Killing in Kashmir before the first nuclear war: Revelation 8

18 Kashmiris killed by India in October: Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan

At least 18 unarmed and innocent Kashmiris have been killed in October and more than 40 others injured by Indian forces, according to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry.

“In brazen manifestation of state terrorism, Indian occupation forces, in the past few days, martyred five more innocent Kashmiri youth during the so-called ‘cordon and search’ operations and fake encounters in Anantnag, Shopian, and Pulwama areas of IIOJK [Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir],” ministry spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri told reporters Thursday.

Forty young Kashmiris were severely injured due to “unprovoked” and indiscriminate use of live ammunition, pellet guns, and other military-grade weapons.

Chaudhri, while referring to a recent statement of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet, said she has once again called the human rights credentials of the current RSS-BJP [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Singh-Bharatiya Janata Party] regime into question by expressing concerns about the arrest of hundreds of human rights activists as well as restrictions on works of human rights bodies.

On Tuesday, Bachelet was cited as being concerned about the use of the  Foreign Contribution Regulation Act , which several UN human rights bodies have also said is vaguely worded and too broad in its objective, according to the UN News.

The act prohibits the receipt of foreign funds “for any activities prejudicial to the public interest.”

“I am concerned that such actions based on the grounds of vaguely defined ‘public interest’ leave this law open to abuse, and that it is indeed actually being used to deter or punish NGOs for human rights reporting and advocacy that the authorities perceive as critical in nature,” Bachelet said, adding that even if authorities find “constructive criticism uncomfortable, it should never be criminalized or outlawed in this way.”

Relations between the two South Asian nuclear powers’ have further flared after India scrapped the special provisions of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019.

Between August 2019 to August 2020, more than 350 people, including civilians and Indian soldiers, were killed in clashes and search operations across the Indian-administered Kashmir, according to a new report by Islamabad-based think tank Institute of Policy Studies in collaboration with the Legal Forum for Oppressed Voices of Kashmir.

It said 75 civilians, 196 militants — referred to as “freedom fighters” — and 81 Indian soldiers and paramilitary personnel were killed during clashes, said the report.

Since August last year, authorities have detained or arrested between 16,000 and 17,000 people, including 662 political prisoners, it added.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts but claimed by both in full. A small sliver of the region is also controlled by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, New Delhi and Islamabad have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965, and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups have been fighting against the Indian rule for independence, or unification with Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands have been killed and tortured in the conflict that flared up in 1989.

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The growing Indian nuclear threat: Revelation 8

India’s Missile Tests Spree – OpEd

Misbah Arif*October 23, 2020

Indian anti-satellite missile, Mission Shakti. Photo Credit: DRDO

When the world is fighting with the Coronavirus, employing all their abilities to fight against the pandemic, India is still giving preference to arms buildup over health security. The Indian government issued a statement about the import of 16, 479 light machine guns worth 116 million USD from Israel. The left-wing Communist Party of India CPI-ML, Kavita Krishnan said that “Why is the government of India choosing to spend massively on a military purchase instead of prioritizing a corona relief package, medical infrastructure, free healthcare and testing for all?” However, it didn’t caught attention of the ruling party who is more focused on aggressive military buildup.

The strategic environment of the South Asian region is highly complex these days because of ongoing tensions between historical rivals. PM Modi’s policies are worrisome not only for China and Pakistan but also for other South Asian states. India is the only country in the region who is in conflict with all the other regional states.  The main reason behind it is India’s hegemonic ambitions and quest for power maximization. It is obvious that the Indian defense modernization is endangering the regional peace and stability. The 2020, SIPRI yearbook highlighted Indian military spending of 71.1 billion USD and ranked it as the third largest spender for the first time in the world.  Along with indigenous developments, PM Modi has been successful in concluding hi-tec defense deals with the U.S., Russia, France, Israel and others. India’s aggressive military build-up is challenging the status-quo.

The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has been accelerating the development and deployment of strategic weapons on a scale which is unbelievable and never seen before. The motivation behind this aggressive fast track development of strategic nuclear and conventional missile is so far vague. It could be either to deal with Pakistan and China or to showcase self-sufficiency in missile development. No matter whether they are for security or prestige, the introduction of new technologies such as Anti-satellite (ASAT), hypersonic weapons, thermonuclear weapons, etc may push the region towards further uncertainty leading to irrepressible circumstance.

In past one month India conducted 13 missile tests. It all started with the test of the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) (7 September); test of nuclear-capable, Prithvi-II ballistic missile with a range of around 350km (23 September & 16 October); the extended range version of the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos (30 September & 18 October); laser guided anti-tank guided  missile test ( 22 September & 1 October); the nuclear capable Shaurya missiles that can travel twice to thrice speed of sound (3 October); the supersonic missile assisted release of torpedo that targets submarines (5 October); New Generation Anti-Radiation Missile (NGARM) test from a Su-30MKI fighter jet (9 October); failed test of Nirbhay cruise missile  (12 October). Other technology demonstrations included the trials of Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART) weapon, which can be launched from a ship to hit stealth submarines and Standoff Anti-tank missile test .

