by Our Diplomatic Affairs Editor Victoria Nuland, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States, has made a second visit to Sri Lanka within a few months. PriorMore
In a rare move, the Nepal government last week withheld permission for a visit to the country by CIA Director William J Burns, ostensibly on the grounds that the timing of the trip was “not so conducive”.
It is learnt Burns returned home from Sri Lanka, the first leg of his South Asia trip, after the Nepal government conveyed to the US Embassy in Kathmandu that given the political developments, including the impending Presidential election, permission for the visit was being withheld.
The decision was conveyed after Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda informally consulted some senior Cabinet colleagues including Deputy Prime Ministers and senior bureaucrats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
According to information provided to the Nepal government, Burns was to fly from Sri Lanka in a special C-17 Globemaster III along with several officials on February 15 for an 18-hour stay in Kathmandu.
Another two aircraft with some vehicles and “unspecified equipment” meant for the US Embassy were also being brought – this, it is learnt, was notified to the host government.
Visits by top officials of external intelligence agencies, mainly from neighbours India and China, formally or informally, are not very uncommon.
In October 2020, Samant Goel, chief of India’s R&AW, met K P Oli, the then Prime Minister. Details of the discussion were never made public. Oli’s opponents still use that meeting as a political stick to target him.
A senior minister, among those consulted by Prachanda on the proposed trip by the CIA chief, said a visit at such short notice would create a dangerous precedent, and the Prime Minister decided to go “along with our view”.
But some like Keshav Prasad Bhattarai, an expert on security matters and international affairs, think that blocking Burns may prove to be a “blunder”.
High-level visits from the US are now routine but have caused heartburns in China which fears that enhanced US activities in Nepal are part of a destabilisation strategy targeting Beijing.
China openly opposed Nepal Parliament’s ratification of the Millenium Challenge Corporation Compact, a $500-million grant from the US, in February last year. The US also wants Nepal to play a larger role in Indo-Pacific strategy.
Last week, Prime Minister Prachanda said Nepal ratified the MCC since it was a developmental project, and “we did not allow them to come with weapons”.
© The Indian Express (P) Ltd
by a Special Defence Correspondent
“Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.” ~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
Nationalism and patriotism have the potential to unite a nation and instil a sense of shared identity, but their abuse by those who do not understand the importance of national interests can jeopardize a country’s long-term well-being. Unfortunately, in Sri Lanka, these concepts have been widely misused for political purposes, making it rare to find genuine nationalists and patriots. Instead, the country is plagued by pseudo-nationalists and fake patriots who exploit public sentiment and national interests for their own personal gain, posing a threat to the country’s future prosperity.
Pseudo-nationalists and fake patriots are individuals who use nationalist rhetoric for their own political gain, without any real understanding of what it means to act in the best interests of the nation. These individuals are often more interested in promoting their own personal agendas than in advancing the greater good of their country.
One of the key dangers posed by these individuals is that they are often willing to play politics with everything, including national security and foreign policy. They may take positions that are popular with their base or that score political points, but that ultimately weaken the country’s position on the world stage. For example, they may oppose important trade agreements or alliances that are critical to the country’s economic or military strength, simply because they do not want to be seen as “weak” or as ceding control to other nations.
Irony is pseudo-nationalists and fake patriots often lack a nuanced understanding of the complexities of international relations. They may take simplistic, black-and-white views of issues, failing to appreciate the subtleties of diplomatic negotiations and compromise. This can lead them to take hardline positions that are ultimately harmful to the country’s long-term interests.
MP Wimal Weerawansa’s recent statement in Parliament claiming that Sri Lanka is at risk of becoming an American colony is a prime example of how pseudo-nationalists can harm a nation’s long-term interests. By making baseless accusations that US officials disarmed Sri Lanka’s intelligence agency, including its Director General, Weerawansa is playing on people’s fears and prejudices instead of offering constructive ideas for the country’s future. Weerawansa’s political opportunism resembles the behaviour described by Samuel Johnson’s famous saying, “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” Unfortunately, Weerawansa is not the only one to play this game. Unfortunately, Weerawansa is not the only one to play this game. Many politicians, NGO activists, and religious leaders have criticised intelligence agencies and security apparatus without any real understanding of their structures and vital roles in keeping the country safe. In Sri Lanka, people often blame intelligence agencies without recognizing their hard work and limited resources to protect the country from potential dangers.
Moreover, Weerawansa’s claims are not only baseless, but they also show a lack of understanding about how intelligence agencies operate. It is highly unlikely that any foreign country, let alone the US, would demand that another country disarm its intelligence agency. Such a demand would be seen as a violation of national sovereignty and would likely trigger a diplomatic crisis. Instead, visits between intelligence agencies are often conducted in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect, with both sides learning from each other and sharing best practices.
Furthermore, by making such claims without any evidence to back them up, Weerawansa is potentially damaging Sri Lanka’s relationships with other countries. Such unfounded accusations can be seen as inflammatory and can lead to a breakdown in trust between nations. This can have serious consequences for Sri Lanka’s foreign policy and its ability to engage in diplomatic negotiations. By playing politics with everything and making baseless claims, such individuals can undermine a country’s relationships with other nations and damage its reputation on the world stage. It is important for citizens to be vigilant against such individuals and to support leaders who are committed to acting in the best interests of the country, rather than advancing their own personal agendas.
Sri Lankan intelligence agencies have demonstrated the importance of cooperation in achieving strategic objectives and fighting common enemies.
Needless to say, cooperation between intelligence agencies is critical for the safety and security of nations around the world. Sharing intelligence and working together to achieve strategic objectives on national interests is a well-known fact. Intelligence cooperation enables nations to fight common enemies such as terrorists and drug traffickers, and it is essential in the fight against transnational organized crime and other threats to national security. Leading intelligence officials from not only the United States but also countries such as India, China, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Russia, among others, often visit Sri Lanka due to our country’s commitment to maintaining neutral foreign policies and strategic defence partnerships. We believe that politicians and others who do not fully understand the depth of these partnerships should refrain from making political statements that could potentially cross these boundaries.
As Chen Wen, Director-General of the Department of International Cooperation at the Ministry of State Security in China, says “intelligence cooperation is a vital tool for enhancing international security and countering transnational threats. China is committed to working with other countries to promote intelligence sharing and cooperation.” Similarly, General David Petraeus, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the United States, says “the ability to gather, analyze, and share intelligence is the key to national security. Intelligence cooperation among nations is, therefore, a vital component in maintaining global security and stability.“
Concurrently, Sri Lanka is one of the countries that recognize the importance of intelligence cooperation, and its intelligence agencies have been working closely with their counterparts in other countries to achieve strategic objectives. In the past few months, Sri Lankan intelligence agencies, with the support of their counterparts, have successfully accomplished many operations. These operations have contributed to the protection of national security and the safety of Sri Lankan citizens.
Data gathering and analysis are critical components of the intelligence process. Intelligence agencies collect and analyze data to transform them into actionable intelligence. This process is complex and time-consuming, requiring adequate resources and skilled personnel. Intelligence cooperation allows countries to share resources, skills, and knowledge, making the intelligence process more efficient and effective as it is critical for the safety and security of nations.
Sri Lankan intelligence agencies have demonstrated the importance of cooperation in achieving strategic objectives and fighting common enemies. Data gathering and analysis are critical components of the intelligence process, and intelligence cooperation allows countries to share resources, skills, and knowledge, making the intelligence process more efficient and effective. It is essential for nations to strike a balance between cooperation and protecting national interests. Intelligence cooperation is not only critical in fighting common enemies but also in advancing economic, political, and social interests.
Our intelligence agencies work tirelessly to protect our nation with limited resources, and without strong partnerships with each country, our security is at risk. Therefore, it is crucial that politicians and other members of society approach these issues constructively and prioritize national interests. Unfairly targeting and using them as scapegoats by pseudo-nationalists for political gain will have only unwanted tussles between our strategic partners. It is the responsibility of politicians and society as a whole to understand the complexity of intelligence work and the challenges they face, rather than using them as a convenient target for blame. A constructive approach to intelligence cooperation and strengthening national security is crucial for ensuring a safe and prosperous future for any nation.
