India-Sri Lanka joint military exercise ‘Mitra Shakti’

The fifth India-Sri Lanka joint training exercise “Mitra Shakti 2017” focusing on counter-terrorism operations kicked off at Aundh Military Station in Pune.

The exercise is based on Counter Terrorist Operations and an Infantry company from both the countries is participating in the same.

The aim of the joint training is to exchange the best of military practices of the two countries and build a strong military-to-military relation between the two armies.

The exercise, the fifth in the series, also aims at developing joint strategies by sharing the expertise of conducting operations, especially in the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism (CI and CT) environment.

The fourth chapter of the exercise was held at the Sinha Regimental Centre in Ambepussa, Sri Lanka, in 2016, when the main focus was to enhance interoperability in CI and CT operations under the UN mandate.

The significance of this exercise:

The training exercise is considered an important effort in India’s response to China’s growing influence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region. It is expected to send a strong signal to the world that both India and Sri Lanka understand the emerging threat of terrorism and stand shoulder to shoulder in countering this menace.

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Bangladesh backs China’s OBOR

Bangladesh has come out in support of China’s ‘One-Belt-One-Road’ (OBOR) initiative, also known as the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI). This is in absolute contradiction to India’s stand on OBOR which it boycotted on grounds of violating India’s territorial integrity as it runs through the disputed territory of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and because China has not been transparent leading to compromise on sovereignty.

Bangladesh defends its move saying that small countries need to overcome few limitations by weaving themselves with the rest of the world with the help of projects such as OBOR.

China’s $4 trillion OBOR initiative will span 65 countries with 70% of the world’s population. Bangladesh formally declared joining China’s OBOR initiative during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2016. The foreign secretary of Bangladesh reportedly said Bangladesh ‘can’t remain isolated in the name of sovereignty’.

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India signs agreement to train Afghanistan police

India and Afghanistan on moved to deepen their ties with a pact on New Delhi training Afghan police, the first line of resistance against a resurgent Taliban in the war-torn country.

The agreement came after talks in New Delhi between visiting Afghan chief executive Abdullah Abdullah and Indian leaders including Prime minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind and foreign minister Sushma Swaraj.

It follows a reworking of the US, Afghan strategy, outlined by US President Donald Trump last month in which he called on India to play a larger role in stabilizing Afghanistan and berated Pakistan for providing a safe haven for groups like the Taliban that are targeting US forces.

Abdullah’s visit also comes within days of a trip to India by US defence secretary James Mattis to discuss the revised American strategy for Afghanistan, among other issues.

Analysts say one of the challenges faced by Afghanistan is equipping its security personnel with the skills required to take on the Taliban. India is indicating that it can help Afghanistan by strengthening its security structures,

A key element of Trump’s reworked Afghan strategy to defeat the Taliban was a bigger role for India in stabilising Afghanistan.

Earlier this month, India announced it would undertake 116 new “high impact” development projects in 31 provinces of Afghanistan. New Delhi also agreed to “strengthen security cooperation” and “extend further assistance for the Afghan national defence and security forces in fighting the scourge of terrorism, organized crime, trafficking of narcotics and money laundering,” a government statement said.

India has pledged $3.1 billion in assistance to Afghanistan since the ouster of the Taliban from Kabul in November 2001. It is one of the biggest donors in the region to the war-torn country.

Once seen on the side of the invading Soviet Union, India moved to establish diplomatic ties with the new Afghan administration after the ouster of the Taliban in 2001 from Kabul by US-led international troops.

But the Taliban made a comeback after 2004 mainly with the support of Pakistan that wants an Islamabad-friendly government in Kabul to limit India’s influence. “After 2001, the Afghan government came into its own and in today’s world, no country will live by some other country’s priorities,” Pant said. “Pakistan’s attempts to disrupt any alliance between India and

Afghanistan has led to exactly that same outcome—of bringing the countries together,” he said.

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India-Myanmar MOU for conservation of pagodas at Bagan

The Union cabinet approved a project to conserve the earthquake-damaged pagodas in Bagan city of Myanmar.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalise the pact will be signed between the two countries during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the nation on 6-7 September.

The decision will strengthen the country’s ties with Myanmar in the realms of “culture and religion” and will advertise India’s prowess in conservation and restoration arts.

This will further strengthen India’s enduring ties with Myanmar, in culture and religion.

