Brahma Chellaney (for Info only, not official)

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Brahma Chellaney

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    ...The international community has rightly condemned the crackdown. But, in doing so, it has failed to recognize that Rohingya militants have been waging jihad in the country—a reality that makes it extremely difficult to break the cycle of terror and violence. Rakhine State, where most of Myanmar’s Rohingya reside, is attracting jihadists from far and wide. Local militants are suspected of having ties with the Islamic State (IS), Al-Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations. Moreover, they receive aid from militant-linked organizations in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The main insurgent group—the well-oiled Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, also known as Harakah al-Yaqin—is led by a Saudi-based committee of Rohingya émigrés. ...

    Live Mint on Sept. 29, 2017, 3:42 a.m.

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    ...If China were to capture Bhutan’s high-altitude Doklam plateau, it would not only mitigate that vulnerability but also hold a knife to India’s jugular vein – the Siliguri Corridor, through which Bhutan’s communications and transportation arteries also pass. While existential stakes drove India to halt China’s construction of a strategic highway through Doklam, Beijing made a serious strategic miscalculation by intruding there: It anticipated Bhutan’s diplomatic protest but not India’s swift, stealthy military intervention. The Indian army had long geared up to respond to such a contingency. No Indian government can countenance the construction of a road through Doklam that allows China to bring main battle tanks to the tri-border and implement, in the event of a war, its military plan to decapitate India. ...

    TOI on Aug. 3, 2017, 2 a.m.

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    ...China’s recent heavy-handed economic sanctioning of South Korea, in response to that country’s decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, was just the latest example of the Chinese authorities’ use of trade as a political weapon. China’s government has encouraged and then exploited states’ economic reliance on it to compel their support for its foreign-policy objectives. Its economic punishments range from restricting imports or informally boycotting goods to halting strategic exports (such as rare earth minerals) and encouraging domestic protests against specific foreign businesses. Other tools include suspending tourist travel and blocking fishing access. All are used carefully to avoid disruption that could harm China’s own business interests. Mongolia became a classic case of such geo-economic coercion, after it hosted the Dalai Lama last November. ...

    Live Mint on Aug. 1, 2017, 1:59 a.m.

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    ...India, duped by its own hype over the nuclear deal, had announced plans to import Western reactors costing tens of billions of dollars. The Indian plans helped to motivate Toshiba to acquire Westinghouse – a takeover that ultimately proved a huge blunder, plunging Toshiba into a grave financial crisis. Japan, a top nuclear-equipment supplier, signed a separate nuclear agreement with India only last year after other supplier-nations had already concluded such accords. The recent Japanese parliamentary approval removes a critical missing link in commercialising the Indo-US deal. It, however, has come when Westinghouse, GE Hitachi and Areva – which dominate the international reactor export business – are in a dire financial state, with their futures hanging in balance. ...

    TOI on June 22, 2017, 2 a.m.

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    ...Recently, though, China has become more assertive, underscoring the need for a new Indian containment strategy. On average, China launches one stealth incursion into India every 24 hours. Kiren Rijiju, India’s minister of state for home affairs, says the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is actively intruding into vacant border space with the objective of occupying it. And according to a former top official with India’s Intelligence Bureau, India has lost nearly 2,000 sq. km to PLA encroachments over the last decade. The strategy underlying China’s actions is more remarkable than their scope. On land, like at sea, China uses civilian resources—herders, farmers and grazers—as the tip of the spear. Once civilians settle on contested land, army troops gain control of the disputed area, paving the way for the establishment of more permanent encampments or observation posts. ...

    Live Mint on June 20, 2017, 11:59 p.m.

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    ...But, more often than not, what seems like a good idea in the short term often brings about disastrous unintended consequences, with intervention causing countries to dissolve into conflict, and intervening powers emerging as targets of violence. That sequence is starkly apparent today, as countries that have meddled in the Middle East face a surge in terrorist attacks. Last month, Salman Ramadan Abedi—a 22-year-old British-born son of Libyan immigrants—carried out a suicide bombing at the concert of the American pop star Ariana Grande in Manchester, England. The bombing—the worst terrorist attack in the UK in more than a decade—can be described only as blowback from the activities of the UK and its allies in Libya, where external intervention has given rise to a battle-worn terrorist haven. ...

    Live Mint on June 9, 2017, 4:34 a.m.

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    ...His vision—the “Chinese dream”—is to make China the world’s leading power by 2049, the centenary of communist rule. But Xi may be biting off more than he can chew. A critical element of Xi’s strategy to realize the Chinese dream is the One Belt, One Road (Obor) initiative, whereby China will invest in infrastructure projects abroad, with the goal of bringing countries from Central Asia to Europe firmly into China’s orbit. When Xi calls it “the project of the century,” he may not be exaggerating. In terms of scale or scope, Obor has no parallel in modern history. It is more than 12 times the size of the Marshall Plan, America’s post-World War II initiative to aid the reconstruction of Western Europe’s devastated economies. Even if China cannot implement its entire plan, Obor will have a significant and lasting impact. Of course, Obor is not the only challenge Xi has mounted against an ageing Western-dominated international order. ...

    Live Mint on May 29, 2017, 2:37 a.m.

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    ...The trip yielded business and investment deals for the US valued at up to almost $400 billion, including a contract to sell $109.7 billion worth of arms to a country that Trump previously accused of being complicit in 9/11. By exporting Wahhabism – the hyper-conservative strain of Islam that has instilled the spirit of martyrdom and become the source of modern Islamist terror – Saudi Arabia has been snuffing out the more liberal Islamic traditions in many countries. Wahhabism is just a variant of Salafism, and the House of Saud is the main backer of Salafis across the globe. Indeed, Saudi Arabia’s radicalism is the root from which Islamist terrorist organisations ranging from Islamic State (which claimed responsibility for the Manchester concert attack) to al-Qaida draw their ideological sustenance. ...

    TOI on May 27, 2017, 2 a.m.