India’s multi-aligned approach in an increasingly tri-polar world

By Sourajit Aiyer

The author is a seasoned writer for many Major Asian and European papers and news portals. Sourajit Aiyer from India is expert on economy, also being a professional in a Mumbai financial company. Originally published in Society for Policy Studies‘ South Asia Monitor, India.

India wants constructive engagement with multiple nations. But will it succeed in an increasingly Tri-Polar world? In fact, the challenge is not how much India wants to be part of any one group. Rather, it seems to be how much they want India to be part of them, and the extent of co-operation, reconciliation (and arm-twisting) they might just do.

Tri-Polar Troika: USA was the sole superpower after the bipolar Cold-War ended with Soviet Union’s demise. Then, China started flexing its geopolitical muscle using its manufacturing boom-led foreign exchange corpus to woo developing nations. It is fast expanding its military presence in its neighborhood. Russia has also become assertive now in expanding its influence in Eurasian and Middle East regions, backed by the might of its defense establishment. It is quite a coincidence that the superpowers are often the biggest producers and exporters of defense arms. This troika may represent how the world’s polarity will shape in coming years. USA continues to be backed by key allies in Europe and Asia-Pacific, though its ties with a Sunni Muslim ally is in doldrums. Russia is aligning with Shia Muslim nations, and reining together CIS nations as a Eurasian block. Its military adventures in Ukraine made the West skeptical; who placed economic sanctions to sort-of control its ambitions. China is a game-changer and making the US establishment most insecure. It has substantial economic partnerships with Asian and African nations, where it is building ambitious transport and energy infrastructure through engineering-cum-funding deals. This is also creating long-term consumer markets in those nations for China’s vast production output. Its military excursions in regions like South China Sea and South Asia are causing concern amongst the incumbent powers, even as they maintain friendliness on the surface.

India’s Approach: India’s Modi has rightly maintained a multi-aligned stance, and has spent effort to win partners in each group. In fact, the challenge is not how much India wants to be part of any one group. Rather, it seems to be how much they want India to be part of them, and the extent of reconciliation, co-operation (and arm-twisting) they do!

USA has been working to recognize India as a partner of equal status, despite being pro-Pakistan during the Cold War. This about-turn in US approach to India is in contrast to how Nixon-Kissinger viewed India, and shows the extent of reconciliation the USA is willing to do to adapt to changing times when its ties with Pakistan hit a low due to issues relating to Pakistan’s handling of terrorists. USA is trying to step up its defense partnership with India including arms exports and technology transfers, possibly as it is the only country in this region that can balance China. Given its size, India remains lucrative for US businesses, although offshoring remains contentious. Partnering with a secular India is a good bet to combat a rise of radical Islamization. However, the US condemnation of India for testing a submarine missile shows a higher-hand attitude. India has to be watchful that this reconciliatory approach from USA does not cost India its own interests. Bringing India to its side can help US break the unison of a sizable economic bloc like BRICS, which India cannot allow. Keeping a multi-nation approach can help India eke the best terms for partnerships.

Russia was dominant in India’s defense supplies, and its co-operation is extending to transfer of critical technologies. Even the US has hesitated on this with Korea, its close ally. USA is insisting on end-user agreements with India, but Russia is becoming agreeable to partner without such agreements. With India keen on defense manufacturing, such technology-transfers may augur well in the long term, but India needs to watch it does not compromise on the terms. Also, Russia’s exports are of latest technologies. Given the leeway it is willing to give, it can help India negotiate with other countries. Keeping a multi-nation approach can help India eke the best terms for procurements!

