Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-40

Taliban delegation led by acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi met with Western diplomats, Oslo, Norway, January 24, 2022 40. The West co-opts the Taliban  The three-day conclave in Oslo on January 23-25 for interaction for a core group of Western diplomats with Taliban officials marks a new phase in the political situation in Afghanistan. … Continue reading “Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-40”

Russia will intervene in Ukraine

A radar vehicle of the S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile system on the way to Belarus, Khabarovsk region, Russia, Jan 21, 2022 The US-Russia talks in Geneva in the last two successive weeks could not produce a breakthrough. Fundamentally, there is a contradiction that cannot be resolved easily.  Russia sees in existential terms the NATO’s advance … Continue reading “Russia will intervene in Ukraine”

Ukraine: Russian intervention highly likely

A radar vehicle of the S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile system on the way to Belarus, Khabarovsk region, Russia, Jan 21, 2022 The US-Russia talks in Geneva in the last two successive weeks could not produce a breakthrough. Fundamentally, there is a contradiction that cannot be resolved easily.  Russia sees in existential terms the NATO’s advance … Continue reading “Ukraine: Russian intervention highly likely”

Blinken delays US response to Russia

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warns of imminent Russian assault on Ukraine, scrambling to get allies to rally. (File photo)   A special press briefing in unseemly hurry by the US state department to warn an imminent Russian assault on Ukraine; a surprise call by state secretary Blinken to his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov to … Continue reading “Blinken delays US response to Russia”

Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-39

Taliban says Afghan girls will be back in schools by March 39. Souring of Taliban’s relations with Pakistan    External interference in Afghanistan has reappeared much sooner than one would have expected after the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan in August. In a familiar pattern, the rumour mill has become active.   The Russian Foreign Ministry … Continue reading “Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-39”

CSTO’s mission accomplished in Kazakhstan

Russian servicemen fold the national flag during ceremony marking end of CSTO mission in Kazakhstan, Almaty, January 13, 2022 The readout of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “working meeting” in the Kremlin on Wednesday with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu regarding the Collective Security Treat Organisation’s  mission to Kazakhstan needs careful analysis.  As is customary with Putin, … Continue reading “CSTO’s mission accomplished in Kazakhstan”

Turkey draws closer to the US and Europe

A US Navy destroyer crosses the Bosphorus to enter the Black Sea, as tensions simmer around Ukraine. (File photo)  At a meeting on Thursday in Ankara with the European Union ambassadors, Turkish President called for bold action in developing relations with Turkey in 2022. He said full membership of the EU still remains strategic priority and it is … Continue reading “Turkey draws closer to the US and Europe”

Putin draws the line for colour revolutions

This must be a rare page in American diplomatic history that a US Secretary of State has been literally off his rocker. Antony Blinken’s outbursts on the events in Kazakhstan were not only boorish but also illogical. Blinken questioned the decision by the president of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Kemelevich Tokayev to request help from the Collective … Continue reading “Putin draws the line for colour revolutions”

Kazakhstan turns into graveyard for US diplomacy

A Pentagon-funded bio-lab near Almaty, Kazakhstan, has become focus of attention for its research on “dangerous pathogens” The Kazakh Ministry of Health issued an innocuous disclaimer today denying social media reports about the seizure of a “military biological lab near Almaty by unidentified people.”  According to Tass news agency, the social media speculated that specialists … Continue reading “Kazakhstan turns into graveyard for US diplomacy”

CSTO in Kazakhstan annoys US

Gen. Andrey Serdyukov, commander of Russian Airborne Troops, will lead the CSTO peacekeeping forces in Kazakhstan The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s Press Availability at Washington on Friday was largely devoted to Ukraine and the forthcoming strategic stability talks with Russia. But in response to a carefully planted question at the fag-end of the … Continue reading “CSTO in Kazakhstan annoys US”

Neocolonialism haunts Horn of Africa

Ethiopian troops vanquish US-backed Tigray rebels (File photo) Chinese foreign ministers have traditionally marked the new year by visiting the African continent. Wang Yi’s 2022 African tour begins with Eritrea against the backdrop of the US strategy in the Horn of Africa to gain control of the strategically vital Red Sea that connects Indian Ocean … Continue reading “Neocolonialism haunts Horn of Africa”

Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-38

Fence along Durand Line separating Pakistan & Afghanistan  38. Blowback from Afghanistan  Reports of the recent period are indicative of tensions between the Taliban forces and the Pakistani military deployed on their border. On December 22, the Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarazmi disclosed that the Taliban forces had stopped the Pakistani military from erecting … Continue reading “Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-38”

