THE UN Charter does not allow reclaiming territory on the basis of historic claims. In 1945, it effectively declared that all international boundaries had attained finality and could not be altered on any pretext. Territories can no longer be acquired on the basis of occupation or aggression. Now states need to live within the territory they possessed when they signed the UN Charter.
This leads us to the monumental principle of the international legal order — non-intervention and non-interference. This same principle was codified in a few paras of Article 2 of the UN Charter and later elaborated in two UN General Assembly resolutions. Barring Kashmir and Palestine, no other state in the last 70 years since the UN Charter has been able to enlarge its territory by claiming title through occupation.
However, in the last few years, some states have begun to contemplate reclaiming territory on the basis of historical claims. This is worrisome. India, for example, is raising such claims through its political figures and some who hold government office. The slogan of ‘Akhand Bharat’ is an attempt to reclaim the territory of neighbouring states on the pretext that once they all partly constituted the Bharat that existed as a single territorial entity hundreds of years ago.
Such expansionist theories of religious parties and extreme elements can be ignored but if this narrative is beginning to be owned by state officials in India then it becomes a matter of concern not only for the neighbours but also the international community.
Do historic titles threaten the global legal order?
Reclaiming territory based on historic title would require the use of force — in utter disregard of the UN Charter. When the Bhartiya Jansangh, as the BJP was known earlier, passed a resolution in 1965 that “Akhand Bharat [would] be a reality, unifying India and Pakistan once we are able to remove this obstacle (separatist politics)”, it could be ignored because in 1965 this was a minority political view. But no longer. Now the BJP is in power and whatever statement its ministers or other holders of public office issue is to be taken as the government’s policy line. In other words, the Akhand Bharat narrative is elevating itself from a minority view to an official position. Indresh Kumar, a senior leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, has claimed that Pakistan will become a part of India after 2025.
Compare this to Pakistan. There may be rhetorical speeches, but none of the major political parties have in their manifestos anything close to pledges to reclaim the territory of, say, the lost Mughal Empire. The narrative of destroying India or claiming any part of its territory is not owned by major political parties here. The slogan of making Kashmir part of Pakistan or helping Kashmiris exercise their right of self-determination is limited to the disputed territory of India-held Kashmir, but no government in Pakistan or mainstream political parties have adopted a position that puts forward claims to any union territory of India.
Israel is another case in point. It lays claims even to its neighbouring states on the grounds of historic and religious title. Neither of these grounds is recognised as an exception to the prohibition of expanding boundaries under the UN Charter. The manifesto of the Likud party lays such a claim to Jordanian territory stating that “The Jordan Valley and the territories that dominate it shall be under Israeli sovereignty. The Jordan river will be the permanent eastern border of the State of Israel.” Such a claim is contrary to the UN Charter to which Israel is a party. The Likud party, in its manifesto, has stated that the Jewish communities of Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realisation of Zionist values.
The consequence of reclaiming title by India and Israel is that it is boosting the narrative of several non-state actors like the Taliban, IS etc. Their speeches and video and social media messages talk of establishing a khilafat in disregard of settled boundaries and of creating a transnational entity. No Muslim state has taken political ownership of this narrative nor encouraged it. Malaysia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Pakistan have actually treated this narrative as contrary to their respective constitutions and the international rules of law.
But that might just be changing. Turkey has started to react to Israel’s transnational and historic claims by voicing ideas of a revival of the Ottoman Empire or Sultanate of Usmania. Its president has criticised the Treaty of Lausanne which created the borders of modern-day Turkey and said that it left the country too small. News reports state that even new maps are being drawn showing the reclaiming of the territory of the Ottoman Empire.
Claiming territory beyond existing borders on the basis of historic title or religious basis is a slippery slope. It should be avoided.
Indian Ocean Region is more than twenty per cent of the world waterways. It gets its name from the longest river in Pakistan. The region is a concept broader than a maritime trade route. It is an interstate of shared values, cultures and communication. The region was relatively peaceful during the two world wars. It also has two nuclear-free continents on its eastern and western rims.
The peace that the region has endured is facing a threat from within. In the absence of any outstanding regional power, the IOR had maintained peace on the high tide of liberalism and peaceful co-existence. As the regional powers grow stronger, their influence will reach far and deep into the Indian Ocean often overlapping, converging and diverging from the interests of other regional powers. With the horrors of colonization in the hindsight, the visionary Indian diplomat KM Pannikar also weighed in ‘India cannot exist, without the Indian Ocean being free’.