Modi has made efforts to create inroads with China. While it has opened doors to Chinese companies, China wants deeper access into India. It has been vying for the BCIM Corridor and extending Nepal railway link into India. Given China’s links with Pakistan, India has been cautious not to compromise on national security in any manner. But given the slowness from India’s side, there seems to be some arm-twisting, possibly with the objective to make India agree. Both nations know China’s influence over Pakistan is the best bet to control militancy from Pakistani soil to India, given Pakistan is disproportionately dependent on China today. This seems a pawn China is indirectly playing. While several countries and UN branded Pakistan-based elements as terrorists, China seems to be selective. China blocked India’s appeals against Maulana Azhar and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, citing UN provisions. These tactics seem to suggest that if India comes on China’s side, it may use its influence over Pakistan to rein in such elements. It is also opposing India’s entry to the UNSC and NSG, despite the world agreeing. One cannot say if these are true or just a fancy, but China’s expanding assertiveness across Asia raises questions, since India forms a critical component of the continent. India fears if it agrees to China, it may compromise its internal set-up to security threats from Pakistan, or a lifetime of paying Chinese debt, or a free-flow of cheap Chinese imports which can cannibalize India’s own production. Keeping a multi-nation approach can ensure India does not pay a price by disproportionately engaging with only one group.

In conclusion, this multi-aligned approach may show India as a “swing-state”. But in a world seeing such polarity, India needs to create adequate supplies at best-prices for the investments, technologies and critical imports it needs.

Tbilisi/Georgia, EaP Civil Society Forum: Is Donald Trump enemy no. 1 for Europe’s freedom?

Donald Trump is Europe’s enemy no. 1 – because he wants to violate art. 5 NATO Treaty on the mutual defense clause and wants the US‘ intervention to be dependent „if the bill has been paid“. A real problem for European NATO states, and no miracle that Putin praised Trump to be a „wise man“. This was no. 1 out of 10 policy theses set up by Hans-Jürgen Zahorka, Chief Editor of European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (www.eufaj.eu), during an Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum in Tblisi/Georgia end of July 2016, when speaking on „Security Challenges of the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood“. This event was organised jointly by the EaP Civil Society Forum, Brussels (www.eap-csf.eu), represented by its Co-Chair Krzysztof Bobinski, and the Liberal Academy Tbilisi, whose director Lasha Tughashi is also National Coordinator of the EaP CSF National Platform in Georgia. It was opened furthermore by Kakha Gogolashvili, Director of EU Studies at Rondeli Foundation (GFSIS), and Ambassador Janos Herman, head of the EU Delegation in Georgia. Here is what Hans-Jürgen Zahorka expressed:

Challenge no. 2: Erdogan. While it was legitimate to do everything necessary against a military putsch against a democratically elected government, the behaviour of the Turkish president after the putsch attempt shakes the whole region: not only in most of the EaP Caucasus countries there is now uncertainty, incalculability what Turkey wants really. He breaks democracy and human rights in a big NATO state, and his attempts to flirt with Putin are neither credible nor acceptable for NATO. There is a lack of consistency in Turkish NATO membership attitude, and the alliance has somehow to react, as there is a rule that NATO means also democracy, human rights and openness. This is also the fundament of the EU-NATO joint declaration from 8.7.2016.

Challenge no. 3 is nationalism, populism, lack of solidarity between European states- as there are populist and nationalist parties now in every country, and solidarity e.g. in the refugee question is often just not existing. Had the EU Member States found a solution for a proportional (including economic strength) distribution of asylum seekers, there would have been no need for a shaky Turkish refugee agreement. This new egoism is also expressed by the rising number of protectionist acts in the WTO member states, at present 22 per month, and of course by the Brexit of the UK from the EU, which brings a high economic damage – and this mainly to the UK. So the danger comes from within – also in the form of xenophobe, racist, glorifying the own country populist parties (partly financed by Russian institutions!), which are anti-Western, anti-liberal, anti-European integration oriented. In short: who want to turn back the wheel, which requires a vivid, attentive civil society in all the EU and EaP member states.

Challenge no. 4: CSDP (EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy) will gain momentum within the EU – in particular if Trump ever would win and the Brexit approaches. Then the Europeans really have to do something. The German Federal Armed Forces White Book from July 2016 is a signal for the right way, in stressing a European integrated defense, but of course also the EU Strategy Paper from a week before.

Challenge no 5: We will get an EU army – but (unfortunately) not today or tomorrow, but after tomorrow. The development will go step by step, taking also in account possible external threats which may accelerate it. Maybe this army will be much more „electronic“ than a traditional army, but there will be EU structures. It can be taken for sure that unlike in former conflicts a „levée en masse“ won’t be neither necessary nor possible, but due to the modern ways of tomorrow’s warfare, electronic warfare, unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) etc. will play a more pivotal role then anytime before – also in preventing such conflicts. We have already pooled monetary policy, when national competences don’t do it anymore. We can also pool our armed forces.

Challenge no. 6: hybrid threats. This is now a clear part of the reaction potential under the CSDP, and the EU reaction (and the EU is more able than NATO to respond to hybrid threats!) was started with a Joint Declaration from 6.4.2016. It should be directed against all ‚divide et impera‘ and attempts to destabilize a country. In the EaP, this can be done with a better know-how about the potential of small enterprises. So social unrest can be prevented – and the economy can be brought to thriving mode. In this context, I see an urgent need for informing SMEs about the chapters of the free trade agreements, where signed, to be de facto implemented – and they should be much better known to the economy. Hybrid threats shall also – see proposal no. 18 of the Joint Declaration – be treated together between EaP countries and the EU. There will be common risk assessments, and analyses and action plans of common activities. The EU, however, is asymmetrically concerned by hybrid threats, which imposes the chance for EaP countries to tell their own experiences in some countries of the EU. To meet civil society there should be a new task for the EaP civil society.

Callenge no. 7: Terrorism.. EaP countries are affected differently, but this can change very fast. In this context, a full role of the INTCEN EU Intelligence Centre must be advocated, with compulsory exchange of information. EaP countries can and should take part in this exchange – to the benefit of all.

Challenge no. 8: The EU was not able to prevent frozen conflicts and conflicts in its Neighbourhood. No miracle, as no instruments were available. But for the future, the EU must have a close look on its geographic environment. It is advocated, n this context, to explore the possible deplacement of EU peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh, together with simultaneous EU-monitored negotiations which might last for many years. Azerbaijan and Armenia as well as the directly concerned Karabakhis should and could agree to this – and they would, in view of the alternatives which are not possible for various reasons (Russia, USA, OSCE, NATO).

Challenge no. 9: The EU and the EaP countries should endorse the strengthening of the OSCE – with a binding mediation mechanism, with armed peacekeepers etc. Countries or regional insurgents etc. who do not recognise the legitimacy of the OSCE must be isolated as far as possible, and modern communication can also contribute to keep a distance between these de-facto governments and the populations.

Challenge no. 10: The whole EU and the EaP countries, if possible, should endorse a value-oriented legislation and state-building. Security is more than the absence of war. In this context, the principle of being firm on principles and values of the EU while dialoguing with Russia is right. Borders cannot be changed by force. And the rules as in art. 2 Treaty of the EU can be accepted also by every EaP state, as they represent the common denominator of European civilisation: human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law, human rights, minority protection, and this in a society of pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, ustice, solidarity and gender equality.

***

See also the three illustrated posts on EUFAJ’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/eufaj

 

Honduras – Femicide Country no. 1?

The following  text is also on a blog of Deutsche Welle, under: http://blogs.dw.com/womentalkonline/2016/07/20/my-country-and-its-femicides/; its author is the Honduras-born freelance journalist Carmen Aguilera Garcia, living in Nordrhein-Westfalen/Germany.

Honduras has the highest incidence of femicides and in ninety percent of these cases, there is no police investigation. This is a country with the highest level of femicide in Central America. In the last 10 years about 4,500 women have been murdered in Honduras.

The number of femicides is Honduras between January and December 2015 was more than 471. Most of the victims were girls under 15. Sixty percent of the killings happened in Tegucigalpa, the capital, and Comayagüela, and the others in San Pedro Sula.

The most prominent cases of femicide in Honduras are the murder of Maria José Alvarado in 2014 and of Berta Cáceres in March 2016. Alvarado, who was 19 when she was murdered, was Miss Honduras. And Cáceres was an environment and human rights activist. Police and the authorities knew about the danger facing Cáceres since she had received many death threats. Cáceres was killed on March 3, 2016 in La Esperanza. Her murderer has not even been identified. There seems to be no institution monitoring the cases of femicide in Honduras. And that is not the only problem that women are facing. In some companies women are paid less than men and they still have to face sexual harassment. If they lose their job, they do not get any compensation at all. Women are – generally speaking – victims of discrimination in Honduras.

