Home Blog

nato: NATO sends ships and fighter jets to eastern Europe – Times of India

0


BRUSSELS: NATO said Monday that it’s putting extra forces on standby and sending more ships and fighter jets to eastern Europe as Russia continues its troop build-up near Ukraine.
It said that it’s beefing up its “deterrence” presence in the Baltic Sea area. A number of members of the 30-country military organization have offered troops and equipment.
Denmark is sending a frigate to the Baltic Sea and deploying F-16 war planes to Lithuania.
Spain is sending ships to join NATO’s standing maritime force and considering sending fighter jets to Bulgaria. France stands ready to send troops to Bulgaria, NATO said.
“NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend all Allies, including by reinforcing the eastern part of the Alliance. We will always respond to any deterioration of our security environment, including through strengthening our collective defence,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement.





Source link

Akshay Kumar buys a swanky apartment in Mumbai worth Rs 7.8 crore – Times of India

0


Akshay Kumar, who recently was seen holidaying with his family in ‘Ranthambore’, has bought a lavish flat in Mumbai. Akshay and Twinkle Khanna currently stay in Mumbai’s Juhu area, having a sea-facing duplex. According to the latest reports, Akshay has now bought a swanky apartment worth Rs. 7.84 crore.

The reports also suggest that his new apartment comes with four car parks. It is being said that the actor’s new nest is located on the 19th floor of the Joy Legend building in Mumbai’s Khar West. A report in Money Control suggests that the property was registered on January 7 this year.

On the work front, Akshay has a solid lineup of films ahead. He was recently seen in ‘Atrangi Re’ with Sara Ali Khan and Dhanush. He also has ‘Ram Setu’ with Jacqueline Fernandez and Nushrratt Bharuccha. Apart from this, he will be seen in ‘Prithviraj’ with Manushi Chhillar. He recently announced the new release date of ‘Bachchan Pandey’ starring Jacqueline and Kriti Sanon. His movie list also includes ‘Selfiee‘ with Emraan Hashmi, ‘Oh My God 2’ with Pankaj Tripathi, ‘Gorkha’ and ‘Cinderella’.



Source link

Taliban hold first talks in Europe since Afghan takeover – Times of India

0


OSLO, Norway: The Taliban and western diplomats have began their first official talks in Europe since they took over control of Afghanistan in August.
The closed-door meetings were taking place at a hotel in the snow-capped mountains above the Norwegian capital. Taliban representatives will be certain to press their demand that nearly $10 billion frozen by the United States and other Western countries be released as Afghanistan faces a precarious humanitarian situation.
“We are requesting them to unfreeze Afghan assets and not punish ordinary Afghans because of the political discourse,” said Taliban delegate Shafiullah Azam on Sunday night. “Because of the starvation, because of the deadly winter, I think it’s time for the international community to support Afghans, not punish them because of their political disputes.”
Ahead of the talks, western diplomats met with Afghan women’s rights activists and human rights defenders to hear from civil society in Afghanistan and the Afghan diaspora about their demands and assessment of the current situation on the ground. The meeting was attended by representatives of the EU, the U.S., Britain, France, Italy and hosts Norway.
The three-day talks opened on Sunday with direct meetings between the Taliban and civil society representatives.
A joint statement tweeted overnight by Zabihullah Mujahid, the Afghan deputy culture and information minister, following the talks reads that “participants of the meeting recognized that understanding and joint cooperation are the only solutions to all the problems of Afghanistan,” and emphasized that “all Afghans need to work together for better political, economic and security outcomes in the country.”
The United Nations has managed to provide some liquidity and allowed the Taliban administration to pay for imports, including electricity. But the U.N. has warned that as many as 1 million Afghan children are in danger of starving and most of the country’s 38 million people are living below the poverty line.
Faced with the Taliban’s request for funds, Western powers are likely to put the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan high on their agenda, along with the West’s recurring demand for the Taliban administration to share power with Afghanistan’s minority ethnic and religious groups.
Since sweeping to power in mid-August, the Taliban have imposed widespread restrictions, many of them directed at women. Women have been banned from many jobs outside the health and education fields, their access to education has been restricted beyond sixth grade and they have been ordered to wear the hijab. The Taliban have, however, stopped short of imposing the burqa, which was compulsory when they previously ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s.
The Taliban have increasingly targeted Afghanistan’s beleaguered rights groups, as well as journalists, detaining and sometimes beating television crews covering demonstrations.
A U.S. delegation, led by Special Representative for Afghanistan Tom West, plans to discuss “the formation of a representative political system; responses to the urgent humanitarian and economic crises; security and counterterrorism concerns; and human rights, especially education for girls and women,” according to a statement released by the U.S. State Department.
The Scandinavian country, home to the Nobel Peace Prize, is no stranger to diplomacy. It has been involved in peace efforts in a number of countries, including Mozambique, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Colombia, the Philippines, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Syria, Myanmar, Somalia, Sri Lanka and South Sudan.