US shows the exit ramp to Russia

US president Joe Biden speaks on the phone to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Delaware, Dec. 30, 2021 Getting off your high horse is never easy and it remains to be seen how deftly Moscow navigates its path in the downstream of President Vladimir Putin’s 50-minute phone conversation Thursday with his American counterpart Joe Biden.  … Continue reading “US shows the exit ramp to Russia”

Russia’s shadows in Sahel region

Tailors busy stitching Russian flags to meet rising demand in Bamako, the capital of Mali, December 26, 2021   On Friday, Mali’s transitional government has clarified that it is engaged with Russian military trainers even as French troops are drawing down. So, it is official that Russian security personnel are deployed to Mali.  Mali, a … Continue reading “Russia’s shadows in Sahel region”

Putin hints at military options in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a cabinet meeting via video conference outside Moscow, December 24, 2021  The Rossiya 1 state television in Moscow broadcast today President Vladimir Putin’s annual press conference on Friday. It conveys a much fuller picture of the grave crisis brewing in the Russian-American relations than what the excerpts sought to convey … Continue reading “Putin hints at military options in Ukraine”

Japan-US ‘island chain’ will roil China, Russia

Warship formations of China and Russia sailed through the Tsugaru Strait in northern Japan on October 18, 2021 (File photo)  A Kyodo News agency report on Friday cited Japanese government sources to the effect that Tokyo and Washington have drawn up a draft joint operation plan that would enable the setup of an attack base … Continue reading “Japan-US ‘island chain’ will roil China, Russia”

US plays Tibet card as India seeks modus vivendi with China

Undersecretary of State Uzra Zeya has been designated as US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, Washington, Dec. 20, 2021  The cracking sound of ice breaking on the frozen lake of India-China relations will trigger a new wave of US-backed media campaign to instigate the hawks. Armed with satellite imageries made available from the US and peppered … Continue reading “US plays Tibet card as India seeks modus vivendi with China”

Nord Stream 2 is a double-edged geopolitical tool

Germany has suspended Nord Stream 2 certification; and, Russian gas stops flowing into Germany from December 21, 2021 When Pavel Zavalny, the chairman of Russian parliamentary committee on energy, made the forecast last Friday that Nord Stream 2 pipeline could start shipping natural gas to Germany as early as next month, it was received with … Continue reading “Nord Stream 2 is a double-edged geopolitical tool”

Joe Biden presidency on the skids. World must take note.

US President Joe Biden boards Marine One as he returns to White House after spending weekend in Delaware, Dec. 20, 2021 American politics took a dramatic turn on Sunday with the announcement by the West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin that he “cannot vote” for the Build Back Better Act, President Joe Biden’s signature $2.2 … Continue reading “Joe Biden presidency on the skids. World must take note.”

Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-37

Acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi arrives at Islamabad Airport, Pakistan, December 18, 2021 37. When are the Indians returning?  A big international spectacle is slated to be staged in Islamabad tomorrow regarding Afghanistan with the attendance of foreign ministers from the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). The participants also include special invitees … Continue reading “Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-37”

Spectre of war is haunting Europe

A fateful week is ending today for international security with the Russian Foreign Ministry releasing the two documents on security guarantees that Moscow had proposed to Washington as the basis for discussions to ease the tensions over NATO’s eastward expansion and to cease the alliance’s deployments close to Russia’s borders, including in Ukraine. Out of … Continue reading “Spectre of war is haunting Europe”

A Sino-Russian military alliance is gratuitous (as of now)

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) met with Russian President Vladimir Putin via video link on December 15, 2001 The New York Times got the story correct when its Moscow bureau watched the outcome of the videoconference between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday and assessed that the US’ two main adversaries … Continue reading “A Sino-Russian military alliance is gratuitous (as of now)”

Russia-China alliance at the tipping point

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Chinese President Xi Jinping after their talks, Kremlin, Moscow, June 5, 2019. The initiative by Beijing to propose a virtual meeting between President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday radically transforms the geopolitics of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s relentless eastward expansion and the Western military … Continue reading “Russia-China alliance at the tipping point”

Week after Biden-Putin meeting, crunch time is coming

Mirage-2000 over Black Sea on Dec. 8, as NATO spy planes crowd Russia’s borders. Russian Defence Ministry daily Krasnaya Zvezda said on Dec 13 radars have tracked over 40 aircraft conducting reconnaissance near Russia’s borders over past week.  Russia is reiterating its ‘red lines’ seeking long-term legal guarantees against NATO’s further advancement to the east … Continue reading “Week after Biden-Putin meeting, crunch time is coming”

