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Saturday, April 13, 2024

India manipulating FATF through its defense purchases?

According to Amjed Jaaved, India is manipulating FATF. With its illegal military endeavors and support to militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan, India should have the top spot in FATF's grey list. However, because India purchases military equipment from France and the US, it is able to evade the list.

While addressing a political gathering, India’s external affairs minister S. Jaishanker made a few startling lapsus de langue about its manipulation of the FATF, besides distorting Doklam and Ladakh episodes. About the FATF, he revealed, “We have been successful in pressurizing Pakistan and the fact that Pakistan’s behavior has changed is because of pressure put by India by various measures. Modi made personal efforts on global forums like G7 and G20 to keep Pakistan on the list.”

He was addressing the BJP leaders’ training program on the Modi government’s foreign policy. Jaishanker is a suave person. He generally avoids filibusters and gung-ho statements.

Jaishanker lauded Modi also for pushing back China from Doklam and Ladakh. To quote his statement, he said, “One was in Doklam where China had to go back and the second is when they tried infringing LAC (the Line of Actual Control) in Ladakh.”

Read more: Indian claims it used FATF against Pakistan: Question mark on integrity of FATF!

India’s view of Doklam

India’s view of Doklam is debatable. China thinks India was the aggressor. India intervened and stopped China’s road work at ostensibly Bhutan’s request (India has no border with China at Doklam). India’s intransigence at Doklam opened China’s eyes. China began to suspect what India has up its sleeve.

Stobdan in a newspaper article last year, “China’s past border tactics, especially in Central Asia, offer India a clue,” points out, “If India falls for some kind of Chinese position over Aksai Chin, Beijing will then shift the focus to Arunachal to emphatically claim 90,000 sq km from India. Ceding Aksai Chin would fundamentally alter the status of J&K and Ladakh.”

No more integral part. Just “might is right” or “jis ki lathi us ki bhains” (he who has the staff, has the cow).

China was unprepared for the 73-day standoff on the Doklam Plateau near the Nat hula Pass on the Sikkim border. China was compelled to resolve the stand-off through negotiations. China later developed high-altitude “electromagnetic catapult” rockets for its artillery units to liquidate the Indian advantage there, as also in Tibet Autonomous Region. China intends to mount a magnetically-propelled high-velocity rail-gun on its 055-class under-construction missile destroyer 055.

The Chinese government released a map that accused India of trespassing into its territory, and in a detailed statement in the first week of August, it said “India has no right to interfere in or impede the boundary talks between China and Bhutan.”

Read more: Revisiting the Galwan tragedy: Did Modi escalate India-China border tensions?

India and China have one of the world’s longest disputed borders and areas which include 37,000 sq km of uninhabited Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh with 1.4 million residents and over 84,000 sq km.

Meanwhile, their Armies have been modernizing at a frenetic pace. The two sides are also carrying out one of history’s biggest conventional military build-ups along their borders. Doklam adds yet another flashpoint along the disputed borders of the two Asian giants.

Ladakh (Galwan) clashes

These clashes were at best a storm in a teacup. Both China and India have signed agreements not to use firearms. As such, India’s hullabaloo was much ado about nothing. Jaishanker like so many other Indian politicians keep projecting the issue as a “victory, nonetheless.

AT a height of 14,000 feet (Galwan Valley), the world’s first and second most populated countries and two nuclear powers engaged in violence. Thankfully for the planet they brawled with fisticuffs and threw stones at each other besides using barbed-wire-enveloped bludgeons to pummel each other.

In the battle that took place over several hours, India lost 20 lives, including an officer commanding (colonel). New Delhi claimed China lost 43 men as per radio intercepts.

Read more: Indian army claims victory over China in Ladakh dispute

India claimed that China’s aim is to “dominate Durbuk-DBO road, strengthen its position in the Fingers area, halt the construction of link roads in Galwan-Pangong Tso [salt lake] and negotiate de-escalation on its terms.” This is the assertion of Maj Gen (Dr) G.G. Dwivedi.

India alleged that not only have the Chinese changed the status quo at the Fingers, the mountain spurs along the lake but also built substantial structures in the contested region of the Line of Actual Control. The hills protrude into the lake like Fingers and are numbered one to eight from west to east.