Ancient Pagodas of Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)

A funerary monument and then acquired cosmic symbolism of Buddha-hood containing Buddha associated relics. Also, some monuments were built to honour a notable person, or even bring lasting remembrance to an important family. It is a bell-shaped brick structure set on a square or octagonal base and usually rises to a gently tapering peak gilded metal and jewelled finial topped with a sacred parasol-shaped decoration called “hti”.

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India – Pakistan Relations(After Kargil War)

20131999Continued from: India – Pakistan Relations (Since 1947)

Post Kargil War Developments

In July 2001, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee met for a two-day summit in the Indian city of Agra. That summit collapsed after two days, with both sides unable to reach agreement on the core issue of Kashmir.

Attack on Parliament, Samjhauta Express

On December 13 same year, an armed attack on the Indian parliament in New Delhi leaves 14 people dead. The attacks lead to amassing of India’s and Pakistan’s militaries along the LoC. The standoff only ended in October 2002, after international mediation.

Vajpayee and Musharraf held direct talks at the 12th SAARC summit in Islamabad in January 2004, and the two countries’ foreign secretaries met later in the year. This year marked the beginning of the Composite Dialogue Process, in which bilateral meetings are held between officials at various levels of government (including foreign ministers, foreign secretaries, military officers, border security officials, anti-narcotics officials and nuclear experts). In November, on the eve of a visit to Jammu and Kashmir, the new Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, announced that India will be reducing its deployment of troops there.

5,000 troops from Jammu and Kashmir redeployed in 2006, citing an “improvement” in the situation there, but the two countries couldn’t reach an agreement on withdrawing forces from the Siachen glacier.

On February 18 of 2007, the train service between India and Pakistan (the Samjhauta Express) was bombed by terrorists near Panipat, north of New Delhi. Sixty-eight people, mostly Pakistani civilians were killed, and dozens injured. Investigators subsequently found evidence of suitcases with explosives and flammable material, including three undetonated bombs. More than half a dozen Hindu extremists, belonging to an organisation ‘Abhinav Bharath’, are facing trial in the Samjhauta case.
The fifth round of talks regarding the review of nuclear and ballistic missile-related CBMs is held as part of the Composite Dialogue Process. The second round of the Joint Anti-Terrorism Mechanism (JATM) is also held.

Despite all these, India joined a framework agreement between Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan on a $7.6bn gas pipeline project.

In July, India blamed Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate for a bomb attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, which kills 58 and injures another 141. But, in September, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Singh formally announced the opening of several trade routes between the two countries and the cross-LoC trade commenced in October, though it is limited to a positive list of 21 items and can take place on only two days a week.

Mumbai Attacked

Mumbai Terrorist attack pushed the slowly improving relations to a low. On November 26, 2008, armed gunmen opened fire on civilians at several sites in Mumbai, India. The attacks on the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, the Oberoi Trident Hotel, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, Nariman House Jewish community centre, Metro Cinema, St Xavier’s College and in a lane near the Times of India office, prompt an almost three-day siege of the Taj, where gunmen remain holed up until all but one of them are killed in an Indian security forces operation. More than 160 people are killed in the attacks.

Ajmal Kasab, the only attacker captured alive, said the attackers were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba. In the wake of the attacks, India broke off talks with Pakistan.

The Pakistani government later admitted that the Mumbai attacks may have been partly planned on Pakistani soil, but denied the allegations that the plotters were sanctioned or aided by Pakistan’s intelligence agencies.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Indian Prime Minister Singh met on the sidelines of a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, issuing a joint statement charting future talks. Singh ruled out, however, the resumption of the Composite Dialogue Process at the present time.

In August, India gave Pakistan a new dossier of evidence regarding the Mumbai attacks, asking it to prosecute Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, an Islamic charity with ties to Lashkar-e-Taiba.

In May, Ajmal Kasab was found guilty of murder, conspiracy and of waging war against India in the Mumbai attacks case. He was sentenced to death.

In November 2013 India executed Pakistani national Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor of a fighter squad that killed 166 people in a rampage through the financial capital Mumbai in 2008, hanging him just days before the fourth anniversary of the attack.

On 10 February 2011, India agreed to resume talks with Pakistan which were suspended after 26/11 Mumbai Attacks. India had put on hold all the diplomatic relations saying it will only continue if Pakistan will act against the accused of Mumbai attacks.

