A new great game in Asia

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by ejazr, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/eo20101118bc.html

    U.S. President Barack Obama's 10-day Asian tour and the consecutive summit meetings of the East Asian Summit (EAS), the Group of 20 and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) helped put the spotlight on Asia's security challenges at a time when tensions between an increasingly ambitious China and its neighbors have spread all over the regional geopolitical landscape.

    Obama significantly restricted his tour to Asia's leading democracies — India, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea — that circle China and are central to managing China's rise. Yet he spent the whole of last year assiduously courting Beijing in the hope that he could make China a global partner on global issues ranging from climate change to trade and financial issues. The catchphrase coined by Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg in relation to China, "strategic reassurance," actually signaled a U.S. intent to be more accommodative of China's ambitions — a message reinforced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she went out of her way to downgrade human rights during a visit to Beijing. Obama, for his part, declared that America's "most important bilateral relationship in the world" is with China.

    Now, with his China strategy falling apart, Obama is seeking to do exactly what his predecessor attempted — to line up partners and thereby build an insurance policy in case China's rising power slides into arrogance.

    The U.S. "hedge" strategy seeks to strengthen existing security alliances, build new strategic partnerships, expand U.S. involvement in regional forums, hold joint naval and other defense exercises, and build military-to-military interoperability with other nations, thereby constricting China's opportunities for regional domination.

    Other players on the grand chessboard of Asian geopolitics also are seeking to build new equations, as they concurrently pursue hedging, balancing and band-wagoning. A fast-rising Asia has become the defining fulcrum of global geopolitical change. Asian policies and challenges now help shape the international security and economic environments. Yet, major power shifts within Asia are challenging the continent's own peace and stability. With the specter of power disequilibrium looming large in Asia, investments to help build strategic power stability has become imperative.

    China's lengthening shadow has prompted a number of Asian countries to start building security cooperation on a bilateral basis, thereby laying the groundwork for a potential web of interlocking strategic partnerships. These bilateral deals and partnerships, although not intended to contain China, represent a palpable shift in the Asian diplomatic landscape, with a new emphasis on mutually beneficial security cooperation and a quiet desire to positively influence China's behavior so that it does not cross well-defined red lines or go against the self-touted gospel of its "peaceful rise." But building genuine partnerships is a slow process because it demands major accommodation and adjustment on both sides. The U.S., for example, has worked hard in recent years to co-opt India in a "soft alliance" shorn of treaty obligations. Yet, despite a rapidly warming rapport between the two and Obama's recent statement calling India the "cornerstone of America's engagement in Asia," conflicting U.S.-India expectations and interests often surface, even as the two countries get closer.

    The U.S. is now courting Vietnam, and the two countries are even negotiating a civilian nuclear deal. Although thrust together by a shared concern over China, Vietnam and the U.S. are discovering that the Cold War legacy continues to weigh down their thinking to some extent.

    Within the Vietnamese Communist Party, there are deep divisions over the country's relations with the U.S. Even as Vietnam moves closer to the U.S. as a hedge against China's muscular strategy, some in its ruling Communist Party fear that Washington remains committed to overthrowing the Vietnamese political system. After all, despite Burma's strategic importance vis-a-vis China and Aung San Suu Kyi's release from house detention, the U.S. continues to enforce stringent sanctions against that country, with the aim of toppling its government. In the process — to the dislike and concern of its generals — Burma has become more dependent on China than ever before.

    The U.S.-China relationship itself is likely to remain uneasy, but overt competition or confrontation suits neither side. For the U.S., China's rising power actually helps validate American forward military deployments in the Asian theater. It also helps the U.S. to keep existing allies and find new ones. The China factor thus is coming handy to Washington to enlarge its strategic footprint in Asia. Still, the security thrust of America's Asia policy is unlikely to change — maintenance of a balance of power.

    While the U.S. is likely to remain a key factor in influencing Asia's strategic landscape, the role of the major Asian powers will be no less important.

    If China, India and Japan constitute a strategic triangle in Asia — a scalene triangle — with three unequal sides — with China representing the longest side, Side A, India Side B and Japan Side C, the sum of B plus C will always be greater than A. Not surprisingly, the fastest-growing relationship in Asia today is probably between Japan and India.

    If this strategic triangle is turned into a strategic quadrangle with the addition of Russia, it will create the ultimate strategic nightmare for China that will box in that country from virtually all sides. Japan plus Russia plus India, with the U.S. lending a helpful hand, will extinguish not only any prospects of a Sino-centric Asia, but would amount to a strategic squeeze of China.