Source link

boora: BSF on high alert along IB following inputs of threat from across: IG Jammu | India News – Times of India

0


JAMMU: BSF troops deployed on the India-Pakistan border in Jammu and Kashmir have been put on high alert following a threat of anti-social elements creating trouble on Republic Day, the force’s Inspector General for Jammu DK Boora said on Monday.
He also said that the Border Security Force (BSF) has launched a number of operations along the International Border, including anti-drone exercises and those related to detecting tunnels.
The BSF is also conducting joint patrolling with the army, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and police to thwart nefarious attempts of terrorists, Boora said.
“There is input that anti-national elements are likely to create trouble (in connection with Republic Day) but we are very, very alert on and along the border, including the Line of Control (LoC),” he said.
“We have heightened our vigil on the border extensively,” the inspector general (IG) told reporters here.
Boora said intelligence inputs clearly point towards the possibility of some activities from across the border.
“We have got inputs (that such activities) like infiltration or induction of weapons, ammunition, explosives and its assembling inside our area or drug smuggling (can take place). But we are on high alert and we will not allow anyone to succeed in these nefarious designs,” he said.
Keeping in mind the present security scenario and intelligence inputs ahead of Republic Day, the BSF is carrying out extensive anti-tunnelling drives, special patrolling and depth area domination despite extremely hostile weather conditions.
“We had planned these activities, which are being conducted on the border. Maximum number of troops and officers are present on the border. We have declared two weeks long heightened vigil on the border and extensively carrying out operations along the border, including anti-tunnelling exercises and anti-drone exercises,” Boora said.
“To strengthen border domination, mobilisation of troops has been done. Regular monitoring of suspicious activities of counterparts is being carried out through surveillance equipment,” he said.
The IG said that joint patrolling and exercises are also being conducted along with the army, CRPF and Jammu and Kashmir Police to scuttle any nefarious attempts of anti-social elements.
He said that “during this period, every year, there is a stress on the security situation along the borders.”
“But we are here to meet all the challenges and pre-empt the nefarious designs of anti-national elements (ANEs), which try to be out-spoken in our celebrations,” Boora said
He said that BSF is confident that the ANEs and militants will not succeed in whatever plans they have.
“Our own kind of resources that are human resources and technical resources are in place. We are confident that we will be able to meet the challenges very effectively,” he added.
The IG assured people residing along the border and hinterland that they have nothing to fear as the BSF are very alert on the border.
“We will do everything that it takes to ensure the safety and security of the people,” he added.
BSF troops deployed on the International Border in Jammu have been quite successful and consistent in foiling attempts from across the border by eliminating Pakistani intruders, seizing huge caches of arms, ammunition, narcotics and detecting tunnels in the past one year, Boora said.





Source link

Ranjeet, Danny Denzongpa and Akbar Khan have a ‘legendary’ reunion; Tiger Shroff, Rinzing Denzongpa react – watch – Times of India

0


Veteran actor Ranjeet, who is popularly known for playing villainous characters, has shared a sweet video with his colleagues, Danny Denzongpa and Akbar Khan. It seems that the legendary actors recently reunited for a get-together at Ranjeet’s residence. In the video, Ranjeet is seen giving advice to kids while the other two stars are seen teasing him for ‘finally being matured’.