On 13 April 2012 following a thaw in relations whereby India gained MFN status in the country, India announced the removal of restrictions on FDI investment from Pakistan to India.

In 2013 January, India and Pakistan accused each other of violating the cease-fire in Kashmir, with Islamabad accusing Indian troops of a cross-border raid that killed a soldier and India charging that Pakistani shelling destroyed a home on its side.

In May 2014, Pakistan released 151 Indian fishermen from its jails in a goodwill gesture ahead of the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as prime minister. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for swearing in ceremony and held talks with him in New Delhi. Both sides express willingness to begin a new era of bilateral relations.

Uri & Pathankot Attacks

But the terrorist attacks in Pathankot in January 2016 and Uri in September 2016 blamed on the jihadists triggered an enormous emotional response of the Indian citizenry and changed everything.

On 2 January 2016, a heavily armed group of at least six persons scaled the walls and attacked the Pathankot Air Force Station, part of the Western Air Command of the Indian Air Force.

Four attackers and two security forces personnel were killed in the initial battle and the gun battle and the subsequent combing operation lasted about 17 hours on 2 January, resulting in many casualties. On 3 January, fresh gunshots were heard, and another security officer was killed by an IED explosion. The operation continued on 4 January, and a fifth attacker was confirmed killed. Not until a final terrorist was reported killed on 5 January was the anti-terrorist operation declared over, though further searches continued for some time.

The attackers were aiming to destroy the aircraft and helicopters in the base, according to a call interception report which failed as they couldn’t reach the area where they were parked.

Reports claimed that the people who carried out the attack in Pathankot were in regular touch with their handlers. A report confirmed that the two phone numbers to which calls were made by the attackers were from Pakistan.

Four heavily armed terrorists on 18 September 2016, attacked an Indian Army brigade headquarters in Uri, near the Line of Control in a pre-dawn ambush killing 17 soldiers. It was reported as “the deadliest attack on security forces in Kashmir in two decades”. The militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed is suspected of being involved in the planning and execution of the attack.

A gun battle ensued lasting six hours, during which all the four militants were killed. An additional 19-30 soldiers were reported to have been injured in the attack.

Dialogue with Pakistan was spurned, and an intense diplomatic campaign to try to isolate Pakistan, in the region and beyond, was rolled out. And India upped the ante by injecting fresh irritants in the relations like Balochistan and the Indus Waters Treaty and taking the fight to Pakistan.

Kulbhushan Jadhav & ICJ

India has received a stay order preventing Pakistan from executing the death sentence awarded to the former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav from the International Court of Justice at The Hague. India’s team of lawyers led by senior advocate Harish Salve accused Pakistan of gross violations of international laws including the Geneva convention that deals with Consular relations. Pakistan had denied consular access to India despite 15 attempts. It also refused to give any details of Jadhav’s arrest and trial until the death sentence was passed.

Kulbhushan Jadhav was arrested in March 2016 by Pakistani security forces in the restive Balochistan province after he reportedly entered from Iran. Pakistan has alleged that Jadhav was a serving officer in the Indian Navy and deputed to the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), foreign (external) intelligence agency of India.

Union External Affairs Ministry had acknowledged that Jadhav served with the Navy but has no link with the government since his premature retirement from Indian Navy. He is said to be in Pakistan for business related issues.

Earlier Indians Sheikh Shamim(1999) and Sarabjit Singh(2013) was sentenced to death by Pakistan on charges of spying. Both these verdicts were by civilian courts.

India has rarely approached the ICJ especially when it comes to Pakistan. India is always hesitant to “internationalise” its bilateral relations. But given the nature of Jadhav’s case in which Pakistan refused to follow any established principle India was forced to take the extreme measure of taking the case to the ICJ.

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India – Pakistan Relations (Since 1947)

International relations between India and Pakistan is predefined by animosity and hatred created by a violent Partition. Claim on Jammu & Kashmir added fuel to the fire of enmity.

In spite of all these, India and Pakistan Cooperated in the peaceful resolution of river water sharing by the way of World Bank Mediated Indus Water Treaty and even the peaceful cooperation in supporting the refugees of the partition. But such positive developments were not sustained for long.