The HSTDV capability will help India in its upcoming space projects and ICBMs. Likewise, Indian DRDO recently claimed that India can have complete hypersonic missile system in three to four days which is alarming considering the ongoing regional tensions and arms race trend. It will push other competitors to follow suit, destabilizing the strategic equilibrium.

The DRDO is expected to test K-5 submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in next 15 months. This is the third SLBM India is working on. India’s K-15 is already in service with a range of around 750km. It is argued that K-15 cannot hit population and industrial centers of China during crisis, unless the submarines reaches close to the Chinese coastal line in the South China Sea, which will make it more exposed. Thus, India is working on K-4 and K-5 to deal with this restraint.  The K-5 can hit the target 5000 km away, which means it can hit targets in China from the Indian Ocean.

India tested the K-4 SLBM with a range of 3500km multiple times. In January 2020, the missile was tested twice in five days. The development phase is complete and it is ready to enter production series. Furthermore, India’s second SSBN, INS Arighat, is currently undergoing trials, it is likely to enter service in the next six months

Along with strategic missiles, India is also focusing on its armored warfare capabilities as it tested indigenously developed Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) with a range of 4km. India is looking to purchase Spike anti-tank missiles from Israel. It is also aimed to purchase 100 Smart, Precise Impact, Cost-Effective (SPICE) bombs, which have a stand-off range of 60 km.

The 2020 Belfer Centre Report on the “The Strategic Postures of China and India” highlighted that Indian missile forces are located closer to Pakistan than China.  Likewise, India is also developing a missile shield that could offer incentive to its decision makers for a pre-emptive first strike. Indian officials have been talking about the preemption and counter-force targeting which signals a clear deviation from its declared policies of NFU, massive retaliation and credible minimum deterrence.  All these tests shows that India is determining flexible response options by having both counter-value and counter force targeting capabilities. The apparent shift in its NFU can also be attributed to the military technologies that India has acquired and developed. The advanced technologies and capabilities give confidence to India leading towards escalation dominance strategy. These development will obviously persuade the other side to take effective remedial measures to ensure the credibility of its deterrence.

Pakistan and India have some CBMs in place such as the pre-notification of missile tests and non-attack on each other’s nuclear facilities, however the recent trend shows an urgent need to have more. Both sides should start talking about non-deployment of ABM, moratorium on ASAT and hypersonic weapons. India has always been reluctant to do so because of its aggressive policies. In absence of any regional arms control arrangement, the South Asian strategic landscape will further deteriorate. With the increasing convention and non-conventional imbalance, the deterrence stability of the region will face consequences.

*Misbah Arif, Visiting Faculty at Fatima Jinnah Women University, The Mall Rawalpindi

The Indian and Korean nuclear horns: Daniel 7

UN reports confirm India-North Korea illicit nuclear links (part-11)

The case in point regarding the Indian-North Korean illicit nuclear connection glaringly exposes that India violated the commitments adhered in the NSG waiver given to India.The NSG passed a waiver of restrictions on nuclear commerce with India in September 2008 despite India’s failure to meet either of these nonproliferation norms. The NSG exempted India from its full- scope safeguards (FSS) condition, making it the first country to be allowed to have nuclear trade with NSG members along with its nuclear weapons program.

When India was given the NSG waiver via US intervention, not only Pakistan but some members of the NSG were also opposed to this unjust grant of a waiver to India by the NSG that allowed it to trade in the nuclear materials. However, there remained justified concerns that the group, instead of applying a criteria-based approach, encouraged selective states for nuclear trade to become its part through country-specific exemptions. Therefore, the reservations chartered by Pakistan and other states like Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Switzerland were based on these logical arguments.

Firstly, on India’s nuclear testing moratorium, most of the member states emphasized a legally-binding testing moratorium. Although India committed itself to continue its unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing, it was suggested to provide some legally-binding assurances such as signing the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty). A diplomat is quoted as saying, ‘when every single member country of the NSG has signed the CTBT, why should India get a free pass’. Another diplomat also said ‘Nobody seriously expected India to sign the CTBT as a precondition for the waiver-as the American diplomats’ lobby would have favoured India. What needs to be looked at is how to deal with the new situation which would be created were India to test again’.

Some countries suggested conditioning the waiver on India’s signing the CTBT and others recommended that there should be some mechanism to deal with the situation if India tested a nuclear weapon and was not willing to sign the treaty. Some members called for automatic termination of the waiver in case of an Indian nuclear test; while others wanted to leave this to the individual member countries. It is important to note here that only the US domestic laws provide for immediate termination of the nuclear trade in case of a nuclear test. But unjustlythere had been no reference given in the waiver to work towards full-scope safeguards.

India has been providing both financial and military assistance to North Korea in total disregard to and in violation of global non-proliferation regimes and at the expense of regional and global stability

Secondly, because of India’s uncertain compliance with the nonproliferation commitments, it was also suggested to incorporate a review provision in the proposed waiver draft. Some countries had suggested having some kind of monitoring mechanism to assess the extent to which India is abiding by its nonproliferation commitments. Thirdly, the question of enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technology was also a grave issue. Some member states argued to include a provision denying the transfer of ENR technology.Nonetheless, with the NSGnew guidelines introduced in 2011 regarding the transfer of sensitive nuclear technology, India’s privilege of a clean waiver was duly nullified. Now that the NSG has agreed on new guidelines which require NPT membership, India vehemently criticized the decision that this is against the ‘clean waiver’.The NSG made it clear that the waiver exempted India from the requirement of FSS safeguards but not NSG policies on ENR transfer.

Basically, the only real technological barrier to the construction of a covert nuclear weaponsprogramme is access to fissionable material itself. There seems a growing black market for this material as vindicated by the DRPK-India nuclear links, and eventually, demand will result in enough material reaching as-yet- unidentified buyers to produce a nuclear weapon in the basement. Obviously, the terrorist threatsof contamination– using radioactive substances gain enhanced credibility as the number of smuggling incidents continues to rise. The current revelation by the UN panel is indicative of the fact that an illicit nuclear connection remains established between Pyongyang and New Delhi. Eliminating the menace of nuclear terrorism while making a substantial and enduring contribution to world peace in this area, an action must be taken in order to prevent the short-term and the long term threats.

Although to a large extent India has been successful in securing membership of the Missile Technology Control Regime (June 2016), the Wassennar Arrangement (Dec 2017), and the Australia Group (Jan 2018), New Delhi’s credentials– to acquire its peaceful means of nuclear energy/ fissile material-are not yet a good fit for the UN set goals/ objective towards the complement of a world seeking multilateral commitments from world’s de jure and de/ facto, and the aspirant nuclear states. And yet, there is a strong bipartisan proposition/consensus that argues that the Indo-US nuclear deal has had a strategic importance to US imperialism’s strategy to counter China’s growing rise in the first half of the 21st century.

Needless to say, India has a long record of developing both nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles under the guise of peaceful nuclear and space cooperation since the US-India nuclear deal. Supporting India’s reactors only reinforces the perceived prestige of nuclear technology for developing countries, but a double standard set by the United States sets a bad example for the acquisition of peaceful nuclear energy. Recently, the Foreign Policy magazine alleged that India started building a secret nuclear city in Challakere in Karnataka, which when completed would be “the subcontinent’s largest military-run complex of nuclear centrifuges, atomic-research laboratories, and weapons- and aircraft-testing facilities”.

As part of the India-US Nuclear Agreement-2005, the United States sought an India-specific NSG waiver in 2008-overridingly exempting India from its full-scope safeguards condition. India is now bidding on NSG membership. But the veritable fact isshown by the NSG previous waiver negotiations with India that New Delhi would resist non-proliferation conditions and it would undermine the credo of the nonproliferation nuclear regime.Unfortunately, the US political nuclear umbrella given to India has been undermining the NSG neutral evaluation criteria.According to Pierre Goldschmidt, the former IAEA’s official, ” there is a need to give the International Atomic Energy Agency “both the authority and capabilities to detect any undeclared nuclear related activity.”

Arguably, the Indian waiver– largely influenced by the economic and political motivations of large nuclear suppliers –establishes a double standard for providing India with the same trade benefits of NPT members but without the nonproliferation obligations-consequently paves the way for a nuclear apartheid regime- a bad omen for the nuclear non-proliferation regime.Needless to say, India has been providing both financial and military assistance to North Korea in total disregard to and in violation of global non-proliferation regimes and at the expense of regional and global stability. Against this backdrop, it is argued that India must lose its right to use the NSG waiver. Concluded

The writer is an independent ‘IR’ researcher and international law analyst based in Pakistan

Why Pakistan must prepare for nuclear war: Revelation 8

Why US-India ‘BECA’ Pact Can Douse Border Fire With China But Engulf Pakistan In Flames?

EurAsian Times DeskOctober 15, 2020

India has played the masterstroke with the US to aptly respond to the ‘joint-threat’ of China and Pakistan, which had found a renewed-aggression after India’s PM Narendra Modi ended Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir.

The abrogation of contentious Article 370 made both China and Pakistan straddle together against India, especially after June 15, 2020, when India lost 20 of its soldiers to China, there has only been a ‘bittering-of-ties’ between China and India, with Pakistan playing a second fiddle in the conflict.

Ironically, while India looked-up to the US for rescue, President Donald Trump, offered only mediation!

This, he did twice, informed OutlookIndia.Com on May 27, 2020, and on September 5, 2020, and all the while when India looked for more help, Trump again ridiculed India with his third-time mediation offer.

China is said to have illegally occupied 38,000 sq km of Indian land in Ladakh, as acknowledged by India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh in parliament on September 17, 2020, and has also started to put up its designs on Arunachal Pradesh which China calls as its South Tibet as well as in Himachal Pradesh.

The US did not act and let India slide into misery. The US always wanted India to counter China in the first place, but India considered Pakistan as its primary-foe, and New Delhi in all over these years, from much before August 5, 2019, despite its disastrous 1962 war with China, did not entertain the US for an all-out show against China.

It wasn’t that long enough when PM Modi announced, much to the displeasure of US, his rejection to American proposal to join Indo-Pacific front against China:

“India does not see the Indo-Pacific region as a strategy or as a club of limited members. Nor as a grouping that seeks to dominate. And by no means do we consider it as directed against any country,” said Modi.

These statement by Indian PM disappointed both the US and Japan despite Modi enjoying a personal rapport with both Trump and Abe. But now India is in-togetherness with Japan, US and Australia as a part of QUAD against China, to challenge Beijing in the South China Sea.

The last straw which hinged for the US support to India was also lost on September 30, 2020, while US President Trump and Biden debated in the run-up to November 2020 polls. Trump lumped India with its nemesis Russia and China!

Trump made India stand in line with Russia and China to have hidden the figures of the number of deaths in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic! It was here when India let loose and supposedly succumbed to the ultimate US manoeuvring and was forced to become the US frontline ally against China.

The backend forces which were at work will take for some investigative writer, a La Bob Woodward, to unravel, but finally US-made India to comply to become a lullaby customer to its weapon industry.

The US, on October 2, 2020, reveals LiveMint, came out officially in support of India to declare Arunachal Pradesh as part of India.

‘Arunachal Pradesh is Indian territory and the United States strongly opposes unilateral attempts (by China) to advance territorial claims by incursions, be it military or civilian, across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), a US State Department official said.

Giving an update on the India-US bilateral relations, the senior official said, “At a time when India is facing substantial security challenges, the growth in our defence partnership is exceptionally important.

This partnership includes defence sales, particularly our offers of advanced US weapon systems, as a demonstration of our commitment to India’s security and sovereignty.’ The US job was done. It got India sufficiently bashed-up to finally force India to become its face to China’s opposition.

The US initiative with India after its official stand on Arunachal Pradesh was riveted with a follow-up plan soon, as on October 5, 2020  HindustanTimes informed that US and India were to tie-a knot in Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for geo-spatial cooperation.

‘BECA is an important precursor to India acquiring armed drones such as the MQ-9B from the US as the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) uses spatial data for pinpointed strikes on enemy targets’.

This enemy is the duo China and Pakistan. So much so, US had been ‘hit in the eye ’ by its shameless withdrawal from Afghanistan after 19 years of fighting Afghan-Taliban, where it was forced to sit across the table with the same people, that it has decided to ‘teach a lesson’.

Trump is so foregone with his conclusive victory that barely a week before his November 3, 2020 elections Trump wants BECA to be sealed!  US deputy secretary of state Stephen Beigun is already in India (October 15, 2020)  to chalk out nuances, and finally, US defence secretary Mark Esper and India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh will ink the pact on October 26-27, 2020.

The immediate fallout of this BECA will find Pakistan in very hard waters, as the US, for all the last many decades had been with Pakistan and knows all the loopholes, which would enable India to chose a target to bring Pakistan to its senses.

India, with the help of US reconnaissance devices, will know everything from inside Pakistan, in its real-time through US satellites;  Pakistan’s troop deployment, its nuclear sites and it’s air-force/naval, army or drone movements.

China is too big to be tapped, but for sure, Pakistan, will be made to have a ‘taste of its pudding’ as US ignominy in Afghanistan has happened due to Pakistan. US, China and to an extent India are giants and Pakistan is what seems to have been sandwiched between the three!

The writer is a former State Information Commissioner, India. He is a media analyst and writes on international politics. 

Kashmir has become the flashpoint for the first nuclear war: Revelation 8

Kashmir has become nuclear flashpoint: AJK president

Our Correspondent

LAHORE: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan has said that India would fail in its nefarious aims and Pakistan would get Kashmir in any case.

Addressing a webinar organised by Lahore Centre for Peace and Research held here on Tuesday, Sardar Masood Khan said if there was a nuclear war anywhere in the world, it would be in South Asian region as Kashmir has become a nuclear flashpoint.

Addressing a webinar on the oppression of Kashmiris in Indian-occupied Kashmir, Senator Sherry Rehman said that the ongoing human rights violations in Kashmir, especially atrocities against women, have raised voices in India as well as around the world.

Sherry Rehman said one of the reasons for raising voice against these atrocities is the Hindutva policy of the Modi government. She said even in India people have now refused to accept Hindutva policy and enlightened Hindus are now raising their voice against this venomous Hindutva thinking. Sherry Rehman said that the foundations of India’s secular identity have shaken. Former Ambassador Shamshad Ahmed, moderator of the seminar and chairman of Lahore Centre for Peace and Research, started the webinar by saying that the current situation in Kashmir is a reflection of Hindutva thinking. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Nazir Hussain, President, Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights, said that war is necessary. If the war is not between Pakistan and India, it will be between the people of Kashmir and India.

Mishal Hussain Malik, wife of Yasin Malik, freedom fighter in Indian Occupied Kashmir and chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, said that the recent status of Kashmir was part of Modi’s election campaign and it was clear that India was now following the Hindutva footsteps.

Regarding the ongoing atrocities in Kashmir, Ms Malik said that the property deeds of Muslims were being changed. The Delhi government is transferring all powers from the locals to the people of Delhi, she said, adding all these steps are due to Hindutva thinking.

She said steps need to be taken to ban the RSS at the international level and that the United Nations should send a delegation to India to conduct an independent inquiry into the killings of detainees.

Clashing in Kashmir before the first nuclear war: Revelation 8

India vs Pakistan: Clashes ignite after suspected rebels shot DEAD by police

KASHMIR has seen a huge surge of anti-Indian clashes after two suspected rebels were killed by police and troops.

By Dylan Donnelly 23:55, Mon, Oct 12, 2020 | UPDATED: 23:56, Mon, Oct 12, 2020

Pakistan forces seen launching attack in north Kashmir

Indian police and paramilitary soldiers led a counter-insurgency operation in Srinagar, Kashmir last night according to AlJazeera. The clash led to the deaths of two alleged rebels in the Indian controlled territory, but the forces enraged locals. Residents claimed Indian troops set a civilian’s house on fire during the firefight.

Indian police claimed one of two killed was a Pakistani insurgent, who was believed to have been in Kashmir since earlier this year.

The insurgent was also accused of being responsible for at least two deadly attacks on Indian paramilitary soldiers in Srinagar.

Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar said to the Hindustani Times: “They were given the opportunity to surrender after evacuating all civilians. However, they fired indiscriminately.”

The police added: “The bodies of the terrorists shall be sent to Baramulla for burial after the completion of all medico-legal formalities.

“The nearest family members of the killed local terrorist shall be allowed to participate in the last rites.”

India news: Indian forces shot two rebels dead in Srinagar, Kashmir (Image: Getty)

India news: Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar claimed one of two was a Pakistani responsible for two deadly attacks on Indians (Image: Getty)

But there was no independent confirmation of India’s claims, and one house was devastated by the operation.

Three other homes, which were believed to be unused to the rebels and were occupied by residents, were also partially damaged.

After the clash ended, enraged residents threw stones at the Government forces and chanted “Go India, go back” and “We want freedom”.

In response, troops and police shot tear gas and non-lethal shotgun pellets at the locals.

India news: The forces set a peaceful resident’s house on fire in the clash (Image: Getty)

India news: Three more homes were damaged by Indian forces, sparking anti-Indian outrage in residents (Image: Getty)

Srinagar has seen around 18 alleged militants killed by Indian forces this year.

Troops and police have launched eight counter-insurgency measures against believed rebels this year.

Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh added 180 reported militants have been killed in total across Kashmir.

He said: “Whenever any militant outfit tries to establish its base in Srinagar, we successfully corner the militant with the help of our intelligence and other sources.”

Kashmir is a disputed territory bordering Pakistan and India, with control divided between the two countries.

Most Kashmiri’s are believed to support unification of the divided territory, whether as an independent country or as a Pakistani-controlled state.

India has blamed Pakistan for the unrest in the region, and said clashes were the result of “Pakistan-sponsored terrorism”.

But Pakistan denies India’s charges, and regards the unrest as a legitimate freedom struggle.

India news: India and Pakistan both hold control over the divided Kashmir (Image: Express)

India news: The clash marks the latest Indian military operation in civilian Kashmir this year (Image: Getty)

Kashmir was divided between India and Pakistan in 1947, with more than 94,000 Kashmiri’s dying in clashes with Indian authorities since then.

India and Pakistan, historically tense enemies, have seen tensions ramp up massively this year over border disputes.

India has also been clashing with China over territory, with Beijing forming close ties with Pakistan.

In June, 20 Indian soldiers were killed in hand-to-hand combat with Chinese forces in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh.

Babylon the Great imposes draconian new sanctions against Iran

US imposes draconian new sanctions against Iran amid spiraling COVID-19 pandemic

9 October 2020

The Trump administration Thursday imposed a draconian new round of economic sanctions against Iran aimed at destroying the country’s economy and forcing through Washington’s policy of regime change by means of the starvation and deprivation of the Iranian population.

Announced by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the sanctions target 18 Iranian banks with secondary sanctions, effectively cutting Iran off from the world financial markets. Mnuchin declared that the action “reflects our commitment to stop illicit access to US dollars,” adding that it would “continue to allow for humanitarian transactions to support the Iranian people.”

Tehran, capital of Iran (Photo: wikipedia.org)

This last assertion is a blatant lie. The 18 banks were the last ones not to be slapped with secondary sanctions, which subject any financial institution daring to do business with them to being barred from US markets. The effect is to blacklist the entire Iranian financial sector, crippling the country’s ability to purchase desperately needed food, medicine and medical supplies under conditions in which the COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging the country. The US action makes it virtually impossible for Iran to gain access to tens of billions of dollars in state assets held in overseas banks.

US authorities made no attempt to implicate the banks in any supposedly illicit activities—financing “terrorism,” purchasing arms or involvement in Iran’s nuclear program. Instead, 16 were charged with the “crime” of “operating in Iran’s financial sector,” one was accused of being controlled by a previously sanctioned bank and another with being “military-affiliated.”

The “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign launched by the Trump administration after it unilaterally repudiated the 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and the great powers two years ago had already crippled much of Iran’s economy, largely preventing it from selling oil, the country’s economic lifeblood. In the 12 months ending in March 2020, Iranian oil sales stood at little more than $20 billion, down from $120 billion in 2011.

Last month, in an act of unbridled arrogance, Washington invoked the “snapback” provisions of the 2015 nuclear accord that the US had itself abrogated, demanding that the United Nations re-impose sanctions that it had lifted in return for Tehran accepting strict limitations on its civilian nuclear program. All four of the other permanent members of the UN Security Council, which are signatories to the deal, rejected Washington’s demand.

The US has particularly demanded the maintenance of a ban on the export of conventional weapons to Iran, which is set to expire on October 18 under the terms of the nuclear deal. While both Russia and China have indicated interest in arms sales to Iran, Washington has vowed to unilaterally enforce the ban, raising the prospect of a confrontation between the world’s major nuclear powers.

Iranian authorities have denounced the new sweeping sanctions against the country’s financial sector. Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, tweeted that the “U.S. regime wants to blow up our remaining channels to pay for food & medicine. Iranians WILL survive this latest of cruelties. But conspiring to starve a population is a crime against humanity.”

Speaking before United Nations General Assembly session on counterterrorism Thursday night, Iran’s UN ambassador, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, accused Washington of “state terrorism and economic and medical terrorism.”

“The policy of maximum pressure by the US on Iran is designed to deliberately and indiscriminately target innocent civilians with the aim of creating suffering and hardship, as well as stoking social unrest in accordance with the flawed policy of regime change,” Takht-Ravanchi said.

The new sanctions have hit precisely at a point in which Iran is confronting a devastating resurgence of COVID-19, being referred to by medical authorities as a “third wave” of the pandemic. Within the last few days, the country has seen record numbers of new cases and daily deaths. On October 9, Iran’s Health Ministry confirmed 4,142 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of cases to nearly half a million. Over the previous 24 hours, 210 COVID-19 patients had died, bringing the country’s total death toll to 28,098. Over the past week, at least 1,500 have died.

The sharp increase in COVID-19 cases has overwhelmed Iran’s hospitals, particularly in the capital of Tehran and its suburbs, which have been hardest hit by the pandemic. The doctor who heads the infectious diseases department at Tehran’s Masih Daneshvari Hospital told the state-run news agency IRINN: “Due to the unavailability of beds in intensive care units and even in emergency units, ambulances go from one hospital to another to have patients admitted. Newly-arriving coronavirus patients have to wait for beds to become free.”

The Iranian Armed Forces have announced that they are making all of their medical facilities available to treat COVID-19 patients, while civilian hospitals have ceased all non-emergency functions to make room for those who have fallen ill with the deadly virus.

Schools, which the government recklessly reopened last month, have been closed in Tehran and some other cities, as have mosques, shops, restaurants and other public venues. Initially announced as a one-week lockdown on October 3, the governor on Friday extended it for another week.

Even before the pandemic, the US sanctions regime had deprived the Iranian health care system of essential medicines and medical equipment, leading to many preventable deaths. With the pandemic, the sanctions are taking an ever-greater toll, amounting to a massive war crime against a civilian population.

The sweeping sanctions have sharply escalated tensions between the US and Iran, which are already facing off on a number of fronts. Washington has beefed up its military presence in the region, sending the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, together with the guided-missile cruisers USS Princeton and USS Philippine Sea and the guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett through the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf last month. It marked the first such deployment of a carrier strike force in nearly a year.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, the Trump administration’s bully-boy Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has given an ultimatum to the newly installed prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, that if he fails to crack down on Iraqi Shi’a militias that are aligned with Iran, the US will shut down its embassy in Baghdad. US officials have made it clear that this would be the prelude to wide-ranging US airstrikes against militia positions. Organized in the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), these militias are part of the Iraqi armed forces, functioning as a kind of national guard. They played a predominant role in the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) after it seized control of a wide swath of Iraq in 2014.

Each of these actions, from the carrier deployment to the threats in Iraq and now the crippling new financial sanctions in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic has the character of a calculated provocation, designed to escalate tensions. These tensions were already brought to the boiling point last January, with the US drone missile assassination of Lt. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, one of Iran’s most senior officials, after he arrived at Baghdad international airport for an official state visit.

Faced with a rapidly deteriorating political situation at home in the run-up to the November 3 election, there is an evident threat that the Trump administration will deliberately trigger a war with Iran as an “October Surprise,” an event designed to shock the electorate and create more favorable conditions for the execution of the extra-constitutional conspiracies that are being hatched in the White House.

