Archive for the ‘India’ Category

Trade Barriers Could Threaten Global Economy

March 18, 2009

At least 17 of the 20 major nations that vowed at a November summit to avoid protectionist steps that could spark a global trade war have violated that promise, with countries from Russia to the United States to China enacting measures aimed at limiting the flow of imported goods, according to a World Bank report unveiled yesterday. 

By Anthony Faiola
Washington Post Staff Writer

The report underscores a “worrying” trend toward protectionism as countries rush to shield their ailing domestic industries during the global economic crisis. It comes one day after Mexico vowed to slap new restrictions on 90 U.S. products. That action is being taken in retaliation against Washington for canceling a program that allowed Mexican truck drivers the right to transport goods across the United States, illustrating the tit-for-tat responses that experts fear could grow in coming months.

The report comes ahead of an April 2 summit in London in which the heads of state from those 20 industrialized and developing economies will seek to shape a coordinated response to the economic crisis. Their inability to keep their November promises is another indication of how difficult it will be to implement any agreement reached next month on a global scale.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dy
n/content/article/2009/03/17/AR200
9031703218.html?hpid=topnews

Various Views On Obama Foreign Policy: “Just Like Bush” Or Radical Change?

March 10, 2009

Opinions vary on the initial reading of Barack Obama’s foreign policy.  I tend to view it as misguided, weak and inept.  Robert Kagan wrote in the Washington Post March 9, 2009, that Obama’s foreign policy was “Bushian” because it has changed so little from George W’s time.  Anthony Faiola writes in the Washington Post on March 10 that Obama’s trade policy will emphasize global warming and displacement of American workers  — using social issues as a reason to promote or slow trade during a global economy Obama has called a “catastrophe”….

Related:
Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

Obama Throws Britain Under the Bus: Relationship “Reset” and “Regime Change”

Obama’s First Major Foreign Crisis Brewing?
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Protocol: Brit Media Furious At Obama

Czech President Says Obama Views “Unknown” On Key Foreign Policy Issues

White House: U.S. Will Not Shoot North Korean Missile

Obama, State Department, White House Staff, Hillary “Unaware,” “Overwhelmed” by Expectations
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Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

 Obama Forges New Path in Protocol

 Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”
(Now we can add stupid….)

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/
09/photoshop-flashback-of-the-day/

*******

President Obama’s foreign policy team has been working hard to present its policies to the world as constituting a radical break from the Bush years. In the broadest sense, this has been absurdly easy: Obama had the world at hello.

By Robert Kagen
Washington Post
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When it comes to actual policies, however, selling the pretense of radical change has required some sleight of hand — and a helpful press corps. Thus the New York Times reports a dramatic “shift” in China policy to “rigorous and persistent engagement,” as if the previous two administrations had been doing something else for the past decade and a half. Another Times headline trumpeted a new “softer tone on North Korea,” based on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s suggestion that the United States would have a “great openness to working with” Pyongyang — as soon as it agrees to “verifiable and complete dismantling and denuclearization.” Startling.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content
/article/2009/03/08/AR2009030801493.html?h
pid=opinionsbox1

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The Obama administration is aggressively reworking U.S. trade policy to more strongly emphasize domestic and social issues, from the displacement of American workers to climate change.

By Anthony Faiola 
Washington Post

Even as world trade takes its steepest drop in 80 years amid the gobal economic crisis, the administration is preparing to take a harder line with America’s trading partners. It will seek new benchmarks before supporting already-written trade agreements with Colombia and South Korea and is suggesting that it will dig in its heels on global trade talks, demanding that other countries make broader concessions first.

“I believe in trade and will work to expand it, but I also know that not all Americans are winning from it and that our trading partners are not always playing by the rules,” Ron Kirk, President Obama’s nominee as U.S. trade representative, said in confirmation testimony last night before the Senate Finance Committee.

The shift underscores the mounting pressures confronting any effort to expand trade during the economic crisis. Even before the global economy went code red late last year, talks aimed at expanding global trade stalled as Western countries warred with emerging giants like China and India over how to further open markets.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-d
yn/content/article/2009/03/09/AR2
009030903157.html

India, China jostle for influence in Indian Ocean

March 8, 2009

This battered harbor town on Sri Lanka’s southern tip, with its scrawny men selling even scrawnier fish, seems an unlikely focus for an emerging international competition over energy supply routes that fuel much of the global economy.

An impoverished place still recovering from the devastation of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Hambantota has a desolate air, a sense of nowhereness, punctuated by the realization that looking south over the expanse of ocean, the next landfall is Antarctica.

