July 08, 2017

Narendra Modi seeks UK’s help in return of economic offenders

Last Published: Sat, Jul 08 2017. 06 37 PM IST

Narendra Modi met Theresa May on the sidelines of the G20 Summit and sought UK’s help in Vijay Mallya’s extradition


A file photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UK Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: HT

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Hamburg: As India works hard to ensure return of fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday pressed upon his British counterpart Theresa May to ensure UK’s cooperation to bring back economic offenders.

Mallya has been in the UK for months, escaping arrest warrants against him, while a court in London is also hearing a case regarding his return to India. Modi on Saturday met May during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit and sought UK’s help in this regard.


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Both leaders also talked about the complete range of India-UK ties. In a tweet after the meeting, external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said the prime minister asked for UK’s “cooperation for return of escaped Indian economic offenders”.

Mallya, who is wanted in India for Kingfisher Airlines’ default on loans worth nearly Rs9,000 crore, has been in the UK since March 2016. In April, he had attended a central London police station for his arrest and was released on conditional bail a few hours later after providing a bail bond worth £650,000, assuring the court of abiding by all conditions associated with extradition proceedings, such as the surrender of his passport and a ban on him possessing any travel documents.

India and the UK have an Extradition Treaty, signed in 1992, but so far only one extradition has taken place under the arrangement—Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel, who was sent back to India last October to face trial in connection with his involvement in the post-Godhra riots of 2002. “Prime Ministers @narendramodi and @theresa_may met and held talks on the complete range of India-UK ties,” India’s PMO said in a tweet

PMO, NSA tracking impact of Chinese FDI in South Asia


Arun S.

NEW DELHI,JULY 08, 2017 23:56 IST

UPDATED: JULY 08, 2017 23:56 IST

Exercise from national security perspective will look at nature of such investments but lack of detailed, country-wise data may cause hiccups

In the backdrop of the tense border stand-off in Sikkim with China, the Centre has begun its first ever in-depth assessment of Chinese investments in India’s neighbouring countries.

The exercise — being conducted mainly from India’s national security perspective — has been initiated by the Prime Minister’s Office and the National Security Adviser, official sources told The Hindu.

Informal discussions have already been held with the concerned Ministries, including the Commerce and Industry Ministry — the nodal body for foreign trade and foreign investment.

Dynamic mandate

Given the increasing influence of China in the Indian sub-continent and South Asia, the study will be dynamic and is, among other things, expected to look into various trends, tracking a surge, if any, in Chinese FDI in the region. For instance, Pakistan government data shows that FDI from China jumped from $256.8 million in 2014-15 to $878.8 million in 2016-17 (July-May). Pakistan’s financial year follows a July to June calendar.

The study will also analyse the impact of these Chinese investments — including those being made as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, also known as One Belt One Road or OBOR) — on India’s national security, sources said requesting anonymity. India’s reservations regarding the BRI/OBOR include strategic concerns on the BRI’s flagship project, the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as it is expected to cover regions including Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

In addition to assessing the nature and impact of Chinese FDI in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the study will track Chinese investments in Afghanistan and Maldives too.

However, the major challenge in the study will be the lack of detailed, country-wise data on overall FDI (year-wise) and Chinese FDI, in particular.

According to Biswajit Dhar, Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Chinese investments in countries like Pakistan could, in turn, set the stage for Pakistan to make inroads into markets in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal and challenge the presence of Indian firms in these markets, where India is currently the major player.

The CPEC/OBOR projects can also better link Pakistan with the Central Asian Republics (CAR) and help the country establish a footprint in those markets, Prof. Dhar said.

According to a January 2017 ‘Special Report’ by the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) of the National University of Singapore on an international workshop on ‘China and South Asia’, the Ambassador of China to Sri Lanka, Yi Xianliang had said he considered China in many respects part of South Asia, especially in terms of geography. Current Chinese cooperation with south Asian countries is undertaken within the framework of OBOR, the report said, adding, however, that Mr. Yi Xianliang had explained that OBOR has no strategic, security or political intent.

The report said India does not believe in the Chinese clarifications that OBOR projects only have economic objectives, and quoted ISAS Editor (Current Affairs) P.S. Suryanarayana as saying that “economic initiatives have strategic and security dimension”.


CPEC fallout

According to a study by the New Delhi-based national security and defence services think tank, United Service Institution of India (USI), “As far as India is concerned, CPEC has added a layer of complexity with more projects in PoK being drawn into its ambit without taking Indian concerns on board. That makes projects in contested areas politically vulnerable.”

The USI study said if CPEC and OBOR are actually about regional economic growth, as the lending nation, China should rethink and roll back investments in PoK. Significantly, the USI study further said: “The ability of Pakistan to absorb the (CPEC) investments in given period and thereafter pay back is also suspect considering historic trends. Hence, these debts could eventually become strategic equities for China, especially the Gwadar Port (the main CPEC investment in the port sector), which can worsen security in South Asia.”

Australia to Speed Missile Defense Development, Turnbull Says



Jason Gale

July 8, 2017, 6:19 AM GMT+5:30

U.S. missile shield system isn’t suitable for Australia: PM

Turbull calls on China to rein in North Korea’s nuclear plans

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Photographer: Mark Graham/Bloomberg

Australia will press ahead with a missile defense program to protect its forces, but a U.S. shield system isn’t appropriate, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system mentioned in recent briefings is “not really suitable for our situation,” Turnbull told reporters at the Group of 20 Summit on Friday. The meeting in Hamburg has been overshadowed by North Korea’s first successful launch last week of a missile capable of reaching at least part of the U.S.

“The answer in respect of North Korea is the de-nuclearization of North Korea and for it to stop its reckless conduct, its reckless and provocative conduct,” Turnbull said. “The nation with overwhelmingly the greatest leverage over North Korea is China. And so we look to China to bring North Korea to its senses.”

The Australian government is bolstering its weaponry and military forces in response in part to the “growing threat posed by ballistic and cruise missile capability” and their proliferation in the Indo-Pacific and Middle East regions, the Department of Defense said in a 2016 report. While the threat of an intercontinental ballistic missile attack on Australia is “low,” longer-range and submarine-launched ballistic and cruise missiles could threaten Australian territory, and shorter-range ballistic and cruise missiles pose a threat to deployed forces.

“We’re developing missile defenses,” Turnbull said. “The focus is on protecting our forces both at sea and on the ground -- our deployed forces in the field.

Pakistan may try to use Modi-Netanyahu bonhomie to turn Muslim world against India, but it's bound to fail


World Srinivasa PrasadJul, 08 2017 19:37:59 IST

After all the hype and hoopla over the Modi-Netanyahu bromance, it's time to ponder what it means for New Delhi's relations with other countries and to wonder whether Indians should lose sleep over it.

