Forget SCO, Indians have sabotaged it successfully



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Moscow: Russia’s sudden anouncement of its full support to India’s candidature for the permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) [1] comes after Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Moscow in an effort to further isolate and encircle China. To make matters more complicated, Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev has officially decalred in a joint statement with his Indian counter part that Russia welcomes India’s intention to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and calls on member states to speed up the accession process. [2]

Analysts say that Russia’s prime minister should not have forgotten the fact that SCO member states cannot have disputes with each otherThis was the argument Russians gave while the proposal of Pakistan’s inclusion arose[3] “Or was Medvedev well aware of this basic condition for the inclusion of any entity into the SCO while demanding India’s inclusion?” “Did he want to intentionally give entry to a country that has been keeping a major portion of Chinese land under its military occupation and constantly threatens to nuke China every now and then?” asks one of the analysts.

“It was the success of India’s shrewed diplomacy” says one analyst. “It reflects how cunning the Indians are and how effective diplomatic steps they take in advance,” he continues saying, “even before one could realize what the Indians were up to.” Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the analyst also opined that China’s diplomatic leaders should attend classes in geo-politics and geo-strategy before going to their respective offices. “It is evident that the Indians have been succesfully sabotaging all the startegic alliances China built except that of between China and Pakistan” he added.

Recently India has been busy doing aggressive diplomacy to contain China’s peaceful rise. The recent Indian military aggression in the South China Sea against Chinese vessels and deployment of nuclear capable missiles targetting major Chinese cities are seen as provocative moves by many analysts. [4] [5] [6]

A visit to India by Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith this month has resulted in initial moves to strengthen military cooperation and boost trade. These steps follow the lifting of a ban on the uranium sales to India by the Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the announcement in November that northern Australia will become a key staging base for US military operations in the Indian Ocean.

Closer ties between Australia and India are inseparable from the escalating US agenda of containing China’s influence throughout the Asia-Pacific regionThe US perspective is a “trilateral arrangement” that would see greater coordination and joint operations by the US, Indian and Australian navies in the eastern Indian Ocean. Australia’s refusal to sell uranium to India on the grounds it was not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was an obstacle that had to go.

Defence Minister Smith arrived in New Delhi on December 7 to begin forging the type of partnership demanded by the US. Smith met with Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and the heads of the Indian armed forces. At a subsequent press conference, Smith, using the words of the US ambassador, said the Australian government had removed the “impediment” to relations by ending the ban on uranium sales.

Smith announced that Australia and India had agreed to expand “practical cooperation” on military issues. He stressed that “maritime security and cooperation, the South and East China Sea were part of the conversation.” Against China’s claims of sovereignty over the South China Sea, Smith and Indian officials echoed the US position that “freedom of navigation” had to be upheld across what is a strategically sensitive region for China. Indian oil companies are already openly challenging China’s assertions of sovereignty in the South China Sea by entering into contracts to explore for oil in areas claimed by Vietnam.

Australia holds 40 percent of the world’s available reserves of high grade uranium and can now sell unlimited quantities to Indian energy companies. India’s own limited reserves of uranium can therefore be dedicated to expanding the country’s stockpile of nuclear weapons. While ostensibly aimed against Pakistan, India’s nuclear arsenal is ever more openly intended to match China’s and to assert Indian aspirations for geopolitical prominence in Asia. The most recent nuclear-capable Indian rocket, the Agni V, was provocatively nicknamed the “China Killer by the country’s press because, with a range of 5,000 kilometres, it could hit targets in every part of China.

The US has a clear military strategy against China, which hinges on being able to impose a naval blockade on key sea lanes between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The aim would be to cripple China’s economy by cutting access to critical energy resources and raw materials from the Middle East, Africa and Australia. India and Australia, which have the largest and second largest navies respectively among Indian Ocean countries, are crucial to US planning. Increasingly, Indian naval activity, including joint exercises with US forces, is focussed on the waters near India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which are located close to the Straits of Malacca. Most Chinese imports and exports pass through the Straits of Malacca.

India’s training exercises near the Straits of Malacca will complement stepped-up US and Australian operations further south. Very large ships cannot pass through the shallow Straits of Malacca and have to use the deeper Sunda Straits and Lombok Straits through the Indonesian archipelago. The northern Australian city of Darwin has been selected as a US military hub due to its proximity to these straits. 

Also under study is the establishment of air bases on the Australian territories of the Cocos Islands and Christmas Island, which are even closer to the Indonesian sea passages. On thepretext of blocking refugee boats reaching the Australian mainland, the Australian military already uses surveillance bases on Christmas Island to carry out extensive monitoring of vessels across a broad sweep of the eastern Indian Ocean, including the sensitive straits. Major diplomatic exchanges are predicted to take place in 2012 to further cement ties, including a visit to India early in the year by Gillard, and a reciprocal visit to Australia by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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