Opinion

‘Chairman Xi’ seeks only to purge and subjugate. That is his weakness
Opinion

‘Chairman Xi’ seeks only to purge and subjugate. That is his weakness

It’s often said that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely – but does it also induce leaders to act in foolhardy, headstrong and ultimately self-destructive ways? Chinese history, is full of examples of omnipotent rulers whose unchecked behaviour led to disaster. Xi Jinping, China’s comrade-emperor, is a modern-day case in point. Xi seems to think he can do no wrong. As a result, not much is going right.Xi’s authoritarian, expansionist policies, pursued with increasing vehemence since he became communist party chief and president in 2012-13, have enveloped China in a ring of fire. Its borderlands are ablaze with conflict and confrontation from Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Tibet and the Himalayas in the north and west to Hong Kong, the South China Sea and Taiwan to the east.Ho
Is the Chinese shipbuilding industry going up in smoke?
Opinion

Is the Chinese shipbuilding industry going up in smoke?

Amidst the tensions caused by the coronavirus outbreak, one image that recently caught global attention was the fire on board the PLA Navy’s latest Type 075 landing helicopter dock (LHD) amphibious ship.On the morning of 11 April 2020, the PLA Navy’s LHD caught fire, as smoke was observed coming out of rear hangar opening and lift near island superstructure. Within ten days, the damaged ship was painted to hide the black smoke marks on its superstructure and readied for the launch ceremony of PLA Navy’s second Type 075, on 22 April 2020. The intensity of smoke indicates a major fire which would have caused significant damage to the ship’s aft section, equipment and electrical cables, with resultant time penalties for their repair and replacement.The fire, while extinguished has rekindled t
Is Pakistan losing Riyadh?
Opinion

Is Pakistan losing Riyadh?

“Pakistan can no longer wait … I respectfully remind the OIC (Organization of the Islamic Cooperation) once again that we are expecting a meeting of foreign ministers belonging to the member countries of the organization. If you cannot do it, I will be forced to ask Prime Minister Imran Khan to hold a meeting of Islamic countries ready to stand by us on the question of Kashmir,” said Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmud Qureshi during an interview.With an unprecedented externalization, Qureshi shattered a ten-year protocol of relations between Pakistan and the Saudi “big brother” and gave the launch of a series of speculations on the geopolitical order or re-order of the region.The Saudis did not take well the appeal of Qureshi which was seen as a real “sgarro” by the historical “younger
Is China losing faith in its own troops?
Opinion

Is China losing faith in its own troops?

In August, a rather strange visit took place in the shadow of the Himalayas. Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister visited Tibet Military District and surrounding areas on August 14, and met with the top Communist Party official in Tibet, Wu Yingjie, as well as the chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) government, Qizhala.Before commenting on the nature and implications of the visit, it is important to understand briefly the major reasons why politicians visit any province. Even in China which abhors conventional democratic politics, the mechanics of politics that equate to grabbing, and holding on to power, are the same.There are three major reasons why a politician may visit an area: if it is a campaign season, a home province or to motivate the local population during times of disas
What is China’s military aspiration for Gwadar?
Opinion

What is China’s military aspiration for Gwadar?

For a long time, Pakistan’s Gwadar port has long been touted as the site for a Chinese base suitable for People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) operations, however, it is not inevitable that Gwadar will become a PLAN base.The Chinese Communist Party pursues a “strategic strongpoint” concept whereby strategically sited foreign ports containing terminals and commercial zones operated by Chinese firms can be used by its military.These “strongpoints” offer the potential for China to form a network of supply, logistics and intelligence hubs, and there is a nascent network along the perimeter of the Indian Ocean.Gwadar is important to Beijing for two reasons. First is establishing direct transport links to the Indian Ocean via the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). For this reason, China doe
Xi’s intellectual warriors are outgunning “realists” of Deng Xiaoping era
Opinion

Xi’s intellectual warriors are outgunning “realists” of Deng Xiaoping era

Chinese leader Xi Jinping's legion of intellectual warriors are on a high, trying to fish out from the mainstream "realists" – people who have followed former leader Deng Xiaoping's pragmatism to spur Beijing's rise. The "China Dream" project, of railing the "civilisation state" on a path, which would lead to the recovery of China's glorious past is apparently at the heart of Xi's aggressive Wolf Warrior diplomacy.It is the idea of the "Middle Kingdom," where China and its people are at the centre of a global system, of which a number of semi-independent "tributary states" are the moving parts, which appears to fire Xi's worldview."The fact that the Chinese regard themselves as superior to the rest of the human race, and that this belief has a racial component, will confront the rest of th
What’s blocking China’s highway to global dominance?
Opinion

What’s blocking China’s highway to global dominance?

China is synonymous with authoritarianism, overpopulation, manufacturing, expansionism, and patent infringement. However, the most recent addition, besides concentration camps for Uighurs is the Belt Road Initiative (BRI).The BRI was announced by the Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, as an Economic and Maritime Silk Road. This multi-faceted project assimilates infrastructure connectivity, investment and trade cooperation, financial integration, cultural exchange, and regional cooperation between Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America. The projected cost of the BRI could reach a gargantuan $1.2–1.3trillion by 2027 as predicted by Morgan Stanley, making BRI the most expensive and expansive International infrastructure project ever taken.The antecedents of the modern-day BRI could be tra
What made ‘Pakistan’s Independence Day’ the most controversial day for its people
Opinion

What made ‘Pakistan’s Independence Day’ the most controversial day for its people

Certain nationalist groups in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit Baltistan have announced that they will not celebrate Pakistan’s Independence Day on August 14. Instead, they will be observing a Black Day.Since righteous voices are usually met with brutal repression and it is too risky to have such observance in Pakistan, it has been decided that the discontent be demonstrated through a series of car rallies across Europe, America and Canada highlighting forced disappearance, extrajudicial killings and ongoing persecution and manhunt of nationalists and political as well as human right activists in Pakistan.The decision to mark August 14 as a Black Day comes as a shock to many as it is in stark contrast to the perceived mindset of people who had previously claimed to be bound toget
Pakistan’s ideological insecurity
Opinion

Pakistan’s ideological insecurity

Pakistan is suffering from ideological insecurities, and the developments over the past few weeks are proof enough. It all began when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan stated in the National Assembly that Osama bin Laden was a martyr. Later, a ruling party legislator accused Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) leader Khawaja Asif of blasphemy for asserting that all religions were equal.Then, the minority Hindu, Sikh and Ahmadi communities were targeted. In July, the construction of the first Hindu temple in Islamabad, possibly the first temple in Pakistan since 1947, had to be halted when several clerics and even politicians objected to its construction with Muslim taxes in an ‘Islamic Republic’.An elderly Ahmadi man, Tahir Ahmed Naseem, was shot during the hearing of a blasphemy case aga
Why India revoked Kashmir’s special status one-year ago
Opinion

Why India revoked Kashmir’s special status one-year ago

A year ago, on August 5, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution which protected Kashmir’s special status and in order to dissuade protests, Indian security forces imposed a curfew on Kashmir.Both Pakistan and many human rights groups reacted with outrage. Electronic billboards in Islamabad ticked off the days, hours, and minutes since India had imposed a curfew, never mind the hypocrisy of Pakistan as it did the same to Gilgit-Baltistan. Meanwhile, human rights groups’ consistent refusal to recognize that an end to terrorism is a precursor to rights improvement blunted their moral authority.Prior to India’s decision to change Kashmir’s status, Pakistan-based terrorists regularly crossed into Kashmir and India, more broadly, to attack both security a