For starters, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Israel visit has already raised hackles in Pakistan, Iran and Palestine. But does it really matter? And what did Modi really do in Israel?

To begin with, Israel had for long complained that India was treating it like a mistress. Like a man visiting his concubine in the cover of darkness, India had indeed taken covert advantage of Israel's defence prowess but was too apologetic about admitting to the relationship. But Modi has dramatically altered that situation now.

After signing seven agreements and exchanging innumerable hugs, Modi and Netanyahu frolicked on Olga Beach like long-lost school chums who just found each other on Facebook.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchanged several hugs with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu. AP

For Pakistan, and for Israel's sworn enemy Iran, all this is raising an imaginary spectre of India and Israel ganging up against the world's Muslims, notably those in Palestine and Kashmir. Reports from the two countries make that clear. And Modi's embrace of Netanyahu wouldn't amuse leaders even in Saudi Arabia, which too has visceral hatred for Israel. And it certainly has led to disappointed frowns in Palestine territories, where India was thought to be a friend for long.

But even before Modi left Israel's magnificent Mediterranean shores, there was plenty of harrumphing in Islamabad about this visit. Pakistan's leading daily Dawn, normally sober and not known for hawkish hot air, said in an editorial, "While the comparison would be anathema to New Delhi, there is a clear parallel between Israel's atrocious behaviour towards the Palestinians, and the brute force India has unleashed upon Kashmiris."

"Perhaps the Indo-Israeli embrace has provided an opportunity for Pakistan to highlight the Kashmir issue with Iran and others, in order to build world opinion against the atrocities unleashed upon both the Kashmiris and Palestinians," the paper added.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei had already begun this job of opinion-shaping. On 3 July, a day before Modi set foot on Israeli soil, Khamenei exhorted his country's judiciary to support "Muslims of Myanmar and Kashmir".

Only a week earlier, on 26 June, he mentioned Kashmir during his Eid sermon. He called on the Muslim world to support people of Bahrain, Yemen and Kashmir.

The immediate provocation for Khamenei's 26 June outburst was believed to be the decision taken by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and the Maldives to sever diplomatic relations with Qatar.

In Bahrain, and more seriously in Yemen, Shia-Muslim rebels fight their respective governments. It's no secret that Shia-majority Iran backs them to the hilt.

Khamenei's sermon was targeted not only against arch rival and Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia but also all its supporters. US president Donald Trump, whose 20-21 May visit to Riyadh led to the Saudi camp punishing Qatar, was also a target.

And by mentioning Kashmir in the same breath as he did Yemen and Bahrain, Khameini was also directing his Islamic indignation at India, which is perceived to be increasingly cosying up to both the US and Saudi Arabia. So Khamenei was trying to kill many birds with one stone. The same day on 26 June, he tweeted three times in support of Palestine.

If Khamenei's 26 June sermon took in its sweep a whole bunch of countries, his latest fulmination on 3 July was essentially aimed at India alone. Myanmar was thrown in by the Shia leader to give it a touch of intra-Islam secularism: In both Myanmar and Kashmir, it's Sunni Muslims who fight the establishments.

This is the first time after 2010 that the Iranian leader is raking up the Kashmir issue. In 2010, he referred to Kashmir as a "nation".

Khamenei had never made a secret of what he thought of Jews. In 2012, he said "all Jews must be annihilated and Israel destroyed".

Khamenei can be expected to pour out his anger for some more time to come, but his threats may come to mean nothing in the end, as it has happened so often in the past. Besides, Iran needs India, and not just because of Chabahar port.

And how will Saudi Arabia react to the new India-Israel solidarity? Though Iran and Saudi Arabia detest each other, they share a pathological hatred for Israel. Riyadh is India's largest oil supplier, and during Modi's visit last year, it promised to invest generous amounts in India's infrastructure. So in the long run, the Saudis are unlikely to be greatly perturbed by Modi giving Netanyahu a hug or two.

And yet, you can trust Pakistan to use public and backdoor channels to turn not only Iran and Saudi Arabia but also the whole Muslim world against India. And Modi will need the best of his diplomatic and persuasive skills — of which he has proved he has plenty — to counter Pakistan's propaganda.

For one thing, Modi was careful not to cross the red line in Israel. In fact, the end-of-the-visit joint statement spoke little of the Palestine problem except to say that it needed a "negotiated settlement". It didn't make even an oblique reference to the two-State theory that India backs.

Modi can rightly argue, if he has to, that his visit to Israel had more to do with economics than politics. Besides, Modi made friends during his visits to UAE (August 2015), Saudi Arabia (April 2016), Iran (May 2016) and Qatar (June 2016). Important Arab nations are too busy with a host of other troubles to bother too much about Pakistan's campaigns and Khamenei's tweets on Palestine and Kashmir.

It takes a lot more than a visit by Narendra Modi to Israel for the Muslim nations to gang up against India. Pakistan must know that

Sonia Gandhi helped expose the toxicity of Congress party


By Minhaz Merchant   @minhazmerchant |

 2017-07-07 17:45:35

The greatest disservice the party did was to set back by decades the cause of bona fide secularism.


Without quite realising it, the Congress under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi has become a toxic force in Indian politics.

The 1975-77 Emergency, during which more than one lakh journalists, Opposition leaders and civil society activists were jailed (including LK Advani and Arun Jaitley), exposed the first autocratic gene in the Congress. Indians' fundamental rights were suspended for nearly two years. The Constitution was subverted.

The attempt by the Congress to censor Madhur Bhandarkar's new film on the Emergency, Indu Sarkar, underscores how keenly aware the Congress is of the human rights violations it committed during the Emergency.

In 1986, Rajiv Gandhi - an essentially decent man whose career was impaled by bad advisors - planted the seed of communalism in mainstream politics by overturning through parliamentary legislation a 1985 Supreme Court order that had granted maintenance to an elderly divorced Muslim woman Shah Bano.

But it wasn't till 1998, when Sonia Gandhi took over the presidency of the Congress, that the full toxicity of the party would become evident. The crude, thoughtless overnight eviction of then Congress president Sitaram Kesri was an early sign.

The RJD's Lalu Prasad Yadav is looking at fresh jail time in the fodder scam. He is meanwhile battling charges of undeclared assets against his two sons, daughter and wife. Photo: PTI

When the Congress took power at the Centre in 2004 after a hiatus of six years, it showed its true colours. While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the gentle, erudite face of the Congress-led UPA government for ten years, Sonia called the shots behind the scenes.

