Asia, Central Asia, Europe, News Watch, Side Feature, South Asia

Views on the News 20/03/2021


* Russia Condemns UK Plan to Increase Nuclear Weapons as Threat to International Stability
* Stable Indo-Pak Relations Key to Unlocking Region’s Potential: COAS
* Quad Summit Strengthens America’s Hand Before Talks with China: U.S. Official
* UK Government Integrated Review: Britain Isolated
* Pakistan, Turkey

Russia Condemns UK Plan to Increase Nuclear Weapons as Threat to International Stability

Russia has condemned the decision by the UK government to boost its arsenal of nuclear weapons, saying the move would harm international stability. The UK will increase the cap on its nuclear warhead stockpile by more than 40 per cent, prime minister Boris Johnson revealed as part of his foreign and defence policy review on Tuesday. Moscow described the British plans – which ends decades of gradual disarmament since the fall of the Soviet Union – as a serious blow to arms control. “We are very sorry that Britain has chosen the path of increasing the number of nuclear warheads,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “This decision will harm international stability and strategic security.” Russia said it would take Downing Street’s move into account when working on its own military planning, the RIA state news agency reported the country’s foreign ministry as saying on Wednesday. The UK had previously been committed to cutting its stockpile to 180 Trident programme warheads by the mid-2020s. However, the review by Mr Johnson’s government said the policy would now be to increase capacity to 260 warheads. Increasing the stockpile would be a violation of international law, campaigners and experts have warned – pointing to the UK commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Mr Johnson’s review also stated that the UK reserves the right to withdraw assurances that it will not use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear armed state “if the future threat of weapons of mass destruction … or emerging technologies that could have a comparable impact makes it necessary”. British foreign secretary Dominic Raab claimed the UK’s stockpile of Trident programme warheads were the “ultimate insurance policy” against threats from hostile states. [Source: The Independent]

The great powers care little for international law or global zero— a world which is free of nuclear weapons. Security competition between great powers is causing a recalibration in nuclear and conventional weapons so that parity is achieved. The same great powers (permanent members of the Security Council) are free to acquire nuclear warheads while restricting emerging powers from obtaining them. This duplicity is behind the disorder in the world, and could lead to another great war.

Stable Indo-Pak Relations Key to Unlocking Region’s Potential: COAS

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Thursday that stable Indo-Pak relations are the key to unlocking the potential of South and Central Asia by ensuring connectivity between East and West Asia. Addressing the audience on day two of the first-ever Islamabad Security Dialogue, Gen Bajwa noted that this potential has always remained hostage to the disputes and issues between the two “nuclear neighbours”. “The Kashmir issue is obviously at the heart of this. It is important to understand that without the resolution of the Kashmir dispute through peaceful means, the process […] will always remain susceptible to derailment to politically motivated bellicosity.” “We feel it is time to bury the past and move forward,” he said, adding that the onus for meaningful dialogue rested with India. “Our neighbour will have to create a conducive environment, particularly in occupied Kashmir.” Bajwa’s comments come a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan said that India would have to make the first move to normalise ties with Pakistan. [Source: The Dawn]

The Bajwa-Khan regime is eager to bury the atrocities committed by the Modi regime in Kashmir, and renew peace negotiations. This is unacceptable – Kashmir has to be liberated!

Quad Summit Strengthens America’s Hand Before Talks with China: U.S. Official

The U.S. has sought to build strength before engaging China later this week and the Quad Summit is an example of this, a senior administration official said on Tuesday night during a briefing call with reporters. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan are scheduled to meet China’s Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi and State Councilor Wang Yi on Thursday and Friday. Both U.S. officials have been extensively engaged with allies, primarily in Europe and the Indo Pacific, since the administration kicked off on January 20. Mr. Blinken is currently visiting Tokyo and Seoul along with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. “I think sometimes folks think of our allies and partners piece here as just being about choreography that somehow we just need to talk to our allies before we talk to China,” the official, who did not want to be named, said. “I want to stress that that’s actually not the case. Obviously that sequencing is part of the equation here, but we’re working actually with allies and partners to strengthen our hand,” the official said. “The Quad [summit] last week was probably the most important very clear illustration in practical terms of exactly what we’re trying to achieve here, bringing together the four leaders in a virtual summit for the first time to actually do something together that we couldn’t do individually, particularly on the vaccine distribution deliverable that was big and affirmative for the region,” the official said. “This isn’t just about something that is here to counter China. This is about something that’s actually about doing something that enhances our leverage enhances the quality of life in the region in meaningful ways,” they said. U.S. President Joe Biden hosted the first ever summit level meeting of the Quad grouping – the U.S., India, Australia and Japan last Friday. The group announced a plan to produce and distribute up to 1 billion vaccines to overcome shortages in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. The official said it was important for Beijing to hear directly from Mr. Blinken and Mr. Sullivan and that sometimes there is a “hope in Beijing that our public message is somehow different” from private message. “And we think it’s really important that we dispel that idea very early, and that we’re very clear with delivering the same messages in private that you have heard from us in public,” they said. The U.S. has said it will discuss a long list of concerns with China – these include human rights abuses, Chinese aggression in the neighbourhood, an erosion of democratic norms in Hong Kong and predatory economic practices of Beijing. A meeting that involved both the Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor is also expected to send a message to Beijing that different parts of the administration were singing from the same song sheet. The official said that Beijing had a track record of “attempting to try to play favourites within an administration and in particular to play the Secretary of State and National Security Advisor off each other.” The official also said that there will not be a joint statement from the U.S. and China following this week’s meetings and that the U.S. is also not expecting “specific negotiated deliverables” from the talks. [Source:  The Hindu]