What will happen next? There is nothing left to be discussed. But something has to be done for women’s safety. I really do not know why the government and the police are doing nothing. Berta Cáceres fought for human rights and for a better environment. She only wanted a better life for everyone. What causes machismo? And how can femicides continue to occur with such impunity?

Every 16 hours a woman is murdered in Honduras. According to The Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) between 113 and 200 million women disappeared 2013 in its 61 member countries. That means between 1,5 and three million women are victims of violence in every country in 2013.

The killing of women in Ciudad Juarez (Mexico) and Guatemala City is a recurring occurrence, but the local justice departments do not investigate these crimes. Most of the women were raped. Some of them were tortured and even mutilated.

According to the Criminal Code of Honduras, Article 118-A, “Femicide is a crime in which women are killed because of their gender.” Any person who is accused of committing femicide can be punished with 30 to 40 years in prison.

The third article in the Declaration of Human Rights of the UN states: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” How is it possible that 97% crimes against women in Honduras are not punished or not even investigated? Where are the rights, justice, law – and safety for women? 98% of femicides in Latin America go unpunished.

The truth lies behind this state of affairs is the attitude of the men, who are mostly machos. They have never known the consequences of their actions – in ending a woman’s life. In what kind of world are we living? The truth is that there is no right in some countries. That is the sad reality in which we live. Sometimes the police do not listen when you go to them with complaints. Many police officers are also corrupt. It happens often that police files disappear in Honduras.

How many women still have to die because of femicide? Why is violence allowed? Is it because the law is not being implemented? The right to live is holy and has to be respected. But machismo exists and femicide happens, sadly.

Edited for Deutsche Welle by Marjory Linardy, Arun Chowdhury. Also on the author’s blog: http://mariaaguiler.wordpress.com

 

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Berlin, 19.9.2016: Seminar on Eurasian Economic Union

What is the „Eurasian Economic Union“ (EEU)? Five states around Russia (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan) belong to this body which tries to be an economic integration east of the EU. An intensive seminar will be held on Monday, 19th September, 2016, the whole afternoon, in Berlin/Germany.

Subjects in this seminar will be the present economic situation in the EEU member states, their not very easy Relations with Russia, the institutions, the structure of the Agreement, the policies, but also the external relations including those to the EU. The seminar covers also the so-called „eurasianism“, an Imperialist theory being highly estimated in the political class, too.

The seminar turns to company representatives with interests in the East, business associations, chambers, company advisors for strategic, export or inverstment subjects, but also university teachers and researchers, lawyers and  advisors for frade and Investment. Objective is to make the EEU more known, on an objective amd critical basis.

It will be organised by LIBERTAS – Europäisches Institut GmbH, itsaurasian Economic Union Observatory and European Union Foreign Affairs Journal. See the Programme under unter http://www.libertas-institut.com/eufaj/programm-eurasianunion/.

 

Eurasische Wirtschaftsunion – Seminar in Berlin am 19.9.2016

Was bedeutet „Eurasische Wirtschaftsunion“, wer gehört ihr warum an, ist sie wirksam, wird sie den Weg von GUAM gehen – einer Kooperation von GUS-Staaten, die zwischenzeitlich verstorben ist, welches sind ihre Institutionen, wie soll und wird die EU damit umgehen? Alle diese Fragen werden behandelt in einem hochkarätigem Seminar am Montag, dem 19. September 2016, in Berlin (ab 13.30 h) im Hotel Ramada Plaza Berlin City Centre. Mitgliedsländer der Eurasischen Wirtschaftsunion sind Russland, Belarus, Kasachstan, Armenien und Kirgistan.

Das Seminar behandelt die EAWU-Mitgliedsländer und ihre gegenwärtige wirtschaftliche Situation, den Druck der Zentralmacht Russland, die Institutionen und Vertragsstruktur, aber auch die auswärtigen Beziehungen, mit einem Akzent auf der EU.

