In recent days, India’s attention has been on some of the changes introduced by the administration of US President Donald Trump. They include restrictions on H1-B visas, as well as the US’ attempt to get the UN to impose a ban on Masood Azhar, the head of Jaish-E-Mohammed.
US underwater drones can be categorized as Force Net, Sea Shield, Sea Strike and Sea Base. Force Net includes the missions of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and oceanography. Some may even be weaponized. Thus, it is easy to be uncertain regarding the mission of particular UUVs.
Since the International Security Assistance Force drawdown from Afghanistan in December 2014, America’s ad-hoc and confusing policies, the incompetence of the Afghan government, and the Taliban’s inflexibility to peace talks have complicated the stalemate of the Afghan conflict.
On 16 December, the US Department of Defense announced that it had issued a formal protest to China demanding the return of an underwater drone. After several days of verbal tit-for tat, China returned the drone. The US Navy is determining whether the seizure was a “low-level” action by the sailors or a top down message by senior Chinese leaders.
The US asserted that the underwater drone seized by China enjoyed sovereign immunity. Its argument is legally flawed if one takes a closer look at the rules of sovereign immunity in the law of the sea and how the US navy applies the drone to its missions.
Asia is ripe for rivalry after Donald J. Trump became US President-elect in November 2016, and the root of the ensuing conflict is the uncertainty of US commitment toward its Asian allies, which will lead to a security dilemma of two different directions.
China should take advantage of the favorable situation in the South China Sea region to maintain stability. China should also keep improving the situation by strengthening its relations with the US, the other claimant countries, and the ASEAN countries.
The US’ military deployments and activities in the Asia-Pacific region are important manifestations of its “rebalancing” strategy. Since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, the US global military strategy has been to shift its focus and priority toward the Asia-Pacific region.
Although the tribunal enjoyed ample latitude to carve out a constructive, mid-path interpretation of a critically important but ill-defined provision of maritime law, it chose to indulge in a tortuous train of legal thought that lacked basis in case law and produced a zero-sum outcome that overwhelmingly favored Manila.
“Make America Great Again” was Trump’s campaign slogan. This probably translates to a Reaganesque “peace through strength” approach. Implementing such a policy in Southeast Asia is likely to be accompanied by blusters, threats and shows of force and gunboat diplomacy.