But just over the horizon runs one of the world’s great trade arteries, the shipping lanes where thousands of vessels carry oil from the Middle East and raw materials to Asia, returning with television sets, toys and sneakers for European consumers.

By Gavin Rabinowitz
Associated Press
June 2008

These tankers provide 80 percent of China’s oil and 65 percent of India’s — fuel desperately needed for the two countries’ rapidly growing economies. Japan, too, is almost totally dependent on energy supplies shipped through the Indian Ocean.

Any disruption — from terrorism, piracy, natural disaster or war — could have devastating effects on these countries and, in an increasingly interdependent world, send ripples across the globe. When an unidentified ship attacked a Japanese oil tanker traveling through the Indian Ocean from South Korea to Saudi Arabia in April, the news sent oil prices to record highs.

Emerging giants
For decades the world relied on the powerful U.S. Navy to protect this vital sea lane. But as India and China gain economic heft, they are moving to expand their control of the waterway, sparking a new — and potentially dangerous — rivalry between Asia’s emerging giants.

China has given massive aid to Indian Ocean nations, signing friendship pacts, building ports in Pakistan and Bangladesh as well as Sri Lanka, and reportedly setting up a listening post on one of Myanmar’s islands near the strategic Strait of Malacca.

Now, India is trying to parry China’s moves. It beat out China for a port project in Myanmar. And, flush with cash from its expanding economy, India is beefing up its military, with the expansion seemingly aimed at China. Washington and, to a lesser extent, Tokyo are encouraging India’s role as a counterweight to growing Chinese power.

INDIA OCEAN INTRIGUE
ESRI / AP
Map locates the major Indian Ocean oil trade routes and newly developed ports built by China.

Among China’s latest moves is the billion dollar port its engineers are building in Sri Lanka, an island country just off India’s southern coast.

The Chinese insist the Hambantota port is a purely commercial move, and by all appearances, it is. But some in India see ominous designs behind the project, while others in countries surrounding India like the idea. A 2004 Pentagon report called Beijing’s effort to expand its presence in the region China’s “string of pearls.”

No one wants war, and relations between the two nations are now at their closest since a brief 1962 border war in which China quickly routed Indian forces. Last year, trade between India and China grew to $37 billion and their two armies conducted their first-ever joint military exercise.

Still, the Indians worry about China’s growing influence.

“Each pearl in the string is a link in a chain of the Chinese maritime presence,” India’s navy chief, Adm. Sureesh Mehta, said in a speech in January, expressing concern that naval forces operating out of ports established by the Chinese could “take control over the world energy jugular.”

“It is a pincer movement,” said Rahul Bedi, a South Asia analyst with London-based Jane’s Defense Weekly. “That, together with the slap India got in 1962, keeps them awake at night.”

B. Raman, a hawkish, retired Indian intelligence official, expressed the fears of some Indians over the Chinese-built ports, saying he believes they’ll be used as naval bases to control the area.

“We cannot take them at face value. We cannot assume their intentions are benign,” said Raman.

But Zhao Gancheng, a South Asia expert at the Chinese government-backed Shanghai Institute for International Studies, says ports like Hambantota are strictly commercial ventures. And Sri Lanka says the new port will be a windfall for its impoverished southern region.
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With Sri Lanka’s proximity to the shipping lane already making it a hub for transshipping containers between Europe and Asia, the new port will boost the country’s annual cargo handling capacity from 6 million containers to some 23 million, said Priyath Wickrama, deputy director of the Sri Lankan Ports Authority.

Wickrama said a new facility was needed since the main port in the capital Colombo has no room to expand and Trincomalee port in the Northeast is caught in the middle of Sri Lanka’s civil war. Hambantota also will have factories onsite producing cement and fertilizer for export, he said.

Gearing military expansion towards ChinaMeanwhile, India is clearly gearing its military expansion toward China rather than its longtime foe, and India has set up listening stations in Mozambique and Madagascar, in part to monitor Chinese movements, Bedi noted. It also has an air base in Kazakhstan and a space monitoring post in Mongolia — both China’s neighbors.

 

India has announced plans to have a fleet of aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines at sea in the next decade and recently tested nuclear-capable missiles that put China’s major cities well in range. It is also reopening air force bases near the Chinese border.

Encouraging India’s role as a counter to China, the U.S. has stepped up exercises with the Indian navy and last year sold it an American warship for the first time, the 17,000-ton amphibious transport dock USS Trenton. American defense contractors — shut out from the lucrative Indian market during the long Cold War — have been offering India’s military everything from advanced fighter jets to anti-ship missiles.

“It is in our interest to develop this relationship,” U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said during a visit to New Delhi in February. “Just as it is in the Indians’ interest.”

Officially, China says it’s not worried about India’s military buildup or its closer ties with the U.S. However, foreign analysts believe China is deeply concerned by the possibility of a U.S.-Indian military alliance.

Ian Storey of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore said China sent strong diplomatic messages expressing opposition to a massive naval exercise India held last year with the U.S., Japan, Singapore and Australia. And Bedi, the Jane’s analyst, added “those exercises rattled the Chinese.”

Growing military budgetsIndia’s 2007 defense budget was about $21.7 billion, up 7.8 percent from 2006. China said its 2008 military budget would jump 17.6 percent to some $59 billion, following a similar increase last year. The U.S. estimates China’s actual defense spending may be much higher.

 

Like India, China is focusing heavily on its navy, building an increasingly sophisticated submarine fleet that could eventually be one of the world’s largest.

While analysts believe China’s military buildup is mostly focused on preventing U.S. intervention in any conflict with Taiwan, India is still likely to persist in efforts to catch up as China expands its influence in what is essentially India’s backyard. Meanwhile, Sri Lankans — who have looked warily for centuries at vast India to the north — welcome the Chinese investment in their country.

“Our lives are going to change,” said 62-year-old Jayasena Senanayake, who has seen business grow at his roadside food stall since construction began on the nearby port. “What China is doing for us is very good.”

Pakistan Against Terror: “deliberately not taking action or incapable”

January 28, 2009

Before America pumps a lot more money into Pakistan to fight terrorism, we Americans might consider the words of India’s External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on the issue of anti-terror action by Pakistan:

“Yes, one way you can make a differentiation that they are deliberately not doing or are incapable of doing. But as far as  India is concerned, the net impact is the same … the perpetrators are launching terror attacks from the territory of Pakistan,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said.

“The infrastructural facilities there (are) used by them (for) committing crimes in India, not necessarily in this case but in a large number of cases in the past,” he said in an interview with Al Jazeera news channel.

Mukherjee said India expects the Pakistan government to act against the perpetrators of terror acts operating from Pakistani soil.

“We expect Pakistan to act. Whatever is to be done from our side we are doing so … but Pakistan has to act because the handlers and planners (of  Mumbai attacks) were from Pakistan,” he said.

Related:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Pak_incap
able_of_action_against_terror/articleshow/4044
627.cms

Pakistan Resisting Terror War But Wants U.S. Funding
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 Pakistan Hopes Obama Can Deliver Even Part of the Bush-Cheney Love (and Money)
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Pakistan’s President Continues Audition for Obama Attention, Funding, Support
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Pakistan Auditions For “New Start” in U.S. Policy, Funding From President Obama on CNN

Pakistan Hopes Obama Can Deliver Even Part of the Bush-Cheney Love (and Money)

January 28, 2009

Former Pakistan President Musharraf has been on a media blitz of sorts seeking love and money from the new Obama Aministration.

Musharraf got rich off Bush-Cheney.

Now President Zardari is at it; seeking U.S. approval and funding which may be in serious doubt.

Just yesterday Defense Secretary Gates said Predator drones would continue to invade pakistan’s air space in efforts to find and kill terrorists the Pakistani’s tolerate.

On Sunday, September 10, 2006, the late Tim Russet hosted Vice President Cheney on”Meet the Press.”  Cheney made an extremely long supporting speech on the importance of General Musharraf and pakistan to the United States.

I heard about this while in Pakistan working near my friend Muhammad.

Muhammad is now dead, killed by the Taliban, right near where the Predator drones are operating today.  Musharraf is no longer the kingpin in Pakistan.

But it was Tim Russert’s careful, probing inquiry with Cheney that opened my eyes to the growing troubles between the U.S. and Pakistan — and the kind of “over the top” support once given to Pakistan by the United States.

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

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Part of Vice President Cheney’s Remarks on “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert on Sunday, September 10, 2006:

“President Musharraf has been a great ally. There was, prior to 9/11, a close relationship between the Pakistan intelligence services and the Taliban. Pakistan was one of only three nations that recognized, diplomatically recognized the government of Afghanistan at that particular time. But the fact is Musharraf has put his neck on the line in order to be effective in going after the extremist elements including al-Qaeda and including the Taliban in Pakistan. There have been three attempts on his life, two of those by al-Qaeda over the course of the last three years. This is a man who has demonstrated great courage under very difficult political circumstances and has been a great ally for the United States”.

“So there’s no question in that area along the Afghan/Pakistan border is something of a no man’s land, it has been for centuries. It’s extraordinarily rough territory. People there who move back and forth across the border, they were smuggling goods before there was concern about, about terrorism. But we need to continue to work the problem. Musharraf just visited Karzai in, in Kabul this past week, they’re both going to be here during the course of the U.N. General Assembly meetings over the course of the next few weeks. We worked that area very hard, and the Paks have been great allies in that effort.”

“Pakistan, we’ve gone in and worked closely with Musharraf to take down al-Qaeda. Saudi Arabia, same thing. In all of those cases, it’s been a matter of getting the locals into the fight to prevail over al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda-related tyrants.”

“Think of Musharraf who puts his neck on the line every day he goes to work, when there’ve been attempts on his life because of his support for our position. And they look over here and they see the United States that’s made a commitment to the Iraqis, that’s gone in and taken down the old regime, worked to set up a democracy, worked to set up security forces, and all of a sudden we say it’s too tough, we’re going home. What’s Karzai going to think up in Kabul? Is he going to have any confidence at all that he can trust the United States, that in fact we’re there to get the job done? What about Musharraf? Or is Musharraf and those people you’re talking about who are on the fence in Afghanistan and elsewhere going to say, ‘My gosh, the United States hasn’t got the stomach for the fight. Bin Laden’s right, al-Qaeda’s right, the United States has lost its will and will not complete the mission,’ and it will damage our capabilities and all of those other war fronts, if you will, in the global war on terror.”

Related:
 Pakistan’s President Continues Audition for Obama Attention, Funding, Support

Pakistan’s President Continues Audition for Obama Attention, Funding, Support

January 28, 2009

Pakistan looks forward to a new beginning in its bilateral relationship with the United States. First, we congratulate Barack Obama and the country that had the character to elect him, and we welcome his decision to name a special envoy to Southwest Asia. Appointing the seasoned diplomat Richard Holbrooke says much about the president’s worldview and his understanding of the complexities of peace and stability and the threats of extremism and terrorism. Simply put, we must move beyond rhetoric and tackle the hard problems.

By Asif Ali Zardari
Prisident of Pakistan
The Washington Post

Pakistan has repeatedly been identified as the most critical external problem facing the new administration. The situation in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India is indeed critical, but its severity actually presents an opportunity for aggressive and innovative action. Since the end of the Musharraf dictatorship, Pakistan has worked to confront the challenges of a young democracy facing an active insurgency, within the context of an international economic crisis. Ambassador Holbrooke will soon discover that Pakistan is far more than a rhetorical partner in the fight against extremism. Unlike in the 1980s, we are surrogates for no one. With all due respect, we need no lectures on our commitment. This is our war. It is our children and wives who are dying.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/
content/article/2009/01/27/AR200901
2702675.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Related:
 Obama Picks New World “Winners” and “Losers”

Pakistan is World Leader in Anti-Terror Fight — Musharraf

 Pakistan Auditions For “New Start” in U.S. Policy, Funding From President Obama on CNN

Indian Stream Awash in Drugs

January 25, 2009

When researchers analyzed vials of treated wastewater taken from a plant where about 90 Indian drug factories dump their residues, they were shocked. Enough of a single, powerful antibiotic was being spewed into one stream each day to treat every person in a city of 90,000.
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Pharmaceutical contamination is an emerging concern worldwide. In its series of articles, AP documented the commonplace presence of minute concentrations of pharmaceuticals in U.S. drinking water supplies. The AP also found that trace concentrations of pharmaceuticals were almost ubiquitous in rivers, lakes and streams.

Associated Preaa

Last year, The Associated Press reported that trace concentrations of pharmaceuticals had been found in drinking water provided to at least 46 million Americans. But the wastewater downstream from the Indian plants contained 150 times the highest levels detected in the U.S.

Read the entire article:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090125
/ap_on_re_as/pharmawater_india

Related:
More than 80 pct of China’s coastal waters polluted

Pakistan Auditions For “New Start” in U.S. Policy, Funding From President Obama on CNN

January 24, 2009

Pakistan has been the staunchest ally of the United States in the war against terror, President George W. Bush often told us, to say nothing of Vice President Cheney’s unprecidented support for the South Asian nuclear power.

Yet Pakistan was never able to find in itself the courage to pick one side or the other: democracy and the United States or Islam and the Taliban.  Anti-terror or terror.