The views expressed are the author’s own
As 2023 unfolds, we fear that American policy will continue to be characterized by both mission creep and the absence of any sort of diplomatic engagement with Russia.
Throughout the course of the war, the Biden administration has slowly, steadily, even stealthily increased America’s involvement. Calls from Kiev for more and more weapons have, at every turn, been met with President Biden’s acquiescence. Meantime, Congress has continued in its decades-long abdication of its constitutional responsibilities, opting instead to act as a rubber stamp on ever-increasing amounts of financial and military assistance to Ukraine. All the while, Kiev’s appetite has grown larger with the eating.
First went the Javelin anti-tank missiles, sent to Ukraine by President Donald Trump. Then came the Russian invasion and demands for M777 Howitzers; and Bradley fighting vehicles; and Patriot missiles; and HIMARS; and NSAMS; and M1 Abrams tanks; and long-range GLSDBs.
Kiev is now demanding the delivery of F-16s fighter jets.
Will we soon see the demand for American ground troops? If so, will we witness any political will in Washington to refuse such a request?
Whatever the case, it is worth keeping in mind that the true beneficiaries of Washington’s spending bonanza have been executives in the C-suites of Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, as well as those companies that are part of the network of what we might term “soft-power for-profits.”
Withal, there remains an alternative path the Biden administration might take as the year unfolds.
Writing in 1947, at the beginning of the first Cold War, the journalist and grand strategist Walter Lippmann observed that, “The history of diplomacy is the history of relations among rival powers, which did not enjoy political intimacy, and did not respond to appeals to common purposes. Nevertheless, there have been settlements.”
American diplomacy has too often been an exercise in strong-arming our friends (should they dare question Washington’s prerogatives) or toppling (either covertly or overtly) our perceived enemies, under Mr. Biden and his immediate predecessors, the practice of American diplomacy has been discounted and marginalized; even, thanks to the effects of the largely contrived Russiagate scandal, criminalized.
And while it is true that the ultimate responsibility for the war in Ukraine falls on the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, it is painful to recall that Mr. Biden and his predecessors were presented with numerous opportunities to avoid the current catastrophe.
Yet when presented with such opportunities, to back the Minsk peace process for instance, Washington has unfailingly demurred. When presented with a mainly reasonable draft treaty by the Russians in December of 2021, the Biden administration refused to even consider it. When presented with peace plans after the war began, Washington and its allies channeled the spirit of Melville’s Bartleby and declared that they would “prefer not to.”
At this juncture, with Russia at the start of a new offensive, we believe diplomatic engagement is the only moral and realistic policy available to President Biden and his advisors.
We hope they pursue it.
Source: Independent Media Institute
Credit Line: This article is distributed by Globetrotter in partnership with ACURA.
China on Tuesday released “The Global Security Initiative Concept Paper.” Please see the the full text of the Paper.
The issue of security bears on the well-being of people of all countries, the lofty cause of world peace and development, and the future of humanity.
Today, our world, our times and history are changing in ways like never before, and the international community is confronted with multiple risks and challenges rarely seen before. Regional security hotspots keep flaring up, local conflicts and turbulence occur frequently, the COVID-19 pandemic persists, unilateralism and protectionism have risen significantly, and traditional and non-traditional security threats are entwined. The deficits in peace, development, security and governance are growing, and the world is once again at a crossroads in history.
This is an era rife with challenges. It is also one brimming with hope. We are convinced that the historical trends of peace, development and win-win cooperation are unstoppable. Upholding world peace and security and promoting global development and prosperity should be the common pursuit of all countries. Chinese President Xi Jinping has proposed the Global Security Initiative (GSI), calling on countries to adapt to the profoundly changing international landscape in the spirit of solidarity, and address the complex and intertwined security challenges with a win-win mindset. The GSI aims to eliminate the root causes of international conflicts, improve global security governance, encourage joint international efforts to bring more stability and certainty to a volatile and changing era, and promote durable peace and development in the world.
Core concepts and principles
1. Stay committed to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. In 2014, President Xi Jinping initiated a new vision for common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, which has been widely recognized and supported by the international community. The essence of this new vision of security is to advocate a concept of common security, respecting and safeguarding the security of every country; a holistic approach, maintaining security in both traditional and non-traditional domains and enhancing security governance in a coordinated way; a commitment to cooperation, bringing about security through political dialogue and peaceful negotiation; and pursuit of sustainable security, resolving conflicts through development and eliminating the breeding ground for insecurity. We believe security will only be firmly established and sustainable when it is underpinned by morality, justice and the right ideas.
2. Stay committed to respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries. Sovereign equality and non-interference in internal affairs are basic principles of international law and the most fundamental norms governing contemporary international relations. We believe all countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community. Their internal affairs brook no external interference, their sovereignty and dignity must be respected, and their right to independently choose social systems and development paths must be upheld. Sovereign independence and equality must be upheld, and efforts should be made for all countries to enjoy equality in terms of rights, rules and opportunities.
3. Stay committed to abiding by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. The purposes and principles of the UN Charter embody the deep reflection by people around the world on the bitter lessons of the two world wars. They are humanity’s institutional design for collective security and lasting peace. The various confrontations and injustices in the world today did not occur because the purposes and principles of the UN Charter are outdated, but because they are not effectively maintained and implemented. We call on all countries to practice true multilateralism; firmly uphold the international system with the UN at its core, the international order underpinned by international law and the basic norms of international relations underpinned by the UN Charter; and uphold the authority of the UN and its status as the main platform for global security governance. The Cold War mentality, unilateralism, bloc confrontation and hegemonism contradict the spirit of the UN Charter and must be resisted and rejected.
4. Stay committed to taking the legitimate security concerns of all countries seriously. Humanity is an indivisible security community. Security of one country should not come at the expense of that of others. We believe all countries are equal in terms of security interests. The legitimate and reasonable security concerns of all countries should be taken seriously and addressed properly, not persistently ignored or systemically challenged. Any country, while pursuing its own security, should take into account the reasonable security concerns of others. We uphold the principle of indivisible security, advocating the indivisibility between individual security and common security, between traditional security and non-traditional security, between security rights and security obligations, and between security and development. There should be a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture, so as to realize universal security and common security.
5. Stay committed to peacefully resolving differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation. War and sanctions are no fundamental solution to disputes; only dialogue and consultation are effective in resolving differences. We call on countries to strengthen strategic communication, enhance mutual security confidence, diffuse tensions, manage differences and eliminate the root causes of crises. Major countries must uphold justice, fulfill their due responsibilities, support consultation on an equal footing, and facilitate talks for peace, play good offices and mediate in light of the needs and will of the countries concerned. The international community should support all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises, and encourage conflicting parties to build trust, settle disputes and promote security through dialogue. Abusing unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction does not solve a problem, but only creates more difficulties and complications.
6. Stay committed to maintaining security in both traditional and non-traditional domains. In today’s world, both the intension and extension of security are broadening. Security is more interconnected, transnational and diverse. Traditional and non-traditional security threats have become intertwined. We encourage all countries to practice the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits in global governance, and work together to address regional disputes and global challenges such as terrorism, climate change, cybersecurity and biosecurity. There should be concerted efforts to explore multiple channels, develop a holistic solution, and improve relevant rules, so as to find sustainable solutions, promote global security governance and prevent and resolve security challenges.
These six commitments are interlinked and mutually reinforcing, and are an organic whole of dialectical unity. Among them, the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security provides conceptual guidance; respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries is the basic premise; abiding by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter is a primary benchmark; taking the legitimate security concerns of all countries seriously is an important principle, peacefully resolving differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation is a must choice; and maintaining security in both traditional and non-traditional domains is an inherent requirement.
III. Priorities of cooperation
It is our common aspiration to achieve lasting world peace, so that all countries can enjoy a peaceful and stable external environment and their people can live a happy life with their rights fully guaranteed. Like passengers aboard the same ship, countries need to work in solidarity to foster a community of shared security for mankind and build a world that is free from fear and enjoys universal security.
