The World Transformed and No One in America Noticed

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The world transformed and nobody in the West noticed. India and Pakistan have joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The 17 year-old body since its founding on June 15, 2001 has quietly established itself as the main alliance and grouping of nations across Eurasia. Now it has expanded from six nations to eight, and the two new members are the giant nuclear-armed regional powers of South Asia, India, with a population of 1.324 billion and Pakistan, with 193.2 million people (both in 2016).

In other words, the combined population of the SCO powers or already well over 1.5 billion has virtually doubled at a single stroke. Continue reading

On Point: China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Camouflaged in Silk

Think of it as a revived Silk Road, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in 2013 when he announced China would proudly sponsor a multi-decade international commercial and infrastructure development project — notionally running from China through Central Asia and connecting to points beyond. Yes, a benign Silk Road where all prosper. The project would have a maritime development component as well.

India, however, was immediately suspicious. China and India are rival powers, militarily and economically. They have unresolved territorial disputes in the Himalayas that occasionally involve gunfire between their armies. Continue reading

India, China troops in high-altitude clash: Officials

The latest incident comes amid an ongoing dispute between the two sides over a strategic Himalayan plateau thousands of kilometres away where hundreds of Indian and Chinese soldiers have been facing off against each other for more than two months AFP/Diptendu DUTTA

 

SRINAGAR: Indian and Chinese troops clashed briefly on a disputed area of land in the Himalayas, officials said on Wednesday (Aug 16), exacerbating tensions during a months-long stand-off between the two armies.

Chinese troops threw stones at Indian soldiers near Pangong Lake, a major tourist attraction in the picturesque mountain region of Ladakh on Tuesday, an Indian defence official said.

He said Chinese soldiers had twice tried to enter the Indian territory but had been pushed back. Continue reading

China and India Locked in ‘Eyeball-to-Eyeball’ Border Standoff

 

China and India, two nuclear-armed powers with a combined population of 2.7 billion, have been in an “eyeball-to-eyeball” military stand-off over territory in Bhutan, a kingdom in a remote area of the Himalayas, since mid-June. The flare-up, one of the most serious since China won a border war in 1962, comes as the two rising powers jostle for regional influence. The current dispute is near a three-way junction between Bhutan, China’s Tibet and India’s Sikkim.

1. Why is the area important?

All land-based military and commercial traffic between India’s northeastern provinces and the rest of the country travels through the narrow strip of land known as the Siliguri Corridor — also sometimes referred to as the Chicken’s neck. The Doklam Plateau — where troops are currently facing off — overlooks the corridor, which India defense strategists fear could be vulnerable to Chinese attack in case of a conflict. Continue reading

China launches charm offensive for first overseas naval base

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has launched an unusual charm offensive to explain its first overseas naval base in Djibouti, seeking to assuage global concerns about military expansionism by portraying the move as Beijing’s contribution to regional security and development.

China has repeatedly said it does not seek a U.S.-style “hegemony” by extending its military reach, including through bases abroad.

Now that it appears it may be doing precisely that, the government has been quietly briefing on its rationale for the Djibouti base and using state media to address fears of China’s aims. Continue reading

PLA VTOL fighter could turn reefs into ‘unsinkable carriers’

China is planning to continue developing its short-range vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) fighter, according to Russian state-owned news agency Sputnik International, cited by the military news web portal of China’s state-run Reference News.

Vasily Kashin, a researcher with the Moscow-based non-governmental research organization the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, said that the aircraft will be mainly used for maritime combat.

Theoretically the fighter could be used in areas without airports, including difficult and mountainous terrain, according to the report. The Soviet Union tried to use vehicle-towed platforms to allow its VTOL Yakovlev Yak-38 strike fighter to operate in Afghanistan in the 1980s. However, in mountainous regions the aircraft’s lift jets were ineffective, so such a large aircraft found vertical take-off difficult, according to the website. Continue reading

Rise of the New Persian Empire

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani waves to the crowd during a rally in Tehran’s Azadi Square to mark the 36th anniversary of the Islamic revolution on February 11.(BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)

 

How Iran is taking control of the Middle East

Under the magnanimous rule of Cyrus the Great, the Persian Empire extended from the foothills of the Himalayas to the banks of the Nile River. It was a vast conglomeration of peoples, creeds, religions and languages tied together in large part by the governing policies of King Cyrus. Cyrus believed that the empire would remain stable if its subjects were allowed to keep their own customs while still paying homage to Persia.

Today, Iran—the progeny of that dynasty—is once more vying to carve out an empire. But this kingdom is being forged and expanded in ways that bear little similarity to ancient Persia. The rising empire relies on fear, extortion, intimidation and bloodshed—conversion by the sword. The advancement of its banner across the Middle East threatens the permanency of those nations that lie in the warpath, and also threatens to plunge the international community into deeper conflict.

Continue reading