Because Pakistan refused for most of the Bush Administration to use its army to root out the Taliban and al-Qaeda (maybe even Osama bin Laden himself) from the tribal areas near Afganistan, the U.S. started raining down death on terror leaders iside Pakistan from predator drones armed with missiles.

Countless terror leaders were killed.

An unmanned Predator drone. A suspected US missile strike Friday ... 
An unmanned Predator drone. A suspected US missile strike Friday killed at least three foreign militants in the northwest Pakistan stronghold of a local Taliban commander, a senior security official said.(AFP/File/US Air Force)

Pakistan was torn further internally by its number one ally and benefactor, the U.S., ignoring preas from its government to stop violating its sovereign borders — from the air.  Pakistan even mustered its Air Force to the tribal areas in attempts to find and destroy the U.S. drones — with little consequence.

Now Pakistan has a new Government headed by Mr. Zardari and Mr. Gilani.  Musharraf is out.  And India along with much of the world believes that Pakistan had some hand in the terror attack in Mumbai.

Re-enter Musharraf:

“Pakistan is being treated so unequally while we are the ones who are in the lead role fighting the global war on terror,” said Pervez Musharraf, interviewed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer for “The Situation Room.”

“This is what hurts Pakistan. It hurts the leadership. Indeed, it hurts the government. It hurts the people of Pakistan,” said Musharraf, speaking from Dallas, Texas, during a book tour in the United States.

Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf says anti-American sentiment in Pakistan is high.

Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf says anti-American sentiment in Pakistan is high.

“Nobody in Pakistan is comfortable with the strikes across the border. There is no doubt in that. Public opinion is very much against it,” he said. “But as far as this issue of the new president — President Obama having taken over and this continuing — but I have always been saying that policies don’t change with personalities; policies have national interest, and policies depend on an environment.

“So the environment and national interest of the United States being the same, I thought policies will remain constant,” he said.

Musharraf seems to be making a plea to President Obama, who has claimed a “new way” in the Middle East and with Iran, that Pakistan too deserves a new lease on life — and American wealth in the form of aid and assistance; of which Musharraf has been one of the number one beneficiaries in the past….

Related:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/
asiapcf/01/23/pakistan.musharraf/index.html

China-Made Toys Banned in India

January 23, 2009

India on Friday banned imports of several types of toys from China for six months without saying why, a move that pleased local manufacturers but shocked importers, Reuters reported.

Related:
Economy, Reputation Causing China’s Toymakers To Take a Beating

A government statement issued late on Friday did not give details but industry officials said the order would ban imports of almost all toys from China.

China and India have a long history of animosity and there could be many good reasons for excluding China made toys from the Indian market.  China has produced millions of toys in recent years that contained lead-based paint which can be poisonous to children.

China also just completd a trial in the case of hundreds of thousands of Chinese children sickened by poisoned milk.

But in the current global economic downturn, china’s toy industry has been hard hit: causing massive unemployment within China.

Related:
http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleN
ew.asp?col=&section=business&xfile=data/
business/2009/January/business_January733.xml

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/BUSINESS/
01/23/china.india.toys/index.html

Related:
 China Killed Children With Poisoned Milk, Held “Show Trial,” Absolved Government Regulators
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Death, Life in Prison Sentences in China Poisoned Milk Trial

Keeping the spirit alive 
Jobless Chinese toymakers turned vendors.  Photo by  Barbara Demick, The Los Angeles Times

Pakistan welcomes appointment of U.S. envoy

January 23, 2009

Pakistan welcomed on Friday the appointment of Richard Holbrooke as a special U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan while analysts said he would have to confront Pakistan-India tension if his aim was regional peace.

President Barack Obama appointed the foreign policy veteran on Thursday and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later telephoned President Asif Ali Zardari to inform him of the decision, the Foreign Ministry said.

By Robert Birsel
Reuters

“Pakistan welcomes the appointment of Ambassador Holbrooke and looks forward to enhanced and fruitful engagement with the special envoy to further the cause of peace and stability in the region,” the ministry said in a statement.

Government spokesmen in Afghanistan were not available.

Holbrooke, a former ambassador to the United Nations who negotiated the 1995 peace agreement that ended the Bosnian war, faces an array of challenges in dealing with the war in Afghanistan and its tense and fragile border with Pakistan.

Obama has ordered a review of the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. He promised during the campaign to bolster troop levels there to battle growing violence and a resurgent Taliban and al Qaeda.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090123/p
l_nm/us_pakistan_afghan_usa_1