To realize these visions, China is ready to conduct bilateral and multilateral security cooperation with all countries and international and regional organizations under the framework of the Global Security Initiative, and actively promote coordination of security concepts and convergence of interests. China calls on all parties to carry out single or multiple cooperation in aspects including but not limited to the following ones, so as to pursue mutual learning and complementarity and to jointly promote world peace and tranquility:
- Actively participate in formulating a New Agenda for Peace and other proposals put forth in Our Common Agenda by the UN Secretary-General. Support UN efforts to enhance conflict prevention and fully harness the peace-building architecture to assist post-conflict states in peace-building. Further leverage the Secretary-General’s Peace and Security Sub-Fund of the China-UN Peace and Development Trust Fund and support a bigger UN role in global security affairs.
Support the UN in enhancing capacity for implementing its peacekeeping mandate, uphold the three principles of “consent of the parties, impartiality, and non-use of force except in self-defense and defense of the mandate” for peacekeeping operations, prioritize political solutions, and take a holistic approach to address both symptoms and root causes. Provide peacekeeping operations with adequate resources. Support the provision of sufficient, predictable and sustainable financial assistance to the African Union (AU) for it to carry out autonomous peacekeeping operations.
- Promote coordination and sound interaction among major countries and build a major country relationship featuring peaceful coexistence, overall stability and balanced development. Major countries shoulder particularly important responsibilities of maintaining international peace and security. Call on major countries to lead by example in honoring equality, good faith, cooperation and the rule of law, and in complying with the UN Charter and international law. Adhere to mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, stick to the bottom line of no conflict and no confrontation, seek common ground while reserving differences, and manage differences.
- Firmly uphold the consensus that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”. Comply with the joint statement on preventing nuclear war and avoiding arms races issued by leaders of the five nuclear-weapon states in January 2022. Strengthen dialogue and cooperation among nuclear-weapon states to reduce the risk of nuclear war. Safeguard the international nuclear non-proliferation regime based on the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and actively support the efforts of countries in relevant regions to establish nuclear-weapon-free zones. Promote international cooperation on nuclear security, so as to build a fair, collaborative and mutually beneficial international nuclear security system.
- Fully implement the resolution of Promoting International Cooperation on Peaceful Uses in the Context of International Security adopted by the 76th session of the UN General Assembly.
Carry out cooperation under such frameworks as the UN Security Council’s 1540 Committee, the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), promote complete prohibition and thorough destruction of weapons of mass destruction, and build up the capacity of all countries in areas including non-proliferation export control, biosecurity and protection against chemical weapons.
Support the process of global conventional arms control. Support cooperation among China, Africa and Europe on small arms and light weapons control under the premise of respecting the will of Africa. Support the implementation of the initiative of Silencing the Guns in Africa. Actively carry out international cooperation and assistance on humanitarian demining and provide help to affected countries as much as one’s ability permits.
- Promote political settlement of international and regional hotspot issues. Encourage the countries concerned to overcome differences and resolve hotspots through candid dialogue and communication. Support the international community in constructively participating in the political settlement of hotspots, under the premise of non-interference in internal affairs, mainly through the means of facilitating peace talks, with fairness and practicality as the main attitude, and mainly following the approach of addressing both symptoms and root causes. Support political settlement of hotspot issues such as the Ukraine crisis through dialogue and negotiation.
- Support and improve the ASEAN-centered regional security cooperation mechanism and architecture, and adhere to the ASEAN way of consensus-building and accommodating each other’s comfort level to further strengthen security dialogue and cooperation among regional countries. Support efforts to promote cooperation in non-traditional security areas under the framework of Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC), implement relevant cooperation projects under the LMC Special Fund, and strive to foster a pilot zone for GSI to jointly safeguard regional peace and stability.
- Implement the five-point proposal on realizing peace and stability in the Middle East, including advocating mutual respect, upholding equity and justice, realizing non-proliferation, jointly fostering collective security, and accelerating development cooperation, so as to jointly establish a new security framework in the Middle East. Support the positive momentum and the efforts of Middle East countries to strengthen dialogue and improve their relations, accommodate the reasonable security concerns of all parties, strengthen the internal forces of safeguarding regional security, and support the League of Arab States (LAS) and other regional organizations in playing a constructive role in this regard. The international community should take practical steps to advance the two-state solution to the Palestinian question, and convene a larger, more authoritative and more influential international peace conference, so as to achieve a just solution to the Palestinian question at an early date.
- Support the efforts of African countries, the AU and sub-regional organizations to resolve regional conflicts, fight terrorism and safeguard maritime security, call on the international community to provide financial and technical support to Africa-led counter-terrorism operations, and support African countries in strengthening their ability to safeguard peace independently. Support addressing African problems in the African way, and promote peaceful settlement of hotspots in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, the Great Lakes region and other areas. Actively implement the Outlook on Peace and Development in the Horn of Africa, promote the institutionalization of the China-Horn of Africa Peace, Governance and Development Conference, and work actively to launch pilot projects of cooperation.
- Support Latin American and Caribbean countries in actively fulfilling commitments stated in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, and support the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and other regional and sub-regional organizations in playing an active role in upholding regional peace and security and properly handling regional hotspots.
- Pay high attention to the special situation and legitimate concerns of Pacific island countries in regard to climate change, natural disasters and public health, support the efforts of Pacific island countries to address global challenges, and support island countries in implementing the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent. Increase the provision of materials, funds and talents to help island countries improve their ability to deal with non-traditional security threats.
- Strengthen maritime dialogue and exchange and practical cooperation, properly handle maritime differences, and work together to tackle transnational crimes at sea including piracy and armed robbery, so as to jointly safeguard maritime peace and tranquility and sea lane security. Call on upstream and downstream countries along trans-boundary rivers to actively engage in international cooperation, resolve relevant disputes through dialogue and consultation, ensure the safety of shipping on trans-boundary rivers, rationally utilize and protect water resources, and protect the ecological environment of trans-boundary rivers.
- Strengthen the UN’s role as the central coordinator in the global fight against terrorism, support the international community in fully implementing the UN General Assembly and Security Council counter-terrorism resolutions and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and jointly crack down on all terrorist organizations and individuals designated by the Security Council. Channel more global counter-terrorism resources to developing countries to enhance their counter-terrorism capacity building. Oppose linking terrorism with any particular country, ethnic group or religion. Enhance studies on and responses to the impact of emerging technologies on global counter-terrorism efforts.
- Deepen international cooperation in the field of information security. China has put forward the Global Initiative on Data Security and calls for joint efforts to formulate global rules on digital governance that reflect the will and respect the interests of all parties. Follow through on the China-LAS Cooperation Initiative on Data Security and the Data Security Cooperation Initiative of China+Central Asia, jointly address various cyber threats, and work to establish a global governance system on cyberspace featuring openness and inclusion, justice and fairness, security and stability, vigor and vitality.
- Strengthen biosecurity risk management. Jointly advocate responsible bioscience research and encourage all stakeholders to refer to the Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for Codes of Conduct for Scientists on a voluntary basis. Jointly strengthen the building of biosecurity capability of laboratories, reduce biosecurity risks and promote the healthy development of biotechnology.
- Strengthen international security governance on artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies, and prevent and manage potential security risks. China has issued position papers on regulating military applications and strengthening ethical governance of AI, and stands ready to strengthen communication and exchange with the international community on AI security governance, promote the establishment of an international mechanism with broad participation, and develop governance frameworks, standards and norms based on extensive consensus.
- Strengthen international cooperation on outer space and safeguard the international order in outer space underpinned by international law. Carry out activities in outer space in accordance with international law, safeguard the safety of in-orbit astronauts and the long-term and sustainable operation of space facilities. Respect and ensure the equal right of all countries to use outer space peacefully. Resolutely reject the weaponization of and arms race in outer space, and support the negotiation and conclusion of an international legal instrument on arms control in outer space.
- Support the World Health Organization in playing a leading role in global governance in public health, and effectively coordinate and mobilize global resources to jointly respond to COVID-19 and other major global infectious diseases.
- Safeguard global food and energy security. Strengthen action coordination to maintain the smooth operation of international agricultural trade, ensure stable grain production and smooth supply chains, and avoid politicizing and weaponizing food security issues. Strengthen international energy policy coordination, create a safe and stable environment for ensuring energy transportation, and jointly maintain the stability of the global energy market and energy prices.
- Fully and effectively implement the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Encourage all countries to conclude or join international treaties, conventions or agreements or make institutional arrangements to fight transnational crimes. Support the three international drug control conventions of the UN, safeguard the international drug control system, and advocate coordination, shared responsibility and sincere cooperation in the international community to jointly address challenges posed by the drug problem and build a community with a shared future for mankind that is free from the harm of drugs. Actively conduct law enforcement cooperation on the basis of respecting each country’s sovereignty, so as to jointly improve law enforcement capacity and security governance. Support the establishment of a global training system to train for developing countries more law enforcement officers who are responsive to their countries’ security needs.
- Support the cooperation among countries in addressing climate change and maintaining stable and smooth supply and industrial chains, and speed up the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in order to promote sustainable security through sustainable development.
IV. Platforms and mechanisms of cooperation
1. Engage in wide-ranging discussions and communication on peace and security at the General Assembly, relevant UN Committees, the Security Council, relevant institutions, and other international and regional organizations based on their respective mandates, and put forward common initiatives and propositions to forge consensus in the international community to address security challenges.
- Leverage the roles of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, BRICS cooperation, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, the “China+Central Asia” mechanism, and relevant mechanisms of East Asia cooperation, and carry out security cooperation incrementally to achieve similar or same goals. Promote the establishment of a multilateral dialogue platform in the Gulf region and give play to the role of coordinating and cooperative mechanisms such as the Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan and the China-Horn of Africa Peace, Governance and Development Conference to promote regional and global peace and stability.
- Hold high-level conferences on the GSI in due course to strengthen policy communication in the field of security, promote intergovernmental dialogue and cooperation, and further foster synergy in the international community to address security challenges.
- Support the China-Africa Peace and Security Forum, the Middle East Security Forum, the Beijing Xiangshan Forum, the Global Public Security Cooperation Forum (Lianyungang) and other international dialogue platforms in contributing to deepening exchange and cooperation on security. Promote the establishment of more global security forums to provide new platforms for governments, international organizations, think tanks and social organizations to leverage their advantages and participate in global security governance.
- Build more international platforms and mechanisms for exchange and cooperation on addressing security challenges in such areas as counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, biosecurity and emerging technologies, with a view to improving the governance capacity in the domain of non-traditional security. Encourage more exchanges and cooperation among university-level military and police academies. China is willing to provide other developing countries with 5,000 training opportunities in the next five years to train professionals for addressing global security issues.
The GSI, following the principle of openness and inclusiveness, welcomes and looks forward to the participation of all parties to jointly enrich its substance and actively explore new forms and areas of cooperation. China stands ready to work with all countries and peoples who love peace and aspire to happiness to address all kinds of traditional and non-traditional security challenges, protect the peace and tranquility of the earth, and jointly create a better future for mankind, so that the torch of peace will be passed on from generation to generation and shine across the world.
The landing of United States Air Force fifth-generation multirole fighters the F-35A Lightning II and F-35A creaeed a buzz at the Aero India 2023.
The presence of the front line Joint Strike Fighters from two bases across the United States Hill Air Force Base in Utah and Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska was symbolic and indicated the growing commitment by the American Department of Defence to push defence relations with India.
US Consulate in Chennai quoted Major General Julian C. Cheater, Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force, International Affairs to state, “The F-35 represents the leading-edge of U.S. fighter technology. Aero India is an ideal forum to showcase the most advanced, capable, lethal, and interoperable weapons systems the U.S. has to offer. This system and others are designed to penetrate and defeat advanced adversary air defenses.”
Blind Eye India Russia Relations?
The United States has chosen to turn a blind eye to India’s continued indulgence with Russia with $ 35 Billion oil trade with Moscow in 2022 and flow of defence hardware from that country.
Thus from the resistance that was evident in the beginning of the War in Ukraine in February last year when it is believed that India had to postone the Def Expo in Ahmedabad in March to October there is a degree of acceptance that India Russia relations cannot become a hindrance to expanding defence cooperation between New Delhi and Washington.
That the Russians were possibly planning to land the Su 35 at Aero India 2023 but did not finally turn up and the miniscule presence of the large Russian military industrial complex at the Expo may have paved the way for the US F 35 landing in Bengaluru.
In the first week of February some media reports in India quoting the Tass indicated that “Rosoboronexport will feature about 200 types of the most advanced Russian-made armaments and military hardware, including the Su-57E top-notch fifth-generation multirole fighter and the Checkmate light tactical aircraft.”
However this did not happen. A F 35 and a Su 35 at the same air base would have been unthinkable given the present state of US Russia relations with an ongoing contestation in Ukraine.
Expanding USAF Portfolio at Aero India
US expanded portfolio of fighter bombers at the Aero India was evident with landing of two B-1B Lancers from their temporary duty location at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
The US Consulate in Chennai highlights the characteristic of the Lancer thus. “The B-1B Lancer, a supersonic heavy bomber, is a truly remarkable aircraft, capable of carrying out missions worldwide from its bases in the United States, as well as from forward deployed locations. It carries the largest conventional payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the U.S. Air Force and is considered the backbone of America’s long-range bomber force”.
Two United States Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon conducted daily aerial demonstrations from February 13-17 and the F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornet were on static display.
Rear Admiral Michael Baker, Senior Defense Official and Defense Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, said, “We are happy to have the B1 in India for the second time. These bombers made the journey from South Dakota to Guam and then to India just to add another exciting dimension to Aero India ‘23”.
“It’s a long mission to travel from the continental U.S. to the Indian Ocean; but it was worth it to be part of the biggest air show in the region hosted by our Major Defense Partner, India. The U.S. and India continue to deepen Defense cooperation. We have two great militaries that are even better when we work together,” Baker added.
Indeed the presence of the front line fighters of the US Airforce in Bengaluru for Aero India 2023 was strategically symbolic.
While neither the F 35 nor the B1 B Lancer are in the run up for acquisitions by the Indian Air Force – the F 21 -souped up version of the F 16 and the F 18 carrier version are. So is the General Dynamics Predator HALE drone.
Also symbolic is the 470 civilian aircraft deal by Air India which includes Boeing, “200 American-made aircraft through a historic agreement between Air India and Boeing,” announced US President Joe Biden on February 14.
What Next for US Support to IAF?
Apart from the strategic signaling what are the tangibles that can be achieved through this symbolic presence of top line fighters and bomber of the US Air Force at Aero India 2023 in Bengaluru remains to be seen.
The Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy are expected to make professional choices in selecting the combat fighters for the requirement of 114 Multi Role Figher Aircraf [MRFA] and 26 combat fighters for INS Vikrant where Lockheed Martin are fielding the F 21 and F 18 A carrier version.
What India should seek from the United States is substantial support for aircraft manufacturing lines for the Hindustan Aeronautis Ltd Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) MK 1A and development of the LCA Mk 2 and Fifth generation fighter Advance Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).
With the government apparently given the Atma Nirbhar Bharat in Defence a short shrift [or so it seems] at the Aero India 2023, it remains to be seen what lies ahead for the IAF combat fighter acquisitions.
Living up to the epithet of “surveillance empire,” the United State has, for decades, conducted indiscriminate mass surveillance of foreign governments, companies and individuals as well as its own citizens.
[Xinhua]An utterly harmless, unmanned civilian airship has been in the cross-hairs in the latest anti-China stunt pulled by some U.S. politicians and media.
However, the ploy of accusing China of flying surveillance balloon has only made their smear attack look quite clumsy and ludicrous as it’s no secret the United States itself is the world’s biggest spy power with the world’s widest intelligence network.