Danny is heard asking Ranjeet what he’d like to tell the kids from the new generation. To this, Ranjeet says, “I’m your friend. You know your life and what you want from it. You’ve brought up in a way that you can take your own decisions.” Soon after he gives advice, Danny and Akbar are seen teasing for being so wise.

Ranjeet took to Instagram and wrote, “Maybe it’s time we start asking our kids what advice they would have for their parents. Leave your advice for your parents in the comments. I am curious to know your thoughts. Maybe I will read out a few for you for my next post.” Have a look:

Soon after he shared the video, Tiger Shroff and Danny’s son Rinzing were seen dropping heart emojis on it. Even the fans were elated to watch the legends coming together. One of the fans wrote, “Omg sare villain ek sath 😍” while another fan wrote, “3 legends 1 frame ❤️❤️❤️ aj to mehfil jame gi ayeeeeeeeee @ranjeetthegoli sir ji”

Ranjeet and Danny ruled the big screen with their villainous act back then. On the other hand, Akbar is the younger brother of Firoz Khan and Sanjay Khan. He is a screenwriter, director and editor.



Source link

Devendra Fadnavis: ‘You only gave speeches, we faced bullets’; Devendra Fadnavis responds to Uddhav Thackeray’s ‘Hindutva’ dig at BJP | India News – Times of India

0


NEW DELHI: The BJP on Monday hit back at its former ally, the Shiv Sena, a day after Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray accused the saffron party of using “Hindutva for political convenience and power.”
Uddhav Thackeray had on Sunday said “the hollow Hindutva they display is nothing but a charade for power. It is unfortunate that we nurtured them for 25 years.” Uddhav had also accused the BJP of betrayal and claimed attempts were made to destroy the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.
On Monday, senior BJP leader and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis reacted strongly to Uddhav’s remarks and said “You only gave speeches during the Ram Mandir movement, we were the ones who faced the bullets and sticks.”
Fadnavis also took a dig at Sena’s alliance with the Congress and said: “I challenge them (Shiv Sena) to just get a post tweeted for Balasaheb Thackeray, from Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi with whom they are sitting.”
“I want to remind them that their party (Shiv Sena) was not even born when BJP already had a corporator in Mumbai. Till the time they were with us, they used to be number 1 or No. 2 party but now they are at number 4,” Fadnavis said taking a swipe at Sena’s performance in the local body polls.
Union minister Raosaheb Patil Danve also targeted Uddhav’s party and said “Shiv Sena cited Savarakar during campaign speeches in Dombivali. Is this a Hindutva party? … Today Uddhav Thackery is behaving the exact opposite of what Bala Saheb preached. He has joined anti-Hindutva parties in greed of power.”
Senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut also attacked the BJP and said, “We took the BJP from bottom to top in Maharashtra. After Babri, there was a Shiv Sena wave in northern India; if we had fought the polls at that time, there would have been our (Shiv Sena) Prime Minister in the country but we left it for them. BJP only uses Hindutva for power.”
The Shiv Sena fell out with the BJP after the 2019 Maharashtra assembly elections and tied up with the NCP and the Congress to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, Sena’s alliance partner, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), also jumped into the debate and defended Uddhav’s remark against the BJP.
“It is a fact that parties which made an alliance with the BJP, were gradually destroyed by them. It’s good to take pride in one’s religion, but it is not right to have hatred towards other religions,” NCP leader Nawab Malik said.





Source link

Mouni Roy, Katrina Kaif, Varun Dhawan: Celebs who postponed their wedding receptions due to Covid-19 restrictions | The Times of India

0


Filmmaker Ali Abbas Zafar surprised all when he announced his wedding to French model Alicia on Instagram last year. The director pulled off the hush-hush wedding in his Dehradun home. The intimate affair was attended by family and close friends. Speaking exclusively about his wedding, Ali told ETimes, “Mom and Dad had tested COVID positive, so I had to bring the marriage date ahead. They are growing old and wanted me to get married. Otherwise, the wedding was planned for 2022.” He also revealed his plans to host a grand reception for his Bollywood friends. He said, “I want to throw a nice reception party for the industry. I hope it happens sometime in October…” However, owing to covid-19 restrictions, the director was unable to host a party.



