Monday, October 30, 2017

What Nirmala Sitharaman needs to do to reform India’s defence establishment

Let’s not worry too much about Nirmala Sitharaman’s lacking in experience to be the defence minister. For all their experience AK Antony and Manohar Parrikar were failures. In our system, no minister is expected to have expert knowledge of the subject he/she is allotted. A good minister is someone who sets goals, takes decisions, has sound judgment, listens, learns from experience, and has authority within the government.
Sitharaman shone as a BJP spokesperson, is an articulate, hard working and dogged person. However, she is a political lightweight and her authority stems from the trust of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

 Indian army officers stand on vehicles displaying missiles during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, January 26, 2016

And these qualities will not be enough in dealing with the major portfolio she has been entrusted with in the recent Cabinet reshuffle. As a commerce minister, Sitharaman’s task was to supervise well-established policies of a ministry that ran reasonably well. Outcomes in trade policy, FDI etc were not within the control of the minister or the government of India anyway; external factors played a key role.
But as defence minister, Sitharaman’s task is larger. Not only does she have to run a ministry, which deals with more than a million people and whose budget is nearly Rs 360,000 crore, but to run it well, she needs to carry out deep reforms and restructuring of the ministry.
The Indian ministry of defence (MOD) is obsolete, its public sector units and ordnance factories dysfunctional, it runs a military whose organisation is outdated. Worse is the barely concealed hostility between the civilians who run it and the military personnel who have to implement its policies without having an effective role in formulating them.
The agenda for reform is vast and has been outlined by several committees since 1990. Unfortunately, it has been subverted by the bureaucracy. Sadly, as Antony and Parrikar showed, the political heads of the ministry, responsible to the Cabinet Committee on Security, have failed in their job to discipline them. The Group of Ministers of the BJP-led NDA-I government recommended a range of measures to integrate the civilian and military parts of the MoD. The babus simply changed the nomenclature and declared that the decision had been implemented. So, today, the head quarter of the Indian Army is the Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence (Army). As for their main recommendation, seconded in 2012 by the Naresh Chandra Committee, to appoint a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), it has got lost.
The generalist bureaucracy lacks the expertise to advise the government, so they spend their time in preventing those who can, the uniformed military from doing so. Only if the problem of the inexpert bureaucracy is fixed can we move to the stage of reforming the ministry and restructuring the armed forces. Efforts to do so otherwise are doomed.
India has been trying to reform the MOD since the constitution of the Arun Singh Committee in 1990. This has been through two key reforms -- the integration of the civil and military components of the MOD and the appointment of a CDS — which would, in turn unlock a whole slew of reforms including the creation of theatre commands.
Sitharaman’s initial remarks suggest that she, like Parrikar, will be more focused on acquisitions and will seek to promote Indian manufacture of weapons systems. This is all for the good, but it cannot be achieved overnight. Also it requires systematic and deep reform in the way defence planning, acquisitions, R&D and manufacturing are linked.
Fixing manufacturing and acquisitions alone will not work. She needs to urgently tackle the need to reorganise India’s sprawling military to make them an effective fighting unit for 21st century warfare, where challenges range from nuclear armed adversaries to proxy jihadis. This means shedding flab, integrating commands, getting them to work as a single unit with the civilians and so on.

She will confront a wall of vested interests who do not want any reform because, like all bureaucratic organisations, they are afraid they will lose out on change. It’s the task of the political boss to knock their heads and change things. Sitharaman needs to first understand the nature of the challenge, get the support of her boss and push the reforms through, irrespective of who is on board or not in her ministry. 

Hindustan Times September 15, 2017

Kingdom Of Crooked Mirrors

Like the fabrication behind ‘Pakistan Defence Day’, Bajwa’s solemn jeremiad about their good intentions is a bare-faced lie. Only a strategic shift can correct it. 

The report, in many Indian newspapers, of Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa’s speech of September 6 to commemorate Pakistan Defence Day, was somewhat dist­orted. Several, basing themselves on a news agency report, noted that the Pakistan Army chief called for “political and diplomatic solutions” to resolve the Kashmir issue, which should be settled through dialogue and that permanent peace would benefit millions. Pakis­tan, however, would continue to extend “political, moral and diplomatic support” to the Kashmiris. This was given a positive spin, though in context they were merely old nostrums.