Living up to the epithet of “surveillance empire,” the United State has, for decades, conducted indiscriminate mass surveillance of foreign governments, companies and individuals as well as its own citizens.
SPYING ON THE WORLD
When it comes to surveillance, it’s necessary to point out the United States is the world’s No. 1 surveillance state, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin has said in a recent press briefing.
According to Politico, the Pentagon has spent billions of dollars developing high-altitude reconnaissance balloons since 1997 and quietly transitioned the balloon projects to the military services in 2022. The balloons may be used to track hypersonic strategic cruise missiles being developed by China and Russia.
Permeating through every part of the world, the U.S. surveillance network also targets the country’s allies.
In May 2021, Denmark’s national broadcaster DR News reported that the Danish Defense Intelligence Service had given the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) open Internet access to spy on senior politicians of countries, including then German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The NSA purposefully obtained data and thus was able to spy on targeted heads of state, as well as Scandinavian leaders, top politicians, and high-ranking officials in Germany, Sweden, Norway and France, the report said, which caused global shock and fury.
French President Emmanuel Macron said in May 2021 that this “is unacceptable between allies, even less between allies and European partners,” and Merkel said she “could only agree” with Macron’s comments.
But that was not unfamiliar to European leaders. In 2013, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that Washington had been spying on the email and cell phone communications of as many as 35 world leaders.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald exposed in his book No Place to Hide that a single unit of the NSA had collected more than 97 billion emails and 124 billion phone calls from around the world in just 30 days in 2013.
The powerful mass surveillance system has helped the United States make profits.
For example, in 2013, reports of the U.S. magazine WIRED surfaced that Brazil’s state oil and gas giant Petrobras was a prime target of U.S. government spying activity.
“Washington is losing its moral ground,” the German magazine Focus quoted an expert on foreign policy as saying.
With its global surveillance network, “the United States itself is the true eavesdropper,” Focus said, though the country prefers to frame itself as a victim of spying.
SPYING ON DOMESTIC SOIL
According to a recent report by Georgetown University Law Center’s Center on Privacy and Technology, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has expanded far beyond its role as an immigration agency to become a “domestic surveillance agency.”
The ICE has developed a dragnet surveillance system that allows it to collect detailed dossiers on nearly every person in America at any time, without any judicial, legislative, or public oversight, said the report titled “American Dragnet: Data-driven Deportation in the 21st Century.”
From 2008 to 2021, the ICE has spent approximately 2.8 billion U.S. dollars on surveillance, data collection and data-sharing initiatives, the report said, noting the agency has been able to access utility record information of over 218 million customers across all 50 states.
The ICE is not the only agency in the United States that has overreached its authority and abused citizens’ private personal data.
In fact, mass surveillance in the United States has become institutionalized. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United States enacted numerous laws to expand the government’s surveillance powers for national security reasons.
The U.S. Congress greenlighted the Patriot Act in 2001, which covers Section 215, one of the most controversial programs for domestic and international surveillance.
In 2008, Congress approved Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows the government to collect communications concerning foreign intelligence targets without a warrant.
Following the disclosure by Snowden and Wikileaks of the U.S. government’s abuse of power to collect millions of Americans’ private data, the ensuing public outcry prompted Congress to prohibit the notorious bugging project PRISM.
However, the government actually never stops abusing its power to carry out indiscriminate surveillance on its citizens.
In 2021 alone, the FBI has conducted up to 3.4 million warrantless searches of Americans’ phone calls, emails and text messages, the Hill reported, citing the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Former Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, who engineered a high profile project that culminated with Sri Lanka betraying her armed forces, at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), in early Oct, 2015, received a warm welcome here, recently.
The one-time South Korean Foreign Minister, served as the UNSG for two terms, from 2007-2016. Ban Ki-moon, who was here on the invitation of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, received an invitation, from Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, to visit the Parliament. The former UN chief was in Sri Lanka in his current capacity as Chairman of the Seoul headquartered Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). Ban Ki-moon also met Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, PC.
Ban Ki-moon first visited Sri Lanka, a few days after the combined security forces delivered a crushing defeat to the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), considered by many a pundit, till then, to be invincible, and brought about a successful conclusion to the long dragging war, on the morning of May 19, 2009, on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon.
Sri Lanka never bothered to, at least, to examine the despicable UN project that forced Sri Lanka to co-sponsor the accountability resolution. As a result of Ban Ki-moon’s actions, various interested parties stepped-up attacks on Sri Lanka. The Canadian declaration of former Presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa – the latter for his wartime role as the Secretary Ministry of Defence – as war criminals, stunned Sri Lanka. Ban Ki-moon, who facilitated that despicable project, was here as a guest of the Sri Lankan government.
In his capacity as the UNSG, he visited Colombo, for a second time, from August 31 to Sept. 2, 2016, after the conclusion of the war.
UN-LTTE secret talks
During Ban Ki-moon’s tenure as the UN Chief, he encouraged his mission in Colombo to mollycoddle the LTTE.
Let me examine the UN having secret talks with the LTTE in a bid to secure the release of two local Tamil workers, detained by the most ruthless terrorist movement. Sri Lanka never really inquired into the matter. The Rajapaksa government was not bothered at all. The Island exposed the secret UN pow-wow with the LTTE, in early 2007, as the Army was battling the LTTE on the Vanni west. At that time, the LTTE remained in control of the Vanni east.
A UN Panel of Experts (PoE) report on Accountability in Sri Lanka called for a comprehensive review of actions by the UN, during the war in Sri Lanka. The probe was meant to examine the implementation of the UN’s humanitarian and protection mandates.
It was the final recommendation made by the three-member PoE (Panel of Experts), comprising former Attorney General of Indonesia Marzuki Darusman (Chairman), US lawyer Steven R. Ratner, and NGO activist Yasmin Sooka. The PoE released an essentially one-sided report, on March 31, 2011, with no chance for Sri Lanka to challenge the allegations, levelled against the country, at least for three decades, because of a strange time bar placed by it, which only a highly manipulative body, like the UN could hatch, with its hierarchy and institutions well and truly infiltrated by the West.
The UN behaviour here has been such that during the height of the war, a Norwegian, who was the then UN Resident Representative in Sri Lanka, tried to humiliate the country by unilaterally turning its compound, in Colombo, into a refugee camp for Tamils. But the quick thinking then Foreign Minister, the late Lakshman Kadirgamar, told the Norwegian where to get off. The UN plan was to show the world Tamils are not safe in Colombo.
For want of a cohesive strategy, Sri Lanka never exploited the PoE’s recommendation to push for a thorough inquiry into the conduct of the UN personnel here. Had there been a proper strategy, Sri Lanka could have exposed the sordid relationship between the UN mission, in Colombo, and the LTTE. Even 13 years after the conclusion of the conflict, Sri Lanka is yet to examine how the UN, and its agencies, as well as the NGO community, prolonged the war. Did the UN system, in Sri Lanka, facilitate Western strategy? Did they work closely together to save the LTTE?
The UN turned a blind eye to what was happening on the ground. The LTTE made a strong bid to prevent civilians from crossing the front lines, into government controlled areas, on the Western front, in early 2007.
The LTTE obviously needed a human shield, made up of civilians, primarily to discourage the military from using heavy weapons against it. Secondly, the LTTE leadership also needed the civil population to ensure a steady supply of fresh recruits. Remember, the forced recruitment of children, by the LTTE, continued until the very end. The PoE, too, confirmed this fact. Instead of taking tangible action to thwart the LTTE move, the UN propagated lies that the Sri Lankan military was recruiting child soldiers on behalf of the breakaway LTTE faction, led by one-time Tiger Batticaloa commander, Karuna, who had switched allegiance to the government.
Tamils started fleeing LTTE-held areas as the famed 57 Division gradually stepped up pressure on the Vanni west front. Although the UN knew of the LTTE bid to stop the exodus of people, the world body remained quiet for obvious reasons.
The UN mission, in Colombo, stayed silent, even after the LTTE detained two of its Tamil employees for helping civilians to flee the war zone. The LTTE refused to release them, in spite of the UN repeatedly appealing to the top LTTE leadership. The so-called human rights champions remained tight lipped. These ever-green peace merchants are still active, with no shame, even though the war is long gone, but are funded to their gills by the West to continue to do their bidding, like so many other NGOs.