It is evident that India has become an active member of the Quad—an organisation designed to curb China’s regional ambitions. This raises serious questions about India’s role in BRICS.

UK Government Integrated Review: Britain Isolated

This week, the UK government published its “Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy” setting out elements of Britain’s latest international thinking and described by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as “the largest review of its kind since the Cold War”.

Following the Brexit disaster, Britain has been forced to re-evaluate its place in the world and its posture with respect to the world’s other great powers. Always seeking to surround itself with allies and work through manipulating others, not only have Britain’s critical relationships with other European countries been severely weakened but Britain has also become less significant in American eyes as a consequence. Hence, the Integrated Review sets out planning for significantly strengthening Britain’s position as a great power, making it once more attractive and important for its fellow Western powers. Key elements of the review are designed to appeal to other powers, such as the focus on leveraging science and technology for defence purposes or establishing a space command, which plays to traditional British strengths. The emphasis on Russia as the immediate proximate threat accords with standard British policy to balance Europe and Russia as well as positioning Britain to take leadership over Europe in this. Boris Johnson has previously talked of wanting to make Britain “the foremost naval power in Europe”. And the Pacific oriented initiatives are intended both to preserve British influence in south-east Asia as well as make it important to America in its confrontation with China. The review also reverses Britain previous policy of reducing the number of its nuclear missiles, and recommits itself to a strong international ‘aid’ budget.

The never-ending rivalry within the great powers, particularly the Western powers amongst themselves, is a permanent source of political instability in the international arena. With Allah’s permission, the Muslim Ummah shall soon re-establish the righteous Khilafah (Caliphate) State on the method of the Prophet (saw) that shall confront, contain and calm the world’s great powers, as the Khilafah State did before over its long thousand years of history, building peace, harmony and prosperity across the globe.

Pakistan, Turkey

The Pakistani leadership have made statements in this week renewing their interest in peace with India, while neglecting the Indian occupied territory of Kashmir. Prime Minister Imran Khan said, “We are trying, but India would have to take the first step”, while Army Chief Bajwa said, “it is time to bury the past” with India. It was the British that transferred Kashmir to India when they gave India independence and the Americans now are following the same policy in support of their agent, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Pakistani leadership are agents of American foreign policy, and it is America that has instructed them to again begin diplomatic moves towards India. America needs to strengthen India in order to use it as a balance against China. And Pakistan’s rulers, as is the case with all Muslim rulers today, serve only the Western agenda and care nothing for the affairs of Muslims. The present Muslim ruling class has capitulated completely to the Western design. They have neither the vision nor the will to build a policy that is independent of their Western masters. But with Allah’s permission, the Muslim Ummah shall soon pledge themselves to sincere, aware, ideological leadership, for it is only such leadership that can provide an alternate to the insidious, malevolent, disbelieving Western imperialist programme.

Turkey has removed itself from a Council of Europe Convention on Women’s Rights that it had itself hosted in Istanbul in 2011 and had been the first to sign. But in recent years Erdogan has come under increased domestic pressure to exit the convention, which is based on the Western notions of women’s rights and stands in complete contradiction to the Islamic view. Originally, the Christian West copied the idea of rights from Islam but the domination of pagan materialists in the West resulted in the idea of rights being reshaped in accordance with materialist notions of determinist individualism. The materialists see no purpose in the family or familial obligations and hence their idea of freedom means cancelling duties and obligations of men and women towards each other. The Christian West, unable to defeat materialism, instead compromised with it by adopting a secular creed; with time the West also adopted the materialist ideas of freedom and democracy that have been continuously eroding religious concepts and values, including the institution of the family. The West is in uproar over Turkey’s decision. Reuters refers to “calls from campaigners who see the pact as key to combating rising domestic violence”. But it is well known that violence against women in Muslim countries is much, much less than it is in the West, and whatever rise has occurred is because of the erosion of Islamic norms in Muslim societies by the influence of Western culture. The adoption of conventions such as that of the Council of Europe will only serve to worsen violence against women. What Muslims need to ask is why Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosted and signed the convention in the first place. Clearly, despite the aura of sincerity to Islam that he tries to portray, he is fully committed to secularism in Turkey, unable, as with all other Muslim rulers today, to see any alternative to a world order fully dominated by the West.