Bajwa was not pitching his remarks to India, but to his domestic audience, the United States of America and China, who in turn are focusing on Afghanistan.  President Trump’s charge that Paki­stan provided safe haven for terrorists clearly rankles. Rejecting allegations that Pakistan was selective in its counter-terrorism, Bajwa said that the Pakistan Army operations were targeting all groups. Adopting an air of injured innocence, which is quite past its ‘use by’ date even in Washington DC, he declared that Pakistan did not want aid, “but your [American] respect and confidence”, and that Islamabad’s efforts and sacrifices “needed to be acknowledged”. Now, said the general, “we are abiding by a policy that we will not allow our soil to be used against any country....”
There is not much new in Bajwa’s speech. It is worth recalling that following the Indian Army mobilisation in January 2002 in the wake of the attack on Parliament, President Pervez Mush­arraf, concurrently the Army chief, also spoke of the need to resolve the Kashmir issue through dialogue, declaring that Pakistan would not allow its territory to be used for terrorist activity anywhere in the world, even while extending “moral, political and diplomatic support to Kashmiris”.

 Kingdom Of Crooked Mirrors

In the ensuing period, Musharraf aided the Taliban to recover from its Afghan defeat and provided them sanctuary and weapons to fight the US and US-led troops in Afghanistan. This is a double-cross the US has not quite forgotten. Nearer home, there was no let-up in terrorist violence in J&K,  where 469 security personnel were killed in 2002 and 338 in 2003.

Trump’s inclination to fight it out in Afghanistan has upended Taliban, Pakistani and Chinese calculations.
Pakistan’s claim that all it does is to provide “political, moral and diplomatic” support to Kash­miris is a standard Pakistani template. In a quarter century of insurgency, they have sent across over 30,000 AK-47 type assault rifles, 15,000 pistols, light mac­hine guns, explosives and material that can equip a small army. They have trained thousands of Kashmiri and Pakistani insurgents, even while claiming that all they do is to back the “peaceful struggle of the Kashmiris for self-determination”.
In the case of Afghanistan, the long logistical trail of Taliban fighters to Pakistan can hardly be hidden. Yet it is Pakistan that has been the loser through its overreach. By backing jehadist elements, Islamabad has undermined the legitimacy of its own case in Jammu & Kashmir, just as it is unable to convince anyone that it has genuine stakes in promoting peace in Afghanistan.

There is little point in telling Bajwa that while India and Afghanistan have suffered from terrorists sheltered, funded and armed by Pak­­istan, his country only has itself to blame for the rise of terrorist violence at home. And the institution principally responsible for this is the Pakistan Army.
The Pakistan Army chief’s speech was as deceitful as the day it was meant to commemorate. The Def­ence of Pakistan Day is based on fake history, which claims that India attacked Pakistan on that day, triggering the India-Pakistan war of 1965. The facts are considerably at variance. At the beginning of August 1965, Pakistan sent tens of thousands of armed invaders into Jammu & Kashmir with the delusional hope that they would trigger a rebellion. When they were detected and rounded up in quick time, and India launched counter-infiltration operations, Pakistan sent in its regular army, spearhea­ded by two armoured regiments to cut the Jammu-Poonch highway. This attack took Indians by surprise and came within an ace of succeeding. Efforts by the UN for a ceasefire did not work and eventually, prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri ord­ered Indian forces to cross the international border at Punjab towards Lahore on September 6.
It is this capacity for self-delusion, especially in relation to India, that marks out the Pakistani elite from those elsewhere. Bajwa claimed that the world community was aware of India’s ‘excesses’ in J&K, as well as its role in disintegrating Pakistan. “India’s plans,” he declared, “include openly supporting terrorists and usurping our water resources”. So, contrary to the record which is available for all to see, India is the one threatening Pakistan; as for the water theft, one doesn’t know what to say.

Though there are similarities, Musharraf and Bajwa’s mendacity, there are important differences. Unlike 2002-2007, the US is hanging on in Afghanistan by the skin of their teeth. Obama was ready to pull out, but President Trump’s inclination to fight it out has upended Taliban, Pakistani and, I dare say, Chinese calculations.

India’s best option is to adopt as forward a posture as it can in Afghanistan as long as the US is there.
China has been the big beneficiary of the US failure in Afghanistan. The US has done all the fighting, while China is hoping to reap the benefits, especially the lucrative mining contracts in Afghanistan. But Beijing must  square the circle on terrorism. On one hand, it denounces terrorism, as it did in the BRICS declaration of Sept­e­mber 4, calling out a slew of Islamist groups for fomenting violence, included three which are nurtured by the Pakistan Army. On the other, it criticises the Trump administration for escalating the conflict. Walking on the razor’s edge, they have begun a limited military commitment in Afghanistan by patrolling the Wakhan Corridor. If things slide in the AfPak region, the Chinese could be big losers, because of the terrorist threat to Xinjiang, as well as their ongoing investments in Pakistan.
There is, of course, an alternate future, but only if Pakistan makes that strategic shift—abandon the use of jehadi terrorism against India and Afghanistan. This would have a cascading effect on the economic and political future of the region. Military expenditure would come down, militias dismantled, road and rail traffic would open up and the CPEC could be int­egrated with India, Iran and Afghanistan, opening up the prospect for regional prosperity.

This is not as far-fetched as we may think it is. We saw a glimpse of it in the 2004-2007 period when Musharraf was ready for a deal on the status of J&K following a back-channel dialogue. Unfor­tunately, domestic issues, not related to Kashmir, derailed his plans. At the heart of the matter is the attitude if the Pakistan Army and its insecurities.
Unfortunately, for the present, we seem condemned to another round of the Great Game. In this, thanks to the Indian Army and our geography, Kashmir is a side-show. Given the circumstances, the best option for New Delhi is to adopt as forward a posture as it can afford to in Afgh­a­nistan, as long as the Americans are there. Pak­istan and China understand the logic of realpolitik and force. India may lack boots on ground, but it has important soft-power equities in the country which, to put it politely, detests Pakistan.

Outlook Magazine September 25, 2017

Japanese connection: This is a boon for India, offering it the means for a manufacturing revolution

Crises, at two ends of Asia, have acted as accelerators in the India-Japan entente. They do not quite bear comparison. A few hundred men with earth moving machines confronting each other in Doklam, do not make your hair stand on end, the way a missile – designed to carry nuclear warheads – does while flying overhead. But, as both India and Japan confront threats that are taking on a new and more dangerous edge, they are discovering the value of closer collaboration.
In Doklam, China, which was content to patrol till the Jampheri ridge till recently, suddenly sought to consolidate itself in a region deemed crucial for India’s defence posture. Significantly, the only foreign country that supported India categorically on this was Japan.
In Northeast Asia, the situation is much grimmer. Japan has the explicit support of the US. Yet, both the US and China appear paralysed as Kim Jong-un tests ever mightier bombs and missiles and makes no secret of the fact that any move to act against him could lead to massive destruction in Japan and South Korea.
One reason why Japan supported India was to emphasise the principle that countries with disputes should not seek to alter the status quo by force or threat of use of force. Tokyo has faced this in Senkaku/ Diayou islands. Till 2008, the Chinese said little or nothing about the issue. Now, they swamp the waters around them with fishing fleets escorted by coast guard vessels. In 2013 they suddenly declared an ADIZ there demanding that all aircraft passing through the air space seek their permission.
New Delhi and Tokyo have been watching as China is altering the status quo in South China Sea by constructing islands with military bases on low tide elevations and claiming territoriality against the ruling of a UNCLOS arbitral tribunal. Both India and Japan are users of the sea lanes that pass through the area.
The regional order in East Asia seems to have reached an inflection point. The US which maintained it – providing credible security guarantees to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan – seems distracted, as much by the rise of China as the questioning of those commitments back home. This didn’t happen overnight. The Obama administration allowed China to establish itself in South China Sea with just token protest.
Uncomfortably, Japan is reaching the point where it has begun to wonder whether it must face the twin challenges of China and North Korea all by itself. This is the logic which is driving Japan closer to India.
Although, or perhaps because, it is the dominant player, the US says Senkaku/ Diayou islands are covered by the US-Japan defence treaty but it does not take sides in the actual dispute between Japan and China. It challenges China through freedom of navigation patrols in South China Sea, but, again, says it is neutral on the claims. The US supported India in the 1962 war, but has maintained a studied neutrality on the border issue including the Doklam crisis, where they called on both sides to resolve the matter through dialogue.
Japan’s challenge is greater. It already has a poisonous relationship with the much bigger and powerful China. Now, it has to confront a new factor – a threatening nuclear neighbour, with which, too, it has a historical animosity. At the best of times, it is hazardous to depend on another country for your security, and Japan is having to confront that with the Trump administration’s wayward style.
So, it is seeking coalitions and India fits in well with its strategy since New Delhi, too, is wary of China’s ways. For India, the Japanese connection is a boon. The highly developed country offers New Delhi a means of completing its manufacturing revolution and providing high-tech solutions to its defence problems. Japanese finance can help provide fuel to New Delhi’s regional policy which is otherwise running on an empty tank.
The two nations are seeking to construct a strategic partnership for realpolitik reasons. They are otherwise quite different from each other and lack even a link language. But the relationship will have to develop economic, financial, industrial and cultural sinews to make it truly meaningful.
Times of India September 16, 2017

