“Aid” and the Political Scramble: India vs China in the Nepal Disaster-Capitalist Rush

[Frontlines:  Defensive about the appearance of an “aid” scramble in Nepal for power, influence and control, former Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Zhang Chunxiang said, “We do not have competition with India and other countries. There is no competition in humanitarian assistance.” But, not to miss an opportunity….]

“In post-quake aid rush, Nepal neighbors jockey for position”

Nepalese volunteers unload relief material brought in an Indian air force helicopter for victims of Saturday’s earthquake at Trishuli Bazar in Nepal, Monday, April 27, 2015. Wedged between the two rising Asian powers of China and India, landlocked Nepal saw rescuers and offers of help pour from both sides within hours of its massive earthquake. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Nepalese volunteers unload relief material brought in an Indian air force helicopter for victims of Saturday’s earthquake at Trishuli Bazar in Nepal, Monday, April 27, 2015.  (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) The Associated Press

Wedged between the two rising Asian powers of China and India, landlocked Nepal watched rescuers and offers of help pour in from both sides within hours of an earthquake that killed more than 4,000 people.

India, the traditional power in the region, launched Operation Friendship soon after the quake Saturday. It has sent the most help so far, deploying 13 aircraft and more than 500 rescuers as well as water, food, equipment and medical supplies.

China, increasingly making inroads in Nepal through everything from infrastructure investment to increased tourism, also pledged all-out assistance within hours of the disaster. It has sent 62 rescuers plus blankets, tents and generators and announced plans to send four planes and an additional 170 soldiers.

India’s rival, Pakistan, also has sent four cargo planes full of supplies, including concrete cutters and sniffer dogs.

The largesse of recent days is a microcosm of something much larger. It represents a subtle brand of disaster politics, a curious but understandable focus on strategically located Nepal, one of the poorest nations in its region but — clearly — a pocket of regional importance for powerful neighbors jockeying for position.

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Philippine / US troops joint training for counter-insurgency, and for US-Pacific domination

[Though both the US imperialist and comprador Philippine governments describe “Balikatan” (shoulder-to-shoulder) exercises as normal, routine, and “humanitarian,” they are actually part of more intense–and expanded–trainings for regional wars (which may challenge or extend the US’ hegemonic role, or China’s growing role) and for domestic Philippine counter-insurgency operations against rebel opposition, both communist and Islamic.  The pictures below express this very well.  —  Frontlines ed.]

Reuters, ‘Balikatan’ exercises
More than 4,000 American troops joined their Filipino counterparts for a series of military exercises in the West Philippine Sea,  an area that involves a territorial dispute that centers on a shoal not far from the Philippines’ main island of Luzon. The dispute centers on a group of islands known in the Philippines as Scarborough Shoal and recognized as Huangyan island in Chinese. Both Philippines and China have staked a claim on the islands, according to media reports.

U.S. soldiers inspect a Filipino soldier portraying a communist rebel killed in an ambush during a Philippine-U.S. troops joint military exercise in Ternate town, Cavite city, south of Manila April 19, 2012.

A U.S. soldier patrol past a boy during a Philippine-U.S. troops joint military exercise in Ternate town, Cavite city, south of Manila April 19, 2012. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

U.S. soldiers walk past Filipino soldiers portraying communist rebels killed in an ambush during a Philippine-U.S. troops joint military exercise in Ternate town, Cavite city, south of Manila April 19, 2012.

A U.S. soldier carries a Filipino soldier portraying a communist rebel killed in an ambush during a Philippine-U.S. troops joint military exercise in Ternate town, Cavite city, south of Manila April 19, 2012.

U.S. and Filipino soldiers take part in an urban combat drill during a Philippine-U.S. troops joint military exercise in Ternate town, Cavite city, south of Manila April 19, 2012.

Filipino and U.S. soldiers conduct a patrol during an ambush drill during a Philippine-U.S. troops joint military exercise in Ternate town, Cavite city, south of Manila April 19, 2012.

Filipino and U.S. soldiers take part in an ambush drill during a Philippine-U.S. troops joint military exercise in Ternate town, Cavite city, south of Manila April 19, 2012.

India seeks Indian Ocean supremacy with warship research

[The growing relationship between US imperialism and Indian sub-imperialism has spurred an Indian arms race, which partly aims at control of the Indian Ocean, and is partly aimed against the peoples struggles in India and throughout the region.–Frontlines ed.]

By Agence France-Presse on January 5, 2011

India launched a new naval research centre for warships on Tuesday, part of efforts by the South Asian giant to build its sea defences and counter the perceived threat of China in the Indian Ocean.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony laid the foundation stone for the National Institute for Research and Development in Shipbuilding (NIRDESH) in the southern state of Kerala, which will be built at a cost of six billion rupees (133 million dollars).

The facility, which will be up and running in two years, will help develop technology for “drawing board to delivery” of warships for India, a naval official said. Continue reading

Rapidly Growing U.S.-India Military Ties

India Defence Minister A.K. Antony with Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen (New Delhi, Friday)

By Jim Garamone

American Forces Press Service

July 23, 2010 – The growth of military-to-military cooperation between India and the United States is “stunning,” and it is poised to continue to increase, U.S. officials told reporters here today.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is in New Delhi to explore ways to increase the military partnership between the two nations.

“It is stunning how many things we are working on with the Indians … and how fast our partnership is growing,” said one U.S. official, speaking on background to reporters traveling with Mullen. “The chairman’s visit, obviously, is reflective of the important cooperation we have in terms of the defense side and the strategic partnership.” Continue reading