While I was in the U.S., the standoff between India and China in Doklam (in Bhutan) ended abruptly with both sides pulling back their troops and China also removing road construction equipment. On paper, it seemed that India had won the standoff but at least a few have cautioned against any chest-thumping. Correctly so.
This piece in ‘warontherocks.com’ drew three lessons from the crisis defusion. One is that “Chinese behavior in territorial disputes is more likely to be deterred by denial than by threats of punishment” Second, denial strategies may be effective, but they have their limitations. Denial is inherently risky….Moreover, denial strategies can only serve to halt adversary action, not to reverse what the adversary has already done….Third, the agreement to disengage suggests that Beijing’s position in crises can be flexible, and perhaps responsive to assertive counter-coercion….Finally, the Doklam agreement, even if it is temporary, tells us that when China confronts a significantly weaker target, such as Bhutan, it will only be deterred by the actions of a stronger third party — in this case, India. …
Prof. Taylor Fravel argues that India did not win the standoff with China. He has his points. He says,
The frame of winning and losing is misplaced. The genius of the Doklam disengagement is that diplomats defined it in narrow and specific terms, focusing only on the forces at the “face-off site.” Larger issues, such as the location of the tri-junction between China, India and Bhutan, along with China and Bhutan’s competing claims to Doklam, were left off the table. By not disclosing the terms under which the standoff ended, diplomats also allowed each other to save face.
Syed Ata Hasnain writing for Swarajya notes that the issue has been shelved and not solved, in effect. The issue lives to wait another day.
Srinath Raghavan also cautions against triumphalist interpretations in India.
In the context of the Doklam stand-off and its resolution, the BRICS declaration paragraph no. 48 is rather interesting:
48. We, in this regard, express concern on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISIL/DAISH, Al-Qaida and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, TTP and Hizb ut-Tahrir. [Link]
How and why did China agree to name Pakistan based terror organisations in the BRICS declaration? Any explanations welcome.
The Basel Institute on Governance has released its Anti-Money Laundering Index for 2017. Pakistan comes in at 46. India at 88. Singapore is doing better than Switzerland. The best is Finland. The report is here.
In the meantime, Pakistan’s Habib Bank has been ordered out of the United States:
New York’s state banking regulator has slapped a $225m fine on Habib Bank, the biggest bank in Pakistan, and ordered it out of the US after finding a catalogue of flaws in compliance that “opened the door” to the financing of terror.
The Department of Financial Services on Thursday said it was taking drastic action — the first time it has ordered a bank to shut down in the US — because Habib had failed to correct serious weaknesses first identified more than a decade ago. By 2015, the DFS found, the bank’s compliance function was in an even worse state, lacking the most basic of controls on money-laundering and customer screening. [Link]