Source link

Big dent to KL Rahul’s long-term captaincy ambitions, few careers near finishing line | Cricket News – Times of India

0


NEW DELHI: A stand-in captain, who seemed stunningly short of ideas, few seniors at the business end of their careers and a dated approach in white-ball cricket — India’s woes during the tour of South Africa were many, turning what started memorably into an eminently forgettable outing.
The signs were ominous even before they departed with now former Test skipper Virat Kohli‘s much publicised acrimony with top BCCI officials.
The entire episode didn’t leave the team in good stead and once there it all went haywire after the opening Test win.

Stand-in ODI captain KL Rahul was then left to do a lot with too little at his disposal against an opposition, which had gained invaluable confidence.
In the end, it turned out to be a nightmare with dark clouds hovering over the future of this Indian team and no sign of ‘VIBGYOR’ in the Rainbow Nation.
Virat Kohli and his problems
Kohli might not admit it but the former captain is going through the toughest phase as a cricketer after having given up captaincy in two out of three formats and being sacked in another.

(AP Photo)
But Because he is Kohli and in a different class, he managed a fine 79 in the lost third Test, where he looked the best.
He also got two half centuries in ODIs with minimum fuss where he looked more like an accumulator rather than an enforcer that one associates with ‘King Kohli’.
The meltdown at Cape Town with his misdirected anger at broadcasters for a DRS gone wrong also tarnished his reputation and letting the game drift away with mindless antics wasn’t his finest hour when it came to judging his temperamental.
KL Rahul bungled his lines
But if one is very blunt, KL Rahul perhaps blew his chance towards being a long-term option across formats once Kohli relinquished Test captaincy after losing the Test series.
“Did KL Rahul by any stretch look like a captain to you?” a senior BCCI official counter-questioned PTI when asked if he would be considered for the Test captaincy factoring in Rohit Sharma’s track record of injuries.

Untitled-19

(ANI Photo)
It is understood that coach Rahul Dravid wants to see his namesake as a long-term option and it was evident that he didn’t want to put a lot of blame on his captaincy.
“He did more than a decent job and a lot about captaincy is how your players execute the skills. We were short on the ODI side. He will grow constantly and get better as he leads more,” Dravid’s observation drifted towards the old adage of a captain being as good as his team.
But what would hurt Rahul more is his approach in batting which was more about self preservation. The 55 off 79 balls in the second ODI deserves more criticism for the balls wasted and strike not rotated rather than the runs accumulated by him.

It is for sure that Rahul, if he has to be in the white-ball scheme of things, will have to bat in the middle-order and be a finisher.
His bowling changes didn’t work in the middle overs and after watching Temba Bavuma make some inspired moves like starting the attack with Aiden Markram, he introduced Ravichandran Ashwin early in one game but that was more of a reactive move rather than a pro-active one.
Lack of fearlessness in Test matches
What stuck out like a sore thumb is the fact that even the biggest of Proteas fans couldn’t have imagined that a team facing huge transitional problems and a coach due to face a commission inquiring into his racial misconduct, would turn the heat on and win five out of six international matches and that too at a canter.
The South Africans played good cricket but were liberally helped by an Indian team that didn’t walk the talk on its proclaimed cricketing philosophies.
There wasn’t any fearlessness for better part of the tour, no innovative, out of box thinking and at times, they seemed short on execution of skills.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane showed some spark in the second innings of the second Test but for the better part, they were not playing their positive game.

Untitled-22

Pujara and Rahane didn’t even score 200 runs in six innings and the latter’s mode of dismissal — catch to wicketkeeper or slips to back of length rising deliveries on off-stump channel — became embarrassing after a certain point.
If two careers have really reached the finishing line, it’s this duo as giving them a chance to succeed against a weak Sri Lanka on home soil would be a travesty to the likes of Hanuma Vihari, who have long waited for their opportunities.
While talking about bowling, Ishant Sharma not making it among India’s top five pacers also doesn’t augur well for the 100-Test man as it seems that the management no longer has a lot of faith in him.

