Air strikes raise Indo-Pak tensions | Daily News

Air strikes raise Indo-Pak tensions

Footage appears to show wreckage from a downed Indian jet.
Footage appears to show wreckage from a downed Indian jet.

The current crisis situation is a major issue affecting the politics and leadership of both Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani PM Imran Khan. The Indian leader is facing national elections to the Lok Sabha in less than two months, in a situation where the Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP) led by him has been losing popularity in state elections in recent months. In the post-terrorist attack situation in Kashmir, PM Modi and the BJP have gained popularity, with increasing pressure from strong and also extremist Hindu organisations for tougher action against Pakistan and its pro-Islamic forces

Two weeks after the suicide attack by a Pakistan-based terrorist group in Indian-controlled Kashmir, killing 40 Indian soldiers, the tension between the two nuclear armed neighbours continues to rise.

Earlier this week confrontations between Indian and Pakistani fighter jets in the skies above the two country controlled Kashmiri regions escalated the hostilities between them. The military exchange came a day after India launched airstrikes in Pakistani territory hitting large camps of Jaish-e-Mohammed, the Pakistan-based terrorist organisation. New Delhi claimed at least 300 militants were killed in the strike, while Pakistan said no one was killed.

In the later aerial clash between the two nations, Pakistan said it had shot down two Indian aircraft while India claimed to have also shot one down. Pakistan later said one Indian aircraft had been shot down, and its pilot held in custody.

Amidst increasing international concern over the clash between the two nuclear powers, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has said the captured Indian pilot will be released as a gesture of peace. His release was called for by Indian authorities, seen as a warning to Pakistan.

The current crisis situation is a major issue affecting the politics and leadership of both Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani PM Imran Khan. The Indian leader is facing national elections to the Lok Sabha in less than two months, in a situation where the Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP) led by him has been losing popularity in state elections in recent months. In the post-terrorist attack situation in Kashmir, PM Modi and the BJP have gained popularity, with increasing pressure from strong and also extremist Hindu organisations for tougher action against Pakistan and its pro-Islamic forces.

Pakistani leader Imran Khan, who was elected six months ago, and is seen as a political lightweight who came with populism, is now in a position to show strength, which would bring him bigger support from the military, that controls Pakistani politics in the recent decades. This could be an important test for him with the country closer to war with the traditional rival and the highest threat in the past 20 years. Political analysts see a possible aggression from India as a strong rallying cry for the people, to support Imran Khan.

However, at the initial stage of the conflict PM Khan did call for calm with a TV address calling for a diplomatic solution to the crisis. “With the weapons you have and the weapons we have, can we afford miscalculation? Shouldn’t we think that if this escalates what it will lead to?” The decision to release the captured Indian pilot is another gesture for peace. But, can India also move in the direction of peace with the politics of a general election, and the rise of extremist Hindu nationalism showing a road to stronger electoral success?

Indian PM Modi, in a video conference with BJP campaign workers said: “The world is watching our collective will. We trust our army’s capability and because of this, it is extremely necessary that nothing should happen that harms their morale or that our enemies should get a chance to raise a finger against us.”

“When our enemy tries to destabilize the country, when terrorists attack – one of their goals is that our progress should stop, our country should stop moving ahead. To stand up against this aim of theirs, each Indian should stand like a wall or a rock. We have to show them that neither will this country stop, nor will the country’s progress slow down.”

“India will live as one, India will work as one, India will grow as one, India will fight as one, India will win as one,” he said.

As the Indian polls move closer and the Opposition alliances grow stronger, the tension in the region will grow, needing a rise in moves for negotiation and understanding, with wider international opposition to the terrorist forces based in Pakistan, for peace and security to prevail in South Asia.

Trump fails in Hanoi Summit…

US President Donald Trump faced failure in the second summit between him and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at Hanoi, Vietnam with disagreement on the central issues of disarmament and sanctions relief.

The collapse of the much publicized talks of the two leaders came after the White House circulated detailed plans for negotiating sessions, and had also organised a later working lunch and signing ceremony.

The planned deal with Kim-Jung-un broke down because North Korea wanted complete sanctions relief imposed against the country to dismantle its main nuclear complex at Yongbyon, while the US wanted other nuclear facilities and covert nuclear sites also disabled. The North Koreans have not agreed to total nuclear disarmament, which is the goal of the US, although not pushed hard by Donald Trump.