BRICS was no victory for India: Why China won't break ties with Pakistan

After hitting Islamabad on the head with the BRICS declaration that named two outfits based in Pakistan for fomenting violence in the region, Beijing is now applying soothing balm on its “good brother and ironclad friend” by saying that it has fought the good fight against terrorism.
The Chinese aim, as indeed the US goal, is to gently nudge Pakistan in the direction of abandoning support for its proxies which include not just the Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba, but the Taliban, which in turn shelters the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the East Turkestan Islamic Movement.

No victory for India
Unlike India, which has an adversarial attitude and is happiest when Islamabad is humiliated, China and the US see considerable value in retaining good ties with Pakistan.
People in India who saw the BRICS declaration as some kind of victory for Indian diplomacy are delusional. China, as the host country, drafted the declaration and did so with its eyes open.
After all, China has been party to UN actions to proscribe the LeT and JeM in the past. It needs to be recalled, too, that the context of the statement was in relation to Afghanistan.
chinpak_091117104513.jpgPhoto: Reuters
China would hardly abandon Pakistan at this stage. It has invested a great deal of treasure and goodwill in the half-century to use Pakistan to offset Indian primacy in the South Asian region. Now, Islamabad has become an even more important prop for its ambitious Belt Road Initiative, both as a means of providing blockade-free access to oil from the Persian Gulf, as well as a platform to reach out to the rich Gulf region for trade and investment.
Checking militants, be they the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or the ISIS, is also important for the security of China’s Belt Road ambitions.
Pakistan probably knows what it needs to do. It has, after all, suffered enormously from the blowback of its support to jihadi terrorists. According to the authoritative South Asia Terrorism Portal, Pakistan has suffered a loss of 21,900 civilians and 6,813 security forces personnel in fighting terrorism since 2003.
In comparison, a much larger India has lost 24,983 civilians and 10,000 security force personnel since 1994. A great deal of terrorist violence in India was, of course, fostered by Pakistan-based groups, or those who were financed and sheltered by the Pakistani state.

Pakistan suffered too
The challenge, as Islamabad’s friends, the US and China, realise is to get Pakistan to work against its baser instincts. These arise primarily from its kneejerk attitude towards India. Islamabad is happy cutting its own nose to spite its face, when it comes to dealing with New Delhi.
This is the time when India has to decide whether it wants to gloat over Pakistan’s difficulties, or, in its own interests, become part of the process which will, if handled well, not only transform Pakistan, but the region.
India’s challenge, which it has miserably failed in meeting, is to break the Sino-Pakistan alliance. The problem is that its approach has been incorrect. Instead of enhancing India’s equities in both countries and then dealing with them from a position of strength, New Delhi has been content to deal with the issue in a securitised framework which emphasises military responses over economic.