The bowling looked too dependent on Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami in Test matches but both will require rest from time to time.
Ashwin bowled decently but it was another tour of a SENA country where lack of conducive wickets meant that he was largely ineffective.
Ashwin’s second coming in white ball cricket wasn’t a great one either as he looked flat and out of ideas.
The South Africans played him with ease across formats and it is highly unlikely that Ashwin will feature a lot in India’s white-ball scheme of things going into the 2023 World Cup.

If Ashwin was disappointing, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was an unmitigated disaster as his pace seems to have dropped by a few notches and the swing is gone.
The bowling lacked sting as well as variation, something that hurt India in middle overs and Dravid was first to admit it.
“Without just saying spinners, we think we need to improve our wicket-taking options in the middle overs, spinners play a big role in that but also you have the quicks coming back and kind of balls that we bowl,” Dravid said.
“We have discussed that and we have spoken about that and we understand that it’s an area of the game we have been behind a little bit.
“Yes, there are many learnings from this tour, things that we need to keep improving and keep getting better at, and get personnel to do certain things where we are probably lacking a bit. Good thing is that we have some time in ODI cricket to correct those things,” Dravid said.
Pant’s approach and Shreyas’ weakness
The time has probably come for the Indian team to accept that Rishabh Pant will come as a package with dismissals that enrage people and then play a gem which only he can play.

Untitled-20

(Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
But the bigger problem is Shreyas Iyer, whose technical deficiency against the short ball has been badly exposed on this tour although it has been a talk in the Indian cricketing circles.
That was also one of the reasons Shreyas is still not being thought of as a ready replacement of either Pujara or Rahane as he might be found wanting in testing red ball conditions.
As far as white ball is concerned, Dravid had laid the mandate and it means “security and stability would be given but strong performance will be demanded too.”
Chahar and Shardul only silver lining
If there is one positive from this tour, it is Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar taking extra initiative to show that they can be used as multi-skilled players in future, something that had impressed Rahul Dravid too.
“Certainly he (Deepak Chahar) has shown us in the opportunities that he has got in Sri Lanka and over here as well that he has got some really good ability with the bat and I have seen him at India A level to be honest, and I know that he can bat quite well and certainly gives us nice options.

Untitled-21

(Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
“…and to have people like him, Shardul being able to contribute with the bat as well, More and more players who can contribute with the bat lower down certainly makes a big difference and gives us more options.”
These two will get a lot of games in future.
“We would like to give him a few more games along with Shardul and some other people as well who can step up in the course of time in the next year or so, and hopefully give us that depth in the side,” he said.





Source link

Daily Covid-19 cases in India will start to decline after February 15, say govt sources | India News – Times of India

0


NEW DELHI: Daily Covid-19 cases in India will start to decline after February 15, said official government sources on Monday.
“Covid cases in the country to decline after February 15. The cases have started reducing and stabilising in some States and metro cities,” sources told ANI.
Stressing that Covid-19 vaccination has reduced the impact of the third wave, the government sources further added, “Union health ministry is coordinating with states and Union territories. 74 per cent of the adult population is fully vaccinated.”
India on Monday reported a decline in the daily Covid-19 infections as the country logged 3,06,064 new Covid-19 cases with a positivity rate of over 20 per cent, said the ministry of health and family welfare.
As per government data, new infections were 27,469 less than that reported on Sunday. However, the daily positivity rate rose to 20.75 per cent from 17.78 per cent yesterday.
The ministry has said that India’s active caseload currently stands at 22,49,335. It accounts for 5.69 per cent of the total cases.
The government data shows that 439 people succumbed to the virus in the last 24 hours. The death toll is now at 4,89,848. The case fatality rate is 1.24 per cent.
With 2,43,495 people recovering from the infection in the last 24 hours, the cumulative recoveries mounted to 3,68,04,145.
Meanwhile, in the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination drive, 162.26 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far.
With the administration of more than 27 lakh vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, India’s Covid-19 vaccination coverage has reached 1,62,26,07,516 as per provisional reports till 7 am today, the ministry said.
So far 81,80,165 precaution doses have been administered to eligible beneficiaries. Of these, 27,40,418 were given to healthcare workers, 26,87,668 to frontline workers and 27,52,079 to those above the age of 60 years with comorbidities. The administration of the precaution dose began on January 10.
In the vaccination drive for children aged between 15-18 years, 4,19,32,411 vaccine doses have been administered. Their vaccination drive commenced on January 3 this year.