Dabei wird auch das Phänomen des „Eurasianismus“ behandelt, einer Art Imperialismus-Lehre, vor der die russische politische Klasse leider nicht ganz gefeit ist. Das Seminar wendet sich an Unternehmensvertreter, Wirtschaftsverbände, Kammern, Unternehmensberater, Rechtsanwälte und Steuerberater, deren Klienten in den EAWU-Ländern aktiv sind oder werden wollen – sei es als Exporteure, Importeure, Investoren oder mit einer Niederlassung. Die EAWU ist in der EU unbekannt – hier ist die Möglichkeit, ein solides Grundlagen-Know-how zu bekommen.

Veranstaltet wird dieses Seminar von LIBERTAS – Europäisches Institut GmbH, dem Eurasian Economic Union Observatory (EAWU-Beobachtungsstelle) und European Union Foreign Affairs Journal. Das gesamte Programm mit allen weiteren Bedingungen kann heruntergeladen werden unter http://www.libertas-institut.com/eufaj/programm-eurasianunion/.

Das Seminar wendet sich an Diplomaten, hohe Beamte, Unternehmen mit Interessen im Osten, Bildungsanbieter (auch NGOs), Vereine mit Interesse an Osteuropa, an Universitäten oder sonstigen Einrichtungen Lehrende und Forschende, internationale und Handels- sowie Strategieberater, Kammermitarbeiter, Wirtschaftsverbände, Rechtsanwälte, Steuer- und Investitionsberater, Studenten.

 

Economic Security Policy of Russia

At LIBERTAS – Europäisches Institut we may have our own opinions about Russian foreign and domestic policy, but we follow consequently a course of exchanges of views in scientific research. In this context we appreciate the constructive relations with Russian Economic University of Omsk/Siberia. Due to this scientific exchange, the book „Economic Security Policy of the Russian Federation“ was just published – in English. Based on the cooperation of three professors, Sergei Metelev, Rector of the Russian Economic University after Plekhanov in Omsk, Economist, Miroslav Murat, author of many articles and monographs in social sciences, and Vladimir V. Lizanov, who is a professor and researcher in economics and natural sciences, also from Omsk.

This book is dedicated to the theoretical and methodological fundamentals and to practical issues of economic security in Russia and its regions. The authors review threats to economic security, but also measure to ensure it, as well as criteria to detect corruption in regulation and administrative decisions. Indicators for the economic security of the state are named, but also a conception for this kind of security in the regions. The book also deals with external and internal threats to economic security of the regions; it describes the matter as comprehensive evaluation of socio-economic development of the region. Particular attention is paid to identification of the ways ensuring economic security, not only on federal but also on regional level. This book is helpful for all those who want to undertake comparative studies,  in the fields of national, regional, economic and other types of security. For state-owned enterprises, management of corporations, local, regional and state government, economists. And partly this is also the „reverse side“ of what is called in the West „hybrid threats“.

The book has 76 pages and appeared in May 2016. It appeared as print version (university paper) for 15 EUR under ISBN 978-3-946119-82-1 (via Amazon or directly verlag@libertas-institut.com), and with Amazon and most other eBook shops (worldwide) for 4,99 EUR as eBook (in Kindle Format, ePub, MobiPocket or PDF). More Details with the exact ISBNs on the Flyer under http://www.libertas-institut.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Flyer-Economic-Security.pdf.

 

 

 

OSCE Peacekeepers for Eastern Ukraine?