Biden White House spoofs the Kremlin

US President Joe Biden (R) and aides talking with Russian president Vladimir Putin, December 7, 2021 This must be a rare occasion when Russian President Vladimir Putin during his 18 years in the Kremlin came out second best in an encounter with an American president. And it had to be at the hands of President … Continue reading “Biden White House spoofs the Kremlin”

Macron’s revenge for AUKUS betrayal

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (R) greets French President Emmanuel Macron upon his arrival in Jeddah, Dec 4, 2021 What distinguishes great powers like France is their sense of history and their profound understanding of the temporality of historical experience — or, how their past, present, and future are thought to be connected in … Continue reading “Macron’s revenge for AUKUS betrayal”

Biden-Putin meeting is a cliffhanger

US President Biden dismisses Russia’s red lines on Ukraine What has unfolded in the past 24 hours in the US-Russia diplomatic tango can be seen as a foreplay of the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden, which is slated for Tuesday evening.  Russia has got what it has been keenly … Continue reading “Biden-Putin meeting is a cliffhanger”

India-Bangladesh ties at inflection point

Prime Minister Modi and Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina  In the life of a nation, perhaps, the first fifty years ought to be regarded as marking the rites of passage through adolescence. India can congratulate itself for helping navigate Bangladesh through a difficult childhood. Parentage of a precocious child isn’t easy and Bangladesh can be opinionated, … Continue reading “India-Bangladesh ties at inflection point”

As UAE embraces Iran, fizz goes pop for Abraham Accords

Iran’s Dy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani (C) with diplomatic adviser to UAE President Anwar Gargash (L) and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Khalifa Almara, Abu Dhabi, Nov. 16, 2021  The terrible secret about Faustian deals is that they need a Mephistopheles to nurture them. That said, Goethe’s Mephisto is very different from the … Continue reading “As UAE embraces Iran, fizz goes pop for Abraham Accords”

Russia, China poised to forge alliance

President Vladimir Putin remarked on Sino-Russian partnership at ‘Russia Calling! Investment Forum’, Moscow, Nov 30, 2021  The Chinese Communist Party newspaper Global Times has disclosed, citing high-level “source”, that Beijing had no intentions to invite US and Western politicians to the 2022 Winter Olympics on February 4-20. This followed the US President Joe Biden’s innuendo … Continue reading “Russia, China poised to forge alliance”

India, Pakistan, Taliban on the same page    

Afghans sit beside sacks of food grains distributed as aid The three-week long “anti-terror operation” undertaken by the Indian Army from October 11 in the Bhatta Durrian forest in Poonch following the killing of nine soldiers, including two junior commissioned officers and two policemen, was billed as “one of the longest” in the history of … Continue reading “India, Pakistan, Taliban on the same page    “

Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-36

Taliban Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi (L) met Qatari officials priori to talks with US/EU representatives, Doha, Nov. 27, 2021  36. One Hundred Days of Solitude  As the Taliban completes its first hundred days in power, the Western powers are groping for a face-saving formula to engage with the authorities in Kabul with some … Continue reading “Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-36”

A superbloom in Turkish-UAE ties

UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (L) met with Turkish President Recep Erdogan in Ankara on Nov. 24, 2021 A new vector of immense geopolitical possibilities surged in “post-coronavirus” West Asia with the visit of the UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Ankara and his meeting with President … Continue reading “A superbloom in Turkish-UAE ties”

Russo-Uzbek ties a factor of regional stability

Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev (L) met Russian President Vladimir Putin (R), Moscow, November 19, 2021 The visit of Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to Moscow on November 19 at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin resulted in a joint statement on information technology and a slew of documents on trade and economic cooperation but its strategic … Continue reading “Russo-Uzbek ties a factor of regional stability”

Sino-Russian collusion over Taiwan, Ukraine seems improbable but isn’t

US has whipped up war hysteria over satellite image of Russian military camp in Yelnya, over 500 kms from Ukraine border, to allege Moscow’s invasion plans and to justify NATO involvement   The “feel-good” from Tuesday’s  virtual meeting between President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping leaps out of the US-Russian summit in Geneva in June.  Biden’s … Continue reading “Sino-Russian collusion over Taiwan, Ukraine seems improbable but isn’t”

Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-35

Visiting high-level Iranian officials (L) and Taliban authorities chaired by Deputy Acting Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (C) discussed institutional underpinnings of Iran-Afghan cooperation, Kabul, November 15, 2021  35. Taliban government is steadily consolidating  The acknowledgement of “shared interests” with Russia regarding Afghanistan by the new US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West following … Continue reading “Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-35”