The modern Indian policymakers consider it the ‘manifest destiny’ of India to wrest control of the ocean that lies around it. It is the driving force behind India’s imperialist designs in the 21st century.
Whether the Indian Ocean can truly become an Indian ocean remains a question. India aspires to be the hegemon of the IOR. It boasts the fifth largest navy in the world in terms of personnel and vessels. It has a nuclear submarine, the INS Arihant and two aircraft carriers, with the negotiations for leasing a third Russian aircraft carrier on a 15-year deal underway. India is obsessed with securing its maritime frontiers by expanding into the ocean. Since Colonization and then the Partition, there is an inherent sense of insecurity on land and in the maritime domain. Therefore, India is rapidly growing its ability to project naval power.
The pursuit of Indian manifest destiny comes with a catch. With a population as large as China’s, it has less than half the land and resources. Indian growth will be stagnated by the demographic constraints. It cannot expand on land. It borders two unassailable foes in the east and the north. In a situation where India does not have the ability to expand on land to sustain growth, it is falling into the trap of the ‘salt water fallacy’ of empires. Therefore, Indian policymakers see it fitting to have a fast mobile navy so that the Indian empire-building project can be hastened. But India lacks rich naval tradition. The Hindu scriptures forbid voyaging deep into the ocean. The Vedas mention only two seas; the eastern, Bay of Bengal and the western, Arabian Sea. India, the aspiring Indian Ocean hegemon, is not even the most dominant force in its immediate seas. At best, it can only influence a few actions of some of the actors in the region.
In comparison, the new look Pakistan aims at securing stability and shared economic growth in the IOR. It has the navy to serve this purpose. Pakistan has also stuck to American, French and Chinese technologies. Their sailors have a tangible and better man-and-machine synchronization merely in terms of sheer months embarked using one kind of switchboard. Pakistan’s navy also has limited resources but clearly defined goals. The command and control structure is elaborate. The sailors and admirals are trained by the best navy in the world. The Naval Special Services Group was trained by the US Navy SEALs. To cope with the Indian naval power, Pakistan has also struck a deal with China for the supply of eight attack submarines. Pakistan sees the Arabian Sea as indispensable to its strategic depth doctrine. Pakistan’s economic and geopolitical interests are bound to grow rapidly in the most important sea of the IOR.
Earlier this March, flying Ormara base a Pakistan Navy aircraft detected an Indian submarine and halted its advances during a time of great regional tension. Despite being conventionally superior, India fails to take advantage of its position mainly due to the lack of professional expertise of its sailors. Indian Navy regularly experiments with Russian, Israeli, American, French, German technologies, and also indigenization. The strategy has only provided poorly trained sailors. Constant tinkering with technology and the consequent deficiency in the training of troops is a taxing concern for Indian Admiralty. The ability of Indian admirals cannot be undermined. They are all qualified full-well for the job. But a British educated admiral will find it difficult to command the crew on a Russian aircraft carrier or a nuclear submarine. Despite the command being clear from the admirals, the sailors cannot comprehend and execute the orders properly. Sun Tzu will see it as a strategic error.
Strategic errors can lead to annihilation when nuclear submarines are operating.
We have already seen over half-a-dozen re-commissions of INS Arihant. Most recently, recommissioned late last year after a boiler bust lead to its sixth decommissioning in just over a decade. The INS Arihant has medium-range ballistic missile launch capability which is in the range of Pakistan’s defence systems. Thus, Indian sea-based nuclear capabilities are no threat to Pakistan.
Both countries understand the consequence of an escalated conflict will be a ‘Mutual Assured Destruction’.
The only purpose left for an Indian nuclear submarine is the projection of nuclear power in the nuclear free-zones on the rims of IOR. It will be hard for Australia and some capable African nations to resist the temptation for achieving a nuclear parity against the foreseeable Indian nuclear aggression in the IOR. America’s nuclear ally, India will be implicated in the nuclear proliferation in the region. The White House and the US Congress pursue short-to-medium term economic gains from such cooperation with India. However, India’s expanding defence capabilities in the maritime and space domains will ultimately threaten the United States.