Source link

A German warship as a ‘symbol of peace’ against Chinese aggression? | India News – Times of India

0


“This kind of ‘Munnabhai-jadoo ki jhappi’ approach towards an aggressor, won’t work,” says a former Indian ambassador to Germany
Early this week, Indian media concerns excitedly played up peripheral remarks on China made by Germany’s navy chief, Kay-Achim Schönbach, while he was heaping praise on Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. The excitement in the media was not unfounded. Even as the -now former – navy chief was putting his foot into his mouth about Ukraine, where the big powers are on the brink of war, a German warship had slipped into Mumbai. The frigate “Bayern” was in India on her way home after nearly six months in the Indo-Pacific, where she was on a mission to signal Germany’s displeasure at China’s aggressive territorial claims in international waters. Naturally, remarks critical of China made by a senior military officer of a global power, would raise anticipation and expectation in countries like India, which is equally affected by Chinese expansionism.
Putin has amassed 100,000 troops along his country’s border to Ukraine, a NATO ally. The US and UK have sent arms to Kyiv. A deadly conflagration threatens, just 1500 kilometres away from Germany. The United States has sent 200 million dollars of ‘lethal aid’ to the Ukraine, the UK has sent tanks. Rumours of a Russia-engineered coup in Ukrainian capital Kyiv, too, have surfaced. Ukraine is a close NATO ally and will be an EU member in less than 10 years. If conflict erupts over Ukraine, it will be barely 1450 kilometres away from Berlin. Schönbach’s remarks angered Berlin and he resigned : not for what he said on China, but on President Putin.
China’s territorial aggression across the Indo-Pacific (IP) has unified nearly all major IP rim countries, including India, in various pacts intended either overtly or covertly, to contain the intrusive neighbour. India’s neighbour’s frequent incursions across the 3500 km long Line of Actual Control (LoAC), Beijing’s close relations with terror hub Pakistan, and now with the self-styled Taliban in Afghanistan, are household topics across India. Meanwhile, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), has choked smaller countries like Sri Lanka into conceding strategic favours and access to natural resources, and encircled India to the south and east.
“The political elite in Germany have begun to realize slowly, that China is a long-term threat to democracies,” Marcus Pindur, security correspondent for Deutschlandradio, told Times Online from Berlin. “All foreign policy wonks know that India should be part of any solution against China. But right now, the immediate threat is Russia, not China.”

Marcus Pindur, security correspondent for Deutschlandradio
However, Pindur says that Germany will, at best, pussy-foot around sensitive issues like land-grabbing, when it comes to China. The Asian giant is Germany’s largest trading partner. Any stern censure of China’s expansionism could seriously damage Germany’s economy, and downgrade German affluence.
But the economies of the United States, France and the UK, are similarly dependent on cheap manufacturing in China. Shipping lanes traversing the Indo-Pacific are equally crucial to their economic well-being and energy needs. Yet, these countries have been working their existing military bases (and old colonial ties in some cases) and sending flotillas to monitor flashpoints in the Indo-Pacific routinely and have already incurred Beijing’s censure and heightened surveillance. Along with Australia and Japan, two IP rim countries, global powers have entered various alliances to keep China in check.
So what was Berlin trying to achieve, by sending a solitary German frigate to the Indo-Pacific ?
“Bayern” was dispatched mainly as a symbol for Germany’s determination to engage more with the Indo-Pacific region, as a sign of solidarity,” says former German envoy to India and Af-Pak expert, Bernd Mützelburg. “Germany wants to be a partner in regional efforts to secure peace and stability in the IP.”

