Skip to main content

India's anti-Pak diplomacy "goes awry": Modi's half-baked "push" for anti-terror drill down others' throat

By Our Representative
Even as what is being termed as “historic” joint military anti-terrorism field training exercise begins at the foreign training node at Aundh in Pune on the backdrop of the recent 4th Bimstec (which stands for Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperations) ummit in Kathmandu, which insisted that fighting terrorism is one of its major goals, a top Russian media house has called it a failed initiative.
Sputnik International, which is the successor of the powerful state-run Russian propaganda state-run news agency RIA Novosti and the Voice of Russia radio service, has said that the Bimstec exercise has suggested “India’s anti-Pakistan diplomacy” has gone “awry”, noting how Nepal and Thailand skipped the military drill.
In an unsigned commentary, Sputnik International says, “Nepal’s decision to skip the Bimstec military drill has posed a big question mark over the Indian government’s diplomatic adventurism pushing for the revival of the seven-member Bimstec in place of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) in a bid to marginalize Pakistan in the region.”
The commentary comes even as a former Indian diplomat, Bhadrakumar Melkulangara, who has served in Russia, Pakistan and several other countries, has said, “India's Bimstec project splutters. It was a deeply flawed project because regional cooperation cannot be fostered on a platform of negativism -- in this case, geared to 'isolate' Pakistan in its region.”
He insists, “At any rate, Bimstec should have gained traction and acquired a habitation and name before loading it with a military drill. And it now transpires that Modi tried to shove the half-baked idea of military drill down the throat of others at the recent Bimstec summit in Kathmandu even after it became apparent that there was no enthusiasm for it in the region.”
Bhadrakumar adds, “We are living in a fool's paradise to think that the region will side with India to undermine SAARC. The right thing to do is to allow the SAARC summit to be held in Islamabad.”  
Bhadrakumar
The top Russian media outfit notes, “Nepal and Thailand are participating only as observers in the Milex-2018 anti-terror military drill which began in Pune, India on Monday. While Nepal pulled back from the drill following strong protests from political parties in the country, including that of ruling Communist Party of Nepal; Thailand cited ‘prior commitments’ as the reason for not attending.”
It added, “The drill is an initiative proposed by India to strengthen the joint anti-terror mechanism of the seven-member Bimstec that includes India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Thailand. However, many see it as India's effort to further dilute the relevance of SAARC in order to isolate Pakistan.”
The commentary says, “The Nepali Army earlier confirmed that it would participate in the drill. However, only three days prior to the commencement of the drill, Prime Minister KP Oli conveyed to the army that Nepal's participation was being canceled. Oli's decision is understood to have been prompted by strong opposition from political parties including his own Nepal Communist Party (NCP), widely considered pro-China.”
“After pulling out of the drill, the Nepali government clarified that it had been proposed by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi but was not unanimously endorsed by all members during the Bimstec summit”, the commentary says, quoting Nepal's Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawali as saying that "India was free to float the agenda, but we did not endorse it", insisting, Bimstec is “purely a developmental forum.”
The commentary goes to say, “Analysts say that geostrategic imperatives, security dialogues, or counterterrorism cooperation initiatives are no substitute for Bimstec's primary mandate to increase regional connectivity.”
It cites Constantino Xavier, fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at Brookings India, New Delhi, as saying, "(There are) many reasons behind Nepal's decision to pull out of the BIMSTEC military exercise, most of which (are) without merit. But this should also serve as a lesson for India about the limits of security cooperation, bound to weaken the organization."
“Meanwhile”, says the commentary, “Former Nepali Prime Minister Push Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) has made his country's priorities more clear by asserting during his just-concluded Delhi trip that Nepal wants to ‘revive’ SAARC and underlined to New Delhi that Bimstec cannot replace SAARC for regional prosperity.”
It quotes Prachanda as saying, while delivering a keynote address at the Indian Council of World Affairs in Sapru House, New Delhi, "As the current Chair of another important regional process, namely SAARC, Nepal's desire is to revive it and see an environment conducive for the early convening of the stalled summit. We believe that SAARC and Bimstec do not substitute but complement each other." 

Comments

TRENDING

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.