The party had four organisational layers. The first comprised senior lawyer-ministers P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid and Veerappa Moily. The second was made up of senior loyalists Jairam Ramesh, Kamal Nath and Anand Sharma.

The third layer was led by ground-level operators Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad. The fouth layer comprised Rahul's young turks - Jyotiraditya Scinda, Sachin Pilot, Milind Deora, Deepender Hooda and Jitin Prasada - all dynasts.

Working seamlessly, monitored closely by a stentorian Sonia, the four-tiered Congress team presided over the UPA's two terms from 2004-14, widely regarded as India's decade of scams and sectarian politics.

The communal seed planted after the Shah Bano case in 1985-86 had by now grown into a forest of trees with "saffron terror" carved on the bark of each tree trunk by the Congress' slick four-layered operation.

The greatest disservice the Congress did was to set back by decades the cause of bona fide secularism. As I wrote in The Ayatollahs of Secularism in The Times of India on August 1, 2012: "The two real enemies of the Muslim - communal politicians masquerading as secular politicians to win votes and Mullahs deliberately misinterpreting the holy book to retain power over their flock - form a natural alliance. Together they have enriched themselves but impoverished India's Muslims, materially and intellectually, in the name of secularism. Influential sections of especially the electronic media, suffused with hearts bleeding from the wrong ventricle, are part of this great fraud played on India's poor Muslims: communalism dressed up as secularism. The token Muslim is lionised - from business to literature - but the common Muslim languishes in his ghetto."

Scams meanwhile profilerated. Three years after the Congress plunged from 206 MPs to 44 in May 2014, most though inexplicably remain unresolved - to the NDA government's and the judicial system's discredit. But each one - AgustaWestland, 2G, Scorpene, CWG, Coalgate - is a reminder of how corruption became the new normal in 2004-14.

Cut to the present. The Congress clearly hasn't learnt its lesson. K.C. Tyagi, a Rajya Sabha MP from the JD(U), the party on whom rests the Opposition's hope of stitching together a credible mahagathbandhan in 2019, had this to say of the Congress: "We are very upset at the behavior of the Congress. The character assassination of our leader, Nitish Kumar, has also happened. The Congress today is not the Congress party of 1952, 1962 or 1984. It is not even a legitimate Congress party."

When even a chronic Modi-baiter like Tyagi berates the Congress as not "legitimate", Indian politics has clearly reached a point of inflection.

Borewell of toxicityThe Congress today is in real danger of immersing itself in a self-made borewell of toxicity. Its decision to boycott the special session of parliament on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is only the latest in a series of self-destructive moves.

Note the other parties which joined the Congress' GST boycott: RJD, DMK, TMC and the Left. What do they have in common? Serious charges of corruption.

1. The RJD's Lalu Prasad Yadav is looking at fresh jail time in the fodder scam. He is meanwhile battling charges of undeclared assets against his two sons, daughter and wife.

2. The DMK's A Raja, in and out of jail since the 2G scam broke, has implicated senior Congress ministers in the telecom license corruption case.

3. The TMC's top leadership faces charges in the Saradha, Rose Valley and Narada scams which have singed Mamata Banerjee's reputation for probity, quite apart from her inaction over communal riots in West Bengal.

4. The Left has been implicated in a slew of brutal communal killings in Kerala where its government is accused of complicity.

Virtually every other Opposition party, including the SP, BSP, JD(U), NCP and the JD(S), was represented at the special midnight GST parliamentary session. The four holdouts - RJD, DMK, TMC and the Left - who joined the Congress boycott spoke volumes for the party's diminished reputation.

Sonia has more than the 19 years of her presidency converted the Congress into a family business ruled with an iron fist. Rahul has been inheritor-in-waiting for three years. It is an indictment of Indian democracy that India's second largest political party continues to operate like a feudal family firm.

India deserves better.

Also read: Planned Basirhat riot: Will Bengal fall to BJP-RSS' communal designs?

Baloch activists hold anti-CPEC protest during G-20 Summit in Hamburg


Hamburg [Germany], July 8 : As world leaders gathered for the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, activists from the Baloch Republican Party (BRP) held a protest against the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a multi-billion dollar project passing through the Balochistan province

Hamburg [Germany], July 8 : As world leaders gathered for the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, activists from the Baloch Republican Party (BRP) held a protest against the China pakistanEconomic Corridor (CPEC), a multi-billion dollar project passing through the Balochistan province.

The protestors blamed China for helping Pakistan in committing war crimes and genocide in Balochistan. They also blamed the Pakistan Armyfor carrying out military operations, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions and killings in the region.

BRP Germany vice-president Adil Baloch said, "The Baloch people are protesting because the CPEC is bringing in a lot of human rights abuses. Pakistan along China is looting and exploiting the resource of Balochistan. Balochistan is not for outsiders, not for Chinese or Pakistanis."

The protestors alleged that China is a member of the Group of 20 and second largest economy of the world, but in pursuit of its economic goals it has been playing a very negative role in the region.

BRP activist Najeeb Baloch said, "China has been playing very negative role in the region. The CPEC is an appalling project, but comes at the expense of Baloch's people's lives. It has brought death and destruction for the local people instead of economic opportunities

#BREAKING: Massive embarrassment for #China at #G20Summit as Baloch activists protest against China's support to te… https://t.co/VoLyDSwSRF

Massive embarrassment for #China at #G20Summit


#BREAKING: Massive embarrassment for #China at #G20Summit as Baloch activists protest against China's support to te… https://t.co/VoLyDSwSRF

How Prof.Mahalanobis at Indian Stastical Institute Calcutta tried to ruin student Subramanian Swamy

How Prof.Mahalanobis at Indian Stastical Institute Calcutta tried to ruin student Subramanian Swamy & see what happened ?

by MulaiAzhagi

It has been my lot throughout my life to be confronted and to confront the corrupt and powerful. As a student for my Masters degree in the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) Calcutta, the then Chairman, P.C.Mahalanobis took a dislike to me because he and my father were rivals in the government statistical organisation. Mahalanobis was a corrupt leftist. I had come to the ISI as an innocent student with a brilliant first class B.A. Honours degree in mathematics. But Mahalanobis' dislike of me filtered down to the professors. For no reason except to please him, they began failing me in every subject. A ruined career stared me in the face. So I decided to retaliate ( a foolish resolve on first thought, since I was then a 19 year old student facing the darling of the Left, USSR and Nehru: P.C.Mahalanobis). But I dropped everything, parked myself in the library, and read whatever Mahalanobis had written as a scholar. I found that his celebrated Second Five Year Plan model, the so-called Mahalanobis model, was actually stolen from M.A.Feldman, an obscure Soviet economist of the 1930s. This discovery I could not use against Mahalanobis however, because neither the USSR nor the then docile Indian press would take notice. But I discovered that Mahalanobis’s magnum opus something called 'Fractile Analysis', had recently been published in a scholarly international journal. That research was, I found worthless when scrutinized under the microscope of modern mathematics. It was, literally, well-known earlier research re-hashed. Mathematics laid bare the plagiarism. Mahalanobis was too big to be challenged by other Indian scholars. But I had nothing to lose.