Cold war prevalent in the world between nations of that time added to the misery. Pakistan was a close ally of US while India, though non-aligned was considered close to USSR.

Pak supported terrorism in India worsened the matters further.

Partition & First Indo-Pak War

In 1947 Britain, as part of its pullout from the Indian subcontinent divided it into secular, Hindu-majority India and Muslim Pakistan on August 15 and 14 respectively. The partition caused one of the largest human migrations ever seen and sparked riots and violence across the region.

Jammu and Kashmir was a princely state with the freedom to join either India or Pakistan. Hindu ruler Maharaja Hari Singh of Muslim majority state was indecisive while he kept bargaining with both India and Pakistan. He wanted his state to be Independent and had a standstill agreement signed with Pakistan. Frustrated by the delay in the decision, armed tribesmen (Lashkar) from Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (now called Khyber-

Frustrated by the delay in the decision, armed tribesmen (Lashkar) from Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (now called Khyber-Pakthunkhwa) invaded the disputed territory in October 1947, supported by Pakistan’s paramilitary under the code name “Operation Gulmarg”. Some reports say that the Pakistani attack was a response to ethnic cleansing by Maharaja.

The Maharaja, faced with an internal revolt as well an external invasion, requested the assistance of the Indian armed forces, in return for acceding to India. He handed over control of his defense, communications and foreign affairs to the Indian government.

India intervened and thus began the first Indo-Pak War. The Indian troops could evict the aggressors from parts of Kashmir but the onset of winter and lack of enthusiasm in British commanders of both armies slowed down the fight.

After weeks of intense fighting between Pakistan and India, Pakistani leaders and the Indian Prime Minister Nehru declared a ceasefire and sought U.N. arbitration with the promise of a plebiscite.

The part of Kashmir which was on Pakistan’s side of ceasefire line was in administrative control of Pakistan and the rest was with India. Ceasefire line was called the line of control(LOC). In 1957, north-western Kashmir(Pakistan occupied Kashmir) was fully integrated into Pakistan, with the name ‘Azad Kashmir’. It is semi-autonomous. A larger area, including the former kingdoms of Hunza and Nagar, is controlled directly by the central Pakistani government.

The Indian (eastern) side of the ceasefire line is referred to as Jammu and Kashmir.

India- Pak Relations after First War

In 1954 the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India was ratified by the state’s constituent assembly and by 1957the Jammu and Kashmir constituent assembly approved a constitution. India, from the point of the 1954 ratification and 1957 constitution, begins to refer to Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of the Indian union.

In 1963, the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan – Swaran Singh and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto – held talks under the auspices of the British and Americans regarding the Kashmir dispute. The talks didn’t yield the much-needed solution.

In 1964 following the failure of the 1963 talks, Pakistan referred the Kashmir case to the UN Security Council.

Rann of Kutch & Second Indo-Pak War

Although the Kashmir conflict was the predominant issue dividing the nations, other border disputes existed, most notably over the Rann of Kutch, a barren region in the Indian state of Gujarat. There were many skirmishes between border police forces of India and Pakistan in this area since 1956. India had captured the entire area in 1956 after a clash between border patrols while Pakistan claimed the entire area(9100 Sq KM).

In June 1965, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson successfully persuaded both countries to end hostilities and set up a tribunal to resolve the dispute. The verdict, which came later in 1968, saw Pakistan awarded 910 square KM (910 km2) of the Rann of Kutch, and remaining part left to India.

In 1965, the war started following Pakistan’s Operation Gibraltar, which was designed to infiltrate forces into Jammu and Kashmir to precipitate an insurgency against rule by India. The conflict began as a clash between border patrols in April in the Rann of Kutch (in Gujarat), but escalated on August 5, when between 26,000 and 33,000 Pakistani soldiers crossed the ceasefire line dressed as Kashmiri locals, crossing into Indian-administered Kashmir.

Infantry and armored units were involved in the conflict backed by Airforce and Navy. As the war expanded, The Pakistani army was called in the name Operation Grandslam. Indian troops crossed the international border and marched to Lahore on September 6. But the failure of Operation Gibraltar and Indian offensive rendered Pakistani Army ineffective.

The war exposed Pakistan’s inadequate standards of military training, its misguided selection of officers, poor command and control arrangements, poor intelligence gathering and bad intelligence procedures.