No one dared to voice concern over the new development. The Co-chairs to Sri Lanka’s peace process, namely Norway, the US, EU and Japan, conveniently remained silent even after The Island revealed the unprecedented detention of UN workers.
In the case of Japan, despite the US committing the horrendous war crime of dropping the first two atom bombs on highly congested Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when Japan was virtually on its knees, Tokyo is yet ready to jump any number of times, even if the US asks it to jump just once. If the self–proclaimed champions of human rights, in Washington, had wanted to ‘shock and awe’ the Japanese into surrender, it could have easily dropped those bombs on an isolated beach there, without causing so much death and destruction, among so many innocent civilians.
While confirming the high handed LTTE action, the then Foreign Secretary, Dr. Palitha Kohona, alleged that those who accused the government of death and destruction, at the drop of a hat, ignored what was happening in the Vanni mainland (‘LTTE detains UN workers’ – The Island, April 20, 2007).
The UN mission, in Colombo, declined to respond to The Island report. Those Colombo-based foreign correspondents, as well as locals, working for the international media, ignored the incident. The Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) led Tamil National Alliance (TNA), too, disregarded The Island revelation. Obviously, they felt the story would be inimical to the LTTE’s interest, and none of them wanted to cause an uproar against their “innocent” people-eating pet Tiger.
Further inquiries, by The Island, revealed as to how the UN engaged in secret negotiations, with the LTTE, in a bid to secure the release of its employees. An influential section of the Colombo-based diplomatic community tried to resolve the issue, without bringing it to the notice of the then government. The UN alerted the government, only after the LTTE refused to release its workers. The LTTE went to the extent of warning the UN that anyone disregarding its authority would have to face the consequences (‘UN had talks with the Tigers on the sly’ with strapline ‘UN workers in LTTE custody’ – The Island, April 23, 2007). Human rights champions remained mum.
Then Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in a brief interview with the writer, strongly criticized the Colombo-based UN bigwigs for having secret talks with the LTTE, following the abduction of two UN workers, in February 2007. The issue took centre stage at a meeting, chaired by Human Rights Minister, Mahinda Samarasinghe, to discuss the situation in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Among those present were Colombo-based heads of diplomatic missions, including the then US Ambassador, Robert O. Blake, and senior officials representing the UN and its agencies. During the meeting, the UN acknowledged that it had decided against going public, believing the LTTE would eventually release them (‘Lanka urges UN not to shield Tigers’ – The Island, April 25, 2007).
Ban’s spokesperson sets the record straight
On the day The Island published Defence Secretary Rajapaksa’s criticism of UN action, the issue was raised at the daily UN media briefing, in New York. Responding to queries, UNSG Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson, Michele Montas, revealed that the UN mission in Colombo hadn’t informed New York about the abduction of its employees and holding them hostage by the LTTE. Montas was speaking about the despicable act over 10 weeks after the incident. Wouldn’t it be interesting to examine the accountability, on the part of the UN mission in Colombo? Referring to The Island exposure, Montas said: “We don’t have any confirmation of that newspaper report. We have heard them. As soon as we have confirmation, we’ll get something for you on that. I am checking with the UN presence in Sri Lanka”.
Stressing that the UN mission, in Colombo, hadn’t confirmed the newspaper reports, Montas said: “I don’t know. We don’t have any confirmation. They haven’t confirmed those reports. I heard them through the press. (‘UN HQ admits Colombo office kept it in the dark’, with strapline ‘SL government criticizes UN inaction’ – The Island, April 28, 2007).
The UN cannot absolve itself of the responsibility for the LTTE forcing the entire Vanni population to retreat towards the Mullaitivu coast, along with its fighting cadre, and the leadership, where the group finally collapsed, in May 2009, after much of the civilian shield, it forcefully held, escaped to military liberated areas, ending their nightmare.
The UN was careful not to interfere with the LTTE operations, though it knew the lives of UN workers, as well as their dependents, were in jeopardy. Still the UN decided to secretly negotiate with the LTTE, instead of demanding their immediate release. The plight of UN workers and their families came to light again, in late September 2009, when Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa ordered UN international staff, as well as foreign representatives of other INGOs, to vacate the Vanni region. Having agreed to complete the withdrawal, within three weeks, the then Resident Representative, Neil Bhune, tried to evacuate families of local UN staff (‘Government wants UN, INGO pullout completed by September 29’ – The Island, September 17, 2008).
Although the LTTE rejected the UN’s move, its Colombo mission didn’t make a big fuss. Human rights defenders, too, turned a blind eye to the rapidly deteriorating situation on the Vanni front. In spite of the UN seeking three weeks to complete the withdrawal, except the project manager of INGO, called ZOA, all representatives quit the war zone, by September 16, 2008. The Inter-Agency Standing Committee, which represented all UN agencies and other INGOs active in Sri Lanka, acknowledged the LTTE’s refusal to allow over 500 local staffers of INGOs to leave (‘Attempt to evacuate Tamil INGO, UN workers thwarted’ – The Island, September 29, 2008).
Subsequently, the ZOA manager returned to Vavuniya, on September 26, 2008, over a week after all other foreign nationals quit the LTTE-held area. The then ZOA Country Director, Bernard Jaspers Faijer, made a desperate attempt to shield the ZOA employee accused of joining the LTTE (‘ZOA defends employee facing expulsion’ – The Island, September 29, 2008). The Island reportage included a front page lead story, headlined ‘INGO kingpin with Italian passport joins LTTE as a fighter’, with a strapline ‘ZOA informs Defence Ministry of its project Manager’s decision on September 27, 2008’.
The UN never objected to the LTTE strategy. The TNA, as well as NGOs, who were shedding crocodile tears for Tamil civilians, never asked the LTTE to release them. The LTTE knew it wouldn’t have lasted a week if it allowed the civilians to leave. By March/April 2009, the LTTE fighting cadre had been trapped in a coastal pocket, in the Mullaitivu district.
Let me reproduce what the PoE said in its report on the LTTE’s refusal to release civilians (Page 28/Point 98): “In spite of the futility of their military situation, the LTTE not only refused to surrender, but also continued to prevent civilians from leaving the area, ensuring their continued presence as a human buffer. It forced civilians to help build military installations and fortifications or undertake other forced labour. It also intensified its practice of forced recruitment, including children, to swell their dwindling ranks. As the LTTE recruitment increased, parents actively resisted, and families took increasingly desperate measures to protect their children from recruitment. (Page 28/Point 99) “…Beginning February 2009, the LTTE commenced a policy of shooting civilians who attempted to escape, and, to this end, cadres took up positions where they could spot civilians who might try to break out.”
One of Sri Lanka’s famed career diplomats, D.B. Dhanapala, succinctly discussed the issue of accountability when he addressed the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), headed by one-time Attorney General, the late C. R. de Silva, on Aug. 25, 2010. Dhanapala, in his submissions, said: “Now I think it is important for us to expand that concept to bring in the culpability of those members of the international community who have subscribed to the situation that has caused injury to the civilians of a nation. I talk about the way in which terrorist groups are given sanctuary; harboured; and supplied with arms and training by some countries with regard to their neighbours or with regard to other countries. We know that in our case this has happened, and I don’t want to name countries, but even countries which have allowed their financial procedures and systems to be abused in such a way that money can flow from their countries in order to buy arms and ammunition that cause deaths, maiming and destruction of property in Sri Lanka are to blame and there is therefore a responsibility to protect our civilians and the civilians of other nations from that kind of behaviour on the part of members of the international community. And I think this is something that will echo within many countries in the Non-Aligned Movement, where Sri Lanka has a much respected position and where I hope we will be able to raise this issue.”
Dhanapala also stressed on the accountability on the part of Western governments, which conveniently turned a blind eye to massive fundraising operations in their countries, in support of the LTTE operations. It is no secret that the LTTE would never have been able to emerge as a conventional fighting force without having the wherewithal abroad, mainly in the Western countries, to procure arms, ammunition and equipment.