Let's compare the naval strength of India vs total naval strength of all countries in IOR combined.The pursuit of Indian manifest destiny comes with a catch. With a population as large as China’s, it has less than half the land and resources. Indian growth will be stagnated by the demographic constraints. It cannot expand on land. It borders two unassailable foes in the east and the north. In a situation where India does not have the ability to expand on land to sustain growth, it is falling into the trap of the ‘salt water fallacy’ of empires. Therefore, Indian policymakers see it fitting to have a fast mobile navy so that the Indian empire-building project can be hastened. But India lacks rich naval tradition. The Hindu scriptures forbid voyaging deep into the ocean. The Vedas mention only two seas; the eastern, Bay of Bengal and the western, Arabian Sea. India, the aspiring Indian Ocean hegemon, is not even the most dominant force in its immediate seas. At best, it can only influence a few actions of some of the actors in the region.
Naval front is the one where Indian & Pakistani forces have highest power differential to a level that Pakistani analysts make threat matrix and assessment of foreign supports after Indian annihilation. Pakistani navy doesn't even make any impact in its own backyard Arabian sea.In comparison, the new look Pakistan aims at securing stability and shared economic growth in the IOR. It has the navy to serve this purpose.
Mutually Assured Destruction will occur in case both parties have strategic balance in WMD aspects. It doesn't lie between India & Pakistan for past 50 years and is not anywhere in sight either.Both countries understand the consequence of an escalated conflict will be a ‘Mutual Assured Destruction’.
Pakistan is miles behind from deploying even a primitive anti missile system capable of taking down easily detectable land based missiles. Leave alone sea based nukes. Columnist most certainly is on weed.The INS Arihant has medium-range ballistic missile launch capability which is in the range of Pakistan’s defence systems.
Ready to fire sea based nukes are only used by four countries in world and do respond to a nuclear attack in minutes if not seconds. Pakistan's naval & submarine detetecting capabilities beyond its shores are nil and hence Pakistan will suffer in hands of even short range SLBMs. Leave alone MR and ICRSLBMs.Thus, Indian sea-based nuclear capabilities are no threat to Pakistan.
UNITED NATIONS: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has alerted the OIC Contact Group on Kashmir that India has intensified its belligerent rhetoric against Pakistan, including threats of military aggression.
The OIC Contact Group met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Sunday to discuss the worsening human rights situation in India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Saudi Arabia, Niger and Azerbaijan attended the meeting. Head of the OIC Observer Mission to the UN Ambassador Agshin Mehdiyev represented the OIC Secretary General.
On Monday, the UN General Assembly also held the inaugural meeting of its high-level debate on world affairs. The United Nations had arranged hundreds of events this year to commemorate its 75th anniversary but most of these events are being held virtually because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Contact Group met to discuss worsening rights situation in held Kashmir
At the OIC meeting, members of the Contact Group reviewed recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir, including the grave human rights and humanitarian situation in the occupied territory and tensions along the LoC.
Pakistan’s Ambassador Munir Akram read out the foreign minister’s special message in the meeting, stating that the RSS-BJP regime in India was implementing the so-called “final solution” in the occupied lands.
“The issuance of 1.6 million domicile certificates since March is meant to change the demography of IOJK from a Muslim majority into a Hindu majority territory,” he added.
LOL, my foot.The foreign minister pointed out that in another attempt to obliterate the Muslim identity of occupied Jammu and Kashmir, India was also changing the official status of the Urdu language through a new legislation.
Rejecting the Indian claim of “normalcy” in the occupied territory, Mr Qureshi highlighted a joint communication by 18 special mandate holders of the Human Rights Council issued last month. The statement noted that the human rights situation there was in a “free fall” and hundreds of young Kashmiris were killed extra-judicially in “fake encounters” and “cordon and search” operations.
It noted that the Indian security forces continued to enjoy complete impunity under black laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (APSPA) and the Public Safety Act (PSA). The foreign minister informed the group that in 2020 alone, India had committed over 2,200 ceasefire violations.
“There is a tangible threat of further escalation as India might conduct another false flag operation to justify renewed aggression against Pakistan, posing a serious threat to regional peace and security,” he said. Mr Qureshi said it was imperative for India to immediately lift its inhumane military siege and rescind all illegal actions taken since Aug 5. He also urged New Delhi to remove restrictions on communications, movement and peaceful assembly; release incarcerated political leaders and free arbitrarily detained Kashmiris.