The Chief Editor of European Union Foreign Affairs Journal, Hans-Jürgen Zahorka, will publish in a few days, in the next issue of EUFAJ (2/2016) this short comment on the question of OSCE peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine. They are – and will be – discussed in OSCE circles, in particular regarding the Minsk II Agreement on Ukraine, and the local elections in Eastern Ukraine. See the whole artcle (and others) in the week after the 9.5.2016 under http://www.eufaj.eu. The author had also contributed to a booklet: Ofelya Sargsyan/Hans-Jürgen Zahorka,  OSCE – Idea, Histoty, Challenges (with documents), with a short overview about the possible future of OSCE (see also http://www.libertas-institut.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/flyer-OSCE.pdf)

Should there be peacekeepers stationed in eastern Ukraine? With what kind of mandate, and how long? This question is examined also now in the framework of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), although not (yet?) officially. Russian peacekeepers alone are excluded, EU peacekeepers probably as well, and NATO peacekeepers too. Peacekeepers should be accepted by all the parties of a conflict. Whether this would be the case of OSCE armed personnel might be written in the clouds, but it is good that this possibility has been and will be discussed.

This led to a statement by a spokesperson of Germany’s Federal Foreign Office on alleged plans for armed OSCE mission to eastern Ukraine, on 27 April 2016. Germany is holder of the 2016 OSCE Chairmanship, and issued the following statement in Berlin in response to reports on alleged plans for an armed OSCE mission to eastern Ukraine: „The OSCE monitoring mission currently in place in eastern Ukraine is a civilian, unarmed mission. This was decided by the 57 participating States of the OSCE, and neither Germany nor France are involved in any agreement about changing the civilian nature of the mission – neither within the OSCE nor in the Normandy Format („N4“ – France, Ukraine, Russia, Germany).

It is true that we have, in our capacity as Chair of the OSCE and following consultations within the Normandy format, asked the Secretariat to develop options for improving security at the planned local elections. It is too early to say what the findings will be.

Without wishing to pre‑empt any decision, we can say that we find it difficult at this time to imagine what an armed OSCE mission might look like, that had the objective of effectively ensuring the security of the elections in the separatist areas and enhancing the security of OSCE observers. The OSCE currently has no precedent for an armed mission. On the contrary, being civilian in nature is a particularly important feature of OSCE monitoring missions, which require the consent of conflict parties to operate. When you take the idea of an armed mission to its logical conclusion, it raises a whole range of difficult legal, political, practical and military issues. We plan to arrange another meeting in the Normandy format in the foreseeable future, which will include the foreign ministers. A meeting of this kind would be the right opportunity to raise all the issues relating to the OCSE monitoring missions for discussion among the Normandy partners.“

In the background was a condemnation of threats against OSCE monitors in Ukraine: OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also on 27 April 2016 had expressed concern following the recent increase in ceasefire violations in Eastern Ukraine and the growing number of incidents involving OSCE monitors. Referring to recent threats against the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, Steinmeier had declared: “The SMM is a civilian, unarmed mission. It is instrumental for supporting the implementation of the ceasefire. The safety and security of SMM monitors must be assured by the sides. Those responsible for threatening or using force against the monitors must be held accountable.”

Maybe the „loud thinking“ about an armed OSCE mission should deter those who are against the OSCE as such („… they want to intervene in our internal affairs“, as declared often by the eastern Ukraine separatists). Indeed OSCE should think about their first armed peacekeepers, and this if only for the duration of local elections. Then OSCE would have found another, additional role – a role which would make sense if peacekeepers in Europe are needed. As mentioned, Russian peacekeepers alone are unthinkable, NATO ones as well, and the EU is not yet so far to deploy an armed force to keep the peace, if they would not be rejected as well, although Ukraine is an Eastern Partnership member state. So rests the OSCE, and in a peacekeeping mission lies a sensible and adequate task. At least it should be demanded, and who is against, this will speak for itself.

It can now be expected that at the next meeting in the Normandy format, with foreign ministers and/or presidents or prime ministers from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, on the 11 May 2016 in Berlin also the issue will be discussed if and if yes, how the security of the local elections should be guaranteed. The date of the elections is not determined yet, but the issues around these elections have to be solved under the Minsk II Agreement. So Ukraine will be on the agenda, including the preparation and security of the elections. As SMM is not armed and a civilian force, and an upgrade of SMM is not likely at all, there may be only a solution in deploying an armed OSCE force to eastern Ukraine. After 11. May we may know more. For if there is a common position within the Normandy format, this will be also the case in the OSCE.

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