Even Ban Ki-moon would have been surprised by the reception he received, in Colombo, recently. Ban Ki-moon’s PoE recommended that submissions/complaints received and used to determine that 40,000 civilians perished wouldn’t be subject to scrutiny till 2031. The ex-UNSG is actually the architect of a project to humiliate Sri Lanka. Yet he received an invitation to visit the Sri Lanka Parliament.
Our clueless politicians, and security set up, still reeling from the hiding they got from the mainly foreign-funded and directed “peaceful” Aragalaya, have yet to recover their bearings, let alone their senses. The unprecedented violence, unleashed on May 09, and, thereafter, against government politicians, though many of them may have deserved a hiding, was no spontaneous local eruption. It certainly had the markings of Western intelligence and their quislings here as was the case in what happened in Libya, Syria, and Iraq, etc. If Tokyo can continue to be such a blind worshipper of white man and is willingly heading to an Armageddon, which no one can win, our local bootlickers, now lording over us, will drag us all to a similar fate. Maybe the good book will be proved right: the meek shall inherit the earth.
by Our Diplomatic Affairs Editor
Victoria Nuland, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States, has made a second visit to Sri Lanka within a few months. Prior to her visit, she met with key officials in the Indian government, including Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar, to discuss a strategic plan for the region.
“During her visit Nuland suggested to the Sri Lankan government in the strongest possible terms to establish a US-Indian joint military base in Trincomalee, which will serve as a critical component in protecting US and Asia-Pacific interests and countering Chinese development activities in the region,” informed sources reaffirmed.
According to a source, “the officials also discussed implementing the 13th amendment as quickly as possible, as it will be a catalyst for achieving the objectives of the strategic plan. The 13th amendment aims to devolve power to the provincial councils in Sri Lanka while diluting the centre.”
The establishment of the military base is expected to “enhance security and stability in the region, and promote greater cooperation between the United States, India, and Sri Lanka,” a top diplomatic source says under the conditions of anonymity.
We attempted to reach out to a Colombo government official for an official statement, but no one was willing to provide one in an official capacity.
Who is this Nuland?
Victoria Nuland, a career diplomat and former US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, played a significant role in the United States’ policy towards Ukraine in the early 2010s. Nuland’s “war game” in Ukraine, and how it was exposed, provides a compelling case study on the intersection of foreign policy and geopolitical gamesmanship.
In 2014, the world watched as Ukraine erupted in conflict, with Russia annexing Crimea and pro-Russian separatists seizing control of parts of Eastern Ukraine. However, the origins of the crisis go back several years. In 2013, the Ukrainian government under President Yanukovych was poised to sign an association agreement with the European Union, signaling a shift towards closer ties with the West. This decision was vehemently opposed by Russia, which saw Ukraine as part of its sphere of influence.
It was during this time that Nuland became heavily involved in US policy towards Ukraine. Leaked audio recordings in early 2014 revealed that Nuland had discussed who should form Ukraine’s next government with the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt. In the conversation, she expressed her preference for Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a pro-Western politician who eventually became Prime Minister following Yanukovych’s ouster.
The leaked recordings caused a significant stir, with some commentators accusing the US of meddling in Ukraine’s affairs and undermining its sovereignty. Nuland defended her actions, stating that the US was simply supporting a democratic, pro-European movement in Ukraine.
However, Nuland’s actions did not stop there. She also supported the anti-government protests that erupted in Ukraine in late 2013 and early 2014, providing various forms of assistance to the demonstrators. This assistance reportedly included training, resources, and funding for civil society groups.
Nuland as a Warmonger in Ukraine
Nuland’s involvement in Ukraine became emblematic of the wider geopolitical struggle between Russia and the West. Her support for the protesters was seen as evidence of the US’s desire to encroach on Russia’s sphere of influence, while her advocacy for Yatsenyuk’s appointment was seen as evidence of the US’s intention to shape Ukraine’s political future.
Ultimately, the Ukrainian crisis resulted in significant geopolitical fallout. The conflict in Eastern Ukraine has claimed thousands of lives and strained relations between Russia and the West to breaking point. The role that Nuland played in the crisis, and the exposure of her actions, provides a unique insight into the complex, often hidden world of foreign policy and geopolitical gamesmanship.
Victoria Nuland’s “war game” in Ukraine and how it was exposed serves as an important case study in foreign policy and geopolitical strategy. The leaked recordings of her conversations with the US Ambassador to Ukraine revealed the extent of US involvement in Ukraine and sparked accusations of meddling. The Ukrainian crisis remains a key flashpoint in international relations, and Nuland’s role in it highlights the complexity and delicacy of geopolitical manoeuvring.
According to a top diplomatic source, Victoria Nuland’s efforts to reshape South Asian affairs in favour of the United States could have negative consequences. The source expressed concern that her actions may potentially disrupt the longstanding state of peace in the region, which Sri Lanka has worked to maintain.
The scheduled visit of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval to Moscow on February 7-9 was in connection with the multilateral consultations of the secretaries of security councils and national security advisors regarding Afghanistan hosted by the Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev.
However, it was Doval’s meeting with President Vladimir Putin that inevitably became the meridian. Indeed, it was an exceptional event. Putin’s meeting with Doval signified two things — it was a recognition both of Doval’s unique standing as a meaningful interlocutor in the Indian government as well as his standing as an accomplished professional with vast experience in the regional security issues, in particular, Afghanistan.
Doval doesn’t have the luxury of being an armchair strategist. He lived and worked in the real world and kept up with Russian counterparts at a working level. As time passed, friendships forged in the fires of adversity — Khalistan, cross-border terrorism, political islam, insurgencies — became strong and weathered the test of time. Unsurprisingly, Doval’s equation with Patrushev is one of its kind. Therefore, the enormous symbolism in Putin’s face-to-face interaction with Doval must be properly understood.
Putin’s remarks at the regional meeting of security advisors underscored the high importance Moscow attaches to the Afghan situation. He said Afghanistan “has always been important for us [Russia] and now it is important more than ever because we do not want more points of tension on our southern borders.”
Putin mentioned three reasons for saying so. First, the Afghan security situation remains critical. To quote Putin, “International terrorist organisations are stepping up their activities, including al-Qaeda which is building up its potential.” Moscow is greatly concerned about negative fallouts in the Central Asian region.
Russia sees India as a like-minded country — alongside China, Iran and the Central Asian states — that is genuinely interested in the stabilisation of the Afghan situation. The MEA readout mentions that Doval in his remarks at the regional meeting “stressed the need to ensure that the territory of Afghanistan does not become a source of radicalisation and terrorism, regionally or globally, as well as to intensify intelligence and security cooperation to deal with terror outfits.”
Evidently, Moscow is conscious of the convergence of interests with Delhi on this front. The Afghan situation would have figured prominently in Doval’s talks with Patrushev, who is an old and trusted associate of Putin over decades.
Second, Russia has specific concerns over the problem of drug trafficking, which is on the rise. Putin mentioned that 80% of opiates in the world market originate from Afghanistan. Russia and Iran are two major transit routes for drug trafficking. During the two decades of US occupation, the Americans virtually acquiesced with drug traffickers. Occasional reports showed that some Pentagon commanders even made fortunes out of the smuggling.
Drug trafficking is inextricably linked to the security situation. Again, the Taliban government lacks resources to provide alternate livelihood to the poor farmers to induce them to give up poppy cultivation. In this connection, Putin made a cryptic remark that “there are plans to implement large economic projects that could stabilise the situation.” Russia has a masterplan to revive the Soviet-aided economic projects in Afghanistan.
India too has a brilliant track record in undertaking developmental projects in Afghanistan. Doval’s assertion that India “is and will remain an important stakeholder in Afghanistan” is to be understood in this context.
Third, Putin stated: “We are also worried about attempts to use the situation in Afghanistan to allow extra-regional forces to expand or build their infrastructure. These countries will create this under the pretext of countering international terrorism, but they are not doing anything that is really necessary in the real counterterrorism struggle.”