According to India, the LAC lies at Finger 8, but China points to Finger 4. The May 27 images by Planet Labs showed dozens of new structures, most likely tents that came up between Finger 8 and Finger 4 on the north bank of Pangong Tso, one of the main points of contention in the current standoff. The Indian Express (June 6) claimed this satellite imagery shows how the Chinese have changed the status quo on Pangong bank.

The Indian media alleged that China took over 640 kilometers of Ladakh territory. On the other hand, the Chinese media insists that it is India that violated the Line of Actual Control.

Read more: India China tensions over Ladakh could explode at any time

The Chinese assertion was confirmed by Prime Minister Narender Modi. While addressing an all-party conference Modi said: “Neither have they [Chinese] intruded into our border nor has any post been taken over by them [China].” One wonders what the point in whipping up war hysteria by the Indian media was. What a contradiction between Jaishankar’s and Modi’s statements.

FATF manipulated through India’s defense-purchases 

India leveraged its military purchases to keep Pakistan under the grey list. Amid the Ladakh border standoff, India’s defense ministry approved purchase proposals amounting to an estimated Rs 38,900 cores. They included procurement of 21 MiG-29s, upgrading Indian Air Force’s existing MiG-29 aircraft, procurement of 12 Su-30 MKI aircraft. The MiG-29 procurement and up-gradation from Russia will cost Rs 7418 crore.

India’s modus operandi is well reflected in Reference Note No. 45/RN/Ref./October/2020, titled Recent Defence Procurement in India. This note for the use of Members of Parliament was prepared by Shri Abhishek Thakur, Asst. Research Officer (23035499) and Dr. Amar Kumar Prusty, Joint Director (23034992) of Lok Sabha Secretariat under the supervision of Shri Sayed Kafil Ahmed, Director (23034670) and Smt. Kalpana Sharma, Additional Secretary (23034845).

India wanted to snub Turkey for its support to Pakistan on the FATF. So, “in October 2019, India put the FVS (Fleet Vessel Ship) Agreement on hold after questions were raised on Turkey’s links with Pakistan and the recent diplomatic tiff with the Recep Tayyip Erdogan government. Turkish shipyards are major suppliers of warships to the Navy of Pakistan. This raised serious security concerns as the Turkish company was to manufacture ships at HSL.

Read more: Will Turkey become a Peacemaker between Pakistan and India over Kashmir?

However, in February 2020, the Government of India has given a nod to go ahead with the $2.3 billion deal after reviewing the concerns mentioned above. Under this agreement, the Turkish company will manufacture 5 Fleet Vessel Ship of 45,000 tonnes at HSL (Hindustan Shipyard Limited), Vishakhapatnam. These ships will be used by the Indian Navy to carry fuel and other supplies to refuel its warships at sea.”

To punish China, India banned several Chinese companies, particularly those in the telecommunication sector. The Indian Railways terminated its dedicated freight corridor contract with the Chinese firm ostensibly due to “poor progress” on the signaling and telecommunication work on the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor’s 417-km section between Kanpur and Mughalsarai.

Action is underway to replace “Chinese giants” with Indian firms in the construction of the Delhi-Meerut road transport project. India has directed all companies to label the origin of imports.

Read more: India to buy $3 billion U.S. Armed Drones to Counter China, Pakistan

India’s bonhomie with France and other FATF supporters

India signed a formal agreement to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault for a reported 7.9 billion euros (8.8 billion dollars), one of its biggest defense deals in decades. The five Rafale fighter jets which landed in Ambala on 29th July 2020 would resurrect the Number 17 Golden Arrows squadron of the Indian Air Force. It will take the IAF’s squadron strength to 31.

When all the 36 Rafale jets are delivered by 2022, it will take it to 32 squadrons. The state-of-the-art 4.5 Generation Rafale jet can reach almost double the speed of sound, with a top speed of 1.8 Mach. With its multi-role capabilities, including electronic warfare, air defense, ground support, and in-depth strikes, the Rafale lends air superiority to the Indian Air Force.

The plan includes the acquisition of a wide variety of arms and armament that includes missiles, warships, drones, fighter jets, surveillance equipment, and the creation of architecture for Artificial Intelligence.

The recent India and US Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geospatial Cooperation (BECA) deal on 27 October, 2020 in Delhi envisages digitizing military applications. Broadly, there are four important aspects in the field of Battle field digitisation, which in military parlance is termed as Network Centric Warfare.