Ukraine, Belarus in the eye of the storm

President Vladimir Putin addressing the expanded meeting of the Russian Foreign Ministry Board, Moscow, November 18, 2021 Wouldn’t that be a delicious irony — the British defence secretary Ben Wallace rushing to Warsaw on Thursday to work up detailed plans to strengthen Poland’s border fence with Belarus? Britain had partnered the US in the invasion of … Continue reading “Ukraine, Belarus in the eye of the storm”

US, China commence ‘responsible competition’

The only breakthrough that can be ascribed to the virtual meeting between the US and Chinese presidents, Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, on Monday / Tuesday is that there has been an easing of visa restrictions on the accredited journalists of the two countries. But here too, a caveat must be added, namely, that “a … Continue reading “US, China commence ‘responsible competition’”

COP26: India ends up as fall guy

A coal mine in Dhanbad, India Greta Thurnberg, the famous Swedish climate change activist, summed up that the deal reached at COP26 at Glasgow on Saturday was “very, very vague” with several loopholes. She told the media in Glasgow that the pact only “succeeded in watering down the blah, blah, blah”. “There is still no … Continue reading “COP26: India ends up as fall guy”

Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-34

The new railway bridge across Amur River connecting Nizhneleninskoye (Russia) with Tongjiang (China) commissioned in August, is a technology demonstrator for so-called dual-track system. 34. Central Asia hooking up to CPEC  The information war is so intense nowadays that unsung melodies are often more alluring that the sung ones. The lines from English poet Shelley’s … Continue reading “Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-34”

Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-33

Pakistan extended a special invitation to Acting Interim Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Amir Khan Muttaqi to attend the “Troika Plus” meeting in Islamabad on November 11, 2021 33. US recognition of Taliban Government will be a game changer  The stunning disclosure late Tuesday in Brussels that the US is working on a “road map” for … Continue reading “Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-33”

Oil price stalks another superpower

OPEC+ ignored Biden’s demand for oil output boost, Nov. 4, 2021  In the geopolitical folklore, Afghanistan is supposed to have caused the end of the Soviet Union but in reality, the war wouldn’t have been a “bleeding wound” by 1989 had it not been for the precipitous fall in the Soviet income from oil exports.  … Continue reading “Oil price stalks another superpower”

Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-32

Bazaar in Jalalabad, Nangarhar Province in Afghanistan, scene of violent clashes between Taliban and the Islamic State  32. Taliban has a richer depth through the looking glass    India’s initiative to host a regional conference on Afghanistan in New Delhi on Wednesday has received a good response. With Tehran signalling acceptance of the Indian invite, … Continue reading “Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-32”

COP26: Wall Street rolls out climate finance

Low-carbon Energy and Environmental Protection Technology Special Exhibition Zone, 4th CIIE, Shanghai, Nov. 4, 2021 The US climate envoy John Kerry is getting down to the real business at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Glasgow after President Joe Biden has had his photo-ops, made his idiosyncratic public remarks and flew back … Continue reading “COP26: Wall Street rolls out climate finance”

Glasgow climate summit is an elite farce

Protestors at venue of Glasgow summit on climate change The Glasgow summit on climate change has been a media extravaganza. The ruling elites from all continents cooped up in their national capitals due to the raging pandemic, finally got a break to throw away their masks and take to their private jets to fly off … Continue reading “Glasgow climate summit is an elite farce”

Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-31

The 3rd Moscow Format meeting on Afghan settlement attended by Taliban and ten regional states, Moscow, Oct 20, 2021  31. India plays Russian card  The chances were slim that the Pakistani National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf would accept the invitation from his counterpart Ajit Doval to a regional meet of security tsars in New Delhi … Continue reading “Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-31”

Blinken’s ‘Indo-Abrahamic Accords’ unravels

Pro-democracy protestors in Sudan, Khartoum, Oct, 26, 2021  The US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is a man in a hurry. The president expects him to produce foreign-policy success stories.  Success stories are desperately needed as post-Afghanistan, the superpower has become laughing stock universally. The trans-Atlantic alliance is seriously disoriented and Russia is on the … Continue reading “Blinken’s ‘Indo-Abrahamic Accords’ unravels”

A tale of two Quads

A virtual meeting of the foreign ministers of India, Israel, UAE and the US took place on October 18, 2021 The United States’ chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan has dented the credibility of the trans-Atlantic relationship and dealt a body blow to the NATO. These developments add to the already existing frustration in Washington that the … Continue reading “A tale of two Quads”

Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-30

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met Acting Taliban Dy Prime Minister Mullah Baradar, Doha, Oct. 255, 2021 30. Taliban Government gains traction  All indications are that the regional states are preparing to accord recognition to the Taliban government. The meeting of regional states and Taliban officials in the so-called Moscow Format last … Continue reading “Reflections on Events in Afghanistan-30”