Naturally when I wrote out my critique and set it to the journal, it was hot stuff. The journal published it, and asked Mahalanobis for a rejoinder. He had none. His reputation abroad was therefore in tatters. He never recovered from it. A 19 year old writing out complex mathematical equations was a novelty for Harvard's Economics Department to whose notice the journal article came. They offered me a scholarship for a Ph.D Course. My ruined career prospects did a 180 turn! I never looked back thereafter. Had I not been cornered like a cat, I would never have ventured to demolish Mahalanobis

World’s best bank for wealth management 2017: Julius Baer

By: Julian Marshall Published on: Thursday, July 06, 2017 Julius Baer’s strategy of commitment, investment and hiring – when many of its peers have been retreating – has enabled the bank to become a global leader in wealth management. Order Awards for Excellence 2017 © 2017 Euromoney Also shortlisted   Credit Suisse   UBS There was a time when there were only two serious Swiss wealth managers battling it out in the global arena – that was until Boris Collardi took over the reins of Julius Baer.  Since 2009, and in particular since the acquisition of Merrill Lynch’s international wealth management business in 2012, the bank has doubled the number of assets under management to SFr356 billion ($347 billion) and expanded its footprint so that in the next three to four years, Swiss employees will account for less than half of the bank’s total headcount. Julius Baer is the only bank to focus solely on wealth management and to have succeeded in building and retaining a business than spans the globe, adding assets and relationship managers while others have retreated. This year Julius Baer wins Euromoney’s award for world’s best bank for wealth management.  Sometimes it is hard to steer Collardi away from discussions on strategy and talk about how the bank is serving clients – not because he does not want to, but rather because he seems to take it as a given that, as a pure-play wealth manager, Julius Baer is doing everything it can to serve clients.  Boris Collardi, Julius Baer When it comes to finding investment opportunities, the bank is dedicated to being the first to uncover long-term emerging trends and investment opportunities for clients through its Next Generation research business. It was also the first bank to work with Morningstar to create environmental, social and governance ratings for funds so that clients can better choose investments in line with their social and environmental criteria. It was also the first to offer impact investing.  Julius Baer has also been investing heavily in technology. In Switzerland, it started to roll out Your Wealth last year, which is similar to an advanced robo-advisory-based platform that offers holistic advice – showing just where Collardi sees the future of wealth management.  Clients are asked a range of questions to build a personal profile and asset allocation, and each day advisers receive an update of whether or not client portfolios need adjusting. Initially, the platform is only for relationship managers, to ensure the advice is reliable. The bank has also invested several hundred million Swiss francs in overhauling the bank’s technology across the globe. By 2020, all booking centres will be operating on the same platform and the bank will be completely digital. “No one should be touching paper by the end of the decade,” says Collardi. Asia and Europe go live this year; Switzerland will be the last.  The bank’s efforts are working. Last year, Julius Baer added close to SFr12 billion in net new assets, and grew its total assets by 12%. For Collardi, strategy cannot be separated from client acquisition and retention – clients join when they know their bank is on a stable footing and is committed to serving them. So he attributes the growing momentum in client acquisition – at least in part – to a sustained long-term business strategy. Indeed, unlike several of its global peers, Julius Baer has not dipped in and out of markets, client segments or products. It has also avoided several of the large public scandals that have plagued the industry.  “We’ve been faithful to the same strategy we have always – that of a pure-play wealth manager – which has created confidence in our clients,” he says. That confidence has also grown thanks to a largely contrarian view. While many of its peers have been reducing headcount, Julius Baer has instead been hiring. “Last year when people were reducing staff, we went out and hired 120 relationship managers. Why? Because when markets are stressed, you need to show your strength and commitment, and to show that we believe in wealth management being a long-term business.” The average AuM per adviser is around SFr243 million – closer to SFr280 million if new hires were excluded – and Collardi says the bank’s advisers are among the most productive in the industry: “The math is easy to work out as we don’t have any other business lines. The profit per adviser is about SFr503,000 – adjusted net profit of SFr706 million divided by 1,400 relationship managers – among the highest in the industry.” As for next steps, Collardi says the focus will be on creating a collection of high-performing regional businesses. Last year, the bank reorganized itself into five markets under separate leadership: Switzerland, Europe, Asia, Latin America and emerging markets, “all of which are seeing good momentum,” says Collardi.  Now each of the senior leadership in the five markets will be developing their own individual strategy for the next three years. “We are asking them how to create a more regional approach to these businesses, so that they have the independence to make their own decisions. Each region has its own idiosyncrasies, so we have to move towards a more regional model.”  If it works, Julius Baer will be able to be regional thanks to the critical mass it has built up and benefit from being solely focused on one business: wealth management. That will put the bank in a unique position, says Collardi

Full article: https://www.euromoney.com/article/b13n6d42jlkkmw/worlds-best-bank-for-wealth-management-2017-julius-baer?utm_source=Social&utm_medium=twad&utm_campaign=JB&copyrightInfo=true
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July 07, 2017

What China Means When It Says India Needs to ‘Remember the Lessons from History’




At this crucial juncture, India must carefully examine the Indian army’s report on the 1962 war and accept the damning indictment of its government’s irresponsibility contained in the report.

The Henderson Brooks-Bhagat report gives Indian people an opportunity to understand the past and put it behind them. Credit: YouTube

In the last three weeks, as the Modi government’s dispute with China has become increasingly more acerbic, Beijing has been issuing a series of warnings to New Delhi, the most serious of which has been its observation that India has not learned the lessons of history and has not forgotten its humiliating defeat in 1962. These are a small step away from an ultimatum.

There is more than a grain of truth in Beijing’s assessment. The turnabout in China-India relations, from close strategic cooperation to stark confrontation, has been so swift that it has left Chinese analysts – who are past masters at citing history to buttress current claims – dumbfounded.

In 2014, when India’s newly appointed ambassador Ashok Kantha presented his credentials along with 13 other ambassadors to Chinese President Xi Jinping, he was one of only three diplomats with whom the president held one-on-one talks after the ceremony was over.