Read more: BECA putting Pakistan’s military might to test

India will upgrade 59 of its MiG-29 aircraft and buy 21 more from Russia for about $1 billion.

India will buy Excalibur artillery rounds for M777 ultra-light howitzers from the United States, Igla-S air defense systems from Russia, and Spike anti-tank guided missiles from Israel.

The Army will buy ammunition for its T-90 tanks, BMP-2 vehicles, air defense guns, artillery guns, and small arms, as well as rockets, missiles, and mortars. The Air Force will buy air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, smart bombs, chaffs, flares, and precision-guided munitions. Russia is worth $800 million to buy weapons and spare parts.

Read more: Rampant corruption in India’s defense purchases

India’s military deals with the US

The US and the Indian Government signed a $2-3 billion deal for the Guardian drones in 2018. The US Government has cleared the sale of 22 predator Guardian drones to India. The drones are manufactured by General Atomics.

In November 2019 a deal of $1.0210 billion with the US was sealed to obtain 13 MK45 Naval guns and related equipment. The MK-45 Gun System will help India to conduct anti-surface warfare and anti-air defense missions.

India and the US have signed a $930 million agreement for 6 Apache Helicopters for Indian Army. The contract was made in the year 2015 by the Indian Air Force for 22 Apache helicopters. Out of 22 helicopters, 17 have already been delivered to India and the rest will be delivered in the year 2023.

Indian Navy will procure 24 Sikorsky MH-60R helicopters.

Read more: India is not a responsible nuclear state after all

FATF’s double standards

It is questionable why supporting ongoing freedom movement in the occupied Kashmir is “terrorism”, but not India’s support to militant groups in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and erstwhile East Pakistan. India portrays the freedom movement in Kashmir as “terrorism.”

The conduct of Indian diplomats amounted to state-sponsored terrorism. For one thing, India should close the “Free Balochistan” office on her soil, and stop resuscitating propaganda skeletons of pre-Bangladesh days.

Unlike Kashmir, East Pakistan was not a disputed territory. It was an integral part of Pakistan. But, India harboured, nurtured, trained and armed Bengali ‘freedom fighters’ on Indian soil. Ina video, India’s army chief Manekshaw confessed that prime minister Indira Gandhi forced him to attack the erstwhile east Pakistan.

Read more: Is FATF a tool reflecting US, UK hypocrisy?

The negative impact of rigorous compliance

The managers of financial institutions in Pakistan are implementing the FATF conditions without understanding their purpose. They are harassing honest investors. For, instance, the manager of the national Saving Centre Poonch house Rawalpindi refuses to issue an investment certificate unless the applicant submits a host of documents.

These documents include a current bank statement, source-of-income certificate besides bio-data along with a passport-size photograph. They call for the documents even if the applicant submits a cheque on his 40-year-old bank account.

Jaishanker’s remarks have unmasked India’s visceral hostility towards Pakistan. It has exposed the pliability of the FATF. It provides a “legal,” regulatory, framework for muzzling the hydra-headed monster of money-laundering. It aims at identifying loopholes in the prevailing financial system and plugging them. The noble objectives of the FATF stand denuded.

The FATF is more interested in chastising a state like Pakistan, not toeing US policies, than in checking money laundering. The tacit message is that if Pakistan does not toe India’s and USA’s Afghan policy, and lease out air bases for drone attacks, then it will remain on the FATF grey list.

Read more: Is Pakistan likely to be removed from FATF grey list?

Pakistan is a bête noire and India a protégé at the FATF only because of stark geo-political interests. Otherwise, the money laundering situation in India is no less gruesome than in Pakistan. India has even been a conduit of ammunition to the Islamic State study conducted by Conflict Armament Research had confirmed that seven Indian companies were involved in the supply chain of over 700 components, including fuses or detonating cords used by the so-called Islamic State to construct improvised explosive devices.

Political considerations, not FATF’s primary objectives, override voting behavior at the FATF.

Mr. Amjed Jaaved has been contributing free-lance for over five decades. His contributions have been published in the leading dailies and magazines (Global Village Space, Modern Diplomacy, etc.) at home and abroad (Nepal. Bangladesh, et. al.). He is the author of seven e-books including Terrorism, Jihad, Nukes, and other Issues in Focus. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.