Trump told the press “They wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that ... Sometimes you have to walk, and this was just one of those times.” He admitted there was a wide gap in relations on denuclearization, with the US wanting sanctions, while Kim Jon-un wants to ‘denuke’, without sanctions. “He (Kim Jong-un) wants to just do areas that are less important than the areas that we want.”

The failure of the talks, coming eight months after the first Trump – Kim Jong-un summit in Singapore, is a major failure to Donald Trump, who was earlier talking about the possibility of US aid for the economic development of North Korea, which he saw as a future economic giant in the region.

After the break of talks, Donald Trump said the current status quo would continue, with North Korea continuing to suspend nuclear and missile tests, while the US would not take part in joint military exercises with South Korea, which he was opposed to.

The possibility of a denuclearization deal with North Korea is a major diplomatic move for Donald Trump, who has steadily declining diplomatic relations with the traditional allies of the US, especially in Europe. The current situation also gives cause for concern by Japan and South Korea, because of the possibility of the US allowing North Korea to keep medium range missiles, which do not threaten the US, but could easily target its immediate neighbours in the Far East.

…and Washington exposure

Donald Trump reportedly kept watching TV in Hanoi, where a possible deep legal exposure of the President was taking place in Washington, with his former lawyer Michael Cohen giving evidence at the House of Representatives over several alleged illegal actions of the President, especially the payments made to women including ‘adult actresses’ who are alleged to have had affairs with Mr. Trump; and payments being made by his lawyer at the final stages of his presidential election campaign, being reimbursed by Trump himself, showing a possible legal offence.

Cohen, a former confidant of Trump, his lawyer for ten years, who is now accuser, also revealed that prosecutors in New York were probing Trump's organisation for alleged illegality in a previously unpublicized case, underscoring the potential that the biggest threat to the President may come not from special counsel Robert Mueller, but from the hard-charging US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

The charges presented by Cohen are very negative of the Trump image, and was pushed hard by the majority Democrats in the House of Representatives, but strongly opposed by his supportive minority Republicans, who were describing Cohen as a convicted liar, which Cohen admitted, but said he has stopped lying for Trump, and now tells the truth about him. It is the undercurrent of emerging US politics.

UK loses on Chagos Islands

Theresa May is moving from bad to worse in the Brexit issue, with continuing defeats and increasing criticism in the House of Commons. This week there was a bigger defeat internationally for the UK, with the higher court in the United Nations ordering that the Chagos Island be handed back to Mauritius ‘as rapidly as possible’ and that continued British occupation of the Indian Ocean archipelago is illegal.

The UK retained possession of the Chagos archipelago, after Mauritius gained its independence in 1968, paying Mauritius more than £4m for the islands.

UK refers to it as British Indian Ocean Territory or BIOT. About 1,500 native islanders were deported so the largest island could be leased to the US for the Diego Garcia airbase in 1971. They have never been allowed to return home.

Mauritius submitted to the ICJ last year that it was coerced into giving up the Chagos Islands, which was a breach of UN resolution 1514, passed in 1960, which specifically banned the break-up of colonies before independence. The case was referred to the court, which hears legal submissions over international boundary disputes, after an overwhelming vote in 2017 in the UN assembly in the face of fierce opposition from a largely isolated UK.

The UN Court said the detachment of the Chagos archipelago in 1965 from Mauritius had not been based on a “free and genuine expression of the people concerned”. “This continued administration constitutes a wrongful act”… “The UK has an obligation to bring to an end its administration of the Chagos archipelago as rapidly as possible and that all member states must co-operate with the United Nations to complete the decolonization of Mauritius.”

Although the majority decision by the international court of justice in The Hague is only advisory, the unambiguous clarity of the judges’ pronouncement is a humiliating blow to Britain’s prestige on the world stage. The ruling will be referred back to the UN General Assembly. Interestingly, the UNGA vote in 2017, showed UK’s international influence to be on the wane, with many EU countries failing to support UK and even traditional allies such as Canada abstaining.

The judgement represents a significant defeat for the UK on virtually every point it contested in the hearing last September, brining a bigger defeat to Theresa May internationally, and among the Commonwealth, than the defeat it faces over the Brexit deals with the EU.

 


 

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