Putin, of course, was alluding to the continuing attempts by the US to return to Afghanistan and establish a security presence with a view to influence the geopolitics in the surrounding regions of Iran, North Caucasus, Central Asia, Xinjiang, etc. Taliban resisted the American pressure. Russia’s presidential envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov recently alleged on state television that the US is giving covert support to the Islamic State-Khorasan in Afghanistan.
Russia finds itself between the rock and a hard place. It harboured a notion in the recent years that Pakistan would be a potential ally to stabilise the Afghan situation under Taliban. But that turned out to be a flawed assumption. On the contrary, the overthrow of Imran Khan led to the installation of a US-backed regime in Islamabad that is completely at the bidding of Americans. The US stranglehold is destined to tighten further as the IMF begins to dictate Pakistan’s economic policies.
A sharp deterioration in Pakistan’s equations with the Taliban followed after Imran Khan’s overthrow. An easing of tensions between Islamabad and Kabul is not to be expected, as the military leadership in Rawalpindi has reverted to its historical role as the cats-paw of the Pentagon and the CIA. The Taliban harbours deep suspicions regarding the US-Pakistani intentions.
According to reports, the US is sourcing military supplies from Pakistan for use in its proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. In sum, the Pakistani civilian and military elite are reverting to their historical role as hirelings of the US. Russia and Iran are in the US crosshairs. Moscow is vainly hoping to engage Pakistan in a constructive relationship, whereas, in reality, it is dealing with a vassal state of the US.
Suffice it to say that India is sailing in the same boat as Russia when it comes to the Afghan conundrum and Pakistani shenanigans. Conceivably, at some point soon enough, the Pakistani military will resume its interference in Afghanistan by projecting power into that country to keep it weak and subservient —something that dovetails with the US’ current regional strategy.
From various accounts, Putin’s conversation with Doval largely focused on the Russian-Indian special and privileged strategic partnership. Afghanistan would have been a key topic of discussion. To be sure, Putin would have spoken to Doval about the Ukraine situation as well. That said, Putin’s focus is on the bilateral cooperation with India.
The US lobbyists in the Indian media are upset that Doval visited Moscow. A Delhi newspaper wrote an editorial today warning the Modi government about its dealings with Russia, which, according to the paper, stands “isolated” in the international community! (Twenty years back, this very same newspaper had written that then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s refusal to join the US’s “coalition of the willing” to invade Iraq would cost India dearly, as a vengeful George W. Bush was sure to punish Delhi by evicting it from Kashmir Valley!)
What these lobbyists overlook is that India’s relationship with the US is transactional and the Americans are rank opportunists. It is about time they got accustomed to the idea that India cherished its strategic autonomy. Why do some of our journalists behave like a comprador class?
Moscow appreciates India’s neutrality and on its part, the Modi government also knows that in this titanic struggle between the US and Russia, there is very little it (or any third party) can do to persuade the Biden Administration to call off the proxy war and begin negotiations.
Apparently, the Biden Administration still thinks that the proxy war will lead to the dismemberment and destruction of Russia. So long as the US neocons who dominate Biden’s team remain delusional, this conflict will continue and may even escalate. Delhi is doing the right thing to remain non-aligned and astutely pursue its national interests.
by Our Defence Correspondent
‘We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he, today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.’ – William Shakespeare
The process of putting thoughts and ideas onto paper, and transforming them into a coherent story is both challenging and exhilarating. Unlike regular writers, we believe that writing a book can be a therapeutic and cathartic experience for military veterans. It is a tangible expression of their creativity, resilience, and determination, and a lasting legacy that honours their service and contributions to our beloved motherland.
Yesterday was a day of pride and celebration not only for this veteran but for the wider military community. The launch of his first book was a moment to honour his service, recognize his sacrifices, and share his story with the world. The veteran’s bravery and determination serve as an inspiration to us all, and his book will be a valuable resource for generations to come. The author is Selvin Sallay, a military veteran, who published his first book, “Battle of Mannakulam through the eyes of a commando” ( Mannakulam Satana Commando Esin).
The event yesterday was truly a colourful and memorable occasion, with wonderful speeches by former commandos and military veterans. Lt. Col. Nilantha Jayaweera and Major General P Chandrawansa, who were the commanding officers of the same battle, added an extra layer of excitement to the proceedings. They mentioned the importance of military literature.
True, military literature has long played an important role in documenting the experiences of soldiers, sailors, and airmen in the wars and conflicts that have shaped the course of human history. Sri Lanka is not an exception. Whether through memoirs, novels, poems, or other forms of creative expression, military literature serves as a powerful tool for capturing the emotions, thoughts, and experiences of those who have fought in these wars, and for preserving these memories for future generations.
In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of military literature for veterans themselves. By putting their experiences down on paper, veterans can gain a greater understanding of the events they went through, and the impact they have had on their lives. Military literature provides a valuable perspective on the nature of war and conflict.
Writing is a powerful tool for preserving the memories and experiences of veterans, educating the public about the realities of war, and promoting a greater appreciation and understanding of the sacrifices made by those who serve in the military. It is therefore essential that veterans be encouraged and supported in their efforts to write about their experiences, and that the value of military literature is recognized and appreciated.
In this context, the publication of “Battle of Mannakulam through the eyes of a commando” by Major Selvin Sallay provides a unique and valuable perspective on one of the pivotal moments in the fight against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), widely considered one of the most brutal terrorist organizations in the world. Through the lens of Major Selvin’s experiences as a commando in the battle of Mannakulam, the book offers readers a powerful and intimate look at the realities of modern warfare, and the courage and sacrifice of those who fight to protect their country and their fellow citizens.
As a participant in the battle, Major Selvin provides a first-hand account of the challenges faced by the commandos in the field, the decisions they had to make, and the emotions they experienced during this intense and highly dangerous conflict. His narrative is at once gripping, thought-provoking, and deeply inspiring, offering an unvarnished look at the realities of the ground they fought.
Yesterday’s event was glamoured by many of his colleagues and relatives. Among them, a special guest was there. That was his mother. The heroic lady whose life is bigger than herself. The emotions of a mother who sends her sons to the battlefield are complex and intense, encompassing a mixture of fear, worry, pride, and heartbreak. Major Selvin’s mother is no exception. But she is different from many other mothers. She was bold enough to send three of four sons to defend the nation during the most difficult time in the country. His second elder brother, Major General Suresh Sallay and his younger brother Brigadier Ramesh Sallay, both of them continue to work in the military. Suresh is currently heading the country’s premier spy agency, the State Intelligence Service.
The idea of sending a son off to fight in a war fills many mothers with dread, as they worry about their safety and well-being, and wonder if they will ever return home. In the case of Major Selvin’s mother, the news of his injury in the Mannakulam Battle must have been especially devastating. Upon initially hearing the news of his injury, the family likely believed that Major Selvin had been killed, and his brother, now the head of the State Intelligence Service, would have been in a state of panic and dilemma over how to break the news to their mother. The moment of learning that Major Selvin was injured but safe, would have been a time of intense emotion and relief for his mother, who would have been torn between her worry for her son’s well-being and her pride in his service.
Major Selvin is a true patriot and a tall man in a band of brothers on a battlefield. He has proved by actions a deep love and devotion to the country, a willingness to defend its values and principles, and a desire to serve and support the greater good. This book is not a piece of rhetoric but a true pulse of a man who fought the most decisive battle in the country.
In addition to its value as a historical document, “Battle of Mannakulam through the eyes of a commando” also serves as a tribute to the bravery and courage of the soldiers who fought in this critical conflict. The publication of this book also highlights the importance of preserving the memories and experiences of those who served in the military, and of making these experiences accessible to the public. By documenting the events of the Mannakulam battle through the eyes of Major Selvin Sallay, the book provides a valuable resource for future generations, who will be able to learn from and be inspired by the experiences of those who came before them.
This book tells the reader why they fought the battle. As G.K. Chesterton says, “a true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” This book is a timely and essential testimony to the bravery and dedication of true patriots who never abandon their country when surrounded by enemies.