One would have thought that this was as unambiguous a signal of the importance that Xi’s government attached to its relations with India as any a government could have given. But what he told Kantha at the meeting was even more significant: he regarded furthering the India-China strategic partnership as his historic mission. What he wished to do was to move India-China relations beyond the bilateral context and deepen cooperation on regional and global issues.

Source: Google Maps

Beijing’s efforts not recognised by India

Xi’s gesture was not an isolated one. India’s Republic Day reception in Beijing on January 26 was attended by Vice President Li Yuanchao. Not only was this extremely unusual but, to the amazement of the European diplomats who were present, Li went on to deliver a short speech extolling the historic relations between China and India.

This too had followed a succession of overtures to India by the new government in Beijing, the significance of which New Delhi either did not, or did not want to, recognise. These included China’s speedy withdrawal of its troops from the Daulat Beg Oldi sector in Ladakh after their initial intrusion in 2013; Xi’s declaration after his meeting with Manmohan Singh at the BRICS summit in Durban in 2013 that he wanted to settle the Himalayan border dispute not “gradually” but “as early as possible”; and his decision, also communicated to Singh at Durban, to make India the first country that his prime minister, Li Keqiang, would visit on his tour of Asia in May 2014.

Since then, Chinese participants at several seminars have mentioned Beijing’s desire to raise the bilateral ties to one of long-term strategic cooperation. But Delhi has reacted to these overtures with considerable wariness. Only a day after Xi’s meeting with Kantha, New Delhi summarily refused to give Chinese aircraft permission to enter, or overfly, the Andaman Sea in search of wreckage from Malaysian Airlines’ ill-fated flight MH-370. Considering that the majority of its 240 passengers were Chinese, this was a callous thing to have done. But what was even more disturbing was the vociferous approval that the Indian public bestowed upon the government for its rejection. One anonymous military official summed up the national attitude when he told the South China Morning Post: “We don’t want Chinese warships sniffing around in the area on the pretext of hunting for the missing jetliner or anti-piracy patrols.”

The contrast between Xi’s overtures and this viscerally distrustful response is so striking that it is difficult to see how the gap in trust can ever be bridged. Yet, bridge it we must if we want to resolve our longstanding border dispute and play a constructive role in the remaking of the chaotic international state system.

As the 1962 war had shown, our Himalayan border is an area where we are at a severe military disadvantage. Diplomacy is, therefore, the only way forward, but its success depends upon building a measure of trust. This is the ingredient that is missing in our relations with China. The reasons, as The Times of India noted on March 24, lie in the border war of 1962.

Understanding cause of 1962 war

To say that the Indian public, its armed forces and most of its policymakers remain traumatised by that humiliating defeat would be an understatement. But the reason why the trauma has endured long after the Chinese seem to have put it behind them is not just that we suffered a defeat, but that we have never understood precisely why the war took place. Indians remain convinced that China was the aggressor. It claimed 140,000 sq km of Indian territory across the entire length of the Himalayas and had begun nibbling away at it as far back as in 1954. But in his widely read book, India’s China War, Australian journalist Neville Maxwell has squarely accused India, and then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in particular, of having started the war.

Maxwell has accused Nehru of being an “imperialist” who adopted a Forward Policy of defending the borders drawn in Tibet unilaterally by the British, and of trying to evict China from any territory it occupied west and south of these borders through the use of “non-violent force”. The Chinese, Maxwell claims, were slow to catch on to his designs and continued to believe, until as late as 1961, that he would negotiate the borders in the Himalayas peacefully. They were only shaken out of their stupor by India’s aggressive patrolling and establishment of scores of posts along its definition of the border. From this, Maxwell went on to declare India the aggressor in the 1962 war, and China the victim.

Indian scholars and analysts have tried to refute many of Maxwell’s thesis for more than four decades. But they have been severely handicapped by lack of access to the Indian army’s report on the causes of the military debacle, written by Lt Gen Henderson Brooks and Victoria Cross holder Brig Prem Bhagat. Maxwell, on the other hand, was given a copy of the report, which he did not put out in the public domain but used liberally to prove his thesis – a thesis that accepted the Chinese version of events as uncritically as it rejected the Indian.

Forced to rely upon anecdotal evidence to refute Maxwell, scholars such as K. Subramaniam and Inder Malhotra have only managed to dent the edges of his assertions. As a result, Indians have never achieved closure on their humiliating defeat. Instead, as it happened to the Germans after their sudden unexplained defeat in the First World War, the wound has continued to fester. Today, our incomprehension of the past is threatening to poison our future.

Also read: In PR Move, China Addresses Indians in Video Comment Over Border Stand-Off

For Indians, closure will only come when they too have read the Brooks-Bhagat report and used its solid factual base to draw their own conclusions. But if the government had continued to have its way, the report would have remained in limbo, possibly forever. However, in February 2014, Maxwell did the Indian people an inestimable service by releasing the first part of the Brooks-Bhagat report on his website. New Delhi’s immediate reaction was the inexcusable one of blocking his website. But, fortunately for us and our future, by the time it did so, several copies of the report had already been downloaded and are now available on the Internet. This at last gave the Indian people an opportunity to understand the past and put it behind them.

The report does not speculate upon the political causes of the war. Its mandate was solely to conduct an “operations review” of the causes of “the reverses suffered by the army, particularly in the Kameng division of the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA)”. Its terms of reference were to inquire into “what went wrong with the following – training, equipment, system of command, physical fitness of the troops and capacity of commanders at all levels to influence the men under their command”.

But Brooks and Bhagat concluded very early on that to carry out their mandate they needed first to examine the “developments and events prior to the hostilities, as well as the balance, posture and strength of the army at the outbreak of hostilities”. Their conclusions were so damning that they caused the report to be buried. The sections of the report now available to us give an insight into why this happened.

Insights from the Brooks-Bhagat report 

The report confirms that the war was indeed triggered by India’s Forward Policy, and condemns it because it violated every canon of the art of war and scaled new heights of ineptitude. But it also makes it clear that this policy was adopted only in December 1961. Prior to that, the Indian government had adopted a defensive policy that was intended to maintain the status quo in the Himalayas and avoid conflict to the maximum extent possible. In so doing, it also reveals the extent to which Maxwell had uncritically swallowed China’s version of the conflict in his book.

Till late 1959, the report points out, the Indo-Tibetan border was a dormant one. The army was not even involved in policing it – the task had been left to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. But two violent clashes, in August at Longju on the western edge of NEFA, and in October at Kongka La on the Kashmir-Xinjiang frontier, turned it into a ‘live’ border.