Envoy Advises Trump to Avoid Threatening the Iran Nuclear Horn

Envoy Advises Trump to Avoid Threatening Iran – Politics news – Tasnim News Agency

Tasnim News Agency

In a post on his Twitter account, Seyed Abbas Mousavi said, “If I were Mr. Trump, I DID NOT threaten a peace-loving but warrior NATION, Iran, in my last days in 1600 Penn.”

It came after Trump earlier this week went on expletive-ridden rant while once again threatening Iran. 

Last month, the spokesperson for the Iranian administration dismissed falsified reports to which the US president has referred to threaten Iran with military action, cautioning Washington that any mistake would draw Iran’s appropriate response.

Iranian military and political officials have repeatedly warned the enemies about the dire consequences of a military action against the Islamic Republic.

In comments in April 2018, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said the US is aware of the crushing response it will have to face in case of taking military action against Iran.

The era of hit and run is now over, and the US knows that if it gets entangled in military action against Iran, it will receive much harsher blows, Ayatollah Khamenei underlined.

The US is seeking a way to evade the costs of standing against Iran and place them on regional countries, the Leader said, reminding certain regional countries that if they confront Iran, “they will definitely suffer blows and defeat”.

India’s nuclear triad: Revelation 8

India’s 5,000 Km Range Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile To Significantly Enhance Its 2nd Strike Capability

By EurAsian Times Desk

October 10, 2020

The completion of the successful deterrence patrol of the indigenous INS Arihant in November 2018 marked a new era for India’s nuclear defence capabilities. The development marked the completion of the establishment of India’s nuclear triad – the ability to launch a nuclear offensive from land, air and sea.

While the country already possessed the surface-launched ballistic missiles and fighter-bombers, the lack of an underwater nuclear offensive capability for long remained an Achilles’ heel for India.

However, the commissioning of the nuclear-capable INS Arihant was only the first step towards establishing a dominant position in all three domains. India will need the deployment of at least three SSBNs at a time to act as a credible deterrence against the enemy.

While the government has sanctioned six SSBNs, only one remains operational till date. And powered with a limited capacity of an 83-megawatt nuclear power plant, INS Arihant has a short refuelling cycle and, therefore, we cannot expect much from the submarine when it comes to speed and endurance.

INS Arighat, second SSBN to be deployed after Arihant, is expected to bolster such capabilities and carry a higher payload of weapons in its belly.

It’s stated that an SSBN is as good as its offensive capabilities. Since India arrived late in the arena of submarine nuclear offensive, it lacks effective and long-range SLBMs.

The K-family of SLBMs has made tremendous progress in recent years. Having developed and successfully tested K-15 and K-4 missiles, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is reportedly already working on developing the longer-range K-5 and K-6 SLBMs, slated to reach distances of more than 5000 and 6000 km, respectively.

While the country’s only SSBN Arihant is already armed with K-15 missiles, which have a range of 750 km, K-4 (3500 km) is yet to be deployed on the submarine.

According to reports, DRDO is making progress in the development of the K-5 missile, which India hopes to deploy on the future Arihant class of submarines. The missile is reportedly about to be tested in the next 15 months, which if successful will add to the long-sought capability for India – the ability to hit targets from longer distances.

The successful development of the K-5 missile will place India in the list of select few countries having such capability and take it closer to the goal of establishment of a credible nuclear triad.

The current SLBM deployed on INS Arihant, K-15, has a number of limitations, and won’t promise a reliable second response in the event of a war. Its limited range of 750 km means the submarine will have to be deployed close enough to the borders of a country it aims to target.

China, for example, is a vast country, and to be able to strike at the key strategic targets, the missile needs to have a longer range. Besides, operating at closer ranges increases the vulnerability of the submarine itself from enemy retaliatory strikes. Therefore, the addition of K-5 missiles in India’s nuclear arsenal is a dire necessity.

Both Pakistan and China are also reportedly bolstering their underwater nuclear offensive capabilities, with the latter helping the former with its arsenal fortification. Pakistan’s Babur-3 submarine-launched cruise missile is in advanced stages of development and will arm the country’s three Agosta 90B submarines.

While China is currently developing the second generation ballistic missile submarines, armed with JL-2 SLBMs. The country is in an advanced stage of developing the longer-range JL-3 SLBM. All the three regional nuclear-armed nations are increasingly focusing on a second strike capability, a domain which remained without activity until two decades ago.

All the three nations are rightly realising the importance of the undersea capabilities, especially nuclear assets, and their efficacy in ensuring a decisive advantage in the event of a war. While the undersea nuclear capabilities of Pakistan are still at a nascent stage, China has gained a decisive edge over India with over four operational SSBNs, with reports of two more having joined the fleet.

K-Family Of Missiles

India started the K-series of SLBMs to boost its undersea nuclear deterrence, and has since years been tremendously successful with the programme code-named ‘Black Project.’