    Yet, as underscored by recent developments over the first post-Cold War visit of a Russian leader to any of the four islands seized from Japan at the end of World War II, a Russian-Japanese rapprochement remains distant. The islands, part of the disputed Northern Territories (South Kurils in Russia), were captured when Japan was reeling under U.S. nuclear bombings and its surrender to the U.S. seemed imminent. Soviet troops launched a treacherous attack on Japan on Aug. 9, 1945 — the day the U.S. dropped a nuclear bomb on a second Japanese city.

    This background shows that Asia's power dynamics are likely to remain fluid, with new or shifting alliances and strengthened military capabilities continuing to challenge major equations.

    The year of the tiger in Chinese astrology, for its part, has fittingly turned out to be the year China roared by ratcheting up tensions through escalating territorial feuds with neighbors stretching from Japan to India. In fact, 2010 will be remembered as the year Beijing undercut its own interests by kindling fears of an expansionist China and inadvertently helping the U.S. to come back to the center of the Asian stage.
    Brahma Chellaney is the author, most recently, of "Asian Juggernaut: The Rise of China, India and Japan" (HarperCollins USA, 2010).
     
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  3. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Alert: Indian Army Ready For War Against China And Pakistan Simultaneously

    Alert: Indian Army Ready For War Against China And Pakistan Simultaneously

    Dec 2009 – India is preparing for a possible `two-front war’ with China and Pakistan, Indian newspaper saying Wednesday.

    The newspaper said the Indian Army is now revising its five-year-old doctrine to effectively meet the challenges of war with China and Pakistan, deal with asymmetric and fourth-generation warfare, enhance strategic reach and joint operations with IAF and Navy.

    Work on the new war doctrine — to reflect the reconfiguration of threat perceptions and security challenges — is already underway under the aegis of Shimla-based Army Training Command, headed by Lt-General A S Lamba, sources told the Indian newspaper.

    It comes in the backdrop of the 1.13-million strong Army having practiced — through several wargames over the last five years — its `pro-active’ war strategy to mobilise fast and strike hard to pulverize the enemy. This `cold start strategy’, under a NBC (nuclear-chemical-biological) overhang, emerged from the `harsh lessons’ learnt during Operation Parakram, where it took Army’s strike formations almost a month to mobilise at the `border launch pads’ after the December 2001 terrorist attack on Parliament.

    This gave ample opportunity to Pakistan to shore up its defences as well as adequate time to the international community, primarily the US, to intervene. The lack of clear directives from the then NDA government only made matters worse.
    “A major leap in our approach to conduct of operations (since then) has been the successful firming-up of the cold start strategy (to be able to go to war promptly),” said Army chief General Deepak Kapoor, at a closed-door seminar on Tuesday.

    The plan now is to launch self-contained and highly-mobile `battle groups’, with Russian-origin T-90S tanks and upgraded T-72 M1 tanks at their core, adequately backed by air cover and artillery fire assaults, for rapid thrusts into enemy territory within 96 hours.

    Gen Kapoor identified five thrust areas that will drive the new doctrine.

    One, even as the armed forces prepare for their primary task of conventional wars, they must also factor in the eventuality of `a two-front war’ breaking out.
    In tune with this, after acquiring a greater offensive punch along the entire western front with Pakistan by the creation of a new South-Western Army Command in 2005, India is now taking steps — albeit belatedly — to strategically counter the stark military asymmetry with China in the eastern sector. There is now “a proportionate focus towards the western and north-eastern fronts”, said Gen Kapoor.

    Two, the Army needs to `optimise’ its capability to effectively counter `both military and non-military facets’ of asymmetric and sub-conventional threats like WMD terrorism, cyber warfare, electronic warfare and information warfare.

    Three, the armed forces have to substantially enhance their strategic reach and out-of-area capabilities to protect India’s geo-political interests stretching from Persian Gulf to Malacca Strait. “This would enable us to protect our island territories; as also give assistance to the littoral states in the Indian Ocean Region,” said Gen Kapoor.

    Four, interdependence and operational synergy among Army, Navy and IAF must become the essence of strategic planning and execution in future wars. “For this, joint operations, strategic and space-based capability, ballistic missile defence and amphibious, air-borne and air-land operations must be addressed comprehensively,” he said.

    And five, India must strive to achieve a technological edge over its adversaries. “Harnessing and exploitation of technology also includes integration of network centricity, decision-support systems, information warfare and electronic warfare into our operational plans,” he added.

    Apart from analysing the evolving military strategy and doctrines of China and Pakistan, the Army is also studying the lessons learnt from the US-launched Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2001 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and their relevance to India.

    PD Agencies

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    Source: http://www.pakalertpress.com/2010/1...ar-against-china-and-pakistan-simultaneously/
     
  4. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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  5. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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