The government’s task for the army was “to restrict any further Chinese ingress into Indian territory in Ladakh” and “to establish our rights of possession on our side of the McMahon Line and to prevent infiltration”. Both these directives were very far from the Forward Policy that, Maxwell claimed, Nehru had adopted in the early-to-mid 1950s.

US ambassador to India John Kenneth Galbraith and Prime Minister Nehru conferring at the time of the conflict. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Following the army’s assumption of responsibility for policing the border, the army headquarters issued an “intelligence appreciation” of the Chinese forces in both regions. This was followed by “operational instructions” to the Eastern Command in December 1959, and to the Western Command in February 1960. In Ladakh, the intelligence appreciation estimated that the Chinese would deploy one regiment plus a few tanks. Based upon this, the army headquarters concluded that any future confrontations would involve troops at no more than company or battalion strength. To counter the Chinese deployment, therefore, the Western Command was asked to deploy one brigade and two battalions of the Jammu and Kashmir militia. In fact, the area was so remote that by the end of 1960, the Western Command had only been able to deploy one infantry battalion (one third of a brigade) and the Jammu and Kashmir militia.

In the eastern sector, the intelligence appreciation prepared in 1959, estimated that China had one division facing Sikkim and Bhutan, up to two regiments on the McMahon Line in western NEFA and one regiment in eastern NEFA. However, it concluded that China was in no position to launch an offensive because it was still “consolidating its hold on Tibet”. So the Eastern Command deployed just one infantry division in NEFA. It also had a division in Nagaland, and two brigades west of NEFA, but given the vast distances, the mountainous terrain and the absence of roads, these were in no position to reinforce the troops in NEFA within any meaningful period of time.

The operating instructions to the two commands were also similar – establish posts, patrol the areas in between, show the flag, but avoid confrontations. In the eastern sector, the orders were explicit: there was to be no patrolling closer than two-three miles from the McMahon Line. There was to be no aggressive action on any count; if Chinese patrols were encountered south of the line, they were to be told to withdraw. The troops were to fire only in self-defence.

Report refutes Maxwell’s claims 

Maxwell cites India’s refusal of a Chinese proposal for a mutual withdrawal of forces by 20 km after the Kongka La clash as proof of Nehru’s imperialism, but the Brooks-Bhagat report suggests a different explanation. Kongka La was 65-80 km inside what India considered its territory. Thus, agreeing to a 20 km separation from this point would have been tantamount to ceding the rest of the territory to China. However, in practice, India did precisely that: except at one point (Demchok), it kept its troops west of “the Chinese Claim,” a line proposed by the Chinese in 1954 but not accepted by India. In addition, both countries took care to leave a wide gap between their forces.

In 1960, possibly after then premier Chou Enlai’s failure to make Nehru agree to renegotiating the border, the Chinese began to build up their forces in both sectors. By October 1960, they had more than one division in Ladakh, including supporting armour, and had built roads and tracks to all their western outposts, greatly improving their capacity to strengthen them at short notice. An even more striking imbalance developed in the eastern sector. By July 1961, China had three full divisions supported by armour and mountain artillery in NEFA, two in the west and one in the east.

In October 1960, therefore, the Western Command asked that its forces in Ladakh be built up to a full division. But instead, for reasons that the report does not analyse, it did not get a single additional unit of any size. In December 1961, therefore, the Western Command had only one regular and two J&K light infantry battalions without armour, without even mortars and medium machine guns, without access roads, supplied wholly from the air to face the Chinese forces in Aksai Chin.

Much the same story was repeated in the Northeast. In May 1961, the Eastern Command also submitted an Emergency Expansion Plan that involved raising five more divisions for different parts of the Himalayan frontier. But although it kept pressing New Delhi for more troops for the next two years, it got none. Therefore, to man NEFA’s 900 km border with Tibet, it had a single division minus a brigade that had, for reasons unknown, been detached and sent to Nagaland.

India’s Forward Policy

This was the grim imbalance in both sectors when the government decided in November 1961 to adopt the Forward Policy. The army headquarter’s directives required the Eastern and Western Commands to set up scores of new outposts and push patrols as close as possible to the India-defined border in Ladakh and to the McMahon Line in NEFA. But both the commands had to do this without a single additional soldier.

New Delhi’s instructions remained to avoid conflict and fire only in self-defence, but the Brooks-Bhagat report leaves readers in no doubt that the Forward Policy was, in military terms, both irresponsible and indefensible. In Ladakh, it increased the number of outposts to 60 and located most of them in positions that overlooked the Chinese road through Aksai Chin. This was a situation that Beijing was virtually guaranteed not to tolerate. It demonstrated this by setting up its posts opposite the Indian posts and frequently surrounding Indian posts. This led to five armed confrontations. The most serious occurred on the Galwan river.

In May 1962, overriding the objections of the Western Command, the army headquarters ordered it to set up a post on the Galwan river. When it was set up in July, it was immediately surrounded by 70 Chinese soldiers. The Western Command advised against supplying the post through a land route and doing so only from the air, but New Delhi overruled it once more and ordered it to use the land route. The supply columns were forced back day after day for four days. In all, the siege of the Galwan post lasted for 12 days.

In NEFA, the Eastern Command set up 24 new posts. Many of these were up to 14 days’ march from their bases. This created a logistical nightmare and put the troops at risk of death through exposure, disease and starvation. The Chinese responded by setting up posts opposite the Indian posts. This brought the troops into eyeball confrontation. By late summer 1962, therefore, the entire border had become a powder keg.

Although Brooks and Bhagat did their best to stay within the narrow confines of their terms of reference, they found it impossible to do so without shedding some light on why the government ordered an army, which had been enfeebled by being stretched ever thinner, to initiate hostilities against a vastly superior force that had all the advantages of terrain and logistics on its side. Its conclusion was damning: “Against all evidence of increasing military disadvantage, and all the warnings that the Chinese gave us by actions like those at Galwan and Dhola, the government had convinced itself that when forced to choose between going to war against India and withdrawing, the Chinese would withdraw. Their indictment of the Forward Policy approaches the heights of literature: The Art of War teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy not coming but on our readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking but on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.”

In the end, it was New Delhi that provided the casus belli for the war.

The 1962 war – product of many failures

As part of the Forward Policy, the army headquarters had decided to set up a post at the tri-junction of the Bhutan, India and Tibet border, but in August 1962, it was informed by the Eastern Command that although the McMahon Line broadly follows the watershed, the tri-junction was not located upon it, but three-four miles south of it. Chinese patrols had been coming south of the watershed till the tri-junction shown on the maps, so New Delhi decided to move its Dhola post four miles north to the tri-junction on the watershed. However, to “avoid alarm and queries from all concerned”, it decided to continue giving it the map reference of the old tri-junction. On September 8, the Chinese surrounded the Dhola post with 600 soldiers.