The K-family of missiles have better and lighter rocket casings, advanced guidance systems ensuring accuracy and efficacy of missile strikes. The missiles are designed in a way to fly depressed trajectories enabling stealth entry into enemy territories.

DRDO claims the missiles are faster, lighter and stealthier. With a capacity to carry a 2-tonne payload (four multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warheads of 500 kgs each), the K-5 SLBM has the capacity to hit higher than its usual range of 5000 km.

To build a formidable undersea nuclear capability, India will need to speed up its SLBM programme, especially the K-5 and K-6 missiles which have the capacity to hit targets further than 5000 km. And with more SSBNs joining the Indian Navy, India will need more firepower to add teeth to the fleet.

India has also been prioritising the nuclear-powered submarine programme, with over Rs one lakh crore sanctioned in 2015. The project involves building advanced nuclear submarines with long-range underwater patrol capacity, the design phase of which has reportedly witnessed significant progress.

However, the road for India to becoming a true blue water navy could hit roadblocks with a number of economic and political challenges for the BJP-led government on the horizon. The military modernisation requires the employment of colossal capital, and with India’s GDP recording unprecedented contraction there could be a lull in the funding for new projects.

The good news is the country has seen an unprecedented level of indigenisation in the defence sector in recent years. The domestic production could reduce costs and prevent further delays in the unfinished products. On the innovation front, the country’s premier defence research institute, DRDO, seems to be learning from its mistakes and delivering cutting-edge capabilities to the Indian armed forces in recent years.

Kashmir—a nuclear flash point: Revelation 8

Muhammad Zahid Rifat

October 11, 2020

Pakistan has quite emphatically reiterated that the government and the people are committed to standing by and supporting their Kashmiri brothers and sisters in their legitimate struggle for self-determination. The brave, courageous, determined and committed Kashmiri people will never submit to Indian forced occupation and oppression; their struggle is indigenous, they are indeed fighting for a just cause and laying down their lives generation after generation for more than seven decades to rid themselves of Indian occupation.

The reiteration of Pakistan’s continued moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris in their just struggle was made by Prime Minister Imran Khan in his virtual address to the UN General Assembly on September 25. Touching upon different aspects of the lingering unresolved Kashmir issue, the Pakistani leader quite rightly told the international body in plain words that there will be no durable peace and stability in South Asia until the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is resolved on the basis of international legitimacy and that Kashmir has been rightly described as a nuclear flashpoint.

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It is a bitter historical fact that for over 72 years, India has illegally and forcibly occupied the region against the wishes of the Kashmiri people and in blatant violation of the resolutions of the UN Security Council and more so its own commitments to the people of the occupied and disputed territory.

Occupying Indian security forces continue to use brute force including pellet guns against peaceful protestors, imposing collective punishments including the destruction of entire neighbourhoods, committing extrajudicial murders of innocent young Kashmiris in fake encounters, refusing even to hand over their bodies to their families for burial and, the Kashmiri media and those daring to raise their voice are being systematically harassed and intimidated through the use of draconian laws.

PM Imran Khan urged the UN General Assembly to declare an “International Day to Combat Islamophobia”, build a coalition to fight this scourge which is splitting the humanity and the one country in the world where the state sponsors Islamophobia is India and the reason behind this is the RSS, which quite unfortunately, is ruling India today, believing and that India is exclusively for Hindus and others are not equal citizens.

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The Hindutva ideology, the UN General Assembly was told, is set to marginalise almost 300 million human beings including Muslims, Christians and Sikhs; this is unprecedented in history and does not augur well for the future of India itself, as the marginalisation of human beings leads to their radicalisation.

Having said this and much more, the Pakistani leader went on to call upon the Security Country that it must prevent a disastrous conflict and secure the implementation of its own resolutions, which India persistently disobeying and not letting the Kashmiris to exercise their right of self-determination to decide their future themselves, as it had done in the case of East Timor. The Security Council has dilated upon the situation in Jammu and Kashmir three times in the past year and it must also take appropriate enforcement actions.

Needless to mention here that Pakistan has always called for a peaceful solution to the lingering Kashmir issue. To this end, India must rescind the unilateral and brutal measures it has instituted since August 5,2019, end its military siege and other gross human rights violations and agree to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the people the occupied territory Jammu and Kashmir.

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India has all along been holding talks to resolve Kashmir dispute ensuring that no concrete offer is made or accepted and also been reluctant to what it says third party mediations to resolve the Kashmir issue. It is worth mentioning here that while saying no to all offers of mediation to resolve the lingering and burning Kashmir issue, India has more than twice in recent months requested Moscow for mediation over the Ladakh region between India and China and getting its military personnel released by the Chinese forces. What duplicity, indeed.

The address to the UN General Assembly by the Pakistani leader covered many domestic and international subjects including the pandemic of coronavirus and how Pakistan is fighting despite its limited resources and struggling national economy and ensuring that the resources less people are not let die for want of food.

This is not all. Other aspects of the Prime Minister of Pakistan’s address to the UN General Assembly will be dilated upon and discussed separately.