance structure and decision-making processes, as well as a renewed commitment to upholding the organization’s core principles and values.

Improving Humanitarian Response and Aid Delivery

The UN must also improve its humanitarian response and aid delivery mechanisms to effectively address the pressing needs of civilian populations affected by conflicts like the one in Gaza. This may require increased funding, better coordination with local and international aid organizations, and a more proactive and responsive approach to addressing the evolving humanitarian crises.

Conclusion

The crisis in Gaza has exposed the limitations and failures of the United Nations, an organization that was once hailed as the guardian of global peace and security. The inability of the UN to effectively address the conflict and alleviate the suffering of the civilian population has raised serious questions about the organization’s relevance and credibility in the 21st century.

As the world grapples with the ongoing crisis in Gaza and other complex global challenges, it is clear that the UN must undergo significant reforms to regain its standing and fulfill its core mandate. This will require a renewed commitment to conflict resolution, impartiality, and humanitarian response, as well as a willingness to confront the geopolitical dynamics that have undermined the organization’s effectiveness.

Only through a comprehensive reform process and a steadfast dedication to the principles of international cooperation and human rights can the United Nations hope to reclaim its role as a beacon of hope and a force for positive change in the world.

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