Wrong approach
A major reason for this is that Pakistan becomes fodder for the electoral process. Bashing Islamabad has played well for the BJP going back to Modi’s “Mian Musharraf” days in Gujarat. Now, all that we seem to have in the menu are “surgical” strikes and more “surgical” strikes.
The second reason is that many in the establishment simply cannot stomach the idea of an India-Pakistan reconciliation. Revenge seems to be the overriding emotion, rather than a pragmatic approach which would argue that India’s interests are served better by encouraging Islamabad’s transformation with the help of China and the US, rather than in the schadenfreude of seeing Pakistan squirm in being pinned down on the issue of terrorism.
Let us be clear about one thing. Pakistan is not about to go away from our neighbourhood. The hardliners can seek perpetual confrontation which will not get them what they want — wiping Pakistan from the face of the earth.
It is a large, nuclear armed state and India’s military options are very, very narrow, especially since it has powerful friends in China and the US. All the braggadocio about two-front wars, is essentially self-defeating bluster. It is also a volatile polity.
The challenge is to enable Pakistan to make a soft-landing rather than a crash that can have unpredictable consequences.
Mail Today September 11, 2017

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Army chief General Rawat has said nothing that should worry China

There was very little in Army chief’s remarks at the inaugural of a seminar that should have occasioned the kind of response it has from China. For one, they were not new. For another, they ranged on a variety of issues relating to warfare, the current threats India confronts, the primacy of the Army in the tri-services situation and so on.
But what seems to have got the goat of the official spokesman Geng Shuang in Beijing is his reference to India having to remain prepared for a two-front war situation relating to Pakistan and China, and on Chinese hybrid war tactics involving information, psychological, media and legal warfare tactics, along with salami-slicing tactics in occupying Indian territory.

 None of the reports of the Army chief’s remarks mention the fact that he was speaking at a seminar on the “future contours and trends of warfare.” In delivering a lecture on the subject, General Rawat naturally spoke about the Army’s doctrinal views on China, its expectations, and on issues like the possibility of war between two nuclear armed neighbours and so on

But Geng linked this to the recent summit between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modi in Xiamen and said that Rawat’s remarks went against the grain of the meeting where the two sides had agreed on a positive agenda and endorsed a view that “differences should not become disputes.” They had also spoken of the need for even more dense military-to-military relations to prevent a recurrence of the Doklam incident. The Chinese spokesman wondered whether the Indian Army chief had spoken without authorisation or spontaneously, and “whether his words represented the position of the Indian government.”

 The answer to this is complex. This is the kind of stuff military people are likely to speak about when they are discussing issues in a seminar where issues are thrown up and scenarios discussed. This is something that the Chinese side probably does not understand because their military leaders usually speak to the public in tightly scripted environments.
 As for the Army, it has been speaking about a two-front war scenario for some time now. Indeed, it actually flows out of what is called an ‘operational directive’ by the defence minister in 2008 which enjoins the military to be prepared to deal with a “two front threat” from China and Pakistan. This directive led to the Army revising its doctrine to cater for a possible two-front war.

Salami slicing tactics and psy-ops are something that the Indian Army has seen first hand in its dealings with its Chinese counterparts. For example, the Chinese claim line of 1956, reaffirmed by Premier Zhou Enlai in 1959 saw the Chip Chap and Galwan river valleys in the Indian side of the LAC. However, in 1960 China claimed both the areas and subsequently occupied them. The same happened in Pangong Tso where the 1959 line was at Khurnak Fort, but the 1960 line moved westward to Siri Jap.
Even today, the Chinese continue their efforts to salami-slice. The incident in Depsang Plains in 2013 was an instance where the Chinese sought to establish shift the border westward, albeit by a few kilometres. And of course, the latest was in Doklam, though not in territory, but the Chinese did seek to harden their presence in an area which they used to regularly patrol since 2008 or so.
Some blame for this most recent contretemps probably lies with the media. None of the reports of the Army chief’s remarks mention the fact that he was speaking at a seminar on the “future contours and trends of warfare.” In delivering a lecture on the subject, General Rawat naturally spoke about the Army’s doctrinal views on China, its expectations, and on issues like the possibility of war between two nuclear armed neighbours and so on. As for the media, it was invited and it reported the General’s remarks. Whether or not he should speak on such issues is a matter between him and the government, but presumably as of now, he seems to have the authority to speak on professional issues that relate to his job.
Hindustan Times September 8, 2017