The Eastern Command’s immediate response was to send an order to the local units to “link up” with the Dhola post, i.e force a way through the Chinese encirclement. This was followed by a spate of top-level meetings, chaired by defence minister Krishna Menon in New Delhi and the army chief in Tezpur, Assam. At these meetings, the 33rd Corps, which had the immediate responsibility for NEFA, recommended sending two battalions to encircle the Chinese who were laying siege to Dhola from the south. But this sensible and realistic proposal was brushed aside at both meetings and the army was ordered to clear the Chinese out, using force if necessary. When Indian troops attempted to carry out this suicidal order, they gave China the invitation to attack in strength that it was waiting for.

The Brooks-Bhagat report finds fault with both Jawaharlal Nehru and Krishna Menon. Credit: photodivision.gov.in

Lessons from the Brooks-Bhagat report

What should the Indian public and its representatives learn from the disclosures contained in the Brooks-Bhagat report? The most important is that China is not the aggressive, expansionist nation that two generations of Indians have been reared to believe. In Indian eyes, China committed its original act of aggression when it began to build a road connecting Tibet and Xinjiang through Aksai Chin in the mid-1950s. But the term “aggression” presupposes the existence of recognised and clearly demarcated national boundaries. Aksai Chin, however, fell in no-man’s land between the Karakoram and the Kuen Lun mountain ranges where no recognised border existed. Based upon trade and travel routes, the Chinese considered the Karakoram range to be the traditional frontier between Ladakh and Tibet, but the boundary line that India had inherited from the British lay further east along the Kuen Lun mountains. Topography and hindsight show us that this alignment lost its raison d’etre the moment China annexed Tibet, for the British had chosen it with the specific purpose of blocking the valleys between the two ranges that could have given Russia easy access to Tibet, and thence to India and southern China, through Tibet. This alignment was, therefore, a product of The Great Game, and became history when China annexed Tibet.

Also read: Six Expert Views on How India Should Look at the Latest Border Stand-Off With China

It also became a claw stuck into China’s underbelly, for it lay athwart the road it needed to build to connect Tibet to Xinjiang. Given Aksai Chin’s importance to China and unimportance to India, the Ladakh border could have been settled easily through negotiation. But there is no record of the Chinese ever having formally raised this issue before starting to build the Tibet-Xinjiang road.

However, having secured its basic requirement, China went to great lengths to demonstrate its desire for a negotiated settlement. The lengths to which it was prepared to go were demonstrated by Chou when he virtually forced himself upon Nehru in New Delhi in February 1960, and went from one Indian cabinet minister’s home to the next, trying to obtain a consensus. Nehru’s failure to take advantage of this extraordinary overture must be counted as one of the greater, and by far the most costly, diplomatic mistake India has made. For the hostility that Chou encountered, and the humiliation to which he was subjected by ministers such as Morarji Desai, almost certainly triggered the rapid build-up of Chinese forces in the east and the west, which led Nehru and his advisers to adopt the Forward Policy.

But even then, the Chinese exhibited a strong preference for the use of “non-violent force”. Thus they surrounded but did not attack the Galwan and Dhola posts. The message, again, was that they preferred to settle the dispute through negotiation, although the price would almost certainly be higher.

The report also reveals that the Chinese have been remarkably consistent in the terms they have set for a settlement. In Ladakh, the terms of the 1993 Agreement for Peace and Tranquility in the Border Regions, including the pulling back of troops by both countries to create a non-militarised border zone, are almost identical to the status quo that was established in 1960. This was also true of NEFA (now Arunachal) till 2006 when, without any warning, the Chinese went back to describing the whole of the state as a disputed area and calling it Southern Tibet.

The role of public opinion

By putting the blame for the war squarely upon the Forward Policy and, therefore, by implication upon Nehru, the Brooks-Bhagat report has also forced us to re-examine the prevailing belief that Nehru’s bloated sense of his own importance made it impossible for him to believe that the Chinese would ever attack India. This is simplistic to say the least, for it leaves out one crucial ingredient in the decision-making process: the role played by public opinion in tying his hands and leaving him with very few options.

The Indian public had never accepted Nehru’s tame acceptance of China’s annexation of Tibet and was viscerally hostile to China. It had been enraged by the discovery of the Aksai Chin road, and alarmed by the incidents at Longju and Kongka La. The publicity that surrounded the Dalai Lama’s flight from Tibet and arrival in India in April 1959, and the stories of Chinese atrocities brought by his followers had rekindled the anger of the people. Malhotra, who was then the political correspondent of The Statesman, has given a graphic account of the pressures that this generated upon Nehru:

“Before and during the failed summit, bitter domestic discord raged in this country, at times theatrically. Nehru had to brush aside strident demands that there should be no welcome for Chou Enlai throughout his stay. Despite the chill, all courtesies were maintained. But on the demand for the exclusion from the negotiations of his protégé, the controversial defence minister Krishna Menon, Nehru had no option but to yield. However, when Menon did manage to have a pow-wow with Chou Enlai, popular rage knew no bounds.”

The dangers that democracies face from ill-informed public opinion is, therefore, the second lesson to be learned from the debacle of 1962. Nehru knew that he had used up most of his political capital getting Indians to accept China’s annexation of Tibet. When China began to build its Tibet-Xinjiang road without even informing, let alone reaching an agreement with India, and when a spate of revelations of the oppression the Chinese had unleashed upon Tibet gained currency after the Dalai Lama’s arrival, he felt unable to concede any more ground.

Even at this point, Nehru wanted to do no more than establish a new de facto line of separation between Tibet and Ladakh. But finding himself caught between the renewed Chinese military build-up in Aksai Chin and NEFA, and a rising “bunker mentality” at home, he may have felt that showing the flag to establish red lines was the only option left, at least to buy time till things cooled down. What is more, had the Chinese Communist Party not entered a period of crisis at that precise moment, he just might have gotten away with it.

Crisis in China

What Nehru failed to take into account, and what Maxwell does not even mention, are the changes that were taking place within China that were pushing it towards a Grenada-style “small winnable war”. In 1959, the Great Leap Forward had just started, so the Chinese were content to stake out the territory they needed for the Aksai Chin road. But by 1962, it had failed.

