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South Asia Security Monitor - No. 382

Edited by Jeff M. Smith and Caitlin White
November 19, 2015


KABUL TO BUY HELOS FROM DELHI, DESPITE PAK CONCERNS
India has agreed to donate four Russian attack helicopters to Afghanistan to aid Kabul's fight against the Taliban. The agreement is likely to anger Pakistan, which has contended that India should provide economic aid rather than military weapons to Afghanistan to avoid upsetting the "power balance" in the region. Afghanistan’s engagement with India may be an indication that it is transitioning to a new regional strategy, as repeated efforts at reconciliation with Pakistan have failed to bear fruit. The news comes after a recent spike in tension between Kabul and Islamabad following Taliban offensives in Kabul and Kunduz. (November 6, 2015, 
The Indian Express)

CHINA'S TOP BRASS TO TOUR PAKISTAN AND INDIA
The Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission, General Fan Changlong will visit India and Pakistan todiscuss shared economic and political interests . While China has enjoys extremely good relations with Pakistan, including decades of robust military, economic, and technical support, China's relations with India, while stable, are colored by mistrust. Gen. Fan will be the highest-ranking military official to visit Pakistan in over a decade and is expected to hold discussions on the $40 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. (November 7, 2015, Value Walk)

ISLAMIC STATE JOINS TALIBAN SPLINTER GROUP IN AFGHANISTAN 
A Taliban splinter group led by Mullah Mohammad Rasool is aligning with ISIS against the main Taliban faction over a leadership dispute. The dispute originated with the death of former Taliban leader and founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar, and the appointment of Mullah Akhtar Mansoor as his successor. Infighting within the Taliban's ranks has been ongoing since it was announced earlier this year that Omar had died two years ago, but this was the first time a dispute escalated to outright violence in which 50 Taliban members were killed. There are concerns that Taliban infighting may open to door for even more radical groups like ISIS to expand their influence in Afghanistan. (November 8, 2015,
 International Business Times, November 8, 2015,CBS News)

INDIA CALLS FOR SOUTH CHINA SEA CODE OF CONDUCT
In light of increasingly volatile territorial disputes in the South China Sea, India has reaffirmed previous calls to maintain freedom of navigation, and gone a step further, asking states to resolve the disputes and adhere to a 2002 Declaration on the Conduct (DoC) committing parties not to make any unilateral moves that complicate the disputes. Delhi also called for a timely conclusion of a more binding Code of Conduct that regional countries have struggled to reach consensus on with China. (November 4, 2015, 
India Express)