BRICS Declaration: China Seeks Peaceful Af-Pak Region for OBOR

Despite its recent defence of Pakistan against the United States on the issue of terrorism, China seems to have taken a surprising new turn on the issue. On Monday, the declaration adopted by the BRICS at their summit in Xiamen has not only condemned terrorism, but also named three key Pakistan-based terrorist groups – the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba,  Jaish-e-Muhammad –  in a larger list of terrorist groups responsible for violence and insecurity.
Beginning with a condemnation of violence against “innocent Afghan nationals”, the declaration went on to firmly back the Afghan National government, as well as the Afghan National Defense and Security forces. Along with the Pakistani groups, the declaration listed Taliban, Islamic State, the Al Qaeda and its affiliates like the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and the Hizb-ut-Tahrir.

China’s Stand Will Affect Afghan Equation

Just two weeks ago, when the US gave a stern warning to Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorists, China came to its defence noting that “Pakistan is at the frontline of fighting terrorism, has made sacrifices in fighting terrorism”.
There is a message for Pakistan and it should not miss it. Equally, there is a message for India. It is foolish for sections of the Indian media to see this as a victory over China.

Such declarations are consensus documents and Chinese being the hosts steer their drafting. Had the Chinese not wanted it, the language on the Pakistan-based groups would have been kept out. The Chinese may well show this as a concession to India, but, it is in fact a well-considered shift in Chinese policy with larger aims which will become clearer over the year.
The decision by hosts China to categorically name groups has major implications. First, the prominent reference to Afghanistan and the actions of the Taliban and the Haqqani group appear to be a riposte to the recently announced US policy on Afghanistan.In naming the Haqqani group and coming out in strong support of the ANDSF, the Chinese are putting the squeeze on Islamabad and creating space for inserting themselves into the Afghan equation.

Seriousness of Purpose

At the same time, the Chinese may be seeking to remove what has become a recent thorn in the side of Sino-Indian relations – Beijing’s technical hold on preventing the UN’s Al Qaeda Committee from including the name of the Masood Azhar, the chief of the Jaish-e-Muhammad, in its list of banned terrorists. The JeM itself had been listed by the Committee earlier in 2001 and China went along with it. But when it comes to Azhar, China has claimed that India had not provided enough evidence against him and so even now we should not assume that the hold will be lifted.

Of course, signing declarations and implementing them are two different things. Realpolitik considerations are always there and, even if there is seriousness of purpose, it is not easy to implement cooperation in the area of security and counter-terrorism.Even so, by specifically naming groups like the Haqqanis, Jaish and the LeT, China has taken a significant step that could not have been taken without some forethought, and it could mark a policy shift on the part of Beijing.
It is not that China is cutting Pakistan loose. Indeed, the opposite could be the case. Beijing could well be drawing Islamabad into a closer embrace. After putting down money through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), China is seeking to promote peace and stability in the AfPak region both as a means of getting a return on its investment, as well as displacing the US as the principal actor in a region China considers its periphery and a strategic one because of Xinjiang and its Belt Road plans.

Period of Chinese Activism

China could actually be thinking of an even larger role here. It is significant that in his remarks at the BRICS Business Forum on Sunday, Chinese President Xi Jinping got a round of applause when he declared that “terrorists will have no place to hide” if the world community took “a holistic approach to fighting terrorism in all its forms and address  both its symptoms and root causes.”
What Xi meant was also explicated in the speech when he spoke of the need for dialogue and consultation for the political settlement of issues behind the Syrian, Palestinian and Libyan issues. In that sense, the new Chinese shift could well presage a period of Chinese activism on global issues ranging from Afghanistan to Syria and the Israel-Palestine dispute.

Impact on India-Pakistan Bilateral Relationship

There is an obvious and unstated corollary here – the need to settle the India-Pakistan issue. In recent times we have seen both the US and China offer to mediate on the issue. India has snubbed both proposals because it believes that bilateral talks is the only way of dealing with the issue.There is also a larger message in the more forthright approach to terrorism visible in the Xiamen Declaration: The original imperative of BRICS – promoting economic growth. This requires peace and stability, especially in the neighbourhood.
The threat of terrorism, especially from the collapsing Islamic State, is actually growing, and China also has to deal with the Korean nuclear tensions and a possible trade war with the US, so this could be a good time to take a step to promote better ties with India.
The Quint September 4, 2017