germanenvoy

Former German envoy to India, Bernd Mützelburg
The career diplomat concedes that Germany can no longer be a pacifist bystander to what’s happening in the world. “If we want a stable world, we must contribute”, he says.
But how can Berlin confront Beijing’s military aggression with mere symbolism?
Germany’s strict, post-World War II constitution places draconian restrictions on military engagement (other than UN /NATO obligations), anywhere in the world. Given the horrors of Nazi rule and the decimation of Germany after the war, most Germans, even of the millennial generation, will never actively support or encourage unilateral military engagement by Germany, anywhere in the world.
Further, there is little public awareness or interest in the Indo-Pacific. In most sections of the German media, the depiction of India is dominated by orientalist clichés. Consequently, the German public still sees India as a Third World country, where corruption rages, nukes are in untrained hands, and business can’t move forward due to red tape. Public opinion is also dominated by a large dose of overt liberalism, as far as India is concerned. There is an innate reluctance to acknowledge conservative party leaders in developing countries, even if they were elected through a democratic process.
“As a security correspondent, I must tell you that the Indo-Pacific is not a matter of broad debate here”, Pindur said. “To top that, our new coalition government led by Social Democrat Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, is cautious and not very decisive. Look at the current Ukraine crisis. All other global powers have sent military aid to Ukraine. What are we sending? A military field hospital. That is really going to intimidate Putin!” Pindur says wryly.
Former Indian ambassador to Germany, Gurjit Singh, points to the chasm between Germany and its western allies, when it comes to decisive action.
“Germany’s so-called ‘strategic’ view is essentially economic, whereas that of its industrialized allies, is heavily based on defence issues. Look at Germany’s ‘Indo-Pacific Guidelines’. They are trying to increase their economic engagement with IP rim countries, including India. But unlike their allies or even Japan, they stop short of challenging China,” Singh says.
The former envoy points out that even the frigate “Bayern” skirted areas in the South China Sea claimed illegally by Beijing, to avoid confrontation. “This kind of “Munnabhai-jadoo ki jhappi “approach towards an aggressor won’t work.”
So what is the way out?
FDI in big ticket infrastructure in India, says Singh. By doing so, Germany would be adopting a “China+plus+one” policy, which would be a win-win for both India and for Germany. “Nobody is asking German companies to quit China and come to India,” he says. “But Germany can at least do similar things here, like setting up export hubs which will take them to export-led growth. At the moment, they are looking at us largely for their own markets, not as export hubs.”
Singh dismisses the frequently heard counter argument offered by German diplomats, that a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Germany and India remains unsigned, because of restrictive tariffs imposed by India. The former envoy says that it is Germany, which insists on going through the European Union (EU) over the FTA, instead of signing one directly with India. He points to France, which has charted its own independent defence and trade relationship with India, and not waited for clearances via the EU alone.
Security correspondent Marcus Pindur suggests other moves that Germany could undertake to demonstrate its displeasure over China’s aggression: like recognizing countries which want full diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which China also claims as its own territory.
Russia is Germany’s main supplier of natural gas. The fate of a new gas pipeline – the Nord Stream 2 – hangs in the air, given the current faceoff. If Russia invades Ukraine, gas prices in Germany will shoot up and strain the economy which Covid-19 has already dented. Further, pressure from the US for Germany to respond to the Russian invasion by stalling Nord Stream 2, would increase too.
In the absence of public willingness for Germany to engage in any kind of defence exchange even so close to home, Berlin is weighing tough sanctions against Russia.
Instead of sending confusing signals like a war ship as a ‘symbol of peace’ to the Indo-Pacific, Berlin could consider slamming sanctions on China too, for illegally claiming vast swathes of international waters, and threatening crucial shipping lanes which carry energy supplies to the West.
Will Germany risk do so, merely to signal its arrival as a decisive superpower in the ranks of WWII victors France, UK and the United States?
As the “Bayern” pulls out of Mumbai after nearly half a year at sea, there will be no immediate answers in her wake.
But the warship’s arrival in the Indo-Pacific and the interest she generated, was certainly a beginning, if only as a ‘symbol’, and not an enforcer of peace.





Source link