It ended in a United Nations (UN) mandated ceasefire and the subsequent issuance of the Tashkent Declaration mediated by Russia.

Tashkent agreement signed on January 10, 1966, by Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Pakistani President Ayub Khan was an agreement to withdraw to pre-August lines and to restore economic and diplomatic relations.

Bangladesh Liberation and Third Indo-Pak War

Pakistan, since independence, was geopolitically divided into two major regions, West Pakistan and East Pakistan. East Pakistan was occupied mostly by Bengali people and was ignored in the selection of official language as well as budgetary allocation. Although East Pakistan accounted for a slight majority of the country’s population, political power remained in the hands of West Pakistanis. The president of Pakistan used the powers to constantly depose the prime ministers from east Pakistan.

In 1970, when the Awami League, the largest East Pakistani political party, led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, won a landslide victory in the national elections, Pakistani Peoples Party led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto refused the claim of Awami League and suggested a system of two prime ministers, one for each part. After the failure of talks, there was a civil disobedience movement in East Pakistan.

The Pakistan Army, which had the backing of Islamists, created radical religious militias – the Razakars, Al-Badr, and Al-Shams – to assist it during raids on the local populace. Members of the Pakistani military and supporting militias engaged in mass murder, deportation, and genocidal rape.

The Bangladeshi Declaration of Independence was proclaimed from Chittagong by members of the Mukti Bahini – the national liberation army formed by Bengali military, paramilitary and civilians. The Provisional Government of Bangladesh was formed on 17 April 1971 in Mujibnagar and moved to Calcutta as a government in exile.

India provided substantial diplomatic and economic support to Bangladeshi nationalists. India joined the war on 3 December 1971, after Pakistan launched pre-emptive air strikes on North India. The subsequent Indo-Pakistani War witnessed engagements on two war fronts. With air supremacy achieved in the eastern theater and the rapid advance of the Allied Forces of Bangladesh and India, Pakistan surrendered in Dacca on 16 December 1971 resulting formation of Bangladesh as a new country.

Simla Agreement & Afterwards

In 1972, Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi sign an agreement in the Indian town of Simla, in which both countries agree to “put an end to the conflict and confrontation that have hitherto marred their relations and work for the promotion of a friendly and harmonious relationship and the establishment of a durable peace in the subcontinent”. Both sides agree to settle any disputes “by peaceful means”.

The Simla Agreement designates the ceasefire line of December 17, 1971, as being the new “Line-of-Control (LoC)” between the two countries, which neither side is to seek to alter unilaterally, and which “shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognized position of either side”.

Shimla Accord was a beginning of many positive developments including an agreement to not attack other’s nuclear installations or facilities. These include “nuclear power and research reactors, fuel fabrication, uranium enrichment, isotopes separation and reprocessing facilities as well as any other installations with fresh or irradiated nuclear fuel and materials in any form and establishments storing significant quantities of radioactive materials”. This agreement is later ratified, and the two countries share information on January 1 each year since then.

In 1991, two countries signed agreements on providing advance notification of military exercises and troop movements, as well as on preventing airspace violations and establishing overflight rules followed by a joint declaration prohibiting the use of chemical weapons in 1992.

Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee met with Nawaz Sharif, his Pakistani counterpart, in Lahore in 1999. The two signed the Lahore Declaration, the first major agreement between the two countries since the 1972 Simla Accord. Both countries reaffirm their commitment to the Simla Accord and agree to undertake a number of ‘Confidence Building Measures’ (CBMs).

But Kargil conflict eroded all the hitherto attained progress.

Kargil War & Declining Relations

Kargil was the first armed conflict between the two neighbors since they officially conducted nuclear weapons tests. During the winter months of 1998-99, the Indian army vacated its posts at very high peaks in Kargil sector in Kashmir as it used to do every year. Pakistani Army intruded across the line of control and occupied the posts. Indian army discovered this in May 1999 when the snow thawed. This resulted in intense fighting between Indian and Pakistani forces, known as the Kargil conflict.The Indian Army regained the posts that Pakistan had occupied.

In spite of many positive developments in between, the Indo-Pak relations never got fully stabilized after the Kargil Conflict.

Continued – India – Pakistan Relations After Kargil War.

Refer

Indian History – Formation of Pakistan.

International Relations – Indus Water Treaty

World History – Cold War & Non-Alignment

 

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