China’s leaders had cut down tens of thousands of acres of forests for firewood, produced worthless junk in its backyard furnaces and plunged an already poor country into famine. Lacking a national food market, Beijing had been forced to sit helplessly by as 16 million people starved to death. In 1962, therefore, Mao Tse-tung knew that the Communist Party’s Mandate of Heaven was in tatters and needed something to shore it up. New Delhi’s September 21 order to push the Chinese off the Thagla ridge must have come as a gift from heaven.

Pictures released by the Chinese government which claim to show Indian incursion into China

To sum up, the 1962 war was not a product of Chinese expansionism (if one rules out its annexation of Tibet). Nor was it a product of Nehru’s or India’s imperialism. It arose out of China’s attempt at consolidation. China tried repeatedly to nudge India towards a negotiated solution, but did not realise that no democracy could afford to negotiate from a position of weakness. On his part, Nehru was not the puffed-up peacock that his present-day critics make him out to be, but a visionary leader who failed to make his people accept his vision, fell foul of public opinion and lost his capacity to lead the country at a crucial time on a crucial issue. The crucial error that both countries made was not to perceive the visceral link between foreign and domestic policy. China never understood how public opinion could impede the search for a negotiated solution; Nehru did not have the faintest inkling of how much China’s natural aversion to conflict had been eroded by the failure of the Great Leap Forward.

The 1962 war was a product of these failures, but these are failures typical of young nations. Both countries have learned immensely valuable lessons from it. This became apparent in 2009, when after three years of increasing acrimony, renewed aggressive patrolling and frequent intrusions across the Line of Actual Control, and an unambiguous ultimatum by China to prevent the Dalai Lama from visiting Tawang, it was then premier Wen Jiabao who took the initiative to meet Manmohan in Thailand and arrest the drift towards a repeat of 1962.

What is even more significant, both governments realised that public opinion, inflamed by the international media, was the main impediment to peace and arrived at the brilliantly innovative decision to ban the international, and limit the local media’s presence, in Tawang, while allowing the Dalai Lama to continue his trip unimpeded.

When India is on the verge of a conflict that can destroy the status that has taken five decades to rebuild after 1962, it is imperative that the present policymakers take some time off to actually read the Brooks-Bhagat report and accept the damning indictment of the Indian government’s irresponsibility in 1962 that it contains.

A version of this article first appeared in Tehelka on April 14, 2014

Amidst growing belligerence at border, China outguns India's naval abilities in Indian Ocean Region 1 to 4


IndiaIndiaSpendJul, 07 2017 10:15:46 IST


By Abheet Singh Sethi

China's People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA-N) has 283 major surface combatant warships, four times more than those under the control of the Indian Navy (66), according to an IndiaSpend analysis of publicly available data.

Major surface combatants
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China's widening naval capabilities compared to India can be seen in the context of the PLA-N’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean region. "Chinese activity in the Indian Ocean has touched a new high in recent months,” according to an Indian Navy official, The Hindustan Times reported on July 5, 2017.

The Indian Navy has sighted over a dozen PLA-N warships, submarines and intelligence-gathering vessels in the Indian Ocean in the last few months.

These sightings come as the Indian and Chinese troops are locked in a three-week long standoff at the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction near Sikkim, leading to increasingly belligerent rhetoric between New Delhi and Beijing.

Comparing inventories

The PLA-N has 26 destroyers, more than twice as many as India (11). Destroyers are both the PLA-N and IN’s frontline warships that possesspowerful radars, can travel long distances and are capable of fulfilling land attack, missile defence, and surface and anti-submarine warfare. This makes them very powerful tools for power projection.

China recently launched its indigenously developed 12,000-tonne Type 55 destroyer, which “is considerably larger and more powerful than India’s latest … destroyers which have still not been commissioned”, according to NDTV Defence Editor Vishnu Som.

China's Type-55 will eventually have around 120 missiles of various types. India’s most powerful destroyer, the yet-to-be commissioned Project 15-B “Visakhapatnam” class destroyers, will have 50 missiles.

Representational image. Reuters

The PLA-N has 52 frigates, nearly four times as many as India (14). Frigates are not as heavily armed as destroyers but can fulfil similar roles and can operate in open oceans.

India has 25 corvettes and missile boats, around one-fourth as many as China (106). Corvettes and missile boats are lightly armed as compared to frigates and provide coastal protection.

India’s aircraft carrier advantage no more?

So far, both India and China each have one aircraft carrier. The carrier is a sign of its growing military prowess.

In April 2017, China launched a new aircraft carrier, its second after the Liaoning, but the first to be indigenously manufactured. The Chinese aircraft carrier is scheduled to be operational by 2020.

The development comes as India’s own homemade aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, faces several delays. The Vikrant has been in development since 2009 but is unlikely to be completed before 2023, The Hindu reported on July 28, 2016.

For decades, India has enjoyed a naval advantage over China by possessing at least one aircraft carrier in its inventory while the PLAN had none.

China now possesses the Liaoning, a Soviet-era warship it purchased from Ukraine and commissioned in 2012 following refit. After four years of testing, the Liaoning conducted its first ever live-fire drills on December 16, 2016. It also conducted similar drills in the disputed South China Sea on 3 January, 2017, a sign of its increasingly aggressive posture.

The Liaoning was getting ready to expand its operations to other regions, including the Indian Ocean, a Chinese naval expert told the Chinese government-owned newspaper Global Times in December 2016.

"Ultimately, Beijing will likely build at least a half-dozen carriers to meet its requirements," wrote defence expert Dave Majumdar in the National Interest, an international affairs publication, on 22 February, 2017.

The Indian Navy has finalised the specifications for the construction of INS Vishal, an indigenous successor to INS Vikrant. The Vishal will be nuclear-powered, weigh 65,000-tonne and carry more aircraft than Vikrant and Vikramaditya. India is collaborating with the US to fit it with advanced “electro-magnetic aircraft launch system” (EMALS) for the aircraft.

Maritime doctrine

Indian Navy’s force structure is aimed at providing it with the capability to project power in ‘blue waters’ as envisioned in the Navy’s revised 2015 maritime doctrine.

“In theory, a blue-water Navy is a maritime force capable of operating in the deep waters of the open oceans,” noted Abhijit Singh, a Senior Fellow and Head, Maritime Policy Initiative at Observer Research Foundation, in The Diplomat, a current-affairs magazine.

The navy’s doctrine defines India’s areas of maritime interest as the wider Indian Ocean, which includes the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, Andaman Sea, South-West Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea and chokepoints such as the Strait of Hormuz.

The PLA-N’s growing area of operations in this region places it in direct competition to India’s defined interests. However, it’s important to note that the PLA-N and its current force structure is aimed at securing the South China Sea and East China Sea, which it claims as its territories and is embattled in a bitter dispute with neighbouring countries as well as the US.