The foreign minister said that India must reverse new domicile rules; remove draconian security laws and prosecute military and civilian personnel involved in massive human rights violations.
“Allow unhindered access to fact finding missions and the international media to investigate human rights violations in the occupied lands,” he said. Reaffirming OIC’s principled position on the issue, all members of the Contact Group expressed deep concern at the continued human rights violations in occupied Jammu and Kashmir. They recalled OIC’s ministerial communiques of Sept 25, 2019, and June 22 this year, and fully endorsed the foreign minister’s recommendations, adding that they were essential for immediate de-escalation.
The Contact Group also asked the UN Secretary General, the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council to call on India to halt human rights violations, rescind the unilateral and illegal measures taken on and after Aug 5, 2019, and to implement the Security Council resolutions calling for a plebiscite to enable the people of India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir to exercise their right to self-determination.
rand rone do usko.India threatening military aggression, Pakistan tells OIC group
The foreign minister pointed out that in another attempt to obliterate the Muslim identity of occupied Jammu and Kashmir, India was also changing the official status of the Urdu language through a new legislation.— AFP/File
LOL, my foot.
UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan on Saturday rejected India’s demand for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, saying there’s no place for a fasicst state in a sensitive decision-making body.
Earlier in the day, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong pitch for a more prominent role in the UN Security Council, asking: “Till when do we have to wait? Till when will India be kept away from the UN’s decision-making process?”
Last week, the Indian government announced that it was according “highest priority” to getting a permanent seat on the UNSC.
LOL“It’s a pipe dream,” said Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Munir Akram, while responding to the demand. “The world does not want a fascist state as a permanent member of the Security Council.”
The Pakistani envoy said that Islamabad too wanted UN reforms but not by adding another state to the existing list of five permanent UNSC members.
Islamabad seeks increase in number of non-permanent members
“We want expansion of the non-permanent members in the Security Council, from the present 10 to 20-21 to ensure equitable representation of the UN’s 193 member states,” he said.
There are at least 30 UN members that support expansion only in the non-permanent category.
China, one of the five permanent members with veto power, also backs this proposal. The other permanent members include the US, Britain, Russia and France.
Brazil, Germany, India and Japan, however, want to be added to the permanent category. On Wednesday, Brazil and South Africa urged the UN to expedite the reforms.
Ambassador Akram, however, said that Pakistan backs increasing non-permanent members because it would allow all large, medium and smaller states— especially from Africa, Asia and Latin America — to have a say in the United Nations decision-making process. All these states were underrepresented and complain of having no say in key international issues.
“This will also enhance the balance between the existing five permanent members and non-permanent members,” Mr Akram said.
He said Pakistan opposed the Indian proposal because additional permanent seats would reduce opportunities for the representation of the wider UN membership. “This will also create new centers of privilege compounding the difficulties of securing expeditious and equitable decisions in the Security Council,” he added.
But the Indian prime minister appeared desperate to join the elite club, which will also allow it thwart any international move to resolve the Kashmir dispute.
“Till when do we have to wait?” he asked the UN General Assembly. “Reform is needed at the United Nations and India is waiting for that reform to happen.”
He reminded the UN that it needed to adapt and change to stay relevant in current times.
The Security Council is the UN’s highest-decision making forum and the only one that can make legally-binding decisions, such as the one demanding a plebiscite in Kashmir. India, however, refuses to implement this legally-binding decision.
India, which has previously served seven terms as a non-permanent, was re-elected for a two-year term in June along with Ireland, Mexico and Norway.
In February, US President Donald Trump said he was committed to working with India to strengthen and reform the UN but made no specific reference to New Delhi’s demand for a permanent seat.
On Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan used his address to the UNGA to highlight the atrocities India had committed in occupied Kashmir. He urged the world leaders to persuade India to reverse its Aug. 5, 2019 decision to illegally annex the occupied territories. He also drew their attention to the plight of Indian Muslims and other minorities.
“India will not hesitate in raising its voice against the enemies of humanity, human race and human values — these include terrorism, smuggling of illegal weapons, drugs and money-laundering,” he said.
Yes. It is achieved by the destruction of paki state by India and getting those parts under Indian influence.
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