India must back support to ASEAN with hard power

Discussion in 'Indo Pacific & East Asia' started by LETHALFORCE, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    India must back support to ASEAN with hard power - The New Indian Express


    In a significant development, the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting held in Brunei between June 30 and July 2 took a radically different approach to a potentially explosive conflict between its members and China. In sharp contrast to their meeting held last year in Phnom Penh, where the 10-member group even failed to take up the issue, this time it has pushed to restart negotiations for a regional Code of Conduct (CoC) to settle territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

    ASEAN has not only managed to develop an internal consensus on the issue but also cajole China to negotiate towards a binding CoC. Beijing has agreed to host senior officials to discuss a CoC in September this year.

    The significance of preserving ASEAN unity and fast-tracking the establishment of a CoC was discussed at a recent meeting of strategic analysts organised by India’s Centre for Asian Strategic Studies and Thailand’s Institute for Strategic and International Studies. The conference evolved the possible contours of a regional dispute-settlement mechanism, which was forwarded to relevant regional governments and inter-governmental organisations.

    India’s ‘Look East’ policy has played a constructive role in ASEAN though security initiatives and ASEAN countries have now started looking up for a greater role for India. Welcoming India’s commitment and engagement with ASEAN, Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said “we all want to see more of India’s presence in South-east Asia, not only politically, but also economically”.

    India and ASEAN countries, however, must be wary of China’s agreement, at least in principle, to restart talks towards a multilateral CoC. It remains to be seen whether China’s leadership has the will or ability to rein in the People’s Liberation Army and its paramilitary forces, both of which have been pivotal in recent South China Sea confrontations. For instance, after securing the disputed Scarborough Shoal after a standoff with Philippine forces last year, China has recently moved to consolidate control over the hydrocarbon-rich Reed Bank off the western Filipino island of Palawan.

    The Philippines has desperately sought external support, mainly from the US and Japan, to retain its control over the Second Thomas Shoal, a critical gateway to the disputed Reed Bank amid China’s warnings of a possible “counterstrike”. The renewed tensions have raised the stakes for a binding CoC. For proponents of CoC, the priority is to engage in a series of negotiations aimed at a binding set of agreements that will govern the conduct of parties and the resolution of disputes involving more than two claimants.

    Such a CoC would be an extension of the non-binding 2002 DOC, which called for peaceful settlement of disputes and renunciation of the threat and use of force to advance territorial claims. It’d also be consistent with the Indonesia-sponsored “six-point principles” initiative, which emphasises the resolution of maritime claims based on international law—UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

    Given convergence of its interests with ASEAN countries and Japan which are facing a belligerent China, India must press for a more comprehensive deal, which will question China’s far-reaching nine-dash line map claims to the South China Sea, and create an enforceable multilateral dispute-settlement mechanism that will prevent China from bilaterally outmaneuvering its smaller neighbours.

    Presently, India is concentrating on strengthening its economic ties with ASEAN through trade and commerce. The time has come when it must deepen its strategic relations with members of the group and build strategic alliances with the nations fearful of China’s increasing bellicosity. It should be prepared to back its support for maintaining peace and stability and securing maritime lanes in the sea over which China has shown increasing assertiveness by its hard power
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    India has to first get a Govt that is capable and not wimpish!
     
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  4. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    I think it is more important for France to do it. We have possessions in the middle of ASEAN and as such we should lead it. Member states would see us as the regional leader and flock to French weapons to arm themselves. It would be an economic boon for us and a hegemonic move reinstating French power in a region long neglected. The China threat is forcing these countries to arm, it should be with our weapons.
     
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  5. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    Where in the middle of ASEAN?

    If France is really interested in getting a foothold in IOR, and play a part in ensuring freedom of passage in international waters, then I think it is imperative for France to set up a naval base at Ile Amsterdam French Southern and Antarctic Lands

     
  6. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    France already has a foothold in IOR. We control all ingress and egress routes to the region except Malacca. No one travels by way of Antarctica so putting a base there would be pointless. We have bases in the south IOR so South Africa is covered. Taking over ASEAN would give us a base to control Malacca and then the IOR would be under our control.
     
  7. s002wjh

    s002wjh Senior Member Senior Member

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    phil have access to US weapon, if they have the $$$$. same with other ASEAN countries, non have $$
     
  8. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    France can't let US have everything. We already dominate Malaysian arms trade, we need to add more countries to that like Thailand and others that have money. Phil is broke but not all are...
     
  9. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    France shall hit VN market too. Viet has $$$. Look at their orders to Russia, Kilo, and Su-30MK2. Huge potential and they're also fond of France - Hanoi is so-called Oriental Paris.
     
  10. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    But Rafale lost every single evaluation trial (SKorea/Singapore) despite top-notch performance due to US political clout...what can France do about that ? I do not think any French arms can compete with US products in the SE Asian market, due to pricing & lobbying issues. Comments ...?
     
  11. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    It didn't lose any of the trials, it was ranked first by their AFs. What it lost is the political clout in those countries. US has massive presence in both. We have to focus on countries that are not tied to the US hip like Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and even Vietnam. The US wins by providing military aid. Rafale lost to F-16 in Morocco because the US gave them an aid package worth half the value of the contract. Instead of throwing money down the drain on economic aid, we should do the same as the US with military aid and make them dependent on our arms. It pays for itself in the long term and provides jobs directly to the donor country.
     
  12. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    That's what I implied...read again.

    Makes sense. But Russia, Ukraine, China & Germany also supply to some of these nations at competitive rates. It would be interesting to see if France can afford to dole out financial packages in lieu of arms contract.
     

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