Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Back Foot

Wait...where do we stand?

Enlargement of SCO means that member states in Central Asia are to transit from the familiar and easy-to-understand Central Asian regional dimension to a larger, Asian one. Central Asian republics and mainly Uzbekistan fear this enlargement because it could marginalise their role within the organisation and also decrease their influence on decision-making within SCO. They may be then exposed to the impact of the Sino-Russian geopolitical strategies to a larger extent.
As the Shanghai Cooperation Organization looks to expand, some fear being swept up in larger conflicts (link)

This peace deal that was being negotiated for two years has generated serious concerns about the signals it sends. At one level, apprehensions remain about the substantive execution of this peace deal. At another level, the clauses of the peace deal are being seen as having set a wrong precedent to follow. In addition to the probable, direct impacts of the peace deal, it is also being opined that the brokering of an accord between the HEM and Afghan government might have a deleterious impact on the prospects of negotiating with the Taliban. While it cannot be said with certainty that the Taliban – which has already refused to negotiate unless its demands are met – will further distance itself from the peace process, but given the rivalry that has persisted between it and the HEM, it is highly likely that the Taliban will not follow in its footsteps.
Afghanistan's peace accord with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar may be more trouble than its worth (link)

Not only are foreign visits by Modi and his diplomats being leveraged for defense sales, India is also fast tracking indigenous production of defense equipment. It has ordered BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture between the DRDO of India and Russia (which produces the missiles), to expedite sales of the missile to five countries – Vietnam, Indonesia, South Africa, Chile and Brazil. Requests from 11 other countries including the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and United Arab Emirates are under consideration.

This flurry of activity is unnerving China which especially sees the sale and purchase BrahMos missile – reputed to be the world’s fastest cruise missile with a top speed of up to three times the speed of sound – as “destabilizing.”
India as Arsenal of Democracy (link)

Second, there is a question of utility. As elaborated above, submarines are great when it comes to sinking huge warships in naval battles. However, the maritime security threats that Indonesia faces today are not from imperial navies. They come from illegal fishing and piracy. Submarines are useless when it comes to low-intensity operations. Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti’s explosive measures against illegal fishing boats reflects the gravity of the problem. Indonesian waters are plentiful with fish, yet due to illegal fishing, Indonesia stands to lose US$20-25 billion per year. Seeing such grave losses, it would make more strategic sense to invest in enhancing surface capabilities, such as fast patrol boats, rather than in submarines.
"Submarines are the new bling, everybody wants them." Indonesia cannot have them (link)

No comments: